Kawai CE220 Review – Is it a real masterpiece?

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As a result of the fierce competition in the digital piano market, the consumer has a wide range of instruments to choose from, continually upgraded in their sound quality, action, and features.

Most companies sell digital pianos because they have a lot of features, but sacrifice quality sound and touch.

Kawai has attended to the needs of even the most discerning customers.

Those who are passionate about pianos are always asking if it sounds and feels like a real piano. With the CE220, Kawai has met the challenge and produced an instrument that is satisfying to the ear and tactilely satisfying to the fingers.


Kawai’s Progressive Harmony sound technology has successfully sampled a piano sound that reflects the softer, warmer sounds characteristic of its acoustic counterparts.

In the low registers, there is a sonorous depth, but without being overly “boomy”. In the middle register, the tone is warm and enveloping, and the listener feels as if he/she can connect with it. There is a clear ringing resonance in the higher register that isn’t overly accentuated by reverb.

The registers are seamlessly connected, resulting in a cohesion across the range of the instrument.

Too often, digital pianos sound like they are composed of three different instruments.

Your virtuosity will be complemented by the CE220’s unified tone from note 1 through 88.

As well as the beautifully toned piano sounds, the layer function allows an accompanying section of strings, organ, choir and other tones to provide a ready backdrop for the piano sounds.

Layering has a nice touch in that dynamics can be individually set for each layer, providing precise expression while playing.

Due to its increased polyphony of 192 notes, the instrument is also capable of handling extremely fast passages and expression. That’s nearly a third more than most conventional digital pianos on the market today.


It features the AWA PROII graded hammer action technology to give the keyboard the feel of a real acoustic piano with heavier keys at the bottom and lighter keys at the top.

The keys are a little stiffer and may be difficult for younger musicians to play on because of how similar they feel to the acoustic grands of Kawai.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the graded action gives the instrument a more natural feel and those who have grown up playing Kawai electric pianos will feel right at home playing the wooden keys.

In addition to the range of effects available, the touch can be adjusted for fine control for the ultra-sensitive musician.

Musicians who dislike digital volume controls will be pleased with the CE220’s pianissimo to fortissimo response.

In addition, the CE220 allows users to set their own touch from very soft to very loud. When this is done, the keyboard will adjust to the user’s playing strength.

It is in fact possible to adjust the instrument’s tuning and temperament with a variety of touch features, giving the user full control over the instrument.

The best musicians might test out a hundred different acoustic instruments before they find one that looks and sounds right.

The Kawai CE220 gives you the option to adjust the sound, touch, and feel according to your individual needs as a musician.

Technical Specifications

Dimensions (WxDxH): 54 x 20 x 35 inches
Weight: 126 lb

  • 88 Notes
  • Wooden Keys

Weighted Keys: Graded Hammer Action
Polyphony: Maximum 192 Notes
Sound Mechanism: Progressive Harmonic Imaging
Number of Preset Voices: 22
Number of Preset Songs: 29
Sliding Key Cover

  • Reverb (5 Types)
  • Chorus
  • Delay
  • Tremolo
  • Rotary (2)


  • Dual Mode
  • Layer
  • Transpose
  • Virtual Technician
  • Touch Curve (6 plus user)
  • Damper Effect
  • String Resonance
  • Brilliance
  • Layer Dynamics
  • Lower Octave Shift
  • Layer Octave Shift
  • Damper Hold
  • Metronome

2-Track Recorder 
Display: 3-Character LED
Speakers: 2 x 12cm
Amplifier: 20W + 20W
Pedals: Damper, soft, sostenuto

  • MIDI In/Out
  • USB to Device
  • USB to Host
  • Stereo Line Input
  • Stereo Line Output
  • 2 x 1/4″ Headphone Jacks

Warranty: 3 Years on Parts and Labor


There are 22 preset sounds in this instrument, including strings, chorus, organ, harpsichord, electric piano, and synthesizer.

One can really tailor each preset’s sound through the range of effects, including reverb, delay, and chorus.

Each sound is accompanied by three brightness levels. A tremolo function further enhances the realism of string sounds.

Additionally, two rotary effects are suited to the organ sounds, giving them an authentic response. A unique Kawai feature, string resonance, also brings an authentic feel to the instrument, allowing certain notes to reverberate when others are played, just as they would in an acoustic instrument.

This adds realism and complexity to the sound, which will leave the finest ear unable to distinguish its digital origins.

The octave shift allows you to expand your keyboard’s range, while layer shift lets one layer play an octave higher or lower than the other.

Playing in a live setting allows for some wonderful expression. You know from our digital piano reviews that it is not commonly found on other instruments.

The ability to adjust the dynamics on each layer to balance the two voices is also unusual.

There are the usual split functions available as well, but an interesting one is the ability to split the instrument into two 44-key pianos centered around C4.

The keyboard includes an on-board metronome and pedal functions, including a half-pedal feel for accurate expression during the most advanced piano pieces.

Among 29 preset pieces are pieces that demonstrate the range of pieces that can be played effectively on the instrument and offer great inspiration to those who are learning it.

You can adjust each piece to listen to the separate hands. It is helpful in learning to play them.

It has different time signatures (7 of them) as well as different rhythmic feels, which makes it easier for musicians to play more difficult rhythmic pieces, such as jazz and swing.

Additionally, it has a 2-track recorder and can record three songs in real time. Users are able to hear performance playback and learn from errors.

A left hand can be recorded separately on one track and then the right hand on the other to be used in practice and to learn difficult technical passages.

This system includes a range of outputs and inputs including MIDI, earphone jacks, and USB, that can be connected to recording software and allow for silent practice (when the family doesn’t need to hear that piece again).

Stereo outputs allow the device to be connected to any sound system for amplification.

Additionally, the USB port allows one to save any piece for later playback, which means less need for on-board memory since any external memory device can be used.

With the transpose function, musicians unfamiliar with certain keys can transpose quickly and easily. The equivalent of the capo for guitarists.


There is one feature that makes this digital piano stand out above all others: its individual adaptation to touch sensitivity

Digital pianos do not offer anything remotely comparable, and for this reason alone, I would purchase one

The ability to adjust the dynamics of the individual layers of the instruments was particularly appealing to me

The one layer of digital instruments often dominates the other, but this feature gave users more control over their performance, making musical expressions that much more suited to their taste

Kawai’s digital grand piano has three pedals similar to that of its acoustic counterpart, adding a touch of grandeur to the instrument. The pedals were also very natural and expressive for a digital instrument.

A range of added effects offers a wide range of timbres to complement the already superbly sampled sounds. Moreover, the ability to customize the touch makes it ideal for creating the desired response from the instrument

Additionally, its price puts it at the top of its league in terms of value for money based on the features available, the tonal quality, and the appearance. An acoustic instrument that sounds this good could easily cost five times as much.

Furthermore, I liked the fact that the instrument felt and looked solid. Some digital pianos can make one feel timid when playing strongly.

The CE220 remained stable even when playing dynamically expressive pieces.

The keys can be sforzandoed with a strong force without the keys feeling strained.


Kawai’s pianos have a very specific feel and this may not be right for every person. Some of my students find the keys a little stiff.

Also, I didn’t see much use for the splitting function into two pianos other than for teaching beginners.

Duets were not very practical to play on it. On paper, it might have been a good idea, but in practice I kept running out of keys as I attempted to use two 44 key pianos on one keyboard.

The instrument is not overweight, but its shape does not make it very portable and would not be a good buy for a traveler.

Despite that, it is easier to transport and offers the sound of a grand piano than a grand piano, and it can be disassembled and packed into a smaller compartment, although it will take two people to reassemble the panels.

Metronome does not allow for more complicated time-signatures, such as 5/4. Rhythm presets are fun to play with for feel, but do not add to the instrument’s performance.

Compared to drum programming today, the rhythm insert feels more like a throwback to the early 1980s when this feature was a standard on all electronic keyboards.

Personally, I could live without them since they feel like gimmicks rather than helpful additions.

While the touch features are great for experienced players who know what they are looking for, they can make things difficult for beginners who are learning to control their own dynamic expression through touch and pressure sensitivity.

For beginners using the instrument as a teaching or practicing instrument, it may be advisable to use these features sparingly until real touch sensitivity has developed.


Ultimately, the CE220 is a stylish, sleek and good-looking digital piano that is competitively priced, loaded with useful features and sounds like a real piano.

It is difficult for even seasoned acoustic musicians to ignore the excellent reproduction of tone and feel on this digital piano.

Black satin finish and matching piano stool give this instrument an elegant look, making it a stylish addition to any home or even larger venues like churches, concert halls, etc.

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