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Kawai CA67, 6 months review #2659272
07/06/17 09:40 AM
07/06/17 09:40 AM
Joined: Jul 2017
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aph123 Offline OP
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Hello everybody, new member here.

Just wanted to post some thoughts on the CA67 which I (and my 2 daughters) have enjoyed playing for about 6 months now.

We upgraded from a P45 which we frankly grew out of quite quickly. We wanted a more robust piece of furniture with proper action, better piano sounds and better speakers. I shopped around quite a bit and in the end, it came down to a choice between the “big 3” (Y/K/R). My feelings at the time was similar to what a lot of people have said on this forum. Kawai has the best action, and best value for money, but the Clavinova sounds were more pleasant on my ears. Both via speaker and headphones. I didn’t get deep into virtual technician in the shops, so this was based on comparing the stock “first 3” piano sounds. This fact ate at me for quite some time, before and after the purchase.

Anyway, the piano was delivered and we all started playing on it. We did experience a faulty key quite quickly, but Kawai promptly sent out a guy to fix it, so big thanks for great customer support. The piano-fixer-guy also boosted my self-confidence a bit, talking about servicing pianos from all “big 3 manufacturers” and telling me that the Kawai’s are the most robust/and most “real-piano-like” ones on the market.

Anyway, I do 1-2h / day and fairly quickly I noticed ear-fatigue playing all the main piano sounds. Especially playing chords in soprano/alto range just clashes somehow and rings out very harshly in my ears. The feeling I had in shop about the Kawai sounds not being as pleasant to my ears persisted. I settled on the SK-5 as my default sound for a while because I found that the least harsh. After a month or two I decided to change headphones to see if that was the problem. I was using BD/DT770 which are very bright – known to cause ear fatigue. Got a pair of SH HD/559 (which I love btw, awesome for plugging into the stereo and listening to classical / jazz for hours and hours). The Sennheisers helped, but the sounds was still too harsh.

Fast forward a month more and then I finally ventured into the Virtual Technician, its was one of those “OMG, why in the world haven’t I tinkered with this before?” moments. Just going into “Smart Mode” and putting the SK Concertgrand on “Clean” mode and boom, it sounded very pleasant to my ears. Not only that, with the HD/559 and SHS Mode it sounds flipping amazing. Comparing the different Smart Modes its clear what’s going on. All the (very clever I’m sure) resonance modelling etc. is the problem. That’s great for realism sure, and probably very cool when doing performances. But as a 2h/day practice sound, its very tiresome (atleast to my ears). Going back to a store and trying a CLP575 again, I have to say that I have now grown to prefer all 3 Kawai sounds (with the correct VT settings ofc).

There’s also a bunch of other small things that I like about the CA67. They way you can store all settings (like different VT settings / per piano sound), the metronome comes back with my default settings etc etc, that just makes it easy to get on with practicing. The effects section also really cool. Tinkering with the effects and reverbs on the more “synthier” sounds and given me and my daughters hours of fun practice. Another great feature is the line-in plug. I've put a £10 bluetooth receiver there, so now I can hook up my ipad (wirelessly) and play along with backing tracks and get the metronome from "sightreadingfactory.com" in my headphones.

So, long story short. CA67 a piano that grows on you. Great action, great functionality, great value, great customer support, pretty terrible “stock sounds”. The good news is that you can change the sounds to your liking. This is very hard to work out in store, but after finding it after many months of playing I am very happy about how it sounds.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by aph123; 07/06/17 11:53 AM.
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Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2659275
07/06/17 09:55 AM
07/06/17 09:55 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,809
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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Pretty terrible stock sounds. Sums up a lot of the default sounds from most manufacturers. Very hard for them to predict what we'd like; the more you fiddle around with the Virtual Technician, the more you'll need to remember not to panic when the thing gets out of control . . .
There lurks within it's shell a wonderful piano, and it looks like you found it.
Some of us lesser mortals just settle for Pianoteq . . . . .And that has it's own virtual technician . . .which is a tad easier to use. Allegedly.


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2659289
07/06/17 11:22 AM
07/06/17 11:22 AM
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Grezzz Offline
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I bought a CA67 just over a month ago and I agree with a lot of the things you're saying, but I haven't touched the VT settings yet.

The action of the piano is (in my opinion) far superior to the competition, at least in this price range. For that reason there was never any doubt about which brand/model I would be purchasing. The sound however I don't think is quite on the same level. It's not that it's bad, because it's not, I just found that the Yamaha sound seemed like it was a little crisper/clearer, but not different enough to sway my purchase. After playing the Kawai for a while it has started to grate on me a little bit. Maybe if I owned a Yamaha or a Roland and I played those extensively I'd find criticisms of their sound too, but we'll never know.

I don't know whether it's just because I've been used to playing on older models that don't have the same resonance modelling. Admittedly my exposure to acoustics is very limited, I played on them a lot back when I took lessons, but that's not very recent, so I'm probably more used to an artificial sound that lacks some of these dynamics. I don't know if it's just my poor playing and poor pedal control that don't properly manage these aspects.

I'll give VT a try tonight though and see how it sounds, thanks for the tip.

Last edited by Grezzz; 07/06/17 11:23 AM.
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2659358
07/06/17 03:30 PM
07/06/17 03:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
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UK
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It's partially in your head... I started off thinking the sounds on my CA95 were all too bright, and went through periods setting the touch to "heavy", and using the Mellow Grand as default. I also used Mellow Grand 2 for playing Bach, which is clearly an inferior sample, but for some reason seems to suit the music and make it easy to practice. These days I use "normal" touch and the Jazz Grand, or fire up a software piano. You can achieve some interesting effects using the virtual tech, or perhaps more significantly, using the reverb and stereo delay effect creatively.

It's funny how DP sounds can go stale, but nobody complains of acoustic pianos in the same way.

I think someone once suggested that for realism Kawai should make the piano detune itself over the course of time, or with heavy playing, then require the input of a code purchased from Kawai in order to re-tune it.


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2659381
07/06/17 04:59 PM
07/06/17 04:59 PM
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R111 Offline
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I don't think the Kawai harshness is in your head. I've always had the same impression no matter how many chances I give them. I'll have to try the modes you describe the next time I'm trying out pianos.

I wonder if there's anyone out there who'd want to demonstrate the difference on YouTube or SoundCloud, etc.

Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2659398
07/06/17 06:07 PM
07/06/17 06:07 PM
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Another recent CA67 buyer here (I'm going to post a review in the next week or two), and I largely concur with your comments. At stock, the Kawai sounds are certainly inferior to the Yamaha sounds, and okay but really not great. I spent many hours over several days playing a CLP575 and CA67 next to each other (and a few other models as well), and it was overwhelmingly clear almost from the start that action on the CA67 is superior, while the sound on the Yamaha is a fair bit nicer.

I played with the VT settings right from the start, both the smart modes and the individual settings (VT and basic settings). I wouldn't say I'm completely done with that process yet, but I have a bunch of settings that I'm reasonably happy with now, and it's improved the sounds quite considerably. Having tested a CLP575 again recently, I still think the CFX sound on that is superior to the Kawai sounds; that's partly due to clearly better sampling but partly also due to the fact that in my view it's a better sounding acoustic instrument. Still, when I listen to a lot of the piano VSTs out there, I do have respect for the Kawai sounds, and after suitable tuning, they're quite usable on the whole (not the older EX Concert Grand sound so much, which is poorly sampled in my view, but is okay for a change occasionally).

Must say, I'd be interested to hear about the sales figures for the CA67. It seems quite popular, and to me occupies an unusually strong position in the market given the feature set.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2659450
07/06/17 08:38 PM
07/06/17 08:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
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Sydney,NSW,Australia
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USSOWT Offline
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I recalled Tony from bonner's music once commented on YouTube that "Yamaha has he best sound, Kawai has the best action, Roland has the most features", after playing my Kawai for 7 months and trying other models, reading many reviews I need to agree with him.

Now he is getting" smart" and does not make such comments anymore.


Kawai CA67/Ivory 2 Grand Piano
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: karvala] #2659452
07/06/17 08:44 PM
07/06/17 08:44 PM
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USSOWT Offline
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Originally Posted by karvala
Another recent CA67 buyer here (I'm going to post a review in the next week or two), and I largely concur with your comments. At stock, the Kawai sounds are certainly inferior to the Yamaha sounds, and okay but really not great. I spent many hours over several days playing a CLP575 and CA67 next to each other (and a few other models as well), and it was overwhelmingly clear almost from the start that action on the CA67 is superior, while the sound on the Yamaha is a fair bit nicer.

I played with the VT settings right from the start, both the smart modes and the individual settings (VT and basic settings). I wouldn't say I'm completely done with that process yet, but I have a bunch of settings that I'm reasonably happy with now, and it's improved the sounds quite considerably. Having tested a CLP575 again recently, I still think the CFX sound on that is superior to the Kawai sounds; that's partly due to clearly better sampling but partly also due to the fact that in my view it's a better sounding acoustic instrument. Still, when I listen to a lot of the piano VSTs out there, I do have respect for the Kawai sounds, and after suitable tuning, they're quite usable on the whole (not the older EX Concert Grand sound so much, which is poorly sampled in my view, but is okay for a change occasionally).

Must say, I'd be interested to hear about the sales figures for the CA67. It seems quite popular, and to me occupies an unusually strong position in the market given the feature set.


Here is Sydney, it will take at least a month to wait for one's ca67 order to be delivered as the waiting list is quite long, price difference also affects people's desicion: in Japan, price ratio of ca67/97 is about 4/5 or 5/6, but in Australia it is about 2/3, not many people want to pay 50% more for 20-25% performance boost.


Kawai CA67/Ivory 2 Grand Piano
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: karvala] #2659514
07/07/17 03:47 AM
07/07/17 03:47 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 15,585
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Originally Posted by karvala
Must say, I'd be interested to hear about the sales figures for the CA67. It seems quite popular, and to me occupies an unusually strong position in the market given the feature set.


karvala, may I ask you to clarify this comment, please?

Are you suggesting that the CA67's feature set is inferior to competing models?
If so, I would be grateful if you could highlight which features you believe to be missing.

Thank you in advance.

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 CA67, 6 months review [Re: Kawai James] #2659819
07/08/17 09:29 AM
07/08/17 09:29 AM
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karvala Offline
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by karvala
Must say, I'd be interested to hear about the sales figures for the CA67. It seems quite popular, and to me occupies an unusually strong position in the market given the feature set.


karvala, may I ask you to clarify this comment, please?

Are you suggesting that the CA67's feature set is inferior to competing models?
If so, I would be grateful if you could highlight which features you believe to be missing.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards,
James
x


No, I meant exactly the opposite; don't panic wink I can see the statement was rather ambiguous, though. What I meant was that I think the feature set, taking all the properties of the instrument as a whole, seems to make it a fairly clear winner within its segment.

A couple of months ago I tested the vast majority of available digital pianos (including portable ones) from Kawai, Yamaha, Roland and Casio, in the £500 to £5000 price range, and the CA67 was the clear instrument of choice, at least for a headphone user (so not really needing better speakers or the soundboard) who wants something to operate essentially as an acoustic piano replacement. Better than the more expensive models, preferable even to the rather unconvincing low-end hybrids. That's quite an unusual market characteristic; at lower price segments there were always multiple options with trade-offs, i.e one has clearly a better instrument sampling, while another has a better action, while another has better sound processing etc.. But the CA67 wins in almost all categories against the competition. Even the high-end Roland pianos in that range have unconvincing physically-modelled sounds which really don't much like a piano in my view and their feather-light actions make them wholly unsuitable for serious piano practice. The Casio GP range should be strong competition, and to be fair I only tested the GP300 because the other two weren't available, but it was clear that not only are the three main piano sounds pretty awful, but sadly so is the action (which is no different on the other two, so I'm quite confident in discounting them). They argue it's like playing a grand piano, and indeed it was - just like playing a really bad grand piano in need of serious renovation to the action. I think the GP series is best described as a work in progress.

Yamaha were the most serious competition, and I spent a while playing the CLP575 and CLP585 (and all the cheaper variants as well, including a CLP645 from the newer series; no CLP675s were available at that time anywhere near me so I couldn't test those). A few things stand out on the Yamahas: the CFX grand piano sound is nice, actually nicer than any of the Kawai sounds in my view (and that of a couple of people I brought to test along with me). The Bosendorfer sound is a joke, however, so you have one good and one very poor Yamaha sound vs two middling and one fairly poor Kawai sound, purely in terms of instrument quality and sampling. But, and we were all genuinely surprised by this, the sound processing is quite poor on the Yamaha, meaning that the nicely sampled CFX instrument really doesn't come across well on good headphones or on the builtin speakers (the CLP585 was notably a lot better than the CLP575 in that regard, but still not great). That means, in terms of sound it was a marginal win for Kawai in the end. Keyboard action on the Yamaha is notable for two things: a remarkable consistency (that is possibly something Kawai could learn from), but absolutely unrealistic. It was more like typing than playing. The counter-weights also need serious adjustment; the action was much more separated into two parts than any acoustic piano I've ever played (reasonable top half, then excessively strong resistance, then an over-rapid second half). For an acoustic piano replacement, it doesn't seem to be a serious contender for anyone looking for a proper action. The other Yamahas we looked at were the hybrids, including the NU1 and N1. The action in these was obviously better; the N1 grand piano action was not bad, though not great by grand piano standards; the NU1 action was okay but obviously an upright action which is quite different, and quite heavy for a Yamaha. What let those down, though, were the sounds; I could scarcely believe the poor quality of the sounds (worse than the CLP575 even) in instruments being sold at those prices (a fair bit more expensive than the CA67), which was a deal-breaker for those.

The end result is that, in my view, if you want a piano with an action that is not wholly unrealistic, together with reasonable sounds, the CA67/CA97 are the clear winners. Add in the virtual technician, which is genuinely useful (and necessary, I might say), and they seem to be in a fairly strong position in terms of features. The price differential between the two is quite high for what amounts to a better speaker system; worth it if you're using speakers and money isn't an issue, but for headphones users or those on a budget I think the CA67 will look quite attractive. You can get CA67s for well under £2000 in the UK now, which is a very clever price point to be at (a lot of people will be on a £2000 budget when looking for DPs I imagine). Put all that together, and you have a recipe for market dominance, hence my comment about sales figures. I think if sales are not excessively high, you might look at advertising/brand awareness (Yamaha obviously have a huge lead there), and, as we've talked about before, availability (there are a lot of tales of people having to travel long distances to even test one).

Finally, to mischievously take your question and suggest what might be improved in the next generation, there are two obvious things: (1) Reliability; almost everyone who posts before they've bought one (so they're an unbiased sample), comes back and points out some keyboard problem or other and yes, my recently-purchased CA67 also has some clicky keys, and I was almost expecting that, which really isn't how you want your customers to be thinking about your instruments; and (2) Improve the piano sampling; the Yamaha CFX is still a much better sampled instrument than even the SK-EX at the moment, and that will sway a lot of people in the showroom. There are countless VSTs out there, most of them pretty terrible admittedly but a few quite good, that show how it can/should be done.




Last edited by karvala; 07/08/17 09:43 AM.

Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: USSOWT] #2659820
07/08/17 09:32 AM
07/08/17 09:32 AM
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karvala Offline
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Originally Posted by USSOWT
Originally Posted by karvala
Another recent CA67 buyer here (I'm going to post a review in the next week or two), and I largely concur with your comments. At stock, the Kawai sounds are certainly inferior to the Yamaha sounds, and okay but really not great. I spent many hours over several days playing a CLP575 and CA67 next to each other (and a few other models as well), and it was overwhelmingly clear almost from the start that action on the CA67 is superior, while the sound on the Yamaha is a fair bit nicer.

I played with the VT settings right from the start, both the smart modes and the individual settings (VT and basic settings). I wouldn't say I'm completely done with that process yet, but I have a bunch of settings that I'm reasonably happy with now, and it's improved the sounds quite considerably. Having tested a CLP575 again recently, I still think the CFX sound on that is superior to the Kawai sounds; that's partly due to clearly better sampling but partly also due to the fact that in my view it's a better sounding acoustic instrument. Still, when I listen to a lot of the piano VSTs out there, I do have respect for the Kawai sounds, and after suitable tuning, they're quite usable on the whole (not the older EX Concert Grand sound so much, which is poorly sampled in my view, but is okay for a change occasionally).

Must say, I'd be interested to hear about the sales figures for the CA67. It seems quite popular, and to me occupies an unusually strong position in the market given the feature set.


Here is Sydney, it will take at least a month to wait for one's ca67 order to be delivered as the waiting list is quite long, price difference also affects people's desicion: in Japan, price ratio of ca67/97 is about 4/5 or 5/6, but in Australia it is about 2/3, not many people want to pay 50% more for 20-25% performance boost.


LOL, I hadn't read that before writing my reply to James but: QED. Both are points I've made as well; Kawai availability is serious impacting their sales in my view, and the price differential between the CA67 and CA97 is also probably too high (or to be honest, the CA67 is probably priced too low, but I don't want to encourage them to start charging more!).


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2659837
07/08/17 11:10 AM
07/08/17 11:10 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,809
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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Do people think similarly about the CN27/37? I have a great fondness for the sound o' those and they play so well I nearly acquired one. Yet on paper, and sometimes in demos, they lack some of the sophistication of their big brothers which I've never taken to.


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2660298
07/10/17 12:39 PM
07/10/17 12:39 PM
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Have to agree about the "harshness" of the ca97 and ca67, even with headphones. Playing them next to the casio grand hybrid pianos the kawai sounds definitely came across harsh. Not saying the casio is the greatest. Funny enough I thought the stock es110 piano sound was more pleasant to my ears with headphones.

Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2660334
07/10/17 03:29 PM
07/10/17 03:29 PM
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France
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Harshness? I would say definitly unreal...
Owner of a ca 67 , I m disappointed about the sound that was supposed to be one of the best. Even, if in the shop, 1 year ago, I thought it, compare to others...
But in fact, it sounds completely artificial on the mediums( bass and trebles are better), and when you play chords, all the notes are embedded without singing...
I tried with the VT to change that but impossible.
It s really a pity because the touch is pretty nice.
I found a great improvement with pianoteq, at least with headsets. By the internal speakers, the improvement in sound quality is still there, but not as much . I definitly have to try with a dedicated hifi amp plus hifi speakers.
What is sure, is, I now never use the built-in sounds, since I have discovered pianoteq.
And I can easily compare with my acoustic piano at home .

Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: rolex67] #2660487
07/11/17 05:16 AM
07/11/17 05:16 AM
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aph123 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by rolex67

I tried with the VT to change that but impossible.


Stick to the VT 'smart modes'. VT tweaking is a must in my opinion. The default settings are pretty terrible.

Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2660715
07/12/17 03:31 AM
07/12/17 03:31 AM
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Believe me, I spent hours trying to be closer to a real piano sound.( including smart mode.)
it' s not awfull though, but when you play software like pianoteq, you understand that there is still room for improvements !
( I tried also the silent SH version of a c3 x acoustic Yamaha. It beats easily the sounds of my CA67. I should try the silent version of the Kawai acoustic too ) )

Last edited by rolex67; 07/12/17 03:46 AM.
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2661141
07/13/17 04:21 PM
07/13/17 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by aph123
Just going into “Smart Mode” and putting the SK Concertgrand on “Clean” mode and boom, it sounded very pleasant to my ears. Not only that, with the HD/559 and SHS Mode it sounds flipping amazing. Comparing the different Smart Modes its clear what’s going on. All the (very clever I’m sure) resonance modelling etc. is the problem. That’s great for realism sure, and probably very cool when doing performances. But as a 2h/day practice sound, its very tiresome (atleast to my ears).


That's curious as looking at the settings "clean" still has a reasonable though reduced amount of reasonance: damper res at 4, string at 2 and undamped strings at 3. Cabinet res is actually boosted from default to 8. Aside from that it has voicing upped to bright2 but does have the higher notes reduced in volume so perhaps that is taking the edge off a bit...

Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: Bambers] #2661570
07/15/17 07:38 AM
07/15/17 07:38 AM
Joined: May 2017
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karvala Offline
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karvala  Offline
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Joined: May 2017
Posts: 686
Originally Posted by Bambers
Originally Posted by aph123
Just going into “Smart Mode” and putting the SK Concertgrand on “Clean” mode and boom, it sounded very pleasant to my ears. Not only that, with the HD/559 and SHS Mode it sounds flipping amazing. Comparing the different Smart Modes its clear what’s going on. All the (very clever I’m sure) resonance modelling etc. is the problem. That’s great for realism sure, and probably very cool when doing performances. But as a 2h/day practice sound, its very tiresome (atleast to my ears).


That's curious as looking at the settings "clean" still has a reasonable though reduced amount of reasonance: damper res at 4, string at 2 and undamped strings at 3. Cabinet res is actually boosted from default to 8. Aside from that it has voicing upped to bright2 but does have the higher notes reduced in volume so perhaps that is taking the edge off a bit...



Yeah, I must say I find Clean quite bright, but then a common complaint about the three main Kawai piano sounds (and especially the two SK ones) is that they need brightening so I guess that fits.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2661594
07/15/17 09:42 AM
07/15/17 09:42 AM
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Posts: 460
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Falsch Offline
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Falsch  Offline
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Posts: 460
I have both a Kawai MP7 and a Roland LX-17. Comparing the sounds thus...

When you play the Roland for a month, and then move to the Kawai (with good Focal Alpha 80 speakers):
- All the piano sounds sound dull, and the Mellow Grand sounds dreary.
- The piano sounds dead; seems to miss a lot of the resonances.
- Sound if very left-right because of the stereo speakers.
- The pedal throw is very looooooooong.
- The keyboard feels small, and very light (Roland seems to have bigger, heavier, keys).

When you play the Kawai for a month and them move to the Roland:
- The piano sounds harsh, and the Bright piano seems to cut your ears off
- The resonances sound overdone and the piano seems to be uncontrollable.
- The instrument emits a wall of sound that seems to come from everywhere.
- The pedal throw is very short.....
- The keyboard feels huge and heavy.

Still, when heard and played in isolation, both are just fine.

The MP7 (without speakers) now resides at my girlfriend's apartment, and I'm hearing no complaints. (She had lessons as a kid in the late 90's and early 2000's, on an acoustic upright.)


Roland LX-17 PE == At GF's condo: Kawai MP7 == Currently in storage: Focal Alpha 80, Pianoteq with Kremsegg I, II and Ruckers II addons.
Re: Kawai CA67, 6 months review [Re: aph123] #2672662
09/04/17 04:07 AM
09/04/17 04:07 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 844
South Wales
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Colin Miles Offline
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Colin Miles  Offline
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South Wales
About ten days ago I bought a CA67. On Friday it is being 'swopped' for a Roland LX7. Why?

Well, I bought the CA67 principally on the basis of the action with the hope that I could use the virtual technician to tailor the sound(s) to something which was acceptable to me. In my teens in the 50's I would be playing at least 4 different pianos every week, including a very light action Steinway grand, not to mention a couple of organs, so differences in action was something that you just accepted and got used to. But I had never been particularly happy with the action of the Roland HP7 that I bought in 2002 when I got back into playing. It's action was a bit 'lumpy' such that certain pieces could not be played fast and smoothly. The notes also had a short decay time and it was also limited in it's tone range - you couldn't do pp - though the sound was good.

So when some of the notes started to play loud - contacts probably needed cleaning - I decided it was time to upgrade. And thus began the long business of reading endless reviews, listening and then playing in the shop - Kawai CA97, Yahama CLP675, Casios GP300 and GP500, the Roland HP605 and LX7. This was done over several weeks and I thought I had been very careful in my preparations and choice. All the pianos there passed the action test as being adequate to properly play the pieces I couldn't on the Roland, but I felt the CA97 was the clear winner. As the CA67 should have had the same action and it wouldn't be possible to get the CA97 upstairs, and I was going to be playing mainly with headphones, the CA67 seemed to be the answer. I won't go into all the many other comments that I have made in a long 'choosing a digital piano' memo to myself in the process.

So this lovely looking white piano arrived and fitted in beautifully with the room. And I bought a matching white filing cabinet in which to store the music. But playing it first of all and trying out all the sounds I was a bit disappointed. The lower bass was distinctly 'muddy' and some of the upper notes had a somewhat brash, twangy sound. Trying out different voices and fiddling with the vt somewhat nullified some of this a bit. But then there was E4. It was sounding loud rather like the 2 faulty notes on my Roland. And the action didn't seem as smooth as I remembered.

First of all I dismissed all of this and the other problems as being my imagination, or simply having been used to the sound of the Roland for so long. But I went back into the shop and tried out the CA97 again. Having just played on my CA67 I immediately noticed the difference in the action, the CA97 being much smoother. This is not to say that the CA67 was unusable, just that it wasn't as good as I had expected it to be. Then we had a look at E4 on the shop CA97 and discovered that it seemed to have the same fault - even tested different headphones, it was more noticeable through headphones. Ok no problem, just use the vt to amend that note. And it seemed to work.

Back home I amended E4 and first of all it seemed to work - I did store the setting. But next day it still sounded loud, so back in again and it was showing -5 on the setting, but I put it back to 0 and then to -5 and stored. But it didn't seem to have any effect. By then I was also beginning to get a bit concerned/tired of all the other amendments that didn't seem to work as well as I had expected using the vt. So I contacted the music store and the upshot of it all was that I was allowed to try out a Roland LX17 at the Roland centre later on in the week. And what did I find? Basically that I really didn't need to use their piano designer and yes, their sounds were much better to my ears. But at over twice the price and not being used that often without headphones…

So back to the shop and trying out the LX7 which I was offered as a ex-demo model. Yes - with headphones the same as the LX17. Unfortunately it is not white so it looks as if I will be banished to the small room where I previously played the old Roland.

Two days later, having made the decision to change to the LX7 I ventured to try out my CA67 again. I fully expected to find that all my fears were a product of an overwrought imagination. But no, it sounded far worse with some of the other middle keys also sounding loud at times. If I were an inexperienced player I would put that down to my technique. For years with the HP7 I had put my inability to play certain pieces smoothly down to age when it clearly proved not to be so, as I have recently discovered.

I did consider the possibility of updating the software having looked at the Kawai site regarding updates, but as someone who has been a computer programmer and system designer for more than 50 years, the poor menu design and implementation and my instinct says that this almost certainly wouldn't solve the problems. This piano looks like a dud and, on reflection, I really don't want to have to spend ages using the vt to produce a just passable sound. I should say that I was aware of the possibility of loud notes on the Kawai - it has been mentioned on this forum by one Swedish owner who was very patient in getting a replacement, but I had optimistically said to myself that it wouldn't happen to me.

I started out saying that the piano sound was the most important aspect to get right, got seduced along the way into thinking that the best action would be better, naively believing that using the virtual technician, piano designer or whatever they call their tweaking programs would 'correct' the sound, and ended up realising that there was only so much that these were capable of. All these pianos had sufficiently good actions so in the end the choice had to be one of sound, and no one piano is going to suit everyone. Of course I realise that it is probably impossible for a digital piano at these prices to match a decent acoustic, but I would like at least one piano sound which was just a little bit more like those I hear on Classic FM.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
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