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Joined: Jan 2021
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Hey guys,
As you might remember from my previous Posts I was considering to buy a ES920 oder P515 replace my CLP745 which I will be selling soon.
When I was in the store I felt curious and gave the CA49 a try and reall liked it somehow. The Sound was powerful and really „Even“ Across all registers, despite on paper it has the lower sound Engine than the es920.

I Feel like the CA49 might be just the Piano I am Looking for. However I am a little afraid that the PHI might be a „too poor“ sound Engine when it comes To More Advanced pieces. I couldnt test the CA49 for too long because it became quite noisy in the store after a while.

What do you think is the CA49 for a piano purist who only wants a decent Sound and a good action a Good Deal despite the quit dated Sound engine ?

Greetz Gaia

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If it sounds good enough then it sounds good enough and the technical details like length of the attack sample before the sample loop starts and the number of sample layers and what kind of resonances it simulates are irrelevant.

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Keep in mind that this model lacks not only a built-in USB Audio interface, but even the ability to record audio to a USB flash drive. If it matters to you, of course.

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Although highly convenient, the lack of built-in audio interface is not critical (after all, the majority of digital pianos don't have it), but you may miss audio input if on the future you want to connevt VSTs through the speakers...

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Do we care about the action? Naaah.
Do we care about the sound? Naaah.
We just care about bluetooth and audio interfaces. frown

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Do we care about the action? Naaah.
Do we care about the sound? Naaah.
We just care about bluetooth and audio interfaces. frown

Which is of course, critical for classical-specific playing experience. Bach could never have written any fugues without USB and his iPad pro smile


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Mac: I did not comment on the action because I am not familiar with the model, and I don't have the technical skills to say anything about its adequacy for advanced classical pieces. But the OP expressed concern about the sound (not about the action) and that concern can be sokved in the future by using VSTs. I highlighted the fact that the OP would need external speakers since there is no audio input on ca49, and to not pay much importance to the lack of audio interface.

You know me better than to judge me as a tech-only person. I think my post was valid and helpful to the OP (while yours is debatable).

Last edited by vagfilm; 09/19/21 02:42 PM.
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Originally Posted by 9190
Keep in mind that this model lacks not only a built-in USB Audio interface, but even the ability to record audio to a USB flash drive. If it matters to you, of course.

This isn‘t too bad for me. I would be happy if I could Record on USB because recently I thought about sharing some of the music I work on on Youtube but I guess there are other ways To record the Instrument aswell smile

Originally Posted by vagfilm
Although highly convenient, the lack of built-in audio interface is not critical (after all, the majority of digital pianos don't have it), but you may miss audio input if on the future you want to connevt VSTs through the speakers...

I don‘t use any vsts and I don’t think i will use then in the Future. I always run into tech issues, high latency and all this Trouble. My tech at Home is really old 😅

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Try playing music that demands a singing tone, and see if the PHI engine can do it to your satisfaction.

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MacMacMac, Gombessa, And what can be discussed here? Pivot point? On the forum, the same thing is repeated many times: sound and action are subjective things, and you need to try it yourself. OP tried it, he liked it. While the absence or presence of a function is an objective thing. What does Bach, Audio interface and iPad have to do with it? Everything was mixed up in a heap. Precisely because I, too, only need a piano, and no stuff around in the form of a computer, audio interface etc., for me the function of recording to a flash drive is the most important (after action and sound) in a digital piano. If it's missing, then I won't even consider such a digital piano.

So please discuss sound and action. I'll read in the hope of learning something new.

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Originally Posted by GaiaImpact
[...]I Feel like the CA49 might be just the Piano I am Looking for. However I am a little afraid that the PHI might be a „too poor“ sound Engine when it comes To More Advanced pieces. I couldnt test the CA49 for too long because it became quite noisy in the store after a while.
Don't worry for that. The PHI engine has nothing to do with the ability to learn advanced piano pieces. It's dynamic and responsive exactly as their bigger brothers (HI-XL and SK-EX Rendering Engine)... It's just that the piano sounds generated by the PHI engine are a little more cold and artificial sounding, compared to the piano sounds generated by the HI-XL and SK-EX Rendering Engine, because its samples are shorter and there are less velocity layers (I think 2 less).
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What do you think is the CA49 for a piano purist who only wants a decent Sound and a good action a Good Deal despite the quit dated Sound engine ?
I think it's a decent DP if you don't need USB playing/recording feature. The problem I have with the CA49 is its current price: IMHO it's too high for what essentially is a CN29 with a wooden keyboard... And it's not the best wooden keyboard from Kawai. The pivot length of the keys, in the CA49/59, is shorter compared to the action of the CA79/99, so you have to press harder when your fingers are near the fallboard. But it's an action better than the plastic RHIII you can find on the CN series, the ES920 and MP7SE (which have an even shorter pivot).

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Try playing music that demands a singing tone, and see if the PHI engine can do it to your satisfaction.

"a singing tone" seems a little indistinct. Maybe it refers to rogue resonances which are accepted into the job lot of pianoistical sounds without either serious questioning or even a Covid pass . . .
Will a "tra la la la la", a "fidle de dum fiddle de de" or maybe a "hey and a ho and a hey nonny no" pass muster?

Things desperately need tightening up around here!


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Usually pianists refer to "a singing tone" when a piano sound is not very percussive and the instrument generates a long and beautiful sustained sound for most of its notes, so that you can better blend the notes together when you do a "legato" passage, almost as if it were the voice of a singer.

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Usually pianists refer to "a singing tone" when a piano sound is not very percussive and the instrument generates a long and beautiful sustained sound for most of its notes, so that you can better blend the notes together when you do a "legato" passage, almost as if it were the voice of a singer.

Thanks for that. Nearest I got to that on an acoustic was when the notes went "eeeeoooowwwww" with gave them a Singing Feline (cat's chorus) effect.
It wasn't that beautiful, unfortunately.

Last edited by peterws; 09/20/21 01:22 AM.

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That's just the way a piano asks you for a good tuner. grin

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Originally Posted by vagfilm
Mac: I did not comment on the action because I am not familiar with the model, and I don't have the technical skills to say anything about its adequacy for advanced classical pieces. But the OP expressed concern about the sound (not about the action) and that concern can be sokved in the future by using VSTs. I highlighted the fact that the OP would need external speakers since there is no audio input on ca49, and to not pay much importance to the lack of audio interface.


Indeed the CA49 is kind of cut down in "features", and what you're pointing out may be relevant to some. But I think the built-in speakers in the CA49 may be even more of an issue than the sound engine. If I wanted to improve sound, I'd probably consider external speakers* before replacing the sound engine (* the CA49 also lacks a line-out or speaker-out, so this would have to be hacked). I understand many would consider feeding a VST to the built-in speakers, but this would be mainly for the sake of the looks and the clutter and the cost of good speakers, not the best way for sound improvement. When I was trying out Kawai models in a store, differences in speakers were quite obvious.

Regarding the difference in the sound engines, one can look up online sound samples, pick up quality headphones and try to find out how obvious the longer samples and more velocity layers are.

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The OP mentioned that he was very happy with the CA49 speakers... That was the reason I brought the piano limitation of not having audio input.

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Originally Posted by _sem_
. . .
Indeed the CA49 is kind of cut down in "features", and what you're pointing out may be relevant to some. But I think the built-in speakers in the CA49 may be even more of an issue than the sound engine. If I wanted to improve sound, I'd probably consider external speakers* before replacing the sound engine ( the CA49 also lacks a line-out or speaker-out, so this would have to be hacked). I understand many would consider feeding a VST to the built-in speakers, but this would be mainly for the sake of the looks and the clutter and the cost of good speakers, not the best way for sound improvement. When I was trying out Kawai models in a store, differences in speakers were quite obvious.

The CA49 has headphone output(s). If you wanted outboard speakers, you'd use the headphone output to drive powered monitors (or an amp and unpowered speakers) --

. . . no hack is needed.

If you want to use the CA49 amp and speakers to play music from another source, then it's hack time.


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If the CA49 isn't "high fidelity" enough there's then the CA59.

With USB audio recording as a bonus. And many other features.

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I was also thinking which one of CA series to buy and finally I got the CA59. Deciding factors were good speakers (for VST - Pianoteq) and audio in/out ports. I don't think that you would hear much difference between CA49 and 59 piano samples on the same quality speakers. But, for more realistic sound I would recommend Pianoteq and just forget small differences between sound engines in various Kawai models.
I also considered CA79, but the touchscreen interface has so many reported issues and UX problems, that I did not want to pay extra for this 'pleasure'. Regarding differences between GFC and GFIII keys - to me they are both very good, but I slightly preferred the texture on black keys on CA59. So for these two reasons I got the 59.
The CA49 has very good keyboard, that is a huge improvement over CN models. You can buy external monitors and use it for VST as well, if you don't mind the extra cables. Most probably for the price difference between 49 and 59 you can get far better speakers (or studio monitors) than those build-in in the 59, but you would need to accept less elegant solution, with these cables & speakers.


Kawai CA59
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