We say it often, but it’s worth repeating; if a Kawai piano is within your budget, it’s worth serious consideration.
In our Kawai KDP75 review, we’ll discuss how it sounds, feels, and looks.
We’ll also talk about who it suits most and why it’s one of our best digital pianos under $1000.
Our verdict on the Kawai KDP75
The KDP75 might not be a flagship model, but in its price range, it delivers outstanding quality. Having the sound of a Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand in a compact unit and under $1000 is pretty incredible.
It’s not the most feature-packed piano, it’s not the most well-rounded instrument, but as a pure piano, it will compete with anything that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars.
Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging sound technology keeps getting better, and it’s really something special. No matter how good a digital piano sounds, it’s difficult to capture the dynamics of a real piano, but that’s where the KDP75 shines.
The bottom end gives you a real feeling of weight where other digital pianos sound a little too thin to emulate those heavier hammers. The same can be said for the high range, which is light and articulate.
The star voice is the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand, and we consistently find it to be one of the best (if not the best) of any manufacturer.
Other acoustic piano voices, including Mellow Grand and Modern Piano, provide a nice blend of darker and brighter tones.
The KDP75 offers 15 sounds in total (four acoustic pianos), including Jazz Organ, Strings, Harpsichord, and more.
The thing about the other sounds is that, while they are very good, you can find similar ones elsewhere for less money.
If versatility is what you are after, the KDP75 might not be for you; this one is all about the stunning piano sound.
We would comfortably say that, outside of Kawai, you’d need to spend a lot of money to top this flagship sound.
The KDP75 has a max polyphony of 192 notes, getting into advanced territory.
The KDP75 comes with a pair of built-in 4.7″ speakers with two 9 W amplifiers.
We have gone a little low on the score here, and it’s not because the speakers are particularly bad. They are absolutely fine and probably won’t raise any complaints.
Our score reflects the fact that some far cheaper digital pianos offer the same or better in this area.
With any Kawai piano, acoustic or digital, it’s fair to say we expect an authentic feel.
The KDP75 is the entry-level model, which means it does lack some of the refineries of the more expensive options. However, it comes with graded hammer-action keys and matte key surfaces.
As always, graded hammer-action is more authentic, but the weight of each key still has to be accurate, and we feel Kawai has got it right here.
Even as an entry-level model, the weight of the keys is significant enough to make the player feel like they have to work for their sound.
That’s not the same as saying it’s difficult to play; it’s about getting that push and pull between pianist and piano.
The matte key surfaces are a nice touch, not just to give a premium feel but also to provide additional grip when needed.
The Kawai KDP75 should be purchased for its pure piano experience more than its feature set. But, it does have a few noteworthy features for players of all levels.
Modernized sliding key cover
It’s a pretty basic feature but worth mentioning because it looks great and keeps the dust off your keys.
Low Volume Balance
One of the great things about a digital piano is that you can lower the volume when others are tired of hearing you practice.
The downside is that you often lose some expression and dynamics. This feature brings more balanced performance to lower volumes to avoid losing those vital characteristics.
The KDP75 supports the latest versions of the PianoRemote and PiaBookPlayer apps. They offer remote control of functions, practice songs, and tutorials between the two.
The Virtual Technician also allows you to tweak the setup of your piano.
Like most digital pianos, the KDP75 comes with a few modes, including Dual and Four Hands modes.
Whether you need to layer sounds or share the keyboard with a teacher/student, it’s all here.
In addition to the Low Volume Balance feature, there are six reverb types and brilliance effects to ensure the most authentic performance.
The built-in three-track recorder lets you capture up to 10,000 notes.
As we always say, recording your progress for critical listening is an essential (and overlooked) part of learning.
Enhanced Spatial Headphone Sound and EQ
Playing in headphones is great if you want some practice privacy, but it’s not typically the most natural way to listen.
This feature helps the sound reach your ears less forcefully, closer to how it would if you were hearing it in the room.
Classical lesson songs
In addition to the PiaBookPlayer app, the KDP75 features some classical lesson songs that focus on building techniques.
We really want to score this piano higher because it’s so lovely to play.
Not all players want the same thing from a digital piano, and we have to consider that when scoring.
There are very few controls to get used to and only 15 voices to navigate, so basic use should be easy for anyone. The same applies to built-in functions, effects, and so on.
If you are after an authentic piano experience, our score would be around.
The sound, keyboard feel, and the realistic three-pedal unit make it a dream for serious pianists.
Our score would be aboutif you want a versatile all-rounder with many features.
So, here we are somewhere in the middle, which seems fair.
If there is one area where you can see a significant difference between entry-level and high-end Kawai models, it’s the build quality.
At first sight, the KDP75 won’t strike you as being more robustly built than any similarly-priced competitor, and that’s probably about right. It’s not solid enough, even if not as substantial as some more expensive models.
However, one thing we can say about the KDP75 is that it is a fantastic-looking piano. It has a real elegant and minimal style that not every piano in its class can offer.
There isn’t too much to report here: the KDP75 provides USB (Type B) and two headphone outputs (1/4″ and 1/8″).
Compared to other digital pianos
While we love the KDP75, there are many great digital pianos out there. Here are a few to consider.
Kawai KDP75 vs. Korg LP-180
We placed the LP-180 higher than the KDP75 in our best under $1000 list, but there’s a catch.
We don’t think it’s a better piano overall, but it’s significantly cheaper, and we can’t ignore that value for money.
Kawai KDP75 vs. Casio PX-870
There will always be a Privia piano to talk about, and this one is great. For us, the piano sound hasn’t quite caught up with that of the Kawai yet.
Kawai KDP75 vs. Yamaha YDP-103
Some players like to stick with a certain brand, and if you like Yamaha, this is an ideal starting point. Absolutely rock-solid features at a reasonable price.
Who is the Kawai KDP75 best suited for?
We want to say it’s great for anyone, but realistically, it’s more suited to serious pianists of all levels. In other words, players who don’t care about lots of sounds or functions.
- Incredible flagship piano sound.
- Outstanding keyboard feel.
- Multiple apps.
- Built-in recorder.
- Limited connectivity.
- Somewhat limited features.