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The Kawai CA701 and CA901 pianos replace the CA79 & CA99 which, since their launch in 2020, have been two of the best-selling digital pianos in their respective price categories in recent years here in the UK.

With prices in the UK starting from around £3000 for the Kawai CA701 and from around £4000 for the Kawai CA901, these models sit at the premium end of Kawai's digital piano range, with only the Novus series of Hybrid Pianos ahead of them, which offer the ultimate crossover between digital and acoustic instruments.

Both the CA701 and CA901 share much of the same technology under the lid, with the main differences to be found in the cabinet design and the speaker system. This means that the piano voices and general functional capabilities are almost identical. When played using headphones both models will give a very similar performance.

Natural, Acoustic-Like Keyboard Action & Touch

The Kawai CA701 and CA901 are both built around Kawai’s highly acclaimed ‘Grand Feel III’ keyboard action, with all 88 keys of the keyboard crafted from long pieces of wood. What makes the Grand Feel III keyboard unique from most other digital pianos in this price range is the fact that every key has a balance pin. Each key sits on the balance pin, and it results in a see-saw type movement - which is mechanically similar to that of an acoustic grand piano. This results in an amazingly natural acoustic piano-like touch, which is one of the most important considerations when choosing a digital piano.

The key weighting on the CA701 and CA901 is also graded, which means it is slightly heavier in the bottom register compared with the top. The graded counterweights balance the weight of the hammers, improving the touch consistency and giving you more control when playing pianissimo or very delicate pieces.

A model of the actual key mechanism that is used in the CA701 and 901 

Notice how long the wood stick is and, if you look carefully in the middle, you'll see the balance pin. At the end of the key, you can see the weighted hammer moving up and down as the key is pressed, and you'll notice when playing that there is a subtle 'notch' sensation felt when playing the keys very softly - this is the simulated let-off mechanism which is similar to what you would experience when playing an acoustic grand piano.

The combination of the very sensitive keyboard action combined with beautiful piano voices makes the new CA701 and CA901 pianos really lovely instruments that you can get lost in for hours!

Kawai CA701 and CA902 Piano Voices
"The real-time physical modelling parts of the piano voices positively add to the overall experience and creates a digital piano that feels like it is living and breathing, similar to an acoustic instrument.” Tony White, Bonners Piano Specialist

Shigeru Kawai acoustic grand pianos sit at the pinnacle of Kawai's piano range, and these hand-crafted pianos are recognised as among the best in the world because of their tonal quality and dynamic range. The engineers at Kawai have sampled (or digitally recorded) the sound of some of their best pianos, and the result of this sampling is found in the new CA701 and CA902 models.

The SK-EX Competiton Grand piano voice has been recorded from the pianist's position, as opposed to the standard SK-EX Concert voice found in the CA79 & CA99, which was recorded from the audience's position. Both of these sounds are created using rendering technology. To summarise what rendering technology means, here is a quote from the Kawai piano owner's manual:

"The sound of a grand piano is comprised of various elements that interact to create a rich, harmonious tone. Rendering sounds reproduce different types of pianos by reconstructing each of these elements using a combination of high-resolution multi-channel sampling and advanced modelling algorithms."

There are a total of 106 voices, including e-pianos, organs, harpsichord, strings, choir, synthesiser sounds and many more in the new CA701 and CA902 models.

Adjusting the Voices and Kawai’s Virtual Piano Artisan

The piano voices can be adjusted using up to 20 different parameters via Kawai's “Flexible Virtual Piano Artisan” function - this was formerly known as the Virtual Technician. If you find the tone a little too bright or mellow, this can be adjusted, along with lots of other characteristics that form a piano sound, including resonance, keyboard touch, damper noise, hammer noise, cabinet resonance and many, many more. You can even adjust the tone of individual notes or areas of the keyboard.

The Virtual Piano Artisan (VPA) is a really powerful feature that genuinely enables you to customise the instrument to suit your personal preference.

The VPA has a number of preset settings to change the character of the piano voices without you needing to delve into the more detailed settings yourself.

CA701 and CA901 Amplification & Audio Systems

In addition to upgrading the piano voices, Kawai has made improvements to the amplification and speaker systems, and this is where things start to get a bit different between the two CA701 and CA901.

High-resolution piano voices such as the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX Grand Piano need to be heard through a premium-quality audio system, which is delivered by the CA901 in the form of dual Digital Audio Convertors (or DACs for short) - there's one each for both left & right channels. These DACs utilise a specially designed filtering process to reproduce the piano voices accurately and clearly.

On the CA701 model, there is only one Digital Audio Convertor which handles both left & right channels of audio simultaneously.

Technology & connectivity

Anti-Glare 5" Touchscreen Interface

The anti-glare 5" touchscreen interface provides a modern and familiar way to access the CA901 and CA701’s features. You can select all the sounds and settings using the conveniently placed touchscreen, which can automatically go into sleep mode when playing the piano, which is more visually appealing and helps to give the piano a more traditional acoustic-like appearance.

The CA701 and 901 are fully compatible with Kawai's Piano Remote and PiaBookPlayer apps for iOS and Android devices. You can use your device's touchscreen to control the piano's features or to view the musical scores of the built-in classical pieces and exercises.

Headphone Outputs

Of course, many people choose digital pianos for the convenience of using headphones to practice without disturbing others in the household or neighbouring properties.

The CA series pianos have two independent headphone outputs so that two people can enjoy the sound of this instrument at the same time. The headphone output is enhanced with Kawai's Spatial Headphone Sound Technology to make playing with earphones just as enjoyable as hearing the instrument through its own speaker system. If you plan on using the piano with headphones for long periods of time, we recommend Kawai SH9 Headphones as a good-sounding, comfortable option to compliment your Concert Artist series piano.

USB connection, Bluetooth MIDI and Audio technology

You can use the standard USB port for connecting the piano to a laptop or desktop computer for advanced music production. For ultimate convenience, the CA701 and CA901 are equipped with the latest Bluetooth MIDI and Audio technology which gives the fastest low-latency response so you can enjoy the many thousands of music-making apps available on your iOS or Android smart devices.

Audio can be streamed through the powerful amplification & speaker system of the Concert Artist pianos, so you can play along to backing tracks or hear the tuition features of your apps whilst enjoying the exquisite sound of the instrument's own piano voices.

Of course, you'll find all the features you'd usually expect on digital pianos of this quality, including three pedals, a digital metronome, audio recording to MP3 or wav formats, jack inputs and outputs, as well as lots of onboard songs and music to play along with, including lots of finger exercises and drills.

Look & Colour Options

The CA701 and 901 are available in four different colour options - Satin Black, Satin White and Rosewood, as well as the beautiful high-gloss polished ebony finish.

Standing at 101cm tall, the cabinet design of the CA901 gives the appearance of a small upright piano. In fact, when the touchscreen is off or in sleep mode, some may mistake the CA901 for an acoustic instrument.

The CA701 follows the traditional design of many digital pianos and is lower in height. You may, however, notice that the CA701 is slightly taller than previous models in this price category, and usefully, the top keyboard unit can be detached from the stand, which makes it easy to locate in upstairs rooms.

We offer a full delivery and assembly service when you buy your CA701 or 901 from Bonners. Just a quick note though - if you ARE thinking of buying a piano to put in an upstairs room, remember the CA901 is delivered in one piece, and although Bonners does deliver these types of instruments upstairs, it is always worth checking with us before committing to purchase that the CA901 will indeed fit up your staircase - especially if there are any tight turns or low ceilings to navigate.

Come and try

You can, of course, come and try the CA701 and CA901 for yourself in our stores which are located in East Sussex, Surrey and Milton Keynes. You'll be able to compare the CA series with instruments from other manufacturers in the same price category so you can be sure you're choosing the right piano for you or your family.

The Kawai CA701 and CA901 - Final Thoughts

Although the CA701 and CA901 pianos are at the premium end of Kawia's Concert Artist range, they are ideal for both beginner and more experienced pianists. The responsive wooden keyboard and beautiful Competition Grand piano sound will not only satisfy the most demanding musician's needs but also inspire beginners to want to progress further and play the piano for longer periods because these models are just so enjoyable to play.

For more information, check out the full CA701 and CA901 buyers’ guide video, below. If you have any questions about digital pianos, or would like some helpful buying advice, please don't hesitate to get in touch, or better still, visit one of our beautiful piano stores.

Watch the CA701 and CA901 Buyers’ Guide