My piano finally arived. 2 days ago. reason I write only now is that before anything else, first experience was a big issue:
The graded hammer (I believe) of the lowest F key broke and now this key is no longer graded, being a very easy to touch key. Firstly, the broken hammer made alot of noise inside the mechanism cabinet, but I succeded to slide it off into the left side, just enough to be able to play until my piano will go to the Kawai representative to be repaired.
the build quality is excelent but there are 2 slight minuses: the right pedalis a little squeaky and the back of the cabinet, on the left side not quite perfectly put togheter. but bear in mind, both are very little issues.
These are so far the only minuses. A major one and 2 rather unimportant.
Now, for the goods:
- like I said, excelent build quality. I really like the satin black texture. I anssembled it quite easy, all screws fit perfectly.
- the score stand is awesome. 4 pages fit just fine while with a little care, you can even use 5 pages.
- the cover slide smootly, though I`m not a big fan of the silver handle.
- THE KEYS - now thats worth all the money. I never saw such great keyboard but only on real grand pianos. The touch sensation is exquisite. The response is at first weird. It needs accomodation and surely, the touch curve must be set accordingly. I like heavy for the main grand piano, but for dual mode instruments, like the ones created by TADutchman, different curves might be necesary. This really talks about the strong relation between keybourd touch and sound response. Eventually, everyone can creat his/her own touch curve. But back to the keys: There is little diference in keys texture between white and black keys. This is also true for real grand pianos, here the difference is little bigger, but in no time, fingers became used with it. Overall, its for the better, as black keys now provide a good touch control (no slipping). It lacks the let-off. Repetition is possible but it has to be very detached to be made in really high tempo. I can`t commnent about ca93`s let-off, how good is it, but in some situation, I will miss it!
- Pedals are great. The feel and response is very good. Even beter than the keyboard.
- Sound is good. The 8 different piano sounds are different enough to worth being there. I mostly like Grand piano 1 and studio grand 1. But in the end, with TADutchman list you can found here:https://www.box.com/shared/vcoti3t34s
everyone would find a better piano sound than the original. Or maybe not... The other sounds are not garbage as some say. I find every sound usefull, if not for anything, at least for dual mode presents. But, at least pedagogicaly, the straight posibility to show hoe the harpsichord, organ, etc sounds is handy. Various settings available, especially virtual technician, are a treasure. Not speaking about dual mode presets, but only about default sounds, these settings available to you can dramatically or subtly change the piano response to your actions.
- All features under music button, like demo, piano music, lesson or concert magic are nice but from my point (as a piano teacher) redundant. Only use of demo is a briefly show of different instrument sounds the piano is capable, though keep in mind, heavily post procesed. I can even bet that they weren`t recorded on the piano, but from heavily modified MIDI files. The piano CAN`T really play as the demo tells! Not that it would be necesary to.... Piano music...a colection of classical pieces, poorly interpreted, obviously MIDI files with barely no agogic, with flat dynamics. I can`t stand listening to them. Though, the piano score containing all those 29 pieces is a good addition. Lesson function is absolutly redundant. The only use I can think of is the audition of the pieces. The learning of the various settings (like loop playing from bar x to bar y in order to practice that fragment) take too much time that I doubt the piano learnining will provide succes, instead the „button playing” could rather become more atractive. Concert magic is nice. For a 3 years old, tapping the same key or any keys in the corect rythm to produce the otherwise nice music (176 nice „well known” pieces) is great. It could teach him the way dymanics and agogics work (rythm also) but as soon as the kid grows and can red the notes, the satisfaction becomes irrelevant. Adding to the simple rythmical tapping the need to play the corect key of the melody and eventualy all the accompanying notes could prove a better use of this concert magic tool.
- There are many other features. Recording a wav or mp3 work perfect. Someone told the level is to low. I find it just ok. Recording a midi file – I didn`t try it. Metronome is just what you want.
- Speakers are very good in my oppinion. No need for other kind of sound systems, at least in house. The volume I use is at level 5, good enough. My room is filled with sound at this volume and the placement of the speakers creat a semy amplifier box with the back of the piano. Quite imaginative. Headphone is very depandant of your headset and quite normaly, gets you a better experience as every detail is in your ear.
- The MIDI conections I didn`t yet suscesfuly tested. I used a USB to host cable and connected the piano to my PC. In Sibelius it works by the delay is high enough so I can`t use live tempo and in Kontakt for Galaxy piano I didn`t succesfully get sound, though there is signal from the piano to the PC. More about it when I`ll get it.
Let`s conclude, with some ratings, based on my expectation and on my experience with only acoustics (10 is the rating I would make for an acoustic of good quality, lets say Kaway GM 12):
1. Build quality 9,5 / 10 (only to make space for further improvements). (I didn`t include in the rating the unfortunate event described at the top of the review, as I consider it unfortunate and not characteristic)
2. Keyboard and pedals touch and response 7 / 10 (only considering the wide posibilities to fine tune it)
3. Sound 7,5 / 10 (being sampled from the EXG I belive, it has naturaly a better sound, but not an acoustic, obvious)
4. Features 9 / 10 (this is not compared to an acoustic, but actually what makes a digital better than an acoustic)
5.Overall 8 / 10
This overall rating can be understand as this: Kaway CA63 offers 80% of the feeling a good acoustic would offer. That quite impresive and in my oppinion, CA63 is the best value per money a digital can provide today. It provides enough for practicing for experienced players, with well based technique, also for those wanting to learn to play the piano without any desire for performance. I still won`t recommend a digital piano for one who still learn and wants the chance for performance
I am happy with it, I hope the weighted hammer issue will be solved. I enjoy playing it!
I will respond to any question regarding this instrument, as I believe it`s very comparable with the new model CA65. Anything this piano offers, CA65 will surely deliver at a plus.