Hands-On Review:Kawai CE200 and MP8II Digital Pianos

Featuring Kawai's world-famous touch and tone


Kawai brings over 80 years of experience in building fine acoustic pianos to the world of digital pianos. Their new CE200 Digital Piano and MP8II Professional Stage Piano use the latest generation of Kawai's critically acclaimed digital piano action, along with their own unique and proprietary sound technology to create remarkably realistic instruments.


Most piano players and teachers would agree that one of the most important aspects of any instrument is its touch, meaning how the keys feel as you play. The touch of the CE200 and MP8II is like no other because of Kawai's AWA PROII action, which uses real wooden keys and a special hammer mechanism. These extra long keys are uniquely balanced in the middle with all of the action parts, hammers, and weight at the back of the keys. The graded hammers then move in an upward motion from the back of the key. This is precisely the same movement found in Kawai's grand piano actions, and it is this combination of correct weight and movement that makes the action feel as close to an acoustic grand piano as it gets.


The superior piano tone of the Kawai CE200 and MP8II is accomplished thanks to Kawai’s exclusive Harmonic Imaging sound technology. Working with acoustic piano experts in Kawai's grand piano research facility, sound engineers digitally captured every nuance of Kawai's 9' EX Concert Grand piano. Harmonic Imaging allows for the faithful re-creation of that instrument's sound in the CE200 and MP8II pianos.




With its outstanding tone and touch; handsome rosewood finished cabinet; and included matching padded bench, three pedals, and sliding key cover, the CE200 piano is an extraordinary instrument. It also supplies a complement of other tones including contemporary and classic electric pianos, pipe organs, drawbar organs (complete with rotary speaker effects), strings, choir, bass, guitar, and more—that can be layered or split as the player sees fit. There's even a four-hands mode allowing for two identical 44-note keyboards in the same octave to be played. This is ideal for a teacher and student or two students in a teaching lab environment. The volume balance of a layer or split is easily adjusted using the volume slider found right on the front panel.



The recording sequencer features two tracks and can hold three songs. Polyphony is an impressive 96 notes. The CE200 has a built-in stereo sound system and there are also stereo audio outputs as well as stereo audio inputs. You can play in privacy by using one of two headphone jacks or interact with your PC via the MIDI or USB connections.


The Kawai CE200 is an incredible value for a beginner, home hobbyist, music educator, school, or church—basically anyone wanting superior quality, touch, and tone in an affordable and great-looking package.




The MP8II is the latest version of Kawai's award-winning line of professional stage pianos. Named a Key Buy by <i>Keyboard Magazine</i> and receiving numerous other industry accolades, Kawai's MP series has earned a reputation as a must-have piano for demanding professional pianists on-stage or in the studio.



The instrument packs an impressive 256 sounds. The 192-voice polyphony is tops in its class. There are four internal zones, meaning that up to four sounds can be played simultaneously in any layer or split configuration. Each zone has a realtime fader and on/off switch. Any zone can also be designated as external for controlling external keyboards, sound modules, or popular soft-synth packages.


The Kawai MP8II features a unique group of four control knobs. These knobs provide instant control over functions such as the built-in effects and reverbs, tone control parameters, or the instrument's global EQ. You can also use the knobs to transmit MIDI control change information to external devices. There are 256 user setups where you can save all of your sound and control settings for instant recall.


The instrument comes with a high-quality dual pedal assembly and attachable music rack. There's a full array of pedal and audio connections, along with MIDI jacks and USB ports. There's even XLR audio outs for direct connection to a recording console or sound system.


The Kawai MP8II continues Kawai's legacy of bringing the finest piano tone and touch, along with powerful controller functions, to a stage piano designed for the world's most demanding professional players.