The Definitive Piano Buying Guide
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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.
Galileo has taken a step up in both technology and sound with its newly introduced VEGA sound-generation technology, available in its new YP series of digitals. With this and Galileo’s new MAP (mechanical feel) action, the user is brought closer to the experience of playing an actual acoustic grand. The YP series is available in a number of beautiful cabinet finishes.
After 50 years as a piano builder, Kawai entered the market with its first digital piano in 1985. Today, Kawai’s digital lineup for North America features 19 models. The lineup comprises four main groups: the Concert Performer (CP) ensemble pianos; standard digital pianos, consisting of the Concert Artist (CA), Classic (CS), and CN series models, plus the models CL26 and KDP90; the ES100 and ES7 portable instruments; and a Professional Products group that includes the MP series professional stage pianos, CE220 digital piano, and the VPC1 virtual piano controller.
Kawai recently created the first digital piano to use a transducer-driven soundboard for a more natural piano sound, a feature that is available on the flagship CA95 and the CS10. Many Kawai models offer USB digital audio recording and playback. And, if you’re after a huge number of voices, the models at the upper end of the CP series come with over 1,000.
Kawai uses a variety of actions in its digital pianos. Four of them — the Grand Feel (GF), RM3, RM3II, and the AWA PROII — feature wooden keys with a unique fulcrum design, and can be found in upper-end instruments. The Responsive Hammer (RH), RHII, and AHA-IV actions use an industry-standard graded hammer design with plastic keys, and can be found in the lower-cost and portable models.
Kawai digital and ensemble pianos are sold by a network of authorized local dealers, with certain models also being available through Kawai’s online store. Instruments purchased from Kawai online are delivered by the closest stocking dealer. Kawai Professional Products are sold through a combination of authorized local dealers and online retailers.
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