A piano that will encourage enthusiastic players to become accomplished pianists, and transform living rooms into grand concert halls. This is the ambitious philosophy behind Kawai’s latest Concert Artist series – premium instruments that capture the essence of playing a magnificent concert grand piano, and inspire musicians of all ages and abilities to realise their true artistic potential.
The Touch of a Grand Piano: Grand Feel Compact wooden key action
With an emphasis on piano-focussed authenticity, the CA401 utilises the superb Grand Feel Compact wooden-key keyboard action. As its name suggest, the GF Compact action has been designed to reproduce the authentic touch weight characteristics of the industry-leading Grand Feel keyboard actions, within a smaller form factor.
This action retains the long wooden keysticks used for all 88 black and white keys, and the familiar ‘seesaw’ mechanism employed by acoustic grand piano actions for centuries. However, despite its smaller unit size, GF Compact features an extended key pivot length, providing a more consistent touch weight when playing towards the rear of the keyboard. This crucial detail, along with various other acoustic piano-like characteristics, ensures the CA401 delivers the most realistic playing experience in its class.
Bass key Counterweights
In addition to grade-weighted hammers, the Grand Feel Compact keyboard action also features counterweights attached towards the front of the bass keys.
As with an acoustic piano, these finely balanced weights help to lighten the touch of the keyboard during pianissimo passages, while adding a feel of greater substance when playing with force.
Triple sensor key detection
The Grand Feel Compact keyboard action utilises an accurate triple-sensor key detection system for enhanced playing realism.
The added third sensor improves responsiveness when playing the same key repeatedly, and unlike conventional two sensor keyboard actions found in many digital pianos, allows the sound of a single note to be gradually ‘layered’ without the previous tone being lost.
In addition, Kawai’s action technology also monitors the speed at which each key is lifted, influencing the release character of piano sounds, and providing a greater range of expression between staccato and legato playing.
Ivory Touch key surfaces
The impressive CA401 features Kawai’s highly regarded Ivory Touch key surfaces as standard. This finely textured material gently absorbs fingertip perspiration and oils to assist playing control, and possesses a natural, matte finish that is smooth but not slippery.
Furthermore, this moisture is absorbed without dirt or grease permeating the surface, allowing the keytops to be wiped clean easily using just a damp cloth.
As the most authentic digital piano keyboard action in its class, Grand Feel Compact even reproduces the ‘let-off’ characteristic of acoustic piano actions.
This subtle ‘notch’ sensation can be felt when playing the keys of a grand piano very gently, and may be used by experienced pianists to aid control when playing pianissimo passages.
The Sound of a Grand Piano: Shigeru Kawai SK-EX
Eponymously named after the company’s second president, the Shigeru Kawai range of luxury grand pianos were conceived as the next step in evolving the art of the piano. Each world-class instrument is hand-crafted by experienced piano artisans, using the finest available materials to ensure optimum touch, tone, and artistic expression.
Widely regarded as ‘the premier piano of Japan’, the flagship SK-EX grand piano graces the stages of concert halls and musical institutions around the globe, receiving universal acclaim for its tonal clarity and exceptional dynamic range. The magnificent tone of the SK-EX is at the heart of the CA401, with this new model featuring the latest SK-EX Competition Grand recreation of this peerless instrument.
SK-EX Competition Grand sound
The brand new SK-EX Competition Grand captures the sound of the latest generation SK-EX-L instruments, that in recent years have achieved success at the Chopin, Hamamatsu, and Sendai international piano competitions.
This piano sound possesses a brilliant, clear tonal character, with a distinctive thick attack, and is specifically recorded from the pianist’s position for the ultimate performance experience.
Full 88-key stereo piano sampling
The rich, expressive sound of both the SK-EX and EX concert grand pianos is at the heart of the CA401, with all eighty-eight keys of these world-class instruments painstakingly recorded, meticulously analysed, and accurately reproduced as high-fidelity digital waveforms.
Recording each key individually in this way – as opposed to stretching the same tone over several different notes – preserves the grand pianos’ unique harmonic character, and guarantees that the sound heard when playing any one of the CA401’s wooden keys is a faithful representation of the original acoustic source.
Harmonic Imaging technology
When playing a fine piano, the amount of pressure applied to the keyboard affects not only the volume of the sound produced, but also the unique tonal character of each note. Therefore, in order to construct a realistic acoustic portrait of each grand piano, not only is each key recorded individually, but also at a wide variety of different volumes, ranging from gentle pianissimo to thunderous fortissimo.
The CA401 offers a highly detailed acoustic portrait, employing Kawai’s proprietary Progressive Harmonic Imaging sampling technology to ensure smooth tonal transitions across the keyboard and throughout the entire dynamic range.
Personalised piano adjustments
The knowledge and skill of an experienced piano technician is essential to bring out the best of a fine acoustic piano. In addition to tuning each note, the technician also performs numerous regulation and voicing adjustments that allow the instrument to truly sing.
The CA401’s Virtual Technician ‘Smart Mode’ simulates these refinements digitally, with ten preset configurations that intelligently adjust characteristics of the grand piano to match different musical styles.
For greater flexibility, ‘Advanced Mode’ allows players to perform touch weight and voicing adjustments, regulate hammer and key release noises, and fine-tune string and damper resonances using the dedicated PianoRemote app.
High quality sound hardware
The CA401 motherboard and sound hardware is engineered for precise signal conversion and optimum sound quality. Advanced low-noise circuit designs and premium audio components combine to ensure crystal clear, high-fidelity sound with minimal distortion.
Powerful 4-speaker output system
The CA401 boasts an impressive 4-speaker output system, with lower range frequencies delivered through the underside of the instrument, and mid and high frequencies projected outward via front-facing speakers. The result is a broad, resonating tone that closely mirrors the immersive sound field of a grand piano.
The Variety of a Digital Piano: Convenience & Flexibility
Complementing the instrument’s class-leading Grand Feel Compact wooden-key keyboard action and Progressive Harmonic Imaging piano sounds, the CA401 also offers a variety of convenient digital features that further enhance one’s musical enjoyment.
A selection of different instrument voices, built-in lesson songs, and the ability to record and playback performances are just some of the features accessible from the cheek-block control panel, while built-in Bluetooth® MIDI and Audio functionality allow connecting to smart devices wirelessly for running apps or streaming music.
Additional sounds & playing modes
Supplementing the beautiful acoustic piano voices, the CA401 also features a modest selection of additional sounds, ranging from electric pianos and drawbar or church organs, to strings, human choirs, and synth pads, inviting musicians to add greater variety to their performances.
Furthermore, the Dual playing mode also allows two different sounds, such as grand piano and strings, to be layered together, while the Four Hands mode divides the keyboard into two independent 44-key sections. This feature is particularly useful in learning environments, allowing teacher and student (or student and student) to play together at the same time using a single instrument.
Built-in lesson function
The CA401’s convenient lesson function allows aspiring pianists to learn piano with classical Czerny, Burgmüller, Chopin, and Beyer etudes, or collections of songs from the popular Alfred’s Basic Piano course books.
The left and right hand parts of each etude/song can be practiced separately, using the adjustable metronome feature to perfect timing in difficult passages, before recording the completed piece for self-evaluation.
* Notated scores and Alfred lesson books sold separately.
Integrated Bluetooth® connectivity
In addition to a standard USB-MIDI port for connecting to computers, the CA401 also features integrated Bluetooth® MIDI and Audio technologies that allow the instrument to communicate with supported smart devices wirelessly.
Once paired with a phone, tablet, or laptop, CA401 owners can enjoy a wide variety of exciting music-related apps that enhance their learning and playing experience, or stream audio from songs and videos directly through the instrument’s impressive speaker system without the need to connect additional cables.
* Availability of Bluetooth® function may vary depending on market area.
* For more information please refer to the Bluetooth MIDI Information support page.
The CA401 is available in three attractive cabinet finishes: Premium Rosewood, Premium Satin Black, and Premium Satin White, allowing musicians to coordinate their piano with a range of modern interiors.