April 14, 2020 I Profile

Alan Palmer with the Kawai CA99 hybrid digital piano.

By Kasia White

Always looking to stay ahead of the growing competition in the never-ending race to build the most advanced digital piano, industry leader Kawai has launched the CA99 and CA79 concert artist digital pianos.

“We’re really excited about those two models,” said Chad Schumacher, head of marketing at Kawai America. “Those are our biggest products coming out this year.”

Featuring a redesigned cabinet, an upgraded Grand Feel III action, and an improved SK-EX rendering sound, the instruments offer players an authentic playing experience.

Kawai America launches two new concert artist digital pianos

“We’re focused on trying to get our digital pianos to play as accurately as possible, simulating an acoustic piano. In other words, we’re trying to reproduce that experience as completely as we can,” said Alan Palmer, digital piano product manager at Kawai America. “Everything we do, from the key actions to the piano sounds to the speaker systems, is designed to push us closer and closer to acoustic pianos. We’re constantly evolving our digital pianos to behave more like an acoustic piano and also adding in more technology as the technology becomes available.”

According to Palmer, Kawai is also seeing growth in its digital hybrid category.

“What’s happening is people who traditionally play acoustic instruments are wanting to take advantage of technology, so piano companies like ours are mating digital piano technology to our acoustic pianos,” Palmer said. “Composers are using computers to score their music. They’re using computers to write the music. They’re using computers to record the music. We want to make sure our instruments are functional and flexible in that world as much as they are as a standalone musical instrument.”

In addition to using computers to create music, Palmer said players are searching for an instrument that can give them the benefits of digital and analog.

“That’s why we’re seeing growth in the hybrid area, because someone who really wants an acoustic piano but wants to try digital, it’s safe for them because they have the acoustic piano, and then if it gets late at night or they want to practice quietly or they want to connect to the computer, they can mute the acoustic part and play digitally,” he said. “It seems to appeal to both digital- and-acoustic-minded people.”

Touch & Tone

To give customers even more flexibility and functionality, Kawai has also rolled out its Piano Remote app, which will be compatible with the CA99 and CA79 and give users access to the features and functions of the CA99 and CA79 from a smart device.

“One of the things that we’ve been lagging behind a little bit with has been apps, and this year we’re starting to fix and address that,” Palmer said. “One of the first apps that everybody naturally would like is something that they could remotely control the piano with, so they’re not tied to a control panel or touchscreen, It’s a simple thing, but it’s a powerful app — like a lot of our competitors have. We’re starting to step it up in that app world, to make more connectivity and functionality with our instruments for people.” MI

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