“It appears to meets the requirements of quality, reliability, performance, and value for money”
Background. When we lived in UK we had a baby grand piano, we inherited this and had it reconditioned from a
somewhat care warn 60 year old instrument into a beautiful piano. Upon early retirement we decided to move to
a warmer climate -Tenerife, and with a great deal of reluctance passed on our “beautiful baby” to our UK based
I made do with a synthesizer, which as the years went by, I lost interest in playing. This year my wife decided I
needed a “pick-me-up” and suggested I buy a digital piano. Things had moved on in digital instruments, I had lost
touch with the technology, so I browsed the web and became confused by the techno-speak surrounding Digital
Pianos from almost all manufacturers. Though many sites offered reviews etc these turned out to be price reviews
and little else until I happened upon your site.
The chance of a “tell all booklet” was too great to resist, and I e-mailed you. By return I received the booklet,
and devoured the contents, which banished the techno-speak to the dust bin and made me more confident about
making the intended purchase.
Initially I asked you to ship me a Classenti CDP3, you declined on the grounds that it may not survive the journey
in one piece and the costs!, which I felt, after due consideration made sense. I thank you for your honesty.
After further research on Tenerife, we found a small musical shop who are agents for Kawai Pianos.
I rechecked the booklet and perhaps read between the lines, “stick to the top four or five manufacturers, if you
want quality, reliability, performance and value. I read the technical specs on Kawai pianos, liked what I saw and
your comments regarding their pedigree, large manufacturers of traditional pianos and a late entrant into the
Digital field, but gaining a good reputation.
The small musical shop (Musical Paz Cerezo, La Laguna, Tenerife) had a CA18 in stock and also a number of other less
expensive models. A visit to the shop was made and for two hours I put into practise all the piano tests mentioned
in your booklet. The shop proprietors left us alone for the two hours, but watched how we went about our business.
A deal was reached that included the trade-in of my 15 year old Roland synthesizer, I can’t say it was an old friend,
but the new piano is what I was looking for, and has hopefully the four elements mentioned above and will prove true
Build, Delivery, Manual
Build The CA18 is available in a number of Colours, we chose the dark rosewood, nearest to black
But a mat finish, I am not a fan of polished black.
The design looks like a piano, not a traditional “sit-up and beg” upright, but a modern, solid design, good lines.
At over 60kgms the piano is stable and does not shake or flex when you use heavy hands.
The instrument, assembled by the supplier in approximately 30 minutes, it was then ready to go.
The manual accompanying the piano is clearly illustrated, the assembly instructions are well detailed, should you
ever move house. Does and don’ts designed for the idiot are understandable,
operating instructions clearly illustrated and explained (more later)
The piano is now a little long in the tooth in electronic terms, the Kawai range has been expanded since the CA18
was introduced, which should suggest all the initial problems have been ironed out and you have a reliable unit.
The patented Kawai key board design system features wooden keys covered with synthetic ivory, no discernable “play” was experienced in the keys apart from the expected tolerance preventing sticking etc.
Dislikes So far very few, but personally I would have liked the closure strip on the sliding cover to have been
rosewood rather than the anodised gold aluminium extrusion.
First Impressions Looks good, feels good, by gollyâ€¦. Pity about the pianist, well out of practise
Features The CA18 features are controlled from the two ends of the key board, RH side the power switch and slider
volume control, LH side the main features, piano and others ( instruments) Buttons, Recorder (Recorder & Play/Stop
buttons) Demo and Metronome buttons.
The LH side buttons coupled with the lower half of the keyboard control all the features.
The Demo button allows you to control the 37 Built-in demonstration pieces covering the various
Voices of the piano most of these pieces are included in the music book accompanying the piano.
Voices PIANO button selects 4 – pianos types – Concert Grand impressive
Concert Grand 2 impressive
Studio Grand not sure
Modern Piano realistic
Scrolling through by repeated button pressing or button held down and nominated Key pressed
OTHERS Button selects 4 -other voices – String ensemble a little weak
Classical E. Piano realistic
Church Organ impressive
Harpsichord a little weak
Scrolling through by repeated button pressing or button held down and nominated key pressed
Four Hand Mode Splits the piano keyboard into lower and upper section for playing duets and an excellent teaching aid. The split position can also be varied, the default setting is between E3/F3
The selection of this mode is simple, press and hold PIANO button, then press OTHERS button
Metronome Again very useful for teaching purposes, and for learning strict timing and tempo, flexible in terms of
Beats/minute and a wide range of signatures can be selected. To aid your memory, an adhesive strip is provided for
sticking to the edge of the front beam which provides key information – voices and metronome settings etc.
Recording Useful teaching aid and recording your performance but is limited to 7,500 notes and only one track. No mixing is possible.
Touch The piano offers 4 positions of touch sensitivity, light, medium, heavy and constant. The three touch sensitive settings are realistic and offer the player – from children with under developed finger strength to the experienced pianist the chance to nominate the best touch and feel. The fourth position – constant – is primarily for use with the Harpsichord.
Perhaps a fourth touch sensitive position would have been useful between medium and heavy offering the experienced pianist added feel.
The positions are controlled by the Demo/Metronome Buttons and nominated keys
Tuning Allows the piano’s pitch to be adjusted for use when accompanying other instruments or singers Sight transposition is eliminated as needed on an acoustic piano.
The adjustment is in increments of 0.5 Hz from the modern standard A = 440.0Hertz.
controlled by a combination of Demo/Metronome buttons and nominated Keys
Reverb Three options are open to the player, apart from on/off, – Room, Stage, Hall. Even with “elderly ears” I could discern the difference, again it is personal choice. It is a useful and effective feature,
Controlled by a combination of Demo/ Metronome buttons and nominated keys.
Damper Effect This I feel is the least effective of all the features of the piano. Designed in to simulate
the damper pedal on an acoustic piano allowing the strings to vibrate freely when a chord is played with the damper pedal depressed. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the intention or my “elderly ears” have introduced a third obstacle.
Controlled by a combination of Demo/Metronome buttons and nominated Keys.
Pedals The CA18 has three pedals, Soft, Sostenuto, Sustain, again fairly standard on most digital pianos
They are effective and light to the foot.
Sound The piano has a warm to bright resonant sound and again none of this is lost when using earphones, but I guess this will depend on the quality of the phones, needless to say, buy good quality earphones, you have an expensive instrument. The sound is very realistic and since I mentioned my Daughter’s Baby Grand above, very reminiscent, memories linger
Touch & Feel The “normal setting” which is the default, impressed me the moment I played the first chords and arpeggios’, it felt right, this has not left me. Whether or not the image created in the shop of the displayed cross section of the key movement has influenced this feeling, I no not, but I am still impressed and love the feel across my range of music. Touch sensitivity has made a big difference to digital pianos. The response of this piano to the lightest of touches is excellent .
Features I have mentioned the likes and dislikes above but to recap, the anodised gold aluminium closure strip on the sliding cover would have been better in rosewood, my wife on the other hand does not mind this, it is personal
The Voices (other instruments replicated) which I feel are weak points, are the string ensemble and the Harpsichord. The harpsichord is thin both in sound and touch and the string ensemble is light and bland, perhaps this is me.
The Church organ on the other hand is to my ear excellent. Electronic representation of pipe organs can be over bright and on some occasions unrealistic. This one is warm to bright and vibrant, I admit it is inflexible since it has no registers (stops or tabs), but it represents the full sound of a church organ.