The sound of hammers striking strings, resonating through solid spruce. Warm vibrations that illuminate a room, leaving its audience enchanted. The natural voice of an acoustic piano is truly unmistakable.
A fine piano entices musicians to perform with spontaneity and passion, yet such unbridled expressiveness may not always be appropriate. Indeed, in certain environments, an acoustic piano can prove disruptive; the diligent tones of children practising scales are unlikely to be welcomed by other family members wishing to watch television, while even the most gentle, soothing chopin preludes have the potential to irritate neighbours if performed after an acceptable time.
Fortunately, AnyTimeX2 instruments incorporate an acoustic muting feature with powerful digital audio components, allowing pianists to continue enjoying the distinctiv feeling of a traditional piano, while listening discreetly using private headphones. Exceptional touch, optimum responsiveness, digital flexibility:
The new range of AnyTimeX2 hybrid pianos from KAWAI.
In 1971 KAWAI revolutionised piano technology by introducing ABS action parts within the fine workings of the piano action. This rigid, atmospherically stable compound material, addressed many of the problems associated with wooden components, such as breakages under continual high stress, and shrinking and swelling due to changes in climate. The introduction of ABS action parts proved a significant development in modern piano design, and rapidly earned high praise from pianists and technicians worldwide. The Millennium III Upright Action, unveiled in 2006, has been developed to enhance the three performance elements that professional pianists most desire – speed, control and power. The introduction of stronger ABS Carbon materials has allowed KAWAI scientists to develop lighter action parts without sacrificing durability, further optimising key repetition and response speed for a truly unparalleled playing experience.
With the acoustic components muted, KAWAI AnyTimeX2 pianos employ a unique digital technology, developed and refined at the Shigeru Kawai Research & Development Laboratory in Ryuyo, Japan, calling upon the finest hand-crafted KAWAI EX Concert Grand piano to deliver an unmistakably warm, authentic tone. Placed inside a purpose-built anechoic chamber, free of audio reflections, the rich sound of this world class instrument is meticulously analysed and recorded by our Master Piano Artisan pioneers. The acoustic portrait of each note is later transformed into a highly precise three dimensional digital representation, employing KAWAI’s proprietary Harmonic Imaging™ technology. This unique process faithfully reproduces the broad dynamic range of the original grand piano, while also providing the source for a rich selection of additional high-quality instrument sounds.
IHSS Sensor System
A fine acoustic piano entices musicians to perform with enthusiasm, spontaneity and passion. Yet, the satisfaction that one enjoys when hammers strike the strings is often diluted by traditional piano silencing techniques. Sensors located below the keyboard struggle to accurately interpret the subtleties of musical expression, which is why AnyTimeX2 pianos integrate sensors within the fine workings of the piano action, reading the precise movements of each hammer. Whether performing rapid passages that demand the same key be played repeatedly before returning to its natural starting position, or pianissimo pieces desiring the very softest of key strokes, the Integrated Hammer Sensing System (IHSS) represents the elaborate nuances of every note. Pianists can finally enjoy the convenience of absolute privacy, without sacrificing the responsive touch and authentic expression of a traditional acoustic piano.
The AnyTimeX2 control box is placed below the keybed. In addition, the AnyTimeX2 feature an innovative slide-out control panel, with a gentle push revealing an LCD display and array of function buttons. Digital operation greatly extends the capabilities of the AnyTimeX2 piano beyond that of a traditional acoustic instrument, with convenient transpose and tuning facilities, a metronome and song recorder (except K-15 ATX2-p), and a selection of high fidelity sounds suitable for various musical occasions. Dual headphone sockets provide greater flexibility for academic institutions, while other connectors allow a range of creative music-making opportunities.
Harmonic Imaging XL (HI-XL)
With expanded piano sound memory, the new AnytimeX2 models boasts the largest sample size of any Kawai digital piano. This ‘eXtra Long’ standard of Harmonic Imaging technology extends the important attack portion of the piano sound by up to 120%, articulating the natural detail and resonance characteristics of each note more clearly, and improving the instrument’s organic tonal quality overall. When playing a fine piano, the amount of pressure applied to the keyboard affects not only the volume of the sound produced, but also the unique tonal character of each note. Therefore, in order to construct a realistic acoustic portrait of the EX concert grand piano, not only is each key recorded individually, but also at various different volume levels, ranging from gentle pianissimo to thunderous fortissimo.
AnytimeX2 models offer a highly detailed acoustic portrait, with Harmonic Imaging XL technology ensuring smooth tonal transitions across the keyboard and throughout the entire dynamic range.
88-key Piano Sampling
The beautiful sound of the Kawai EX concert grand piano is at the heart of the new AnytimeX2 series, 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 over several different notes – preserves the rich harmonic character of the EX concert grand piano, and guarantees that the sound heard when playing any key is a faithful representation of the original acoustic source.
Akustik Piano variety
The AnytimeX2 models showcase a variety of grand piano sounds that are suitable for a wide range of musical periods and styles. In addition, a traditional Kawai upright piano sound is also included for pieces that suggest a feeling of nostalgia, or call for a slightly more intimate tonal character (except K-15 ATX2-p).
An experienced piano technician is essential to fully realise the potential of an acoustic piano. As well as meticulously tuning each note, the technician performs regulation and voicing adjustments that allow a fine instrument to truly sing. The Virtual Technician function in the new AnytimeX2 and AnyTimeX2-f models simulate such refinements digitally. 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.
The Variety of a Digital Piano
Supplementing the beautiful acoustic piano voices, the AnytimeX2 models also feature an excellent selection of additional sounds, ranging from electric piano and drawbar or church organ, to strings, and other instruments, inviting musicians to add variety to their performances.
The AnytimeX2 models feature several keyboard modes. The Dual playing mode 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 can be adjusted quickly and easily.
Redeveloped Effects & Reverb
The AnytimeX2 models powerful new digital effects engine further enhances the instrument’s superior core sounds, applying additional layers of detail and realism that bring performances to life.
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 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.
Flexible USB/MIDI Connectivity
The AnytimeX2 models are equipped with MIDI connectors that allow the instrument to be connected to a computer or MIDI-instruments for MIDI use.
The USB to Device functionality (except K-15 ATX2-p) allows favourite instrument settings, 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.
MP3 Audio Playback & Record
USB memory devices can also be used to play back MP3 or WAV audio files (except K-15 ATX2-p), allowing musicians to learn the chords or melody for a new piece, or to simply play along with their favourite songs. It is even possible to record entire performances (including external line-in audio*) directly as MP3 or WAV audio files for emailing to family and friends, or casual listening away from the piano.
Useful Connectivity Options
In addition to the USB to Device connector, the AnytimeX2 models also feature standard LINE-level audio and MIDI jacks. These useful connectivity options allow the instrument to be enjoyed in larger settings such as churches or school halls, and provide greater flexibility when using computers and other audio devices.
Integrated Lesson Function
The convenient lesson function (except K-15 ATX2-p) allows aspiring pianists to learn piano with classical Czerny, Burgmüller, Beyer and Bach etudes. With a strong emphasis on acoustic piano realism, both models also feature traditional finger exercises, scales, and warm-up drills, and include a companion book of printed scores to further aid one’s practise.
The AnytimeX2 models are equipped with a power saving feature which turns off the piano automatically after a specified period of inactivity.
Joyous touch to awaken one’s imagination
The new GX Series grand pianos aim to reproduce the delicate control of a full concert grand piano, delivering a level of refinement that few pianists have the opportunity to experience.
In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the length of the keyboard has been extended significantly, increasing the fulcrum distance for each key. This extended key pivot length results in a more consistent touch weight when playing towards the back of the keyboard, affording the pianist greater expressive control, and allowing one’s imagination to soar freely.
In addition, the GX Series’ advanced Millennium III keyboard action incorporates the latest materials; combining ABS resin with carbon fibre to further improve one’s playing experience. This ABS-Carbon compound is both highly rigid and extremely lightweight – characteristics that have seen the same material successfully employed throughout the aeronautics industry as a superior alternative to wood. By utilising action parts fashioned from ABS-Carbon, the GX Series’ keyboard action is more durable and less prone to performance degradation over time, while also delivering improved responsiveness and control. This evolution in keyboard touch can be experienced by the pianist with every key stroke, from the first to the very last note played.
Purity of tone that fills the room
In order to produce Kawai’s special tone, a broad range of woods are meticulously analysed for quality and character, before being selected as the finest materials for each specific purpose. The soundboard has arguably the most significant influence over a piano’s individual tonal elements. Therefore, woods that conform to the most rigorous gravity and propagation velocity standards are carefully selected by experienced craftsmen in order to achieve rich, deep bass tones, and bright, colourful, sustaining treble tones. In addition to the soundboard, bridges, and ribs, optimum materials for the inner-rim are also carefully considered, combining the unique properties of different hardwoods to create a layered hybrid construction. This produces a broad range of sound, allowing even greater expressive power.
In order to produce a richer, more immersive sound, the overall rigidity of the GX instruments’ body has also been improved. The thickness of the upper beam that attaches to the outer-rim is increased, allowing the pin blocks to support a tensile strength load of approximately 20 tons. As the tone of each note is improved, the sense of three-dimensional sound is also enhanced. Moreover, increasing the rigidity of the piano’s carbon steel tuning pins further strengthens the instruments’ tuning stability, to meet the rigorous demands of the finest pianists.
Quiet yet strong, loud yet delicate – unparalleled tonal expression
In order to realise the pianist’s infinite range of expression, the GX Series utilises premium grand piano hammers. These hammers are constructed from wood that possesses excellent acoustic properties, with hammer felt prepared from the finest quality long-haired New Zealand and Australian wool. These felted hammers have a soft, delicate exterior, yet are tight and rigid on the inside. When playing pianissimo passages, the strings are struck by the delicate exterior felt of the hammer to produce a soft and gentle tone, while fortissimo passages utilise the tighter, harder interior felt, thus producing a louder, more powerful sound. Moreover, all hammers are under-felted in order to further improve their resilience. These steps allow experienced piano technicians to perform the most subtle of voicing adjustments in order to maximise the instrument’s exquisite sonic potential. Delivering a broad range of tonal colour from pianissimo to fortissimo, and a rich variety of musical expression.
The instrument’s duplex scale system further enhances the harmonics of middle and upper-range tones, adding depth and breadth to the overall sound. And to ensure the ultimate touch at the keyboard surface – that magical point where the pianist and the piano become one – all GX instruments adopt premium Neotex coating for white and black keys. This unique material possesses moisture absorbent characteristics to enhance touch control and prevent mistakes, and inspires a sense of reassuring satisfaction within the pianist.
A lifetime of happiness, wrapped within a grand piano
Preserving the treasured design of a grand piano, while pursuing new details of elegance – this is the design concept of the GX Series. The instrument’s exterior design, with its gentle curves and broad music rest, establishing the traditional characteristics and captivating form of a grand piano. Expanding the instrument’s upper-beam thickness not only reinforces the piano’s overall structural rigidity, but also serves to further distinguish this exterior design, with Kawai’s highly prized painting and finishing process affording the piano body its distinctive, luxurious ebony polish appearance. However, the beauty of the GX Series truly shines upon opening the instrument’s top-board. The mesmerising brilliance of the glowing golden frame, the delicate woodwork and abundant expression of quality displayed along the inner rim, the luxurious elegance of rich black felt, and the reassuring display of hand-made craftsmanship – verified by the Kawai frame mark. These are the characteristics that embody the spirit of ‘THE GRAND’.
Finally, the GX Series instruments feature useful mechanisms such as multi-angle piano lid props, and Kawai’s original ‘Soft Fall’ system, which closes the fallboard gently and slowly, protecting the player’s hands from jarring lid accidents.