We live in a generation where digital pianos are quite the norm in many households, be it because of space issues, or just the option of being able to adjust the volume so that they can be played in the dead of the night without the neighbours going berserk.

I never took up the piano when I was young, and in my early twenties I decided maybe it was time to stop whining about not knowing how to play one, and instead get out there and start learning. Over at a certain shop well-known for pianos, I’d asked the sales personnel whether there was a significant difference between an acoustic upright and a digital piano emulating the upright. I mean, if the digital pianos sounded like the real thing, and were cheaper, why were people still going acoustic?

He told me that if I were planning to master the piano, I’d likely want to upgrade to a proper, acoustic upright by the time I’d hit the 7th or 8th grade. The build of the digital pianos tried to emulate the touch and feel of an acoustic pianos, but would never be a hundred percent similar.

For at least half a decade I’d lived with that distinction in my mind. Last week, this line that I’d drawn was cleanly erased by the guys from Casio.

30th September marked the debut of the new state-of-the-art series of digital CELVIANO Grand Hybrid Pianos, a noteworthy collaboration between Casio and world-renowned piano manufacturer C. Bechstien.

“Grand Hybrid Pianos? So… does this mean they’re supposed to sound like grand pianos?” Yes, Watson – you are very right. I won’t bore you guys too much with the boring details since they’re already available online, but here’s the lowdown on why this series might turn heads:

They’ve Replicated the Acoustics of a Grand Piano

… in something that takes up much less space. Casio has developed a Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Grand Sound Source techonology that’s able to replicate the rich reverberation and delicate acoustics of three distinguished grand pianos through sound sampling.

In short, it means that these guys have managed to find a way to make the piano notes sound like they’re coming out of an acoustic grand piano, rather than the speakers of a digital piano. I walked into the launch with some doubt on it, but was fully convinced by the time a professional player was halfway into a song.

If you’re into acoustics, do check out how their AiR Grand Sound Source technology works – it’s pretty mind-blowing.

GP3

To cater to people with varying preferences in piano sounds, this series boasts three different sound profile modes: The Berlin Grand for an elegant, clear sound, The Hamburg Grand for delivering power and strength with a crisp and distinct string resonance, as well as the Vienna Grand, for its calm and stately sound with a rich bass and beautiful tone.

They Really Feel Like A Grand Piano

Digital piano players out there should be familiar with the term “weighted keys”. It means that the keys in these digital pianos have been given a sort of counter-weight, such that the keys don’t feel too light and easy to press down when playing – it makes a whole lot of difference to the music!

The CELVIANO Grand Hybrids have what Casio calls a Natural Grand Hammer Action Keyboard, which realistically simulates the keys of concert grand pianos. Also, they’re made from solid Austrian spruce wood, just like C. Bechstein pianos! That throws in a pinch of authenticity into the whole experience.

They’re Really Pretty

We all know how engineers obsess about making certain digital equipment almost like the real thing, but they tend to forget about the aesthetic part of the product. I’m relieved to say that the guys from Casio has managed to achieve so much with the GP models, and still have them looking very sleek and classy.

Can’t play the piano? You could even get one as a display piece for your home. I’d recommend actually playing it though!

GP4

A lady mesmerised by the realistic-sounding acoustics of the GP-500BP

If you’re really interested in this series, here’re the suggested retail prices: The GP-300BK is going for S$4,799, the GP-500BP is S$6,999 and they also have a lower-range model with fewer features, the AP-700BK going for only S$3,299.

For more information and to have a look at their specs, head over to their website!