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#1779455 - 10/29/11 04:34 PM A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36
Sumsar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/11
Posts: 33
Hello there!

The two first weeks have passed since my Kawai CL36 arrived, and after many hours by the instrument, I'm ready with my personal verdict: The Kawai CL36 is a terrific digital piano with a lot of pros and only a very few cons.


Let's begin with the clear pros:

- Amazing ivory touch keyboard with the RH Action taken directly from the more expensive CN series and the MP6

- 15 wonderful and rich sounds, 96-note polyphony and Kawai's second best sound source, Progressive Harmonic Imaging (PHI). I really like every single sound

- Nice and easy-to-use 1 track/3 song recorder function

- Harmonious and powerful built-in speaker system with a total output power of 30 watts

- Very nice and space-saving furniture cabinet design

- Reasonable price



And then the few cons:

- Limited selection of sounds

- An a little annoying sound when pressing down a key and then letting go

- The lack of connection possibilities (No Line Out and no USB etc)


I don't hope that I've forgot anything essential in my little review :-)


All in all: I'm exceedingly happy about my CL36, and I'd highly recommend this model to everyone who wants a simple but extremely playable, efficient and space-saving digital piano!


Kind regards
Sumsar

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#1779575 - 10/29/11 08:31 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9141
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Congrats on your new piano Sumsar!

I think that's a pretty fair mini-review.

A year or so ago I remember being called into play-test a CL36 prototype during a product development meeting.
"James, try playing that prototype a little...what do you notice?".
I sat down and began playing some funk/soul chords, keeping an ear out for anything strange...but there was nothing.
"Maybe I'm missing something, but there's nothing I can really fault" I said.
"Exactly!" he said "...It's a great sound, huh? It's almost too good for that price!"

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1779667 - 10/30/11 12:26 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
Wayside Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/11
Posts: 27
Loc: Australia
I like my CL36 too, particularly the very nice and solid keyboard action at a reasonable price.

James, if you happen to read this could you let me know whether there are visual representations of the CL36's touch settings available? I think (from memory) the MP6's more extensive velocity curve options are shown in its manual but there's no similar section in the CL36 manual. I tend to use the 'normal' option but it would be handy to have a clear understanding of the built-in velocity curves when matching the keyboard to velocity maps in software pianos.

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#1779682 - 10/30/11 01:30 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9141
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Wayside,

The touch curve illustrations in the MP6 owner's manual (and other owner's manuals) are relatively general representations of each touch curve. I don't believe they are intended to provide an accurate portrayal of how each touch curve responds.

Regarding software pianos, I believe some packages (such as Ivory) allow you to define the maximum and minimum velocities, and then adjust the 'roundness' of the curve. When trying this, I would stick with the default (Normal) touch curve on the CL36, in order to maintain one constant variable, and to avoid having to set the velocity curve each time you turn on your CL36 (no memory store function, unfortunately...)

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1779695 - 10/30/11 02:00 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
Ovidiu M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/10
Posts: 196
Loc: Romania
Originally Posted By: Sumsar
Hello there!

The two first weeks have passed since my Kawai CL36 arrived, and after many hours by the instrument, I'm ready with my personal verdict: The Kawai CL36 is a terrific digital piano with a lot of pros and only a very few cons.


Let's begin with the clear pros:

- Amazing ivory touch keyboard with the RH Action taken directly from the more expensive CN series and the MP6

- 15 wonderful and rich sounds, 96-note polyphony and Kawai's second best sound source, Progressive Harmonic Imaging (PHI). I really like every single sound

- Nice and easy-to-use 1 track/3 song recorder function

- Harmonious and powerful built-in speaker system with a total output power of 30 watts

- Very nice and space-saving furniture cabinet design

- Reasonable price



And then the few cons:

- Limited selection of sounds

- An a little annoying sound when pressing down a key and then letting go

- The lack of connection possibilities (No Line Out and no USB etc)


I don't hope that I've forgot anything essential in my little review :-)


All in all: I'm exceedingly happy about my CL36, and I'd highly recommend this model to everyone who wants a simple but extremely playable, efficient and space-saving digital piano!


Kind regards
Sumsar


Hey, nice review and nice DP. Could you elaborate exactly what sounds are in the CL36? I would be interested too...

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#1779710 - 10/30/11 03:41 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Kawai James]
Wayside Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/11
Posts: 27
Loc: Australia
Thanks James for getting back to me so promptly on a Sunday!

As you note, the software pianos usually give good control over velocity mapping and I have all the adjustments I need so it's not an issue.

I was mainly wondering about the general nature of the CL36's curves as I've found the velocity curve modificatons needed between the middling/normal touch response options on it and a Casio Privia PX130 to be quite large (but then again, the Privia's action is significantly lighter as well).

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#1780398 - 10/31/11 09:45 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
piazzetta Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/11
Posts: 6
Hello,
Thanks for the nice review.
I have my Kawai CL 36 for some ten days now. I like the key action, but I am not quite content with the sound. Several keys make a strange, muffled sound, different from the others.
And there is a serious problem: even after releasing, some keys continue to produce sound (decay for 10-20 seconds) just as if they were still pressed!
The key-noise that you mention (pressing and releasing, returning) often annoys me. I suppose this is not an issue that could be solved, it is common to all DPs. (However I do not understand why this should be so.)
The dealer was very helpful, came to my place, noticed and acknowledged the problem with the decay immediately. He promised to replace the DP with either another CL 36, or with any other model of Kawai or Yamaha. I have not made my decision yet.
I will test play the CN23 (again) and maybe the CN33 in the store, but currently I think of sticking with the CL 36. Hopefully, I will not discover new problems with the new one when I get it.

As I'll be using headphones almost exclusively, I also bought a pair of AKG 601s. When I connected them to the DP (together with my old Sennheisers, in order to compare them), in three seconds the right channel of the AKGs stopped working. I returned them. It seemed that the DP was to blame for the breakdown. BTW: the AKG 601s were wrong choice anyway: I turned the volume up, but the sound was still not loud enough (120 ohms, very hard to drive).

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#1780404 - 10/31/11 10:18 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3815
Loc: North Carolina
We've been reading on the board a large number of distinct complaints about the quality of Kawai pianos, even concerning the high-priced models. These complaints are not for trivial or cosmetic issues. They concern major functional failures.

With Rolands, we've read about the "dandruff" problem, but little else.
With Yamahas, not many complaints.

So what's up with Kawai? The frequency of serious quality problems is enough to put me off Kawai completely.

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#1780425 - 10/31/11 11:04 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
macbug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 80
Loc: Vancouver
I'm assuming you guys have tried resetting the piano's settings to factory default? The symptom you are describing sounds quite bizarre

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#1780457 - 10/31/11 11:53 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: macbug]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2356
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: macbug
I'm assuming you guys have tried resetting the piano's settings to factory default? The symptom you are describing sounds quite bizarre


The sustain problem sounds a bit like maybe the middle pedal is sticking.

I don't know of any piano keyboard, digital or acoustic, that doesn't make some noise, except perhaps a synth/keyboard waterfall keyboard. The RH action on my CN33, which I think is the same as on your CL36, makes almost no noise with power off so when playing there's nothing at all (unlike some Roland's I could mention) so maybe yours has a defect?

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#1780458 - 10/31/11 11:54 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: MacMacMac]
Ovidiu M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/10
Posts: 196
Loc: Romania
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
We've been reading on the board a large number of distinct complaints about the quality of Kawai pianos, even concerning the high-priced models. These complaints are not for trivial or cosmetic issues. They concern major functional failures.

With Rolands, we've read about the "dandruff" problem, but little else.
With Yamahas, not many complaints.

So what's up with Kawai? The frequency of serious quality problems is enough to put me off Kawai completely.


I was thinking the same thing just before i've read your post. I was seriously thinking about CL36 for a while now and drooling about CA63 in the future but im just scared of the myriad of issues reported around here and the fact that my "local" kawai dealer is far away. I guess i'll stick with yamaha.

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#1780694 - 10/31/11 05:52 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9141
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
I agree that there have been more 'problem' reports about Kawai digital pianos recently than I would like to see. However, I would argue that around half the topics posted to this forum are related to subjective complaints - i.e. the piano not behaving quite to the individual's expectations, for whatever reason - rather than specific problems.

And on those occasions where a problem clearly does exist, the dealer should be able to efficiently resolve the issue or provide a replacement instrument.

I honestly don't believe Kawai instruments have any more problems than Roland, Yamaha, Casio, Korg, etc. - regardless of what posts on this forum might suggest.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1780712 - 10/31/11 06:48 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Kawai James]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3572
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Kawai James

I honestly don't believe Kawai instruments have any more problems than Roland, Yamaha, Casio, Korg, etc. - regardless of what posts on this forum might suggest.



I think that's right. If anything it shows how many people are liking them if they are purchasing them and getting a chance to complain about them. Given the obvious deficiencies in Kawai's distribution network compared to Roland and Yamaha, the level of representation of Kawai products is very high on this forum. Kawai certainly have a reputation for supporting their products too.

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#1780917 - 11/01/11 05:01 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
wuxia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 106
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
I recently bought my CL36. I'm quite happy with it but I have two issues to mention. First on ConcertGrand1 the overtones with the sustain pedal on are overwhelming, there's just too much sound and that's with the reverb set to room setting if it is set to hall or studio you can barely make out the tone with the sustain pedal on. Second is the times the keys don't make sounds - for example when you attack the key really slowly at the beginning and just before it hits the floor you try to accelerate sometimes it doesn't make a sound. I don't know if this is normal, I'm quite new to digital piano's touch technology. Also I think the best sound is the harpischord with room reverb.
_________________________
https://soundcloud.com/pizhama

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#1780965 - 11/01/11 07:27 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: wuxia]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2356
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: wuxia
I recently bought my CL36. I'm quite happy with it but I have two issues to mention. First on ConcertGrand1 the overtones with the sustain pedal on are overwhelming, there's just too much sound and that's with the reverb set to room setting if it is set to hall or studio you can barely make out the tone with the sustain pedal on. Second is the times the keys don't make sounds - for example when you attack the key really slowly at the beginning and just before it hits the floor you try to accelerate sometimes it doesn't make a sound. I don't know if this is normal, I'm quite new to digital piano's touch technology. Also I think the best sound is the harpischord with room reverb.

Have you tried adjusting the keyboard Touch and also the Damper Effect settings?

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#1780967 - 11/01/11 07:29 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
wuxia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 106
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
Yes, I use the heaviest touch possible - which has the greatest dynamic range. It's even worse on a lighter touch. I haven't messed around with the damper settings but I'm pretty much that it isn't going to affect the attack problem.
_________________________
https://soundcloud.com/pizhama

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#1781198 - 11/01/11 03:14 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: spanishbuddha]
piazzetta Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/11
Posts: 6
This problem of decay with released key starts all of a sudden as of g’’’ (key 77), everything below it is normal, including f ’’’. The other reason why I suppose it has nothing to do with the pedal is that the pedal gives a totally different sound. The decay I hear with released key is definitely the same that I hear when I hold down the same key and its duration is also the same. (If it were a PC, I would say this is a software problem.)

There is another unpleasant thing: some frequently used keys in the middle of the keyboard have a different, muffled sound that I do not like.

As regards key noise, my CL36 makes a knocking noise when pressing a key and another one when releasing it, the first one I hear even with headphones on my ears.
I will try the CN33 if possible, thank you, and also seriously consider buying a Yamaha (P155 ?).


Edited by piazzetta (11/01/11 03:56 PM)

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#1781205 - 11/01/11 03:24 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: macbug]
piazzetta Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/11
Posts: 6
It seems no need resetting the piano's settings to factory default in this case.
When one turns the Cl 36 off, all settings are lost and next time factory settings come back.

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#1781274 - 11/01/11 05:00 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: piazzetta]
Talaf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/14/11
Posts: 68
Originally Posted By: piazzetta
This problem of decay with released key starts all of a sudden as of g’’’ (key 77), everything below it is normal, including f ’’’. The other reason why I suppose it has nothing to do with the pedal is that the pedal gives a totally different sound. The decay I hear with released key is definitely the same that I hear when I hold down the same key and its duration is also the same. (If it were a PC, I would say this is a software problem.)


This is normal behavior. On real pianos, the higher keys have no dampers, and thus sound as if you had the pedal down. It adds presence and harmonics through sympathetic resonance :-)

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#1781295 - 11/01/11 05:46 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9141
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Indeed, this is often referred to as 'treble break'. It is intentional, and should be considered a good thing. However, you are not the first person to mistakenly believe this characteristic to be a software bug, so I will add a note to future DP owner's manuals explaining this 'problem'.

Originally Posted By: piazzetta
There is another unpleasant thing: some frequently used keys in the middle of the keyboard have a different, muffled sound that I do not like.


With which sounds? Note that not all instrument sounds in the CL36 utilise full 88-key sampling.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1781302 - 11/01/11 06:01 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Talaf]
piazzetta Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/11
Posts: 6
Thank you for the information.
I thought my piano was defective, but it was just like a real (acoustic) one.
So it does not matter if I like this behavior or not.
However, I find irritating this loud ringing of the g6 going on for 2-3 seconds while I continue playing.

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#1781313 - 11/01/11 06:21 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: piazzetta]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3572
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: piazzetta
Thank you for the information.
I thought my piano was defective, but it was just like a real (acoustic) one.
So it does not matter if I like this behavior or not.
However, I find irritating this loud ringing of the g6 going on for 2-3 seconds while I continue playing.


Just get over it - pianos are meant to do that.

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#1781586 - 11/02/11 06:21 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Kawai James]
piazzetta Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/11
Posts: 6
With which sounds? – The middle octave.

But in the meantime I noticed I had three DPs instead of one smile
One placed on a thick carpet (soft, muffled sounds), another one in the middle of the room, and a third one – the best one for me – on the wooden floor, close to the wall (10 cm). In the last case the sound is more defined and clear. However there are always notes that sound softer than the other ones, depending on the placement.
The difference is audible through headphones as well to a minor extent.
Could the manual in its next edition give ideas as regards placement?

Kind regards

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#1781590 - 11/02/11 07:14 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9141
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
That's a good suggestion, thank you.

I'm gradually rewriting all the Kawai DP owner's manuals from scratch, so I expect information about placement will find its way into the next CL3x model in the future.

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1784586 - 11/07/11 08:38 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Kawai James]
piazzetta Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/11
Posts: 6
Today I went back to the store, now with the sound of my CL 36 in the ear, to see how other DPs compare with mine. I used my old Sennheiser headphones.
• CN 23: same sound, same touch
• CN 33: almost the same sound; same touch
• CN 43: slightly different sound; same touch
• CA 63: different sound, light touch (RM3)
• KDP 80: very light touch, as if the keys were not weighted
• Yamaha YDP-161: sound is from another family; touch is different.


On all Kawais the middle octave is soft.
Key noise: these DPs make more or less the same key noise.
The CL 36 proved to be the best buy for me.

As regards headphones, I don t know which way to go.
The AKGs (at least the 601s, that I tried) are difficult to drive without an amp (that I would like to avoid if possible), they say the Sennheisers (500s, 600s) are also hard to drive.

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#1784744 - 11/07/11 02:02 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
zack! Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/30/11
Posts: 239
Loc: france
Actually by spec CA 63 and CN43 have 2*50W CN33 and CN23 have 2*20W speakers, CL-36 has 2*15W.
Action CA63 RM3, CN33 RH+tear-off, other RH
Sound CA63 UPHI, others PHI.
CL36 has really lot of value for the money...
Edit : CL26, is less interessant : 2*15W, no PHI, no RH...
BR


Edited by zack! (11/07/11 02:28 PM)

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#1972403 - 10/12/12 05:46 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
HDur Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/11/12
Posts: 1
Hi, I was just wondering if anyone has any ideas on which headphones are suitable (without needing an Amp.) for the CL-36. Or perhaps someone can give some info on suitable headphone specs.? I've read in another forum that 32 or 40 Ohm headphones don't work well. Would 50 or 55 Ohm be ok? I am totally clueless about headphones and the such.. It would really help if anyone can provide some info.. smile

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#1972483 - 10/12/12 09:21 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yes, 50 or 55 ohm headphones work fine with a digital piano or most any other jack. For high end headphones, those are low impedance (this range is becoming more popular in part because it can be used with good results without an amp). High impedance cans are typically in the 300-600 ohm range and benefit a lot from a headphone amp.

Now, there may be some benefits to having an amp with a 50 ohm set of headphones, but they definitely sound fine without it.


Edited by gvfarns (10/12/12 09:31 PM)

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#1972510 - 10/12/12 10:53 PM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: MacMacMac]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2630
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
We've been reading on the board a large number of distinct complaints about the quality of Kawai pianos, even concerning the high-priced models. These complaints are not for trivial or cosmetic issues. They concern major functional failures.

With Rolands, we've read about the "dandruff" problem, but little else.
With Yamahas, not many complaints.

So what's up with Kawai? The frequency of serious quality problems is enough to put me off Kawai completely.


Yes, I think you are right as my new Kawai CA95 doesn't sound quite right to me (with raspy, metallic buzzing notes) as I haven't really figured out if it is just the nature of the main "Concert Grand" sound, or, if it could be a fuzziness from the speakers / soundboard or maybe a cabinet vibration of some sort. The main piano sound is grating on my ears (with certain notes above middle C), so I try to mute this defect by using the "Mellow Grand" preset, instead.

Not happy with the main piano sounds on the CA95, although my cheaper Kawai EP3 actually sounds far better and has none of the fuzziness. The EP3 has great clarity in its piano tones, as the CA95 does not.

As for now, since I can't figure out how to clear up the fuzzy sounds on the CA95, I prefer the EP3. Did I waste 4K on the CA95?

What's up with that, in a flagship digital?

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#1972556 - 10/13/12 12:46 AM Re: A little review of a very efficient DP: Kawai CL36 [Re: Sumsar]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9141
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
pv88, please refer to my post in the correct thread:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1972554/Re:%20Kawai%20CA95%20-%20Raspy%20metalli.html#Post1972554

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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