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About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations #1867642
03/24/12 08:42 AM
03/24/12 08:42 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 197
Maryland, USA
scriabinfanatic Offline OP
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I've been shopping around for a couple of weeks for a digital piano to replace my outdated old Clavinova. My top candidates of the several brands/models that I've tried out are the Yamaha CLP-470 and N1, and the Kawai CA63 and CA93. The CA93 really pleases me the most except for one thing: the so-called "Ivory Feel" keytops have excessive friction compared to regular plastic keytops. It keeps throwing off my technique, as my fingers keep tripping up and coming to an abrupt halt on keys, when I am accustomed to my fingers sliding/slipping a bit on the regular smooth plastic keytops that have been on every piano I have played for the last 50 years. (I don't know why Kawai decided that they needed to fix something that ain't broke...) The Yamaha models with "synthetic ivory" keytops on the other hand do not bother me in this way -- Yamaha did not go overboard on the amount of friction like Kawai did.

So my question is: has anyone else noticed this issue on Kawai models and, if you went ahead and bought Kawai anyway, did you get used to it fairly easily? Or did you have to relearn your technique on much of your repertoire? And would you rather go back to "regular" keytops after dealing with the high-friction keytops for a while, or do you find the friction preferable after getting accustomed to it?

The other reservation I have about the Kawai is that the monopoly Kawai dealer-chain in my metro area wants $4990 for it, and that is about $500 over the price reported in this forum, as well as $500 over the price that the Piano Buyer site lists as the going rate. Are you expected to haggle at piano stores? I loathe haggling.

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Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1867661
03/24/12 09:40 AM
03/24/12 09:40 AM
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With the information you have found regarding the going rates for the CA93, I think you have every reason to make an offer to the seller. I agree with you that haggling is kind of unpleasant and even a bit silly, but you really owe it to yourself to get a fair deal.


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Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1867671
03/24/12 10:16 AM
03/24/12 10:16 AM
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Hobart, Australia
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The keytops will become more smooth with use.

Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1867675
03/24/12 10:41 AM
03/24/12 10:41 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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scriabinfanatic: That the dealer "wants" $5000 is not important. Rather, what counts is what you want.

The Kawai dealer does not have a monopoly on pianos. Rather, you have a monopoly on the money in your wallet. Don't worry about dealing with his "monopoly". Let him worry about yours. Even though you're fixed on the Kawai, the dealer is still competing with Yamaha. So allow him to be competitive. smile

Here is some information from the price-paid thread.

There are only two sales showing in the US ... not much to go by. But based on the Europe data, I'd offer $3500, and accept a counteroffer of perhaps a few hundred dollars more.

Simple. No haggling. Just offering.

CA93 in the US
$3200
$4500

CA93 in Europe
€3395 --> $4594 USD
€2850 --> $3896 USD
€2899 --> $3962 USD
€2950 --> $4230 USD
€2980 --> $4073 USD
€2999 --> $4053 USD

CA93 in the UK
£2510 --> $3925 USD
£2600 --> $4061 USD


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Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1867881
03/24/12 08:30 PM
03/24/12 08:30 PM
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Mokena, Illinois
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Amateur Jerry Offline
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scriabinfanatic,

Was at a local Kawai store this afternoon...The dealers opening offer was $3795.

Some dealers are keeping their prices up a bit because during March, Kawai is offering $100 rebate. But $4990 is too high.

Amateur Jerry


Czar
Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868104
03/25/12 08:43 AM
03/25/12 08:43 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 197
Maryland, USA
scriabinfanatic Offline OP
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Thanks for the comments everyone. At the moment, they don't actually have any CA93's in stock (one or more on the way supposedly). Which obviously makes the situation weaker from my side, since they aren't motivated to unload inventory. They do have the CA63, and their price on that is exactly what the Piano Buyer lists for it. So maybe it's a supply-and-demand thing that makes them feel free to crank up the CA93 price? I had to drive an hour away to another of their stores just to find a floor demo CA93 to try out. It was worth the drive...it's the best-sounding digital I've played (including some that cost a lot more). It's uncanny the feeling that the guts of a real piano must be inside that box. The excess friction on the keytops is the only negative about it for me...but that's relatively minor (hopefully) compared to my objections about the numerous other digitals I tried.

Yes there is the $100 rebate thing this month, I had to ask them about that after seeing it on the Kawai web site. That will about cover the cost of delivery.

Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868256
03/25/12 01:42 PM
03/25/12 01:42 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 761
Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
TADutchman Offline
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Originally Posted by scriabinfanatic
I had to drive an hour away to another of their stores just to find a floor demo CA93 to try out. It was worth the drive...it's the best-sounding digital I've played (including some that cost a lot more). It's uncanny the feeling that the guts of a real piano must be inside that box...

That's a spot on description; I played a lot of different acoustic grands at the Musikmesse Frankfurt last Friday, especially including a Shigeru Kawai, and it was again surprising to me how effortless the transition from playing my CA93 is.


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Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868436
03/25/12 08:53 PM
03/25/12 08:53 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
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Mokena, Illinois
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Couldn't agree with you more. I was really impressed with the CA93. I would play a piece on the 93 and then walk over to one of the RXBLAK series and the action and timber was so close. The only difference was you didn't quite feel that blast you get from playing a grand.

With that said, I wound up buying a CA63. First reason is I got it for $1100 cheaper. I am saving up for an acoustic and that price difference could pay for the tax and delivery on one of those. Second, my practice time is very nocturnal and I use headphones a lot. I compared both digitals with my headphones, and yes while there is some degradation in the external CA63 speakers, the internal sound engine in both is the same, and with headphones I did not notice any difference. Also, when running the externals, I do use my computer surround sound to augment the piano, and placing them and the subwoofer in the right place really enhances the piano's speakers. With the exception of the let off the actions are the same and I didn't notice any difference.

Just to let you know, both dealers kind of bobbed and weaved when I mentioned the rebate. One of the dealers looked shocked when I walked in with a copy of the rebate form. Both of them started telling me that even if I ordered today (NOTE: THEY WANTED FULL PAYMENT UP FRONT),if they could not get the piano before the 31st (March), the rebate would be void. It clearly says on the form that THE PURCHASE must be made before the 31st (not THE DELIVERY). I called five other dealers within a 3 hour drive and they all seem to have a hard time maintaining stock on the Concert Artist Series. I only found one who had a CA93 on the floor. No one had any CA93's in stock and very few CA63's were in stock. All had warned me of a Kawai price increase after the rebate.

Needless to say my CA63 SB is due in by weeks end. I am piano-less now (sold my Clavinova) and looking forward to the playing the Kawai. Good luck on your search.




Czar
Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868572
03/26/12 05:39 AM
03/26/12 05:39 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 180
Madrid, Spain
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LMKawai Offline
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I play a Steinway & Sons at least every friday. Its keytops arent smooth - they are similar to those in the CA93. I think the CA93 key tops are just perfect and will be good for you to play on real piano key tops, rather than plastic.


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Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868694
03/26/12 11:32 AM
03/26/12 11:32 AM
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I've spent most of my piano life in front of Steinways, and I definitely felt more at home with Kawai's and Roland's synthetic ivory over Yamaha's. I wonder if the Kawai CA is initially off-putting simply because you've played a Clavinova. It might be worth testing out a Steinway grand or other "gold standard" acoustic if you haven't already -- if the keys feel off there as well, it's a safe bet that you'd eventually warm up to them, and even learn to prefer them.

For me, the plastic feel on a Clavinova (and every other low end DP) is just awful to play on; they barely register as "pianos" in my head. I strongly suspect that after a month on the CA you'd not want to go back to the slippery plastic keytops. That's just my guess though -- I could be wrong.

Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868731
03/26/12 12:45 PM
03/26/12 12:45 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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I've been playing for three years on those plastic Yamaha key tops, and I don't find them slippery. I've never found any keys on any piano to be slippery. It that simply because I don't play the piano right after eating fried chicken? smile

Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: MacMacMac] #1868744
03/26/12 01:10 PM
03/26/12 01:10 PM
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prokof Offline
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I've been playing for three years on those plastic Yamaha key tops, and I don't find them slippery. I've never found any keys on any piano to be slippery. It that simply because I don't play the piano right after eating fried chicken? smile


That's why I like Roland's grease absorbing technology on their ivories smile

Maybe slippery is not the right word. Either way I do not like plastic key tops. I play less precisely on them.

Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868748
03/26/12 01:13 PM
03/26/12 01:13 PM
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I feel the same way as MacMacMac. Essentially all acoustic uprights and many grands have plain plastic and it works just fine. I never notice it when playing. I guess I like Ivorite and Neotex, found in Yamaha and Kawai grands, but am much less impressed with digital piano fake ivory, particularly the Roland variety (I could just spill cereal on it and let it dry if I wanted that feel). In my opinion digital pianos would be better off skipping ivory simulation than doing a half-baked job at it.

I hate the feel of real ivory. But of course, I've only played on ivory from elephants that died many, many, many years ago. Maybe they are better freshly killed.

Last edited by gvfarns; 03/26/12 01:14 PM.
Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868757
03/26/12 01:25 PM
03/26/12 01:25 PM
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Hobart, Australia
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I think the slippery thing only applies to those who tend to sweat a lot when they play. It's not something that has really troubled me. Plastic key surfaces feel fine to me.

Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1868760
03/26/12 01:27 PM
03/26/12 01:27 PM
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Raleigh, North Carolina
MacMacMac Offline
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I wonder ... is there a far-away planet where elephants reign supreme, and they play pianos with key-tops made from human teeth? smile

Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: MacMacMac] #1868767
03/26/12 01:31 PM
03/26/12 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I wonder ... is there a far-away planet where elephants reign supreme, and they play pianos with key-tops made from human teeth? smile


That would only be fair. Of course, with the amount of terrible things humans have done to animals, there would be a heck of a lot of planets that would like to even the score with us.

Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: ando] #1868991
03/26/12 10:09 PM
03/26/12 10:09 PM
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One thing I've noticed with Roland's "Body Part From Dead Elephant Feel" is that I can play just fine even when my hands are really dry, like when I've just taken a shower. That does not work at all on regular plastic key tops. There is a limit to how well it works, but the difference is large.

I haven't actually tried it on a stage with really hot spotlights yet, but I don't doubt that the keys will be less slippery in that situation. The surface is grainy, after all.

Last edited by torhu; 03/26/12 10:11 PM.

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Re: About to buy a Kawai CA93...with some reservations [Re: scriabinfanatic] #1870874
03/30/12 09:11 AM
03/30/12 09:11 AM
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Maryland, USA
scriabinfanatic Offline OP
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Here's an update on this thread that I started.

I did buy a CA93. And I found a dealer not too far away who goes by the Piano Buyer pricing, so I paid a fair price for it (that dealer is even a longtime member of these Piano World forums). As for the other issue that I raised -- the friction on the keys -- it's weird...my new piano does not have that issue. The keys are smooth...about the same level of slippery-smooth as the ordinary plastic keytops on my old Clavinova. Which is fine with me, since that's what I'm used to. But I have no explanation as to why my CA93 would be so different from the three demo pianos that I tried at piano dealers (two CA63s and one CA93). Strange.

I do have a couple of somewhat disturbing issues with my CA93 though, after playing it for a few hours and experimenting. I'll start a new thread for that.


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