Casio In Historic Partnership With C. Bechstein
...advanced technology to faithfully reproduce the playing experience of a fine grand piano. Casio introduced the new instruments, dubbed the Celviano Grand Hybrid Series, at a September 16 press event at Juilliard School of Music in New York City. Coinciding with the 35th anniversary of Casio’s electronic musical instrument division, the Grand Hybrid Series reflects the company’s ongoing advances in the professional market. For C. Bechstein, the ongoing partnership presents an opportunity to expose its brand name to a broader audience, and, in the words of CEO Karl Schulze, “to give those who can’t afford a grand piano access to an inspiring piano experience.”
Casio management traveled to Berlin a year ago last July to propose the partnership. Schulze agreed immediately, and since then engineers from both companies worked together continuously. The results of these joint efforts are the proprietary “Natural Grand Action,” which simulates the touch and feel of a fine piano, and the new AiR Grand Sound Source, which combines sampling and modeling technology to capture the piano’s sympathetic string resonance, damper resonance, and key-off response.
The Natural Grand Hammer Action features full-length piano keys made from the same Austrian spruce used in C. Bechstein grands, married to a unique new mechanism developed by Casio that delivers authentic grand piano hammer movement. The result is a tactile response that closely resembles a fine acoustic instrument. Bechstein technicians were also involved in refining the AiR Grand Sound Aource to capture the sonic quality of three of the world’s most coveted grand pianos: the Berlin Grand sound, based on the C. Bechstein piano, the Hamburg Grand, noted for its resonant bass, and the Vienna grand, with its subtle and distinctive tone.
Casio has coupled this tone generation technology with a new six speaker sound system that emulates the spatial quality of a 9' grand piano, where sound emanates from the top and bottom of the soundboard. There is also onboard digital signal processing that simulates the acoustics of numerous great concert halls around the world. A special Headphone Mode is included to produce an ideal stereo image while playing or practicing quietly.
Noted Sony recording artist Simone Dinnerstein was on hand to debut the new instruments to an audience of New York music professionals. After a compelling performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and Schubert’s third Impromptu, she said, “Unlike other digital pianos, these instruments truly sing. They really do come close to approximating the feel of a superb grand piano.”
Stephen Schmidt, vice president of Casio’s Electronic Musical Instrument Division said the global market potential for the new instruments is “tremendous.” In addition to offering an exceptional musical experience to players who can’t afford, or lack the space for a fine grand, he noted that the Grand Hybrid Series has potential in the educational market, saying, “It’s ideal for a practice room.”
Other features of the Grand Hybrid include: 256-note polyphony, five touch sensitivity curves, 60 preset songs, ten user songs, Concert Play mode, Duet mode, USB audio recording, 1/4" line outputs, Satin Black finish (GP-300) or Black Polish finish (GP-500BP). Casio’s GP-300 ($3,999) will be available at select music dealers nationwide beginning in September, and the GP-500BP ($5,999) will be available beginning in November.
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