The Definitive Piano Buying Guide
Korg USA, Inc.
316 South Service Road
Melville, New York 11747
Korg was founded in 1962 to produce its first product, an automatic rhythm machine, and in 1972 entered the electronic-organ market. The LP-10 stage piano appeared in 1980, and its first digitally sampled piano, the SG1, was introduced in 1986. Korg now offers four models of 88-key digital piano, including the entry-level model SP-170 at only $500, plus several models with shorter keyboards. Following Kawai’s lead, Korg recently announced plans to sell its home digital pianos online (see Kawai, above).
Kurzweil Music Systems
6000 Phyllis Drive
Cypress, California 90630
Legendary American inventor Ray Kurzweil, perhaps best known for having developed a reading machine for the blind, and hailed by Forbes magazine as “a modern-day Edison,” launched Kurzweil Music Systems in 1983, following conversations with Stevie Wonder about the potential for combining the control and flexibility of the computer with the sounds of acoustic instruments. The result, in 1984, was the Kurzweil K250, recognized as the world’s first digital piano. In 1990, Boston-based Kurzweil Music Systems was purchased by Young Chang, which continues to operate the division today. Young Chang is part of Korean-based Hyundai Development Company (HDC), one of the largest companies in the world.
Designed and engineered in Boston, Massachusetts, by a team of American sound architects, all Kurzweil home pianos feature the award-winning PC3X sound engine. Kurzweil piano models also feature USB and audio inputs to allow easy expansion via iPads and other external peripherals. Kurzweil pianos and keyboards are available through a combination of musical instrument dealers, piano-specialty stores, and online sources.
Lowrey, a division of Kawai, is a developer and distributor of electronic virtual orchestra and digital piano products designed primarily for the home and recreational player. Lowrey currently offers five models of virtual orchestra and two models of digital piano.
The Nord Piano 2 HA88, successor to the Nord Piano 88, is a professional stage piano that comes with a library of more than 1,000 sounds on a DVD, or downloadable from the Nord Piano website to the instrument via USB. Nord Keyboards are made in Sweden by Clavia DMI AB.
Omega is the brand name used in the U.S. for Kaino digital pianos. Established in 1986, Kaino, located in Guangzhou, China, began as a manufacturer of portable keyboards. In 1996, the company expanded to manufacture a full line of 88-note digital pianos, quickly becoming a major provider of keyboards throughout China. In 2010, the Omega brand was established for distribution in North America and Europe.
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