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Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help #2408664
04/09/15 09:54 PM
04/09/15 09:54 PM
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FranklinSq Offline OP
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My first post here. I have a Yamaha P35 digital, the action of which I find much too light and its speakers very poor. I want to upgrade to a truly GOOD digital piano and am willing to blow all my savings and invest up to $4000 in it.

Based on what I had read on the web, I had pretty much decided on the Kawai CN25. I went to a piano store to give it a try and to close the deal if it lived up to its reputation. I really do not wish to annoy anyone here who has a CN25/24, but I absolutely did not like the action of the CN25; it felt incredibly shallow, and by that I mean the keys would not go down very far before bottoming out abruptly.

Next to the CN25 in the store was a CP2, and much to my surprise it felt exactly the OPPOSITE of the CN25; it felt very mushy with very deep action, and it almost felt impossible for me to play a fast piece on it.

Then I discovered that the store also carried a CA95. The action of the CA95 felt somewhere between the action of the CN25 and the CP2; it was deeper than the CN25 but not as mushy as the CP2. At this point I was really confused, because even though I knew these are very different models at very different price points (CN25 is entry level, while the CP2 is professional) I did not expect their actions to be SOOO different from each other.

So now I am in a place where I don’t really trust my judgement anymore. If the professional CP2 seemed unacceptable to me, then I probably don’t know what I am talking about… I have heard from many folks on this forum that the VPC1 is very highly regarded. Is the action of the VPC1 closer to the CP2 or to the CA95? Also, can someone who has had experience with Kawai models rank them based on the quality of their action? (I fully understand that even different APs have different actions, so lets take Kawai’s own upright APs and ask the question: which one of their digitals most closely resembles their upright APs?)

Many thanks in advance for your help.

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Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2408682
04/09/15 10:46 PM
04/09/15 10:46 PM
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Chicago, Illinois
David Farley Offline
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You have a lot of options if you have a $4K budget (Roland, Yamaha, Nord...) Did you try any of the high-end digital pianos other than Kawai? Do you want a console with built-in speakers?

Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2408692
04/09/15 11:56 PM
04/09/15 11:56 PM
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headbirth Offline
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Originally Posted by FranklinSq
I want to upgrade to a truly GOOD digital piano and am willing to blow all my savings and invest up to $4000 in it.


In case you are serious: Please don't blow all your savings. Keep them for emergencies. You will probably be annoyed with your existing piano for a while. But when something happens, you will be incredibly grateful you have the money to resolve that crisis.

Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2408693
04/10/15 12:01 AM
04/10/15 12:01 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 14,830
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Hello FranklinSq, welcome to the forum.

The CN25 features the mid-range (not entry-level) 'Responsive Hammer III' (RHIII) plastic key keyboard action. A reference image of this action is shown below:

[Linked Image]

By contrast, the CP2 and CA95 feature the (former) top-of-the-range 'Grand Feel' (GF) wooden key keyboard action. Again, a reference image of this action is shown below:

[Linked Image]

As you can see, the design, mechanism, and materials employed by these two actions differs considerably. While the CN25's RHIII action is arguably the industry's most realistic plastic key action, the touch feel cannot compare to that of the longer wooden keys and authentic see-saw movement offered by the GF action.

For more information about Kawai's plastic and wooden key actions, you may wish to refer to the following pages from the KawaiMP.com website. Please note that the action technology used in Kawai's MP stage piano instruments is exactly the same as that of our console instruments.

RHII action:
http://www.kawaimp.com/mp7/detail/touch/

GF action:
http://www.kawaimp.com/mp11/detail/touch/

Originally Posted by FranklinSq
So now I am in a place where I don’t really trust my judgement anymore. If the professional CP2 seemed unacceptable to me, then I probably don’t know what I am talking about…


Aside from your P35, may I ask if you have a great deal of experience with acoustic pianos?

Originally Posted by FranklinSq
I have heard from many folks on this forum that the VPC1 is very highly regarded. Is the action of the VPC1 closer to the CP2 or to the CA95?


The VPC1 features the high-range 'RM3 Grand II' wooden key keyboard action. A reference image of this action is shown below:

[Linked Image]

You will notice that the 'RM3 Grand II' design and mechanism is very similar to 'Grand Feel', however the key and key pivot lengths are shorter. As a result, playing notes towards the back of the key will feel heavier.

Originally Posted by FranklinSq
Also, can someone who has had experience with Kawai models rank them based on the quality of their action?


Let's see... from good to excellent:

- AHA IV-F action: ES100, CL26, KDP90,
- RHII action: ES7, MP7, CN24/CN34 (discontinued), CP3
- RHIII action: CN25/CN35
- RM3 Grand II action: VPC1
- GF action: MP11, CA65/CA95, CP1/CP2
- GF II action CA67/CA97

Originally Posted by FranklinSq
I fully understand that even different APs have different actions, so lets take Kawai’s own upright APs and ask the question: which one of their digitals most closely resembles their upright APs?


Please note that Kawai digital piano actions attempt to recreate the feel of a grand piano, not an upright piano.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
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Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2408739
04/10/15 03:54 AM
04/10/15 03:54 AM
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UK
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spanishbuddha Offline
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Key action specs and names are interesting. But only so far as to track which models have which. Also the opinions of others are just THEIR opinions. FWIW my opinion is that no DP action feels close to an acoustic (AG, NU1 excepted).

Have fun visiting stores without any preconceptions and see if you find a DP with an action you like.

Last edited by spanishbuddha; 04/10/15 03:54 AM.
Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2408774
04/10/15 08:12 AM
04/10/15 08:12 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,653
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by FranklinSq
My first post here. I have a Yamaha P35 digital, the action of which I find much too light and its speakers very poor. I want to upgrade to a truly GOOD digital piano and am willing to blow all my savings and invest up to $4000 in it.

Based on what I had read on the web, I had pretty much decided on the Kawai CN25. I went to a piano store to give it a try and to close the deal if it lived up to its reputation. I really do not wish to annoy anyone here who has a CN25/24, but I absolutely did not like the action of the CN25; it felt incredibly shallow, and by that I mean the keys would not go down very far before bottoming out abruptly.

Next to the CN25 in the store was a CP2, and much to my surprise it felt exactly the OPPOSITE of the CN25; it felt very mushy with very deep action, and it almost felt impossible for me to play a fast piece on it.

Then I discovered that the store also carried a CA95. The action of the CA95 felt somewhere between the action of the CN25 and the CP2; it was deeper than the CN25 but not as mushy as the CP2. At this point I was really confused, because even though I knew these are very different models at very different price points (CN25 is entry level, while the CP2 is professional) I did not expect their actions to be SOOO different from each other.

So now I am in a place where I don’t really trust my judgement anymore. If the professional CP2 seemed unacceptable to me, then I probably don’t know what I am talking about… I have heard from many folks on this forum that the VPC1 is very highly regarded. Is the action of the VPC1 closer to the CP2 or to the CA95? Also, can someone who has had experience with Kawai models rank them based on the quality of their action? (I fully understand that even different APs have different actions, so lets take Kawai’s own upright APs and ask the question: which one of their digitals most closely resembles their upright APs?)

Many thanks in advance for your help.


Keep in mind that the model many high-end DPs are after is the acoustic grand action, not the acoustic upright - which is something completely different in acoustic pianos. So high-end DPs should be compared to acoustic grands.

My acoustic grand (Petrof concert grand) has a Renner action which is regarded as the best in the industry. My particular piano has a very heavy feel to it, but it's not so much that it impedes playability. The Kawai VPC1 (RM3-II action) was almost identical in feel to the Petrof, and the MP11 (GF action) is slightly lighter than the Petrof.

Many would consider the Petrof to be too heavy, and I've played on concert Yamahas that are much lighter. Who is the better pianist? Neither, it is completely up to the individual to determine what they like. If there were only one best feel, then all pianos would strive for that. Clearly they do not to allow for personal taste.

Having said that, you are accustomed to a P35 which has their GHS action, their lowest end and what many here consider to be inferior. Going from that action to anything else will take some adjustment in your technique over time.

Have you tried playing on some good acoustic grand pianos? I think if you did that and compared them to DPs in your price range you will be able to make a more informed decision. Test out Yamahas and Rolands as well as Kawais in this manner. That will really help you decide I think.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2408810
04/10/15 10:25 AM
04/10/15 10:25 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 81
Canada
Tone Deaf Offline
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A question or two, probably dumb ones, for Kawai James.

As part of your response to FranklinSq, included were links re the RH II (RH III) and GF action.
In the close-up thumb nail of the RH II Triple-Sensor Key Dection, is the sensor that grey coloured
step like objet? Or is it a flexible housing which protects the sensor? If this grey object becomes
worn or damaged, can it be easily replaced?
One of the thumb nail close-ups for the GF action is of the Capstan Screw, with the following
caption: "as with a grand piano action, this screw allows the height and postion of each hammer
jack to be percisely regulated". Am I correct in interpreting this to mean that one can adjust
the key(s)?
BTW, does Kawai make availible a complete parts and spec manual to owners of their DPs?


Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2408813
04/10/15 10:33 AM
04/10/15 10:33 AM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 114
Massachusetts, USA
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Ben Boule Offline
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Originally Posted by FranklinSq

Based on what I had read on the web, I had pretty much decided on the Kawai CN25. I went to a piano store to give it a try and to close the deal if it lived up to its reputation. I really do not wish to annoy anyone here who has a CN25/24, but I absolutely did not like the action of the CN25; it felt incredibly shallow, and by that I mean the keys would not go down very far before bottoming out abruptly.


You're not the only person who thinks this.. (I certainly do and I own a CN24) However I don't think there is anything odd in the travel of the key. It's around 10-12mm if I recall correctly which is pretty normal.


Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: Tone Deaf] #2408815
04/10/15 10:41 AM
04/10/15 10:41 AM
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Posts: 114
Massachusetts, USA
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Ben Boule Offline
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Originally Posted by Tone Deaf

As part of your response to FranklinSq, included were links re the RH II (RH III) and GF action.
In the close-up thumb nail of the RH II Triple-Sensor Key Dection, is the sensor that grey coloured
step like objet? Or is it a flexible housing which protects the sensor? If this grey object becomes
worn or damaged, can it be easily replaced?


That diagram is pretty clearly labeled. There are some good youtube videos if you look up "ES7 noisy key" that show partially disassembled RHII key actions. The sensors are encased in a rubber jacket. If I recall correctly all of the sensors for all of the keys are a single unit that goes down and they are all connected by a ribbon cable. The key pushes down one end of the hammer, that portion of the hammer (on the right in the image) triggers the sensors. The image shows one key depressed so you can see the hammer in both a raised and lowered position. Nothing is user serviceable.


Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: Kawai James] #2408842
04/10/15 11:49 AM
04/10/15 11:49 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 506
Mountain Time, USA
OneWatt Offline
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Originally Posted by Kawai James


Originally Posted by FranklinSq
Also, can someone who has had experience with Kawai models rank them based on the quality of their action?


Let's see... from good to excellent:

- AHA IV-F action: ES100, CL26, KDP90,
- RHII action: ES7, MP7, CN24/CN34 (discontinued), CP3
- RHIII action: CN25/CN35
- RM3 Grand action: VPC1
- GF action: MP11, CA65/CA95, CP1/CP2
- GF II action CA67/CA97



No doubt KJames knows his Kawai actions in terms of quality build, design, etc. so I wouldn't presume to change his rankings above.

However I wish to highlight the key point (no pun) made by others that individual players often experience the same action very differently.

Case in point, I've had a Boston acoustic grand for over a decade (which is a decently constructed piano from the Steinway folks) and yet most days I find it more enjoyable to play the action on my Kawai MP7 (ranked at the "lower" end of James's list above, being just "good").

There's nothing right or wrong about this - it's a matter of taste, feel, familiarity, and even mood.

In terms of quality build, I expect the Boston's keybed will last several more generations, whereas my expectations are a lot lower for the MP7's longevity. Then again, one costs about 10x the other.

But in terms of playability, I would strongly encourage the OP to spend as much time as possible playing each candidate before making a decision.

Whether anyone else told you that you'd enjoy playing a particular DP will be of little consolation if, after buying it, you don't.

- OneWatt

ps - I would also echo the caution about cleaning out your $4k savings. You can make lots of lovely music on that rainy day with a less costly DP and a lot more leftover in your rainy day fund.



Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: Kawai James] #2408869
04/10/15 01:29 PM
04/10/15 01:29 PM
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LookinforDP Offline
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Originally Posted by Kawai James

Let's see... from good to excellent:

- AHA IV-F action: ES100, CL26, KDP90,
- RHII action: ES7, MP7, CN24/CN34 (discontinued), CP3
- RHIII action: CN25/CN35
- RM3 Grand action: VPC1
- GF action: MP11, CA65/CA95, CP1/CP2
- GF II action CA67/CA97



Please note that Kawai digital piano actions attempt to recreate the feel of a grand piano, not an upright piano.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
x


Did anybody notice that James' list, never, either incidentally or accidentally show the names of CA15 or (leaked) CA17 ?

Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: LookinforDP] #2408983
04/10/15 07:33 PM
04/10/15 07:33 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 14,830
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Originally Posted by LookinforDP
[Did anybody notice that James' list, never, either incidentally or accidentally show the names of CA15 or (leaked) CA17 ?


The CA15 (which uses the same 'RM3 Grand II' action as the VPC1) is not sold in the North America, where I assume the OP is posting from.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2408985
04/10/15 07:34 PM
04/10/15 07:34 PM
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Canada
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CA15: "...RM3 Grand II action..."

CA17: "...RM3 Grand II Tastatur..."

According to the Kawai Europa German pdf brochure, the CA17 should be availible
from the end of May (ab Ende Mai).

I guess in N. America it will released even later.


Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: Kawai James] #2409003
04/10/15 08:48 PM
04/10/15 08:48 PM
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LookinforDP Offline
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by LookinforDP
[Did anybody notice that James' list, never, either incidentally or accidentally show the names of CA15 or (leaked) CA17 ?


The CA15 (which uses the same 'RM3 Grand II' action as the VPC1) is not sold in the North America, where I assume the OP is posting from.

Kind regards,
James
x


of course, i didn't mean a reproach, simply a joke attempt ...

Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2409049
04/11/15 12:27 AM
04/11/15 12:27 AM
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Canada
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OPPS, my Bad. Sorry.

No reproach taken. In future I'll be more careful; now it's time to crawl back under my rock....


Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: headbirth] #2409199
04/11/15 02:00 PM
04/11/15 02:00 PM
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FranklinSq Offline OP
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FranklinSq  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by headbirth
Originally Posted by FranklinSq
I want to upgrade to a truly GOOD digital piano and am willing to blow all my savings and invest up to $4000 in it.


In case you are serious: Please don't blow all your savings. Keep them for emergencies. You will probably be annoyed with your existing piano for a while. But when something happens, you will be incredibly grateful you have the money to resolve that crisis.


Thanks for the note. This isn't really rainy-day savings, so I will still have emergencies covered. But I am also afraid that if I don't buy the best DP I can afford then I will want to upgrade yet again and will end up spending even more.

Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: Kawai James] #2409210
04/11/15 02:29 PM
04/11/15 02:29 PM
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FranklinSq Offline OP
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Kawai James, many thanks for your detailed response! I think it is fantastic that someone affiliated with Kawai is present here and helps out as best they can.

Originally Posted by Kawai James

By contrast, the CP2 and CA95 feature the (former) top-of-the-range 'Grand Feel' (GF) wooden key keyboard action.


This is very surprising, as the CP2 and CA95 feel very very different to me.

Originally Posted by Kawai James

Aside from your P35, may I ask if you have a great deal of experience with acoustic pianos?


I played a keyboard as a child. Then I took some piano classes back in college and that was my only exposure to APs. I am by no means experienced. But I have surprised myself by how much time I spend playing the P35 and how much fun it has been, and I think I am ready for a piano I can grow into. I live in an apartment, so an acoustic is not an option.

Originally Posted by Kawai James

Let's see... from good to excellent:

- AHA IV-F action: ES100, CL26, KDP90,
- RHII action: ES7, MP7, CN24/CN34 (discontinued), CP3
- RHIII action: CN25/CN35
- RM3 Grand action: VPC1
- GF action: MP11, CA65/CA95, CP1/CP2
- GF II action CA67/CA97


Kawai James, would you please confirm that the CA67 & CA97 have EXACTLY the same action? The reason I ask is that I played a CN25 and CN35 in the store, and they felt ever so slightly different. I have to mention that they were in different rooms and I kept going back and forth between them, but it really felt like the action on the CN35 was better. I am strongly leaning toward getting a CA67 and I just want to make sure that as far as the action is concerned it is identical to the CA97.

Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2409234
04/11/15 03:23 PM
04/11/15 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by FranklinSq
I just want to make sure that as far as the action is concerned it is identical to the CA97.


Dear FranklinSq,
CA67 and CA97 are identical (now also in dimensions) except the fact that CA97 has a soundboard and CA67 does not (and other differences in number of sounds etc). Both models have the identical GF2 action.

Cheers
Semih


Kawai CA97

Ex Casio CDP 120
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Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: FranklinSq] #2409317
04/11/15 08:37 PM
04/11/15 08:37 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Hello FranklinSq,

Originally Posted by FranklinSq
Kawai James, would you please confirm that the CA67 & CA97 have EXACTLY the same action? The reason I ask is that I played a CN25 and CN35 in the store, and they felt ever so slightly different.


Yes, the keyboard action utilised by the CA97 and CA67 is exactly the same: Grand Feel II.

When comparing keyboard actions, sometimes it is useful to play witht the instrument turned off (or with the volume set to the lowest position) as the sound/volume can give the impression that an action feels a little different.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai actions seem very different between models - need help [Re: Kawai James] #2409396
04/12/15 07:19 AM
04/12/15 07:19 AM
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Allochi Offline
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Hi, I just got my Kawai CA67 3 days ago, and it's amazing.

Anyway, I do agree that you need to try all available options yourself, I went to a store and compared acoustic pianos to Yamaha and Kawai digital ones, spent more than an hour trying the actions and the sounds. I also agree with James regarding trying the keys without sound, I wish if I read that before, but I found out this by myself in the store :D, the piano feels different, the sound tricks you laugh

Anyway, I didn't try CNs, but I did try CA65 and now I have CA67, the action between them is different, the CA67 action feels more solid to me, not that CA65 didn't, but I guess the counter weight give it that acoustic piano acceleration feeling, I can play pp and I can sense the subtle resistance, but in the same time it's not too heavy for it. I love the action, it flows nicely.

Now the sales lady in the store, she would pick Yamaha, so me and her disagree, but hey, this is why you need to try them out, you need to pick the one that you like to play, and try to play other bands and pianos from time to time.

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by chongjasmine. 03/26/19 05:50 AM
Lifting the CA98
by iLogic. 03/26/19 02:58 AM
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