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Hi all

I've preordered a Ca99 in ebony polish with matching bench for a very generous price.

Because of the pandemic I haven't been able to try it out in person but know that I love the tone from watching videos.

My question is, if you had the option to wait an extra month and upgrade to a NV5 for an extra £1,300 would you do it or is the Ca99 action satisfying enough to play? I've played on mostly British/European uprights like Kemble, and Steinway grands and personally feel a grand action is more luxurious which I know the Ca99 is attempting to replicate, as opposed to NV5's shorter key uptight action.

I've heard the NV5 produces a more fuller sound even though its the same speaker configuration with soundboard, can anyone confirm this based on personal experience?

The issue is because its larger footprint I wouldn't be able to have it on display on living room which is an immediate issue for me as I want a shiny polished piano to be shown off.

I like to play Chopin and challenge myself to Rachmaninoff's piano concertos. I've heard that upright actions are limited in their repetition. This kind of repetoire destroyed my old plastic key casio privia px 730's action. Is the Ca99 more likely to survive this?

I found the casio action to be pretty decent albeit a little too light developing annoying clicking sounds (it had a plastic finish which was a major caveat) - Whereas the yamaha clp 685 was like pushing down bricks and not at all similar to playing a piano of any kind for me.

(I'd be curious to know the privia down weight compared to Ca99.)

I just don't want to feel like I'm missing out by settling for what I'd probably consider the best approximation of a grand action if I tried it, instead of a quality real upright action. It's hard to explain but watching videos of it being played I can get a sense of the feeling of playing and it seems quite bouncy with a lot of dynamic control with a quick return which seems appealing.
When people say gf 3 is less spongey, I get the impression it's going to make a knocking sound like it's hitting off wood or something.
The NV5 seems less bouncy in comparison but will likely be more realistic touch.

I haven't heard anyone complain of speaker buzzing on NV5 either.

It doesn't look like I'll be able to exchange it once I've played it so just looking for assurance I made a good purchase.

Thanks 😁

Last edited by InspiredByKawai; 02/18/21 01:15 PM.
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As someone who has played neither piano - so take it for what it's worth - I'd definitely upgrade to the NV5. Why?
1) Imo, a "real" action - even tho upright - beats a "trying to be like something" action.
2) Reports of both the action and the sound of the NV5 have been very positive.

And now, back to those more knowledgeable folks . . .

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Yes it's worth getting nv5 over ca99, it's much better

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While the CA99 feels good to play, it feels nothing like an acoustic touch at all, IMO. The Millennium III upright feels very close to a grand action.


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Have not played the CA99, but did play the very related CA98 and had a CA58, which is in the same top DP kawai action series, and which is also advertised as grand action-like. Despite advertising claims, the GFII and GFCII are quite different from an acoustic (grand) action. I like the Millennium III of my K300 (similar to NV5) much better. But I am just an early intermediate player, so do listen to more advanced players.


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At the risk of appearing redundant ... yes, go for the NV5.

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Originally Posted by InspiredByKawai
My question is, if you had the option to wait an extra month and upgrade to a NV5 for an extra £1,300 would you do it or is the Ca99 action satisfying enough to play? I've played on mostly British/European uprights like Kemble, and Steinway grands and personally feel a grand action is more luxurious which I know the Ca99 is attempting to replicate, as opposed to NV5's shorter key uptight action.

That is the crux of the matter.

The NV-5 is basically a CA-98, with a real upright action.

The CA-99 has a slightly evolved version of the CA-98's sound engine; mainly a few extra settings such as tuning options. If you don't plan on using historical or off-beat tunings, then this point is moot. IMHO, the NV-5 is not an upgrade to the CA-98 or CA-99; it's a side-grade. It gives you the same piano, in a slightly different cabinet, with a real upright action.

So, you have to decide:

Do I want a simulated grand action, or a real upright action?

In my situation, the NV-5 was also an option, coming from the LX-17. It would also have been a side-grade, or a tiny upgrade, as the LX-17 is basically on-par with the CA-97. I became used to the simulated grand action though, and the feature where you can press a key before it fully returns and create a very soft sound was used so heavily by me, that it almost feels second nature; playing the NV-5 (or any other upright) that can't do this, felt very strange to me.

Therefore, for me, the NV-5 would not be an option coming from a piano such as the CA-97/98/99, or the LX-17/708. To me, the NV-5 would just feel "different", but not "better" (and miss an often used feature...)

I went straight for the NV-10. If that hadn't been an option at this point and I had still wanted the Kawai sound (which was also one of the reasons to upgrade), I would maybe have either side-graded to the CA-99, or (probably) saved longer and bought the NV-10 at a later date (or even the NV-20).

Take into account that I never played an acoustic piano. I've been used to digital piano's that simulate grand actions since I began playing piano (instead of organ).

Last edited by Falsch; 02/18/21 05:50 PM.

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I lastly tested the NV5 and the CA79 which I decided to buy in December, I never tried the CA99 so soundwise I can’t compare with the ca99 but regarding the action I can tell you what I felt about the comparing the GF3 to the upright action in the NV5.

The NV5 has good and sturdy action which feels a lot heavier and more „substantial“ than the GF3. IMO the action in the NV5 feels a lot more like a real acoustic action when it comes to weight and key travel BUT - and this is why I preferred the GF3 action - I felt like the GF3 action offers a way better control regarding dynamics especially in the pp range, with the NV5 I had a little more trouble controlling the sound.

About me and my „skill-level“ I am maybe an intermediate/ slightly advanced player. Currently I play some of chopins easier waltzes and nocturnes and recently achieved to play the fantasy impromptu. that’s also one of the pieces I used to test the two pianos.

I think even if you consider upgrading I would try to test the NV5 before.

Last edited by GaiaImpact; 02/18/21 06:05 PM.
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂 the dilemma is they won't have any on the shop floor till late April, which is when my Ca99 is due to be posted. That's kind of what I imagined it would be like, as though I'll have more fun with the gf3 action even if it is lighter so for that reason arguably less realistic. I can see myself really enjoying those subtle nuances in delicate touch!

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Thanks this is a great way of explaining the differences!
I feel I'd probably be happy with either honestly. I get the feeling that once it's in my house without having a piano to directly compare it to I wouldn't be able to tell it was a digital action. At least that's what I'm hoping will be the case lol

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I'm at roughly the same decision point - I'm basically evaluating the CA99, NV5/10, and Aures offerings.

On purely CA99 vs NV5, for me it really boiled down to actually playing the two pianos and determining how I felt about the actions. This is highly subjective. For *me*, I prefer a grand piano-style action, and actually would rate the action in this order of preference: 1) NV10; 2) CA99; 3) Aures; 4) NV5. I'm sure some will see this as almost blasphemous (particularly placing the CA99 over the Aures which is a real acoustic piano!), but again, it's truly subjective and for me I found -suprisingly - that I preferred even the 'faux' grand-style action on the CA99 to the upright action.

I will say this about the NV10 - I felt the NV5 and CA99 kind of got the sound/speaker system right in a way that the NV10 didn't. I think it came out a bit before the NV5, and it has some odd little quirks to the design (for example, it seemed like when you put the music stand flat it covered the surface speakers?) The NV10 *feels* phenomenal, but its price point is almost at the Aures level and for me (again, this is totally subjective), I don't know that the jump from a CA99 to an NV10 makes sense unless you 1) really want a true Grand action and 2) you're willing to explore some ways to augment the speaker offerings (maybe getting separate monitors etc.) TBH it wasn't a huge deal - the NV10 still sounded great - but at that price point I didn't want anything that was going to bug me about the instrument.

To sum up though - if you don't have a major preference on grand vs upright action, it's the *NV5* all the way as you're getting a legit upright action. That piano gets rave reviews and seemed to be the best-sounding instrument in terms of the speakers/acoustics. My only suggestion would be to at least take a peek at the K500 or K300 Aures offerings, if you're already at the NV5 price point - they're also true upright actions with the benefit of an actual bona fide acoustic piano (duh!), and I found the street price for the Aures to be quite a bit lower than MSRP (I saw one dealer in the 11K range USD for the K500 Aures, and that was before the Feb discount).

But if you prefer the grand action, I think the CA99 is the way to go (or the NV10, but noting the caveats above).

One last note - I was at a dealer that actually demonstrated the repetition issue. I'm not a heavy classical player and I was surprised to see it exhibited on both the NV5 and the K300 Aures (upright) on display. This is not an issue with the quality of they actions - they're authentica and fantastic - but there's basic physics involved apparently with the upright action that limits how quickly you can repeat. On the grand action, you can sort of have the key half-depressed and do quick strikes from that position, but on the uprights (whatever version) you had to let the key come a good ways up before you could get it to sound again. I think this would be a problem only in very limited contexts (and again it's not a 'problem' but just part of the deal with an upright action, I think), but if you're a serious classical player I'd definitely recommend trying the upright actions out yourself, before pulling the trigger.

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Originally Posted by InspiredByKawai
Thanks this is a great way of explaining the differences!
I feel I'd probably be happy with either honestly. I get the feeling that once it's in my house without having a piano to directly compare it to I wouldn't be able to tell it was a digital action. At least that's what I'm hoping will be the case lol

I think this is the main thought to hang onto here. These are all top-notch instruments and you'll probably be deliriously happy with either. If you've already ordered it, just enjoy it!

I've had to remind myself of the same thing, to keep myself from going too overboard with 'analysis paralysis'. (FWIW I think I'm pretty much settled on pulling the trigger on a CA99 EB myself...)

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Keep in mind: A one time test doesn't say much about the action. You have to grow into the action for 3 - 4 weeks to getting fully comfortable with it.


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The aures is waay out of my prince range, add an extra 3,500 and I'm basically there. Based on your thoughts best stick with the Ca99:)

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This is really good advice! There's always going to be something better while more expensive. My main reference point is a casio privia from 2012 lol.

Does the shorter cabinet of the Ca99 put you off in anyway?
I worry its going to feel not that authentic considering I'm really tall, and I just wish they kept the height of the cs11.

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This would basically mean there's no point testing them out in store then. Considering I've already put the deposit down.

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Originally Posted by InspiredByKawai
This is really good advice! There's always going to be something better while more expensive. My main reference point is a casio privia from 2012 lol.

Does the shorter cabinet of the Ca99 put you off in anyway?
I worry its going to feel not that authentic considering I'm really tall, and I just wish they kept the height of the cs11.

Yeah I thought about that a bit, but I think it looks really great regardless. (My wife has seen pics of all of these digitals and thinks they're amazing looking acoustic pianos lol smile Plus for me anyway, the CA99 height is perfect for a laptop (either for reading PDF sheet music, or driving some choice sample libraries- which I'm definitely going to try out through the speakers!) I actually found the K500 height to be less-than-ideal for that reason.

Again, it just highlights how subjective this all is - I have a pretty sizable investment in a project studio and various sample libraries, so the shorter CA99 height for me weirdly feels like a benefit.

I'm coming from almost the exact same position btw - I have a Casio Celviano for a digital piano from like 2013, and I've got a Kronos workstation. So basically I could throw a dart and come up with a digital piano that's a vast improvement over what I had...

Last edited by lillloyd; 02/18/21 07:57 PM.
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Originally Posted by InspiredByKawai
The aures is waay out of my prince range, add an extra 3,500 and I'm basically there. Based on your thoughts best stick with the Ca99:)

Eventually, there will be an Aures system put into a Kawai grand or baby grand.

That will be nirvana. It will also cost a fortune lol

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Trying out is always a good thing because there is more to explore than the action itself.


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I was recently in your shoes. I wanted to upgrade my 15-year old Yamaha P140 digital piano and was considering Kawai MP11SE, CA79/99 and NV5/10. I wanted to order the MP11SE if only because it was the only piano that I could order online as I did not want to spend many hours in different stores. But I am happy that I took a chance and decided to make an exception and go a few Kawai dealers and try many digital and acoustic pianos. I tried CA79-99, NV5, K300 (their popular upright), GL-10 and many GXs. I am so happy I tried them side by side as it was very a very eye opening experience. I was under the impression that GF3 would be very close to an acoustic action. I was so mistaken. The mere use of wooden keysticks does not replicate the dynamic touch and feel of an acoustic action. The feeling I got from it was like averaging and summarizing an otherwise complex and multi-dimensionally nuanced response of an acoustic action. In addition the touch weight was unnaturally light, unlike any of the Kawai Millennium 3 acoustic actions. It had a feeling that mere touching the keys would send them flying. This is a good thing if you want to be able to play previously difficult pieces overnight, but not a good thing if you’d like to be able to play them on an acoustic at some point.

I hate to repeat a cliche, but you should compare them for yourself and decide whether you’d be satisfied/disappointed with how well/badly GF3 tries to replicate a real action. If absolutely do not wish to visit a store during these times, I’d get the Novus.

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