There are few of us that would dispute the fact that Kawai certainly know how to put together a beautiful playing and sounding piano. This also translates to their digital piano range where they implement sounds and engineering techniques recreate the tone and feel of their acoustic works of art. It is little wonder that so many people turn to a Kawai ES series digital piano when looking to learn and play piano at home. It doesn’t take up anywhere near the space of the real thing, and costs a considerably lower amount than an upright or a grand, yet still offers the playability and sound that you would expect from Kawai. The new ES110 is no exception, and being able to test drive it this month left me wondering why I haven’t touched a Kawai in so many years.
There are two main elements to a Kawai digital piano that stand out to not only seasoned players but beginners alike. It is easy to see how the transition from acoustic piano to digital piano and back can be so smooth when you feel the way the keys behave. Sure, they don’t have the wooden keys and long pivot motion of the MP11, but it doesn’t come with the weight or the price tag of said model either. This model offers a very realistic hammer action that is going to suit any beginner and would only come under scrutiny from the fussiest of players searching for a specific feel. It responds well, has a good balance from one end of the key bed to the other. Most importantly, it feels like it has weighted hammer action.
The other key characteristic of any Kawai digital piano is undoubtedly the piano tone it replicates. If you are looking for a wide range of synth and organ sounds, then this isn’t the right instrument for you. But if you want a very realistic piano sound, then you can’t go wrong with the ES110. The speakers are well matched to the cabinet, to carry the tone at a decent operating level for home use, and without any unwarranted vibrations or audible distortion.
You want your digital piano to sound just like an actual piano and the ES110 does a very good job of just that, utilising Kawai’s harmonic imaging technology to create a very realistic tone across the entire 88-note range. Add to this the 5-pin DIN MIDI connectivity, Bluetooth MIDI options as well as line and headphone outputs and you have a neat, compact digital piano.
Hits and Misses
Classic Kawai grand piano tone
Great feeling action
Surprisingly lightweight for the key bed
Limited sound options