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Joined: Jul 2007
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Hi all. I've got a Kawai CA15 from 2014/2015 I think, and I'm looking to upgrade.

I've always had a strong fondness for Kawai pianos and their sound, action doesn't bother me hugely as I very very very rarely touch a real piano (if ever), so as long as the action isn't restrictive/flat out unpleasant and is generally of a high standard, absolute realism is not one of my goals.

Due to my bias towards Kawai, I was going to order a CA99 and call it a day. But I've read a surprising number of issues with these DPs including problems with the keys, buzzing/static, terrible interface etc so I'm doubting the choice.

I was then looking at the Yamaha CLP785, but it's about £1,200 more than the CA99. The CLP775 is more in line with the CA99 price. After looking at the CLP785, I figured if I was going to spend that much, I may as well consider the Kawai NV5S but again, I'm concerned about Kawai quality issues.

I want a DP which will last me a long time without feeling restrictive. Great onboard sound system and something that can easily hook up to something like Pianoteq in the future.

Are my concerns about Kawai nowadays overblown? Is the CA99 still a great choice? Or should I be looking elsewhere?

Due to my schedule, and a lot of showrooms being quite bare nowadays, directly comparing these choices in person isn't particularly viable. Considering I'm coming from a CA15, I'm sure any of these will be a great upgrade but I just want to get a feel from other people's experience!

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I really don't think the modern iterations are better by much from a ca15, which is equivalent to today's ca49. pianoteq works fine with ca15.

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Really? I would've thought there would be a decent upgrade available. I guess if that's the case, it'd be worth waiting to see the new generation of DP's from each brand which I imagine will be out within the next year or two?

I was also under the impression the CA15 couldn't be used easily with Pianoteq? I'd want Pianoteq to use the onboard speakers. Is that wrong?

Last edited by Cyph3r; 05/30/22 09:52 PM.
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Forums such as this one, irregardless of brand or favorite, reflect so many with questions or problems. My thoughts have been that those who are delighted with their purchase may not even know of this forum nor post actively. Even tho you may read complaints, on most issues, Kawai has a solid warranty and will stand behind it. Their wooden keyboards are great. Wonderful feel. If you are going to keep this piano for a long time, I suggest to locate those that might fit your requirements and somehow, play them. If a Dealer may not have one in stock, maybe they have sold that model to customer(s) and you may find folks really enjoy helping others.

A CA99 is a great piano. I had previous models with the soundboard, and the tactile feedback it gives, I miss.

So. Good luck in your decision.

Have fun ...

Last edited by McBuster; 05/30/22 10:36 PM.

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Originally Posted by Cyph3r
Really? I would've thought there would be a decent upgrade available. I guess if that's the case, it'd be worth waiting to see the new generation of DP's from each brand which I imagine will be out within the next year or two?

I was also under the impression the CA15 couldn't be used easily with Pianoteq? I'd want Pianoteq to use the onboard speakers. Is that wrong?

It has midi in and out, you just have to buy a midi to usb adapter for the controls. it does not have an audio in, so you'll have to use separate speakers attached to the computer that hosts pianoteq. <this is always better quality> anyway.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
Originally Posted by Cyph3r
Really? I would've thought there would be a decent upgrade available. I guess if that's the case, it'd be worth waiting to see the new generation of DP's from each brand which I imagine will be out within the next year or two?

I was also under the impression the CA15 couldn't be used easily with Pianoteq? I'd want Pianoteq to use the onboard speakers. Is that wrong?

It has midi in and out, you just have to buy a midi to usb adapter for the controls. it does not have an audio in, so you'll have to use separate speakers attached to the computer that hosts pianoteq. <this is always better quality> anyway.

Yeah I'm not interested in adding external speakers. I know it would be better, but the piano is in our living room so I want to keep everything as tidy as possible.

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I have had my CA-79 for 3-4 months and I love it. I have had no problems. I mostly just use the piano sounds, but when I've dabbled in trying other sounds it's been fine. No problems. My biggest issue is that it seems the pedal needs to be worked in a bit and feels a little bit hard still right now. The action is wonderful and I really enjoy the sound. I tried the Yamaha and didn't like the action. I thought I would buy a Yamaha but when I tried it, it really didn't appeal to me. I also tried the Casio with the Bechstein piano sampling and didn't love that one as much as the Kawai, although better than the Yamaha. I would try a bunch and see what you prefer. I was concerned about all the complaints too, but so far so good for me. Maybe I'm just lucky, or a member of the no complaints majority, I'm not sure.


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Originally Posted by Cyph3r
Hi all. I've got a Kawai CA15 from 2014/2015 I think, and I'm looking to upgrade.

I've always had a strong fondness for Kawai pianos and their sound, action doesn't bother me hugely as I very very very rarely touch a real piano (if ever), so as long as the action isn't restrictive/flat out unpleasant and is generally of a high standard, absolute realism is not one of my goals.

Due to my bias towards Kawai, I was going to order a CA99 and call it a day. But I've read a surprising number of issues with these DPs including problems with the keys, buzzing/static, terrible interface etc so I'm doubting the choice.

I was then looking at the Yamaha CLP785, but it's about £1,200 more than the CA99. The CLP775 is more in line with the CA99 price. After looking at the CLP785, I figured if I was going to spend that much, I may as well consider the Kawai NV5S but again, I'm concerned about Kawai quality issues.

I want a DP which will last me a long time without feeling restrictive. Great onboard sound system and something that can easily hook up to something like Pianoteq in the future.

Are my concerns about Kawai nowadays overblown? Is the CA99 still a great choice? Or should I be looking elsewhere?

Due to my schedule, and a lot of showrooms being quite bare nowadays, directly comparing these choices in person isn't particularly viable. Considering I'm coming from a CA15, I'm sure any of these will be a great upgrade but I just want to get a feel from other people's experience!

Simplest way would be to go to a decent sized digital piano store and test some different cabinet pianos---see whether you feel motivated by the offerings over what you currently use.


Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand...............K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Piano stool.......K&M 14093 Piano stool
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Ive had a Yamaha CLP 775 and now the Kawai CA99. In complete honestly, the CA99 is much nicer than the 775. Even though I am selling it (with bench) after only 7 weeks ( long story, I am moving away and don't want it gathering dust).

Its in the for sale section. Open to offers,

Steve

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And you are very welcome to try it out if you want......

Steve


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Originally Posted by Cyph3r
Yeah I'm not interested in adding external speakers. I know it would be better, but the piano is in our living room so I want to keep everything as tidy as possible.

If you buy a piano just to add line in on internal speakers, you're essentially paying $2000-3000 for $100 worth of electronics.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
Originally Posted by Cyph3r
Yeah I'm not interested in adding external speakers. I know it would be better, but the piano is in our living room so I want to keep everything as tidy as possible.

If you buy a piano just to add line in on internal speakers, you're essentially paying $2000-3000 for $100 worth of electronics.

Shhh don't bring logic and sound reasoning into this.

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I've bought a kawai ca-99 very recently (its arriving today...) so I can't really yet speak from my own experience (perhaps will post in a couple of days after I test it?) but here is my though process:
1- kawai digital pianos have the best sound and the GFIII action on the kawai ca99 is aclaimed by reputable critics. I had zero bias. I had a yamaha, then upgrading I tried different brands, saw dozens of comparative reviews and ended up with a kawai cn29 that I absolutely adore. I recently went through the same process to pick the CA99. I didn't want to think I pick kawais because I liked their brand or some other subjective motive, but i can't help it. I prefer their sound and I trust that the action will be good judging from reviews.
2- I might have gone to the cn79 or even cn59 but it was unavailable and I would have to wait months, the ca99 was in stock for immediate shipping. I also was sorry I didn't order the CN39 from kawai after a year with the CN29 because of the better speakers. The ca99 has a better sound than the Ca79 and I look at this piano like my last digital piano for a long time. After this one i might get an accustic if somehow I can afford a grand piano a house big enough for it. If not, this will be the last piano (eventually upgrading it when technology becomes much better).
3- I was put off by the digital lcd touchscreen, even if not buggy I don't like the idea of having this screen thing that isn't elegant but it is subjective (we idealise an accustic piano and the digital lcd steals that illusion). I would prefer a led physical control like the cn29, but still it is a tool. I don't care if it is buggy and slow, I'll spend 99% playing the piano like in the CN29.
4- I also read scary reviews from angry users but here again I remember googling almost everything I bought online, there is almost always someone who had tough luck or a bad experience, either with the product or the seller. There is a guarantee and I just have to trust the dealer. I'll tell you how that went in a couple of days... I saw a review (merrin pianos) where Stu explains how to avoid some of these issues.
5- The model has been around for a couple of years. I think sometimes some products are faulty and after first batches they improve small details after customer feedback. It seems that anything software related can be improved via firmware as well.

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I hope you enjoy your CA-99 aguia77, let me know how you find it when you get it all setup.

Like you, I've bounced around a few different brands, mostly between Yamaha and Kawai but ultimately I always end up preferring the Kawai sound. Yamaha's always end up sounding a bit too "crisp"/digital to me, I just find the warmer Kawai sound more agreeable.

I actually bought my new piano yesterday, I'll be getting it delivered in about a months time (stock will be available sooner, but I'm not available to take delivery any sooner than that). I chose...

Kawai NV5s!

I figured if I was going to upgrade to the CA-99, I would actually prefer a proper acoustic action. Also, from a lot of user reports and sound comparison videos, the NV5s just seems to project sound a lot better from the speakers (headphone output would be the same though of course). I love the look of the NV5s as well. This should be a piano that will stick with me for a very long time!

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Originally Posted by Cyph3r
I hope you enjoy your CA-99 aguia77, let me know how you find it when you get it all setup.

Like you, I've bounced around a few different brands, mostly between Yamaha and Kawai but ultimately I always end up preferring the Kawai sound. Yamaha's always end up sounding a bit too "crisp"/digital to me, I just find the warmer Kawai sound more agreeable.

I actually bought my new piano yesterday, I'll be getting it delivered in about a months time (stock will be available sooner, but I'm not available to take delivery any sooner than that). I chose...

Kawai NV5s!

I figured if I was going to upgrade to the CA-99, I would actually prefer a proper acoustic action. Also, from a lot of user reports and sound comparison videos, the NV5s just seems to project sound a lot better from the speakers (headphone output would be the same though of course). I love the look of the NV5s as well. This should be a piano that will stick with me for a very long time!

Great choice on the NV5s! It is amazing and saw a lot of reviews of it.
I'm pleased to say my Ca99 arrived in perfect conditions and survived me and the delivery guy hauling it through the stairs to a 2nd floor with no elevator. It seemed impossible but we did it, just two people and a +100kg box... I gave the man a huge tip for helping me.
I tested it for hours, no issues, and I actually like the interface as well... The sound is amazing, so the Nv5s being superior you are going to be pleasantly surprised. The headphones sound much better than in the Cn29 as well. For now I can confirm all the positives mentioned in reviews and I'm sure you will be happy with the Nv5s.

By the way, I also tested the sound with bluetooth audio through the piano, it's something very useful for me: playing streaming music from spotify to the piano, using it as an hi-fi system... The sound is gorgeous, I can finally listen to classical music properly instead of using a portable bluetooth speaker or headphones. It fairs up to top of the line expensive dedicated hi-fis with speakers, amplifiers, etc.. This was not something I had in mind, but it is extremely practical.
happy playing!

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Congrats on your new pianos, aguia77 and Cyph3r!

Also, thank you very much for sharing your shopping experiences and thought processes.

Cheers,
James
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