In the world of synthesizers, Kawai is usually not one of the first brands you hear of. Generally, the first synths you hear of are those made by major companies like Roland, Yamaha, & Moog. It can often be tough to give a new synth a chance, especially when it’s from a brand you haven’t heard of or know much about. However, in the case of the Kawai MP11SE keyboard, it is definitely one of the keyboards worth mentioning this year. Why? Because it is truly excellent in almost all facets in which a synth can be excellent in. Combining its performance, portability, functions, and overall style, you really get one of the best synthesizers of the year.Check Price On Amazon
At first glance, it is very easy to be intimidated by the layout of the Kawai. Similarly to the Yamaha Montage 8, this synth has a boatload of features and functions to play with. Because of this, the dash is loaded with buttons, knobs, and interactive keys. Fortunately for us, the MP11SE somehow put it all together in a way that makes sense and is not too difficult to get the hang of. If you’ve had any prior experience with professional keyboards, you’ll face no issues getting the hang of this product. The keyboard itself feels good, as the keys have a nice solid (but not clunky) stop at the bottom. The black keys tend to have a slippery surface (especially when new). This can obviously pose as a big problem to many musicians and artists but as with most things, there are ways around it.
Other than the slight drawback of the keys being slippery, there is not much to complain about when it comes to the layout of the MP11 second edition. It is very premium-feeling, just like you’d expect from a synthesizer of this calibre. The weight of the keys is just right, and the fact that you get so many different functionalities with the system makes it that much better. As a stage piano, they just don’t get much better than this. Yes, it has been noted fairly often that the keyboard is on the heavier side but when considering the true nature of where this synth is meant to be used, the weight is fairly average.
Now, this is clearly the biggest selling-point of the Kawai. Few keyboards I’ve reviewed have even come close to comparing with the MP11 second edition, at least when it comes to this element. It gives you the sensation that you are playing a real instrument and not a digital toy like you might feel with other synthesizer keyboards. Now, you can’t truly replicate the acoustic piano experience regardless of what anyone tells you. However, you can’t really get much closer to that when using a synthesizer so that is also what makes it quite special and unique from other products. The sound bank with other instruments will produce some stranger-sounding sounds, but the vibraphone and bass guitar sound fairly decent, at least to us.
The greatest strength of the Kawai MP11SE is very clearly the fact that it brings you as close as you can get to a genuine “instrument” without actually having one. Now, is there serious competition for this product? Absolutely. The Montage series from Yamaha and Moog Sub Phatty are obviously pretty tremendous themselves, and you can never talk about synths without mentioning Korg. Still though, the product we have here is really in the top-tier when it comes to this category of synthesizers. It is convenient, reliable, portable (when compared to its “competition”) and sounds fantastic.
Having a nice-sounding synthesizer is obviously great, but when you don’t have features to play with it kind of dulls the entire experience. Thankfully, that’s not something we have to worry about when it comes to this product. It is absolutely loaded with functionalities and there are so many things to do with it. Some of the features include:
- Class-leading Grand Feel wooden-key keyboard action
- Stunning SK-EX, SK-5, and EX acoustic grand piano sounds
- Strong selection of realistic electric pianos and other sounds
- Wide variety of Virtual Technician sound editing parameters
- Intuitive panel with independent sound sections and effects
Overall – Is The Kawai MP11SE Worth It?
Look, there are obviously a ton of choices for you to choose from in the world of synthesizers and instruments in general. Speaking from experience, not all synths are worth buying. In fact, I’d argue that most synthesizers on the market are not priced fairly. However, that is not something that can be said about the Kawai MP11SE. Considering its craftsmanship, some might even say that the product is underpriced. It should also be noted that the second edition MP11SE has been relatively hard to find for many people as it is a rare product. If you do get the chance to get your hands on this keyboard and you know what you want out of a synth, you should certainly consider purchasing it.