KAWAI CA-78 AND CA-98 Review

Kawai 78-98 Piano Review

Why We Love KAWAI CA-78 AND CA-98

KAWAI CA-78 AND CA-98 Review:

Today in this article we will be discussing upon two new
models which have just arrived in from Kawai. This is the CA-78 and CA-98
models. Both the models are very similar in terms of their technical
specifications. It’s got the same number of voices and they have many of the
same features so that’s why I can give a picture of both the pianos at one go.

However, the CA-98 uses the Kawai’s soundboard speaker
technology which gives a richer vibrant sound even at lower volumes. If you
look at the back of the CA-98 it actually looks like an acoustic piano because
it has a soundboard and mounted on that soundboard are two little speakers and
those speakers actually use the wood in the soundboard to resonate more and
sort of give you a fuller, richer more vibrant sound. So it’s certainly worth
comparing both models because even at home, at lower volume you will feel that
the CA-98 does give you a warmer sound. Apart from that all the other features
of the pianos are almost identical.

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It is in the very
popular rosewood finish, quite dark wood finish but it’s still very dark brown
as opposed to being black. It does have an air of quality about the finish. So
let’s do an analysis of some of the new features and improvements that Kawai
have made over their previous generation digital pianos.

CA-98 & CA-78

Both the CA-98 & CA-78 uses KIES Grande feel to keyboard
action. This is a really nice keyboard action which draws upon 90 years of
acoustic piano craftsmanship to provide an exceptionally realistic playing
experience. It has 88 black and white keys which are crafted entirely from long
pieces of wood, pivoting on a balance pin, in a see-saw like motion. When you
press down the front of a key, the rear rises, throwing a hammer which plays
the note. These metal hammers have been micro-engineered to optimise their
centre of gravity. It uses a nice long length wood and key and the distance
from one pivot point to another one is the correct distance that you would find
on a Kawai acoustic piano. This results in a feel to the key which makes it
very sensitive to touch. There is also some nice resistance there as well, all
because of the pivot point in the middle.

It has synthetic ivory key surfaces, synthetic ebony as well
on the top on the black notes there and it’s a graded keyboard action, so which
means it is slightly heavier in the bass register and slightly lighter in the
treble register which is true to a grand piano.

It’s a very balanced keyboard, is one of the most realistic
keyboard action in my opinion. The finely textured materials gently absorb
moisture to assist playing control, and possess a natural, matte finish that is
smooth, but not slippery and is used in all Kawai CA series models and also the
CS series as well.

First of all the piano sound in the CA-78 and CA-98, both
use multi-channel sampling and I must agree there’s tremendous improvement on
the piano sound on these new models over the old models. The amplification
system in Kawai have teamed up with the very prestigious hi-fi manufacturer
from Japan called ANKI OH  and these
two  models are the first digital pianos
from Kawai to feature ONKYO amplification inside them and is really a very good
quality output from the instruments.

 The speaker system on
the CA-98 has been improved, their soundboard speaker system in now into its
third generation. It captures more tonal characteristics and provides smoother,
dynamic control. The magnificent tone of Kawai’s flagship Shigeru Kawai SK-EX
full concert grand piano is at the heart of the CA-98 and CA-78 digital pianos.
Supplementing the realistic acoustic piano voices, the CA-98 &CA-78 digital
pianos also feature, an excellent selection of additional instrument sounds,
ranging from electric pianos and drawbar and church organs, to strings, human
choirs, and even atmospheric synth-style pads, allowing musicians to add
variations to their performances.


You can select the virtual technician, which is something
that has been on Kawai digital pianos for years. Now however, with the touch
screen it makes accessing a feature much easier and what virtual technician
does is it gives you all the tools that a piano timer would have to. It alters
the tone and the voicing of the piano and timing as well, so you can change the
touch, resonance and damper noise. There are all sorts of parameters that you
can change right down to individual notes. So if you think that a particular
note is a little bit too bright or a bit mellow you can change that using the
virtual technician and just press ‘save’ to save that setting back into the
piano sound.


The Bluetooth capabilities of both instruments are now the
best you can find in any digital piano. Kawai now have Bluetooth MIDI and audio
which means that you can either stream music from your phone or your tablet,

computer direct to the piano to use the piano speakers to play your audio
through direct from your device. It does sound pretty good just playing music
back through the speaker system. It allows instrument to communicate with
supported smart devices wirelessly. There are some interactive tuition apps
available for i-pad and android which allow you to learn the piano and it

interacts with you, software will look at what you are doing, tell you where
you are going wrong. So things have moved forward massively on the Bluetooth


The new touchscreen user interface feature is really
excellent. These are the first pianos in this category that have touchscreen
and it does mean that you don’t have to go through so many menus to get to
something. So it’s a very familiar way of using the product as we are all used
to with our phones and with tablets and other touchscreen devices. Kawai have
made an excellent user interface on these pianos.


The way these instruments work, there are two modes; there
is a piano mode and there is a sound mode. When you are in a pianist mode there
are functions available such as splitting the keyboard on mixing sounds
together. However what you do get is a very best piano experience at Kawai and
it really does sound excellent.

Now we are moving to the sound mode where you can access all
of the different voices that are in the CA-98 & CA-78. You can mix them
together and split the keyboard. When you are in sound mode on these pianos, it
does allow you to layer two voices together. It is quite exciting to play with
particular combination of voices. You can select the different voices by just
swiping left and right, up and down on it, sort of grid system.

Let’s have a quick glance at the other features of the Kawai
CA-98 &CA-78:

  • ACTION – Grande feel II
  • KEY SURFACE – Ivory/ebony touch
  • SENSORS – 3
  • VELOCITY CURVES – Light+, light, normal, heavy,
    heavy+, off, user
  • KEY LID – Yes
  • KEYBOARD MODES – Dual, split, 4hands

    • SOUND SOURCE – Pianist mode and Sound mode
    • SOUNDS – Pianist mode: Shigeru Kawai EX concert
      grand with 10 rendering characters, Sound mode: 68, grand pianos; Shigeru Kawai
      EX, Kawai EX,SK-5
    • POLYPHONY – Maximum 256 notes
    • REVERB – Room, lounge, small hall, live hall,
    • METRONOME /BEATS – 10 BEATS+100 Rhythms, tempo
      and volume adjustable
    • RECORDER – Pianist mode: 30 minutes audio(WAV+MP3),
      3 songs; Sound mode: USB memory: MP3/WAV recording and playback, A-B Loop;
      internal: MIDI 10 songs, 2 tracks – maximum 90,000 notes



    DEMO SONGS – 37

    AMPLIFIER – 2*50W


    FINISHES – Premium
    black satin, premium rosewood, premium white satin

    Nothing beats getting your hand on these pianos and actually
    trying them yourself. So it’s a must purchase product as per my analysis for
    aspiring pianists.

    This post was most recently updated on May 18th, 2019

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