There’s a pretty strong argument that the new Kawai CA49 digital piano offers the best all-around value of any home digital piano on the market. Replacing the predecessor CA48 and again boasting Kawai’s Grand Feel Compact action, the CA49 is one of very few home digital pianos available for around the $3,000 CAD price point to feature 88, 100% wooden keys. The Grand Feel Compact action represents a meaningful improvement over the CE220’s hugely successful wooden action, featuring triple sensor, let-off, counterweight technology, and improved playing experience.
Kawai’s CA series instruments have been among the top home digital pianos available for under $10,000 CAD for a number of years now. While the line has historically consisted of two higher-priced models, in recent years, Kawai has expanded the line downwards to offer a more cost-friendly CA instrument that still incorporates many similar core features.
Enter the Kawai CA49 – the stripped-down version of the top Concert Artist models, that still manages to incorporate a 100% wooden action, and cutting edge piano sound. If you’re primarily looking for a home practice instrument that will most closely resemble an acoustic piano for around $3,000 CAD.
Upgrades over the hugely popular CA48 include a redesigned Motherboard developed in concert with Onkyo for greater dynamism and clarity, new control panel configuration with an OLED graphic display for streamlined navigation, a new Low Volume Balance feature for enhanced touch at lower volumes, and substantially upgraded cabinet design and music rest borrowed from the upper-tier CA series Kawai CA79 and Kawai CA99 instruments.
The presence of the Grand Feel Compact action is without a doubt the most important feature in the CA49, and what really separates it from the less expensive CN29 and other Kawai digital pianos. This is a fully wooden action, boasting triple sensor key detection, authentic escapement, grade-weighted hammers, and even counterweights in the bass register.
There’s a nice ivory touch texture on the white keys and black key surfaces that feels authentic but is less exaggerated than you’ll find on actions from other manufacturers. The repetition speed is excellent, and the touch curve is great out of the box, though it can be adjusted to your preference.
Kawai’s opted to go with their Progressive Harmonic Imaging (PHI) in the CA49, which is the same sound technology you’ll find in the less expensive CN29. The PHI engine is a stereo-sampled recreation of the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand piano. Shigeru Kawai grand pianos are widely regarded as among the top hand-crafted instruments available today.
This engine offers 192 polyphony, which is plenty for those who will be doing lots of solo piano playing – the main target market for the CA49.
Kawai’s also included their excellent Virtual Technician function on-board, which is very easy to navigate via the new and improved OLED graphic display control panel. This function allows the user a deep level of control over the piano tone, with editable variables like reverb, damper resonance, and key-off effect, and there’s a Smart Mode version that streamlines the process.
The speaker system consists of 4 strategically placed speakers, powered by dual 20-watt amplifiers for 40 watts of output power. The speakers and amps were developed in conjunction with Japanese audio specialist Onkyo – a partnership that’s gradually making its way throughout the entire Kawai lineup.
The CA49 is somewhat light in terms of onboard sounds for the price point, clocking in just 20 with 19 tones, but the staples like synths and electric pianos are represented. To keep the price down, Kawai went pretty lean with the onboard tones, but again, this instrument is really meant for folks who will primarily be using acoustic piano tones.
Lastly, we have to mention the discreet headphone amplifiers with Kawai’s Spatial Headphone Sound (SHS). This elevates the auditory experience when playing with headphones beyond what was previously possible.
The CA49 is a little bare-bones in terms of connectivity, especially compared to its bigger CA series brethren, but again, for the home user looking for an authentic piano experience, you’ve got everything you need.
There’s Bluetooth MIDI, dual headphone jacks, MIDI in and out, as well as USB to host.
The most noteworthy feature on the CA49 is one we’ve already covered in-depth, but it really deserves extra emphasis – the Grand Feel Compact action. There really isn’t another home digital piano on the market that feels this good at this price point. If touch is the main focus of your piano search, and you’re looking around the $3,000 CAD price point, the CA49 is the perfect piano for you.
- First-in-class Grand Feel Compact Wooden-Key Keyboard Action
- Progressive Harmonic Imaging Sound Engine
- Improved Shigeru Kawai SK-EX & Kawai EX concert grand piano sounds
- New OLED graphic display touch panel
- New Tone Control setting with 8 selectable tone presets
- Bluetooth® MIDI Connectivity
- Built-in classical etudes including Czerny and Burgmüller as well as Alfred lesson books
- On-board Song Recorder
- Concert Magic
- Sheet Music
- Spatial Headphone Sound for Improved Sonic Experience
- Grand Feel Pedal System with Full SostenutoUpgraded Modern Cabinet Design
- Available in Premium Rosewood, Satin Black, and Satin White finishes
As far as ‘high value’ musical instruments go, they don’t get much better than the CA49. With core featured based on instruments up to twice the price, the CA49 delivers a singular piano experience for the class.
Kawai CA49 Owner’s Manual
Kawai CA49 Related Resources
|Keyboard||Grand Feel Compact action
- 88 wooden keys
- Grade-weighted hammers
- Ivory Touch white key surfaces
- Let-off simulation
- Triple sensor key detection
- Bass region counterweights
|Pedal||Grand Feel Pedal System
- Sustain (with half-pedal support)
|Piano Sound||Progressive Harmonic Imaging (PHI)
- 88-key stereo sampling
- SK-EX, EX recording
- 192 note maximum polyphony
|Piano Resonance||- Damper Resonance
- String Resonance
|Piano Adjustment||Virtual Technician (17 parameters, via Virtual Technician app)
- Touch Curve
- Damper Resonance
- Damper Noise
- String Resonance
- Key-off Effect
- Fall-back Noise
- Hammer Delay
- Decay Time
- Minimum Touch
- Stretch Tuning
- Temperament Key
- User Key Volume
- Half-Pedal Adjust
- Soft Pedal Depth
Virtual Technician Smart Mode (10 presets)
|No. of Sounds||19 voices|
|Speakers||13 cm x 2
5 cm x 2
|Output Power||40 W (20 W x 2)|
|Display||128 X 128 pixel OLED|
|Key Cover||Sliding type|
|Music Rest||Collapsible type (3 angle adjustability)|
|Dimensions||Width||53.5" (136 cm)|
|Depth||18.2" (46 cm)|
|Height||36" (91 cm) (not including music rest)|
|Weight||128 lbs (58 kg)|
|Available Finishes||Premium Satin Black (CA49B)
Premium Satin White (CA49W)
Premium Rosewood (CA49R)
|Internal Songs||Sound Demo||19 songs|
|Concert Magic||40 songs|
|Lesson Songs||Burgmüller 25 (25 Etudes Faciles, Opus 100)
Czerny 30 (Etudes de Mécanisme, Opus 849)
Beyer 106 (Vorschule im Klavierspiel, Opus 101)
Chopin Walzer (Chopin waltzes series)
Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Book Level 1A
Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Book Level 1B
|Internal Recorder||Total Memory||approximately 10,000 notes|
|No. of Songs||3 songs|
|Metronome||Time Signatures||1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 3/8, 6/8|
|Bluetooth® *||Bluetooth® (Ver. 4.1; GATT compatible)
Bluetooth® Low Energy MIDI Specification compliant
|App Functions||PianoRemote app
Virtual Technician app (iPad)
Sound Museum app (iPhone/iPad)
|Connector Jacks||Headphone||1 x 1/4", 1 x 1/8" Stereo jacks|
|MIDI||MIDI IN, MIDI OUT, Bluetooth® MIDI *|
|USB to Host||✔|
|Power Consumption||12 W|
|Power||12 W (PS-154 AC adaptor)|
|Others||Warranty Card *
|Dimensions||58 × 28 × 21 in|