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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679857 10/05/17 11:18 AM
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And now a question for Kawai James about the headphone modes.

Does the new SK-EX Rendering piano sound engine (or Pianist Mode) apply to headphones?

I personally noticed that the CA97 headphone mode had quite different pedalling characteristics to the speaker mode (after a reset to defaults). Have there been any changes to align the experience between headphones and speakers?

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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: ori0n] #2679861 10/05/17 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ori0n
"On October 5, Kawai Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. (KAWAI) announced the series "Kawai Digital Piano CA 98" , an electronic piano "Concert Artist" series capable of high performance sound reproduction, attached with a specially designed vibrator"

Interesting inclusion.... whome


I assume the attached vibrator can be detached for practical purposes?
Please let me know. I'm considering buying one of these pianos.

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: CyberGene] #2679863 10/05/17 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Pianos should bring joy, right? wink


We are talking about spiritual joy, right?

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: ando] #2679880 10/05/17 12:26 PM
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I have a somewhat similar and somewhat different take on this ...
Originally Posted by ando
There is no detail at present to tell us whether there is anything substantially new about the sound engine of the new Kawais.
...
The worst thing about this industry is all the mysterious terminology that makes it impossible to compare things properly. On the other hand, all we really need in a piano is to like it - so in that sense, who cares what any of this stuff is called.
...
If you are going to have descriptions of the technology - they should mean something. If you're not going to describe it properly, I'd rather they leave it out and invite people to come and try your "new whiz bang model". At least then people have no recourse other than to assess it on what they hear and feel.
You're right about the BS marketing terminology.
And about the vague descriptions of the techno innards of the pianos.
And you're right about "just try the piano". I would add "that's all that matters". I'll try it and evaluate it myself.

I try to ignore all their talk, whether in person on in print. Ignore ignore ignore.
Because I don't care about claims of ...
- 1-bit DACs
- Onkyo premium audio amplification
- Rendering engines
- 6-speaker configurations
- 6-position music rests
- Grand Feel actions
- Spatial Headphone Sound for enhanced depth
Don't care, don't care, don't care.

I only care about how it looks, feels, and sounds ... as evaluated by me. smile

As for this ... me too!
Originally Posted by ando
I hate marketing.

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679881 10/05/17 12:31 PM
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The 'new sound' just needs to be heard in person to really make any serious judgement about it. Only so much one can get from the specs. Very excited to do so in near future!

Overall, kudos to Kawai for customer orientation! A lot of previous feedback has gone into making this product better - I wish more companies were as attentive to customers as Kawai.

Osho


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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679893 10/05/17 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
CA98/CA78 New Features & Improvements (compared to CA97/CA67)

(1) New: SK-EX Rendering piano sound engine (88-key multi-channel sampling + 88-key resonance modelling)
(2) New: Premium Onkyo audio and amp technologies (1-bit DSD processing, dual DACs, DIDRC, premium amps, Discrete SpectraModule)
(3) New: Premium 6-speaker configuration featuring Onkyo speaker drivers (CA98 only)
(4) New: 3rd generation TwinDrive Soundboard Speaker system featuring Onkyo transducers (CA98 only)
(5) New: Integrated Bluetooth® MIDI and Audio for wireless communication with smart devices
(6) New: Modern 5″ LCD touchscreen display with intuitive swipe operation
(7) Improved: Chopin 'Etudes: Opus 10' lesson book added
(8) Improved: Full General MIDI sound bank for improved SMF playback
(9) Improved: 6-position adjustable music rest (previously 3-position) with 'composer's desk' angle
(10)Improved: Modernised cabinet design (thinner toeblock, repositioned KAWAI badge, cover-less front speaker openings)


There is an episode of "Yes, Prime Minister" where he gives a TV broadcast to the nation. He is advised that if he doesn't really have anything new to offer, he should use busy-sounding modern music and a contemporary light-coloured suit, to hide the absence of content. I note the incremented model number from 67 not just to 68 (as in the 97/98), but to 78 suggesting big changes. I think the Prime Minister's advisers have been hard at work. wink

So (1) is new; that's fair enough, though not relevant to VST users and applies to only one piano sound, and looks essentially like a separate add-on. The other mode is pretty much the old sounds as they were. (2) Okay but unlikely to make much noticeable difference to the audio. (3,4) CA98 only and also not relevant to headphone users. (5) If you really want to do battle with Bluetooth and hate wires then I guess this is nice, for most people one cable from piano to computer is no big deal so not a huge change. (6) Makes no tangible difference to playability or sound so very minor update; I wonder about the menu organisation after criticism of previous models. (7-10) not related to using it as a piano, so again fiddling at the edges.

I think CA 67.5 might have been a more appropriate model number. That's not a big criticism; there wasn't too much wrong with the previous model, but let's be honest: same action, mostly same sounds, same functionality, it's hardly a revolutionary change.

Last edited by karvala; 10/05/17 01:09 PM.

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 announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679897 10/05/17 01:16 PM
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@karvala, I think it's too early to judge. We've all complained about the sound engine and speaker quality of most of today's DPs, haven't we? These 2 things do seem to be improved on by Kawai in the CA98/78. Whether it's an incredibly small (barely noticeable) improvement, or a big dramatic improvement, or something in between, is a key factor in judging whether the new model should be named CA67.5 or CA78. And I doubt that either you or me can judge that right now, by just reading the marketing bla.

FWIW, the touchscreen has one big advantage: It can be turned off, which may hopefully make the piano look more like a real piano and less like a DP. The button panel in the CA67 is always there and can't be hidden, so that definitely takes away from the feel of an acoustic piano. For me, that's an important improvement. But how much of an improvement? It depends on how "invisible" the touchscreen becomes when it's turned off.

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679899 10/05/17 01:18 PM
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There is a big push in Japan to provide part-time and contract work for the retired, super experienced engineers in Japan.

These Kawai pianos are just the type of difficult audio projects which Onkyo could load up with their all-stars from the golden age of electronics rather than 2017 neophite engineers. All standard tech (DACs, Amps, Speakers) but really tough to engineer together for a convincing piano sound.

These new Kawai + Onkyo pianos might not sound any better than the prior generation did. But we should keep an open mind as they could be a nice leap forward.

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679907 10/05/17 01:37 PM
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I just wonder if they made the main piano sound more involving and corrected the boimy bass response from previous series.

Still waiting for any youtube videos or sound samples

UK Kawai site is not updated yet.

I am just upset, that they didn't improve the look to be more modern (look how the keyboard part is attached to the main body) - in Roland and Casio it looks like a Real upright /grand. Kawai is stillniw looking more moden, while a bit of smart engine ring could have done a wonderful job and make the keyboard sides more with a rounded ends on both sides.

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: madshi] #2679908 10/05/17 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by madshi
@karvala, I think it's too early to judge. We've all complained about the sound engine and speaker quality of most of today's DPs, haven't we? These 2 things do seem to be improved on by Kawai in the CA98/78. Whether it's an incredibly small (barely noticeable) improvement, or a big dramatic improvement, or something in between, is a key factor in judging whether the new model should be named CA67.5 or CA78. And I doubt that either you or me can judge that right now, by just reading the marketing bla.


Up to a point I agree with you; the proof is always in the testing. But I'm specifically referring to the CA78 (not the CA98) and in that case, there is no speaker upgrade for that model (the specs are the same, and no changes are listed here), so the only change is the audio amps and DACs, which can make a slight difference, but they're not bad already on the CA67 so that can only be a marginal change that many people won't notice at all. A change to the speakers would certainly be much more noticeable and significant, and the CA98 might indeed be quite substantially improved. As to the new sound engine - maybe, but it's definitely only for one sound, and the old mode is exactly the same, so at best the total sound change is one newly-modified piano sound, which isn't a big change really, even if it sounded totally different. Again, I think new/better sampling would make a much more substantial change to the sound, but there's no suggestion of any new sampling at all here.

So we know, even without testing, that the speakers are the same, the action is the same, all but one of the sounds are the same, and the main changes apart from cosmetic things (in which I include the touchscreen) are an improved DAC/amp which I very much doubt will make much difference, and one new processing mode for one existing piano sample. And that's it. It would have to sound absolutely amazing to justify that model number.


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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679912 10/05/17 01:49 PM
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You may be right that the speakers in the CA78 are not Onkyo based, I'm not sure, hence my first post where I asked for clarification on that.

What if the one new sound *perfectly* reproduces an actual acoustic piano? It would be a total game changer. Yeah, it probably won't. I just think that it's too early to judge. Sure, would be nice to have all sounds improved. But the key sound in a DP like this is the piano sound.

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: josefhofmann] #2679916 10/05/17 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by josefhofmann

Does the new SK-EX Rendering piano sound engine (or Pianist Mode) apply to headphones?


Think of the Pianist Mode as a sound source from the new sound processor (with multi-channel sampling) while the Sound Mode as another sound source from the old processor (with prior stereo, 2-channel sampling.) Both route into the new Onkyo "receiver" for audio processing and amplifications to either speakers or headphones. Speakers and headphones will not sound exactly the same due to different amps and different number of drivers.

I am very interested in how good is this new multi-channel sampling of SK-EX...


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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679922 10/05/17 02:49 PM
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I am pretty excited about the CA98, especially the soundboard upgrade and the new SK-EX sound. If this improves the sound significantly, I would definately buy this piano. I am positive about it.

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Charles Cohen] #2679933 10/05/17 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JoBert
In pianist mode (the mode that uses the new SK-EX Rendering engine), it seems you cannot customize the resonance options (not even in the virtual technician advanced mode). You only have the 10 "rendering characters" that influence these parameters (as I listed in my "EDIT" in my previous post).

After reading the manual some more, I found that in pianist mode there's also an option to adjust the "resonance depth" of the engine (values from 1 [or 0?] to 10), that is available on the main screen (=easy to change without digging into menus).
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Originally Posted by JoBert
. . .
EDIT 2: Some other clues that the two engines (modes) are indeed quite different:
  • Sound layering, dual keyboard mode, split mode, 4-hands mode, etc. are only available in the "old" sound mode.
  • MIDI recordings in the internal recorder are only possible with the "old" sound mode too. (Or rather, the internal recorder then records the internal Kawai format, that however can be exported as MIDI/SMF on a USB stick). In the new pianist mode, the internal recorder can only record in MP3 format. At least that's how I read the manual...


I hope you're wrong about that! If you're right, it was a really, really, really dumb engineering (or marketing) decision.

I'm sure that KJ (welcome back!) will weigh in on the question.


Actually, the manual is rather clear on this. In pianist mode, you can record to internal memory in MP3 (max. 3 songs) or to USB stick in MP3 or WAV. No way to save in MIDI format. I'm also pretty sure that you also cannot play a MIDI file from the USB stick in pianist mode (with the new engine), but that is not 100% clear in the manual.

I wonder why they made this decision?

Is it just for usability reasons, as I speculated before (pianist mode = just play piano, no bells and whistles)?

Or is it maybe for technical reasons (maybe in pianist mode the piano utilizes internal data that cannot be expressed in standard MIDI format)?

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2679956 10/05/17 05:56 PM
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Dilbert, Alice, and Wally: "Listen to this new multi-channel sound engine, it is amazing! We only need another 9 months to finish all other features."
Pointy-Haired Boss: "You are already 3 months late! Just jam the old sound engine in for anything missing and call them mode1 and mode2." LOL


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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2680024 10/06/17 03:38 AM
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I think you guys aren't giving enough credit to the engineering challenges of trying to move forward with real-time resonance modeling. They could easily have required a such a leap in processing and RAM that they had to use very different hardware than before that was incompatible with the previous software. There may be two separate processors now that it has to switch between for the "Pianist" and "sound" modes. I'm glad to be able to choose what I want and have both options available.

Also I'm not understanding why it's a big deal for the Pianist mode to not output to midi. If you're using midi to score a piano piece, it seems pretty unimportant that you're missing the latest resonance modeling for this one scenario. And if you're using midi to drive a virtual piano plugin then you weren't using any of Kawai's piano sounds anyway. Maybe I'm missing some other use of midi output here?

Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2680025 10/06/17 03:40 AM
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It actually sounds quite exciting -- Kawai have been demoing the technology for several years and now you can buy it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpHNZzH0MkU&t=8m25s

It will be, I guess, the basis of everything they will be doing over the next 10 or so years. So it sounds
like an enormous change.

There are minor sounds changes each year, but not new motors


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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2680030 10/06/17 04:26 AM
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Has anyone seen any information on what is MSRP for CA98 in US? I can't seem to find that anywhere. Kawaius site still lists CA97 only in the CA series page.

Thanks,
Osho


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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2680035 10/06/17 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Good evening chaps,

I will try to respond to some of your queries tomorrow.

Until then, here is some coverage of the new models courtesy of Japanese portal ascii.jp:

http://weekly.ascii.jp/elem/000/000/405/405352/

Cheers,
James
x


James,

thanks for providing the information about the new models. I am strongly interested in the CA98. However, here is one more question regarding the pianist mode. After studying the manual, I got the impression, that it is not possible to transpose the piano in pianist mode, but only in sound mode. This is quite important for me, as I am singing alongside my playing. Can you please clearify?

Kind regards

Stefan

Last edited by Canonbury; 10/06/17 05:03 AM.


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Re: Kawai announces Concert Artist CA98 and CA78 digital pianos [Re: Kawai James] #2680036 10/06/17 05:05 AM
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Looking at the CS-X1 video now, it seems some of the prototype technology (Onkyo tech + touchpanel) were added to the CA78/98 now, which is nice. I wonder: The CS-X1 was running Android. Is the CA78/98 now also running Android?

Also would be great to get an update on CS and Novus plans. I'm planning to buy a new DP soon. Obviously CS and Novus are more expensive models, so wouldn't it be in Kawai's best interest to share some details about CS + Novus future plans? Otherwise some users (like me) might just get a CA instead of a more expensive CS/Novus model. Would be better for Kawai's business to sell more CS/Novus units instead of CA, no?

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