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Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 #2290786
06/16/14 10:53 PM
06/16/14 10:53 PM
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bradhapa Offline OP
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Hi Everyone,

I've read many, many posts in various threads and have found them to be extremely helpful. I'm deciding on which DP to purchase and would gladly welcome some additional guidance and thoughts.

First, some background.

I'm looking at piano-furniture style DPs only and am most focused on getting a good piano sound and feel. I'm not focused on lots of sounds, drum tracks, multi-track recording, etc. I am very much a beginner on the piano but I do play guitar as a respectable amateur (been playing for 25 years). I plan to use the piano to accompany singing in a pop/rock music style (i.e. sing and play) similar to what I do on guitar. I also hope my kids will want to learn the instrument.

My decision would be much easier if I lived in the US (where I'm from). But I live in Argentina, which has a much more limited selection of the piano furniture DPs and also has a 50% import tax on these items. (Ouch!)

I've narrowed it down to the following decision:

"Lower" price solution: Casio AP-450 (note, this costs nearly $2000 US down here)

Higher price solution: Either Kawai CA13 or CN34 (both cost about $3000 US here). As far as I can tell, we don't have the new CA15s down here nor CN24 available in Argentina.

Most stores don't have units available to play but I managed to play the two Kawai's (ca13 and cn34) and also the Casio PX-750 as a proxy to the AP-450. (One store said they would assemble the casio ap-450 to let me play it but I need to give them a little notice, which I'll probably do next week.)

From my testing it seemed that all three are excellent in terms of "sounds like an acoustic piano." However, I noticeably liked the feel of the CA13 keys better than the other two. I liked the Casio's next, although after playing the Kawai the Casio seemed a little light and loose. The CN34's keys came in last as they seemed very heavy. Mind you, I've never been a serious piano player and the last time I actually touched an acoustic piano was about a year ago.

So my questions are as follows:

Casio AP 450: Do the keys feel "normal" after a short amount of playing? Do you get used to the lighter / looser feeling of these keys?

Kawai: Given my limited options here, if I were to choose the higher-end piano (i.e. not the Casio) is it silly to buy a CA13, which has now been discontinued, has older technology, limited features compared to the CN34, but actually seemed to feel more like an acoustic piano?

I'm very open to any thoughts!

Thanks,

Brad

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Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2290927
06/17/14 08:33 AM
06/17/14 08:33 AM
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Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Usually, I would say go with your gut instinct. You prefer the CA13 feel, so that is the one you should get. However, since you have no piano experience, that might be a decision based on misinformation on how it should feel.

Are you comparing the feel to acoustic uprights or grand pianos when you say that the CA13 felt more like an acoustic piano? The actions of upright acoustics are far different from grand pianos, and it is an inferior action, IMO. There are very nice uprights out there, but you will have more expressive capability on a good quality grand (over 5'5) in comparison.

Many of the digital pianos these days are trying to mimic the feel of grand pianos as the ideal. So it is possible that the heaviness you feel from the CN34 is intentional, and while it may seem tough now as a beginner, if you learn to play with efficient arm-weight, this action will actually be better in the long run.

Are you planning on taking lessons or have your children take lessons? Perhaps their teacher would be willing to go check out the pianos and recommend what she/he feels would be best. If not, do you have a pianist friend whose opinion you could trust to check it out? Lastly, there may be an employee at the store who could play both of them for you and tell you which one they prefer to play on. Since the Kawais are both in the same price range I doubt they would be biased either way.


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Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2290948
06/17/14 08:59 AM
06/17/14 08:59 AM
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toddy Online content
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The CA13 should be a superior keyboard to the one in the CN34. The CA13 has same RM3 as the CA93 - the best available from Kawai until GF came out.

IF the keyboard in the CN34 is like the RH keyboard, then I know what bradhapa means - it feels rather heavy and muddy to me. I would hope the CA13 (which I've never actually tried) was more like a grand piano - weighty, whilst crisp and responsive.

If piano sound and feel is what's important, then the CA13 ought to be the better piano. The CN34 is good for the extra sounds and features.


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Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2291171
06/17/14 04:14 PM
06/17/14 04:14 PM
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bradhapa Offline OP
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Morodiene and Toddy,

Thanks for your help! Your comments caused me to research the different key designs that Kawai uses in its different models and lines. Now I understand better.

I didn't realize that Kawai had such great visualizations and even videos explaining the differences among the key designs. Now I understand why I was more impressed with the action of the CA13 over the CN34, even though the former has been recently discontinued and the latter is the latest version in that series. If I buy the higher-end solution I'd now go with the CA13.

For anyone researching Kawai DPs, below is a great page to find current and past models and all accompanying documentation:
https://www.kawai.de/dphistory_en.htm

As I was researching the CA13/CA15 it was confusing because the Kawai US page doesn't show these particular models but other regional pages for Kawai do. I guess this was never formally sold in the US.

Now I just need to decide between price vs. performance (i.e Will the key action of the Casio AP-450 do the job or do I bite the bullet and buy the Kawai CA13?)

I'm curious to hear the playing experiences of anyone who owns a Casio AP-450 (or related piano). Does the key action feel very natural once you've been playing it for a while? Does the piano still "inspire" you to play?

Thanks!

Bradhapa


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Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2291304
06/17/14 08:03 PM
06/17/14 08:03 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
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Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by bradhapa
Morodiene and Toddy,

Thanks for your help! Your comments caused me to research the different key designs that Kawai uses in its different models and lines. Now I understand better.

I didn't realize that Kawai had such great visualizations and even videos explaining the differences among the key designs. Now I understand why I was more impressed with the action of the CA13 over the CN34, even though the former has been recently discontinued and the latter is the latest version in that series. If I buy the higher-end solution I'd now go with the CA13.

For anyone researching Kawai DPs, below is a great page to find current and past models and all accompanying documentation:
https://www.kawai.de/dphistory_en.htm

As I was researching the CA13/CA15 it was confusing because the Kawai US page doesn't show these particular models but other regional pages for Kawai do. I guess this was never formally sold in the US.

Now I just need to decide between price vs. performance (i.e Will the key action of the Casio AP-450 do the job or do I bite the bullet and buy the Kawai CA13?)

I'm curious to hear the playing experiences of anyone who owns a Casio AP-450 (or related piano). Does the key action feel very natural once you've been playing it for a while? Does the piano still "inspire" you to play?

Thanks!

Bradhapa



Well, if you have a choice, never buy a DP you don't love and hope it will grow on you. If you don't care for it now, then you will most likely become more dissatisfied over time once you get to know it more.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2291320
06/17/14 08:19 PM
06/17/14 08:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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Bradhapa, while the CA13 does not feature the very latest technology, the keyboard action is still very good. If classical piano playing is your priority, I would be more inclined to opt for the CA13 over the CN34, largely for the superior wooden-key keyboard action.

As you have found, the CA13 (and current CA15) was not marketed in North America, hence there is no information about this instrument on the KawaiUS.com website. For more detailed information about Kawai's keyboard action technology, I would suggest visiting the Kawai MP website - the MP7 shares the same 'Responsive Hammer II' keyboard action as the CN34, while the MP11's 'Grand Feel' keyboard action is similar to the CA13's 'RM3 Grand' action, albeit with longer keys and triple-sensor key detection.

I hope this helps - best of luck with your decision.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2291647
06/18/14 11:33 AM
06/18/14 11:33 AM
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Hi Bradhapa

I bought the Casio 450 about 3 weeks ago and very happy with. Interestingly I came to a similar sort of list and was able to try them all in the store. I am only beginner myself so can't really help too much, though have played trumpet, recorder and guitar as well years ago on and off.

I bought the Casio in the end since it was more or less near the top end of my budget anyway I was prepared to pay to start with. I did try the Kawais that were a few hundred more to compare, and also a few Yamaha DPs, but felt with the Yamaha in particular I just needed to pay that much more to get a similar nicely weighted keyboard and nice sound so I ruled them out quickly.

A couple of things I can say about the Casio having owned it now that may be worth noting since you don't have to be an expert to notice it, it may or may not come to annoy you.

The keys are a bit noisy when pressed down.

There is a bit of lateral movement on the keys.

That being said I love the feel and weight of it of with the synthetic ivory key tops, very nice to get something like that for so cheap. smile

When I started looking and given what I was prepared to pay first I had the Pravia 750 in mind, but after listening to the jump in sound going from the Pravia 750, to 850 and finally the Celviano 450 I felt it was worth it, so I maxed my budget as much as I could in the end anyway, but it really was noticeable improvement in sound richness across the 3 pianos I felt.

Given I got a good deal with a chair and headphones, though I already have a decent set anyway, and an extended guarantee up to 5 years I really felt I got a good deal. I feel like a happy customer laugh.

No doubt I'll not be able to blame my tools for a long time I feel learning on this.

I did quite a bit of reading around before making the final purchase and read many reviews as well , I went back and forth to the store to make up my mind whether to spent the extra and wait to by something more costly, but I really happy with the Casio considering the cost and no regrets I got it in the end, as was my missus who can play a bit already.

If I really stick at it and get good enough, something better can be considered down the line I suppose.

HTH smile


Last edited by Alexander Borro; 06/18/14 11:35 AM.

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Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: Alexander Borro] #2291673
06/18/14 12:52 PM
06/18/14 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
Hi Bradhapa
A couple of things I can say about the Casio having owned it now that may be worth noting since you don't have to be an expert to notice it, it may or may not come to annoy you.

There is a bit of lateral movement on the keys.


Do you actually notice this when playing? I have tried wiggling the keys back and forth on a few DPs after reading about lateral movement on this forum.. the Casio action does have more of this lateral movement, but I couldn't feel it when playing it. (I probably played a PX-750 for an hour before I decided to buy a Kawai)

The other companies actions have side to side movement too.. maybe less but Casio seems to get called out for it. Does it actually bother anyone while playing?

Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2291679
06/18/14 01:16 PM
06/18/14 01:16 PM
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Hi Ben, I don't notice it all when playing or that it gives an unsteady feeling when pressing keys down, my missus does not either.

Is it something when you get to a much higher level you would notice or become a problem I cannot say. When you look head on onto the keyboard you can see the tiny gaps. When you press a key and hold it, you can move the keys sideways a tiny bit if you want to do so deliberately.

There are quite a few examples on youtube of people playing on the Celvianos and Pravias playing some complex classical stuff that sounds very nice to me at a good level, so I am not concerned at all since I don't see their hands slipping or missing notes easily. For that matter I don't recall any reviews I came across that mentioned it being an actual issue while playing.

As I said though, I am no expert, just a beginner. Perhaps in years to come such smaller little details will matter to me, who knows, I really can't say. If I ever get to be that good something better may well enter my home in time in years to come.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 06/18/14 01:17 PM.

Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Kawai CA78, Casio AP450 & software pianos.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2291947
06/19/14 06:05 AM
06/19/14 06:05 AM
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bradhapa Offline OP
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Hi Folks, thanks for all the added input here. You've given me a lot to think about.

It's a shame the Kawai CA15 isn't available here in Argentina. I'd get that without hesitating. Regardless, I'm still leaning towards the Kawai CA13 over the Casio AP450.

I bought a not-so-great but not-so-bad guitar 23 years ago, telling myself that "in a few years" I'd upgrade to a nice Taylor. That upgrade never happened and I'm still plucking away on the old plunker. I'm pretty confident the same thing would happen with a piano so experience tells me to get the better model now and be done with it. That means I'll likely go ahead and buy the CA13.

I'll post once I make my final purchase decision next week sometime.

Thanks everyone!

Brad

Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2291963
06/19/14 06:50 AM
06/19/14 06:50 AM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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Brad, if you're prepared to wait a month or two, it may be possible to ask your dealer to special-order the CA15. I can't guarantee they will honour your request, but it's certainly worth a try in order to secure the better sound/keyboard action.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2291976
06/19/14 07:26 AM
06/19/14 07:26 AM
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Hi James, this is a good recommendation! Although, the politics of importing to Argentina is not easy nor cheap. But it's worth asking some of the local distributors.

On that note, I did try calling the number listed for Kawai in Argentina (they appear to be represented here by a long-standing piano seller that is allied with the local conservatory of music). Unfortunately, nobody is answering the phone nor responding to my email question.

This is the link: http://www.kawai.com.ar/

I'll keep trying to call them and also contact some of the distributors listed on the Kawai Argentina website.

Thanks!

Brad

Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2297830
07/02/14 04:52 PM
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bradhapa Offline OP
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Hi Folks,

I want to thank everyone for your input on my queries. Last week I finally made my decision and bought a Kawai CA13 digital piano. I couldn't be happier! It looks, sounds and feels great. If I can figure out how to upload pics I'll put a couple of it below.

Thanks again for the input!

Brad

Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2297834
07/02/14 04:59 PM
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[Linked Image]

The family's new Kawai CA13 digital piano!

Last edited by bradhapa; 07/02/14 05:02 PM.
Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2297836
07/02/14 05:01 PM
07/02/14 05:01 PM
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[Linked Image]

The real reason I bought the piano!

Last edited by bradhapa; 07/02/14 05:01 PM.
Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2297846
07/02/14 05:19 PM
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Hey, that looks wonderful, good buy! Lovely picture of the children smile


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Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2297885
07/02/14 06:34 PM
07/02/14 06:34 PM
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Congrats!

Thanks for posting the pics - your children look very happy. wink

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Kawai CA13 vs Kawai CN34 vs Casio AP-450 [Re: bradhapa] #2297943
07/02/14 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bradhapa
[Linked Image]

The real reason I bought the piano!


Excellent hand position! This is what its all about. Congrats on your new piano!


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