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This isn't an important post, but perhaps some of the members here, in an idle moment, might be interested in giving their opinions.

I was all set for a summer purchase of the Kawai CA79 PE, and I have no doubts that I would have loved it. Unfortunately, cancer got in the way, and I've been forced to build a new deck for my house. After prostate surgery, the prognosis looks better, and if the PET scan in September shows only a slow growth, chemo and radiation might just cure me completely, although at my age of 72 we'd always have to keep a close check on things.

Now I'm looking at a possible autumn 2022 or spring 2023 purchase plan, and I think I can make that. If everything goes well, I could actually go back to work by next year, part-time, and bring in a thousand dollars a month. Assuming that possible scenario comes true, I have to wonder what my best future purchase options might be.

Of course no one knows the future, and so we can do no more than speculate. I'll have to wonder if buying a CA79 PE, at what should be a reduced price, is in my best interests, or if waiting for the next generation might be the best option. If the more expensive next-gen looks more attractive, I have to wonder what refinements and features it will have that will make it the best choice. And so I will ask the readers in this forum: What improvements and/or innovations in Kawai's future-generation CA releases would cause you to pay hundreds of dollars more for that series rather than buying into the current CA79/99 line?

Yes, I'm aware that this is a waste of everyone's time, but if you're so inclined, by all means give free reign to your imagination. I've learned from experience to respect the opinions of the members of this forum.

Thanks in advance for all opinions and advice.
Take care of your health number one ADWyatt. Now if you can go back to work part-time and it isn't a strain on your budget I would seriously look at the NV5 upright as you only live once smile
Best wishes for a full recovery. Why CA series? I would be looking at my dream piano, either acoustic or hybrid. Have you considered the NV5S or 10S.
As other have said, make sure you are paying attention to your health and best wishes for that.

As somebody who has owned very old Kawai CA series digital and then a NU1 and also inexpensive and expensive acoustic pianos (upright and grand) my suggestion is: GO FOR IT.

Yes, the hybrid are better ones, if you can afford them. The Kawai CA are quite remarkable for their price point, and the improvement from one model to its successor are very minor (of course the store prefers you to think otherwise to sell the new one which is more expensive and in stock, vs the old one which you can find second-hand).

So my suggestion is: buy what is reasonable for you to afford without stretching too much, and buy it sooner rather than later: time flies!
Many people have Protate cancer and live for many years after it; things have greatly improved over the years.
But I would wait for nothing. I would buy now, the best I could get my hands on.
A 350 Harley.
The wife might grant me a Lambretta . . .
ADWyatt, I agree with the others. And I’ll add, I wouldn’t wait for the next years’ model to come out. Like the others said, the improvements with each new model are modest refinements (and possibly will arrive with their own issues that will need some time for correction like we’ve seen the last few years… i.e. speaker distortion that require firmware updates). Anything revolutionary and the marketeers would be sure to create a new model/series with much fanfare. I don’t know what you are playing on today, but enjoy it and keep playing! Ping me if you are ever in Texas!
Originally Posted by ADWyatt
What improvements and/or innovations in Kawai's future-generation CA releases would cause you to pay hundreds of dollars more for that series rather than buying into the current CA79/99 line?

Yes, I'm aware that this is a waste of everyone's time...
Firstly, don't ever think you're wasting other people's time. If they are adults, then they need to know how to manage their own time - don't make excuses for their incompetence! (Sorry for channeling Warren Buffett!)

As for Kawai, I too am eagerly awaiting the CA80 and CA100 models.

They had better implement USB Audio smile
Every other brand has it - most have had it for several years. In the software product world it's referred to as a 'table stakes' feature.

If they throw in a microLED screen (instead of these decades out of date 1990s technology ugly LCD screens in the CA79/CA99) then take my money smile

And if they were to remove that crappy defect-prone fake let-off/escapement then it would be hands down the best digital piano on the market!
I'm wondering how you would use USB Audio. Is it for feeding the piano's audio to another device? Or for feeding audio from another device to the piano?
USB Audio means you only need 1 single USB cable for all 3 of these:
1. Sending MIDI to your computer
2. Sending VST/synthesizer audio to your piano
3. Sending piano audio to your computer (e.g. if you don't have a VST/synthesizer running and you want to record the sound of the piano - this is much easier and more enjoyable user experience than connecting a USB drive to your piano).

And with #2 and #3 you don't lose audio quality via attenuation and distortion that you do if you use analogue cables.
Hello,

@ADWyatt, Get well soon!

While reading your post, the Kawai Novus NV5S immediately sprang to mind as a dream of a piano that you probably deserve to definitely allow yourself in this stage of your life.

Actively find out how to minimize your delay, get it and Enjoy!

Cheers and happy recovery,

HZ
Originally Posted by HZPiano
Hello,

@ADWyatt, Get well soon!

While reading your post, the Kawai Novus NV5S immediately sprang to mind as a dream of a piano that you probably deserve to definitely allow yourself in this stage of your life.

Actively find out how to minimize your delay, get it and Enjoy!

Cheers and happy recovery,

HZ

Let me first of all thank everyone who was kind enough to reply to my post and give really good suggestions. I feel a little foolish belaboring the point, but at this stage I'm really upbeat about my prognosis. I had surgery on May 4, and a PET scan on June 17. It has now been fully two months since surgery and I have regained much of my strength. I'm having no pain, and I have to think I suffer from fatigue simply because I'm not out there working. With just two months to go until my next PET scan, I strongly feel we're going to climb the mountain!

A number of respondents have asked me to consider the future purchase of the NV5S, and it might actually be possible to purchase it at the end of 2022. I have quite a number of valuable art works that are sitting in my closet, as well as other costly items that I'm no longer using. Combined with my savings and the income of perhaps six months' employment, on top of my pension and social security, buying the NV5S may not be that difficult. But would it be wise?

Kawai's current suggested purchase price for the NV5S in America is $10,000, and I think with bargaining that might be reduced to no more than $8,000, especially at such a late date as the end of 2022. But beyond that, I have to wonder if the NV5S would be overkill in my situation. My piano room is 13'x13', opening into the living room and dining area, and since the NV5S uses the same sampled tones as the CA99/79, I have to wonder if the tonal quality of the NV5S would be all that much better than the CA99/79, so far as listeners are concerned. If there is a difference, would it be worth the additional financial investment?

And of course, I would have to consider touch. I know that the acoustic upright action of the Yamaha NU1X was rather pleasing to me, although I'm also quite pleased with the lighter action of a simulated grand. The NV5S is the competitor for the NU1X, so I have a feeling I might actually like the feel of it, but the action of GFIII on the CA series is something I should at least take into consideration.

As for looks, that's a no-brainer. All-in-all, if the price of the NV5S could compete directly with the NU1X by the end of next year, I might look at it very closely indeed. Even if I was 20 years younger, knowing all repairs would be possible, I think that would be my piano for life.

In closing, thanks again to everyone for being kind enough to give me your opinions and advice.
Wise? Be foolish… you earnt it for climbing the C mountain. I am learning to live life first and if nothing I have learnt: not thing is g’teed in life and with planning, I minimize to very short horizon.
Originally Posted by Burkey
USB Audio means you only need 1 single USB cable for all 3 of these:
1. Sending MIDI to your computer
2. Sending VST/synthesizer audio to your piano
3. Sending piano audio to your computer (e.g. if you don't have a VST/synthesizer running and you want to record the sound of the piano - this is much easier and more enjoyable user experience than connecting a USB drive to your piano).

And with #2 and #3 you don't lose audio quality via attenuation and distortion that you do if you use analogue cables.

If you have audible distortion or attenuation from analogue cables, the problem is with your configuration. In fact, having the DAC in the piano shared by the internal piano and external VST almost surely means that there is a digital mixer component in the piano to combine the signals. This will be a source of digital noise from floating point roundoff errors that you would not have if the digital output of the VST were routed to an outboard DAC, amp, and speakers.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Burkey
USB Audio means you only need 1 single USB cable for all 3 of these:
1. Sending MIDI to your computer
2. Sending VST/synthesizer audio to your piano
3. Sending piano audio to your computer (e.g. if you don't have a VST/synthesizer running and you want to record the sound of the piano - this is much easier and more enjoyable user experience than connecting a USB drive to your piano).

And with #2 and #3 you don't lose audio quality via attenuation and distortion that you do if you use analogue cables.

If you have audible distortion or attenuation from analogue cables, the problem is with your configuration. In fact, having the DAC in the piano shared by the internal piano and external VST almost surely means that there is a digital mixer component in the piano to combine the signals. This will be a source of digital noise from floating point roundoff errors that you would not have if the digital output of the VST were routed to an outboard DAC, amp, and speakers.
I'm living in the 21st century.

Unless you're using the instrument for gigging in venues that only support analogue audio, there is no valid nor logical reason to be using inferior 20th century out of date analogue cables.

A USB cable - even USB-C - costs less than USD $1 from AliExpress. High quality analogue cables are not cheap. Why on earth would anyone choose to pay extra to use a cable that provides inferior audio quality?!

And obviously having to have multiple cables plugged into your piano and computer is just silly when you shouldn't need to. And if you also require a DAC/ADC adapter than is even more unecessary junk to purchase and plug in - a completely illogical option.

USB Audio is a table stakes feature - and it only costs manufacturers a couple of dollars per unit to install so there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever.
If the digital audio goes to an outboard DAC, there is no analog signal leaving the computer. The output of the DAC is analog that flows to an amp over an analog wire. The output of the amp is an analog signal that flows to a speaker. These configurations are still present if the DAC, amp, and speakers are inside the digital piano.

But routing the digital outout of the VST to the piano will add the extra noise of a mixer insidevthe piano to the audio path. Digital mixers will generate broadband noise.

There is no magic that happens because the DAC is inside the piano. And if it were not for the fact that the inside of a computer case is a noisy environment, there would be ZERO downside of converting to audio inside the computer and running an analog wire out to an amp. The problem of the inside of a computer being noisy is solved by havibg the DAC/soundcard being external to the computer, not specifically by having it hosted in the midi controller (which is a point of convenience).

The number of digital and analog connections does not change based on which cases house which components. It just affects which wites are visible to you and which are not.
@Burkey: USB has its limitations. USB 2 cable length is limited to 5 meters. USB 3 to 2 meters. USB 3.1 to 1 meter. So sometimes analog makes sense.

As for cables ... do you really recommend the $1 cables from Ali Express? I would never. Their stuff is bottom-drawer junk.

As for audio quality ... I haven't noticed problems with analog audio cable.
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
If the digital audio goes to an outboard DAC, there is no analog signal leaving the computer. The output of the DAC is analog that flows to an amp over an analog wire. The output of the amp is an analog signal that flows to a speaker. These configurations are still present if the DAC, amp, and speakers are inside the digital piano.
Wrong.

Using an outboard DAC means you have extra analogue cable in between the DAC and the piano.

Using digital USB avoids this extra attenuation and distortion.

And going the other way from the piano to the computer with USB there is no digital to analogue to digital conversion required at all. Whereas using an outboard ADC the piano converts digital to analog use and then the ADC converts that analogue to digital - a ridiculously unecessary process.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@Burkey: USB has its limitations. USB 2 cable length is limited to 5 meters. USB 3 to 2 meters. USB 3.1 to 1 meter. So sometimes analog makes sense.
The longer the analogue cable, the worse the attenuation and distortion - at a logarithmic rate. You'd be nuts to expect high quality audio from a 10 metre analogue audio cable!

Also, you can easily extend USB range to hundreds of feet!
https://www.datapro.net/products/usb-long-range-extender-hub.html

This is the 21st century folks.
Digital pianos should have digital I/O... Sure allow analogue ports as well for gigging or luddites, but it's not a real digital piano if it doesn't support digital I/O.

Heck even my 1995 MiniDisc recorders and stereo have digital optical I/O.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
As for cables ... do you really recommend the $1 cables from Ali Express? I would never. Their stuff is bottom-drawer junk.
This one on the left was the $1 AliExpress USB-C cable:
[Linked Image]

It's been working fine for the past 6 months. I've never had any USB cables break on me in the past 20 years - I look after my cables (although I suspect our new Siberian kitten may have other ideas!)

It's also worth noting that AliExpress give a USD $3 or $4 voucher when you sign up a new account. A little known feature of Gmail for the past 13 years is it lets you add unlimited number of aliases to the same account - e.g. a.burke, ab.urke, abu.rke all arrive in your one aburke@gmail.com Gmail account and obviously can be used to register thousands of AliExpress accounts. I've saved thousands of dollars across many different online stores using this trick smile

(You have to enable this Gmail 'alias' feature but it only takes a couple of clicks)
I've run 50 feet without problems. That's about 15 meters.
Originally Posted by Burkey
You'd be nuts to expect high quality audio from a 10 metre analogue audio cable!
Hello ADWyatt,

I'm sorry to read about your recent health challenges, however it's great that you're feeling strong - wishing you all the best with the rest of your recover.

As for pianos, buy the best piano that you can afford.

Kind regards,
James
x
‘Can’t buy now; what might the future hold for Kawai’? That is the question!

Yet here we are talkin’ ‘bout cables and such; does Kawai make cables, I ask?


Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for ‘branching out’ (what some call ‘off-topicking’), but we should aim for the stars and not spend our precious time discussing mundane cables.

Please google the mundane, “what cable should I get?” because this place is for the abstract, the intangible, the supernatural, etc; and if we’re going to digress, we might as well make it worth it by aiming for the stars and not for the floor.

The floor is basic, dirty, obvious, and boring; I know because I walk all over it everyday without much thought, but the stars, oh, the stars are mysterious, mischievous, abstract yet also visible to the naked eye, and yes, if you’re imaginative enough you might just catch one, carry it in your pocket, like yours truly, and perhaps even absorb its nature, and by extension become one with the star(s).


“Shoot for the stars and not for the floor!”
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I've run 50 feet without problems. That's about 15 meters.
Originally Posted by Burkey
You'd be nuts to expect high quality audio from a 10 metre analogue audio cable!
How much did that 50 feet of cable cost? I'm guessing more than a digital cable would cost.
Originally Posted by Burkey
USB Audio is a table stakes feature - and it only costs manufacturers a couple of dollars per unit to install so there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever.

Yeah, I wish others who know, Kawai James, etc., would comment on this. USB Audio seems like a must-have / table stakes feature in my book as well, so I'm very keen on this answer.

I'm certain that there are considerable costs associated with implementing it, such as the costs of paying engineers to get it to work flawlessly with their particular software/hardware. And the best implementation, having a knob on the top panel for volume control of the incoming audio, costs as well. Any ideas on what is involved in implementing this and the probable costs?

In this day and age it seems like a must-have feature, esp since Kawai is inclined to be minimalist in the number of voices they provide. Kudos to Yamaha for implementing it, often with the volume knob.
Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
If the digital audio goes to an outboard DAC, there is no analog signal leaving the computer. The output of the DAC is analog that flows to an amp over an analog wire. The output of the amp is an analog signal that flows to a speaker. These configurations are still present if the DAC, amp, and speakers are inside the digital piano.
Wrong.

Using an outboard DAC means you have extra analogue cable in between the DAC and the piano.

Using digital USB avoids this extra attenuation and distortion.

And going the other way from the piano to the computer with USB there is no digital to analogue to digital conversion required at all. Whereas using an outboard ADC the piano converts digital to analog use and then the ADC converts that analogue to digital - a ridiculously unecessary process.

Using an outboard DAC takes the piano out of the audio path for the VST sound completely. There will be unnecessary components in the audio path in the piano.
Quote
The longer the analogue cable, the worse the attenuation and distortion - at a logarithmic rate. You'd be nuts to expect high quality audio from a 10 metre analogue audio cable!
I don't use 10 meter analog cables. But if my DP had speakers builtin, I'd still run analog audio to a better amp and speakers that would improve the sound far more than any loss of quality from the wires. The latter is inaudible. The former is not.
@Sweeklinck: Don't you know that copper wire can degrade audio? All that metal can be jarring to those poor electrons! It's a mess, I tell you! It's a mess! smile
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
If the digital audio goes to an outboard DAC, there is no analog signal leaving the computer. The output of the DAC is analog that flows to an amp over an analog wire. The output of the amp is an analog signal that flows to a speaker. These configurations are still present if the DAC, amp, and speakers are inside the digital piano.
Wrong.

Using an outboard DAC means you have extra analogue cable in between the DAC and the piano.

Using digital USB avoids this extra attenuation and distortion.

And going the other way from the piano to the computer with USB there is no digital to analogue to digital conversion required at all. Whereas using an outboard ADC the piano converts digital to analog use and then the ADC converts that analogue to digital - a ridiculously unecessary process.

Using an outboard DAC takes the piano out of the audio path for the VST sound completely. There will be unnecessary components in the audio path in the piano.
Not unless you have external speakers and amplifier(s) - 99% of digital piano owners do not do that, so it's pretty silly to design your piano product with that assumption.

And you didn't even address the audio input (piano to computer recording) side of the equation.

If Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Casio (and Dexibell?) all now have USB Audio even on entry level pianos then why can't Kawai?
Quote
Not unless you have external speakers and amplifier(s) - 99% of digital piano owners do not do that, so it's pretty silly to design your piano product with that assumption.

And you didn't even address the audio input (piano to computer recording) side of the equation.
Most recording interfaces have both an ADC and DAC builtin and function as an external DAC/soundcard for the computer. My M-Audio 1810 does over Firewire, so I don't have to worry about digital jitter from USB latency degrading sound quality.

I think many more than 1% of digital pianos sold don't even have builtin speakers.
If you want to use your digital pisno as the sound system for your computer, a digital connection is the best solution, not because of degradation from the analog audio cable, but to bypass unnecessary components in the piano, as noted.

But this model breaks down if you add an additional digital keyboard instrument to your setup.

An unbalanced audio cable is fine for connections up to at least 6 metres as long as you keep the wire away from noise sources like wall rat power supplies. Environmental noise can affect digital connections-- it is analog signals encoding the bits on the wire after all. But it manifests differrntly. Error correcting codes can be used to reduce the error rate, but I've not heard of it being used in pianos.
Originally Posted by Burkey
You'd be nuts to expect high quality audio from a 10 metre analogue audio cable!

Yet it gets the job done admirably. How many 50' to 100' snakes are there bringing XLR and direct box inputs from the stage to the soundboard at 10,000+ churches in the US every Sunday. However, I'm looking forward to trying out XLR over ethernet when the time comes for a remodel!
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
Not unless you have external speakers and amplifier(s) - 99% of digital piano owners do not do that, so it's pretty silly to design your piano product with that assumption.

And you didn't even address the audio input (piano to computer recording) side of the equation.
Most recording interfaces have both an ADC and DAC builtin and function as an external DAC/soundcard for the computer.

My point was that this introduces both attenuation and distortion in between the piano analogue output and the ADC.

It's ridiculously silly and unnecessary to convert from digital (in the piano) to analogue output then back to digital (ADC).

With USB Audio (and optical/Toslink audio, and coax digital audio) it never needs to convert to analogue ever. Such cables are now only $1 each per metre.

It's a complete waste of money and space/mess and hassle using an external DAC/ADC for 99% of digital piano owners.

Yamaha, Roland, Casio, and Dexibell all agree with me:

USB Audio is the future smile (and the present!)
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
If you want to use your digital pisno as the sound system for your computer, a digital connection is the best solution...

As I mentioned, there are two other much more common use cases:
1. Playing a VST/synthesizer through your piano headphones or speakers.
2. Recording your piano audio (direct to WAV file on your computer).
You do understand that playing the VST through your piano is what using the piano for your computer sound system actually is, right? You are just using the piano as an outboard DAC and amplified speakers for the computer. That just happens to be multiplexed on the same USB wire as you are using to send midi yo the computer.

The other use cases you mentioned don't require that functionality.

I don't think it adds only $2 to the cost of the piano. It requires USB hosting, not just USB as a client sending data. It is a useless feature for me (I have more than one instrument). It is a cost savings for me not to pay for an amp and speakers in my DP without even quantifying the cost of adding USB hosting.
This is the perfect internet argument - correct technicalities that are 100% irrelevant.

1) Piano -> Internal DAC -> Balanced (XLR/TRS) -> External IF ADC -> Software (presumably DAW) -> External IF DAC -> Balanced (XLR/TRS) -> Speakers/Headphones
2) Piano -> Internal DAC -> Balanced (XLR/TRS) -> External IF ADC/DAC internal routing -> Balanced (XLR/TRS) -> Speakers/Headphones
3) Piano -> USB audio -> External IF DAC -> Speakers/Headphones.

Yes, the bottom one has fewer conversions compared to the top. But if you double blind it and can identify which is which I'll eat my hat. You'll only notice if some part of that chain is badly malfunctioning.

If you're routing out your audio to the piano speakers it really doesn't matter how many other components are in the way, you're going to have awful audio.

The argument for USB audio on DPs is convenience. And it's a strong one. You don't need to bring audio quality into it.
Quote
My point was that this introduces both attenuation and distortion in between the piano analogue output and the ADC.
I don't have an ADC in the audio path of amplifying output of my computer, whether or not it is playing a VST. Computer Firewire interface is connected to an M-Audio Firewire 1810 from which I run short balanced connections to monitors. I can guarantee that the amp and speakers in most slab portable and many furniture-embedded DPs generate more distortion than this entire audio path. Short unbalanced cables from the Firewire 1810 to the monitors also would contribute immeasurably to distortion or attenuation.

But having the DAC inside the piano does not eliminate the need for an analog wire from the internal DAC to the internal amp. It probably is shorter, but it also likely is a thinner, lower bandwidth wire. But that is ok because in neither case is the wire connecting the DAC output to the amp input a limiting factor for sound quality.

As an example, the P-515 draws electrical energy from the wall at the rate of 15W per spec-- the entire piano. The idea that the builtin audio amps are spec'd at (15W and 5W) x 2 is hogwash. Amps are not 100% efficient and the whole piano draws 15W of power from the wall. At that power rating, these are amps are going to be roughly similar to what is built-in to a commodity television, and not exactly what you want to pay to build lots of connectivity infrastructure around if audio quality is your concern. The benefit is convenience, not audio quality.
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