The keyboard action of an acoustic grand piano is comprised of black and white keys, graded hammers, and numerous other components, all working in harmony when each note is pressed. This beautifully designed mechanism allows gifted pianists to express a wealth of feeling and emotion in their music, as they respond to the tactile nuances transmitted through the keyboard.
Translating the piano action’s intricate movements to a digital instrument, while retaining these acoustic-like subtleties is an extremely challenging task. The Concert Artist’s latest Grand Feel III wooden-key keyboard action achieves this goal by drawing upon Kawai’s 90+ years of knowledge and experience in crafting the world’s finest pianos. This ensures an incredibly realistic touch feeling, and is one of the reasons for the CA79’s inspiring playability.
Embracing many of the long-established principles associated with an acoustic piano, the Grand Feel III keyboard action utilised by the latest Concert Artist instruments combines realistic materials, motion, and mechanism to recreate the touch of the fi nest concert grand pianos. All eighty-eight black and white keys are crafted entirely from long pieces of wood, rather than a plastic shell with wooden sides. This ensures the weight of each key is distributed evenly throughout the length of the keystick, and guarantees an effi cient transfer of movement energy when the note is struck.
In addition to grade-weighted hammers, the Grand Feel III action also features metal counterweights, attached beneath each key, and graded across the length of the keyboard. As with an acoustic piano, these additional weights help to balance the touch of the keyboard during pianissimo passages, while providing a feeling of greater substance and solidity when playing with force.
The Concert Artist wooden keys are topped with Kawai’s premium Ivory & Ebony Touch surface materials, with the smooth, matte finish of the white keys complementing the finely textured wood grain on the blacks. These characteristics are not only beneficial in aiding finger control, but also contribute to the overall impression of playing a high quality, authentic piano.
Supplementing its authentic touch feeling, the GFIII keyboard action also incorporates Kawai’s latest 3-sensor key detection system for enhanced playing realism. This additional third sensor greatly improves responsiveness when striking the same keys repeatedly, allowing rapid trills etc. to sound much smoother and more acoustic pianolike when played.
Eponymously named after the company’s second president, the Shigeru Kawai range of luxury grand pianos were conceived as the next step in evolving the art of the piano. Each world-class instrument is hand-crafted by Master Piano Artisans (MPAs), using the finest available materials to ensure optimum touch, tone, and artistic expression. Widely regarded as ‘the premier piano of Japan’, the flagship SK-EX concert grand graces the stages of concert halls and musical institutions around the globe, receiving universal acclaim for its magnificent tonal clarity and exceptional dynamic range. In order to recreate the peerless sound of a Shigeru Kawai SK-EX digitally, the latest Concert Artist models incorporate a variety of unique technologies that capture and reproduce characteristics of the original piano with incredible realism and authenticity.
88-key Piano Sampling & Harmonic Imaging XL
The rich, expressive sound of the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX is at the heart of the latest Concert Artist digital pianos, with all eighty-eight keys
of this world-class instrument painstakingly recorded, meticulously analysed, and accurately reproduced as high-fidelity digital waveforms.
Recording each key individually in this way – as opposed to stretching the same tone to span multiple notes – preserves the grand piano’s
unique harmonic character, and guarantees that the sound heard when playing any one of the CA79’s real wooden keys is a
faithful representation of the original acoustic source. In addition, the SK-EX is also captured at a variety of different volume levels from pianissimo to fortissimo. This allows an accurate acoustic portrait of the instrument to be assembled using Kawai’s Harmonic Imaging XL technology, resulting in smooth tonal transitions across the keyboard and throughout the entire dynamic range.
The naturally expressive Shigeru Kawai sound is further enriched by advanced resonance algorithms which physically model the complex tonal interactions produced by the strings, dampers, and various other parts of an acoustic piano. These resonances are generated for all 88 keys progressively, allowing the Concert Artist to behave just like an acoustic piano.
The Concert Artists’ latest SK-EX Rendering engine also utilises multi-channel sampling to capture the sound from different points of the Shigeru Kawai concert grand piano. This modern technique not only allows a broader range of tonal characteristics to be recorded and reproduced, but also further improves the connection felt between the keyboard action and piano sound.
Skilled piano technicians are responsible for performing the various tuning, voicing, and regulation adjustments that allow an acoustic piano to truly sing. The powerful Virtual Technician feature simulates these careful refinements digitally, allowing performers to shape aspects of the piano’s tonal character and playability to suit their unique personal preferences.
PREMIUM SOUND DELIVERY
The distinctive sound of an acoustic piano is produced by felt hammers striking metal strings. As these strings vibrate, they transfer
energy through the bridge onto the instrument’s wooden soundboard, resulting in a rich, powerful sound. In order to reproduce these characteristics, and transform the digitally generated Shigeru Kawai SK-EX sound into an authentic acoustic piano tone, the latest Concert Artist instruments feature premium quality audio processing and amplifier technologies, and multi-speaker delivery systems developed in collaboration with Onkyo.
Developed in collaboration with respected Japanese audio manufacturer, Onkyo, the latest Concert Artist models feature highgrade
processing and amplification systems. These premium components combine to deliver best-in-class audio quality, reproducing the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand piano sounds with exceptional clarity and minimal distortion.
360° Speaker system
The CA79 features powerful 6-speaker delivery systems that utilise premium driver units, and custom-engineered diffuser panels which help to expand the pianos’ tonal projection in all directions. These additional components create a 360° sound field around the instrument, ensuring a natural piano sound for both the player, and those listening elsewhere in the room.
INTEGRATED CHEEKBLOCK TOUCHSCREEN DISPLAY
Concealing their impressive digital features, the Concert Artists’ main control panel is discreetly embedded within the pianos’ left cheekblock. This helps to preserve the instruments’ attractive pianolike appearance, and allows performers to enjoy the simple pleasure
of playing music without the visual distraction of flashing lights and rows of buttons directly above the keyboard. The large 5″ touchscreen display features a modern user interface that is optimised for pianists, while providing easy access to additional sounds and functions that inspire musical creativity. Adjustments to the Virtual Technician and other settings are automatically recalled every time the instrument is powered on, while the display itself can also be set to gently fade out while playing in order to aid concentration.
One of the many benefits of owning a digital piano is the ability to connect a pair of headphones, allowing players to enjoy the instrument without disturbing others. The CA79’s Spatial Headphone Sound (SHS) technology subtly enhances the depth and realism of the pianos’ sound when listening through headphones, and helps to reduce auditory fatigue when playing for extended periods of time.
The latest Concert Artist instruments feature built-in Bluetooth MIDI connectivity, allowing the pianos to communicate with smart devices wirelessly, and be enjoyed with a wide variety of music-related apps.
Moreover, Bluetooth Audio capability also enables the sound from songs and videos to be played through the instruments’ Onkyo
amplifier and speaker systems without any additional cables. APT-X is supported as well for highest audio quality.
The CA79’s redesigned communication standard allows the user-friendly touchscreen interface to also be accessed via the dedicated PianoRemote app for iOS and supported Android devices. The app connects to the piano wirelessly via the Concert Artists’ integrated Bluetooth, providing an effortless way to change sounds, or enjoy the vast array of built-in music content from the comfort of an armchair.additional cables (available from April 2020).