In November 2015, two heavyweights of the Japanese music and audio industry, Kawai Musical Instruments and Onkyo Corporation, formed a business and capital funding alliance. This alliance aimed to merge the technical expertise and brand strengths of both companies, and develop new approaches in home entertainment and musical education.
The partnership has also paved the way for shared research and development in audio and music technologies, culminating in the CS-X1 collaboration prototype – a state-of-the-art digital piano configuration that blends the finest technical achievements of Kawai and Onkyo, to redefine the playing and listening experience for pianists and audience members alike.
Shigeru Kawai grand pianos grace the stages of concert halls and musical institutions throughout the world. These premier instruments are prized for their out- standing tonal clarity and exceptional dynamic range.
The CS-X1 captures the mangificent tone of the flagship Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand, combining full 88-key sampling with the world’s most expressive Harmonic Imaging XL piano sound engine. The results are spectacular, delivering smooth tonal transitions from pianissimo to fortissimo, across the keyboard.
Drawing upon Onkyo’s 70 years of experiencing building premier audio hardware, the CS-X1 output signal chain is optimised for power and fidelity. Industry leading 1-bit processing enhances the depth and airiness of the core Shigeru Kawai tone, with premium dual DAC components ensuring precise analogue conversion for each channel.
Onkyo DIDRC technology prevents super-high-frequency distortion, preserving the piano sound’s unique harmonic character, while optimisations and upgrades to the main power amplifier deliver greater energy, richness and clarity.
Kawai’s highly-acclaimed Soundboard Speaker System was introduced in 2006, embracing the rich, harmonic properties of wood to establish a new standard in digital piano audio reproduction. Ten years later, the CS-X1 incorporates the 3rd generation of this unique technology, utilising a new, larger, upright piano-sized soundboard.
The CS-X1 also features a brand new upward facing soundboard speaker, located beneath the instrument’s topboard. This premium spruce material delivers high frequencies with supreme clarity and grand-like depth.
Alongside the instrument’s Onkyo optimised, power amp and soundboard speaker systems, the state-of-the-art CS-X1 also incorporates an advanced multi-channel Onkyo amplifier, driving a full 8-channel speaker configuration.
This unique surround sound setup harnesses the jointly developed Scene Rendering DSP, which generates reverb independently of the core piano tone. When combined, these technologies deliver the clearest, most authentic reproduction of three dimensional space, allowing pianists to immerse themselves in a virtual concert hall experience.
Kawai is widely regarded as an industry leader in digital piano keyboard action technology, and introduced the first real wooden key action in 1985.
The CS-X1 utilises the latest Grand Feel II keyboard action, which replicates the seesaw movement and key pivot length of a Kawai grand piano. All eighty-eight black and white keys are crafted entirely from long pieces of wood, with graded counterweights, and finely textured ivory and ebony-like surfaces that absorb moisture and assist playing control.
As a powerful home entertainment system, the CS-X1 also features Onkyo’s high-specification DP-X1 digital audio player, discreetly embedded within the piano’s left cheek block. This impressive DAP couples audiophile quality components with a large 4.7" touchscreen display, and supports the latest DSD and MQA formats.
Built on Android™, the DP-X1 also doubles as the piano’s main control panel, allowing sounds and settings to be selected and adjusted with the swipe of a finger, or for extra apps to be installed from the Google Play™ store.
With a high specification DAP built into the instrument, the CS-X1 integrates fully with the popular onkyomusic high resolution audio download service. Launched in Japan in 2005, and expanded into Germany, UK, and the US in 2015, onkyomusic offers a massive library of high resolution commercial audio tracks, featuring a wide range of artists, genres, and audiophile labels.
Audio is provided in a variety of formats up to 192kHz / 24-bit FLAC, and once downloaded, can be replayed on multiple devices, such as phones, tablets, and PCs.
With almost 90 years of knowledge and experience in crafting the world’s finest acoustic pianos, and three generations of proud family leadership, Kawai has earned a reputation for respecting traditional values.
The CS-X1 pays tribute to this enduring legacy, with its premium quality cabinet replicating the design of a Kawai K Series upright piano. Finished from top to bottom in a luxurious ebony polish, and crowned with handsome silver-chrome fittings, the CS-X1 is truly an instrument for modern traditionalists.
Established in 1927 by founder Koichi Kawai, Kawai Musical Instruments is a Japanese musical instrument manufacturer that specialises in the production of high specification acoustic and digital pianos, with subsidiaries related to music education and publishing, precision metals, wood finishing, and business and music software. The company also produces the Shigeru Kawai line of luxury, hand-crafted grand piano instruments.
Established in 1946, Onkyo Corporation is a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer that specialises in premium home cinema and audio equipment, including receivers, surround sound speakers and other portable devices. The current Onkyo Corporation umbrella includes the Integra and Pioneer home AV divisions, as well as the main Onkyo brand. The word Onkyo translates as “sound harmony”.