The Joseph Brodmann Group, based in Vienna, Austria, entered the digital piano market this year with six models of vertical piano. Brodmann also markets two vertical models under the Taylor brand.
570 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Dover, New Jersey 07801
Kashio Tadao established Casio in 1946. Originally a small subcontractor factory that made parts and gears for microscopes, Casio built Japan's first electric calculator in 1954, which began the company's transformation into the consumer-electronics powerhouse it is today. Perhaps best known for its calculators, digital cameras, and watches, Casio entered the musical instrument business with the launch of the Casiotone in 1980.
Casio's current line of digital pianos consists of five vertical and two slab models. The Privia line's PX-130 and PX-330 slabs are the least expensive ensemble models, and offer an optional stand-and-pedal module that turns them into three-pedal pianos with support for half-pedaling. The PX-130, at a mere 25 pounds, is also the lightest digital piano. Some vertical models are marketed under the Celviano label. Casio digital pianos are available at music retailers, consumer-electronics and club stores, and online. Casio has more models under $1,000 than any other manufacturer.
Galileo Music Corporation
P.O. Box 633
Falmouth, Massachusetts 02541
Galileo is the digital piano brand of Viscount, an Italian company that traces its roots back to accordion builder Antonio Galanti, who built his first instrument in 1890. The Galanti accordion factory was opened in 1898 by Antonio's son Egidio Galanti, whose own sons, Matteo and Marcello, became the driving forces behind General music and Viscount, respectively. Viscount began manufacturing electronic organs in the 1960s, with digital pianos following in the late 1980s. Today, Viscount is run by the fourth generation of the Galanti family, Marcello's son Mauro and daughter Loriana.
There are currently ten models in the Galileo line, including three verticals and seven grands. The grands use a 19-ply wood rim like that of an acoustic grand. Galileo offers its Concerto model in the most ornate traditional wood cabinet currently available.
For company background, see the Kawai listing in the "Brand and Company Profiles" for acoustic pianos.
Kawai entered the electronic organ market in 1960, and produced its first digital piano in 1985. Today, Kawai's lineup features 15 models, many of them new this year. Kawai's digital piano line comprises three groups: the Concert Performer (CP) and ES ensemble pianos; the standard digital piano line, consisting of the Concert Artist (CA), CL, and CN models; and Professional Products, including the CE, EP, and MP lines. The Kawai CA91 was the first digital piano to use a transducer-driven soundboard for a more natural piano sound, a feature also available on its replacement, the CA93. The CP ensemble models have undergone a complete makeover, with all models now sporting touchscreen technology. The top-of-the-line CP209 ensemble grand is also available with two different levels of factory-installed PianoDisc player-piano system. If you're after a huge number of voices, the models at the upper end of the CP line come with over 1,000.
Kawai uses five different actions in its digital pianos; two new ones, introduced this year with the new CA and CP piano models, appear to be replacing three older ones. Specifically, the new midrange Real Hammer (RH) action seems to be replacing the Advanced Hammer Action III (AHA III) and Advanced Hammer Action IV (AHA IV), and the new top-of-the-line Realistic Material, Realistic Mechanism, Realistic Motion (RM3) action is replacing the AWA PRO II action. The RM3 action has wood keys, Ivory Touch (simulated ivory) keytops, and, on the CA93, CP209, and CP179 models, simulated escapement.
Kawai has initiated on its website an online store that allows customers to purchase five models of digital piano normally sold only through bricks-and-mortar piano dealers. The pianos are delivered by the closest stocking dealer. In Europe it has been possible for some time to purchase name-brand home digital pianos online; this marks the first time this arrangement is being tried in North America.