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Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
theJourney #1510670 09/07/10 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by theJourney

The marginal cost of adding these features to the CA13 is next to zero. This is about playing the Yamaha style marketing game of lining up the digital pianos against the wall and shooting the ones at the lower end in the foot.


Since we do not know the actual production costs (development + assembly + parts) of any DP offered on the market (well, maybe James might have an idea for the Kawai pianos... idk), I am quite cautious to accuse any particular company of ruthless customer exploitation. Of course the lack of string resonance in the CA 13 is hard to explain with production cost restrictions, but then again I don't know whether the price of any particular Roland model is justified, or the price gaps between their different models.

I simply refuse to acknowledge the picture of Kawai and Yamaha milking their customers like dumb cows, while Roland being the selfless patron of the musician. They all want our money in the end...

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Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
LaRate #1510671 09/07/10 07:45 AM
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For Kawai to add string resonance to the CA13, they would first have to add the additional 96 note board, I imagine that is a significant expense. Kawai's string resonance adds 0 to >5 notes to the polyphony count for every note played.

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
emenelton #1510684 09/07/10 08:11 AM
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The CN33 has string resonance and only 96 polyphony.

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
LaRate #1510685 09/07/10 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by LaRate
...we do not know the actual production costs (development + assembly + parts) of any DP offered on the market ...

Agreed. On the other hand, we do know that putting a more labor intensive, elaborate, wooden keyboard in, or a heavier power supply or amplifier, or larger speakers, or a more elaborate cabinet are all concrete things that all have additional marginal costs. While software once written costs nothing to put in machine A or machine B and standard electronics have differences in price that are often measured in pennies or a few dollars rather than hundreds of dollars.

Here Kawai has a decent looking cabinet, a keyboard that many argue is superior with unique characteristics, few bells and whistles or other sounds and a pianosound that is marginally competitive and where acoustic piano emulating features that piano purists (the target group of the CA18/CA13) would expect are deliberately left out. Why not put the best sound possible in to the entire CAx3 line? It is as if manufacturers think that beginning pianists can be convinced to stay learning and playing by first subjecting them to obsolete or un-competitive sounds so that they upgrade out of desperation. It just doesn't make sense from the consumer's point of view or from the industry's long term point of view.

Last edited by theJourney; 09/07/10 08:25 AM.
Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
LaRate #1510690 09/07/10 08:33 AM
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@theJourney:
As I said, I agree that it is obviously artificial. However, my objection is rather that for instance I don't know the actual production cost difference between a PHAII and a PHAIII keyboard. Maybe there even isn't actually a difference and Roland just wants to sell stockpiled parts... How can I know for sure?

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
theJourney #1510737 09/07/10 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by theJourney
While software once written costs nothing to put in machine A or machine B and standard electronics have differences in price that are often measured in pennies or a few dollars rather than hundreds of dollars.


I will provide you an example:

I know that you love pianoteq. There are three versions of pianoteq: Pianoteq Play (99 Euro), Standard (249 Euro) and Pro (399 Euro). It would be no extra cost for Modartt to add all features to all three products. But then they wouldn't sell any Pro edition. You could argue that they "crippled" the Play version intentionally only to make more profit with the Standard and Pro version. You see... Every company has its own ways to sell their products. It has obviously nothing to do with individual production costs. You have to see the complete product portfolio of a company.

You as a potential customer can compare different models and then decide for yourself what is most important for you and if you prefer to buy the premium model or a somehow "intentionally crippled" version. DPs consist of hardware and software, and each company, whether it's Roland, Yamaha, Kawai or some other DP brand, tries to be as competitive as possible. The customer has the ultimate decision.


<~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>
Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
LaRate #1510745 09/07/10 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by LaRate
Thank you for the update/confirmation, James!

For me this reads like a very good upgrade - judging purely from the specs that is. The missing MIDI interface in the CA 18 indeed has been a knock-out criterion for some potential buyers (including myself).


- me too. main reason for picking the CA63 over the CA18 was the lack of midi and the heavier keys. Sounds like the CA13 would have fitted the bill for me :o).

Andy

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
mucci #1510796 09/07/10 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mucci
There are three versions of pianoteq: Pianoteq Play (99 Euro), Standard (249 Euro) and Pro (399 Euro).


Pianoteq is another good comparison illustration next to that of Roland. In all three of the versions of the software that you name the same high quality, modeled piano sound is included. Buyers even get free updates to the latest future updates to the sound automatically over the internet for free! The differences in the products are in how much professional ability there is to tweak and adjust and personally tailor the the pianos, similar to functionality of the 6000 euro Roland V-Piano.

Imagine how few people might pay for the full Pianoteq later or even decide to keep using software pianos or keep playing the piano at all if the entry level version contained an obsolete sound from years ago that doesn't compare well to alternatives on the market and doesn't even contain elementary and fundamental aspects of the piano sound such as sympathetic resonance....

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA 13
LaRate #1510828 09/07/10 12:57 PM
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Well, I must admit you're really good in finding a way that beef up your point of view. thumb But you're right in this specific case since the sound quality of all three pianoteq versions is identical.

But still, both Pianoteq and Roland intentionally cripple their software (at least in tweakability), and Roland is also selling pianos of another line that utilize inferior sound production. Every company has a different strategy to sell their pianos. Yamaha seems to be very successful in their marketing, followed by Roland. I guess Kawai is third. I personally would opt for a different order... wink

Last edited by mucci; 09/07/10 12:58 PM.

<~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>
Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
Kawai James #1510833 09/07/10 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
By the way, are we absolutely confident that Roland is using the same specification tone generator throughout all of the instruments that you refer to? Certainly, they each share the 'SuperNatural' designation, but does this necessarily mean that the samples used by the HP-302, for example, are identical to those found in the HP-307? Quick, someone call dewster!

Quick, someone get dewster DPBSD MP3s of these instruments! I can't work in the dark.

The HP-307 and RD-700GXF seem to be pretty much the same thing sound-wise.

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
theJourney #1510905 09/07/10 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by theJourney
Both Yamaha and Kawai like to treat their customers like idiots by purposefully holding back key features from the lower ends of the lines that would cost them nothing or next to nothing to include but which provide positive consumer value.

I much prefer the pro-musician, respectful approach taken by Roland where, for example, the Super Natural Piano sound is included in the entire HP 300 series line up, much to the chagrin of dealers and to the delight of musicians.


It's not just piano makers. Have you ever taken a DVD player apart? What you find is there is a line of models with varying features but if you open up a lower priced model you find that they have simply not installed some of the switches and controls. The holes are there in the circuit board but the switch to control it is not there. This saves them some engineering cost to have only one product to design and support

I wonder if pianos are or the same, they actually do have the feature inside but it is disabled in the lower models.

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
ChrisA #1511037 09/07/10 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisA
What you find is there is a line of models with varying features but if you open up a lower priced model you find that they have simply not installed some of the switches and controls. ... I wonder if pianos are or the same, they actually do have the feature inside but it is disabled in the lower models.
I've often wondered the same thing.

People figured out the hacks for Playstations, and for lots of other items. Where are the piano hackers who can look inside, figure it out, and show us how to get top-of-the-line features from a low-end unit?

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
LaRate #1511194 09/07/10 10:31 PM
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Even when the discussion/issue is of entry to mid-range models, companies need to still focus on their best key action and sound techs. The other features can come at an extra cost.

Otherwise, its like telling a student to develop a technique based on improper action and sound (expressivity). Also a pro would be down grading by using their boards.

So here's a question for the pros. What weightage would you place on:
Key action
Sound tech
String resonance
Damper resonance
Polyphony

This would give people an idea to choose.

Brian

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
bsl100 #1511269 09/08/10 03:39 AM
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@bsl100:

The problem is that all digital pianos are more or less just an approximization of an acoustic piano, both in terms of sound and action.

And for digital pianos these two factors are the most important ones - everything else (often referred to as "bells and whistles") is more a subject to stage pianos, since they are more built for versatility.

So it all comes down to get a functioning mixture of real features and good marketing. In my opinion "supernatural", while being a certain technological advantage, is primarily a huge marketing success for Roland. Kawai goes another route by pushing features like wooden keyboards and soundboards. Yamaha is a bit behind in the home piano market atm, but I am curious what they will come up with. However, the big stregth of Yamaha has alway been their distribution and presence, rather than technological leadership.

So yes, sound and touch are the most important factors. The others you name (resonance and polyphony) are components of the sound signature. While supernatural undoubtedly is an innovative approach to sound generation, it does not mean it is superior, since sound quality is subjective. As is touch.

Teachers will tell their students to get a decent acoustic piano, and rightly so - given they teach playing the acoustic piano. However, if budget and/or environment do not allow this, digital pianos are a feasible compromise.

As long as you have a weighted hammer-action and polyphony of 64 notes or above, you can use this thing. Everything more sophisticated will surely improve sound and feel, but has only marginal influence on your learning progress.

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
LaRate #1511440 09/08/10 10:13 AM
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LaRate,

When u say that Yamaha is a bit behind, is it that their NW (wooden key) action and GH3 (plastic key) action is inferior to the Kawai RM3 (wooden key) action and RH (plastic key) action respectively. I believe Roland only has PHAIII (plastic key) action and don't have any wooden keys.

Also is it that Yamaha stretches their notes compared to Kawai which does an 88 note sampling with different velocity levels. Where does Roland stand on this with their superNATURAL sound engine? Is it 88 note sampling? And is it technically superior (by this I mean note decay, resonance) to Kawai and Yamaha?

Brian

Last edited by bsl100; 09/08/10 10:49 AM.
Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
bsl100 #1512006 09/09/10 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bsl100
LaRate,
When u say that Yamaha is a bit behind, is it that their NW (wooden key) action and GH3 (plastic key) action is inferior to the Kawai RM3 (wooden key) action and RH (plastic key) action respectively. I believe Roland only has PHAIII (plastic key) action and don't have any wooden keys.

My comment of Yamaha being behind was related to the fact that their home piano series (CLP 3x0) is somewhat outdated, given that both Roland and Kawai have much more recent models on the market. I won't judge about technical superiority of any given action, since I can only evaluate my subjective impression.

Originally Posted by bsl100

Also is it that Yamaha stretches their notes compared to Kawai which does an 88 note sampling with different velocity levels. Where does Roland stand on this with their superNATURAL sound engine? Is it 88 note sampling? And is it technically superior (by this I mean note decay, resonance) to Kawai and Yamaha?
Brian

The technical advantage of Roland regarding sound is their hybrid solution that combines sampling and modeling (a.k.a. supernatural) - something that has not been implemented in any other DP. It eliminates some flaws of sampled piano voices: audible velocity jumps and audible looping. Whether this makes Roland's sound overall superior or not is still up to the subjective impression of the (potential) buyer.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if both Yamaha and Kawai jump the modeling bandwagon at some point in the future, but that is just speculation.

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
LaRate #1512029 09/09/10 06:26 AM
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They ALL have their problems. If anything I would say the PHAIII action is my rolands strongest point even though its plastic.

Last edited by Art A.; 09/09/10 06:26 AM.
Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
Art A. #1512053 09/09/10 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Art A.
They ALL have their problems. If anything I would say the PHAIII action is my rolands strongest point even though its plastic.

Plastic and wood both have their specific advantages and disadvantages as well. The nice thing about Kawai's long wooden keys is that they are basically the same as in acoustic pianos (the keys, not the action, mind), so this adds somewhat to the authenticism. However, since wood is a living material, it is prone to react to environment factors like moisture and temperature which can cause problems. Plastic keys don't have these problems.

Actually I have no clue, what Yamaha's NW (Natural Wood) keyboards look like disassambled. On their website they state that they use "natural wood elements in the white keys" - which can mean almost anything and hints that this is more like an aesthetic feature.

With Kawai, each key (black and white) is a single piece of wood (covered with plastic/synthetic ivory on the visible front half). I had my CA 51 disassembled for maintenance a few weeks ago and was able to take a nice look on the mechanism.

Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
LaRate #1512071 09/09/10 07:26 AM
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I believe NW is similar, in that it has wood on the inside and coated on the outside.

Basically the anwser lies in the right combination of touch & sound and Kawai and Roland have the best in each category respectively.

Though subjective, would it be fair to say:
Touch: 1st Kawai (RM3), 2nd Roland (PHAIII)
Sound: 1st Roland SuperNATURAL), 2nd Kawai (Ultra PHI)

Last edited by bsl100; 09/09/10 07:38 AM.
Re: New Kawai home piano: CA-13
bsl100 #1512090 09/09/10 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bsl100
I believe NW is similar, in that it has wood on the inside and coated on the outside.

Actually since they state that they use wood only for the white keys (and "wooden parts" that is), I suspect that they use a completely different construction. However, I'd love to see pictures of a NW-keyboard disassembled to prove me wrong.

edit: Via google, I found an older thread here, where "bachmaniac" kinda affirms my suspicion, that "natural wood" just means that there are wooden inlays at the sides of the white keys and that the keyboards are otherwise the same (plastic) GH3 action.

Originally Posted by bsl100

Though subjective, would it be fair to say:
Touch: 1st Kawai (RM3), 2nd Roland (PHAIII)
Sound: 1st Roland SuperNATURAL), 2nd Kawai (Ultra PHI)

Well, what do you mean by "fair"? One thing is that you can't really evaluate a keyboard action separate from sound (while you can do it the other way round). So I think this "ranking" is moot, since even a subjective comparison of the touch alone is not feasible.

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