I'm really struggling with making a decision here and I'd humbly appreciate some guidance!
Preface is, I'm not getting on well with the PHA-4 action of my Roland FP-30X. It feels slow and sluggish and I just don't enjoy using it. I liked it a lot at first as a beginner, and I can see why other people love it, but as my playing has grown I have found that it just doesn't work for me.
My use case is simple: home learning and fun, mostly Bach/Beethoven/Mozart. I use Pianoteq, so good MIDI controller performance is a must. I almost exclusively play with headphones via a Steinberg UR22C, so poor/absent onboard speakers are negotiable.
I'm increasingly less fussy about features (ie. my previous post about onboard USB audio return - it's a cool feature but I can live without it!), I just want light, responsive, enjoyable action. I'd prefer a nice looking upright console/furniture style too, but I'd settle for a portable on a wooden stand if I really have to.
I've tried the Kawai KDP120 and to my surprise, I preferred this cheaper action to the more expensive CN39 and CA49 with their more premium actions. It was a bit "boingy" but it was really a lot of fun to play. From what I understand this unit is essentially the same as the ES110 which seems to be well regarded for MIDI performance so I'm hoping it's the same situation here? I didn't like the heavier "grand feel" Kawais so much, but the RHIII (CN39) felt quite nice and I'm wondering whether my preference for the RHCII (KDP120) is naive and something I'll grow out of quickly.
I was apprehensive of Roland after my past experience, but to my amazement the PHA-50 actions I tried feel dramatically better and not heavy at all compared to the PHA-4. I'm wondering if anyone else has made this jump and not regretted it? And does it work well as a controller? I'm also not sure what the cheapest options are for no-frills PHA-50 action especially in a console form factor - the closest I can seem to find is the HP704, but this is more than double the price of the Kawai KDP120 which I don't mind, but it seems like it's mostly for features that I just don't need. I haven't had much luck finding an alternative and even the FP-90X is in the same price bracket. I'm happy to consider the HP704 if it's the best option - but it seems like overkill.
I tried the Korg D1, Yamaha P125 and P515 in lieu of their console counterparts, and even though they were much better actions than my current, sadly these didn't feel quite right for me.
So tl;dr: Would you recommend the Kawai KDP120 as a fancy-looking midi controller for an uncultured player? Is my phobia of Roland unfounded and should I splash out on something with PHA-50 action - if so, what?
Thank you in advance for entertaining my rambling and I will truly appreciate any anecdotes, suggestions or help you can give 🙏