Improved tone, piano realism and key action – we take a close look in our Kawai CA65 review
The Kawai CA65 digital piano has been launched, and offers even more than its predecessor, the CA63. Kawai has clearly been very busy, as this new model builds on just about every key feature of the CA63. With improved sound, key action, styling and even energy efficiency, the CA65 is an incredibly well equipped digital upright.
Specifications on paper, however, seldom tell the full story. How does it perform in the real world?
We find out in our Kawai CA65 Review.
Harmonic Imaging XL 88-Key Piano Sampling
At the heart of the Kawai CA65 is an all-new piano sound generator. Dubbed ‘Harmonic Imaging XL’, it greatly expands upon the size of waveforms and dedicated sample ram of its older sibling. The ‘showpiece’, concert grand piano sound samples all 88 keys of a stunning Kawai acoustic grand, and delivers far greater detail and response.
In addition to this, the Harmonic Imaging technology smooths transitions from one sample to another, resulting in an incredibly natural piano sound.
The new sound generator also features up to 256-note polyphony, vastly reducing the chances of note dropout when playing complex pieces. In addition, the speed at which the key is lifted is also detected, and the decay/ muting of the piano sound adjusted accordingly. Sixty high quality sounds feature in total, with a selection of the most popular keyboard sounds available to the player.
Onboard effects add further tonal options, but more interesting is the Virtual Technician. This piece of digital wizardry allows the user to tweak the piano sound, as a piano technician would a real acoustic piano, to achieve the perfect required piano sound.
All new Grand-Feel key Action with let off
The key action equipped to the Kawai CA65 is also an all-new design. The wooden keys are finished with an Ivory Touch finish. This finish mimics the feel of acoustic piano keys. Not content with just replicating the touch, Kawai has built this around an extended pivot length that recreates the pivot of a grand piano.
The attention to detail employed on this piano action extends to the alternate pivot points for black and white keys, as would be the case on an acoustic piano.
The ‘Let Off’ feature recreates the slight notch felt most noticeably when playing an acoustic piano softly. This adds further to the authenticity of the CA65’s playing action. Plus, three-sensor mechanism improves the repetition response of the piano.
The cumulative effect of these obsessively detailed features in undoubtedly one of the most authentic digital piano playing actions available- it really is that good.
For beginners the Kawai CA65 has a selection of built-in etudes and practice songs, whilst concert magic allows a complete novice to play a piece, with as little as one finger. And, if you want to capture those performances, an onboard recorder allows you to do this quickly and easily.
An onboard audio player and recorder is available to stream audio backing tracks or other audio whilst learning to play a piece, or record your performance ready for transfer to a CD, or digital library.
The Kawai CA65 has also had a cabinet re-style, with tapered legs and flat key stop rail, resulting in a luxurious and elegant looking piano. Remarkably, the piano uses 50% less energy than its predecessor.
Once again, Kawai has created an instrument of such quality that it seems almost under-priced. The piano sound alone is one of the best you will hear on any digital piano. The keyboard action is one of the most authentic, too. Add in a great selection of high quality sounds, useful features, and a great speaker system, and the result is easily one of the best digital pianos available in the sub-£2000 price bracket.
And with four great finishes, and an elegant cabinet, it will compliment any room.
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