02 Jan Kawai Digital Pianos | REVIEW | $700-$10,000 | 15 Models | Update
Kawai Digital Pianos | REVIEW | Under $1000 up to $10,000 | 15 Models | for 2020 – The Kawai Piano company has 15 models of digital pianos (with internal sounds) for 2020 which are listed here in order from lowest to highest price. The models are called ES110, KDP70, KDP110, ES8, MP7SE, CN29, CA48, CN39, MP11SE, CA58, CA78, CA98, CA79, CA99, CS11, NV5, and NV10. Two of the models are under $1000, 4 of the models are between $1000-$2000, 4 of the models are between $2000 – $3000, 2 models are from $3000 – $4000, 1 model is from $4000 – $5000, 1 model is from $5000 – $6000, 1 model is from $6000 – $7000, 1 model is from $8000 to $9000, and 1 model is at approx $10,000 discount price. A few of the models we listed in a couple price ranges are the same model but they differ in price because they come in different cabinet colors and finishes and not because they are a different model. The newest (and yet to be released) Kawai digital piano is called the NV5 hybrid upright piano. Kawai is in the top tier of all piano companies for both acoustic & digital pianos. Kawai began to build acoustic pianos way back in 1927 so they are almost 100 years old as a company. Mr Kawai actually first worked as an apprentice to Mr Yamaha prior to the start of the Kawai piano company and in fact both Mr Kawai and Mr Yamaha were neighbors in the same city in Japan where the both companies currently have their international headquarters…interesting facts! Through the decades the Kawai company began to distinguish themselves in how they designed and built their pianos as compared to everyone else along with having a distinct tone that other acoustic piano companies like Yamaha did not have. These days the Kawai piano company is famous around the world to top musicians, universities, piano teachers, and other music professionals for producing high quality acoustic and digital pianos. Besides Kawai’s more entry level plastic key actions which are still very good, the higher priced Kawai digital pianos use proprietary custom built key actions, piano sound chips, and digital technology that no other digital piano company has at this point. One of those special components in most of their digital pianos over $2000 are proprietary “long key” wood key actions that replicate the feeling of playing a real grand piano in terms of key weight, key movement, key balance, etc. There are no other top name digital pianos out there that have this type of key movement especially with longer length wood keys installed individually over a metal “center pin” until you get closer to $9000 or more. So when it comes to cutting edge digital pianos with impressive key actions, piano sound, and pedaling response, Kawai definitely has them and they start at about $700 and go up to their “hybrid” digital pianos priced at just over $10,000.[/vc_column_text]
– Kawai ES110 digital piano – $699 price – The Kawai ES110 portable piano (stand & tripe pedal optional) is the lowest priced piano that Kawai makes. It has an 88-key piano weighted plastic key action (all digital piano key actions under $2000 are plastic) that plays quite nicely and is on the lighter side of piano weighted keys and those keys move very fast. The piano tone is sampled from a real Kawai grand piano and each note is individually sampled as opposed note stretching like some other digital piano companies do. The ES110 has 192-note maximum piano polyphony and you can layer 2 instrument sounds together with no problem. The ES110 is lightweight at just 26 lbs and is compact to be easily transported. The ES110 has dedicated buttons to select instrument tones through tone group buttons and 4 favorite sound settings can be stored in the instrument. This model has been out for awhile and unlike other digital pianos it does not have a direct USB output connection but instead just has standard MIDI ports. We anticipate that there will be a new version of the ES110 sometime in 2020 simply due to the age of this model although it is still a good seller for the Kawai company. To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: Kawai ES110 Review
– Kawai KDP70 digital piano – $899 price – The Kawai KDP70 is a new model digital piano for Kawai and therefore will be continuing on through 2020. The KDP70 is basically a cabinet version of the portable ES110 with a few important differences such as the ES110 having more acoustic piano sounds and those sounds have upgraded piano sound technology over this KDP70. The KDP70 does have a full furniture cabinet with sliding key cover, stand, cabinet, triple pedal unit, and small bench so it does look and work more like a piano in that way. The KDP70 has 16 watts of audio power for its speaker system as compared to the ES110 having 14 watts. However, the ES110 is more flexible in being about to take it with you and play it with a single pedal or get the optional furniture stand and triple pedal unit like the KDP70 has. Overall the KDP70 is a good entry level furniture cabinet digital piano and it comes in a standard simulated rosewood cabinet only. To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: Kawai KDP70 Review
– Kawai KDP110 digital piano – $1199 price – The Kawai KDP110 is an upgraded cabinet version of the ES110 and KDP70. It has 40 watts of speaker power which is almost 3 times as powerful as the models below it. The cabinet is similar to the KDP70 and although the KDP110 has been out for awhile we don’t see it changing for 2020 at this point because it is still popular. Although it is a basic model and is much like the KDP70 in most ways, it has been a good seller for Kawai especially because it has a 3-sensor key action instead of the 2-sensor key action found in the models below it. The biggest downside to this model is the user operating system which can get somewhat cryptic at times. You mostly need to look in the owners manual to figure out how to use the functions in this model and select sounds although there are a couple of apps for tablet and iPhone that can help, but overall I would like to see an improved user experience in this model, especially considering it sells for $1199. It does have USB output connection so that is a nice upgraded feature over the lesser priced models. To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: Kawai KDP110 Review
– Kawai ES8 digital piano – $1649 price (furniture stand and triple pedal lyre optional) – The Kawai ES8 has been the most popular portable digital piano under $2000 for quite awhile and remains a “best seller” for them. The reason this model does so well is because it offers the most authentic piano playing experience as compared to all other brands and models when it comes to piano key action authenticity, piano sound realism, and pedaling response. In other words it plays more like a real piano than any other brand or model under $2000 and definitely under $1000. It has a smooth piano weighted key touch that is neither too heavy or too light. The piano sound realism is pretty amazing with organic tones and sound nuances that is hard to believe coming from this small instrument. Pedaling response is very good and sustain quality is also impressive with nice tonal range and expression throughout. The ES8 also has a lot of user friendly digital features and functions to make your piano playing even more enjoyable. Although the ES8 has been out for quite awhile, we don’t anticipate a change in 2020 because it is such as big, consistent selling model for Kawai and it’s a at a very affordable price point. To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: Kawai ES8 Review
– Kawai MP7SE digital piano – $1799 price – The Kawai MP7SE is a stage piano with synthesizer capabilities and is a popular model for the Kawai company. The key action and piano sound chip is actually identical to what is in the ES8, however everything else is different and suited for someone who like to experiment using many sounds together in a variety of ways and also editing and “tweaking” each of the 256 instrument sounds inside this model. It may look a bit complex to use and figure out but it is actually simpler to use than it would appear. We like it because we can do musical things that few other digital pianos can do and yet still play it like a real piano if we choose to do it that way. It has recording and playback capabilities which are nice and it’s great for live performance, recording studio use, pro stage work, or just to play at home. It has been a good model for Kawai and we anticipate there will be no changes to it in the year 2020. To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: Kawai MP7SE Review
– Kawai CN29 digital piano – $1959 price – The brand new Kawai CN29 is an upgrade over the former CN27. The key action and piano sound chip remain the same as do most of the features and functions. However, Kawai changed the internal speaker system and upgraded the quality of that system in conjunction with using Onkyo audio technology so now the piano sound comes out of its 40 watt speaker system more naturally. Kawai also improved the user interface with new button features and an OLED display screen which now reads out the actual name of the function that you select rather than having the more basic 3-segment LED screen of the previous model. It’s also available in more cabinet colors including matte/satin black, rosewood, and white so more people will be able to fit it into their decor. With the same nice playing piano key action and piano sound chip and an improved internal speaker system, the new CN29 has been upgraded in a good way and it’s only $60 more than the previous model so it’s definitely worth the increase in price.
– Kawai CA48 – $2099 price (rosewood) and 2199 price in satin black – The Kawai CA48 “concert series” home digital piano has a proprietary “long key” wood key action which no other brand or model has in this $2000 price range. This new “Grand Feel Compact” wood key action is the most realistic graded & piano weighted key action that exists today under $3000 out of any brands of digital pianos on the market, and this is what sets the CA48 apart from all other digital pianos. This piano key action also outplays any of the Kawai plastic key actions such as what is in the CN29. Beyond this fact, the CA48 also has a very enjoyable stereo grand piano sound going through a 40 watt 4-speaker internal sound system. The CA48 is focused entirely on the “piano playing experience” and does not have a lot of frills or bells & whistles as some people call it. There are some other instrument sounds on the model and the cabinet looks attractive and comes in either rosewood or black with a matching padded bench. For the money this is the finest digital piano we have ever played when it comes to authentic key action movement as compared to a real piano. The CA48 is a relatively new model and will no doubt continue through the year 2020. To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: Kawai CA48 Review
– Kawai CN39 digital piano – $2699 price – The Kawai CN39 is a new model that just came out in late 2019 and will definitely go through the year 2020 and beyond. The CN39 is an upgrade to the lower priced CN29 in number of ways although there are some similarities, The CN39 and CN29 share the same higher end plastic key action called RH3 along with the same piano sound chip and pedaling system. So the piano playing fundamentals are the same. However the CN39 has a lot more digital functions and features along with an upgraded internal speaker system. In terms of the CN39 upgrades over the previous model CN37, the CN39 has the better internal Onkyo speaker system, a new and improved user control panel with bright OLED display screen, a few new piano and instrument sounds, new Bluetooth audio wireless connectivity, and a few more tonal features. The CN39 has 256-note piano polyphony, 355 instrument sounds as compared to 19 in the CN29, is General MIDI compatible to play full GM song files, record and play wav and MP3 audio song files along with over-dubbing extra parts, can store 16 user registration memories, has a full array of external audio and MIDI output and input connectivity, and has the bigger and better speaker system with 4 larger speakers as compared to the CN29. The CN39 cabinet is also larger and takes up a slightly larger footprint. For those people who want some very cool fun features with extra “bells & whistles” along with a digital piano that can be enjoyable for just pure piano playing, the CN39 would be a great option and it comes in a rosewood, black, or white cabinet. However, with all of our experience in piano instruction, teaching piano, and playing professionally for many years, the key action is the #1 thing to be concerned about in any piano so with that in mind we always recommend to go with a wooden extra long key key-action if its in the same price range and the Kawai CA48 or CA58 would be the much better option in that way.
– Kawai MP11SE stage digital piano – $2799 price – The top model stage piano MP11SE is the epitome of portable, high quality digital pianos when it comes to offering the most authentic acoustic piano playing experience you can get in a portable digital piano. This piano has the proprietary extra long wood key “Grand Feel Action” that puts it way above any other portable digital piano on the market today. We have played this model many times and although there are many other very good brands out there, nothing comes close to this model for pure piano performance including the impressive stereo acoustic piano sound and very responsive triple pedal unit with optical sensors which is included with this model. The MP11SE does not have speakers built in which is typical for stage pianos so you would need to purchase a separate pair of speakers or powered monitors for piano sound. Of course you can also listen to this piano through a good pair of stereo headphones for private practice. The control panel of the MP11SE is set up intuitively so that you have 3 main instrument sections where sounds can be accessed and you can use one sound from each section individually or put together (mix) 2 of 3 sounds at one time (1 from each section) and you can also set up 3 separate zones or splits for those sounds as well. There is a huge array of editing and recording features on board along with user friendly setups for easy storage and access of all your favorite sounds. The MP11SE looks great, plays like a dream with its amazing key action, and has very convincing grand piano sounds. Even though this model has been out for a little while we see it going on through the year 2020 because of its continued popularity and the fact that no other portable digital piano (regular or stage) comes close. To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: Kawai MP11SE Review
– Kawai CA58 digital piano – $2999 price rosewood, $3099 price matte black – The Kawai CA58 is a unique digital piano in the “concert series” line of digital pianos because it has some great piano sound using a high level proprietary sound chip through a powerful 100 watt internal 4 channel speaker system and it incorporates that special “Grand Feel Compact” extra long wooden key key-action that is also found in the lower priced CA48. Essentially the CA58 is a CA48 on steroids because other than the key action and pedaling being the same, everything else in this model is upgraded in a big way and it is really for someone who not only wants the great key action of the CA48 but also wants the best piano playing experience they can get in the $3000 price range in terms of a natural, expressive acoustic quality stereo piano sound along with some additional useful features the CA48 does not provide. In this $3000 price range the Kawai CA58 is our top choice for people who want to focus on piano playing and get the most natural experience they can get in this price range while also getting some very cool digital technology for additional impressive features, functions, and connectivity. To learn more about this model you can read our detailed review at the following link from other blogsite “AZ Piano Reviews” where we keep our more detailed reviews and reports: Kawai CA58 Review
– Kawai CA78 digital piano – $3999 price matte rosewood, $4099 price matte black & matte white, $4699 price polished ebony – The Kawai CA78 is near the top of the “concert series” line of pianos from Kawai. What sets this piano apart from all the competition at this price is Kawai’s proprietary and exclusive longest key all-wood key-action called “Grand Feel 2.” The actual length of the white keys on this model is just under 14″ long which is what makes actual acoustic grand pianos so special…the keys and the key length…they are long. In other popular brands such as Roland, not only are their keys mostly plastic with thin wood slats on each side of the key, but the key length on the newest and best Roland home digital piano selling for over $6000 is just over 10″ long for total key length. Besides the fact that the CA78 uses all white-sprucewood black & white keys with grand piano weighted hammer action using counter-weights in all white keys, the extra long key length gives this piano the same key touch-weight whether playing towards the back of the keys or the front of the keys which then allows for grand piano playing technique which is what all piano players, piano students, and advanced pianist look for when trying to play piano music at optimum levels. It’s not that you can’t play music well on digital pianos with shorter keys, it’s just that the balance and fulcrum points of shorter keys physically cannot key up with longer keys and that’s why you’ll never see a pro piano player play an upright piano on stage because those keys are not only shorter, they are not balanced up & down the keys like grand pianos are. When you combined all 100% natural wood keys, the longest key length by far of any new digital piano by any other brand or model under $8000, the Kawai Grand Feel 2 is pretty amazing. Then you have new proprietary acoustic grand piano sound with 2 distinct piano sound technologies offering 17 different grand piano sounds from a variety of actual Kawai acoustic grand pianos. Compare that technology and grand piano sounds to some of the competition (such as Roland) which offers just 4 piano sounds with one type of piano technology and there really is no comparison. All of those piano sounds come through a new upgraded Onkyo internal speaker system with new speaker electronic producing 100 watts of Onkyo stereo power going through 6 specially designed Onkyo speakers placed in strategic parts of the piano cabinet. Kawai also offers the coolest internal user interface control panel that we have seen in a piano like this with an android based large color touch screen having touch and swipeable feature selection to quickly get to functions and features you want to use. The CA78 has a big array of interactive usable piano features, educational piano practice technology, Bluetooth audio and MIDI wireless connectivity, and all kinds of recording functions to do most anything you would like to do. There are a bunch of other impressive features on the CA78 but there are other brands of digital pianos in this price range with equally nice digital features. But the “star of the show” in this model is the key action, stereo acoustic grand piano sounds, and concert quality pedaling with a more advanced, more natural, higher level piano playing experience, especially as compared to any of the other digital piano brands in this price range. Beyond that, the cabinet design looks very attractive in all of the colors offered, especially the polished ebony (as pictured above). * UPDATE! The CA78 is just being replaced with the new (and improved) CA79. How do you make a best selling piano even better? You do extra refinements in the piano by doing improvements and the main features such as key action, sound system, cabinet structure and design, etc and that’s what Kawai has just done in this new upgraded CA79 that’s about to be released soon. Although there is a price increase in this new model, it will be small and definitely worth the improvements to get a more refined, more authentic piano playing experience. I will include a review of this new model here in this blog review within the next couple weeks.
– Kawai CA98 digital piano – $5399 price rosewood, $5499 price matte black, $6199 price polished ebony – The Kawai CA98 is the top of the line “concert series” home digital piano. This is Kawai’s premier digital piano with the extra long key “Grand Feel 2” 100% wood key action which is the same key action as in the lower priced CA78. The reason Kawai offers this upper end model is mainly because of a more authentic piano cabinet construction process and the addition of an acoustic piano soundboard system in the back of the piano just like a real acoustic piano adding more natural piano tonal qualities and resonances to the overall piano sound. No other digital piano on the market The sound system also has 3 separate audio amplifiers on board custom designed by the Onkyo electronic sound system company along with 35 watts more power than the CA78.
– Kawai CA98 continued – With regard to the acoustic piano soundboard in the CA98 which you can see in the photo above, when the piano sound is produced through the normal stereo speaker system inside the piano, the sound vibrations travel through the natural spruce wood grains in that acoustic soundboard and those natural vibrations in the wood are then picked up by special Onkyo transducer microphones placed on that soundboard. Those vibrations are then audibly heard from the soundboard along with the stereo piano piano coming from the regular stereo speakers inside the piano. The resulting sound is a much fuller, much louder, and much more naturally resonating piano sound than the CA78 or any other brand of digital piano in this price range. We have personally played these pianos and heard them and that soundboard absolutely makes a huge difference in the tone quality and resonation and it is very apparent. It’s like comparing a small upright piano to a baby grand piano, there is that much difference in tone, bass response, and frequency range. The piano cabinet is a “1-piece” cabinet that is fully built just like a real piano so there is no need for piano assembly…it comes permanently assembled. This cabinet does not have those “lines” in it like you would see in a more common digital piano stand so it is more elegant to look at because of being one continuous cabinet instead of separate pieces like the others. The only downside to that is that is if you ever needed to move this piano any far distance, you could not disassemble it like the CA78 or other models..so it just depends what is more important to you. The cabinet measurements are 57″ x 18″ x 37″ high which is almost identical to the CA78 cabinet measurements and the entire piano only weighs 187 lbs so it’s really not that heavy. The CA98 has 20 more instrument sounds (total 88) than the CA78 and 2 more built-in demo songs. Otherwise the CA98 and CA78 are identical in every other way, but the difference in the piano sound coming out of the CA98 speakers and soundboard is huge and makes the higher price justified in my opinion. * UPDATE! The CA98 is just being replaced with the new (and improved) CA99. How do you make a best selling piano even better? You do extra refinements in the piano by doing improvements and the main features such as key action, sound system, cabinet structure and design, etc and that’s what Kawai has just done in this new upgraded CA99 that’s about to be released soon. Although there is a price increase in this new model, it will be small and definitely worth the improvements to get a more refined, more authentic piano playing experience. I will include a review of this new model here in this blog review within the next couple weeks.
– Kawai CS11 digital piano – Store discount price approx $6500 – The Kawai CS11 upright digital piano in polished ebony cabinet has been out for about 4 years since later 2015/early 2016. Essentially this model is a taller upright version of the former concert series CA97 which has been replaced by the current CA98. In other words the current CS11 is a CA97 in a different cabinet. The CS11 has the all 100% wood extra long “Grand Feel 2” key action like the CA98. The “Grand Feel 2″ action feels great and was the primary reason (along with very realistic piano sound) that this model has done so well. It has a beautiful cabinet and the same internal sound system with built-in acoustic soundboard in the back of the piano just like the CA98. However, the new CA98 has the Onkyo sound electronics and the CS11 does not (it has the regular Kawai electronics in the sound system) so there is a difference in that way and the new built-in Onkyo system is better. The CS11 is 4″ taller than the CA98 so it looks more like a piano in that way and is also 5” wider. The piano sound chip in this model has the regular stereo 256-note piano sound chip that’s found in the CA98, but the CS11 does not have the additional 10-piano physical resonance modeling “piano rendering” sound-chip that is in the new CA98. The CS11 does not have any Bluetooth connectivity whereas the new CA98 does have both modes of Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The biggest advantage to the CS11 over the new CA98 is the upgraded cabinet design, size and control panel cover although the control panel display screen in the CS11 is not a color touch screen like the CA98, it is the standard non-touch LCD blue screen. We anticipate the CS11 will be discontinued at some point in 2020 and may or may not be replaced, but no official announcement has been made by Kawai.
– Kawai Novus NV5 “Upright Hybrid” Digital Piano – $8500 approx discount price – Kawai has a new type of digital piano that combines the electronics and features of the new CA98 with an actual Kawai acoustic upright piano key action called “Millennium III” in a specially built acoustic type piano cabinet from one of their best selling “K” series acoustic upright pianos. The idea behind the new NV5 is that there are some people who are willing to pay a premium price to get all the practical aspects of a digital piano like no tuning, quiet play, headphone silent practice, recording features, extra instrument sounds, USB and Bluetooth wireless connectivity combined with a real upright key action with all the action moving parts a real piano would provide. The NV5 has Kawai’s premium concert grand piano sound chip so that when you play the NV5 with its precise acoustic key action the special hammers on that action trigger the piano sound for all 88 keys using special optical sensors which determines the movement and speed of the “unique hammers” in the Millennium III key action and translates that information in real time to the digital “brain” of the NV5 to produce a realistic, natural piano sound coming out of a proprietary Onkyo multi-channel sound system within the NV5 cabinet which directs the sound towards the player along with sending the sound out of projection speaker ports in the cabinet. The end result is that you get a top of the line upright piano with an actual advanced upright key action with full length wood keys combined with Kawai’s digital grand piano sound chip along with a real acoustic piano pedal system for all three pedals. If you have always wanted a real acoustic piano with a real premium high definition key action and like the digital features of the Kawai CA99 including the special spruce-wood soundboard in the back of the piano (just like real upright pianos have), then with the new Novus NV5 you get all of that and more in a compact polished ebony cabinet at only 18″ depth from the wall. The NV5 is brand new and not yet released in the USA as of now but will be introduced soon and likely be around for many years. If you want one you can probably put in a “special order” for it and get one reserved at a lower introductory price so you should contact us if you are interested in doing that and we can tell you how and where you can get that done.
– Kawai Novus NV10 “Grand Hybrid” Digital Piano – $10,000 approx store discount price – The Kawai NV10 grand hybrid digital piano has been out about 1 year and proven to be a very successful top model for the Kawai piano company. It is the “grand piano key action” version of the NV5 upright piano. Grand piano key actions are larger and much more complex than an upright piano and therefore have a higher cost than upright piano key actions. The special grand key action combined with a larger and noticeably upgraded piano cabinet brings the price up significantly higher than the NV5…but you do get what you pay for. The NV10 has a 7 speaker, 3 channel Onkyo sound system projecting the sound in different directions giving you the surround sound feel of a real grand piano. The piano case itself is not a :grand shape” configuration but it does look elegant and has a depth from a wall of about 25″ although it does not need to go up against a wall. The NV10 has all the digital features of the NV5 and CA98 but with the inclusion of a real, full size Kawai Millennium III grand piano action that is found in the 20,000 to $30,000 Kawai acoustic grand pianos. For a number of people the NV10 will be a perfect combination of traditional piano playing with the latest piano sound digital technology along with all the convenience features such as no tuning, private practice playing with headphones, Bluetooth wireless connectivity to use with music streaming, connection to computer or tablets for music education, and music playing enjoyment. Since this model has only been available for a relatively short time, we see this model continuing well beyond 2020 and for some years after that.