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Joined: Jan 2019
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Hello everyone!

After reading this forum for a while, I decided to register to ask your advice. I am not a pianist (yet) - I was playing guitar more than 20 years and recently decided to convert to piano player. I got a Kurzweil keyboard (not a piano) and in a combination with the piano lessons on an acoustic instrument it was enough for me for a time being, but now I feel that I have no progress anymore. I need something with a piano-like action.

After extensive reading of the internet (including this forum!), I have decided to order Kawai CN37 from a local music store. However, suddenly I got an opportunity to purchase a used Kawai CA93 for the same price as CN37. So now I don't know what to choose.

As far as I understand, about 8-10 year ago CA93 was the same as CA98 - the greatest DP Kawai offered on the market (three generations ago?). The question is how far the technology advanced since that time. Is it still better enough than CN line to overweight the following factors?

  • I don't know the real condition, how hard they played on it (the seller says that it is excellent of course)
  • I have to drive around 4-5 hours one way and pick up it myself
  • Not sure how big is it and if I can move it in my car safely
  • My wife prefers a different color as it does not match the other furniture in the room (she said that if the piano is really good, she can stand it though)
  • I am going to play in headphones 80% of time, while the biggest advantage of CA9x is the sound system
  • If I ever decide to upgrade, it will happen not earlier than in 5 years. By that time it will be even more outdated, while CN37 will be just one generation back.


So my mind says "get CN37 and keep training", but my heart objects that I may miss the opportunity to get the much better piano for the same money.

Any opinions would help a lot.

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the biggest advantage of the CA93 over the CN37 is the soundboard system, yet you have to play 80% of the time on headphone, the action on the CA93 is the RM3, real wooden key, maybe better feel but only have 2 sensors, whereas the RH3 on CN37 offer 3 sensors for better soft legato repetition
oh and the CA93 is not detachable, you have to carry the whole board ~ 90kg with the size of a small upright, you may want to consider that if you want to move it yoursekf


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Interesting question, so lets have a look:

- the action does not yet have three sensors in CA98, so the key has to travel up more for a second touch to register
- CA93 has UPHI sound engine, CN37 has PHI, so the CA93 should come out on top, however, PHI did evolve in the last years at least with regards to features like resonances and while CA98 has some resonance features, the CN37 has more
- the CA98 clearly has the better sound system with six speakers and the soundboard. The CN37 has four speakers, but going from two to four is a much bigger step than going from four to six. Of course the soundboard adds a whole other dimension.
- USB features seem to be on par, also the input/output interfaces

Given your statement about 80% headphone use, I think it is easy to say that the CN37 will be better for you. To me, resonances are one of the most important things in a DP sound engine and the CN37 is ahead there. A three sensor action is important for fast, grand piano like repetition and again the CN37 is ahead here.

We own an CN35 since 4 years now and I just recently placed the CN37 at friends who just started with piano and I still think it was an excellent choice. You just get so much for the money.


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
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Thanks for your answers! Perhaps I am leaning towards CN37 then.

However, there is one thing I would like to understand - why having wooden keys (and, perhaps, handles to the hammers?) is so important? I can understand why they spruce as a soundboard (I have a guitar-playing background after all :-) ), but how the use of wooden parts in the mechanics may help?

Also, I suspect that keeping the piano improperly like too humid/too dry air and/or sudden temperature changes could hurt the keyboard (not to mention the soundboard)?

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Hello Andrey,

Originally Posted by Andrey@Siberia
However, there is one thing I would like to understand - why having wooden keys (and, perhaps, handles to the hammers?) is so important? I can understand why they spruce as a soundboard (I have a guitar-playing background after all :-) ), but how the use of wooden parts in the mechanics may help?


Please read "The significance of real wooden keys" from this page of the CAx8 brochure.

Originally Posted by Andrey@Siberia
Also, I suspect that keeping the piano improperly like too humid/too dry air and/or sudden temperature changes could hurt the keyboard (not to mention the soundboard)?


Kawai wooden-key digital pianos use laminated keys to counter the effects of changes in humidity.

Kind regards,
James
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Thanks for the brochure, James! It makes sense now.

Do you think that the wooden but a bit outdated keyboard of CA93 is significantly better comparing to the keyboard of CN37?

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Originally Posted by Andrey@Siberia
Do you think that the wooden but a bit outdated keyboard of CA93 is significantly better comparing to the keyboard of CN37?


As mentioned by HoangCosmic, the CA97's CA93's keyboard action uses a 2-sensor detection system, while the CN37's keyboard action is 3-sensor. However, the CA97's CA93's action mechanism and key material is superior to that of the CN37.

My recommendation would be to play-test both instruments, and opt for the model that you prefer playing.

Best of luck!

Kind regards,
James
x

Last edited by Kawai James; 01/28/19 04:51 AM. Reason: CA97 --> CA93

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James, you meant CA93 I guess.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
James, you meant CA93 I guess.


Ah, sorry, my mistake.
I'll edit my post.

Thanks for spotting!

Cheers,
James
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Go with the CA93 if the price is right. The number of key sensors or polyphony doesn't matter much, the superior keyboard action and sound system does.

In the end it's about what draws you back to the piano for more practice.


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Buying CA93 is tempting, but it turns out that it is too large for my car. So it would be too complicated to move it from another city (~400km). Also, the weather is too cold (-39 Celsius degrees today!) and forecasts say that it will last a while. Too adventurous for the long distance travels by car.

So I went to the music store and ordered CN37 which should arrive in 7-10 days. I was even able to get 10% off, so it seems it is a really good deal.

I hope CN37 is good enough to draw me back to the piano. So far I am motivated enough playing every day even on a Kurzweil PC161 (non-piano keyboard), so I have a good feeling about this. Now I should just avoid playing a better piano until I am ready for the next upgrade! :-)

Thank you for all your advices! They were really helpful.

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Thanks for the update Andrey.

Best of luck with your new piano - keep your hands warm!

Kind regards,
James
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Very good choice. You will be happy with your new piano, sure!


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