A digital piano that will transform enthusiastic players into accomplished pianists, and modest homes into grand concert halls. This is the ambitious philosophy behind the Concert Artist digital pianos – a premium instrument that captures the essence of playing a magnificent concert grand piano, and inspires musicians to realise their true artistic potential.
To achieve this ambition, every aspect of the new Concert Artist has either been redeveloped or significantly improved, ensuring that this flagship instrument provides the most authentic playing experience of any digital piano.
The instrument’s new Grand Feel keyboard action reinforces Kawai’s reputation as an industry leader, utilising real wooden keys with luxurious Ivory Touch surfaces, and incorporating premium features such as Let-Off simulation and triple-sensor key detection.
This class-leading keyboard action is bolstered by powerful new digital audio technologies that faithfully reproduce the exquisite sound of Kawai’s magnificent EX concert grand piano.
With the latest Harmonic Imaging XL sound sampling, remarkable 256 note polyphony, and brand new reverberation and resonance modelling effects, the new Concert Artist delivers unparalleled acoustic realism that is guaranteed to enthral performers and audience members alike.
Yet despite the abundance of powerful technology on the inside, the Concert Artist still manages to deliver a remarkably traditional piano playing experience. This is thanks to the instrument’s concealed control panel and handsome cabinet design, with a selection of distinctive grand piano-like characteristics that celebrate Kawai’s rich, classical pedigree.
Unrivalled grand touch, breathtaking acoustic tone, distinctive traditional design, and inspirational modern features. Concert Artist from Kawai – the concert grand piano experience in the comfort of your home.
Translating the piano action’s intricate movements to a digital instrument, while retaining these acoustic-like subtleties is a stunning achievement – one which has drawn upon 85 years of experience in building some of the world’s finest pianos.
All eighty-eight black and white keys are crafted entirely from long pieces of wood, with finely textured ivory-like surfaces applied to absorb moisture and assist control. Each wooden key pivots smoothly on a balance pin – the ends rising and falling to replicate the familiar ‘seesaw’ motion of an acoustic piano action. When pressed, the back of the key lifts, triggering a grade-weighted hammer to strike a pressure switch. The amount of force applied to this switch is then measured, and the corresponding note played with authentic tonal character and volume.
Additional counter-weights placed at the front of the bass keys help to lighten their heavier touch during pianissimo passages, with let-off simulation also reproducing the delicate ‘notch’ sensation felt when playing the keys of a grand piano very softly.
These subtle characteristics allow discerning pianists to practise their expanding repertoire with confidence, and ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises when called upon to perform using the finest acoustic grand pianos.
Furthermore, this moisture is absorbed without dirt or grease permeating the surface, allowing the keytops to be wiped clean easily using just a damp cloth.
In addition, improvements to the Concert Artist’s sound hardware also permit the speed at which keys are lifted to influence the release character of piano sounds, providing a greater range of expressive detail between staccato and legato playing.
This improvement ensures a more evenly balanced key touch weight from front to rear, and is particularly beneficial when playing complicated chords with fingers positioned towards the back of the keyboard.
Unlike plastics and most other man-made substances, wood possesses unique characteristics that allow it to absorb a degree of movement energy and flex slightly when compressed. This means that when a pressing a wooden key it reaches the cushioned felt keybed with a natural, reassuring stop, rather than a jarring, noisy halt.
Wood’s outstanding resonance properties are widely accepted, making it an ideal choice for string instruments such as guitars, violins, and of course pianos. Wooden piano keys are also known to vibrate, subtly channelling the sound energy of the instrument back through the fingertips, and enhancing the musician’s playing experience.
Finally, wooden keys are inherently special. The look, feel, and even the smell of wooden keys furnish the Concert Artist with an organic quality that helps the player to feel a closer connection with their piano. And it is this important personal connection that ultimately allows pianists to relax, and lose themselves in the joy of making music.
Following this lengthy crafting period, the completed EX concert grand piano receives a final series of rigorous quality inspections, before eventually taking centre stage in the world’s most prestigious musical institutions and concert halls.
Recording each key individually in this way – as opposed to stretching the same tone over several different notes – preserves the rich harmonic character of the EX concert grand piano, and guarantees that the sound heard when playing any one of the Concert Artist’s wooden keys is a faithful representation of the original acoustic source.
The new Concert Artist offers a highly detailed acoustic portrait, with Harmonic Imaging XL technology ensuring smooth tonal transitions across the keyboard and throughout the entire dynamic range.
Players can perform touch and voicing adjustments, regulate hammer and key release noises, and fine-tune string, lid, and damper resonances. It is even possible to adjust the precise tuning and volume of individual notes – all in real-time. Then, with the desired refinements complete, save the fully prepared instrument to an onboard registration memory or USB device, or exchange favourite settings with other Concert Artist owners online.
Studio quality chorus, tremolo, delay, and auto-pan effects can be used to tailor a sound’s character and feeling, with modelled amplifier/speaker simulations applying vintage warmth to electric pianos and trademark growl to drawbar organs. The depth of a performance can then be transformed using the Concert Artist’s updated reverb features, allowing pianists to position themselves within one of six acoustic environments, ranging from a small practise room to an inspirational grand cathedral.
As with the original design, this unique audio technology embraces the rich, harmonic qualities of wood, channelling sound energy onto a spruce soundboard to produce an organic tone. The redeveloped system further advances this concept, utilising longer soundboard ribs that broaden the frequency range and volume of the resonating sound. The result is a remarkably authentic playing experience that immerses the performer, and faithfully reproduces the tonal ambience of an acoustic piano.
USB audio recording and playback, Dual, Split, and Four Hands keyboard modes, and a rich assortment of customisable instrument voices add greater variety to players’ performances, while the convenient metronome function and integrated classical etudes or Alfred course books ensure that regular practise is both productive and engaging for aspiring pianists.
Furthermore, the Dual playing mode also allows two different sounds, such as grand piano and strings, to be layered together, while the Split and Four Hands modes divide the keyboard into two independent sections. The volume balances and other settings for each playing mode can also be adjusted quickly and easily using the real-time panel controls.
Moreover, it is also possible to adjust the half-pedal sensitivity of the damper pedal, and effectiveness of the soft pedal using specially engineered Virtual Technician parameters, allowing musicians to personalise the instrument’s response to match their preferred pedalling technique.
This latter USB to Device functionality allows favourite instrument settings, registrations, and memorable recorder songs stored in internal memory to be safely preserved on USB, or standard MIDI files (SMF) downloaded from the internet to be listened to using the instrument’s exquisite Harmonic Imaging XL sounds without additional hardware.
The instrument’s broad music rest is designed to accommodate the most ambitious musical works, with smoothly bevelled edges and simulated leather lining the base. As with a grand piano, the viewing angle of the Concert Artist’s music rest can be adjusted to suit the performer’s playing position, or laid flat for convenience when notating scores or sketching musical ideas.
Subtly concealing its impressive digital features, the Concert Artist’s main control panel is discreetly embedded within the piano’s left cheek block. This helps to preserve the instruments’ grand piano-like appearance, and allows performers to enjoy the simple pleasure of playing music without the distraction of flashing lights and rows of buttons. And for added convenience, the Concert Artist’s USB and dual headphone jacks are separated from the instrument’s main connections panel, mounted beneath the keyboard in an accessible position, yet hidden from the player’s eye-line.
Copyright Kawai Europa GmbH