Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kawai CN33 Digital Piano - REVIEW - A very nice instrument

UPDATED REVIEW - April 5, 2013 - Recommended - The Kawai CN33 is now discontinued and has been replaced by the new CN34 which is an upgraded piano but at a higher price. Remaining CN 33's in Kawai stores are being more heavily discounted now while they last. The review below is a previous CN33 review I did when that piano was still a current model.

Kawai produces some great digital pianos and a model that has been one of their most popular is the furniture cabinet CN33. Kawai is well known for their acoustic pianos and many professionals as well as beginning students play on Kawai acoustic pianos. I know many people who own Kawai acoustic grand pianos and love them. However, in years gone by, Kawai has not been known for their digital pianos until somewhat recently. I believe Kawai has finally come out with new digital pianos that, in a lot of ways, is better than many of the more popular Yamaha Clavinova CLP digital pianos as well as equal to or better than the Roland HP digital pianos, but for less money.

The Kawai CN33, which has normally sold at discount of $2199 for the basic Rosewood color (depending on the piano dealer) is a very nice piano. These pianos are not available from general music stores in the US like Guitar Center or Sam Ash or from on-line stores, but only through Kawai piano store dealers. They are available in a variety of good looking cabinet finishes (pics at upper, middle, and lower left), although most dealers usually carry just one or two colors at the most, however I believe there are about 5 different color choices which is very nice.

The CN33 is nice because it's main focus is on piano tone and acoustic piano style key action along with a reasonable amount of extra features such as having 36 instrument sounds which includes eight piano variations along with electric pianos, organs, strings, choirs, and a few others. It has an easy to use digital interface display with a red LED (light emitting diode) technology instead of the LCD (liquid crystal display).

The CN33 has a basic 2-track recorder with 3 song memory locations along with other editing and basic functions like layer, split, duel play, and a few other things. It also has an interesting feature called "concert magic" which allows a beginner to feel as if they are playing well by pressing any key (or keys) and playing along while a built-in song is being played, and not hearing any mistakes on the melody no matter what key you press. Wow, I wish that was the way my songs came out all the time! However, I think it's somewhat gimmicky and there are other ways to have fun and actually learn to play a piano although young kids and beginner adults might enjoy it for awhile. Kawai also has built-in piano lesson songs in the CN33 from Alfred publishing which the student can play along with. The accompaniments come from a few popular Alfred lesson books and you can play along with the actual (standard MIDI) songs at any speed. However, they are "piano only" songs and are not fully orchestrated General MIDI arrangements. They are limited to a few of the Alfred publishing company books and that's it. So there are limitations to that feature but it's useful nevertheless.

The CN33 does have an very nice key action touch (with let-off feel and ivory touch keys), although it has a 2 sensor key action (as opposed to 3) but does have a resonant piano tone with good harmonics. However, the polyphony note memory is only 96 notes which is somewhat low compared with other Kawai digital piano models at 192 and 256 note polyphonic (much better tone and resonance), but over all, Kawai has done a good job with this model and I would recommend it.  Current discount prices on the discontinued CN33's, assuming there are any remaining at stores, are around $1700-$1800 on average.

If you would like a Kawai piano for a better piano playing experience under $2000, then I suggest you look at the newer CE220 ($1899 internet price) with actual wood piano keys, 192-note polyphony, and a much better piano tone. Check out my blog review ion that model: Kawai CE220 Review

Casio PX850
Another very good piano option in an even lower price range is the new 2013 model Casio Privia PX850 ($1099 internet discount price). I have personally played this piano and in most cases I would definitely recommend this new model over the older Kawai CN33 because it has 256 note polyphony, 40 watt 4-speaker sound system with a new sound projection feature for even better fidelity, upgraded ivory & ebony key feel, MIDI & audio wav file recording and playback along with duet function, layer, split, and advanced sound dynamics with triple key sensor system (wow). It also has a high speed USB connect to iPad feature for interactive music education and performance using an iPad or other tablet & computer devices. Beyond that, the piano looks attractive in its more compact furniture cabinet and has a full key cover. But the number one most important function in any piano needs to be the key action movement and this model does not disappoint. The keys move smoothly and are a graduated piano weighted key movement like that of a good upright piano. It's hard to argue with all this when the price is only $1099 and a 3 year parts & labor factory warranty is included. Casio may not be thought of as a piano company like Kawai (Kawai does make some fabulous acoustic grand & upright pianos), but after 30 years of producing digital pianos, the Casio company definitely has a winner on their hands and its worth your consideration. For more info on this model please go to my following review: Casio PX850 Review

If you want more info on these and other pianos and lower prices than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call me direct at 602-571-1864

5 comments:

  1. As always, nice review. But Kurzweil is owned by a South Korean company, not Japanese, hence not in the same league.

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  2. Although your comment used to be true, it is not anymore. It is not the geography that counts (the country or the dirt the factory is placed on), but it's the materials that are used, quality of labor, design, engineering, tools, oversight, management, etc. There are some extremely good digital and acoustic piano products with competitive prices coming from both Korea and China as well as consumer electronics that are well regarded.

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  3. Hello! Your blog is fantastic! I 'm going to buy a digital piano in a couple of days and I 'm between the yamaha ydp 161 and the kawai cn 23. Also I like the kawai cn 33 very much but it costs a little more. I want the better touch feeling and I don't care much about the sound's variation or other fun stuff. Of course I'm gonna try them but could you please tell me your opinion?

    ps. I apologise for my english mistakes!

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  4. Thank you for your comments. If want more advice, you would need to write to me at my email address on this blog. Thank you.

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  5. CN34 vs. CE220?

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