In the world of piano MIDI controllers, the Kawai VPC1 has broken a ton of ground, and has widely been considered the most accurate MIDI controller available since its release. Kawai is a company that has focused exclusively on making acoustic and digital pianos for close to 100 years, which really comes through in the approach they took for the VPC1. The action in the controller is Kawai’s RM3 Grand action; which offers 88 full-length/full-size keys made of spruce wood. In other words, the keys in this MIDI controller are identical in size and material to what you would find in an acoustic piano.
The instrument’s action has been praised extensively for its authenticity and MIDI output accuracy, to the point where even Ravenscroft now uses this action for their Ravenworks products.
The case on the Kawai VPC1 is also worth making mention of, as it’s completely free of knobs and buttons, and leaves the surface of the instrument free for a laptop, etc. (most MIDI controllers are packed with knobs and buttons)
Long story short – if you’re a pianist looking for as piano-like and articulate a MIDI controller for your studio work as is available, then your search will begin and end with the Kawai VPC1
Kawai’s Virtual Piano Controller; the VPC1, is arguably the world’s best/most accurate midi controller. The magic behind the VPC1 begins without question in it’s acclaimed RM3 Grand II, wooden key, grand piano action. Kawai’s offered the piano world with various incarnations of wooden-key keyboard actions over the years, but they’ve truly out-done themselves with the RM3 Grand II Action
In short, it has it all: 88 wooden keys with graded weighted hammers, ivory touch white key surfaces, let-off simulation, triple sensor key detection, and counterweights. It’s considered to have the best output of any midi device on the piano market today, and when you analyze the RM3 II Action – it’s no secret why!
The VPC1’s piano keyboard is truly a dream to play on; from the meticulous grading and weighting of the hammer action to the real wooden keys made of solid spruce (same material as acoustic piano keys), to the ivory-like key surfaces, Kawai has now brought the bar for software pianos and midi keyboard controllers far closer to that of native instruments (or acoustic pianos) than ever before seen or experienced.
Piano players and studio professionals also appreciate the built-in touch curve edits and internal memories that Kawai makes available with the instrument. Kawai builds in 5 of the most common pre-set touch curves into this software including: Normal, Ivory II, Pianoteq, Galaxy, and Alicia’s Keys; and past this, allows the musician to create their own custom touch curves and even adjust individual key velocities right in this software!
One of the great things about a MIDI controller is that the musician gets to select their own sounds/tones to use with it once they get it hooked up to their computer (via a single usb cable by the way).
The instrument also comes with access to Kawai’s “VPC Editor Software”, which is essentially Kawai’s own virtual piano software, through which the player can among other things, select which touch curve to apply to their midi controller. The VPC Editor is compatible with both Windows and Mac devices
Connectivity-wise, the VPC1 has fantastic Standard MIDI connectivity (both MIDI In hand MIDI Out) and a Computer USB port. Also worth mentioning, is its very low power consumption: 1.0W if USB Bus powered and 3.0W if AC Adaptor powered.
The VPC1’s case design, in particular, should be mentioned; although it may look like a stage piano from afar, the VPC1 actually has only one button on its entire case and is 100% clutter-free. The lack of knobs, buttons, and faders allows musicians to set their laptops or other devices right on the VPC1 without affecting usability at all. This professional midi controller also comes equipped with Kawai’s F-30 Triple Pedal system, which is the same high-quality 3 pedal unit that they make available for their stage pianos, and features a damper pedal, soft pedal, and sostenuto pedal for added concert grand piano realism.
The VPC1 also includes a USB cable, music rest, and a power supply. Note: headphones and keyboard stands are sold separately.
The virtual piano playing experience in the Kawai VPC1 is in a league of its own, with neither Roland nor Yamaha really producing a competitive product at this time
The Kawai VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller is the creme-de-la-creme of midi controllers on today’s market and should be at the very top of the wishlist for professional musicians and recording studios who refuse to sacrifice piano authenticity, period. If you’re in need of a digital/studio instrument and have a background of playing acoustic pianos, then this is the midi controller for you!
Here at Merriam Music, we have chosen some of the best current Kawai models to add to the offerings in our digital piano showroom.