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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.

These are the CA-78 and CA-98 models. Both of 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 will give a picture of both of the digital pianos at one go.

The most common design of both the keyboards are the very popular rosewood finish, quite dark wood finish but it’s still very dark brown as opposed to being black. (Another 2 updated designs are Satin Black and Premium Satin White)

Kawai CA 78 Review

Kawai CA 78

Kawai CA 98 Review

Kawai CA 98

The CA-98 uses the Kawai’s soundboard speaker technology which gives a richer vibrant sound even at lower volumes.

Also Check : Kawai MP 11 SE - The Masterpiece Digital Piano From Kawai

If you look at the back of the CA-98 you will find 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 kind-of identical. But lets have a closer look.

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Kawai CA 78 and Kawai CA 98 Features

The Most Realistic Keys and Keyboard Action

Both the CA-98 & CA-78 uses Kawai's 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.

Grand Feel 2 Hammer Action Keys Of Kawai CA 78 and Kawai CA 98

These metal hammers have been micro-engineered to optimize their center 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 and 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.

Unbelievable Sound Of Kawai CA 78 and 98

Speaker system of Kawai CA 98 and 78

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 audio equipment manufacturer from Japan called ONKYO. 

And these two models are the first digital pianos from Kawai to feature ONKYO amplification inside them and it really produces 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.

Kawai 78 and 98 bottom transducers

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 draw-bar and church organs, to strings, human choirs, and even atmospheric synth-style pads, allowing musicians to add variations to their performances.

Virtual Technician Adjustments

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 the features much easier and what virtual technician does is it gives you all the tools at one place.

It alters the tone and the voicing of the piano and timing as well, so you can change the touch, resonance and damper noise easily from the touch screen panel.

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.

Integrated Bluetooth MIDI and Audio Connectivity Feature

Bluetooth option of Kawai CA 78 and 98

The Bluetooth capabilities of both instruments are now the best you can find in any digital pianos.

Kawai now have Bluetooth MIDI and audio which means that you can either stream music from your phone or your tablet or connect directly to the piano to use the piano speakers to play your audio direct from your device.

It does sound pretty good just playing music back through the speaker system.

It also allows instrument to communicate with supported smart devices wirelessly. 

There are some interactive tuition apps available on iPad and Androids, 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 front.

Easy Navigation - Touch Screen User Interface

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.

Piano Mode and Sound Mode

The way these instruments work, there are two modes: 

There is a pianist mode and there is a sound mode. 

When you are in a pianist mode there are functions available such as splitting the keyboard or 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 CA-98 & CA-78 offers. 

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.

Quick Glace At All Of The Features Of Kawai CA 78 and Kawai CA 98

Closer look at Kawai 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


    Looks and Finish – 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 If you are lookig for something in higher end price. 

    Our Reader Score
    [Total: 45 Average: 3.9]

    4 thoughts on “Kawai CA-78 And CA-98 Review

      • Avatar
        Daniel Cooper says:

        There are rarely any differences on both of the models. But these are the specification difference these have.

        Kawai CA 78 Vs 98

        CA 78 – 66 voices, Absence Of Sound Board Speaker System, Missing Onkyo brand speakers, Weight – 75 kg, Total Number Of
        Demo Song – 37 , Power Consumption – 50 watt

        CA 98 – 88 voices, TwinDrive Soundboard Speaker System, Onkyo Brand speaker, Weight – 85 kg, Total Number Of Demo Song – 39, Power Consumption – 55w

        Hope this helps

    1. Avatar
      Martin says:

      Thanks Daniel for the review and thoughts. I wonder if you have had a chance to get your fingers on the CA99…would appreciate any thoughts? I’m v impressed with the 98 – the soundboard is a real differentiator to my ear – and the subtle improvements to action / box / speaker seem to have great potential – but the model is not released yet in my location…thanks!

      • Avatar
        Daniel Cooper says:

        Unluckily Martin I also didn’t tested the Kawai CA 99 and CA 79 model yet. But I would love to share my thoughts and feedbacks as soon as I get my hands on the new models.

        Thanks Martin.

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