Kawai ES-100 Review

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Digital pianos have become popular as opposed to traditional acoustic pianos due to their affordable prices, portability, ease of maintenance, and ever-improving technology for higher quality.

It is never too late to learn how to play music instruments. Adults can benefit from playing the piano, too, as playing the piano stimulates your brain. You may want to expose your children to music and are looking for an affordable piano.

Whatever reason may be, purchasing a traditional acoustic piano, spending over 10 thousand dollars sounds too risky as you don’t know how long you can continue learning or if you even like it.

Another reason why someone may want a digital piano is the size of the piano. If you live in a small apartment or even a house with smaller rooms, you may not have enough space to have a real acoustic piano. Digital pianos are light weight and smaller that it can fit in any room easily. It is easy to move from one room to another.

In such cases, a digital piano is a better choice. For less than $1,000, you can find a quality digital piano that suits your needs for now. A good example of such digital piano is this Kawai ES100 Digital Piano, which is portable and perfectly fine for beginners.

Kawai is a very trusted brand of piano manufacturer from Japan. You can see a slightly higher line of upright Kawai digital piano, Kawai KDP90 Digital Piano here.

Based on the overall value and quality of the digital piano, Kawai ES-100 digital piano is an excellent buy because of many features and outstanding sound. Kawai is a Japanese company known for its quality musical instruments. Kawai has a 90-year history in piano-making, winning numerous awards in excellence, which has given Kawai reputation for its superb quality and craftsmanship.

Based on their long history, Kawai has been developing digital pianos with superb touch, feel and tone.

Kawai has a wide range of digital pianos with the highest being a grand piano style digital piano, whose MSRP is about $22,000. This ES-100 model is an entry model among entry digital piano lines.

Features of the Kawai ES-100 Digital Piano

  • Harmonic Imaging™ Sound Technology
  • 88-Key Piano Sampling
  • Responsive Hammer Compact Action
  • 19 Sounds including 8 Piano Sounds
  • MIDI capability
  • Dual and Split Keyboard Modes
  • 192-Note Polyphony
  • Built-in Alfred Piano Lessons
  • Damper Pedal with Half-Dampering
  • Built-in Stereo Speaker System

Harmonic Imaging is Kawai’s own technology to produce most realistic sounds from a 9-foot grand piano.

Unlike digital pianos, real acoustic piano keys have hammers and strings attached to create sounds. Each key has different characteristics in its tones. Kawai samples each sound individually to create the sounds of digital pianos. Their method of sampling is called “progressive harmonic imaging (PHI),” utilizing a larger tonal database than regular imaging. It is impressive that each sound is sampled individually for a digital piano of this price range.  A lot of times, one out of few sounds is sampled and adjusted to make nearby tones, which is less expensive as you only need to sample every few notes, however, Kawai samples each note.

AHA IV-F (Advanced Hammer Action IV-F) is developed by Kawai to represent the distinctive touch of an acoustic grand piano. It can provide you with superior touch similar to when you play an acoustic piano in terms of response and how hard you press keys to produce your desired sound. Each key is graded appropriately. You can experience authentic feel whether you play in fortissimo or pianissimo.

This model comes with 19 voices from different types of pianos to string and harpsichord.

Alfred Publishing is helping people around the world learn how to play the piano and their lesson songs are built into Kawai digital pianos. Students can listen to the instructor playing a song and practice, following the course.

With a recorder system built-in, you can record your own performance and check progress or record your composition.


  • Superior sound
  • 88 weighted keys (More realistic playing experience)
  • MIDI capability
  • Half-damper-capable sustain pedal included


  • No USB port
  • No ivory keytop


The Kawai ES100 Digital Piano utilizes Kawai’s acclaimed Harmonic Imaging Sound Technology, featuring 88-key piano sampling, to create its impressive piano sound. With graded hammer action 88 keys, superior touch and feel of the keys, you can have similar experience as playing an acoustic piano. Although it does not have hundreds of voices, if the purpose is to practice piano, good piano sounds with 18 other voices with 100 rhythms available on this model are certainly more than enough. It is useful for learning how to play the piano, utilizing Alfred courses. Metronome is built-in, too for different tempos that you can practice. MIDI functions are equipped with for communication with computers, and headphone jacks allow you to listen to your performance if you need to practice at night.

This is a high quality digital piano with lots of features and definitely offers unbeatable values in this class.

You can check out other popular digital pianos, too, to compare how this model satisfies your needs.

Note: The ES-100 model was replaced by the successor, Kawai ES110 Digital Piano in early 2017. The ES-110 has all the features that ES-100 has with some upgrades on mainly in the addition of Bluetooth capability and dedicated stereo audio output.

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