Blüthner USA LLC
5660 West Grand River
Lansing, Michigan 48906
Blüthner, one of the world's pre-eminent piano makers, has released its first digital piano, the e-Klavier. (For company background, see the Blüthner listing in the "Brand and Company Profiles" for acoustic pianos.) Engineered and manufactured entirely at the Blüthner factory in Leipzig, Germany, the e-Klavier is offered in three styles: slab, vertical, and professional performance keyboard.
Blüthner says it has developed a unique approach to sampling and sound modeling that allows the e-Klavier to reproduce the effect of the aliquot (fourth) string from the Blüthner piano, an approach the company calls Authentic Acoustic Behavior. This system also permits the reproduction of advanced harmonics, such as the coincidental partials produced when two notes are played simultaneously, and the sound the dampers make when lifting off the strings. The e-Klavier will include a digital editor that will allow the user to adjust the string resonance, aliquot effect, and damper performance. The user will also be able to download new sounds into the e-Klavier via the Internet, and to store the sounds of turn-of-the-century Blüthner pianos and other Blüthners of interest.
The speaker system and amplifier are unique to the e-Klavier and were designed by Günther Phillip of PCL Audio. The e-Klavier 2 model contains an actual piano soundboard, enabling the instrument to produce certain aspects of acoustic-piano tone that are difficult or impossible to simulate by purely electronic means.
Piano Marketing Group LLC
752 East 21st Street
Ferdinand, Indiana 47532
The Joseph Brodmann Group, based in Vienna, Austria, has entered the digital piano market with six models of vertical piano.
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 six vertical and three slab models. The Privia line's PX-350 slab is the least expensive ensemble model, and all three Privia slabs offer an optional stand-and-pedal module that turns them into three-pedal pianos with support for half-pedaling. At a mere 24 or 25 pounds, they are also the lightest digital pianos. The AP models are marketed under the Celviano label. All Casio digital pianos use the three-sensor, weighted, and scaled (graded) Tri-Sensor hammer action with ebony- and ivory-feel keys. Casio digital pianos are available at music retailers, consumer-electronics and club stores, and online.
GW Distribution, LLC
135 Fisher Road
Mahwah, New Jersey 07430
Galileo is a division of Viscount International, 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, and for many years produced some of the finest accordions in the world. In the late 1950s, Egidio's sons, who had joined the business, branched out into making electronic-organ parts for some of that era's best-known brand names. Viscount began manufacturing its own brand of electronic home organs in the 1960s, under the Viscount name. Digital pianos followed in the 1970s, beginning with the Instapiano. Today, Viscount is run by the fourth generation of the Galanti family; distribution in the U.S. is handled by the first of the fifth generation to join the family business.
The Galileo line of digital pianos includes slabs, verticals, grands, and ensemble grands. Some of the grands have a 19-ply wood rim similar to that of an acoustic grand. Galileo offers its Concerto and Aria models in some of the most ornate decorator wood cabinets currently available for a digital piano.