Kawai CA95 has arrived

Posted by: pv88

Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/22/12 09:03 PM

My new Kawai CA95 did finally arrive today (on Saturday morning) and as soon as I sat down to test it out (after delivery) I noted a creaking noise in the cabinet when depressing the pedals, and, I thought... a brand new piano, so why is it doing that?

It wasn't until later in the evening that the fix immediately occurred to me, i.e., as follows:

Pedal support bolt... which has to lowered by hand to the floor under the pedal assembly, to give added stability. If you don't do this you risk damage to the assembly as it tends to bend from the pressure.

Most console digitals have this feature, as I have even advised others about doing this (Zachary I believe, with his AvantGrand N1), and, now I completely forget to do this, myself. Also, the delivery guys did not remember to check the pedal screw either after setting the piano in place, aside from plugging in the power cord.

Also, it looks like a few keys (in the bass area) have slightly uneven gaps in the spacing, although this probably won't be an issue when playing, however, I did call the store right away as someone will be coming out to check the keys anyway, next Tuesday.

The repair tech won't have to fix the cabinet noise since I have already made the pedal support bolt adjustment.

Extra note:

No pictures are available since I do not have a camera, although I can say that the new CA95 is now sitting right next to my Roland V-Piano which will be very interesting to compare the two, side-by-side.

Aside from a brief test after delivery have yet to sit down and play it...
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/22/12 10:14 PM

Congratulations on your new piano pv88!

I'm a little surprised that the delivery guys overlooked to adjust the pedal support bolt. Note that this is an important step, as noted in the 'Setting up the piano' section on page 14 of the owner's manual:



Regarding slight differences in key spacing, this can occur with wooden-key actions as the key itself sits on a central balance pin and front guide pin, rather than 'snapping' into place as with a plastic key action.

I look forward to reading your comments after you've had more time to play the piano.

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted by: pv88

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/23/12 04:15 PM

Now that I have had the chance to play the CA95, here are my detailed impressions when comparing it to the Roland V-Piano:

1) SOUNDS:

Since sounds are generally a very subjective topic among players I can say that I do like Kawai's EX "concert grand" especially when adding more "reverb" and "decay time" to them, as the samples are nice and long. Appears that the decay time is excellent although it still doesn't match the V-Piano in this regard. Also the looping of sustained notes seem to be masked fairly well as it is difficult to hear although there might be a trace of some pulsing that I am picking up that is noticeable when the volume is up higher and "decay time" is extended. Looping has been minimized to a pretty good degree.

As for the soundboard, it is really impressive when you select an acoustic "bass" preset for example as the lower notes really vibrate the piano and the room, physically speaking. There is also vibration at the fingertips and even through the sustain pedal when the volume is up between three quarters and maximum. However, in comparison with my V-Piano (which is hooked up to Klipsch Promedia 2.1 speakers with subwoofer) the V-Piano still sounds a little better as for an outstanding bass end and the sheer clarity of the upper treble range, primarily. There is 200 watts total power with the Klipsch (on the V) as opposed to 135 watts in the CA95, although I feel the Kawai does a little better job with reverb effects over the V-Piano's "ambience" feature. The CA95's sounds are more enveloping and less directional as compared to the Klipsch speakers.

2) ACTION:

A) Weight:

As for the new "Grand Feel" wooden keys this is the best feature since the feel is substantially weighted (not too light) and offers a little more resistance than the V-Piano, since the V-Piano action responds with a little less effort under the fingers. The CA95 has the more authentic grand piano feel of the two due to the weight, although this is my subjective opinion. Also, I like the bottom out feel better on the CA95 over the V-Piano as it is softer and makes less noise in the thunk as well.

B) Triple sensor response:

As for speed of repetition with repeated notes I think that I like the way the V-Piano responds over the CA95, even though they both have triple sensor actions. The V-Piano just feels easier to play as it seems to take a little more work to get the action going on the CA95. It is interesting to note that the CA95's action doesn't appear to handle repeated notes quite as efficiently as the V-Piano, although this might just be that I have been playing the V-Piano more regularly over the newer Kawai.

3) KEY TOPS:

And, I was very pleased to see that the "Ivory Feel" keys on the CA95 are definitely on a par with the Casio AP-620, having a smooth and glossy surface both in appearance and texture, whereas the V-Piano has a slightly grainy and rubbery feel. It is remarkable that the CA95's keys look and feel nearly identical to the Casio AP-620's keys, in the surfaces. So, those folks that already like Casio's "Ivory Feel" keys should like the CA95's! As for just feel alone the Kawai wins out for me, over the V-Piano.

Now in the end, which piano do I prefer, of the two?

V-Piano... again, this is a subjective choice.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/23/12 05:50 PM

Thanks for your review, pv! I've been hoping you would give us an idea of how you feel about these pianos after owning them. You might be the person with the most experience owning DP's that I know!

I'd be a little curious about how you feel about the sounds of the Kawai through your external speakers. I've often thought the shape of digital pianos necessitates suboptimal speaker placement: low down and shooting into your legs instead of your ears.

Thanks for commenting on those triple sensors too. We've observed people in the past saying that the V has such an easily repeating action it almost spoils you for the real thing. I'd be interested to know how you feel the CA95 compares to a more average action like your EP6, for example. You may not necessarily be up for it, but I'd actually like to read a complete comparison of those two Kawai models based on your experience if you were every in the mood to write one.

It's very interesting that the Kawai and Casio ivory feel stuff is so similar. I'm not sure I've really felt either one of them. I need to get back out to a piano store that carries them. Unfortunately the nearby store carries only Yamaha and Roland, no Kawai or Casio.
Posted by: pv88

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/23/12 06:39 PM

@gvfarns,

Yes, I was pleasantly surprised in finding out how similar the "Ivory Feel" key surfaces are, between the CA95 and Casio AP-620. Same off-white color with a glossy appearance and a very smooth non-textured feel.

As for comparing the CA95 to the EP3 it would appear that the actions are both very good as I would give the better response to the CA95. However, the EP3 sounds more realistic with the top facing speakers especially when using the reverb setting. There is a "live" vibe (or, presence) there that even the CA95 doesn't quite catch. Even though the EP3 has only 26 watts of sound, there are a total of six upward facing speakers on the top of the keyboard. It is not nearly as resonant in the bass end as the CA95 (with its powerful soundboard) although if you only had $1,100 to spend (and not $4K, as with the CA95) then you still have a decent sounding piano in the EP3. It was after having bought the EP3 first that I decided to go ahead and get the flagship, since the EP3 represents the basic Kawai "EX" concert grand sampling, and, I knew the CA95 would simply improve itself on those sounds and features. And, it is how the player perceives the sound he is hearing (from the speakers) that goes a long way towards getting an acoustic-like authenticity from those sounds.

Also, you are correct that the sound from the external speakers in the CA95 emanate from below and out of the back of the cabinet, or, soundboard. The sound from my Klipsch speakers (on the V-Piano) are closer to ear level and you can turn them at any angle you want for optimal sound. I have the subwoofer sitting below the keyboard under the far left side on the bass end (against the metal stand brace) which adds vibration to the piano when playing bass notes. It is physically correct to hear bass sounds from the left side of the piano where the bass strings would be, in a grand.

And, the Roland V-Piano's keys have a grain-like surface as you can even see the finely grooved lines which gives them a textured feel. This is not a bad thing as long as the new keys on the V-Piano remain unscratched, and, so far so good with that!
Posted by: pv88

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/24/12 03:44 AM

Wanted to add another observation about one of the "Virtual Technician" features in the CA95, i.e., "decay time"...

At its highest setting of "10" (for the longest sustain) this appears to do two things with the "Concert Grand" piano sound:

1) Gives an immediate full (or, richer) quality to the sound.
2) Produces organ-like tone when a key is struck loudly.*

*This is really something I have never heard before as a very loud note that is struck in the bass (with the decay time set to 10) sounds almost like an unchanging tone on an organ. The tone just remains at a very loud level without any change in volume (or, decay) for an unusually long stretch of time!

This is an odd modeling phenomenon obviously, although one certainly would never need that much sustain, as it is not realistic as such. Even the V-Piano does not prolong the decay in this manner, so a decay setting of only "6" or "7" in the CA95 is probably going to be good enough to extend the sustain to concert grand levels or beyond, with "5" being the default.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/24/12 05:34 AM

Hi, thanks for the private message.. will update the price thread when convenient. Im enquiring as to what you consider to be your preferred setup for playing is... concert grand is sofar mine but I haven't messed with any virtual technician settings yet. If your inclined to do so, id appreciate your opinions at some point for finer fettling.
Regards paul
Posted by: Justplay

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/25/12 09:56 PM

Kawai James.... I too want to get my keyboard looked at because of some issue with the spacing of the keys. I'll call the dealer, but I'm curious.. If it's a warranty issue, then does the dealer get reimbursed, do they come out and take a look at it or does Kawai send someone. I'd like to know how that process works and who pays for what. I'm aware the dealer is responsible, but if they have to pay someone to do the warranty work on it, then they lose money.... How does that work?
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/25/12 10:12 PM

Does the dealer do any of the work? Or is it handled by a local Kawai-authorized repair shop?

I know that my Yamaha warranty work gets done by a private company (Adams Organ Service, a one-man shop). The dealer has no involvement whatever. If the repair is covered under warranty, Yamaha pays. If not, I pay.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/25/12 10:35 PM

Justplay, as noted in a previous thread, Kawai's individually cut wooden keys do not 'snap' into place like a moulded plastic key action. The key sticks essentially sit upon centre balance and front pins, like an acoustic piano, thus there may be a small variance in key spacing.

If you have any concerns about the action on your piano, please contact the dealer and explain the issue. I believe they will send a technician to investigate and resolve the problem, and bill the distributor of the piano (Kawai America in this case).

Provided the instrument is under warranty, you will not be charged for this service.

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted by: pv88

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/25/12 11:11 PM

Update on key spacing issues:

Yes, everything James has said here is correct as I just had my repair tech look at my CA95 today. We agreed that it simply wasn't worth the effort to do any "repairs" on the keys that showed uneven spacing (or, gaps) as they do not affect playability.

Now, only should a problem arise later with keys rubbing against one another, or, if any unusual sounds were to develop then a repair could be considered. Please note that to do these adjustments requires a fair amount of work in which to open up the cabinets, and, unless there is really a problem I was advised against doing anything to the keys if it is not necessary.

In my case, there were 4 or 5 keys that show a slight gap between them, although they do play and work just fine. As I happen to be a bit of a perfectionist myself, it no longer bothers me knowing the keys are functional.

"If it ain't broke then don't fix it"... as the saying goes.
Posted by: bajabill

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/25/12 11:14 PM

4k for at 95 is a great price. When I started looking for my piano the 93 was offered at nearly 5k. But either price was out of my ballpark.

You should run the DPBSD midi thru it an send it in for analysis/comparison.
Posted by: Justplay

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/25/12 11:37 PM

I think I too will leave well enough alone. The piano sounds, feels and plays so beautifully, and it's kinda nice to know the keybed is like an acoustic with variances rather than a cut-out model like most digitals.
Posted by: pv88

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/25/12 11:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Justplay
I think I too will leave well enough alone. The piano sounds, feels and plays so beautifully, and it's kinda nice to know the keybed is like an acoustic with variances rather than a cut-out model like most digitals.


Yes, you have hit the nail on the head. The new "Grand Feel" keys are all wooden, therefore the keys replicate an acoustic, as you mention. This even adds an element of authenticity to the CA95.

Posted by: JackieH

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/26/12 12:05 PM

edit
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 09/26/12 12:50 PM

RM3 is the old top action. GF is the new one, and is considered superior (it has three sensors and longer keys).
Posted by: rimorob

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 01:25 PM

To the CA95 owners out there, especially to pv88, is it true that the key resistance is software adjustable? I know key *sensitivity* is, but a large local dealer has also indicated the resistance might be adjustable. I found the CA95 I played at a local store to be too 'light' (easy to hit neighboring keys by accident) as compared to a real Kawai grand next to it. A different store told me that they could adjust the touch to be 'heavier' and specifically said it was different from 'less sensitive' which surprised me. Are they right? Is this adjustable?
Posted by: McBuster

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 01:38 PM

The actual mechanical resistance/weight is not adjustable.

Only the processing of the signal sent by the keystroke can be interpreted by the software.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 02:21 PM

Originally Posted By: rimorob
To the CA95 owners out there, especially to pv88, is it true that the key resistance is software adjustable? I know key *sensitivity* is, but a large local dealer has also indicated the resistance might be adjustable. I found the CA95 I played at a local store to be too 'light' (easy to hit neighboring keys by accident) as compared to a real Kawai grand next to it. A different store told me that they could adjust the touch to be 'heavier' and specifically said it was different from 'less sensitive' which surprised me. Are they right? Is this adjustable?


The physical resistence is not adjustable, but when you change the touch response curve (how fast the key must travel to get a particular velocity trigger) through the software, it can sometimes fool your brain into thinking the keys are lighter or heavier. Kind of a funny thing.

Physical touch weight, software response curve, and volume are all kind of mixed up in our brains, though they are distinct concepts. Sometimes makes it hard for people to agree on basic things like which pianos have a heavy touchweight.
Posted by: ando

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 02:22 PM

Originally Posted By: rimorob
To the CA95 owners out there, especially to pv88, is it true that the key resistance is software adjustable? I know key *sensitivity* is, but a large local dealer has also indicated the resistance might be adjustable. I found the CA95 I played at a local store to be too 'light' (easy to hit neighboring keys by accident) as compared to a real Kawai grand next to it. A different store told me that they could adjust the touch to be 'heavier' and specifically said it was different from 'less sensitive' which surprised me. Are they right? Is this adjustable?


Now I've heard everything... Run away - run fast, run far.
Posted by: pv88

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 02:34 PM

@rimorob,

The replies by the other poster(s) above are in fact correct, as the "Touch Curve" settings in the CA95 do not affect the physical resistance of the keys.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 02:40 PM

Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Sometimes makes it hard for people to agree on basic things like which pianos have a heavy touchweight.


For DPs, it´s pretty straightforward, and I wonder why more people here don´t use it - just play on them switched off. DPs are straightforward - their key action never changes (no matter what you do with the controls or switches), and cannot easily be tampered with grin. You can also get a good idea of how noisy their actions are that way, if that aspect matters to you.

But for real pianos, probably the best way is to get a collection of coins of different weights, and an accurate pair of scales. And don´t forget to measure also the ´upweight´ as well as downweight. (The upweight is measured by first depressing the key, then measuring the weight that just allows the key to lift back up). The difference is a measure of the key resistance.
Posted by: dewster

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 02:52 PM

Originally Posted By: rimorob
To the CA95 owners out there, especially to pv88, is it true that the key resistance is software adjustable? I know key *sensitivity* is, but a large local dealer has also indicated the resistance might be adjustable. I found the CA95 I played at a local store to be too 'light' (easy to hit neighboring keys by accident) as compared to a real Kawai grand next to it. A different store told me that they could adjust the touch to be 'heavier' and specifically said it was different from 'less sensitive' which surprised me. Are they right? Is this adjustable?

There are no user adjustable settings on any DP (AFAIK) that adjust the actual key action, so those guys are just blowing smoke.

Caveats:

By adjusting the velocity curve / sensitivity you can adjust the amount of work you have to do to get the same loudness & timbre. But then controllability changes as well.

If you have an Avant Grande, a piano technician could adjust the touch by removing and working on the key assembly.

Most DPs could probably have the individual fake hammer weights adjusted if you paid someone to do it and had a plan.
Posted by: rimorob

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 03:02 PM

Well, I got suspicious when he said they could do it *in software*. I've seen the key assembly for this DP, and I could believe that the action might be adjustable *in hardware* instead - e.g., by adjusting the lever point for the key. There IS a chance that the salesman misunderstood me, however, as most salespeople assume that a question they don't understand is indicative of the customer being confused, and answer the next-most-similar question that they think the customer means. Could be....

Also, it's possible that the keyboard wouldn't feel too 'light' if I were to adjust key sensitivity slightly - my perception may be driven not by the physical effort of pressing the key but by the frequency of mishits of the neighboring keys vs the same frequency on a high-end grand (those tend to have softer action than uprights). I wonder if anybody here has noticed this issue on digital pianos? I usually notice that I play "sloppier" on the digitals.
Posted by: dewster

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 05:02 PM

Originally Posted By: rimorob
There IS a chance that the salesman misunderstood me, however, as most salespeople assume that a question they don't understand is indicative of the customer being confused, and answer the next-most-similar question that they think the customer means. Could be....

Good salespeople should fully understand the question they are answering, and they should assist the customer in fully understanding their answer. It's kind of telling how they always seem to err on the side of benefiting the sale and screwing you when it comes to the dissemination of misinformation. I tend to avoid places where they try to sell me a line, as I never know where the lying stops, and life is complicated enough.
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 05:42 PM

Good point. But good luck finding a salesperson who has information you need and the honesty to answer truthfully. If I were to stay away from any place where the salesmen lie, I'd have nowhere to shop! So I think it's incumbent on me to find information on my own, and not depend upon the salesman for ANY information. It's safer that way.
Posted by: rimorob

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 07:12 PM

To expand on @bennevis' excellent suggestion of testing key resistance with a stack of coins, is there a CA95/CA65 owner here who also has an acoustic (or even just the CA*5) who could do this? E.g., place quarters at the very end of a white key until the key tips. For comparison's sake, say, the middle C. If you report an acoustic result, could you please specify make and model? I would be especially interested in kawai grands.... Maybe the 'light' touch is in fact due to touch sensitivity and not to key resistance.
Posted by: McBuster

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/01/12 08:17 PM

I will provide some insight later tonight for you.
Posted by: enzo.sandrolini

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/02/12 02:28 AM

Originally Posted By: rimorob
To expand on @bennevis' excellent suggestion of testing key resistance with a stack of coins, is there a CA95/CA65 owner here who also has an acoustic (or even just the CA*5) who could do this? E.g., place quarters at the very end of a white key until the key tips. For comparison's sake, say, the middle C. If you report an acoustic result, could you please specify make and model? I would be especially interested in kawai grands.... Maybe the 'light' touch is in fact due to touch sensitivity and not to key resistance.

Hello, I have one question, regarding this question of "light touch" on the Kawai:
Would it be also the "way" the mechanism simulating the hammer behind the key behave that influence this feeling ?
I mean: I previously had a CA93, and now I own a NU1.
At the beginning I found the key touch of the NU1 harder than the the Kawai, that is true, but now that I get used to it, and I can feel much more precisely its action, I have the feeling that is not so much the key weight that make the keyboard harder, but the fact that there is a real hammer behind the key that you must "launch", once it is launched, the key is really "light"
This was just an idea that "light touch" is perhaps not only a matter of weight but a matter of "dynamics".
Cheers,
Posted by: rimorob

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/02/12 08:42 AM

@enzo, that's an excellent possibility. I did look for the change in dynamics and thought I saw a fairly realistic behavior, but there might still be a difference in actual play.
Posted by: rimorob

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/05/12 08:16 PM

Any luck?


Originally Posted By: McBuster
I will provide some insight later tonight for you.

Posted by: arthurfan82

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/05/12 09:20 PM

I've never played a Kawai digital piano. Since some of you guys have, what are they like? How do they compare to Roland and Yamaha?
Posted by: McBuster

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/07/12 12:18 AM

Originally Posted By: rimorob
To expand on @bennevis' excellent suggestion of testing key resistance with a stack of coins, is there a CA95/CA65 owner here who also has an acoustic (or even just the CA*5) who could do this? E.g., place quarters at the very end of a white key until the key tips.


Finally

Yes ...

On Middle C, nine quarters will just move the key downward a hair. Add a nickel, and it goes just a bit further. Another nickel and it descends.

That is my $2.35 worth ...
Posted by: ap55

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/07/12 01:11 AM

Thanks, that the first part of the information. The next would be to see what is the momentum to be transfered by the fingers to get a ton. No idea how to manage to protect the keys from damage, but the test could be to drop the nickel from 1 cm to see what happens. At this point the mass of the hammer to be released could be better fixed. Nevertheless I don't like ask anyone to do this test, because it will become more and more complicated to characterize the action.
Posted by: HwyStar

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/07/12 11:21 AM

56.03 grams... That's nice Jon. My Steinway "A" which has an action made out of butter is 54 grams that I weighed using my weight set. It plays so nicely. Right there as compared to a Faz.
Posted by: McBuster

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/08/12 12:07 AM

I went back and weighed the coins. 60.1 grams moved the key to the LetOff point.
Posted by: Pelota

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/08/12 01:27 AM

Oook, so that means that HwyStar's Steinway A has a lighter action than the CA*5?

That's good news for me.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/08/12 04:50 AM

I remember a thread with a lady not liking the ca65 action and wanting a ca63, pretty much slating the ca65(therefore same action on ca95) ... as completely different to the grand piano she will be doing her grade 8 on... i would compare the ca95 action to a steinway i have played... whereas a bechstein grand i used to do gradings on was incredibly heavy and difficult. I prefer the weight of the ca95 to anything i have owned. Best dp action by far. Similar to all my acoustics but more refined and personnaly i feel its capable of being with me through to the top grades. (Decided to go back to a fine teacher to get some structure with my kwarnibg as a mature student...)
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/08/12 04:52 AM

By kwarnibg i mean learning.... note to predictive text , kwarnibg isnt even a word!
Posted by: pv88

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/08/12 06:32 AM

@Paul,

If you happen to like the CA95 as I do, then there is no doubt you would probably like the Roland V-Piano as well, as it is still my favored digital above the rest. Nothing can match it when it comes to handling the dynamic range in one's playing, along with the incredible sustain and harmonic resonance.

I am fortunate enough to now own both of them...

The CA95 has better piano sounds, overall.
Posted by: ando

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/08/12 07:00 AM

haha, kwarnibg! grin
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/08/12 08:27 AM

@pv 88. Yes mate, seems you do have a lovely pair to play with. I will look forward to trying out a v piano sometime... cost wise I think the ca95 was a good bet for me as v piano and clp480 are quite a bit more... lucky for me I am happy with the pedals, lucky for you there's. A v piano too... my other dp is now a toy for my 3 year old... she has my love if all things piano sohopefully she will embrace it long term.
Posted by: rimorob

Re: Kawai CA95 has arrived - 10/16/12 07:22 PM

McBuster, Hwystar - thanks for the measurements!