We are living in perhaps the most exciting time in history to buy, own or play that eternal instrument, the piano. Whether your goal is to purchase something as small as software that can record what you play, a newly designed player piano, a digital instrument or a classic acoustic model, there have never been as many choices for the consumer.
Among recent notable examples is East London startup ROLI with its award-winning Seaboard Rise keyboards that can be controlled by five gestures – pressing, gliding, sliding up and down and lifting, as well as the traditional striking. The options create a whole new style of playing and the company has quickly been making a name for itself.
Sticking with classical equipment, however, the new Grand Hybrid digital piano from Whaletone really is something special, and so it should be; the starting price is €98,000. Each model is built bespoke on individual request and sized for chamber performances – but due to the on-board speakers, subwoofer and digital connections it can also fill a stadium of any size with its sound.
Players have plenty options to choose, there is a list of more than 500 built-in ideas, or they can jus stick with an acoustic piano sound. There are three types of sounds: Concert, Studio and Brilliant, and then 30 selectable variations of these as well as 10 sounds of electric pianos in 15 variations. What’s more, it can also recreate the acoustic profiles of vintage pianos from the 1960s to 1980s.
In case you not wish to play, the Hybrid has a special function called Moving Keys, its sees the instrument faithfully imitate performances of your favorite artists, downloaded from the web and controlled via an iPad. You can even have the Grand Hybrid record and play back your own compositions.
And finally, if you don’t want the world to hear your fumblings, there is a headphone socket which totally cuts the sound to let you tinker happily in silent mode. Then all you need do is pretend you are performing in a stadium.