New Yamaha CP1 – Could this be the one?

Was it just me, or did any of you feel that 2009 was uneventful in terms of new technology introductions? It seems that the tide may be turning, however, as we’ve just concluded the NAMM show here in Southern California.

For me, the new Yamaha CP1 is amongst the most exciting product announcements, and I felt compelled to share what I’ve found to date given that so many of my readers are keyboard aficionados!   Hell, we’ve been carrying on a wonderful discussion about the Roland GX for nearly two years!

Yamaha CP1

The new CP1 is the flagship “no compromise” model of the newly released CP line. The early read would indicate that this could possibly be the best of all worlds – latest acoustic modeling technology putting the sounds on par with the Roland V-Piano, a brand new killer action called NW-STAGE with real wooden keys putting the authenticity of the action on par with the Kawai MP8, and just enough multi-zone midi control to make it equally versatile on stage and in studio like the Roland RD700GX… Could it be possible?

I’m very open to the possibility and can’t wait to try one out – the street price appears to be approximately $5,000 (USD) which is far from trivial, but given the specifications, not surprising and slightly under the Roland V-Piano. What strikes me about the CP1 (vs. the V-Piano) is that it appears to be a bit more versatile in the MIDI realm. The V-Piano is sorely lacking in terms of MIDI control and it’s a huge heavy beast. The CP1 is much tidier, weighs nearly 20lbs less, and has an acceptable range of MIDI controls (4 zones; 2 internal, 2 external).

129 Responses to “New Yamaha CP1 – Could this be the one?”

  1. Jim Says:

    Don’t forgot to take a look at the modeling expansion board for the RD700GX. I think Roland has been secretly waiting for their competition to release something like the new CP series for a while. It turns out that the RD has always had the hybrid sample and modeling capabilities of the CP line. The new K-RD700GX1 upgrade is based on V-Piano modeling technology, just not fully modeled and therefore doesn’t cost nearly as much. I hear retail for the upgrade to an existing RD will be around $350 or less. It includes an SRX add-on board and a firmware update. It’ll be interesting to see how the upgraded RD compares to the new CP line.

  2. Adrian Says:

    Completely agree and thanks for bringing this to the foreground, Jim! For me, I’ll probably buy this straight away and do a comparison test before opting in the CP1, but I must admit, it’s the new Yamaha action that has me very intrigued…. I always felt the sounds and control of the GX combined with the MP8 style wooden action would be THE combo of choice… Yamaha has really come close to “specifying” what I, personally, consider ideal… Won’t know until we get our hands on one!

  3. Michael Says:

    Adrian, a comment regarding the action of the CP1 and CP5: according to a Yamaha rep on a couple of other forums, he has claimed that the action is not graded, but a balance between an electric piano and an acoustic piano.

    That said, I think the ability to tweak the electric pianos may alone make this instrument worth the effort for a live gig with Rhodes and Wurlis and even acoustic models. As far as authenticity to a real acoustic piano action, the MP8 may yet still have the edge. Anyone who needs more proof of that should try looking on Ebay for a used MP8. They’ll find they are exceedingly rare for that reason alone.

    Also, on a side note: Kawai is apparently coming up with new digital pianos in the next few months. Hopefully they’ll address the issues with the MP8-II action as well as some of the sounds. 2010 is shaping up to be an incredible year for pianos.

    By the way, thank you for the other excellent thread on the RD700GX.

  4. Adrian Says:

    Hi Michael… Thanks a lot for sharing this information (on the CP1 and CP5). Interesting: a non-graded wooden action? I’m not sure I agree with that, but will give it benefit of doubt until I roadtest. You’re right though; it would give the MP8 the edge… and VERY GOOD POINT about trying to find one (MP8-I) on eBay… virtually non-existent. I wasn’t aware of Kawai’s plans… if that’s the case, bravo because they were soooooo close with the MP8 save the sounds and as noted, I have no intention of parting with mine :)

  5. Christian Says:

    I needed a really good piano for mobile performances. After 1 minute of playing I bought the CP1. The key to my “must have” is the possibility to alter the hammer from soft to hard etc. You can listen to the different piano sounds at:

  6. Adrian Says:

    COOL! A new CP1 owner has joined the conversation! Beyond our interest in the sounds, Christian, can you comment on the action? In particular, we were recently informed by Michael that the new NW ACTION is non-graded? Is this the case, and moreover, did you notice any compromise as a result? I like that statement: buying sight on seen after one minute of playing. It really works that way, doesn’t it!? Virtually every board I’ve owned was decided upon in less than 5 min… 1 min is VERY encouraging!!! Keep in touch, and thank you for sharing!

  7. Christian Says:

    The keys are very special I would say, If you play them without volume then you don’t get feeling. They are fast and expressive, (like NORD stage 88) as with all keyboards or pianos they have to be played for longer time to let your fingers understand the dynamics. I am a soft solo piano player and I was blown away by the synergy between keys and sound. IF Yamaha have the guts to do a “only pure piano” then the action would be different, the rhodes and DX etc probably thought of rather much in terms of key action. It is an enormous difference compared to the N3 piano. (My favourite, but a bit heavy for mobile :-) I was talking to CLAVIA the day before purchase and I wanted their new NORD PIANO, but it will not hit the streets before late april. I had the bucks and by nature I am very impatient. Could not wait…

  8. Adrian Says:

    Thanks for the further update and elaboration, Christian! For what it’s worth, I too, believe that patience is overrated :) Good job and all the best!

  9. Sergio Gomez Says:

    I am always looking for additional information on this subject as well as others. I found your site very informative and well written. Your layout is easy to follow and I appreciate your contribution to the topic.

  10. dazzjazz Says:


    Do you think the CP1 could replace an ordinary real piano? My Yamaha C1 is a pile of crap and I can’t afford a C5



  11. Adrian Says:

    Hi Darren,

    I think the answer is always going to be a proverbial – it depends. It’s a very objective call, and has a lot to do with your experience on an acoustic. In my case, I grew up playing on a Steinway grand, and suffice it to say that no digital piano to date comes close – but I had to contend with close quarters and/or portability, etc, then something like the CP1 would be the best candidate especially today.

    What I can say, IMO, is that appears to be the new bar. Shipments are just now arriving in So Cali so I intend to try one out shortly, and I’ll update my post accordingly.

    Hope this helps!

  12. Michael Says:

    Hi Adrian,

    I just bought the CP-1 yesterday! I’m still in shock!!! I was not prepared for the experience. To anyone considering this keyboard, make sure you listen with excellent speakers. In my studio I use four ADAM P22A’s in quad stereo together with an ADAM sub 10 MK2 subwoofer. In front of me I fill the middle area with 2 ADAM A5’s. My speakers are worth about $10,000 Canadian (would you buy a Ferrari and put cheap tires on it?) :)

    The CP-1 is the holy grail of digital pianos right now! It is a remarkable achievement! The touch is extremely responsive and just feels nice to the touch. I can finally practice my classical repertoire on this piano. (I used to own a Yamaha C7 grand). Here’s a hint… I tried layering CP-1 with Pianoteq software in order to get cross-string sympathetic vibration. I didn’t want Pianoteq to be very loud at all so as not to muddy up the CP-1 sound. So on Pianoteq I increased the sympathetic vibration effect to the max and lowered the overall volume way down. Now when I play the CP1 I get cross-string resonance (i.e. if I hold down a low octave quietly with the left hand and play staccato notes in the right hand, the right hand notes cause harmonics to sound from the low strings! Just like a real grand piano). I’m planning to layer this with the Yamaha Motif rack module. EVERYBODY buy one today. Sell your house if you have to. This piano DELIVERS far beyond your wildest dreams. I think the CP-1 could qualify as a work of art! I can finally sleep soundly now knowing that such a piano experience awaits me each day! Really, it’s that good. Stunning clarity. Solid sound. Expressive beyond belief.

  13. Adrian Says:

    Oi Michael!
    Congratulations and thank you for such an impassioned report on the CP-1. I think many of us, well at least I, suspected this would raise the bar but it’s great to hear this from an owner and not a marketer. Clever arrangement using Pianoteq layering, too! Keep in touch with us and I’m sure before long we’ll have a few others like you joining too!

    All the best,

  14. Michael Says:

    Hi again Adrian,

    It’s been only a few days with the CP-1 and I feel like I’m dreaming! I have been chasing this digital piano experience for many, many years and finally I feel like I have an instrument that far surpasses my expectations. I appreciate your website and reading my lengthy review of the CP-1. This is a milestone!

    I must reiterate that in order to experience this effect one must have an excellent monitoring system. Not that the CP-1 needs any enhancement from speakers, but that it relies on the speakers to bring forth it’s glorious, finely articulated subtleties. The speakers should be flat response and the room should not be too reverberant with good acoustics. When I was in the music store they connected the CP-1 to a pair of Yamaha HS80M speakers. I felt there was a bit of coloration in the sound, but the CP-1 “effect” came through for me but on a smaller, distorted scale. It was only when I got the CP-1 home that the shockwave took place in me. I mean I was literally stunned at the extreme realism and subtle control over parameters. (BTW, part of the reason I’m writing this is to give back to Yamaha for this remarkable achievement. If this helps them to continue their fine work, all the better!).

    I’m a professional gigging cocktail pianist. I have played on many fine pianos including Steinway, Bechstein, Yamaha, Fazioli, Bosendorfer and I know what a fine piano experience should be like. I have played many, many actions. For example, I was backstage in Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall (Toronto Symphony home). I located the 9 foot Steinway D reserved for concert artists and played it. The action was the best I have EVER encountered on a piano. The responsiveness was incredible. You could practically breath on the keys and get a response of pianississimo.

    Now the CP-1 has a most satisfying action. It is neither heavy nor too light. The keys and their shape just feel so good to handle. The action obviously is ‘tuned in’ to the sound generator in such a way as be ultra-responsive. Fast repetitions are amazingly responsive. I found that no matter how soft I played (and I mean ultra slow motion), the CP-1 produced a sound at the bottom of key depression. Which is a good thing considering that playing ultra-soft on a piano is one of the greatest challenges.

    The pedals are solid and responsive. The soft pedal is not too overly stated. I really like that. All the cables on the 3 pedals have 3 pin jacks meaning that all 3 pedals have continuous capability.

    As I write this I’m just shaking my head in disbelief. I actually almost gave up believing that this could happen. I have a home studio with a Music XPC model S computer, running ProTools with the 003 control surface. As I said earlier, in my studio I use four ADAM P22A’s in quad stereo together with an ADAM sub 10 MK2 subwoofer. In front of me I fill the middle area with 2 ADAM A5’s. As an audio command controller I use the Mackie “Big Knob” Studio Command System. I have two 20 inch computer monitors for the recording software and plug-ins. The piano is situated to my left, and the computer is in front of me. The speaker stereo orientation is that I have front and rear speakers (like in a car). The pair on my left is the left signal and the pair on my right is the right signal. The subwoofer is two feet ahead on the floor positioned to maximize frequency response. On the Mackie there are 3 speaker line outs; A, B, C with corresponding buttons. Each is a stereo out. So my front pair of Adam P22A’s are on output A. Back pair of Adam P22A’s are on output B. And the subwoofer receive a stereo output from C (it sums the signal). This means that when I’m facing the computer, I have the proper stereo orientation but when I turn facing left to play the CP-1 my stereo orientation is wrong. So I built a switch box for the A and B lines (2 DPDT switches) such that it corrects the stereo orientation. By switching on or off the A or B outputs I can have sound only in front of me or also behind me or just behind me. I can turn the subwoofer on or off. Each output has a volume adjustment on the back of the Mackie to fine tune the experience.

    My speakers are about 3 feet from my ears. I found that when playing a digital piano that there was a lack of sound energy in the front middle. So, not wanting to spend so much more money on another pair of Adam P22A’s I tried small cheaper speakers such as Fostex. But they added coloration and ruined the subtlety of the experience. Then I put a pair of Adam A5’s (new product) in the middle area, about 2 feet apart. This just completes the sound so well, I feel like I hear a nine foot soundboard in front of me!

    Okay, so one must be thinking about all the cost of not only the piano, but the whole speaker system I’m using as well. Maybe thinking why not just buy a real grand piano? But I use the speakers for the studio as well as just plain listening to music. I can practice on the CP-1 anytime without disturbing anyone (I use AKG K240df headphones). I can turn up the volume to any level. I can combine the acoustic grand sound with electric sounds (the other sounds on the CP-1 are also INCREDIBLE). It will never need tuning!
    One concern I have is regarding the action… Will the CP-1 ever need regulating? Will the keyboard ever fail me? What is the lifespan of these keys I wonder? I believe there is no aftertouch built into this action at all, correct? I can record the MIDI output anytime. I can input MIDI from my computer and listen to this glorious realism.

    The CP-1 is about getting things right. Really right. It’s QUALITY sound I have not heard from any other digital instrument to date. I tried the roland V-piano. The RD700sx. And many others. They all lack an intense acoustic, sonic clarity that the CP-1 delivers. The pianos focus on Yamaha’s sound and it’s a fantastic piano. Yes, the Steinway has that darker, rich character and the Bosendorfer has a sparkle etc., but the Yamaha’s in the CP-1 are a commanding piano experience, truer to the real Yamaha concert grand sound than on any other Yamaha product. I noticed that the CP-1 is better in sound than the Motif. I directly compared it with the S90sx in my studio. The S90sx has a newly sample S6 piano, but it pales in comparison to the CP-1 S6 piano. Same for the CFIII samples. The CP-1 just has miles more realism, clarity, and responsiveness (I even tried the two keyboards using MIDI and using only the action of the CP-1). I was able to compare the action of the S90xs which is spongier and slower, and plastic feeling (although I like it as well).

    I urge everyone to experience the CP-1, but hope you experience it with good speakers. You WILL be amazed. You WILL become a believer. Sell whatever you have to to get this piano (not your children though). Then enter a new realm of piano experience. Wish you all the best! You WON’T be disappointed. I’d love to hear more comments from others. Thanks again Adrian for this wonderful blog!


  15. Adrian Says:

    Wow.. Thank you, Michael, for writing such an extensive additional commentary. I have question for you: Would you mind if I were to take the combination of your two comments and mold those into a blog post – giving you the appropriate credits, of course? I ask this because I high-end gear folks tend to be one’s visiting this site and I think everyone would find your recent experience – as an early adopter – extremely helpful. This information will get significantly more coverage if we convert it a post vs. inside of comments. Let me know your thoughts?

    Thanks again, Adrian

  16. Michael Says:

    Hi again,

    I just realized that there is another Michael who posted previous to my posts. I just wanted to clarify. I’m the Michael that began posting at March 4th with the Adam speakers… Thanks!

  17. Michael Says:

    Hi again Adrian,

    By all means please post my comments as you wish! Now, I just HAVE to get back to the CP-1 and play… it’s just that inspiring!


  18. Michael (from Toronto) Says:

    Hi again everyone,

    I’m the Michael with the Adam speakers… Just a quick note… make sure your WHOLE system is plugged in with balanced cables. From the CP-1 through to the speakers. There will be absolutely NO noise of any kind and the signal quality is higher. Of course, you all knew that!


  19. Adrian Says:

    Oi Michael… Thanks for the thumbs up – will aggregate your excellent commentary into a separate blog post shortly! Have any pics of your new baby u wish to share?

  20. James Says:

    Hi Michael, I read your post that said “I can finally practice my classical repertoire on this piano”. How do you compare the action to the Roland V?

    I mostly play classical and am considering the Roland V, the CP1 and the Kawai MP8ii. I’ve tried all except the CP1.

    From your comments and a lot of others on various websites, I’m leaning towards the CP1 but wanted to hear your opinion on the action for the acoustic pianos and more specifically classical music.


  21. Michael (from Toronto) Says:

    Hi Adrian,

    I’ll be happy to send some studio pics soon. What’s the best way to upload to you?

  22. Michael (from Toronto) Says:

    Hi James and Adrian,
    I just returned from the music store and played the Roland V quite extensively again. I played a lot of classical repertoire (Fantasie Impromptu, Beeth sonata, Debussy, Bach prelude and fugue…) as well as jazz and rags and pop. I must say that the Roland V action is quite excellent for a digital piano (one of the best). It has an authentic escapement feel in the last 1/8 inch of pressing the key. Also, the “ivory keytop feel” is amazingly comfortable. It has a more “grainy” feel than the CP-1. It is very fast with a very springy feel. If you hit the key and move away quickly, you actually see the key bounce several times rapidly. This doesn’t happen as much on the CP-1. Is that more authentic to a grand piano? Well maybe…but is that really desirable? I think the CP-1 has a better “solidness” to my taste.
    I immediately went home for comparison to the CP-1. The CP-1 has a less “grainy keytop” feel to the fingertips yet it has a very nice silky touch to the tips of the fingers. There is also an “ivory” feel but less pronounced. It has a more “solid” response and feel. One important point is that on the Roland V if you play extremely softly you get no sound at all whereas on the CP-1 you will get a sound at the bottom of the key drop. I measured the CP-1 key drop to be 11 millimeters. As soon as you pass the 10th millimeter and enter that last millimeter the CP-1 will make its quietest sound. I really like that! Imagine playing extremely pianissimo on a grand and never missing a note! You don’t get this on the Roland V. I figure if you’re going to enter that last millimeter then you deliberately want sound don’t you? What are your thoughts on this?

    As for the sound quality… Well, for me, the CP-1 just wins hands down. There is just an incredible reproduction of the 9 foot Yamaha and S6 Yamaha (better than the S90xs). I could simply live with the one CFIII program alone! But you get spoiled with the other piano as well (S6). Then to really make matters complete, the electric pianos are just to die for! Then you get to COMBINE 2 at a time for a truly fulfilling piano experience! I reiterate that the piano sounds are incredibly clear for EVERY key, well balanced sonically, and most importantly, these sounds INSPIRE!!! The Roland V pianos sound pleasant throughout most of the range, but they have a ‘flat, synthetic’ quality over much of the range. To be sure, it is a pleasing sound and quite listenable, and also quite inspiring, but not nearly as rich and even and intense as the CP-1. It just sounds better and inspires me more.

    A factor for me was that I wanted a piano that I could just turn on and immediately start practicing with without having to launch the computer (I own Ivory and Pianoteq as well). The CP-1 comes through with as much sonic power as any software based piano if not more! It powers up in about 5 seconds flat (the winner in the quarter mile!). I love the subtle instantaneous control over hammer hardness, reverbs, modulation (if you like). The user interface is intuitive and very user friendly, fast, and yet utterly simplistic. There are plenty of adjustment parameters, but not overloaded. The three pedals work flawlessly, and I can’t wait to try a wah-wah pedal control on the electric pianos.

    I also just bought the Motif xs7 to add a 76 note light keybed to my studio as well as the glorious samples. I also want to explore the world of motif sampling. I MIDI the CP-1 into the Motif and layer sounds as well as adding cross-string resonance with Pianoteq (see above post).

    Yes, the CP-1 is a number one, class act, through and through. It’s the best deal I’ve purchased in a very long time. It’s a winner all around and for me a dream come true….until I own a Steinway B. :)

    Michael (in Toronto)

  23. Michael (from Toronto) Says:

    Hey Guys! Are you there? Any responses to all this CP-1 commentary?

    CP-1 plus Pianoteq cross-string resonance = piano heaven (see my last posts). I just gotta tell you all that this is one helluva digital piano experience. This combination is just like having a REAL piano here. I do this WITHOUT ANY reverb at all. Just like having the piano right in the studio. Amazing. The soundboard resonances are the best “reverb” one needs. The harmonics all line up with the harmonic content of my music without any needed reverb effects mushing up my sound. Sometimes though when I want to feel as though I’m in a bigger space I’ll add some reverb. Can’t wait to record this into some cool tracks. Stay tuned CP-1 watchers… better yet, stop watching and go get one today!

    Michael (Toronto)
    P.S. pics coming soon…

  24. Michael Says:

    Hi Adrian,

    I’m the first Michael, and wanted to comment here.

    I’m actually a bit hesitant to wholeheartedly recommend the CP-1 as the be-all and end-all of pianos. It has some great sounds with not a whole lot of looping, and is more solid through the midrange than Roland’s offerings. The Rhodes and Hammond are on par with the other performance stage piano that everyone loves to hate, the Nord Electro series. The DX7 is pure heaven and a dead ringer for the original.

    All that said, I really don’t think this is a great replacement for those looking for a grand piano action simulation. There isn’t any grading on it, and I can tell because when I played one I could sense the difference between that and some Kawais and Steinways I normally play on. The RD700GX that you have with the PHAII action, or a V piano with PHAIII, is more authentic to me than this new NW-stage action.

    It’s certainly better than the mega-tank CP300 predecessor in terms of weight, and has some advantages. It won’t make everyone happy, though. I think some of the Nord Electro folks might migrate over because of the better pianos (and cost on the CP5), but I think your RD700GX with the Supernatural expansion or a software piano like Synthogy Ivory will be better strictly from a piano perspective. And we still haven’t seen the RM3 action from Kawai in a portable format, but I’m sure we will soon.

  25. James Says:

    Hi Michael thanks for your analysis. I got a CP1 this week and it is amazing!
    I agree with your comments on the Roland. I tried it out as well and it fell a little short. I decided to order the CP1 even without trying it because of your comments a lot of others out there. I was blown away when it came. I’m using HD 800 headphones with it only and the piano’s are truly lifelike. I prefer the action to the Roland (i didn’t like their feel) too.

    I’m fairly new to keyboards and really was only interested in the acoustic pianos. I play classical music and haven’t experimented yet with the digital keyboards in it.

    I haven’t hooked it up to the computer yet and don’t even know about pianoteq. I’m really just happy with the way it is. I have tweaked some of the CFIIIS’s properties like hammer hardness and release length to my tastes. It is so easy to adjust on the fly.

    I have a couple of questions for you if you don’t mind. Each piano (CFIIIS,S6) has either 2 or 3 band choices. What is the difference? Also when you play the acoustic pianos do you leave the reverb and pre-amp on? I’ve been shutting the reverb off. I can’t find anything in the book that really explains what these are. I’m very new to the digital world!

    I moved to NYC several years ago and never had space for an acoustic piano so I stopped playing. I only recently started to see what was available with keyboards and this CP1 has blown me away. The sound is better than anything I ever played!


  26. James Says:

    Hi Michael 1 , re: the action
    The action not being graded was the only thing that held me up buying the CP1. I was only able to test the V and the Kawai. I decided to take a chance and order it knowing that if I didn’t like the feel I was going to return it. I only play classical music as well.

    I find the action feel to be in between the Roland V and Kawai MP8ii. While everyone’s opinion will vary, I’m really loving it and I’ve grown accustomed to it rather quickly.

  27. Michael (from Toronto) Says:

    Hello everyone, and nice to hear that James has the CP-1 as well! Congratulations for taking this step! And I’m honored that you did this based on my comments! (And glad that your music retailer has a return policy in case your not totally satisfied). Think I’ll just ramble on a bit more about this if you will allow me to indulge myself!

    Well let me say this to Michael no. 1. I must say that you’re observations about the action sound pretty accurate. The CP-1 action is most excellent, but possibly not as “authentically grand piano” as for example the Roland V. I find the Roland RD700GX slightly heavy. The Roland V is probably a tiny bit closer to a grand action than the CP-1. And I mean TINY. So what do we have here?….

    I, for one, am simply loving this instrument. I’m asking myself if a “perfect” grand piano action is what I really want in a studio keyboard. (Remember, the CP-1, to me, is pretty close to a perfect grand action). Anyway, when I’m playing the Rhodes or DX (incredible!) or CP-80’s this keyboard just feels like it belongs with these sounds. I’d say that for a grand piano action it’s pretty darn near close as well. I’ve been able to play all manner of styles of music with excellent finger/key responses. So maybe I’ve been a bit too complimentary about the NW-stage action. But I gotta say I just love it. I recently took home the Yamaha S90xs and thought that action was ok, but CP-1 is so much better for piano playing. The S90xs has a mushier feel (due to aftertouch?). I thought the S90xs was going to be my new 88 note weighted studio board there for a bit but took it back. I’ve used a Yamaha P-300 (not CP-300) for about 14 years! THAT was a very light action. During that time I also owned a 7ft grand for about ten years (the Yamaha C7). I had to sell off my grand which I do miss, believe me… I’m working towards one day owning a Steinway B anyways…

    Also, I tried the S90xs in order to get the Motif sounds as well as having a cool “jamming” instrument with the arpeggiators and styles. But for playing sounds such as organs or guitars I prefer a non-weighted action (preferably 76 notes or 88). So to achieve this in my studio I ended up right now with the CP-1 and a Motif xs7 (76 non-weighted keys). I MIDI the CP-1 driving the xs7 and can jam and layer in real time to my hearts content. This I find very inspirational. The Motif also expands my tone generator library without weighing down my computer processor. So all in all, I have two different keyboards to use and all the motif sounds as well as an incredible piano beast that inspires the hell out of me!

    In terms of sound, I’ll say it again that the CP-1 just sonically has the best, clearest, driving, yet expressive piano you will sit down to short of actually sitting in front of a Yamaha CFIII piano or S6. I just did not hear this with either the Roland V, 700GX, Korg, Kurzweill, but I haven’t tried the Kawai. I love playing the Ivory Steinway and Fazioli (Italian Grand) software pianos. The CP-1 is definitely on par with any of these, if not better. It even blows away the motif grand piano (not bad). I love the pedal unit, very solid, doesn’t move a millimeter (I’m Canadian), and is quiet (so far) and pedals positioned nicely.

    When I was back at the store re-checking the Roland V, I must say I liked the action very much as a piano action (maybe a tiny bit more than the CP-1). Then at the very end of this audition, I tried rapid single note repetitions with one hand and found that the Roland V fell short for me. This is also not easy to do with the CP-1 or any digital piano I’ve tried so far. Also, spending all that money on a Roland V for it’s piano action but not totally liking the sounds seemed like a waste of money. Plus, I’d have to spend another 900 dollars for their solid stand. Ouch!

    I plan to use the CP-1 as my “main” studio keyboard and I believe that for playing other sounds (especially varieties of keyboards) it will be amazing! Yesterday I did some “double keyboard” noodling with the motif xs7. Both hands playing the same rapid broken triad, then one hand moving to a different chord in the same octave. Some cool effects to try. Anyways, now I’m off topic…

    One last thing I’ll say is this… I can’t understand why people will spend thousands and thousands of dollars on keyboards, computers, mixers, and processors then skimp when it come to speakers, spending only a few hundred dollars! Do you think that somehow that excellent digitized sample inside your keyboard or computer is just magically going to hop out of your cheap speaker bypassing the mediocre speaker cone and tweeter? Trust me, I’ve tried this! It won’t work! Sink some serious cash into your speaker system and be prepared to enter sonic heaven! Think ADAM or some other very serious speaker system and you’ll be rewarded with a pristine sound experience practically as if acoustic instruments are right there! This will really bring out the CP-1 experience. (BTW, I studied at Trebas Institute of Recording Arts, and I was a live sound engineer for years as well. I used spectrum analyzers for everything until I was able to hear subtle frequency adjustments.) And of course, run everything balanced…. But you already knew that, right?

    I’ll be happy to get pics over to you soon…

    Michael (in Toronto)

  28. Adrian Says:

    Michael(s)- just wanted to say thanks again on behalf of everyone for pouring so much detail into your most descriptive posts. It’s beyond obvious that you are (both) passionate about sharing your
    “good fortune” and direct experience with the CP-1 and I’m sure everyone appreciates the help. I do plan to (still) aggregate this into a summary review on your behalf but won’t be back in the States for another few days – in the mean time, enjoy!

    All the best,

  29. Michael (from Toronto) Says:

    Hi James,

    You asked:
    “I have a couple of questions for you if you don’t mind. Each piano (CFIIIS,S6) has either 2 or 3 band choices. What is the difference? Also when you play the acoustic pianos do you leave the reverb and pre-amp on? I’ve been shutting the reverb off. I can’t find anything in the book that really explains what these are.”

    I think that the only difference is not the actual sound of the piano but only with the type of equalizer available for each on the pre-amp section. For example, with the 3 band CFIII you have a 3 band preset EQ, whereas with the 2 band CFIII you have a 2 band EQ with one band tunable for frequency. This allows you to “zero in” on whatever frequency you want to adjust. Otherwise, to my ears they both sound exactly the same. Of course the CFIII sounds very different than the S6 piano. A side note is that at the end of the chain there is a master EQ which is a full 5-band PARAMETRIC EQ. Each of the 5 bands has adjustments for volume (dB), centre frequency (hz), and bandwidth (q). Talk about fine tuning EQ adjustability!!! Also note that the master EQ is independent of the program data. Whatever you do with the master EQ stays put regardless of switching piano programs. You could use this nicely in a live situation where the speaker response is less than ideal, or for effect purposes if you want to add/subtract very particular frequencies in the overall sound (it affects the WHOLE setup, I.e. combinations of 2 pianos as well).

    As for using reverb, this is an entirely broad (excuse the association!) and specific topic! Do you want to feel as if you’re in a concert hall, medium room, or just have a dry piano? Is there an overall reverb in your DAW mix? Etc., etc…
    In a live setting, I’d probably not use much reverb at all depending on the room I’m in.

    With the CP-1, I’m falling in love with the digital world all over again! Last night I told a friend that I wasn’t too crazy about going to my gig with the real acoustic piano (it’s a small 5 foot Weber, albeit well maintained), I wished I could have taken my CP-1! But alas, my CP-1 has a comfortable spot nestled at the heart of my studio, kinda reminds me of the song “Baby Grand”.


    Michael (Toronto)

  30. James Says:

    Thanks a lot Michael That was very helpful.

  31. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Here’s a cool CP-1 Yamaha design site…!

  32. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    An excellent representation of classical music being played on the CP-1. Enjoy!

  33. James Says:

    Here’s another great site with a lot of CP1 samples.

  34. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Ok everybody, I don’t want to shock anyone, but I was finding myself in a bit of a crisis concerning the my CP-1 over the last 24 hours! Without getting into great detail (it’s 3:30am here) in point form here’s what happened…

    - I started feeling like the action on the CP-1 was not so conducive to playing demanding classical piano passages. Playing everything else was fine. I then got a bit down over this as my fingers struggled to play certain passages I could play very well on my acoustic C7 (i.e. RH opening to Chopin Fantasie Impromptu).

    -the sound though is nothing short of HALLELUJAH! am I playing a digital or an acoustic? It’s incredibly fantastic and rich and inspiring, smooth, full, commanding, sweet, resonant, warm, et al….

    -I started thinking that maybe I needed a digital with a better “piano action”. The CP-1 has a kind of hybrid piano/electric piano action I think… started considering the Roland V-piano instead…

    -went back to music store to try the Roland V-piano again today and played for over an hour on it. I found the action slightly heavy but better than any other digital piano. But the sound was annoying, especially in the upper midrange. Thought about buying the V piano just for it’s action! (to play with Ivory). Abandoned that idea quickly!

    -felt like I could never part with the CP-1 sound!!! But brought home a motif xs8 to try as a combined 88 key weighted action instead, sound module, sampler. Now I have 3 new keyboards sitting in my studio: CP-1, Motif xs7, and Motif xs8! Boy did I have fun with MIDI cords!

    -at a certain point in my auditions, the CP-1 action became rather friendly to my fingers in almost all challenges. I tweaked the keyboard response settings and really got to feel the possibilities. The action is actually quite impressive once you spend some time relating to it. It’s a kind of a “warm” feeling action (not sluggish). I’m happy again :)

    -got loving the layer combinations and electric pianos as well (so subtle and clear).

    -now I’m almost 100 percent resolved with keeping the CP-1. (I’ll return the Motif xs8)

    -as a second keyboard, I’ll go with the Motif xs7 (it has slightly smaller key width) but a fast action suitable for organ playing or other fast instruments. I’ll use the real time controls for jamming live.

    -believe me, this was not one of my better days. Well, I guess you could say it was a “crisis in paradise”.

    Here’s a quote I found on a blog by someone else at (he’s talking about the Roland V-Piano upgrade then about the CP-1):…quick%20review.html

    “Well, I’ve installed the update, and am not really impressed. I really needed them to fix the existing mid range problems with the existing presets / patches / models – whatever you want to call them. Fix the problems first, then add patches.

    For me the Vertical, V1 Impactance and Metallic SB patches offer no advantages.

    I like the Triple Large patch the best, and the mid range is improved, but still has a ways to go. To my ears, there are also a few notes hear and there that will need tweaking, apart from the mid range, that did not need tweaking on the other, i.e. original patches.

    I don’t get why they call this V-Piano Evolution. Come on, they’ve added four patches, to the existing 24, and haven’t done anything to improve the existing 24! Seriously?

    So, I’m still anxiously wanting to try out the Yamaha CP1 and experience words like “unreal detail, beautiful bass, gorgeous midrange, crystal clear top end with no brittleness at all”. Words used elsewhere to describe the CFIIIS piano. I just don’t feel such inspiration with V-Piano. This may be in fact because it is modeled only, and such words need samples + modeling to become a reality.”

    I hope the CP-1 will make you a believer soon too! Just make sure you listen with studio headphones or excellent studio monitors. I think I’ll be keeping mine for life!

  35. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Just another thought…

    At this early point I think that the Roland V piano action has it over the CP-1 action in terms of “acoustic piano action”. Then I thought that once V-piano owners try a CP-1 and are stunned by the sound and playability, they might want to sell off their V-pianos en masse. Then I might pick up a used V-Piano (maybe for a thousand?) for an extra studio action/ extra studio piano board for when my piano playing buddies come over for jamming duets! For myself, I might use the V-piano action solely for playing classical driving the CP-1. What do you think about this crazy thought? Please let me say that I think the V-Piano is a marvel of technology and one day it may be the new standard…


  36. Jim Says:

    For all those who are still attached to their RD700GXs, I’ve had my supernatural piano expansion installed for a few weeks now and I feel comfortable saying that it is definitely worth the $300 upgrade price. This isn’t just a sample upgrade, it’s a whole new product in the same familiar casing. I might even go so far as to say that it offers a better (more natural) sound than the V-Piano, at the cost of just a little less tweak-ability. I can’t compare to the CP series yet, as I’ve yet to get my hands on one. But if you already own an RD, the price is a drop in the bucket compared to buying a new CP. It’s worth checking out.

  37. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Upon rereading my last post: “Just another thought…” I’d like to apologize for my last post regarding the V-Piano… I belittled the sound quality of the V-Piano and even suggested that owners would “want to sell off their V-pianos en masse”. I also suggested that the V-piano was only good for it’s action (most excellent action). I dearly apologize to everyone and especially V-Piano owners for these crass comments. I meant no disrespect…

    Today I was in the music store playing the V-Piano and tried the new upgraded sounds (‘Impactance, Upright…) Must say there is a definite improvement in physical modelling! I love the very authentic ivory feeling keys and I’ll say it again, the action is simply spectacular. I’d even say that as a grand piano action I’d prefer it over the CP-1 action. Wish I could “marry” the two!

    Actually, just another thought… if Roland continues to improve the V-Piano sound then the V-Piano is definitely a product that can grow with you. Once again, please excuse my irresponsible mental lapse!

  38. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Could someone please tell me exactly what piece the pianist is playing on the following Youtube video from 1:55 to 3:18?
    This gentle rising theme brought tears to my eyes… don’t think I’ve ever heard it before… My guess is this is Liszt. This is the video I referred to in the previous post… if you turn up the volume and close your eyes, your in front of a nine foot CFIII. The CP-1 really delivers.

  39. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Ok… I found out he’s playing Schumann “Novelette”, op. 21 (one of 8 pieces)….. See how good it sounds on the CP-1! Here’s the link again:

  40. Mark Says:

    Adrian, I am very happy to find this site, and the wealth of information.

    I have a question for Michael (Toronto), and you :

    I am about to purchase for my loft a CP-1 (for my children to learn on and for me to noodle on) and had pretty much determined to get ADAM A5’s for sound, going straight from Line Out to the active speakers. (I suppose I will find the Stereo-link feature useful for an evenly balanced volume control.) I am thinking to reinforce the bass with an A7 subwoofer, but I am not clear as to how I get the signal to the subwoofer.

    From your description of your extensive speaker set up, I suppose you must be using a mixer or some kind of simpler (or more complex) signal distribution device(s) which presumably may handle the signal to the sub-woofer.

    In my case, other than the sub-woofer, I don’t really intend to add more speakers to the 2 A5’s.

    Will I need a small mixer or 2.1 preamp or some other kind of device between the piano and the speakers and if so what might you recommend ? Or is the Mackie Big Knob the “black box” that does all that ? (Pardon my ignorance.)

    In conjunction to the question above I should note that I was already considering getting a decent pre-amp for a good set of headphones for silent playing. Maybe I need a Mackie Big Knob combined with another black box, or two ?

    If you are wondering why I don’t just go over to the music store where I will buy the CP-1 and ask for their solution, I should explain that for some reason I am so dysfunctional in music stores that whenever I consult on some slightly out of the ordinary question with the gear heads at the shop I am just as likely to get way off on a new tangent and come home with a new guitar or mini-synth.

    Anyway, I appreciate any advice and thanks again Adrian for the great site.

    P.S. I would like to come back to you later for advice on using Pianoteq software. In my household I have a both an extra Macbook Pro and an IMac, one of which I suppose would be useful to plant next to the CP-1.

  41. Adrian Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Appreciate you stopping by and commenting. Will try my best to address your questions (re connecting 2:1 with CP-1). MOST OF THE TIME, a configuration like what you’re describing will be achieved by going straight out of the CP-1 into the *sub-woofer* (that’s right two stereo ins to the sub even tho the sub is mono) and then using the stereo outs of the sub-woofer to connect to the A5s. I’m not sure if the A7 supports this, but most sub-woofers do so that would be a clean and tidy setup.

    For a 2:1 setup you really shouldn’t require a mixer, but yes, in the case of what Michael has going, that’s indeed a requirement.

    Instead of a Mackie Big Knob, I might suggest something like the KRK ERGO which not only provides the “big knob” type functionality but also equalization (and pretty darn good at that) to compensate for room acoustics – this will definitely help the quality of your sound in a smaller space. Additionally, it has precisely the type of speaker management you’re requiring: separate sub-woofer and right/left stereo outputs. The CP1 would direct out into the ERGO and the ERGO becomes your “mini-mixer”.

    I happen to use the ERGO myself (not for the same reasons) but I have separate post/review on the site that explains that gadget a bit more. I believe it’s approximately the same price as the Big Knob (but simply provides more of what I believe you’ll require)…

    Hope this helps, and let us know what you settle on?

  42. Mark Says:

    Thanks very much Adrian. I can now safely go to the music shop without losing my mind.

    I will let you know how things go, and once again – Thanks

  43. Mark Says:

    Oh, and I am relieved that I won’t have to ask at the music store for “A Big Knob”.

  44. Adrian Says:

    Don’t u worry – we have your back – and, don’t take all the blame for difficult navigation at music stores. The majority of people who work at those establishments are beyond useless… I find much better guidance at online stores such as Sweetwater and Vintage King…

  45. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Nice to hear about your interest in the CP-1! I’m constantly mesmerized by the excellence of sound and touch. I’ve had mine since March 3rd (about 3 weeks now). I’m finding that I like the touch more and more each time I play it, a difficult thing to explain.

    Regarding your speaker questions I can tell you that you’ll be amazed at how much clear, full, smooth sound the Adam A5’s will put out even WITHOUT a subwoofer! I have my A5’s on stands so that the tweeters are at ear level just a few inches behind the piano. The width apart is about the length of the keyboard so that the speakers are within the length of the keyboard. As I posted previously I also have 4 Adam P-22A’s and an ADAM sub 10 MK2 subwoofer.

    I run the balanced outs of the CP-1 straight into a stereo input on the Mackie Big Knob which has 3 speaker stereo balanced pairs (A,B,and C) and an extra “Studio Out” which I use for the A5’s (also balanced). I keep emphasizing ‘balanced’ since it will knock out any noise to the signal and this is important for the ‘natural effect’. Nothing more irritating than spending thousands of dollars on speakers then turning them on and putting up with a constant soft noise floor! The Mackie also has a pair of excellent, quiet headphone outs. I use AKG K240DF headphones and they are AMAZING!

    This is a very exciting time for me with this new Yamaha CP-1 since the last time I bought an 88-key weighted digital piano was 14 years ago! That was the Yamaha P-300. So I look at this purchase as a potential very long-term investment. I wasn’t prepared for the sonic advances I’m hearing with the CP-1. Actually, until I experienced Ivory pianos (software) I really didn’t think the digital world would EVER inspire me as much as my acoustic piano did (I used to own a Yamaha C7). But the CP-1 soars right up there with not only the awesome luxurious CFIII and S6 acoustics but also the astounding electric pianos! I recently recorded a duo track of piano and vocal jazz on “My Funny Valentine” with Ivory’s “Italian Grand”. I then substituted the CP-1 piano and it sat deliciously in the mix as well as Ivory if not better. I don’t hear any “layer transitions” or sample “shifts” up the keyboard.

    As for layering Pianoteq, I would experiment with that. I love to add increased sympathetic resonance (see previous post). I also insert a 5-band sweepable EQ in the signal path to Pianoteq and drop out some of the hi-mid frequencies for a smoother modeled piano sound. Actually the only thing you hear from Pianoteq is a very mild resonance far in the background added to the CP-1 sound… I’d say Pianoteq 5%, CP-1 95%.
    The CP-1 is absolutely heaven! Hope you enjoy yours as much as I do Mark!

    P.S. I must concur with you about music stores… sometimes the sales guys can be uninformed but I’ve kept looking around until I was able to strike up a relationship with a particular pro audio specialist who is also a studio owner and engineer! His advice is always well informed and usually put to the test rigorously!

  46. Nathan Says:

    I’m interested in buying a digital piano, and I was considering the CP300. However, I would be willing to spend $600 more for the CP5, simply based on the reviews of the CP1 above.

    Would the CP5 be a good purchase for those of us that can’t afford the CP1? Is the CP5 better than the CP300?

  47. Adrian Says:


    Of course, it always come down to personal preference, but in my opinion, the CP5 would be a stronger investment than the CP300. For me, it would come down to the high likelihood of a more appealing action – simply based on the wooden keys. The CP5 will also provide a broader sound palette than the CP300, and still borrows enough of the piano modeling from the CP1 to probably meet or exceed the CP300. This is the same consideration I’m making with regards to potentially moving over to the CP5 from the RD700GX.

    Let us know what you end up with?

  48. another Michael from Toronto Says:

    tried the cp-1; fantastic sound, however if you are used to playing a real grand, the action will not satisfy. I’ve been using a cp-300 for 5 years and I WON’T be upgrading to the cp-1. The graded action of the cp-300 PLUS the sensation of feeling the 30W internal speakers vibrate through the keys makes the whole playing experience far more “real” regardless of the fact that the piano sound is not as authentic as the cp-1. When I say ‘not as authentic’ that, by no means diminishes the quality of the cp-300 sample….I only say that relative to the cp-1’s stellar sound. Not worth the price if you are searching for a piano sub. I hope they don’t discontinue the cp-300.

  49. another Michael from Toronto Says:

    also….I tour extensively. When we need backline, I always know that there will be a cp-300 in stock. Not too sure how many backline companies will be stocking a $5000+ piece of gear…

  50. Dave Noel Says:

    i have a yammy S70xs…… im pretty happy with it as im not a full fledge pianist…. so its a good go between for me………(between piano and synth)
    my wish list for CP1……… wish the design had a flat surface for putting another synth on like the Roland V-piano………. and hopefully CP1 will come down in price (yeah right)

  51. Adrian Says:

    Hello Michael (another from Toronto)!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment – especially on this point of the CP1 action. I think many of us share your concerns with regards to the non-graded action. That’s one thing that I can’t get my head around; why did Yami opt that out? Interestingly, I played the P250 (CP300 predecessor) for many years and have the same opinion as you – combined with those internal 30W vibrations, it was definitely the best feeling Yamaha I’d experienced.

    Just my opine, but I’ve always put the action/feel way ahead in terms of sound (from the board) because there are numerous ways to meet or exceed the sound quality with off board samples and/or even modeling engines. I think we’re all interested what the forthcoming CP5 will do in terms of comparison to some of the Roland models such as the GX700 but speaking for myself, take away the graded action (which the Roland has) and it very well may not pass muster.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  52. willi Says:

    One thing considering graded actions – on a true acoustic piano, is the grading determined by anything other than hammer weight? Yamaha’s CP60/70/80 series of electromechanical pianos certainly have different sized hammers, as do Wurlitzer electric pianos. I think Rhodes do as well, which makes Yamaha’s decision to not grade this action seem increasingly odd…

    Also, many digital piano actions have 3 sections of grading; heavy, medium, and light. This means there is a distinct step transitioning between these sections, instead of a constant grading across 88 keys. Do any digital piano keybeds use constant grading, with each key having slightly greater or less weight than it’s neighbor? Do any keybeds use more than 3 sections of weight?

    I’ve yet to play the CP1, V-Piano, or MP8. But the V-Piano’s lack of Rhodes and Wurlitzer emulations bothers me, and the MP8 seems like investing dated technology. Adding additional sound modules and computers can be versatile but I don’t want to have to depend on that to be satisfied with a new keyboard. I did enjoy playing a Nord Stage EX 88 recently, and the Nord Piano is another interesting option.

    I grew up on a nice August Forstner upright, and currently own CP70B’s, a Baldwin Electropiano, Wurlitzer 200’s, Hammond CV & A100, a Clavinet D6, and a Yamaha CS50, in addition to an old, busted K2500X and some other digital and analog synths. A large reason why I own these different instruments is for authenticity of sound quality and the way the performance is affected by the mechanics of the instruments respective actions. I’ve been considering the CP1 and CP5, along with the Nord Stage and other instruments, to get some lighter gear to transport to gigs.

    I created a spreadsheet to compare the current offerings of digital pianos, as well as organ style keyboards, which is visible at the link below. Please feel free to contribute any relevant factual information to the spreadsheet.

    Thanks for the info and commentary.

  53. another Michael from Toronto Says:

    I agree 100% that the feel of the keyboard is the most important factor. I love my cp-300 and I will never stop playing on it. If I’m doing a recording session and I need something that sounds exactly like a real grand, I record the passage on my cp and then use the midi track to trigger Ivory, or some other killer software piano. I’m not too keen on playing ivory in realtime with my yamaha as the yamaha has been calibrated (in terms of velocity) to capture the sound as perfectly as possible. For live work (I’m a sideman in a rock/country group) the cp-300 is as good as it gets. Anything “better” is totally subjective and mute. I’ve heard guys playing boards from the early 90’s that sound fantastic for the kind of music they’re playing. If you are a professional classical/jazz player, chances are you’re already playing on a real grand live so that answers that.

    To answer your question as to why yamaha did not go with graded….I can tell you that it’s because the cp-1 is more than just an acoustic piano. There are a few songs in our set that require wurlitzer/rhodes, and to be honest, the cp-300’s graded action is not ideal to playing electric pianos. I think yamaha assumed that the targeted buyer would want the best of both actions. I am disappointed as 90% of my sound is piano, so I won ‘t be upgrading.

  54. another Michael from Toronto Says:

    also, to address the “first” michael from toronto… sounds like he is also not 100% on the action of the cp-1. For the price he paid on the cp-1, he could buy:

    1. a cp-300

    2. a killer computer

    3. Ivory

    4. with change to spare.

    Do what I do….record on the cp-300 using the cp’s internal piano sound and then use your midi track to trigger a Bosendorfer, or Steinway, or whatever you have on your computer. This is what 90% of mid-size studios do.

  55. another Michael from Toronto Says:

    My last point……for the price of a new cp-1, you could buy a decent used yamaha baby grand. (i.e. 5-3′) The depreciation on baby grands, especially yamahas and kawais are insane; Many rich people buy baby grands for their kids to learn piano, and then the kids quit and the piano sits. Go to craigslist and low-ball.

  56. Adrian Says:

    All very valid points, Michael (another), and probably the reason I’m in the same court with my GX700…. for that amount of money, it has to be much more compelling and with sound not being the key issue (owed to Ivory and many more) it really does come down to action. I take on board the rationale for (Y) not having created a graded action but the CP1, in my opinion, was still created first and foremost to raise the bar in stage pianos…. good example of what happens when you try to be too many things at one time…

    Thanks again for taking the time to express your views!


  57. matt Says:

    Hey I hear a lot about the Cp1 but what about the Cp5? just wondering if the 9 foot piano and the other features are worth the extra money? what’s the biggest deal breaker for you when picking up the cp1? VS Cp5?

  58. MattJ Says:

    Well, the thing is, the CP50 has less sounds but has the same GH action of the cp300. It’s missing some sounds but is a lot cheaper if you’re into the GH action.

  59. dazzjazz Says:

    Yeah I’d like to know more about the differences between the CP1 and CP5!



  60. Pr3y-b3n Says:


    I just came home from trying out a yamaha Cp5 at a Sam Ash music store. I must say, from a person who has been playing classical piano for 20+ years and recieved a masters in piano, I was very impressed with the Cp5. The wooden Keys REALLY made a difference in the action. I’d say action is similar to a medium(i mean medium as not heavy weighted like a steinway or baldwin piano) weighted acoustic piano. I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to digital pianos, I haven’t tried out the Cp1 yet, but i have tried the roland 700 GX and I didn’t like the action as much as the cp5. Since i’m looking for a more “heavy weighted feel” I’m very curious about the action and feel of the Cp5 vs. the Kawai mp8 because if the kawai mp8 is heavier then i must get one (if i can find one)! During my undergraduate and graduate studies I’ve been playing Steinway and Baldwin pianos so I’m used to and prefer “heavy” action and feel. Adrian help! :( If you say the Kawai mp8 is heavier action and more like a steinway than the cp5 then need one!

    Thanks for your awsome website and posts! I found this site just in time!

    -Preben Hoegh

  61. Adrian Says:

    Preben – thank you for clarifying that the CP5 – as per product literature – has real wooden keys; not sure if this implies that the action is the same as the CP1 but your description from direct experience sure seems to support that… Regardless, it sounds beyond promising as I believe anyone who has their learning rooted in acoustic pianos inclines towards a heavier action on a digital – I sure do, at least! Now that the CP5 is shipping I’m going to make a point to visit a store this weekend and see for myself… I have the benefit of still owning a Kawai MP8 as well as the Roland 700GX and we clearly have enough interest in this topic to really put together a comparison. Just keep in mind that when I’m referring to the MP8, I’m (and I believe most herein) are referring to the original MP8, not the MP8-II.

    Sincerely appreciate your compliments and your post has me quite motivated now to make a direct comparison as well! Will update everyone SOON!


  62. Pr3y-b3n Says:

    Ok Adrian- I was able to find an Original MP8 from a music store. They said they would have to get it shipped to them cause its the only one they have left in their whole chain and its a floor model which I assume it has been used a little bit. I believe I’m narrowing it down to either the cp5 or the mp8 depending on which weighted keys feels closer to the real thing. I’m not sure if should have them ship the original anyway or not. Should I get the mp8 or the cp5? I remember you saying you didn’t like the mp8-II because you couldn’t really dig into the keys? What else you didn’t like about the mp8-II? I’m kinda really waiting on your input since you’ve played with the mp8 quite a bit…. So no rush or anything but…. Hurry up and try out the cp5 already and make that blog! I need to make my decision in about a week! lol


  63. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hi Everybody!

    Michael (Toronto) here…. (I think we’re up to 3 Michael’s now!) I’m the one with the ADAM speakers…

    I haven’t written in for a while… been busy but have also spent a LOT of time playing my CP-1… so here are some updated comments!

    First, I must say that the action really grows on you in a great way… just feels slick, responsive, and for me a nice weight. A personal insight… I play a lot on acoustic pianos through the week (mostly uprights) and on a grand each Friday and Saturday at my restaurant gig which has the effect of keeping my technique up. At times I feel that my hands are ‘more alive’ than at others! When I play for 2 hour stretches at a time at the restaurant, I find my hands are stronger the next day. So when I sit at the CP-1 I find I can glide around better and ‘interface’ with the keyboard better. In other words, I feel that when your technique is ‘up’ you can take advantage of the excellent CP-1 response better. I don’t really think that the CP-1 action is lacking in anything, especially when my hand technique is ‘strong’ and ‘alert’. Some of you may interpret this as: “the CP-1 can only be played well (especially virtuosic playing) by virtuoso technique since the keyboard is lacking, maybe sluggish, etc…” NONSENSE! The CP-1 is EXTREMELY responsive and capable of amazingly fast performances and fast passages. Also fine gradations of sensitive dynamics.

    On another note…. I don’t understand personally about “graded actions”. To be honest, I never really noticed that when I had a Yamaha C7 grand. Maybe I just never tuned into it closely… I’m sure the bass notes were slightly heavier than the high treble notes. Why is everyone so focused on a ‘graded’ action? In my opinion, I think I would prefer a non-graded action with a uniform touch to every single key. This makes more sense to me. I spoke to my piano technician about it and he tells me that the graded action is due to heavier hammers in the bass area are needed to move the heavier weighted bass strings gradually getting smaller up to the treble strings. Piano technicians compensate for the heavier keys by adjusting the lead weights in the keys. Here’s an interesting video by David Stanwood:

    Personally I want my action to feel uniform in weight top to bottom. It’s like going up and down a staircase with each stair the same distance requiring the same force from my legs, therefore being “transparent” as David Stanwood says. The CP-1 feels very uniform to me top to bottom. Also it sounds a note for you even if you play with an extremely light touch (slow velocity) unlike a real grand that might not sound the note if your too light (frustrating!).

    On yet another note… I love the CP-1 for more than the remarkable acoustic pianos. The digital pianos are outstanding. The DX-7 pianos sound like having a real DX-7 (I used to own one!). But by far, the possible combinations (in pairs) are a plethora of professional piano-type sonorities. I’m not sure you’ll get all the subtleties with the CP-5. I think there is also more parameter control on the CP-1 pianos. Also, the three pedal system is excellent and very sensitive.

    Also, the CONVENIENCE factor of having an amazing piano in a three second startup is about as close to sitting down at an acoustic and just playing it as it comes. The controls are right in front of you (I like to tweak hammer hardness mid performance, or even change the layered sound mid performance).

    As for using the money to buy a baby grand instead???? Are you kidding me? A six thousand dollar used acoustic junkpile that goes out of tune and rattles like a bucket of bolts? Needs to be tuned often… only has one sound? (not bad if you own a great acoustic, i.e. Steinway, Bechstein, etc… try 50K)

    The CP-1 simply has it all and more.

    The CP-1 overdelivers on the price.

    Each day I am even more convinced I chose right!

    It’s the centerpiece of my digital world.

    Michael (Toronto)

  64. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Also check out the article about keyboard action:

    a quote from the article:

    “New Touch Weight Metrology” is a method of units and measures that details how each piano action part affects the feel of the action. The system analyzes the working parts of an action to produce the cleanest, most precise touch. The goal was to make each key MORE PREDICTABLE AND THE INSTRUMENT AS EVEN AND UNIFORM AS POSSIBLE. In devising the system, David created a whole new field: “Piano Touchweight Technology.”

    Michael (Toronto)

  65. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Once again, I offer this info regarding NON-graded action:

    “He discovered that playing a piano was like riding a bicycle: a piano that offered a consistent touch allows the player to move smoothly and effortlessly through the music, just as a paved road offers the cyclist an easy glide. In contrast, a keyboard that feels inconsistent from note to note acts as a barrier between the music and the musician, the way a potholed road forces a rider to watch for hazards rather than just relaxing and enjoying the journey.”


  66. Nic Says:

    Adrian, I just wanted to say thanks for putting this nerdy little site together. It has been very informative and seems much more objective than many forums on the web. I am not a musician, but my wife has been looking into getting a professional keyboard for the last couple months. We were able to get a hold of both a Yamaha CP5 and Roland Rd700gx last night for her to compare side by side. She liked both in terms of sound, but she is going to go with the Roland due to favoring the feel. To her it felt more like the piano she was brought up on. But it was a close call.

    I personally think the worries over the non-graded action on the CP5 are a little overly paranoid. And from the other direction I think the real wooden keys are nice but more for marketing. I think it really comes down to personal preference. For her, the Roland action was a bit smoother.

    From a non-musician opinion on the user interface, I thought that the Roland was much simpler and more intuitive. Although I’m sure if one took the time to read through the CP5 manual, it could easily be figured out.

    Thanks for the good information on your site!

  67. greatkoala Says:

    What he’s referring to is inconsistency between adjacent notes, which is indeed very disturbing because it’s not predictable. But a gradual change in weight from top to bottom is very predictable by your hands, even if you don’t do it consciously. Also, even if the weight was indeed the same from top to bottom, with the same velocity the volume of a note is different between low and high notes: so your hands would still have to understand the difference between low and high notes.

    The only convincing reason to avoid graded actions would be that it makes keyboard splits and transpositions more transparent since the action doesn’t depend on the position (but on the flip side you could argue that a graded keyboard gives you freedom to vary the action slightly by transposing).

  68. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    In terms of graded vs non-graded actions, my thinking turns to “constants” vs “non-constants”. When I look at the keyboard I see keys that are equally sized (equal white key widths and equal black key widths) although the black key placements are slightly varied transversing the whites (but consistently and predictably so). This is a constant and I can rely on it when playing not to change.

    Without turning on the power to the CP-1, I find that the key resistance is consistent key to key (non-graded) and therefore very predictable and “constant”. I think that the weight of the keys should be constant and perfectly predictable key to key even though the volume output may vary (i.e. the bass notes are louder). Where the volume has more potential loudness, well I’ll deal with that using the same “constant” key weight! I suppose it’s a personal preference thing, much like a carpenter who uses smaller and larger hammers (with different weights) to pound in different sized nails! Or the carpenter who just sticks to one medium sized hammer.

    I find just thinking about this issue (graded vs non-graded actions) a bit complex, but my hunch is that the keyboard action should be a “constant” weight ideally….don’t you think? It’s one of the control parameters you DON’T want changing, even if only gradually up the keyboard. After all wouldn’t you want the keys to consistently be interfaced with your finger strength (which has a “constant” set range of velocity/strength capability)? This makes more sense to me, and I look forward to any interesting comments especially by piano technicians and physics-minded people!

    Happy music making everyone!

    Michael (Toronto)

  69. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Check out this site on Stanwood’s cool “friction” invention for piano actions!

    Quote from webpage:

    “To a pianist, it is important that the pressure required to depress the piano keys feel uniform across the keyboard. If EVERY KEY FEELS ALIKE (my emphasis), the pianist can exert greater control over the volume of the musical tones produced, making the piano easier to play as well as allowing the pianist to play more expressively. For instance, if each key requires the same pressure to produce a given volume, the pianist can easily play a series of notes at the same volume by applying the same pressure to each key. If, on the other hand, each key requires a different pressure to produce a given volume, the pianist has the difficult task of learning how much pressure to apply to each key at a particular piano in order to play a series of notes at the same volume. Therefore it is considered desirable to build a piano action so that there is uniform “feel” in EACH key. “

  70. greatkoala Says:

    Like I said I think he’s not talking about having mathematically constant pressure between the low A and the high C, but about having consistent pressure between notes that are close to each other. This is hard to do on a wooden piano due to the complexity of the mechanics and the variability of the wood, but it’s a crucial property for the piano to be easy to play (you don’t want a uniform run of notes to accent every other note because of key weight differences). Moreover, if D3 is 10% lighter than C3, you’re going to hear the difference because they sound a lot alike and therefore the louder note will stand out. But if C6 is 10% lighter than C3, the sounds are so different anyway that any comparison is moot. Not that their relative velocities don’t matter: but you will have so much variability between the sound of a C6 on one piano and on another that you will already have to adjust the relative velocities to the sound of the piano. So if the keys also feel slightly different, it won’t matter so much: it won’t be any harder to compensate for those two variables than to compensate just for the sound.

    So how the pressure varies across several octaves is mostly a matter of taste, as you say. By the way, you could argue the same about volume: why not design pianos so that the SPL of all notes be constant all over the keyboard at the same velocity? It would be an arbitrary choice, but not necessarily the most pleasing musically (since the ear is more sensitive to some frequencies): therefore the SPL is not constant, but is designed to vary in a way that helps expressivity. Why not do this for key weight too? Since the ear can’t hear fast notes as accurately in the lower registers, why not make them slightly heavier to give them slightly more control? (since low notes have higher sustain and tend to be pedaled, control can also be more important)

    Note that I’m not really arguing that graded keyboards are a must (I haven’t even tried the CP1), just saying that you shouldn’t think that graded keyboards are a bad thing based on a misinterpretation of Stanwood’s work.

  71. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hi everyone, been a while since posting new insights… been playing the CP-1 ALOT! In regards to action weight… a quick note… it’s very easy to reach up and hit “Utility” and dial the action response through “normal”, “soft”, “hard”, “wide”, and “fixed”(at any velocity number 1-127). This may seem trivial since on sample libraries (such as Ivory), velocity sensitivity adjustments are easy to do. I find it just a quick feature that allows me to vary my playing strength for different tonal responses from the sample layers. It’s a way to fine tune the piano to the sample library response. For example when you dial “soft”, soft playing will more easily produce the loud layers…. it allows you to play some fast passages a bit easier. Dial “hard” and your piano becomes softer in tone. “Wide” is cool because each end of the spectrum is enhanced, i.e. play softly and the piano responds extra soft, play loud and you get extreme volume. “Fixed” allows you to essentially use the keys as on/off switches set to whatever velocity you want (great for listening closely to sample layer and their switching points). BTW, I couldn’t hear ANY sample switching points in the onboard piano sounds of the CP-1! Smooth as silk!


  72. Effenix (Holland) Says:

    The last few months I am looking for a new digital piano. At the moment(bought it 25 years ago) I own a Roland RD-1000. Still working and playing very well. I us it in combination with painoteq as well.

    I have decided it’s time to get something new. I love the modeling piano technology but not the V-piano. It’s very good but overpriced and only have piano sounds. I wanted more possibilities.

    So my eye and ear were attracted to the CP1. On many forums you read that the CP1 and CP5 are not that different in sound. I can not imagine that something that cost twice the price of a CP5 is about the same level of quality, sounds and so on.

    Can somebody enlighten my a bit about the difference between CP1 and CP5? (I know the there are more sounds in the CP5).

    If I hear the digital piano’s (DX piano’s) I find them sound very well. But I did own a DX7 and never hear them come out of the DX7. Anyone did get this sounds from a DX7?

  73. Gareth E Says:


    Im classical pianist concerned with piano action. I have had the chance to try the new PHAIII action by roland (i.e the one on the RD700NX).

    Do I wait for the Kawai MP10 next month or do I purchase the RD700NX?
    Anyone want me to elaborate on what the action for the new RD700NX felt like to play as a classical pianist? (it is a definate improvement by the way)

  74. Pr3y-b3n Says:

    Hi Gareth, to check out what the MP10 action will feel like, go to a kawai dealership or a music store that has the kawai CA63 or CA93 dp. They both have same action as what the MP10 will feel like which is the RM3 grand wooden key action. Now i have tried the CA93 but I have nothing to compare it too since I have not tried the RD700NX. I too am a classical pianist and want a Digital Piano with nice heavy action. The CA93 is pretty close to the real thing… My issue is I was trained using the old steinways with the stiff heavy action and that is what i have grown used to. I have yet to find a Digital Piano with that much heavy action. I have heard from Adrian, others, and reviews that the ORIGINAL mp8 has heavy action but I have yet to find one to try it out and compare. I’m curious as to if anyone out there has tried the original mp8 (that has AWA Pro I action) AND the CA93 (which has RM3 grand action) and compare which keyboard has a heavier action. Gareth if you find out the answer please let me know!

  75. Gareth E (U.K) Says:

    Will definiately update if I find the answer whilst browsing!

    I am off to Birmingham (U.K) tomorrow to try out the Yamaha CP5 and the same action as the RD700nx tomorrow – even though the thought of no graded action in the MP5 worries me it would only be wise to at least try it. Hopefully the will stock Kawai aswell in the store.

    There are original MP8s popping up on ebay around once a month (approximately £800).

  76. Gareth E (U.K) Says:

    P.S tried the Yamaha AvantGrand two weeks ago. WORDS CAN NOT EXPRESS HOW IMPRESSED I WAS! Try one even if you cant afford one (i.e like me)

  77. Adrian Says:

    Hiya Gareth… Do let us know ur opine on the CP5. I had the chance a few weeks ago to try it, and was VERY underwhelmed… Unfortunately the store did not have a CP1 to compare against, but suffice it to say that the CP5 action (supposedly the same as the CP1?) doesn’t hold a candle to the RD700GX. In light of that, we’ll appreciate your insights on how it stacks up to the newer NX action. Take care! Adrian

  78. Gareth E (U.K) Says:

    Will do!

    Will have the cp1, cp5, rd700gx and the rd700nx (action) side by side for comparison. Will post soon… Thanks, Gareth

  79. Adrian Says:

    Fantastic Gareth! The comparison between the CP1 and CP5 will definitely help set the record straight on whether this is indeed the same action – I sure hope (for sake of the CP1) that it’s not. Then, keen to hear your reaction to the new Roland NX – comparing to the 700GX will be great! Appreciate your help!

  80. Pr3y-b3n Says:

    Hey Adrian have you tried out the Kawai CA63 or CA93 Digital Piano(the one with RM3 grand action)? If so how does the action compare to the other Digital Pianos as well as the original Mp8?

  81. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hey everyone! I see we have some possible criticism of the CP-1 action developing! Well, as a CP-1 owner, I’ve been playing it for many months now and all I can say is that it’s an excellent action (what is the ‘ideal’ action anyway?). One comment… I now use it with Ivory 2 (stunning software!) and you have to be careful how you set the velocity curves and the dynamic range… it definitely will affect how the keyboard responds to what you want to hear and therefore your perception of the action. With the onboard piano sounds, all I can say is that it’s generally fantastic. I would say that there is a ‘less bouncy’ feel as compared to most grand pianos, but still a great responsive action. The more you play it the more you’re in tune with the feel of the action and your personal control over it. For me, it’s quite amazing, stable feeling, solid, expressive, nice key texture, quite rapid on trills, excellent key shapes…. must say that Ivory 2 is just as close as it gets to playing a real piano… I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now and have tweaked every program… ALL the pianos really work and sound light years better! Sympathetic resonance is right on, half-pedalling is there, but most of all the layers sound so smooth… all you need is a CP-1 to play it!

  82. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Ok people, to be honest I’m really curious to check out the Roland RD700NX because I REALLY liked the action of the V-Piano (see earlier posts above)! My CP-1 is awesome to say the least but the action is not the most authentic grand piano action to be true. Having owned a Yamaha C7 grand for over a decade, I miss the grand action for playing acoustic piano. The CP-1 is so much more than only an acoustic piano digital though. I find the action is really comfortable for playing the amazing Rhodes and other electric pianos. Right now in my studio there is the CP-1, and the motif xs-7 (soon to be exchanged for the xf-7). I’m seriously contemplating the possibility of adding this new Roland RD700NX provided it measures up in the action dept for a real grand piano feel. I really wouldn’t want anything else in it except the action…. does this sound crazy? I’m sure it sounds very indulgent of me, but I do aspire to play more virtuosic piano pieces. Together with Ivory 2 and a host of sounds from Motif and other sample libraries, I’m creating a veritable sonic playground with hopefully the right monkey bars to climb on! I’d love to hear your reviews of these instruments especially the actions!

  83. Gareth E (U.K) Says:

    I am 22 years old. Grade 8 classical pianist, play Chopin, Liszt e.t.c (with some pop also under my fingers). I have been playing since I was 7 and I have grown up from the same age using studio equipment, Logic, ProTools, Cubase e.t.c. – as well as being in full professional recording studios since 14 (approx).

    Im classical pianist concerned almost entirely with piano action rather than the sound of the DPs. I am only interested in sound in relation to how the sound ‘connects’ to the action. For this reason my rambling about sound may be somewhat subjective and inaccurate.

    Sorry for my constant description of myself when I post. Contextualization in relation to the person offering critique is an extremely important factor to consider when reading anything.

    Topics: 1.CP1 and CP5 action 2.CP1 vs PHAIII (RD700nx/V piano) action 3.PHAIII (RD700nx/V piano) action 4.V Piano key wear

    Topic 1: CP1 and CP5 action

    As almost all my experience before 3 years ago was of acoustic piano action, rather than digital piano action, this critique is concerned with how the actions match up – as much as a DP can – to acoustic actions.

    On Saturday I played both the CP5 and CP1 for the first time. I was already aware that neither had a graded action before I tried them out, so obviously my judgement may have been even subconsciously narrowed by this knowledge.

    There was little difference to be felt in regards to action between the CP1 and CP5. To be quite honest I felt no difference at all between the two, which I did not expect to anyway because as far as I am aware they are in fact the same actions!!

    My suspicions have been confirmed. The lack of graded action on the CP1 and CP5 was an attempt to try to please those wanting an authentic grand piano action experience as well those wanting to play sounds that would traditionally have no graded action (including those without an acoustic piano background). In attempting to do this I feel that it is definitely those who want an experience as close to an acoustic as possible that have missed out.

    In my opinion if you are wanting something to play non-piano sounds on, or if you are not used to graded action then the CP1 and CP5 are for you. This is all highly subjective so please read with extreme caution.

    TOPIC 2: CP1 vs PHAIII (RD700nx/V piano) action

    I have not yet played the RD700nx, but I have played the V Piano with the same action. Even so, I do negate the fact that the action may feel slightly different in the NX, but maybe not. im sure others on here are more qualified than myself to make this judgement.

    The CP1 is a much more ‘instant’ action than the Roland PHAIII and PHAII action for that matter. By this I mean that there is less of a feeling of latency when playing Chopin Fantasie Impromptu on the CP1 than the Roland PHAIII action. Perhaps this is something to do with the differing depths of the actions. However, I am not sure this is a good thing. The fast passages may be more instant and feel easier to play on the CP1 but perhaps it makes it artificially easy, I think maybe so??, lol.

    I do now understand – I think – why the Roland action seems a little tad late when played fast. It is perhaps realistically harder to play as a real grand is and would be to throw the hammers.

    TOPIC 3: PHAIII (RD700nx/V piano) action

    A problem I had with the RD700GX PHAII action is the feeling of bottoming out (only in my opinion). When I played it in store for 40 mins (various classical and some jazz improv) I felt as though it either more shock absorbent ‘cushioning thingy’ under the keys, it felt like hitting a wall when I got to the bottom of the depressed note.

    Now in the PHAIII action, as a pose to the PHAII, I do not feel this as much at all – bottoming out. Can anyone tell me why this might be because as far as i am aware the mechanics of the two actions are the same. Perhaps I just played a hammered GX in the store? P.S I don’t think it a setting thing (e.g Hard +6).

    I like the Ivory feel very much. It reminds me slightly of an old Bluthner grand my piano teacher had. Incidentally this very well kept Bluthner had a hard feeling at the bottom of the depressed note similar to my experience of the GX. the Yamaha grand I practiced on for the past 3 years is more forgiving with this issue. As acoustics vary so do electrics!

    By the way I have ordered the NX. Kawai MP10 is just to big to consider and lug around to places along with Roland KC-350 amp (Even though it may be great when released). Yamaha CP1 and CP5 are no go’s for me as a classical musician. RD700-NX is likely to be ‘right down my street’. I Will also enjoy buying a Korg Triton rack and controlling it from the NX.

    4. V Piano key wear

    The V-Piano I played had significant key wear around the middle C range. The store guy told me “it was supposed to do this”. I believe this key wear problem has been sorted?

    The grain had become very rough/wide if you know what I mean.

    If I like the look of worn jeans (say 30 years old) but cannot find a pair of 30 year old jeans in the store perhaps I would but some brand new worn looking jeans. If i buy a pair of normal jeans (not worn looking). I do not expect them to show 120 years of wear after 3 years otherwise I would have bought them that way in the 1st place.

    Why should the keys wear 100 years in 2 years? They should not, otherwise why not just make them like that?!

    Anyway as far as I have heard this problem has been rectified?

    END: Go easy on me I have allot to learn. P.S please remember we all bring or own presuppositions to these subjects even if we try not to. Thanks Gareth

  84. Adrian Says:

    Wow Gareth! Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such an elaborate and detailed review. Both you and Michael have really done everyone a tremendous courtesy by taking the time to provide your direct insight and opinions. We sincerely appreciate the passionate sharing!!!

    Many thanks,

    p.s I tend to agree with your assessment of the Roland vs. Yamaha CP action; please come back to us after your NX arrives? In fact, I’d love for you to consider writing a guest post on the blog after you’ve had some time with it?

  85. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Thank you Gareth for your very detailed insights! Just a thought about keyboard actions…. Why are we so obsessed with having a “true grand piano action feel” anyway?? Isn’t the grand piano action of an acoustic piano just a complicated mechanical contraption that serves to throw a hammer at a string, with all it’s subtle reactions to our fingertips such as the elusive “escapement” (do you really NEED the feeling of a jack slipping across the ???). And the weight of the key changes when you push the sustain pedal and lift off the weight of the damper lever mechanism. It just seems that the action of a grand piano has many idiosyncracies to yet evolve through and improve upon yet still to come (it certainly has evolved over the last two hundred years). Isn’t it really a matter of a pianist “getting used” to this mechanical contraption and just wanting to feel “familiar territory”.

    Honestly, it confuses me because I know what it’s like to play a well regulated nine foot Steinway D. I played the Steinway at Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto backstage (home of Toronto Symphony Orch and piano used by world renowned pianists such as Alfred Brendel…et al). I must say that it is an amazing experience when the keyboard is so responsive to your every wish. But you must have the technique to back it up!

    I think the Roland V-Piano action is quite excellent in that regard, but so is the CP-1 and many other actions I’ve tried. On that note, different acoustic grand actions vary as well. I’d be curious to see a post by a highly accomplished concert or jazz pianist of the calibre of Horowitz or Chick Corea comment on digital piano actions!
    BTW, I just learned that the Yamaha Avant Grand has a real acoustic grand action that needs regulation just like an acoustic grand. See this excellent site (also other articles):

    Thanks again Gareth and others… I look forward to Roland RD700NX discussions and my own tests…

  86. Gareth E (U.K) Says:

    Hey Michael

    Just had a look through some articles on the site you suggested, very useful and now in my favourites list.

    When my NX arrives I am going to get my piano teacher (concert pianist and piano teacher in The Royal Northern College of Music, which is in the top two music educational establishments in the U.K) and her husband (who is a serious Jazz pianist with a Doctorate, two masters and an undergraduate degree in Jazz and I don’t think he’s even 32 yet) to test them out. He is probably in the top 10 Jazz pianists in the U.K and has played as the accompanist for Miles Davies Saxophonist etc. They are not used to playing digitals, my classical piano teacher even more so. I will let you know their thoughts, as they may be interesting? By the way I am not suggesting they are more distinguished musicians then youself as I don’t know your background, its just that more valuable opinions paint a better picture often.

    Firstly, I must say that I am not sure that I am completely contributing to what you said, as its hard to completely grasp the essence of the points people are trying to put across through written text sometimes. There nothing worse than two people discussing slightly different points without realising, often ending in chaos, lol.

    I found this quote on the site you gave “Although digitals continue to draw closer to the ideal, there is, as yet, nothing like the total experience of playing a fine acoustic instrument”. I personally do not believe there ever will be a DP that can match the total experience of an acoustic grand. Like you rightly suggested there are so many variables. I am not sure if “variables” is the right word but I am sure you know what I mean.

    I guess for many classical pianists the obsession with the action stems from the fact that we are looking for something as close to an acoustic as possible, without being one (to save space or whatever other reason one would have for requiring a digital in the 1st place). The concert grand is the Bentley or Rolls Royce of pianos so I guess it is only natural to desire a DP action as close to that of an concert acoustic grand.

    It also depends how much you are going to play a DP. I will have no choice but to make the NX my main practice instrument for the next 8 months (space issues with getting my piano into my temporary apartment).

    Perhaps we are a little bit seduced by the marketing of these digital actions to a point, but not completely I think.

    What gets me in regard to the CP1 is that they have decided not to include one of the concert grand variables, namely ‘graded action’. For me this says that there focus is not about making this action as totally acoustic grand like as possible, without it being as costly as the Avant Grand of course, which is in my opinion worth every penny. You have actually played the CP1 as a pose to me having bashed it in the store for 20 mins or so. Therefore my opinion is probably a lot more subjective than yours.

    P.S Michael I am defiantly a lesser technically competent musician than you at the moment I suspect. Thank you for taking time to reply to my post. I look forward to learning from you and Adrian. Sorry for the horrible structure of this post, I was in rushing!

  87. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hi Gareth! Thank you for that comprehensive post… I too am curious to see the reaction of my former piano teacher to my studio and dp action. He is a virtuoso concert pianist and great thinker. He currently sits on the committee of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto and is involved in music publishing and selection of educational material. His technique is monstrous. I also have several jazz playing friends who will soon be over as well.

    BTW, I will be moving to a new home in January and taking my studio to a bright new location…. guess I’ll have to call the piano movers to move my Steinway, Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Yamaha’s and all the upright pianos I have! (just kidding… they’re all in ‘the box’)!

    My background in playing is not terribly deep… I can play a variety of classical pieces of the calibre of Fantasie Impromptu, a Beethoven Sonata, Bach Prelude and Fugue, countless jazz standards and pop and blues pieces etc. but I still feel in want of great technique and repertoire! I’m really wanting to do more composing and producing and want to get my studio and keyboards assembled to a point of contentment with the actions, sound library, acoustics etc. I feel I’m very close now… but the grand piano action still interests me alot…. I will be checking out the Roland RD700NX when it ships to Toronto.

    Cheers, enjoy and dig into the sound everyone!

  88. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    here’s an excellent YouTube post featuring a Steinway and Yamaha grand. A masterclass with Stephen Hough (who I saw recently perform with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra playing the Paganini variations).
    The YouTube sound is decent and allows you to hear the clear singing tone of both pianos, especially the Steinway. Also look at the ultraresponsiveness of the pianos (of course these are pianists with amazing technique). I ask myself if a digital piano should have this response and tone… just a thought…

  89. Simon Says:

    I’ve just been reading this thread with much interest as it relates to me, and towards the end of this post I have a question.

    Wishing to start a lounge band I purchased a 700GX five months ago. The keys start wearing on these instruments wining days of playing and become progressively worse. I’ve owned ivory key pianos in the past, have a yamaha 200pf, challen acoustic and mint Wurlitzer so I know what usual wear is. The instrument is inherently faulty. Roland changed the keyboard for me without question last month, but the new keyboard is the same. My purchase price is being refunded and I urgent need to buy a new stage piano.

    The challenge is that the RD was outstanding in every other respect! So what to do? I’ve been diligently researching on the web for weeks and it’s clear that the problem was not fixed in early 2009 as many suggest. Furthermore the PHAIII is an improvement of the action of the keys, not the surface. So an NX is not the solution – very sadly as it makes something otherwise excellent simply outstanding.
    I went to London during the week and played an all new Motif and then a CP5 for an hour. I was disappointed. Not a patch on the Roland. I then played the CP1 and was close to tears. Having listen to a particular love song for thirty years and eventually found that exact rhodes with chorus sound was truly amazing.
    So, being a pianist rather than a stage artist at heart, it has to be the CP1.
    I’ve played the V piano and the Yamaha is significantly better, well for me anyway.

    So, all readers be aware. If you want the quality sound and features of the best stage piano on the market, be prepared to put up with awfully rough keys. They are dreadful.

    So to my question, forgive my ignorance here people, but can I buy a box that sits on the CP1 which has rhythms plus pads/voices/strings and the like which can mix into the keyboard and start with a foot pedal? What I lose in terms of usability and convenience with the RD will be more than made up for if I can do this. Help please.


    PS. That song? Oh yes, just the way you are….

  90. Simon Says:

    Hi everyone. I’ve just been reading this thread with much interest as it relates to me, and towards the end of this post I have a question.

    Wishing to start a lounge band I purchased a 700GX five months ago. The keys start wearing on these instruments wining days of playing and become progressively worse. I’ve owned ivory key pianos in the past, have a yamaha 200pf, challen acoustic and mint Wurlitzer so I know what usual wear is. The instrument is inherently faulty. Roland changed the keyboard for me without question last month, but the new keyboard is the same. My purchase price is being refunded and I urgent need to buy a new stage piano.

    The challenge is that the RD was outstanding in every other respect! So what to do? I’ve been diligently researching on the web for weeks and it’s clear that the problem was not fixed in early 2009 as many suggest. Furthermore the PHAIII is an improvement of the action of the keys, not the surface. So an NX is not the solution – very sadly as it makes something otherwise excellent simply outstanding.
    I went to London during the week and played an all new Motif and then a CP5 for an hour. I was disappointed. Not a patch on the Roland. I then played the CP1 and was close to tears. Having listen to a particular love song for thirty years and eventually found that exact rhodes with chorus sound was truly amazing.
    So, being a pianist rather than a stage artist at heart, it has to be the CP1.
    I’ve played the V piano and the Yamaha is significantly better, well for me anyway.

    So, all readers be aware. If you want the quality sound and features of the best stage piano on the market, be prepared to put up with awfully rough keys. They are dreadful.

    So to my question, forgive my ignorance here people, but can I buy a box that sits on the CP1 which has rhythms plus pads/voices/strings and the like which can mix into the keyboard and start with a foot pedal? What I lose in terms of usability and convenience with the RD will be more than made up for if I can do this. Help please.


    PS. That song? Oh yes, just the way you are….

  91. Adrian Says:

    Simon – thanks for your post… so can you are confirming to us herein that the action on the CP5 and CP1 (though advertised as being equivalent) is, in reality, not the case? I think that many of us are suspecting that but CP1s are not in store for demo typically and hence looking for input such as yours. It sure as hell would make sense, given the price difference as well as the qualified input of many on this thread, that the CP1 is indeed a different animal (again specifically referring to the action). I too was very underwhelmed with the CP5 – not much of an improvement if any over the mushy non-responsive Motif action of old…. Regarding your query about a “play-along” box for the CP1… several options there. I would say one of the easiest and most economical would be “Band in a Box” albeit it would be more of a “laptop” vs. a box per se… That would also lend to other options as well (because of the power one can harness out of today’s laptops).

  92. Simon Says:

    Hi Adrian,

    Yes – that’s exactly what I’m saying. I’m a marketing guy in the motor industry but have been playing pianos for 40 years and so whilst far from a musical expert, I could feel a distinct difference between the two. Hard to explain, but the CP1 was just so solid and so responsive.

    I could be wrong, but I’m willing to pay £1,500 more of my hard earned to lose all the other features on the CP5 just get the six or seven quality sounds and the extra quality effects and this keyboard. My world runs into a Roland Jazz Chorus and I have several top quality stomp box effects units – to get that ‘Suoertramp’ sound. Switching the units on inside the CP1 is a similar feeling. The quality shines through.

    The box on the top issue remains as Yamaha have a box (£1,000) which has most of the Motif sounds and rhythms. Whilst is starts the rhythms when you start playing they have to be stopped by hitting a key, so far from ideal.

    Incidentally the CP1 is £3,300 here in the UK, whilst the Roland V is still£4,500. Personally, I don’t get it. They similar in terms of piano sounds, V slightly better over the CP1 in terms of keyboard action and sound…. BUT there’s nothing else, no great electric piano sounds, and those keys will wear within weeks. I really don’t get it.

    Value for money the NX is a star, the improved sound of the CP1 will be lost within a band and probably to a degree lost through staxge amps

  93. Adrian Says:

    Hi Simon,

    Yes – I agree with you: when you put it all together, the NX appears to have star potential! While tempted to dabble with the CP1, I opted not simply because the improvement wasn’t overwhelming beyond the 700GX – it would have been more along the lines of my Kawai MP8 (First generation) which to this day has the best all around wooden action available – why Kawai chose to degrade it with whatever they put into the MP8-II is beyond me… but anyway, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

    Thanks for sharing your insights! We sincerely appreciate it!

    All the best,

  94. Simon Says:

    Just so you think I’m mad, my iPad did some spellchecks. My Wurli became ‘world’! Supertramp was mis spelt too.

    I am going to buy the Cp1 this weekend. I can buy some cheaper rhythm and synth boxes on bay and see how it goes. And… Ultimately, buy another synth to midi if the band is a success.

    Good luck with the NX, you will not be disappointed, except for the key wear…

  95. Patrick Says:

    News videos dec 2010 CP1 & CP5

    TEST CP1 & CP5 – DPBSD Project

  96. Mark Bowen Says:


    Just wanted to pop by and say I’m eagerly awaiting for my CP1 to be delivered today.

    I’m a composer have been playing piano for 32 years now (since I was 4) and have always wanted to have a really really good input keyboard / piano.

    After playing a Yamaha Clavinova (can’t unfortunately remember the model now) around 17 years ago I have always loved Yamaha.

    A few months back I went looking for a piano and tried just about everything I could get my hands on.

    Nothing and I mean literally nothing even came close to the CP1 and now luckily I am able to own one.

    Just waiting for it to arrive from Scotland now though.

    Will post more once I’ve received, un-boxed and played with it for a while.



  97. Adrian Says:

    Fantastic and congratulations, Mark! Please do tell more after you’ve un-boxed her and gotten her into the bedroom! :)

  98. Mark Bowen Says:


    Never arrived. Looks like it will be tomorrow now. I can see it got to the hub near us but no further than that. I’m sure the shop will like to know that the assured next day delivery never happened.

    Ah well, will get it tomorrow I guess.


  99. Bruce Hotlanta Says:

    new to the forum- and i will say the posts are very helpful…..

    Simon, can we go back to your recent comparison of Roland V vs CP1- within the context of someone solely looking for the best acoustic piano sound (for pop/jazz solo work). You sounded like you are most impressed with the CP1 for its electric piano sounds, but that for strictly acoustic piano- you felt the V-Piano is better?

    I own a V-Piano. i bought it right before the CP1 came out. I am generally very impressed with it, it is a blast to play and that is a good thing because it makes me play a lot more than i used to, which might actually make me a slightly better pianist. but what i’m really trying to do, is record solo work that sounds authentially acoustic but is off a digital piano (because its a helluva lot easier than micing an acoustic! right?!!). Christian’s solo piano recordings sound more like the sound i’m looking for, but that just might be they typical “everything sounds great the first time you hear it/ play it” (the sample, not Christian!) and then reality sets in and you continue to search for the Holy Grail in F major….

    The Silver Piano(s) on the V sound pretty yamah-ish. The Vintage 1 is supposed to be a Steinway, which is a stretch, but it is a very serviceable piano sound. The Vintage 2 is supposed to be a Bos which is a real laugher. maybe its a boz being played under water. its a pretty bizarre rendering.

    The biggest problem is that i can’t find one place in Atlanta USA that has a CP1 to test drive. How are you supposed to make a decision on a $5000 keyboard is you have to fly to London to play it?

    So I am interested in any fresh side-by-side comparisons folks have of the V vs the CP1- just for the acoustic piano sounds…


  100. Mark Bowen Says:

    Oh My Giddy Aunt!!

    Didn’t want to swear as that’s not good so those were the only other words I could think of!! :-)

    The CP1 arrived today. I was watching the window like a hawk and was at the door before the delivery man even had time to get to it.

    All I can say is that I am totally in love. I was in love when I tested out the CP1 but I’ve fallen in love all over again. It even sounds better than I remember it sounding when I first tried it out.

    This is quite simply the most beautiful sounding, most fantastic action I have ever played and the composer in me is just flowing like nothing ever before.

    I can guarantee I now will be able to achieve my dream of getting my music out there and hopefully into films one day.

    This piano is simply fantastic. Many thanks to Yamaha for such an absolutely flawless product.

    Best wishes,


  101. Mark Bowen Says:

    Oops meant to ask before but can anyone recommend a really good stand for the CP1?

    Currently it’s on a very very sturdy studio desk that we have but it’s just a little too high and the pedals are slightly more difficult to get into line using this method.


    Best wishes,


  102. Bruce Hotlanta Says:

    Mark, Yamaha has a custom stand for the CP1 called the LG 800. it retails online for $299 US. that’s not cheap for a stand but i guess not unreasonable for a $5000 investment. the keyboard screws into it- it looks very sturdy and balanced.

    here’s a link to it:


  103. Effenix (Holland) Says:

    Mark I have the Yamaha Lg800 Stand for Cp1 and I really like it. You can adjust the hight and weight of it. Bad thing is that it is expensive. :(

  104. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Congratulations Mark!!!

    Welcome to the CP1 club! As a CP1 owner I have nothing but extreme praise for this remarkable instument and I know in the coming days you will really appreciate it even more!

    Let us know about your experiences with the sounds, touch, and parameter adjustments.

    For a stand I use a Quick Lock WS-550 stand with a 5/8″ plywood bolted on top to create a ‘table’.

    Best Wishes to all for the coming holiday season!


  105. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Just a note about that Yamaha LG800 stand for the CP1…. (I wish I knew there was such a stand!)

    This page has the dimensions:

    The height adjustment is from 625mm to 685mm. The setup I have with my QuikLock stand allows me to place the keyboard just a bit lower so the bottom of the keyboard is at 610mm which is where I prefer it. Ergonomically speaking, for me this seems to work best… depends on chair height, getting your legs under the keyboard to the pedals, the slant of your forearms and hand to the keys… all personal preferences. For me that extra centimetre and a half might be a deal breaker, but I just might check out this stand in the future! It looks really solid. The QuickLock stand is also extremely solid.

    On this site, notice which stand they bundle with the CP1 (even though the other is also available)!


  106. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hello everyone, and happy holidays!


    Today, my music dealer informed me that the Roland RD700NX had arrived and was on the showroom floor awaiting my scrutiny! Well, I have been greatly anticipating this experience after hearing so much about it, and wondering how it compares to my Yamaha CP1. So I grabbed my studio headphones (AKG K240DF) and headed to the store… but just before I left I made sure to play my CP1 in order to inform my fingers for comparison…

    When I arrived the Roland piano was on a solid stand and had a Roland sustain pedal (continuous, not just a switch) under it. I plugged in my headphones (since they usually just plug keyboards into stage amps in mono!) and dialed up the 1st preset: “Concert Grand”. I sunk my fingers into what seemed like as real a grand piano keyboard as I’ve ever played then…. Yes!!! Very impressive touch and sound… a Winner right away!

    I then proceeded to play for about an hour and a half, mostly the 2 grand pianos (large and small). I played through many genres of music (classical, jazz, pop,….) I must admit that the action is as true to a real piano as I’ve ever experienced on a digital piano. I looked for the slight ‘click’ feel emulating the escapement, and yes there it was in a subtle way. Still not sure why this is a desirable action attribute… maybe it helps ‘put the brakes on’ when playing soft? I’m really not sure I would miss this (it’s not found on the Yamaha CP-1). The keys don’t appear to have any real wood imbedded below…

    I looked for the ‘graded hammer’ action i.e. the keys feel heavier as you go up the keyboard, but didn’t feel this. For example, I played a rapid 5 finger scale up and down at each C position up the piano. I sat in each position about 10 little up/down scales. I even transposed the keyboard so that each C position sounded at middle C so as not to be distracted by the octave register. I even turned off the volume and just whacked the keys! Still I could not perceive ANY difference in weight from low keys to high keys. (I don’t see listed anywhere that this Roland keyboard has a graded hammer action).

    I was pleasantly surprised to hear “string resonance” effect while holding down a bass C quietly then slamming down a staccato C major triad at middle C. This is sadly missing on the CP1.

    I found the Roland action extremely responsive and a joy to play! I dare say it might be slightly more responsive than the Yamaha CP1, but the comparison is redundant since the CP1 action has it’s own strengths and unique excellent playability suited to both the acoustic and electric pianos within (I simply love the CP1 action). On the Roland, I was hoping to find the “holy grail of keyboard repetition” and alas it was pretty good but not much different than the CP1 (both keyboards allow you to restrike the key about an eighth of an inch below starting position).

    I found the rest of the tones included on the Roland (clav, strings, brass, etc..) not that spectacular. Many sounded too synthesized (I much prefer Motif sounds).

    Of course I realize that there is a sizeable cost difference in these instruments. Honestly, for my very first impression, the Roland RD700NX was extremely impressive mainly for the smooth pianistic action and the 2 main piano sounds. I was extremely tempted to take it home and place it next to the CP1 but that will have to wait until the new year! IF I ever do add the Roland to my setup, it will be solely and primarily for the piano action which I suspect at this very premature trial is much better suited to playing classical piano repertoire. That’s nearly $3000 Canadian to spend primarily on a piano action! This whole experiment needs further scrutiny in the new year. I would like to closely compare side by side the Roland and CP1 in my studio over my studio speakers. Both grand piano sounds are very rich and inspiring to play, although the CP1 Rhodes sounds are so much better IMHO. I am greatly concerned about the issue of key wear on the Roland… if anyone could elaborate more on this issue, it is a real possible dealbreaker for me.

    Collecting digital instruments and creating a digital musical environment is complex and sure has it’s challenges! But ohhhhhh so many pleasures and choices!

    Thank you Roland and Yamaha for such magnificent instruments (have you guys considered working TOGETHER?). Share a few of your secrets to each other and create the ultimate digital piano for us! With all due respect, I applaud your technical genius!

    Thank you Adrian for this excellent site which I regularly admire and learn from.

    Happy Holidays and a musical and Happy New Year to all!

    Michael (Toronto)

  107. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Couldn’t resist adding the following post to this extensive CP1 discussion!


    “In my view there is no better option today for a keyboard than the Yamaha XF8. I found the piano sounds to be equal to the CP5 or the Roland RD700 with the supernatural piano. I owned both and currently have the XF and the 90XS.

    The XF has a number of major advantages over the XS and that is the flash memory. There are many sound libraries available.

    For those of you that doubt the XF can produce the same piano sound as the CP1/CP5. Go to GC and play the S6 piano on both. I simply could not tell the difference. In fact, a Yamaha representative replied to my question, “Is the S6 Piano the same in XF and CP1/CP5?” by stating:

    Excellent question. The answer is no. While the S6 is one of (many) Yamaha acoustic grand pianos, much like the CFIIIS is another model of acoustic grand piano, the CFIII and the S6 pianos found in the CP1 and CP5 are not based on AWM2 sampled data. The CFIII and S6 that appear in the Motif XF are AWM2 sampled data.

    So there are two entirely different technologies involved. The Motif XF (AMW2) utilizes a familiar velocity and key mapping system where digital recording of piano strikes are stored digitally and reproduced when a key-on event requests data from a given Keybank. A KEYBANK is defined as a Note Range (that a sample is asked to cover) and a Velocity Range (that the sample is asked to cover). If you strike middle “C” at a velocity of 63 the sample-playback based Motif XF will return a specific recorded note. If you increase your velocity on the same middle “C” and strike the key at a velocity of 113, that velocity will cause a different recorded sample to play. The XF versions of the CFIII (9 ft Yamaha acoustic) and the S6 (6’11” Yamaha acoustic) are based on very familiar sample-playback technology.

    The CP1 and CP5’s CFIII and S6 piano recreations are based on Spectral Component Modeling. The velocity swapping and key note mapping paradigm of traditional sample playback technology is not used in the recreations of these acoustic instruments, at all.

    Playing them for a time should answer this for you. While, of course, playing a piano is very personal thing, I can only tell you of my experience playing velocity based samples (like AWM2) and playing the modeled (SCM) acoustic recreations. The (SCM) models ‘speak’ differently – the experience is more holistic in terms of sounding like an ‘individual’ playing a piano. You don’t feel like there is the same maximum and minimum as you do with velocity based samples – although I’m sure there is some theoretical max/min response happening – it does not ‘feel’ the same when playing the modeled pianos. In the right speaker cabinets (I have MSP7 Studios) at the right volume and position – there are times the experience is as close as you can get to feeling like you are playing a piano. I’ve mentioned previously here, I played the CP1 through some monitors that were $4500 (each)… That literally had me drooling, although I cannot work it out to make that a permanent situation… I’m extremely happy with the MSP7 Studios)

    Buried in a mix with a ton of other instruments it might be difficult to tell (as it is with any piano in a mix with tons of other instruments). But when performing a solo piano piece, or in a more piano appropriate music (acoustic) setting, is where you really experience the difference between sample-playback and the modeling technologies.

    Some will hear the difference immediately, and be captivated, others will not… this is the nature of music (and technologies). But trust me, the technologies used to recreate the pianos is entirely different – two entirely different approaches to reproducing the acoustic pianoforte. One is state-of-the-art, the other is cutting-edge.

    Hope that helps.”

  108. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Must say… this Kawai piano looks interesting…. WOODEN sound board in a digital piano???

  109. Effenix (Holland) Says:

    Sorry Michael but if i read your piece about the XF and the CP1/CP5 I get the feeling that you find the CP1 and CP5 equal in piano sound. Maybe I am hearing different things but I think there is a world of difference between the two. Especially in dynamics.

    I own both a CP1 and a Motif XF7 and I personally think the XF is one of the best synths ever but I still hear a differences between the CP1 and the XF in piano sounds.

    Maybe I am to old to hear it :)

  110. Michael (Toronto) Says:


    Hi Effenix. Your comment above seems to have two different questions… First you’re comparing CP1 with CP5. Then you’re comparing Motif XF7 with CP1. Not sure what your impression of my previous post was…

    The post above (December 22nd, 2010 at 10:32 pm) was actually not my words, but taken from a ‘pianoworld’ post. The pianoworld writer actually quoted what a Yamaha rep had told him regarding the differences between Motif XF and CP1 technologies.

    To my understanding, the CP1 and CP5 acoustic pianos are supposed to be identical (are they not?) as well as the keyboard action. I own the CP1 but haven’t spent much time on the CP5 in the store beyond 15 minutes (with bad amplification system). I also own the MOTIF xS7. I certainly see a world of difference between CP1 piano and Motif piano (CFIII). The CP1 has a rich full-bodied piano sound which is very ‘organic’ feeling, truly sometimes fools me into thinking I’m at a real grand! The XS has a great piano ’sound’ that has a different character and somewhat synthesized timbre (slightly). Actually I rather like the XS piano character for its cutting ‘edge’ attack and sparkly upper notes, but I find the low mid to mid area ‘clouded’ sounding. This is like comparing apples to oranges! In this day and age of amazing piano samples (we’re getting so close!) who’s complaining???

    The other day I hauled out one of my vintage synths to assess whether or not to sell it. It’s the Roland G-1000 arranger/synth/rompler/MIDI file player. It has 76 ’semi’ weighted keys (same size key-width as grand piano… Motif keys are slightly less wide). G-1000 is vintage from the 1990’s, but when you hear the piano sample buried within a mix, it’s quite remarkable! I plugged the CP1 into the G1000 via MIDI and actually re-discovered that piano all over again! I played it for quite a while. I had never actually played that vintage piano through excellent studio monitors and only now could really hear how excellent it really was for it’s time. Yet it has a rough character and a ‘raw’ sampled response. Then when I went back to playing the CP1 sounds, that only made the CP1 shine even more! You can really appreciate development in technology. I really recommend this exercise to anyone who has any negative things to say about todays piano sounds! Just roll out your old keyboard pianos and play for about an hour or so… then jump back onto your CP1, Nord, Roland, Kawaii etc…. mind-boggling!

    BTW, the G1000 has a particular Italian accordion sound that I simply cannot part with! I haven’t heard it anywhere else! It’s a very brittle, nostalgiac, piercing tone like nothing else. I don’t want to sample it, so I’ll keep the keyboard. Also the keybed feels great, the hundreds of MIDI files that came in the ZIP drive are priceless as well as the ‘human feel’ grooves… It was also very cool to play the CP1 via the G1000 keybed! It’s VERY responsive and superfast for repetitions!

    Back to the CP1… anyone who has spent a moderate amount of time playing the CP1 will know the ‘organicness’ of this keyboard, particularly the excellent connection between the action and sound, that is simply ADDICTIVE to play. The Rhodes, DX7, Wurly, and CP-80 sounds are simply and incredibly as real it can possibly get as well.


    Looking forward to this fantastic new year!


  111. Patrick McNamara Says:

    Michael -

    I just bought a CP1, and it is great. But the manual assumes more experience with this kind of instrument than I have. Do you have a suggestion as how to find someone who I might hire to teach me how to get the most of modifying it to sound how I want it to. I’m just going to use it for practice, so most of the bells and whistles are not why I bought it. I just needed the best acoustic feel I could find in a DP. The guys at the store were pretty clueless.

    I live in NYC, and there must be people who’d be interested. Now how to find them…


  112. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Congratulations on your CP1 purchase! I wish you many years of inspired playing and I can tell you firsthand that the CP1 has inspired me greatly!

    My first suggestion right off is that you use the absolute best speaker system you can afford to monitor with. I mean studio quality speakers. They should also put out a fair amount of power which keeps peak transients clean. I find that when you approach the decibels of a real grand piano, the speakers can be tested to their max, piano sound being rich in sharp attack and harmonically complex.

    Careful reading of the manual should give you a basic guideline of what the buttons and knobs do individually, but it lacks in suggestions as to how to be creative with all the subtle interactions of the various preamp, modulation, reverb, and eq parameters. Not to mention tweaks you can do to the velocity which shifts how you perceive the key/sound experience. Of course a major adjustment is hammer hardness.

    For example, you could just press the first concert CFIII preset and then experiment with the hammer hardness. Sounds simple enough… but when you add to the tweaking, adjustment of velocity (found by hitting ‘Utility’ then adjusting the 4th knob ‘VelCurve’) through normal, soft, hard, wide, you add another dimension to the control you have over the exact feel/hammer hardness/sound possibilities. And that’s just a SIMPLE adjustment! Toss in a bit of EQ tweaking (press and hold down the Pre-Amp button for 2 seconds until you see the EQ adjustments for Bass, Mid, Treble) and you can even fine tune it still. Don’t forget to lock these changes into the User Bank for future and quick recall!

    For what seems like a ‘basic’ piano instrument on the outside, the CP1 is loaded with adjustability at the quick touch of a button or knob. Something as simple as comparing the two grand pianos (CFIII and S6) becomes an afternoons journey into the subtleties available in sound character, hammer hardness, velocity feel, ambience colouration, EQ etc…. and that’s just ACOUSTIC pianos! Check out the amazing subtleties of Rhodes instruments (sampled with various types of hammers, preamps, and amps) to be amazed at the super fine tolerances and hard work that Yamaha has put into this keyboard. Check out the CP-80 (I used to own one…) I haven’t found a better rendition anywhere else!

    Once again, make sure you invest in as excellent quality studio speakers as possible (see my setup above for example in a previous post) to hear the fine nuances of sound from this most amazing digital piano that doesn’t sound digital! A lot of discovering the CP1 comes from experimentation, but yes you need to know the principals at work in the sound ‘chain’ and how they interact. Thankfully Yamaha has made this chain easily accessible and visually user friendly. The CP1 is an excellent combination of simple, intuitive interface with powerful tweakable parameters below.

    Hope that helps! All the best discovering this amazing CP1 digital piano!


  113. Effenix (Holland) Says:

    Hi Michael and happy new year to all. I am glad I don’t hear the wrong things. As I told before I own a CP1 and Motif XF7 and I love to play both of them.

    I did not read your piece the correct way so we both agree that the CP1 is amazing and the Motif, in a different way, is also (for me) 1 of the best synths today.

    You wrote “To my understanding, the CP1 and CP5 acoustic pianos are supposed to be identical (are they not?) as well as the keyboard action.” and a lot of people on other forums agree to this statement. Personally I agree about the action but I just be amateur player so I let the profs just the action but as the sounds are concerned I don’t think they are identical. I think I can hear much more dynamic in the sounds of the CP1 compared to the CP5.

    So I find this strange that on many forums people don’t hear the difference.

    Cheers Effie

  114. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hi CP1 owners,

    Here’s an interesting post I found about tweaking the CP1 acoustic piano to give it more “life”. I haven’t tried it yet but I intend to. It sounds very interesting. It’s posted by ‘kenchan’ on Dec 20-2010 from the following website:

    “over the weekend i programmed the CP1’s 2nd tone generator to sound the 2nd and 3rd string resonance effect on my piano sounds.

    one main weakness of the CP1 is the sample loop you can hear after the tone decays a little bit on the piano’s. (no issue on the EP’s). it’s an annoying lifeless loop. so wat i did was took the 2nd tone generator using the same piano as the 1st generator but ran a softer hammer setting at about 50% or less of the volume, made the keyoff and release so that it does not affect the 1st generator tone and finally, added chorus with slow speed. i detuned the 2nd generator a little bit and fine tuned the chorus and volume level until i was able to put some life in the loop without making it sound artificial or abrupt. it’s a very subtle touch but makes all the difference…. if you’re picky like me i suppose.

    took me like 2hrs to get it to where i was satisified but it sounds great now. :p im still working on the S6 sample as it has a more pronounced lifeless loop, but my main piano, the CF, sounds fantastic. :) i should’ve thought about this sooner. lol

    ofcourse i checked polyphony playing different passages repetitively hitting the same key, hitting one low note with damper pedal and playing a long arppegiation with pedal continuously down, etc. no issue.

    after playing with my VPiano (and the supernatural RD at the stores), that lifeless loop kept bugging me even more. roland did a great job on the decay on the RD’s.”



  115. Elbert Altice Says:

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  116. Gareth E (UK) Says:

    Hey Adrian n everyone

    I’ve got a real challenge for you.

    If I use Logic Pro version 9 (the latest) and also my Roland RD700NX.

    How do I get logic 9 to use the RD700NX as a sound generator for the outputted midi signal from Logic 9. I want to trigger the Brilliant grand or a tweaked Brilliant grand in my user area on the NX.

    Thus far I have managed to get Logic 9 to trigger the NX but it will only trigger 1 standard midi piano sound. However if i press midi on the NX and go to the label PC and change the value I can get some standard midi sounds(this is found by pressing midi and scrolling across, you can change the PC value from 0-127).

    I can not work out at all how to trigger the built in sounds. Surely this should be simple?

  117. Richard (in Seattle) Says:

    Michael (in toronto)
    I’ll be purchasing a CP-1 shortly and already own Pianoteq.
    Perhaps a little more information about Pianoteq?
    What piano were you using? (I have the PRo version.)
    Volume levels, etc.


  118. eric Says:

    can you assist? I have a yamaha 90ES which is crashing and may need to be replaced. i love the s700 sound and prefer it to the s6 offered in the 90sx replacement. would you recommend a C5 over a 90xs? I cant afford the C1. what piano is used for sampling? how much function is built in? thanks eric

  119. Slipstack (in Norway) Says:

    Hey fellow CP-1 owners.

    I bought a CP-1 a week ago, partly based upon the good reviews and rave found in this forum. I’ve played classical /contemporary music on lots of acoustic pianos/grand pianos & rhodes pianos over the last 30 years, although never professionally.

    Overall I’m greatly satisfied with the instrument. It has a fabulous dynamic, the keys suit my playing style perfectly, and the menus and controllers are – not easy or self-explaining, but – not too hard to understand and use either. The Electric piano sounds are fabulous, although not always quite “authentic”, to the ones they are supposed to replicate.

    But still am getting this sneaky feeling that it isn’t as great as I had expected it to be:

    1: The keys B4-D5 (and a few others) does give a noticeably louder tone than the ones below and above on the scale, and in some music peaces they just “scream out” so off volume, that for me it just spoils the music. I can’t for my bare life adjust only the affected keys (EQ or something), I have tried to look as deep as I get in the manual, but I can’t find any lead to how this can be adjusted.

    So my question is: Is there any way to adjust the volume/sensitivity/output of the keys individually?

    2: The key F4 is opposite: it is considerably weaker in sound than the adjacent keys, and has to be pressed harder to not disappear inbetween the rest.
    The question above also applies to this : Can the volume (gain) be adjusted individually?

    3: The [CP80 Studio] tuning below C2 seems to go more and more off scale the lower it gets. If I press the Bb0 key on any acoustic piano, and then switches to [CP80] setting, it’s very clear that the tone is nearly half a tone too low, and this makes it useless. Overall, the entire CP80 tuning below C2 seems to go more and more off scale the lower it gets.

    Can the piano presets be tuned individually, or parts of the keyboard be “stretched” :) ? (ok yes I know this is hard for me to explain, I want the A440 (or any given key) to be the anchor point, and the left side to be tuned lower, more and more towards the left, as it seems to get more and more out of scale.)

    4: What’s the trick to get the pitch wheel to work? The only sound is has any affect on is the preset wah-piano (on Bank C14), on all others it makes no difference at all. The Manual doesn’t mention any preset it doesn’t work on, so my question is: is this normal?

    5: Is there any way a key can be pressed and produce NO sound at all? This has been possible on every other piano I have ever played.

    6: And last: Seriously – when changing from one sound (program) to another, is it too much to ask for that it finishes the sound already played, and then switches setting? The half second full stop and silence between preset programs is such a party killer sometimes. I for one will tell Yamaha this loud and clear at any given chance – and anybody else who might consider buying the CP-1. This is not acceptable in 2011.

    OK, enough ranting from me, I really hope anyone can take the time to answer me, I seriously do want to love this piano, but I can’t just yet. Maybe it just needs a tiny adjustment or two, and I hope any of you wizards can help me a bit on the way.

    Thanks in advance for any answers.


  120. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    hello everyone,

    I’d love to answer in great detail, but I’m way too busy after moving residences… I miss my CP-1 so badly as I haven’t been able to unbox it yet! It’s been 3 weeks since the move and my studio is still in boxes everywhere! Can’t wait to get set up again in a bigger and better location!

  121. Michael (Toronto) Says:


    sounds to me like your speaker/room acoustics might possibly be off, producing an uneven frequency response? Speakers or room accentuating too many mids? Just a thought…


  122. Slipstack (in Norway) Says:

    Thank you for your reply Michael, I do start to believe you might be on the right track about this. I’m running the piano through a Bose L1 compact system ( ), I will try to add a tone match controller to it and hope I can fine adjust the annoying tones only. I’ll post the result here (within a week or so).


  123. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hi Slipstack, I wish I could sit you down to play my CP-1 with my Adam speaker set up (see above for details). I think you’d be shocked at how perfectly clear and even the frequency response is at all octaves! I’m not deeply familiar with the Bose product you’re using but my impression is that the Bose system is designed for “live” use. Most live PA systems have reasonable overall frequency response at the macro level, but I have yet to hear even high end live PA systems that can compete with quality studio monitors such as Adam at a micro level. Live PA speakers tradeoff ultra smooth frequency response in order to gain larger power handling capabilities. I did live sound for a few years and always used a spectrum analyser and 1/3 octave graphic EQ and parametric EQ’s to fine tune the myriad discrepancies in PA frequency response (mostly high end JBL systems). Using any type of “tone match controller” (i.e. EQ?) will only add more problems to an already deficient speaker system. You will introduce phase shifting into the signal with EQ as well as more noise in the signal path.

    My recommendation…. get yourself some good quality studio monitors and use balanced cables to set it all up… after all, you wouldn’t put economy tires on a Ferrari would you? Also pay attention to your acoustics as well.

    Best of luck… the smooth excellent sound is totally in the CP-1 waiting to get out clearly!


  124. Slipstack (in Norway) Says:


    • I tried headphones – the sound is even and perfect all over – which tells me the piano is good but my output/speaker system isn’t.

    • I tried cheap studio monitors (Edirol) – fairly good sound (for the price) but nowhere near good enough – lacks punch – and some odd artifacts still.

    • I tried mid/high range studio monitors (Roland DS-7, 60 watt bi-amp) – balanced cables – and finally every piece fell into place! It’s a whole new instrument!

    Even if it can’t match the bass and loudness of the Bose L1, the sound is so much richer at half the cost (of the L1) , that I switched immediately. No more artifacts, no notes screaming or partly muted. And with the right positioning of the speakers, I also get the same panning from left (bass) to right (treble) as I’m used to from an acoustic piano – and on some of the built in tremolo effects. This was completely missing from my mono Bose setup which gave me the sound from one point above my head. I had really underestimated the importance of this for a fully immersive playing experience. In a stage setting, it wouldn’t matter, but for home and practice use, it is crucial!

    So next step is to add a sub-woofer to get those few more dB from the bass octaves, and I’m ready to really start loving this terrific instrument. I can still turn down the treble on my Bose and use the analog output from the piano to play the lowest frequencies, it sounds terrific, but I have a feeling a dedicated sub will be better still.

    I have no doubt that buying even more expensive and powerful speakers would produce an even richer and “better” sound. Some professional studio musicians I’ve discussed this with did recommend Genelec speakers for a soft brilliant sound, not breaking my budget, but I will stick to my Rolands. I bet I could go on fine tuning the sounds and testing out different speakers, but for now I’d rather spend my time playing the CP1.

    Lessons learned:
    • PA systems belongs on stages, not in home studios.
    • A piano is a STEREO – not a mono – instrument

    Thanks for your input Michael, it was really helpful.

  125. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hi again Slipstack, I’m glad to hear you’re experiencing an improved sound with the CP-1!

    Sounds like the Roland studio monitors are sounding great (I’m not familiar with them). My only concern is with their somewhat low power output of 60 Watts. Be careful not to overdrive them, and yes I would definitely recommend adding a subwoofer. With the sub make sure you set the cutoff frequency quite low so as not to muddy up the low mid notes in the overall sound. Keep the subwoofer volume WAY DOWN! It should only be a subtle effect. Experiment until you’re happy with the consistency octave to octave. And don’t position the speakers too far apart (not much further than the ends of the keyboard) or you’ll experience a “hole” in the middle of the listening area. I actually added two smaller ADAM A5 speakers there with volume way down. BTW, if you’re budget allows, I would HIGHLY recommend the ADAM A5 as a superior lower budget main studio monitor!

    Enjoy your ‘emancipated’ CP-1!


  126. Michael (Toronto) Says:

    Hey everybody!

    I brought home a Roland RD700NX today! I was trying it in the store with my headphones and was quite impressed. I wanted to hear it in my studio and compare it side by side with the CP-1. The result of my early hours of testing was incredibly eye-opening! I did all sorts of auditions testing all the piano sounds and tweaking the velocity touch. AB’ing CP-1 and RD700. I love the string resonance on the roland and the very ‘lively’, ’stringy’, woody tone.

    There are three main categories of acoustic piano on the Roland: “Concert”, “Studio”, “Brilliant”. Concert is dark, woody and full of character. Studio is softer, smoother, smaller. Brilliant is very transparent yet can morph into an Antique piano or an amazing Bosendorfer clone!

    I could go on and on about the auditions. The roland electric pianos are good but a far cry from the depth of the CP-1 electric pianos. Both CP-1 and Roland were neck in neck as far as acoustic pianos go. As for the actions…. well the Roland feels much closer to a grand piano action. Yet I love the lighter, responsive action of the CP-1 as well.

    I’m keeping them both by the looks of things. Each contributes a whole piano world of it’s own and the Roland has a lot of other excellent sounds as well. The CP-1 has the best CP-80 piano as well. Having two excellent 88 note weighted keyboards will be great. I can play piano duets with a friend and the pianos can have their own differing and complementing tones.

    I highly recommend the Roland RD700NX for it’s excellent pianos and touch. I also praise the CP-1 for it’s excellent pianos and unique feel (and awesome E. pianos). I also ordered the 3-pedal unit for the roland as well.

    Can’t tell you all enough about how heavenly this experience has been. BTW, I played the Ivory samples with both keyboards and the roland touch gives Ivory that real authentic feel for the Steinway and Bosendorfer. I emphasize that you MUST use good quality studio speakers.

    Now, I must get my hands back on those keyboards!



  127. abomic Says:

    Hello ,

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    data base : videos , PDF , support , links , comments , tests etc….

    CP5 Yamaha – Tout savoir – Compil de liens utiles

    NEWS :
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    comments in french

  128. Ken Totman Says:

    Along with everything that appears to be developing within this particular area, many of your viewpoints are actually fairly exciting. On the other hand, I appologize, because I can not give credence to your entire plan, all be it stimulating none the less. It seems to us that your commentary are generally not completely justified and in fact you are your self not totally confident of the point. In any event I did take pleasure in reading it.

  129. Kristian Says:

    Bought a CP1 half a year ago. Sold it last week.
    I was amazed how dynamic this instrument is, and I was (and still is) kicked off how nice the rhodes sound is. (wurly-sound go home, CP80 good, DX7 good). The piano sounds are quite good, but the touch is too light for me. I couldn’t PLAY this instrument, I had to remember what I had under my fingers all the time instead of just playing. Though I might say: the feeling of the key surface is REALY nice. Does not feel like cheep plastic, and the wood on the sides is just a nice finish too. But the touch is too light! I used to have a RD700GXF and I loved the ‘escapement’ mechanism, but the so-called ivory key tops annoyed me. Actually I liked the sound of the roland, woody and dusty, all that a characterfull piano should have, but I’ve found out that an digital piano is not like the real thing, and a digital piano has to sound all-round, character-less and mainstream good, therefor I bought the yamaha. Now I’ve sold it again, and got back to my old yamaha GT2….usually not what you would use as a stage piano, but I used the money on rebuilding it to a movable thing. And I must say, the only touch in the digiworld thats a pianist worthy is that of the GT2. (you could probably also go for the new avant grands, but I happened to have the grand touch, and though it is less dynamic, I actually like the sound better).
    Last comment on the CP1: Best wannabe rhodes I’ve ever played!

Leave a Reply

I am a professional hobbyist when it comes to this.   Though my relationship with the piano began at a young age, I only recently pulled off the gloves to rekindle it and haven’t looked back since.   This was partly inspired by huge advancements in music production technology now available to all  – and from the comfort and privacy of your home!   I’ve never subscribed much to job titles so I won’t attempt to label my genre.  Besides, composing music mirrors life in that there are really only two ways to write a song: your way, and the wrong way. 

Thank you for your interest and encouragement.