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CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help #2903731
10/23/19 04:10 PM
10/23/19 04:10 PM
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Eli26 Offline OP
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I wanted some advice with regards to purchasing my first digital piano. I am currently learning on an old Yamaha 61-key keyboard (touch sensitive, but not weighted keys), and it's time to get an actual piano. My wife doesn't share my enthusiasm for (badly-played) classical music, so it seems like it's got to be a digital piano (I can use headphones, although I certainly will want to utilize the onboard speakers when I can).... Budget is such that hybrids and anything in that range is just way too much for me to spend on something which isn't acoustic.

I was close to getting the Yamaha CLP645 ($2900 at costco event sale), until I read on these forums about the heavy key action, and how the Kawai CA series seems better. Then I went back and tried the Yamaha again, and it just didn't feel right when compared to the Yamaha uprights and grands. The action really bothered me a lot, and if the main reason to purchase a DP is to learn on a "proper" keyboard with a more real action, I couldn't justify spending all that money to buy an instrument whose action would leave me feeling unimpressed.

So I tried out the CA48, CA58 and CA 78. My impression is that CA58 is significantly better than the CA48, but that the upgrade to CA 78 is less of a jump in actual performance and features. I had a few questions, which hopefully you guys can help me out with.

(1) On these boards I've seen that there are some QC issues with the Kawais. Some complaints here and elsewhere above uneven dynamic response. Is this something which is actually quite rare (but of course, if there's an issue, it gets brought up in a forum)? I don't want to buy a DP if I think there is a 25% chance that something or other will be wrong (and possibly undetected by me for months or years)....

(2) is the 78 vs the 58 worth the difference in price? My understanding is that the main features are (a) Longer keys = better action, (2) better speaker system, (3) pianist mode processing, and (4) touchscreen. Unpacking each of those thing, (2a) is the action difference significant? (2b) is the sound/speaker system noticeably more dynamic? (2c) is the pianist sound mode a a big deal at all? I suppose if there are good pianists who bought this piano but play it without the "pianist mode" turned on, that tells me what I need to know.... (2d) the touchscreen. Seems like this MAY actually be a a downside to me, but perhaps someone can convince me otherwise, as I am a novice. My thought is that we all have appliances (alarm clocks, old keyboards, dishwashers) which have buttons and have lasted for many years. How many of us have toucshcreens which lasted (without breakage or any drop-off in performance) ten years? On the other hand, buttons can certainly last decades.....

Any shared thoughts to help me with decision-making would be greatly appreciated...

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Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2903836
10/23/19 08:47 PM
10/23/19 08:47 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 15,689
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Hello Eli26, welcome to the forum.

To respond to your queries:

Originally Posted by Eli26
(1) On these boards I've seen that there are some QC issues with the Kawais. Some complaints here and elsewhere above uneven dynamic response. Is this something which is actually quite rare (but of course, if there's an issue, it gets brought up in a forum)? I don't want to buy a DP if I think there is a 25% chance that something or other will be wrong (and possibly undetected by me for months or years)....


I believe the vast majority of Kawai instruments do not suffer from serious issues, and that the reports you read about online are the minority. In the event that a problem does occur with your piano, it can usually be rectified under warranty. Assuming you are based in the US, Kawai America has an excellent reputation for customer support, and ensuring that issues that may arise are handled as quickly as possible.

Originally Posted by Eli26
(2) is the 78 vs the 58 worth the difference in price? My understanding is that the main features are (a) Longer keys = better action, (2) better speaker system, (3) pianist mode processing, and (4) touchscreen. Unpacking each of those thing, (2a) is the action difference significant? (2b) is the sound/speaker system noticeably more dynamic? (2c) is the pianist sound mode a a big deal at all? I suppose if there are good pianists who bought this piano but play it without the "pianist mode" turned on, that tells me what I need to know....


Ultimately, the best person to judge these points is yourself. Do you believe the keyboard action, speaker system, and sound engine of the CA78 are superior to the CA58? Personally, if I were in your position, I would opt for the best instrument that I could afford, so if the choice was between the CA58 and CA78, I would opt for the latter.

Originally Posted by Eli26
(2d) the touchscreen. Seems like this MAY actually be a a downside to me, but perhaps someone can convince me otherwise, as I am a novice. My thought is that we all have appliances (alarm clocks, old keyboards, dishwashers) which have buttons and have lasted for many years. How many of us have toucshcreens which lasted (without breakage or any drop-off in performance) ten years? On the other hand, buttons can certainly last decades...


That's a fair point. Personally, I prefer the more modern look and easier operation of the touchscreen, however I can appreciate that some customers may prefer to press physical buttons. I recall one inventive NV10 customer who completely replaced the touchpanel with old fashioned (8-bit computer-style) keys - this wouldn't be my personal choice, however it was an interesting exercise in reverse engineering.

Originally Posted by Eli26
Any shared thoughts to help me with decision-making would be greatly appreciated...


Unless you are in a hurry to buy, I would recommend taking some time over your decision, and playing the various models (including others from Yamaha and Roland etc.) as much as possible.

Best of luck with your decision!

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: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2903872
10/24/19 12:20 AM
10/24/19 12:20 AM
Joined: Aug 2017
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Portland, OR, USA
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Osho Offline
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Originally Posted by Eli26

Any shared thoughts to help me with decision-making would be greatly appreciated...


I would recommend looking at the used market for Yamaha AvantGrand N1/N2 - now that people are upgrading to N1X or Novus NV10 - there may be some good deals in that area. I helped a friend purchase a mint quality Yamaha AvantGrand N1 for $3200 recently - hard to beat that with any current generation DPs in that price range.

Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + Embertone Walker D Full/Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6

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Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2903875
10/24/19 12:34 AM
10/24/19 12:34 AM
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Burkie Offline
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Originally Posted by Eli26

(2) is the 78 vs the 58 worth the difference in price? My understanding is that the main features are (a) Longer keys = better action, (2) better speaker system, (3) pianist mode processing, and (4) touchscreen. Unpacking each of those thing, (2a) is the action difference significant? (2b) is the sound/speaker system noticeably more dynamic? (2c) is the pianist sound mode a a big deal at all?

(2) Yes
(2a) As for features: key weighting is also different. The 78 feels significantly lighter and more responsive to me. The keys on the 58 feel similar to the Yamaha CLP-685 - slow and heavy - so it could be related to counterweights.

The CA78 sells for around USD $2,000-2,300 where I am, so I can't see a 58 being worth more than USD $1,000.

Also compare the Casio GP-310/GP-300 if you can - I'm currently deciding between the CA78 and the GP-300.

Last edited by Burkie; 10/24/19 12:42 AM.
Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Burkie] #2903877
10/24/19 02:01 AM
10/24/19 02:01 AM
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Nordomus Offline
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Originally Posted by Burkie
Also compare the Casio GP-310/GP-300 if you can - I'm currently deciding between the CA78 and the GP-300.

No brainer for me. GP300 has limited resonances so between those two definitely CA78. If we were talking about GP400 or GP500 then that's another story smile
Anyway for me pianist mode in CA78 is worth more money, it's much more realistic and speaker system is also pretty good in CA78.

Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Nordomus] #2903884
10/24/19 02:48 AM
10/24/19 02:48 AM
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Burkie Offline
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Originally Posted by Nordomus
Originally Posted by Burkie
Also compare the Casio GP-310/GP-300 if you can - I'm currently deciding between the CA78 and the GP-300.

No brainer for me. GP300 has limited resonances so between those two definitely CA78.

Actually the aliquot string resonance and duplex scaling are limitations (Band-Aids employed to address the limitations of acoustic pianos) - they are not features, nor are they necessary for a digital piano. They are gimmicks: a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or sale.

The thing missing from the GP-300 is the ability to save settings profiles.

Last edited by Burkie; 10/24/19 02:51 AM.
Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2903919
10/24/19 05:47 AM
10/24/19 05:47 AM
Joined: Oct 2019
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Eli26 Offline OP
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Ca78 for $2300? I haven't seen the ca 58 advertised for less than 3000 (or was it 2900?) . I know there's always some wiggle room on advertised prices, but if you knew where I can get the ca78 for the price range you mentioned that would be great. If you would like to PM me that's also ok.

It seems to me that the price that expect to pay for ca78 would be more like 3500.....

Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2903947
10/24/19 08:14 AM
10/24/19 08:14 AM
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Burkie Offline
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Originally Posted by Eli26
Ca78 for $2300? I haven't seen the ca 58 advertised for less than 3000 (or was it 2900?) . I know there's always some wiggle room on advertised prices, but if you knew where I can get the ca78 for the price range you mentioned that would be great. If you would like to PM me that's also ok.

The shop 5 mins drive from my house:
https://www.pianoworld.com.au/digital-pianos/kawai-ca78-digital-piano/

AUD $3136 + $314 tax ($3,450 total) = USD $2,145 + $214 tax ($2,359 total).

That's the common retail price. Sale prices I have seen are 15% less.

Last edited by Burkie; 10/24/19 08:23 AM.
Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2903964
10/24/19 08:56 AM
10/24/19 08:56 AM
Joined: Oct 2019
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Eli26 Offline OP
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WOW! I live in New Jersey (USA), so unfortunately that won't work for me..... Here the prices are much higher.....

Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2904004
10/24/19 10:17 AM
10/24/19 10:17 AM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 11
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I've tried some Yamaha CLPs and the keys didn't feel right to me, hard at first but then softer, so it's difficult to play gently.

If price is an issue, also check the CN39. The plastic RH3 action actually made a better quick impression to me.

Regarding buttons and displays, on one model I've seen a neat cover to get them out of sight wink

Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2904017
10/24/19 10:51 AM
10/24/19 10:51 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 9,666
Raleigh, North Carolina
MacMacMac Offline
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Keep in mind that the price is not the price!
The "tag price" is just the seller's "ask".
It ought not be your offer. Not ever.
Don't pay the tag price!
Originally Posted by Eli26
WOW! I live in New Jersey, so unfortunately that won't work for me.
Here the prices are much higher.....

Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2904103
10/24/19 02:56 PM
10/24/19 02:56 PM
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RonnieD Offline
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don't listen to KJ. aside from the obvious conflict of interest, he essentially says the same thing in every post, regardless of the question asked.

kawai has SERIOUS qc issues. i used to have a ca97. CLICKY keys....not just the one i bought, but also the one i tested in the store. noisy as heck. WILDLY INCONSISTENT let-off. if you like playing the piano softly, get ready for dropped notes because the let off on some keys is so pronounced and on others imperceptible. ridiculous that they build this let-off gimmick in digital pianos which impedes proper playing. if you're going to do let-off, do it right. there are numerous posts that state the same issues. in fact, check out the monstrous thread "kawai grand feel key clinic" where people attempt to take apart their pianos and fix the keys. kj will tell you this is shipping related lmao. i sold my ca97 and couldn't be happier. bought a roland keyboard. guess what? not a single clicky key and every key has even let off. this was not a top of the line model either, not even close.

will never buy kawai again.

Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2904195
10/24/19 07:35 PM
10/24/19 07:35 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 15,689
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Hello Ronnie,

I'm sorry to read that your CA97 had some keyboard action issues a few years ago. It's difficult to comment on your particular case without knowing a little more about the nature of the clicking sound.

lolatu's original "Grand Feel Key Clinic" thread from a few years was an interesting resource for customers wishing to make adjustments to their instruments, however it was not necessary in the vast majority of cases. This is even more the case today, following improvements to the GFII and GFC action designs, and changes to the assembly procedure during manufacturing.

Regarding shipping damage, yes this can be an issue on Kawai's wooden-key "slab type" products such as the MP11SE and VPC1, especially in the US, where these models are typically sold by online retailers (rather than Kawai piano dealers) that rely on understaffed shipping agents - e.g. one guy to unload a large, heavy box.

Thank you for your feedback.

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: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2904240
10/24/19 10:02 PM
10/24/19 10:02 PM
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This morning I went to a piano store about 90 minutes east of LA, kinda in the middle of nowhere. They had several nice Bosendorfer grands, several Steinway grands, several Yamaha grands, several Kawai grands, several Mason & Hamlin and others along with uprights from all these brands. They also had Kawai digitals from the Novus 10 and CP-1 all the way to the cheapest model and Yamaha digitals from the N3X, CVP-709, CLP-695gp all the way down. They had the N3X tagged at $14,999, the NV10 at $9,999 but I'm sure they would sell them for less. I was interested in a MP11se and was quoted $2199 plus tax but I'm sure I can buy it for less. They had the models you mentioned; it would be worth it to check with them on the delivered price.
For those familiar with Kawai pricing, is $2199 plus tax a good price for a brand new MP11se? If not, what would you consider a killer price? Thanks.

Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: RonnieD] #2904242
10/24/19 10:18 PM
10/24/19 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by RonnieD
don't listen to KJ. aside from the obvious conflict of interest, he essentially says the same thing in every post, regardless of the question asked.

kawai has SERIOUS qc issues. i used to have a ca97. CLICKY keys....not just the one i bought, but also the one i tested in the store. noisy as heck. WILDLY INCONSISTENT let-off. if you like playing the piano softly, get ready for dropped notes because the let off on some keys is so pronounced and on others imperceptible. ridiculous that they build this let-off gimmick in digital pianos which impedes proper playing. if you're going to do let-off, do it right.

You can remove the let-off simulation, then all of the problems are solved.
That said, Kawai should allow you to order them with the let-off simulation removed. Removing it also improves the responsiveness of the keys (Casio removed it in their GP series pianos for this very reason).

Re: CA58 vs CA78 purchasing help [Re: Eli26] #2904492
10/25/19 11:34 AM
10/25/19 11:34 AM
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MattLee Offline
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Yeah. I envy some of the people who are able to get these digital pianos for such good prices. Especially those who can order from Thomman.

I was in a similar situation a few months back. For me the choice was between a CA48 and a CA78. The extra features of the CA58 weren't really a factor because I didn't actually plan on using any of them.

I'm just getting back into playing the piano so I went with the CA48. I don't use the internal sounds and instead use the midi out a VST. I have a monitor and mini PC setup on top of the music rest, a DAC, and speakers on each side.

I might upgrade in a couple of years, if I'm still going at it hard.


Last edited by MattLee; 10/25/19 11:35 AM.

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