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Dear friends of the CA78/CA98, dear Kawai,

I have been owning a CA98 for a few weeks now. I have loved the keyboard since the first day and after some tweaking, I appreciate very much the sound. What I appreciate less is the GUI (see another thread) and some bugs, so I have put together the following list of things which in my opinion should be done to improve it and – at last – unleash the potential of the best user interface on the market for such an epiano.

URGENT, MUST CHANGE
Fix the terrible bugs which are well-known (noise on Bluetooth, scrappy favorites, buggy USB playback, crash with headphones plug…)

IMPORTANT IMPROVEMENTS
  • Make the (sound) settings non-volatile. Nobody moves his/her piano everyday (Wall EQ). Most of us always use the same headphones (Headphones Type) and either always or never want the screen to blank automatically (Auto Display Off) . I see at least 3 solutions:
    - Make ALL settings non-volatile. At power on, the piano is in the same state as before power off. This is probably what most people expect. OR
    - Make more settings non-volatile, at least the ones above and some more. OR
    - Upgrade "Startup with favorite" with an option that it loads the first favorite, but does not show the favorites screen at startup (i.e. "invisible" restoration of the settings)
  • Implement upper case as well as "-" and " " on the software keyboard (if there is no room, just replace the useless "," and ".").
  • If technically possible, switch off the backlight with "Auto Display Off".

NICE TO HAVE
  • A function to backup and restore the settings on an USB stick. Sound, general and virtual technician.
  • A more elegant display of the favorites (not just grey squares with a grey piano or a note on it). A nice picture, or better a user-defined picture which could be loaded through USB.
  • A way to calibrate the headphones volume. My headphones sound much louder than the loudspeakers and it would be great not to have to adjust the volume every time when changing from loudspeakers to headphones and back.


As a former software engineer, I think that all those bug fixes and improvement could be implemented easily and at low cost. Let's make the CA78/CA98 great again :-)

Patrick

Last edited by paf; 02/02/18 03:38 AM.

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Hi!

Can you please elaborate on the Bluetooth and headphones issues? I have been using the CA98 to play back audio over BT-Audio without any noise problems whatsoever. I use it with iOS and Android devices. Have you checked if there is noise when the line-in volume physical knob is set to a minimum? Can you explain how to reproduce the headphones problem? I switch between speakers and headphones frequently (sometimes several times per day) and never had any kind of crash even when plugging/unplugging the headphones while the CA98 is on. I am using the latest updates (v. 1.02).

Anyway, thanks for starting this thread. I will also add some comments and suggestions on how to improve the GUI, which is my only complaint about this DP...

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I'm glad I saw this thread. I've been having problems too but I thought I was doing something wrong. I've only had the CA 78 for two weeks. Thoroughly enjoying playing it but in it's present configuration I find the favorites setting basically useless. (I repeatedly followed the instructions of the manual but it still doesn't work. ) I'll try again today to triply ensure that I am not missing something.

At the moment none of my settings survive power on/off. I can save to favorites but the piano does not turn on to 'favorite' when powered on even though that option is chosen. If i manually try to select the favorites file nothing happens. I also have to reset the settings for phones every time I power on.

It makes the tweaking possibilities provided by the nice interface useless if you can't save the settings to a favorites that can survive a power on/off. Which means you are left with the factory (but nice) settings provided by the manufacturer.



(also posted in CA78/98 update thread)

Last edited by ADIRL; 02/02/18 11:38 AM.
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Sounds like typical problems with first version of softwares - rushed to market.... Hopefully, Kawai will address these issues and will do it soon.

Thanks
Osho


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Originally Posted by arc_turus
Can you please elaborate on the Bluetooth and headphones issues?

When I plug my 6.3mm headphone jack in, sometimes the GUI reboots. This happens maybe every 20th time. I don't need to push the plug until the little headphone sign appears on the display, it happens as soon as I begin to insert the jack. Therefore, I'm not sure it is a software bug - it could also be caused by a bad EMC design of the outpout (ElectroMagnetic Compatibility) and that would be much worse than a software bug. I seems Kawai was able to reproduce the problem.

Maybe Galuwen could elaborate about the noise on audio Bluetooth?

Last edited by paf; 02/02/18 12:35 PM.

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I was at Thomann today to test the NV10 and also played the CA98. I plugged in my headphones exactly three times: Once into the CA98 and twice into the NV10. Each of these three times, the GUI restarted itself. Meaning the screen went blank and then showed the waiting animation for a short while. During the last time (at the NV10) I noticed however, that I could already play during this time. Either it is indeed only the GUI that is restarted and not the sound engine, or the engine's restart was quicker and was already done when I started playing. Or maybe this isn't even a complete GUI restart, but only the restart animation is triggered? Whatever it is, it should certainly be fixed.


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Originally Posted by JoBert
...Either it is indeed only the GUI that is restarted and not the sound engine, or the engine's restart was quicker and was already done when I started playing...

I got exactly the same symptoms (but not every time) and also interpreted them so that there is a sound engine (with reliable high quality software) which is more or less independent of the GUI engine (with the known issues).

From the pictures I see on the internet, the GUI of the NV10 is similar to the one of the CA78/98. Did you observe the same shortcomings?


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My experience was almost exactly the same as Jobert's.

The NV-10 isn't doing it at home as it did in the shop, which makes me think there is some kind of time-on or possibly heat issue that causes the reset to start happening after the unit has been on for a while?

As far as I can tell, the sound engine continues to work without pause when the GUI crashes, there's no point I could tell where the sound cut out.


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For what it's worth, I couldn't reproduce it with my own NV10 either, so far. With the same headphones that I had with me at the shop.
Also I'm not sure about the "warmed up" theory. When I had this happen in the shop, the piano definitely wasn't warmed up. I'm pretty sure that I was the first person switching it on that day. I arrived in the morning 15min after the shop opened and was the only customer at that time.


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Originally Posted by JoBert

Also I'm not sure about the "warmed up" theory. When I had this happen in the shop, the piano definitely wasn't warmed up. I'm pretty sure that I was the first person switching it on that day. I arrived in the morning 15min after the shop opened and was the only customer at that time.


Now that you mention it, I was the first person in the shop as soon as it opened, and I think I may have been the one to turn the NV-10 on as well. So you're probably right.

But in any case, it seems to not happen, and somehow get into a state where it triggers frequently.


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Has anybody heard something from Kawai about the much discussed question of the CA78/CA98/NV10 software?

  • Fixes for the bugs (confusing favorites, noise on recorded MP3 and bluetooth audio, crash with headphones...)
  • Improvements to the usability of the GUI

Everything has been known for months, Kawai didn't react, is there any hope left?

Regards, Patrick


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Originally Posted by paf
Has anybody heard something from Kawai about the much discussed question of the CA78/CA98/NV10 software?

  • Fixes for the bugs (confusing favorites, noise on recorded MP3 and bluetooth audio, crash with headphones...)
  • Improvements to the usability of the GUI

Everything has been known for months, Kawai didn't react, is there any hope left?


I wonder how many CAx8/NV10 ownwers are actually experiencing these issues. I have a CA98 for ca. five months and I have not yet experienced a single GUI crash while plugging or unplugging headphones on an almost daily basis nor any issue while playing audio from BT or USB or recording to USB, which I also do often.

I am not expecting Kawai to improve the usability of the GUI since that would imply changing the way the interface was designed. The current GUI replicates the interface of the previous generation of Kawai CA/CS models that did not have a touchscreen. I believe this decision was made so that the users of the previous models felt no need to relearn a new interface on the new CA/CS/NV models. With that Kawai ended up designing a GUI with major usability issues and that fails to exploit the capabilities of a touch-based interface. Maybe we will see some minor cosmetic changes to the GUI in future updates, like the ability to rename favourites or an extended keyboard. I would be very positively surprised if Kawai actually introduces any major changes to the GUI during the next couple of years. That would be a first for a DP maker.

Kawai could release a tablet/smartphone app to manage the DP with a properly designed GUI (i.e. with an UI designed from scratch), like Roland's Piano Partner 2. However, even this is unlikely to happen because it would send the message that the GUI could have been better designed.

My remaining hope is that the hardware supports turning off the backlight of the touchscreen while the CAx8/NV10 is switched on. But even this is unlikely. So, I think we will have to enjoy a great DP with a mediocre GUI ;-)

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Originally Posted by arc_turus
Originally Posted by paf
Has anybody heard something from Kawai about the much discussed question of the CA78/CA98/NV10 software?

  • Fixes for the bugs (confusing favorites, noise on recorded MP3 and bluetooth audio, crash with headphones...)
  • Improvements to the usability of the GUI

Everything has been known for months, Kawai didn't react, is there any hope left?


I wonder how many CAx8/NV10 ownwers are actually experiencing these issues. I have a CA98 for ca. five months and I have not yet experienced a single GUI crash while plugging or unplugging headphones on an almost daily basis nor any issue while playing audio from BT or USB or recording to USB, which I also do often.

I am not expecting Kawai to improve the usability of the GUI since that would imply changing the way the interface was designed. The current GUI replicates the interface of the previous generation of Kawai CA/CS models that did not have a touchscreen. I believe this decision was made so that the users of the previous models felt no need to relearn a new interface on the new CA/CS/NV models. With that Kawai ended up designing a GUI with major usability issues and that fails to exploit the capabilities of a touch-based interface. Maybe we will see some minor cosmetic changes to the GUI in future updates, like the ability to rename favourites or an extended keyboard. I would be very positively surprised if Kawai actually introduces any major changes to the GUI during the next couple of years. That would be a first for a DP maker.

Kawai could release a tablet/smartphone app to manage the DP with a properly designed GUI (i.e. with an UI designed from scratch), like Roland's Piano Partner 2. However, even this is unlikely to happen because it would send the message that the GUI could have been better designed.

My remaining hope is that the hardware supports turning off the backlight of the touchscreen while the CAx8/NV10 is switched on. But even this is unlikely. So, I think we will have to enjoy a great DP with a mediocre GUI ;-)



Have you ever tried to rewind or navigate in a mp3 or wave file from usb? Tried to stream music via Bluetooth? LOL.

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Originally Posted by Galuwen

Have you ever tried to rewind or navigate in a mp3 or wave file from usb? Tried to stream music via Bluetooth? LOL.
Galuwen


Ah! "Rewind" is a good example of one of the many UI usability issues. Please have a look at page 76 on the English user manual of the CA98. It never says that button should work as "Rewind" but as "Previous" and its description says "Tap to select the previous song/audio file in the folder". Kawai can actually claim that button works as expected! So, the music player does not support rewind at all...

Being unable to navigate/change position on a music file is another UI usability issue. For a long time, music players on touchscreen devices have supported changing the music playing position. So, one would expect that feature to be also available on the new Kawai touchscreen. But the new Kawai UI is just a replica of the old UI on a touchscreen, without the features that would take advantage of a touchscreen. So, music navigation is not supported...

Regarding music streaming: I assume you are talking about the audio latency (lag) over Bluetooth Audio. This is a known Bluetooth Audio problem and it is not related to Kawai. All devices that stream over BT Audio experience significant latency. Apart from the latency, music streaming over BT from an external device to the CA98 works without any issues. And BT latency is only an issue with audio; MIDI over BT works without any noticeable lag as expected.

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Originally Posted by arc_turus
Originally Posted by Galuwen

Have you ever tried to rewind or navigate in a mp3 or wave file from usb? Tried to stream music via Bluetooth? LOL.
Galuwen

...Regarding music streaming: I assume you are talking about the audio latency (lag) over Bluetooth Audio...

Even without bluetooth:try recording a Pianist song in the CA98 internal memory and play it back on the internal speakers or headphones. On my CA98 a significant background noise (white noise or something like that) can be heard. Fortunately, this noise exists only when replaying, not when playing normally.

Even the cheapest microprocessors are able to produce MP3 with no audible noise in real time nowadays - but not Kawai on their newest multi-thousand-euros digital pianos.

Maybe the same trainee programmer is responsible for the GUI, the Bluetooth interface and the MP3 codec?

Last edited by paf; 04/09/18 02:05 AM.

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Originally Posted by paf
Originally Posted by arc_turus
Originally Posted by Galuwen

Have you ever tried to rewind or navigate in a mp3 or wave file from usb? Tried to stream music via Bluetooth? LOL.
Galuwen

...Regarding music streaming: I assume you are talking about the audio latency (lag) over Bluetooth Audio...

Even without bluetooth:try recording a Pianist song in the CA98 internal memory and play it back on the internal speakers or headphones. On my CA98 a significant background noise (white noise or something like that) can be heard. Fortunately, this noise exists only when replaying, not when playing normally.


I just tested recording to one of three internal memory slots while in pianist mode and then playing the recording back via headphones and the CA98 speakers. I have also recorded some seconds without playing any notes and then played back the silent recording at maximum volume. In both cases there in no background/white noise at all. I also hear no noise when I record in pianist or sound mode to an external USB flash memory.

By the way, can you please check at what level is the line-in volume knob on your CA98? Try setting it to zero and then recording again in pianist mode. You may be getting electrical interference from the line-in input. But if you experience noise with the line in volume set to zero then I think you should contact Kawai support...

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I'm following this thread with much interest as I'm eyeing a new Kawai myself.

Have you reached out to Kawai with regard to the bugs? I mean arguably some of it should be covered under the warranty.

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Originally Posted by paf

Maybe the same trainee programmer is responsible for the GUI, the Bluetooth interface and the MP3 codec?


The software interface on the CA67 I had needed a complete rewrite. Adding a GUI is no answer. I can't see them fixing any bugs without a rewrite.


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Originally Posted by kapusm
I'm following this thread with much interest as I'm eyeing a new Kawai myself.
Have you reached out to Kawai with regard to the bugs? I mean arguably some of it should be covered under the warranty.


What bugs exactly are you referring to? The CA78/98 has some some very questionable GUI design choices. One example, is the rewind button on the music player. It works exactly as described in the user manual, although it is counter-intuitive. Another case is the favorites management. This is a good example of how *not* to design an UI from a usability perspective. But it works exactly as described in the manual. So, Kawai has plenty of opportunities to improve the GUI . But, this is different than saying the CA78/98 are "buggy". Note that there are some references on this forum to UI crashes, noise and so on. Those would be serious issues . However, I am not sure how many CA78/98 owners are actually experiencing these problems...

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Originally Posted by arc_turus
What bugs exactly are you referring to?


I was referring to the "significant noise" when playing back recorded sound.

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