Here we take a more in depth look at the Kawai CL26 digital piano. There aren’t too many independent reviews on the net, so we would like to get the ball rolling and help people who would like to know more.
The CL26 is a popular choice in our showroom, especially for beginners who want to get a taste of piano playing. The main reasons are its price, compact size and most importantly its tone. At £599 it is one of the most affordable digital pianos on the market, with fully grade-weighted hammers and springless design for a natural playing experience. No longer are weighted keys a more expensive option in the digital market. The CL26 keys are responsive and pick up the more nuanced touches, which is crucial for any kind of development in your playing.
The CL26 is very compact and will fit in the smallest of spaces. Kawai have identified an area in the market where players simply need a keyboard and the basic functions you would expect to find on digital piano. At 128 cm in length you are getting exactly what you need and no more: 88 fully weighted keys. It also will not stick out from the wall you put it against. Take a tape measure, measure out 26cm and this is the depth of the CL26: slimline and ultra compact. You also can choose from two classic finishes in black or white satin.
Finally, the tone. The CL26 reproduces the sound of Kawai’s world-renowned EX concert grand piano, with 88-key piano sampling techniques preserving the rich harmonic character of the EX grand. Each key is painstakingly sampled to give you the most detailed tonal range for each key. From this thorough acoustic portrait, the CL26 employs Kawai’s highly acclaimed Harmonic Imaging sound technology to faithfully recreate the broad dynamic range of the original grand piano. This is even more apparent on the outermost limits of the piano.
In the past, digital pianos could not seem to capture the extra nuances of the outer extremes of the keyboard. The CL26 does a remarkable job in giving you an array of colours and tones to play from. Delicate passages in the upper registers are no longer tinny and the bass register can now give the dark resonant tones you expect, without sounding muddy. If you have time, it is well worth reading about Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging Technology and the years of investment that have gone into technology that lies behind a CL26:
The CL26 comes with a small array of additional but vital features that will be welcome to any pianist. A sustain pedal is included and there are two headphone jacks for those late night practise sessions, as well as MIDI (IN/OUT) for any computer based musicians. There is a metronome, which some learners would do well to use more often! The CL26 features 8 voices to choose from, so in addition to the concert grand, you can play through an organ, a classic electric piano and a harpsichord among others. There is also nice feature called ‘Concert Magic’. This allows you to pick a song from the memory bank, then press any key to a steady tempo and you will hear the piece playing back to your actions as if you had been playing for years! It is an interesting feature that could work well for young children, helping them realise the basic connection between playing actions and the potential sound. I have also seen many adults take pleasure in this feature, so have a go!
The most important thing to do once you have identified your budget and requirements, is to get down to the showroom and try one out. We can guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised by the compact size and great tone of the CL26, and its price is not too bad either! We always have one in stock and welcome leisurely playing to really appreciate this great compact instrument.