I’m not an owner right now, but I will be in the next few weeks. However I was able to play the CA79 in a music store in Germany for a couple of hours the last two days. That’s my first Impression:
- The GF-3 action seems to be a bit lighter than the GF-2 action. But I’m not quite sure because I only test-played the previous model (CA78) a couple of months ago and don’t own a model with a GF-2 action. Probably I’m wrong. But my first Impression was: Wow, that’s very light. Anyway, after some minutes of constantly playing I got used to it and really liked the action. I played some Bach pieces with trills and then superfast scales and the overall feeling and especially in fast passages was superb. My fingers flew over the keys like never before. Ok, actually I’m playing on a cheap Keyboard with a very stiff plastic-action
So my “technical improvement” is probably not very surprising. I met a piano teacher in the store. She was there with her pupil and recommended the CA58 because of the heavier action. She told me that the “repetition behavior” of the CA58 action is more comparable to an acoustic grand than the very light action from the CA79. She also tested the Casio GP 310/510 und a Roland Model with her pupil but still recommended the CA58 due to the action. I’m not quite sure if she was somehow biased, because of the higher price of the CA79 (she didn’t like the touchscreen and the whole idea of sound-customization at all: she said her style of playing is the only source for a sound-customization not the machine). I never played an acoustic so I can’t compare the actions to verify her opinion. I also like the older CA58 action, but the GF-3 feels much more pleasant, at least for me.
- I didn’t really check the onboard speakers, because it was quite noisy there. But the sound over the headphones was very sharp at the first glance (without any adjustments). I tried the SK-EX Concert Grand with the SK-EX-Rendering and I know that Kawai grands have a very “brilliant” sound but in my ears the sound was in the C4-C5 region to sharp and unpleasant. So I asked the staff for some other headphones because they gave me very cheap headphones at first. I don’t remember now, which second headphone model they gave me, but the next try clearly changed my audio perception. The sound was very nice and much more warmer than before. Then I tried the other grand and the two piano models and made some VT-adjustments. Each of them sounded lovely and with some adjustments probably even more (especially: changing the voicing to “dynamic”). I also tried the headphone adjustments (phone type / shs mode) in the option but it seemed that they wouldn’t change the sound very much. Finally, the out-of-the-box sound is still perfect with good headphones (at least for me). So if you plan to use the instrument primary over headphones, then you really should save some bucks and buy good headphones otherwise it could end in a disappointing experience.
- I also tried to modify my previously saved user sounds which worked fine. But you can’t overwrite an old user sound. It will always save it as a new sound even with the same name. But I think that’s not a problem.
- Finally I checked the VT user voicing/tuning/key-volume etc. But I couldn’t find these options. I read in the announcement thread that they will be available someday (in a post from Kawai James: [88-key "User" Virtual Technician adjustments will be possible.]). But for now these user defined VT-options are not available (or I overlooked them). Since the user manual seems to be something like a first draft (CA79: 94 pages / CA78: 176 pages) it seems to me that they still working on the UI and will probably release an update in the next weeks/months. But I’m sure that some kawai officials here can provide more information.
- The new UI is very nice and very intuitive. But it’s not very fast (I recognized some stuttering) and you will find some old problems from the CA78 also here. I often skipped two pianos instead of one and while I tried some VT adjustments it happened that I changed some options while I slided down or up. But I’m sure anyone will get used to it and won’t have much problems in the long run because of an adapted “user touch behavior” while using the UI.
Summarized it is a great digital piano and I’m looking forward to play it at home in the next vew weeks. It would be great to read some more opinions here. Perhaps someone already tried the recorder and could write if it’s working properly without any problems.