The Kawai K200 is one of the most popular upright pianos we sell, and we thought it deserved a more in depth review to demonstrate where this popularity comes from. The K200 offers a cabinet size that works for smaller studios, and at the same time gives a very rich tone that works with all styles of music. It has high quality components and is constructed to the highest level of detail. In purchasing the Kawai K200, you are making a wise investment in a quality instrument that will give you years of satisfactory playing.
Under the lid
When taking a look inside this piano, it becomes very apparent where your investment is being made. At the heart of every piano is the soundboard, and the Kawai K200 features a soundboard made from straight-grained quarter-sawn solid spruce. Spruce has for centuries been the wood of choice for amplifying strings on an acoustic instrument; check any well respected violin for example, and you will see spruce being used. And just like fine violin production, every piece of spruce that features in a Kawai piano has been carefully treated and tested for structural rigidity before going anywhere near a piano. Only the best will do. In addition, every soundboard on a Kawai piano is placed under tension to create a slight curvature, or crown, which gives a huge increase in sound output.
The action of a piano is of equal importance to the soundboard and will often be a major factor in determining whether you choose a particular piano or not. An action needs to be responsive and return quickly, not just for fast passages but also for soft, delicate playing, where you need to feel several grades of touch within one key. Every Kawai piano now features Kawai’s much respected ‘Millenium III Upright Action’; this is a piano action constructed with a mixture of traditional woods and also ABS-Carbon Composite parts. ABS Carbon is much stronger and lighter than wood, allowing more energy to transfer from your finger tips to the hammers. The net result is a quicker, more responsive action. ABS Carbon also does not suffer from shrinking or swelling from humidity, adding a further level of stability to the overall piano construction.
The action also features Mahogany hammer mouldings which are lightweight and very responsive. This is an industry standard material for the finest piano hammers, and Kawai use Mahogany hammers on all the K Series Professional Upright Pianos. The piano keys feature Kawai’s NEOTEX surface material, which aims to replicate the natural textures of ivory and ebony. NEOTEX is designed to avoid cracking and fading over time, and absorbs the hand’s natural perspiration which can potentially cause slips while playing.
Tone and Touch
There are many pianists who would simply say at this point, ‘great, but what does it play like?’ We can safely say that all the aforementioned engineering and technology definitely works together to create a highly satisfactory playing experience. The Kawai K200 has warm tone that produces clarity in all registers, giving chiming bass, lyrical mids and sparkling trebles. Interestingly, you get a sense that there are several shades of tone available to you on every key, not just the same note but louder. This is particularly evident in the trebles, where the tone can be sparkling and defined with loud playing, but with softer quiet passages, the tone is more delicate and almost milky in quality.
The action is indeed very responsive and quick. There is hesitation calling it a medium action, as at times during faster passages it almost feels like a lighter touch piano. This is definitely a result of the Millenium III action’s construction and materials used. It is very satisfying to play and feel that you have a great range of touch and colour available at your fingertips. The NEOTEX surface does feel slightly different on first playing, but you quickly get used to it and appreciate the subtle level of control it makes available to you.
For its size and price, the Kawai K200 is one of the best pianos on the market. We can say that from a critical point of view, but also from a market perspective. Along with the Kawai K300, this piano is one that we a great deal of enquiries about, in part due to the reputation it has steadily built since being first introduced. If you are looking for an upright piano, we strongly recommend to come and visit us at our showroom, or if you simply want to ask a few questions then give us a ring for a chat on 01225 427 961