Around $1,000, there are many excellent entry level digital pianos. One might even argue that these offer the best value for money. No wonder so many people are searching for the best model in that price range. In this Kawai KDP 110 review, I’ll try to show you why this might just be the one you are looking for.
Kawai’s KDP product line is what they call the entry level series. The KDP 90 was popular and well received by the market. In 2018, Kawai introduced a new model the KDP 110. It has many upgrades to the previous model and is probably the best entry level digital piano in the market right now. Let’s find out if that’s true.
The Kawai KDP 110 is a console style digital piano. It tries to mimic the classic upright acoustic piano look and I have to say it’s quite a success in doing that.
Depends on your region, you can choose either a Black or Rosewood color. They both feature wooden texture finish and look really premium.
Even though it’s an entry level digital piano, the KDP 110 is built with quality. The stand is firm and every part of the instrument looks and feels well-built.
Overall the Kawai KDP 110 looks classic and premium. However I do find this classic style difficult to fit a modern home decor. Depends on your situation, this may or may not be an issue for you.
The music rest on the KDP 110 has curved edge which fits greatly was the classical look of the digital piano. It is definitely wide enough to display any scorebook. You can put 3 pieces of A4 paper side by side comfortably on the music rest. I’m happy to report that it is also quite tall to support any printed sheet of music.
You cannot adjust the angle of the music erased. However it is collapsible. This is a really nice and convenient feature in my opinion.
As expected for an entry-level digital piano, the control panel on the KDP 110 is very simple.
On the right side, you will find a power button and a volume slider.
On the left side, there are 6 buttons for quick access. The buttons are well labelled and I think Kawai did a good job of selecting the most often used functions.
There is no display on this digital piano. However there are small LED indicators on each button.
The Kawai KDP 110 comes with a full 88 keyboard. The keys are made of plastic with matte finish key tops. Kawai did a good job to mimic the feel of modern acoustic piano keys.
This keyboard seems to be built with quality. I haven’t noticed any uneven spacing between the keys like many other entry-level digital pianos.
What I do miss is the red velvet at the end of the keyboard. I think this would look really good on this model due to its classical Style.
Size & Weight
Being a console style digital piano, the Kawai KDP 110 is not small nor light. However since you are not going to move it around, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The instrument arrives in a box and some assembly is required. The main body of the piano is quite heavy and it is definitely a two men’s job. Make sure you have a friend or family member to help you with that.
The KDP 110 weighs about 39 kg (86 lbs).
Without music rest, it has the dimensions of 136(W) x 41(D) x 85(H) cm (54” x 16” x 33”)
Being a model from Kawai, I have high hopes for the key action on the KDP 110. This is also one of the big upgrades from the KDP 90.
The key action on the KDP 110 is the Responsive Hammer Compact II from Kawai. Surprisingly, this is not the entry level key action from Kawai. It is a more advanced version of key action from the Kawai ES110.
The RHCII is a triple sensor key action. It helps to provide a more precise and responsive feel especially during fast passages.
As mentioned before the keys are plastic with matte finish. This helps to improve grip and absorb moisture the real long playing sessions.
The keys are individually weighted and graded, just like any proper digital piano. It feels heavier on the bass side and gradually becomes lighter towards the right side.
Overall the key action on the KDP 110 feels very nice to play. it is very easy to control the volume, the timing and to put emotions into each key press. I personally find it to be the best entry level key action on the market right now. It feels more authentic than equivalent actions from Yamaha, Casio and Roland.
The key noise on the KDP 110 is at an acceptable level. It doesn’t bother me at least. However, there are reports that after few month of use, some keys will exhibit clicky noise when bounce back.
Another major upgrade you would find on the KDP 110 is the sound engine. It uses the current generation Harmonic Imaging technology from Kawai. It features Kawai’s world famous SK-EX acoustic concert grand piano.
Not only is each key individually sampled, it is also sampled at various different volume levels. This is to capture the subtle tonal change when you press a key at different force on an acoustic piano. This is a huge advantage in the entry-level digital piano market. Because many other brands sample their keys in groups instead of individually, let along at different volume.
The Kawai KDP 110 has a maximum polyphony number of 192. This is more than enough for any entry level digital piano.
To compliment the upgraded sound engine, the KDP 110 equips a much more powerful speaker system. The two 20 watt speakers are powerful enough to make the instrument sound like an acoustic piano.
Overall and the sound quality of the KDP 110 is impressive. It is authentic, dynamic and expressive. It is also the only model that features individual key sampling in the entry level digital piano segment.
As an entry level digital piano, the KDP 110 does not have too many features. Besides the upgraded key action and the best entry level sound engine, it does have Bluetooth for easy connectivity. It also has two headphone jacks, one quarter inch and the other 3.5mm. It’s a convenient feature that allows your teacher to listen to your playing. With the smaller 3.5mm jack, you can also avoid the hassle of the headphone adapter.
Unfortunately, there is no multi track recording on the KDP 110. You can record up to 3 songs. There is no USB to device port, which I do find a bit inconvenient.
Here are some other features that you might find useful:
- Sound (15 total):
- Piano × 4
- E.Piano × 2
- Strings × 2
- Organ × 2
- Others × 5
- Polyphony: 192
- Reverb: 6
- Dual Mode: two instrument sound simultaneously
- Four-hand Mode: split the keyboard to identical halves
- Internal recording:
- MIDI: 3 songs
- USB to Host
- MIDI (IN/OUT)
- Headphones x 2 (6.35mm 1/4” + 3.5mm 1/8” )
As a console style digital piano, the KDP 110 comes with a 3 pedal unit. This is what Kawai calls the Grand Feel Pedal system. This is the same pedal system that you would see on Kawai’s premium flagship models. It supports half paneling and does authentically reproduce the feel of pedaling on an acoustic grand piano.
You will need to purchase a bench separately if you can’t find a good bundle offer.
A good pair of headphones is always recommended for any digital piano.
Being a console style digital piano and with its powerful speaker system, you won’t need any external monitor/speaker for the Kawai KDP 110.
WHO IT’S FOR
The Kawai KDP 110 is recommended for beginners with a somewhat relaxed budget. It is not the cheapest entry level digital piano but it does provide the best key action and sound.
In my opinion, the KDP 110 is definitely worth the price and I would even recommend it to intermediate players.
It is also to some extent future proof. With the excellent key action and sound quality, you won’t feel the need to upgrade any time soon. Thanks to Bluetooth, you will always be able to utilize apps on your smart devices.
The KDP 110 is also suitable for performing at medium sized venue as long as it does not need to be moved.
The Kawai KDP 110 is an excellent digital piano for any beginners. It is in my opinion the best entry level model on the market right now. It packs superior key action and sound engine to its competitors.
Kawai KDP 110 vs. Yamaha YDP-143
These two are similarly priced, with the YDP-143 a hundred dollars cheaper.
The RHCII key action on the KDP 110 is significantly better than the GHS on the Yamaha. The RHCII is a triple sensor action and the GHS is dual sensor. It is also better in terms of responsiveness, expression and timing.
The sound engine on both models are both very good. However, the KDP 110 does have an edge that each note is individually sampled. It has also a much powerful speaker system than the YDP-143. The KDP 110 packs 40 watt speaker while the YDP-143 has 12 watt.
They have the same polyphony number. But the KDP 110 wins again with Bluetooth.
Overall, the Kawai KDP 110 is much better than the Yamaha YDP-143. You do get charged a lot premium for the Yamaha brand.
Kawai KDP 110 vs. Roland F-140R
Another similarly priced model is the Roland F-140R. It is a very popular entry level digital piano from Roland.
The F-140R has much more features than the KDP 110. Not only does it also have Bluetooth, the F-140R has 300 more sounds to choose from. It also has a USB to device port and can record more songs internally.
However, the Kawai KDP 110 wins on key action and sound. The key action is vastly superior in my opinion and the sound engine is also more advanced. The F-140R exhibit off balanced tonal characteristics that are common to group sampling. The KDP 110 does not have such issue thanks to each key being individually sampled.
The KDP 110 also has a more powerful speaker system of 40 watt compare to F-140R’s 24 watt.
I would recommend the Kawai KDP 110 over the Roland F-140R for its superior key action and sound engine. The F-140R does have more features.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think of this review. And if you happen to have some experience with the Kawai KDP 110, please share with us in the comment below.