Kawai America Corporation
2055 East University Drive
Rancho Dominguez, California 90220
For company background, see the Kawai listing in the "Brand and Company Profiles" for acoustic pianos.
After 50 years as a piano builder, Kawai entered the market with its first digital piano in 1985. Today, Kawai’s lineup for North America features 17 models, many of them new. Kawai’s digital piano line comprises four groups: the Concert Performer (CP) ensemble pianos; the standard digital piano line, consisting of the Concert Artist (CA), Classic Series (CS), CL, and CN models; the ES and EP portable instruments; and Professional Products, including the CE220 and MP series.
Kawai created the first digital piano to use a transducer-driven soundboard for a more natural piano sound, a feature that is available on the flagship CA93. The CP ensemble models have undergone a complete makeover, with all models now sporting touchscreen technology and USB audio. The top-of-the-line CP209 ensemble grand is also available with two different levels of factory-installed PianoDisc player-piano system. If you’re after a huge number of voices, the models at the upper end of the CP line come with over 1,000.
Kawai uses five different actions in its digital pianos. The two newest ones — the Responsive Hammer (RH) and top-of-the-line Realistic Material, Realistic Mechanism, Realistic Motion (RM3) actions — can be found in the CN, CA, CP, CS, and MP piano models. The RM3 action has wood keys, Ivory Touch (simulated ivory) keytops, and, on the MP10, CA93, CS6, CP209, and CP179 models, simulated escapement.
Kawai has initiated on its website an online store that allows customers to purchase certain models of digital piano formerly sold only through bricks-and-mortar piano dealers. The pianos are delivered by the closest stocking dealer. In Europe it has been possible for some time to purchase name-brand home digital pianos online; this marks the first time this arrangement is being tried in North America.
1510 Bath Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11228
Italian producer Ketron, established in 1981, began by making portable organs. The company introduced its first digital pianos in 1998, and expanded that product line in 2002. Ketron currently offers five models, including slabs, verticals, and a grand.
Ketron did not respond to requests for information.
Korg USA, Inc.
316 South Service Road
Melville, New York 11747
Korg was founded in 1962 to produce its first product, an automatic rhythm machine, and in 1972 entered the electronic-organ market. The LP-10 stage piano appeared in 1980, and its first digitally sampled piano, the SG1, was introduced in 1986. Korg now offers four models of 88-key digital piano, including the entry-level model SP-170 at only $500, plus several models with shorter keyboards. Following Kawai’s lead, Korg recently announced plans to sell its home digital pianos online (see Kawai, above).