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Posted By: bambooninja Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 06:15 AM
I've searched the forum for discussions covering the Kawai CA58 and most of them are based on early descriptions and in-store tests just after it came available in early 2018. Now that it's been available for awhile, I would appreciate impressions from owners. Have you had any problems that required service? Anything you wish you'd known beforehand to make the experience better?

I think I'm down to a CA58 or a CLP-645, so your thoughts are appreciated.
Posted By: arc7urus Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 09:44 AM
Is the CA78 above your budget? The CA58 features Kawai's older sound engine (HI-XL), so you might prefer the acoustic pianos and resonance on the CLP-600, especially over headphones. The CLP-645 also supports USB Audio and Yamaha's Smart Pianist app, in case you consider these features important. The big point in favour of the CA-58 is the action (GF-Compact). But with the CA78 you would get the GF-II action, which is one step above the GF-C as well as the latest SK-EX samples and resonance model (but still lack of app and USB Audio support).
Posted By: Beowulf Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 09:52 AM
IMO, the only reason to choose the CA58 over the CLP-645 is the lighter (and some would say better) touch. Everything else is better on the CLP-645.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 06:33 PM
Unfortunately the CA78 is not in my budget. I'm already stretching beyond my original budget by buying a CA58 or CLP-645 as I was originally planning to buy a CLP-635 but I wasn't thrilled after trying it. I also tried a CN27 (as a preview of a CN37) and the texture of the keys bugs me. My kids are new to piano so I don't know how much we will need more than the piano qualities. If stepping up in price is not worth the money, perhaps I could go with the CA48. Since we don't have an acoustic, I want it to be as close as I can get for the budget in terms of action and sound.
Posted By: JoeT Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 07:05 PM
If you're on a budget, you could consider the Yamaha P-515. It shares action and sound with the CLP-645 at a $1500 price point.
Posted By: Lotus1 Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 07:07 PM
Bambooninja, if on a tight budget and not set on the conventional acoustic piano look, you might want to consider the Yamaha P-515 with its optional wooden stand and three-pedal unit. It is an excellent value at a lower price point, with the same NWX action as on the CLP-645.

Be aware that the Kawai CA48 does not have the USB recording option, so cannot save music to a flash drive to share with a piano teacher or friends.

Please check a pm I sent to you. In case you've not used private messaging on this forum, it is the red/white envelope icon on the top right of your screen. Best wishes, Lotus
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 08:08 PM
Thanks all. I did see mention of the P-515 in other threads and had checked it out. I think we prefer a more piano-like cabinet, and frankly I need a real cover for dust protection. My kids are lazy about covering the one we have now.
Posted By: slobajudge Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 08:40 PM
For possible problems with CA58 maybe its not a bad idea to look at this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqzgVHv_D7U
Posted By: docpaddock Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 09:11 PM
LONG POST

I've had the Kawai CA58 a couple of weeks now and will share my journey to it and impressions.

In my digital piano shopping I played up and down the Kawai line, some of the Rolands, and a couple of Yamahas, but the Kawais overall sounded and felt the best to me so I narrowed my search to the Kawai line.

I first seriously considered the ES8. But I didn't need portability and really wanted something that would look more like a piano in my house. I grew up playing an upright. By the time I would have added the furniture stand and pedals to make it look more permanent the cost would have brought me well into the digital console price tier and the sound from the portable slab speakers would have left me unimpressed.

I next tried the CA98 and CA78. Both sounded amazing and I enjoyed feeling the bass rumble on the CA98 when I combined some Warm Strings and Piano together. But, I wasn't impressed with the price. The CA78 and CA98 was putting me close to the price range of used uprights. Given the choice between an Acoustic or Digital I wod take an acoustic, but practical purposes (late night practicing, recording options, maintenance) was why I was looking at digital options. I just couldn't justify that much money for a digital that would lose value and become more obsolete each year. This made me focus my price range between the CN37 , CA48, and CA58.

The CA48 being the lowest price was looked at for a bit, but the lower polyphony of 192 notes, older PHI sound engine, lower powered speakers that made the piano sound a bit thin, limited connectivity, and slightly difficult for me to navigate control interface were turn offs.

The CN37 was better. It had connectivity and lots of sounds which I potentially could use for recording purposes. But it still had a low power output, the same old PHI sound engine, and the RM3 action which to me felt a tad too bouncy/springy when I played.

The CA58 turned out to be the best middle ground for me. It has the Grand Feel Compact action which is wood and felt very similar to the higher quality action of the CA78 and CA98. It has 100 watts of output power just like the CA78, although it is missing the tweeters. It also has the HI-XL sound engine which I actually preferred on the CA78 and CA98 instead of the new sound engine. Plus enough connectivity to keep me happy.

Maintenance:
I have had zero maintenance issues since arrival, although it has only been a couple of weeks.

Sound
The piano out of the speakers sounds authentic and rich. I play about half of the time with and without headphones and both experiences are great.

But I do wish it had more bass, not for the piano, but for when I play music through the line in. The bass for playing back recorded music just isn't there. The music sounds thin. But for pure piano sound the bass sounds good.

Also even though I wanted a piano replacement I know that it is not a real piano and as close as it mimics, it does not sound completely organic like a piano. But it is close enough for my purposes and it grows on me daily.

Action
I find the action quiet and realistic. In fact my hands and wrists have been sore which is due to how out of practice I was. It feels like the real deal to my out of practice hands.

Appearance
I chose the Rosewood which compliments the decor in my home. If I didn't know better it looks like a small upright. I love that the look combined with the touch and sound can trick me into being back at an acoustic.

Overall satisfied with my purchase. I found it to be a good product at a decent price that checked off many of my boxes. I will probably hide a small sub woofer behind it to fill out the sound for line in music.
Posted By: Lotus1 Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/04/19 10:39 PM
What a great first post from Docpaddock!

And particularly useful as the CA58 is difficult to find in local stores. Mine jumps straight from the CN37 to the CA78, not mentioning or displaying anything in-between. I think this is because the CA48 and CA58 are the only two of Kawai's Concert Artist line carried by online stores, and thus subject to direct price competition. It's a pity because the CA58 looks to have a great set of features, but who would risk buying a piano in this price range without trying it first?

Thanks for explaining your thought process and experience hitherto. I'm glad you are happy with your purchase and hope that continues for years to come!
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 01:40 AM
Thanks Docpaddock! Your details are incredibly helpful. I'm very much in similar situation not wanting the acoustic due to maintenance but still wanting a piano look. There's always going to be something better, newer, and more expensive, and it sounds like you found a happy balance of what you need for the price. Enjoy!
Posted By: Kawai James Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 01:56 AM
Hello docpaddock, welcome to the forum, and thank you for sharing your initial thoughts on the CA58.

Regarding this point:

Originally Posted by docpaddock
But I do wish it had more bass, not for the piano, but for when I play music through the line in. The bass for playing back recorded music just isn't there. The music sounds thin. But for pure piano sound the bass sounds good.


It might be worth trying the "Tone Control" setting to adjust the instrument's speaker EQ. I believe the Line In sound should be processed by this setting, providing the ability to boost lower range frequencies using one of the presets, or by adjusting the User EQ.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted By: Kawai James Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 01:59 AM
Hello Lotus1,

Originally Posted by Lotus1
And particularly useful as the CA58 is difficult to find in local stores. Mine jumps straight from the CN37 to the CA78, not mentioning or displaying anything in-between. I think this is because the CA48 and CA58 are the only two of Kawai's Concert Artist line carried by online stores, and thus subject to direct price competition.


Yes, I believe this might well be the case in North America. In other markets, the pricing structure is perhaps more transparent.

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted By: JoeT Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 04:54 AM
Originally Posted by bambooninja
Thanks all. I did see mention of the P-515 in other threads and had checked it out. I think we prefer a more piano-like cabinet, and frankly I need a real cover for dust protection. My kids are lazy about covering the one we have now.

The design furniture stand with transparent music rack fits my modern style apartment better, but I accept that your taste might be different.

Though I don't see any reason for a dust cover. I used an ES100 without a cover for almost five years and after opening it for repairs (due to wear and tear), I found no dust inside it. I also didn't put much effort in cleaning the instrument, just occasionally wiping the keyboard and case with a moist cloth was all I did.

When I was practicing up to multiple times per day, there was no point in covering it anyway.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 05:26 AM
I finally had a chance to watch the video that Slobajudge posted. I don't recall running into dead spots when I tested pianos, but I was not playing a lot of chords. How common is this? I have not come across a mention of this on the threads I've read.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 06:46 AM
I'm sure some of you have listened to this. I don't think my ears are that keen, but I picked out the CA58 and CLP-675 as my preferred two.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFmDkp6vSag
Posted By: halherta Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 02:29 PM
Even at a $1000 more I think the CA78 is a much better deal than the CA58. It has better action, better speaker setup, better tone generation e.t.c.If you buy the CA58, you'll probably still want to upgrade later to a CA78/98. If you buy a CA78, you won't need to upgrade as your playing gets better, unless you are rich and can afford an Kawai NV-10 or Yamaha Avantgrand. Also you can negotiate a larger discount on the CA78 than on the CA58. My advice is to hold off the purchase and save a bit more, then go buy a CA78.
Posted By: docpaddock Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 02:33 PM
Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello docpaddock, welcome to the forum, and thank you for sharing your initial thoughts on the CA58.

Regarding this point:

Originally Posted by docpaddock
But I do wish it had more bass, not for the piano, but for when I play music through the line in. The bass for playing back recorded music just isn't there. The music sounds thin. But for pure piano sound the bass sounds good.


It might be worth trying the "Tone Control" setting to adjust the instrument's speaker EQ. I believe the Line In sound should be processed by this setting, providing the ability to boost lower range frequencies using one of the presets, or by adjusting the User EQ.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
x


I tried adjusting the EQ, but it wasn't giving me enough. But I didn't buy the CA58 to be a high fidelity stereo. I bought it to be a realistic piano experience. It succeeds at doing this. So while I wish there was more bass, it doesn't fail in it's primary objective.
Posted By: JoeT Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 03:20 PM
Originally Posted by halherta
Even at a $1000 more I think the CA78 is a much better deal than the CA58. It has better action, better speaker setup, better tone generation e.t.c.If you buy the CA58, you'll probably still want to upgrade later to a CA78/98. If you buy a CA78, you won't need to upgrade as your playing gets better, unless you are rich and can afford an Kawai NV-10 or Yamaha Avantgrand. Also you can negotiate a larger discount on the CA78 than on the CA58. My advice is to hold off the purchase and save a bit more, then go buy a CA78.

I think there is no need upgrade from a CA58 to another digital. From there you upgrade to an acoustic and keep that forever.
Posted By: Beowulf Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 05:02 PM
Originally Posted by JoeT
I think there is no need upgrade from a CA58 to another digital. From there you upgrade to an acoustic and keep that forever.

I actually agree with halherta. Not everyone is going to be able to keep an acoustic.
Posted By: arc7urus Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 09:29 PM
Originally Posted by docpaddock
Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello docpaddock, welcome to the forum, and thank you for sharing your initial thoughts on the CA58.

Regarding this point:

Originally Posted by docpaddock
But I do wish it had more bass, not for the piano, but for when I play music through the line in. The bass for playing back recorded music just isn't there. The music sounds thin. But for pure piano sound the bass sounds good.


It might be worth trying the "Tone Control" setting to adjust the instrument's speaker EQ. I believe the Line In sound should be processed by this setting, providing the ability to boost lower range frequencies using one of the presets, or by adjusting the User EQ.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
x


I tried adjusting the EQ, but it wasn't giving me enough. But I didn't buy the CA58 to be a high fidelity stereo. I bought it to be a realistic piano experience. It succeeds at doing this. So while I wish there was more bass, it doesn't fail in it's primary objective.


You can adjust the line-out volume on the CA58 (this feature is not available on CA78/98). This means you can easily connect the CA58 to an external subwoofer to increase the bass response. You can also consider an additional soundbar or monitoring speakers. The soundbar is the simplest option and be placed behind the music rest. If you plan to play your CA58 mostly without headphones this would be a rather small investment that would increase the sound quality.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/05/19 09:50 PM
I know everyone here has the best intentions in making recommendations. That said, encouraging someone to "save up" to jump levels over the original budget is unrealistic. I've seen this in many threads be it pianos or headphones. Kindly try to keep in mind the preferences of the poster. I know what I'm comfortable spending and it looks like I can get a CA58 or CLP-645 for less than $3,000 (all in) which is what works for me. I will test out a friend's 645 tomorrow and hopefully by this weekend I'll order a new piano.
Posted By: pianogabe Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/06/19 08:19 AM
bambooninja, I have a CA-58, since 3/4 year, and are overall happy with it. I have been learning the piano only since a year and a half though, and I am not good enough (yet ! :-) ) to properly evaluate it and compare it to other instruments. I mostly use Pianoteq and Embertone Walker for sound, but must say that the CA-58 samples are also good. I had so far no problems with the instrument, but lately I do notice slightly more resistance at some keys, as in the video that slobajudge linked. I think it may be linked to the escapement simulation. I may be that this was the case from the start, and that I notice these slight differences better now. Don't know. I am also not sure what is 'normal'. My mother has a Schimmel grand piano that is 10-20 x as expensive as the CA-58, and I also notice some differences between keys when I play it. I think the CA-58 is a very nice instrument for the price. If you want to go for it, you may first want to try chromatic scales on it like the piano teacher in the video. Potential key difference may be too subtle to notice with chords. Let us know what you find.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/06/19 08:33 AM
A very good point. You should only spend what you can afford.
Originally Posted by bambooninja
That said, encouraging someone to "save up" to jump levels over the original budget is unrealistic. I've seen this in many threads be it pianos or headphones. Kindly try to keep in mind the preferences of the poster. I know what I'm comfortable spending and it looks like I can get a CA58 or CLP-645 for less than $3,000 (all in) which is what works for me.

Note that others have purchased the more expensive CA78 for around $3000. Here are the listings from the Prices Paid thread:
Code
Dec-2017 . . . $4500
Jan-2018 . . . $2850
Mar-2018 . . . $3956
Aug-2018 . . . $3250
Jan-2019 . . . $3380
Jan-2019 . . . $3300
If someone can get it for $2850, so can you or I. (I'm thinking about the CA78 myself.)
Posted By: halherta Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/06/19 03:56 PM
I was looking at the CA78 and was offered $4100CAD for a demo model with all taxes and shipping included. That's about 3100USD with taxes or 2750USD before taxes. A brand new CA78 would cost me about $3100 USD before taxes where I live. That's a $900 discount from the officially quoted retail price. And I didn't even try to bargain too much. I doubt that you can get that much of a discount on the CA58.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/06/19 09:15 PM
When I searched the prices paid list, the best I saw for a CA78 was $3300 in my country (I think the $2850 is a typo based on the original thread). If that's before tax, then it's out of the question for me as I have to add ~9% tax. So if 65% of U.S. list for CA78 ($3250) is the best price I can get, then it's too much. All in, that's over $700 more than what I'd pay for a CA58 (which is already $500 over my budget). From the specs, I completely understand stepping up to get more current technology, but it's a lot given the degree to which I expect the piano to be used. I don't see use of the MIDI, extra voices, etc. unless one of my kids has hidden musical talents. And weirdly, I have to admit I'm not sure I like the touch screen as it's distracting when lit, go figure.

I did test the CLP-645 today. As someone who is getting back to playing regularly and may not have good finger strength yet, I found my fingers got a bit tired after playing for 20 min. I assume it's simply a matter of getting used to the key action but I was surprised at how stiff it felt for me compared to playing the Kawais. frown If I purely went on how it felt today, I would not want the CLP.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/06/19 09:20 PM
So here's another question... for kids that practice on a digital but play with a teacher on an upright, is it better to have a lighter touch like a Kawai or the heavier feel of the CLP? On the surface, one could argue it's better to have the strength to play something stiffer and adjust down to the acoustic rather than the other way. Is there a thread that already discussed this?
Posted By: EPW Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/06/19 09:48 PM
Originally Posted by bambooninja
So here's another question... for kids that practice on a digital but play with a teacher on an upright, is it better to have a lighter touch like a Kawai or the heavier feel of the CLP? On the surface, one could argue it's better to have the strength to play something stiffer and adjust down to the acoustic rather than the other way. Is there a thread that already discussed this?


I don't think that is an easy question to answer. For me the CLP645 is not heavy. But the CLP675 was heavy to me. I'm also older and I would rather have a lighter touch. That is why on the board here it is advised to try out several different brand and in brand several models. Plus I have played uprights that have been light touch to heavy touch. So best to play on as many different pianos as you can.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/06/19 11:45 PM
Thanks Pianogabe. I did happen to play chromatic scales as part of my time with the Kawais. Nothing stood out as a problem that I can recall, but I hadn't seen the video at the time to listen for anything specific on test piano and forte play more. Some of these issues are too subtle for me to pick up on until I play for many more months.

EPW, I too like a lighter feel but I simply don't want to go so light it confuses my kids' learning. I will only be playing the DP so I won't know any better over time. I figure there's no perfect answer but curious if anyone with kids has observations.
Posted By: EarthToGreg Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/07/19 01:13 AM
I bet that the CA58 will be perfect for you without breaking the bank beyond your budget. I just went through the product comparison between the CA58 and CA78, and there just doesn’t seem be a huge difference between the two. As an owner of a CA78, I do however like the ebony polish finish. I minimally use the alternate voices, but when I do, they sound great. So I don’t know how much I can really tell beteeen the Pianist and Sound modes.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/07/19 09:16 AM
Remember that the price is not the price. The dealer's price is a his "ask". Your price is an "offer". The final price is ... whatever you can mutually agree upon.
So if I saw this in my country ...
Originally Posted by bambooninja
... the best I saw for a CA78 was $3300 in my country
... I would recognize that the severely limited data means that $3300 is NOT really the lowest price. I would not be deterred by someone else's $3300 price paid. I'd offer less.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/07/19 05:43 PM
Mac,
I admire your strong determination to get the best price. Thankfully the piano buying process feels much less painful than mattress and car negotiating.
Posted By: Lotus1 Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/07/19 06:57 PM
Bambooninja, re. your question about lighter vs. heavier actions and ease of moving to an acoustic piano:

I felt that NWX was the lightest action in Yamaha's Clavinova line; the less-expensive GH3X and more-expensive GrandTouch actions felt heavier.

As you know, I have not tried the Kawai GF-C action on the CA58. But the lovely GF II action on the CA78 felt lighter than NWX. If GF-C is lighter than GF II, it must be very light indeed!

Conventional wisdom holds that it is easier to move from a heavier action to a lighter one than the other way around. I believe that one always takes a few minutes to adapt, and that adapting to different actions is a useful skill to learn. As a child, many decades ago, I played a variety of pianos at home, at my teacher's, at recitals, and at exams. And was expected to adapt quickly, without fuss.

(Though my piano teacher was kind enough to rent for an hour the exact piano on which upper-level exams were performed, and each of us got *10 minutes* on it a few days in advance to get a feel for it.)

Perhaps this is why I loved both the heavy GrandTouch action on the Yamaha CLP-685 and the light Grand Feel II action on the Kawai CA78. The former was firm and precise, the latter light and smooth. Different but good.

So now that you've tried both the CLP-645 and the CA58, just go with what feels best *to you*. You can't go wrong between the two. Good luck!
Posted By: Lotus1 Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/07/19 09:15 PM
Not particularly relevant for Bambooninja, but for others reading this thread:

It was not quite accurate of me to use the word "heavy" to describe Yamaha's GrandTouch action. When I first played it, the initial touch felt heavy. But after a while, I ceased to notice that and appreciated that its longer pivot length meant an even touch wherever played, close to the fallboard or not. That is what contributed to the feeling of precision. Its counterweights may also have helped lighten the touch.
Posted By: bambooninja Re: Review of your CA58? - 02/07/19 11:50 PM
I agree with Lotus and comments I've read in other threads that adjusting to the "weight" of the action is mostly a matter of time. When I played the CLP-645 I tripped up on my keys for the first 10 minutes but I'd say by the end of 20 minutes my play noticeably improved. My fingers needed time to adjust from being used to practicing on my 30+ year-old Clavinova which has a light touch in comparison.

I played the CA48, CA58, and CA78 (though for less time). While I noticed some difference in feel of the CA78 action, I would not call it a significant difference on the surface. They were all pleasant and light. Perhaps if I had tested a more thorough variation in pressure and placement there would have been more differences to note.
Posted By: InspiredByKawai Re: Review of your CA58? - 04/13/20 10:31 AM
I've played on Steinway model D's (I'm not rich, I just went into Steinway Hall when visiting London) and they felt considerably lighter than the CLP 685 for me. It just feels unnaturally heavy to any piano I've played. Some really old cheap uprights from school maybe...
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