Kawai CN301 Review

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We rated the Kawai CN301 a 9/10! This stunning digital piano is a new release that is difficult to find, and for good reason. The CN301 is a mid-range instrument that plays like a professional one. Some of my favorite features of the CN301 are the concert grand tones, powerful 4-speaker sound system, low-volume balance, and built-in music. I took off a full point because 1. The sound recorder doesn’t hold many tunes and 2. I really wish it had the wooden action for the steep price. Asides from those two aspects, I adore this model.

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We rated the Kawai CN301 a 9/10! This stunning digital piano is a new release that is difficult to find, and for good reason. The CN301 is a mid-range instrument that plays like a professional one. Some of my favorite features of the CN301 are the concert grand tones, powerful 4-speaker sound system, low-volume balance, and built-in music. I took off a full point because 1. The sound recorder doesn’t hold many tunes and 2. I really wish it had the wooden action for the steep price. Asides from those two aspects, I adore this model.

CN301: Overview

Kawai CN301 review

The Kawai CN301 is a mid-range digital piano that was first released in June of 2022 and is designed to be an updated version of the top-selling CN29.  One of the biggest selling points of the CN301 is its authentic feeling touch, which Kawai deems the best in its class, and also boasts as ‘lavish’. So what makes the Kawai CN301 so spectacular? Keep reading to find out! 

Kawai CN301 Features

Redesigned Sound System

The CN301 has had an overhauled sound system since the CN29. This 4-speaker sound system can really pack a punch! This model has a new component called diffuser panels, which are mounted to the top-facing speakers. These panels help to ‘diffuse’ (aka distribute!) the sound more evenly than before. 

Song Recorder 

The Kawai CN301 comes with a built-in song recorder that can hold up to 10 of your tunes and layer two total tracks. To save more songs, you can also connect a USB flash drive, which acts as external storage for your digital piano. 

Sound Bank with Grand Piano Tones

The tones are another area where the CN301 has been upgraded. Kawai has tweaked 3 of their most popular sounds: Their Shigeru grand, electric piano, and electric grand sounds. There are 45 total ones featured in this sound bank. 

The CN301 and the CN201 have the same sound bank, so, if you get to a store that doesn’t have the high-level model, be sure to test out the CN201

Low Volume Balance

The CN301 has a feature that greatly increases the quality of the instrument sound when you are playing at low volumes. This piece of technology helps level out /EQ the sounds in a way that makes everything that’s quiet sound a bit better!

Concert Magic, Built-In Lessons, and Exercises

If you have visitors who are not super musically inclined,  concert magic can be a really fun interactive feature. Kawai’s concert magic allows you to play any of the keys to a steady beat, and the smart technology will do the rest, creating a full arrangement out of (almost!) thin air. 

This CN model also has a built-in lesson feature, which guides you through a significant amount of classical piano rep, with pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, and more. Lastly, this model includes exercises like warm-ups, scales, and Hanon finger exercises to help hone your skills further. I was especially thrilled to see the Hanon exercises, which get you through over 200 pieces, in a plethora of tempos and keys. 

Other Features: 

  • Ivory touch, triple sensors
  • Let-off and escapement
  • 8 registration memories
  • Redesigned power adapter (More high-quality than previous models)
  • 360 sound projection

Kawai has gone far to make the key feel of this plastic action far better than most: they’ve updated their RCH III on this model. There are loads of other great features here, like lots of registration memory space, a better power adapter (Nobody wants a flimsy cord!) and 360-degree sound projection.

Specifications

Kawai CN301 piano review

Sourced from Kawai.com

  • Weight: 105 pounds
  • Dimensions: 
  • Depth: 17 ⅛ inches 
  • Width: 55 ½ inches
  • Height: 34 ¼ inches
  • Piano Type: Digital piano with furniture cabinet
  • Color Options: Black, white, premium rosewood

Who is it suitable for?

The CN301 is best suited for serious piano students who are in need of a cabinet piano. Keep in mind that cabinet pianos aren’t designed to move ‘on the go’ so the Kawai CN301 isn’t going to make for a good gigging instrument. The CN301 is likely too expensive for beginning to early intermediate hobbyists, but, aside from that, this model will serve just about any classical pianist very well. 

CN301 In Action

Check out this video of the Kawai CN301 in action by Bonners music to get a sense of the depth this digital instrument has.

All I have to say is: Wow, is it lovely. 

Reported Issues/ Reviews

Since this piano is too new to be on Sweetwater or Amazon yet, I had to delve into some forms to find out what other musicians who bought this had to say. The main issue that I read about was something called calibration drift. Calibration drift is when the response of the instrument gradually becomes less accurate. While it’s a bit of a drag when it happens, luckily, it is fixable.

Pros and Cons

Kawai CN301 digital piano review

Pros

  • It both looks and sounds beautiful 
  • The CN301 has had many tweaks since the CN29
  • Better connectivity: It has a stereo line in (The CN201 does not!) 
  • It has ivory touch keys with grip, escapement, and more 

The CN301 is extremely full in sound, and it looks the part, too. The updates to the concert grand tones and sound system made a big difference in quality. The touch of this instrument is truly some of the best plastic action you’re going to get. The triple sensors pick up every little nuance, and the ivory grip is always nice to have for those fiery-fast passages in solos.

Cons

  • It doesn’t have wooden key action
  • You don’t get any new sounds when compared to the CN201
  • The internal recorder only has a couple of tracks
  • This piano is quite expensive for the casual player

The main con with getting a CN model rather than a CA model is that the pianos in the CN line lack wooden key action. I also wish that the internal recorder had more space. However, there were no true dealbreakers for me. 

Comparable Instruments 

  • To upgrade the action to wooden action: Kawai’s CA pianos 
  • For an older model: The Kawai CN29
  • For one step down: Kawai CN201 
  • For a new, portable model at a lower price point: The Kawai ES920

Kawai’s CA series tends to be more expensive, but they do have real wood underneath the plastic coating of the keys. If you are ok with a model without the new updates, try out the Kawai CN29. Many of the specs are very similar, and the piano is a solid one and a best-seller. Alternatively, the CN201 is a fresh release that also has many of the same elements as the CN301- It’s just one notch lower.

 Lastly, one other digital instrument that you should consider is the ES920– This one has high polyphony, portability, and excellent sounds. 

Kawai CN301: Quick View 

Keys 88 (improved) RHC action 
Touch sensitivity  Yes
Sounds 45 total tones
Recording capabilities  USB to MIDI, internal song recorder
Metronome Yes
Polyphony  256 notes
Speakers Yes: internal speaker system with 4 speakers total
Headphones Headphones not included: ¼ inch jack and ⅛ jack included
Accessories Power adapter 
Price point  $3,099-$3,799

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed this Kawai CN301 review! In conclusion, this digital piano is a higher-end mid-range instrument with one of the best plastic touches that we’ve yet to test. 

Come back for more things pianos and keys soon!

Music quote of the week: 

“To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit.” -Igor Stravinsky 

9Expert Score
We rated the Kawai CN301 a 9/10! This stunning digital piano is a new release that is difficult to find, and for good reason. The CN301 is a mid-range instrument that plays like a professional one. Some of my favorite features of the CN301 are the concert grand tones, powerful 4-speaker sound system, low-volume balance, and built-in music. I took off a full point because 1. The sound recorder doesn’t hold many tunes and 2. I really wish it had the wooden action for the steep price. Asides from those two aspects, I adore this model.
PROS
  • It both looks and sounds beautiful
  • The CN301 has had many tweaks since the CN29
  • Better connectivity: It has a stereo line in (The CN201 does not!)
  • It has ivory touch keys with grip, escapement, and more
CONS
  • It doesn’t have wooden key action
  • You don’t get any new sounds when compared to the CN201
  • The internal recorder only has a couple tracks
  • This piano is quite expensive for the casual player

Videos: Kawai CN301 Review

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