The Kawai ES7 is here, providing Kawai’s renowned quality in a slim line, portable package
The Kawai ES7 has been launched at the Summer NAMM show, adding another new model to the Kawai range. This model is a slim line, portable model. Beneath its svelte exterior, however, is there a huge piano waiting to break out?
We find out in our Kawai ES7 review.
Accurate recreation of the Kawai EX Concert Grand piano
The success of any digital piano is down to two main elements- the quality of its sound, and the quality of its keyboard action. In this regard, the Kawai ES7 appears to be very well equipped. To generate its sound, it uses Kawai’s Progressive Harmonic Imaging sound technology.
This accurately samples the Kawai EX concert grand piano, and combines it with resonance modelling and reverb, to create a piano sound of extraordinary detail and realism. For those who like to tweak, and create their perfect piano sound, the Virtual Technician feature allows you to get ‘under the lid’ so to speak (virtually, at least).
The quality of piano sounds on offer here is impressive, to say the least. All are rich, detailed, expressive and crucially, authentic sounding.
Alongside piano sounds, the ES7 also has a selection of high quality, and highly usable electric pianos, organs, strings and other sounds at its disposal. In addition, a wide selection of rhythms accompaniment styles are available, to provide backing to whichever style you are playing in.
Unlike many pianos of this type, the ES7’s design places a heavy emphasis on elegant simplicity. The interface is clean and uncluttered, whilst being intuitive and simple to use. Key splits and layers can be easily created, and a clever ‘four hands mode’ splits the keyboard into two identical halves, for playing duets or teaching (a very nice touch for a ‘family’ piano) is also easily switched on or off.
Fully weighted, graded hammer action keyboard
The keyboard featured on the Kawai ES7 is the acclaimed Responsive Hammer Action II. This model is a spring-less design that recreated the feel of an acoustic grand. The keys feature ivory feel key-tops, that absorb moisture and prevent slippage. The material provides an impressive recreation of ivory, and is a far preferable alternative to typical plastic-surfaced keys.
The key mechanism itself is reinforced throughout to provide a robust key bed, with the minimum of horizontal wobble. The ES7 keyboard is also graded. It has heavier bass keys and lighter treble keys, just like a real acoustic grand. A ‘let-off’ feature recreates the ‘notch’ felt when acoustic piano keys are pressed lightly.
There are many varieties of piano keyboard actions on the market, but it’s fair to say that the ES7 represents one of the very best. The spring-less design works incredibly well, removing the ‘artificially weighted’ feel that plagues some pianos.
Here is an overview of the Kawai ES7’s key features:
- Slim line Portable Design
- Stunning sound engine – Progressive Harmonic Imaging provides detailed recreation of a Kawai EX concert grand.
- Wide variety of on-board sounds – 32 sounds, from electric pianos and organs to strings, choirs and more
- Increased polyphony – 256 notes
- Rhythm Section – 100 styles available
- Four hands mode – split the keyboard into two independent keyboards, ideal for teaching or duets
- Built in speakers – 2 x 15Wspeaker system
- Song recorder and digital audio playback and recording – 2 track song recorder, plus WAV and MP3 playback and recording
- USB MIDI and USB to device connections – connect to a host computer as a MIDI keyboard via a USB MIDI socket, and backup data via a USB device connection
Despite entering a packed marketplace, the Kawai ES7 really excels. It gives the player the impression that the bulk of its development time was spent ensuring that it delivers the most authentic experience possible at its price, with an interface that does not interfere with the player’s enjoyment.
The piano sounds in particular are incredibly impressive, but all included sounds are excellent. the keyboard is one of the best available on any digital piano, and it has a simple, but very well thought out feature set.
The Kawai ES7 has enormous amounts to offer, and its slim styling will no doubt appeal to those for whom space is at a premium.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.