New Pianos Announced this January (2021)

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NAMM Believe in Music logo

Every January the musical instrument world descends on California for the annual Winter NAMM exhibition. It is the most important showcase for the latest music products. This year the event is not taking place – for obvious reasons. However, a virtual exhibition entitled NAMM: Believe in Music has been created as an online alternative. 

Instrument manufacturers plan to unveil new products at the traditional show each January. This year they are still exhibiting, but online at Believe in Music.

Here (in brief) are some of the “new releases” from the world of pianos…

Viscount

front image of Viscount's Legend'70s Artist Modular Piano
Viscount Legend ’70s Artist Modular Piano

The Legend ‘70s range is an interesting new concept… it is a modular stage piano. Modules are individually screwed into slots in the front panel. These are selected and arranged to suit the requirements of the pianist. 

There are three different models. The Legend ‘70s Compact has a 73 note keyboard and comes with two built-in modules and slots for two more. The Artist has an 88 note keyboard and can have three additional modules, and the Artist-W is similar but with a graded hammer action and wooden keys.  

changing a module of the Legend'70s Artist
Changing a piano module

At present five modules are available: Acoustic Piano, Electric Piano, Sound Collection, Clavi, and External. Viscount hopes to expand this range shortly. More information here.

Korg

Korg introduces two new digitals for 2021… the LP-380U and the Korg L1. 

image a white Korg LP380 in a domestic setting
Korg LP-380 (non “U’)

The popular Korg LP-380 digital home piano has been around for some years, but has now been upgraded to include USB MIDI and Audio. It now has a USB Type B connector. This allows the instrument to be connected to a computer, tablet, or smartphone, and your performance recorded as music data. Audio can also be fed back to the instrument’s speakers.

Several apps can now be used with the piano, and a 3-month premium plan trial of the Skoove piano app is now included in the purchase pack.

At present we have very little information about the Korg L1. It’s an 88 note slim (less than 3″ high) and lightweight (13 lbs / 6 kg) digital piano with the same LS keyboard as the Korg Kronos. It seems to be menu driven with just a couple of control knobs. Other than that we will have to wait to find out. It won’t be available until later this year.

The Korg L1 shown on a scissor stand
Preliminary image of Korg L1

If this had been a real trade show, the L1 would be one of those products you see locked in a glass box!

The Korg website can be found here, but as yet full details of the L1 and LP-380U have not been published.

Roland

In addition to the FP-X Series (covered in our last post), Roland has also launched the F701 and RP701. These two new pianos are for the home and feature contemporary styling and virtually identical specifications. 

the Roland RP701 in a domestic setting
Roland RP701 digital home piano

The difference, however, lies in the cabinet. The F701 is slimmer with an understated appearance and has a folding lid that doubles as a music rest. Whilst the RP701 has a more substantial frame and features a sliding key cover and a dedicated music rest. Full details on the Roland website.

Yamaha

Yamaha has now added the CLP-785, and CLP-795GP to the new Clavinova CLP-700 Series announced in 2020. The CLP-795GP is the flagship of the range. The “GP” signifies Grand Piano and refers to the style of the casework. 

Yamaha Clavinova CLP-795GP

These new additions feature Yamaha’s new touch sensor control panel. Located on the bass key block, this can be turned off to provide a smooth non-intrusive appearance.

All the Yamaha CLP-700 Clavinovas feature binaural sound and two new fortepiano voices. These allow you to experience classical music as it would be heard when originally composed by the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin (albeit with better sound quality!) 

Yamaha has also released information on the entry-level Clavinova CLP-725 which will be available in March. All Clavinovas in the CLP-600 Series will then have been updated to the CLP-700 Series.

Yamaha DGX-670 Portable Grand Ensemble without stand
Yamaha DGX-670 Portable Grand Ensemble

The Yamaha DGX-670 is a new portable grand ensemble instrument with a full 88-note weighted action keyboard. It features samples of the flagship Yamaha CFX acoustic grand piano, and also includes 600 instrument voices, 29 Drum /SFX Kits, and 263 accompaniment Style presets.

Piano Phoenix

(Not to be confused with Phoenix Pianos from the UK.) The Piano Phoenix originally appeared in 2017, designed by Adele H. Music in France. It is a remarkable 88-note (weighted keys) portable digital piano that folds up to a package just 24 x 66.5 x 38 cm. The piano is battery powered giving up to 12 hours playing time.

Mathematical modelling is used to recreate the sound of a Steinway Model D, and there are many other interesting features employed by this unique instrument. The latest version of the Piano Phoenix is exhibited at the NAMM: Believe in Music event.

Believe in Music

Like the NAMM Show itself, the Believe in Music week is primarily for members of the music industry but now, being online, anyone can “attend”. And there is much that is well worth checking out.

The event offers streamed live music events, interviews with top performers, product previews, tutorials and much more covering the complete world of musical instruments. Something for everyone, take a look at the schedule. And there are many more piano on show than the few mentioned above.

logo for Worldful of Pianos event

One particular feature of past NAMM Shows has been Roomful of Pianos. This brought many memorable piano performances to the show’s attendees. This year Believe in Music is celebrating the “king of instruments” with the interactive Worldful of Pianos video event (supported by Steinway & Sons and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation). Details of the program and how you can get involved can be found on the special Worldful of Pianos webpage.

Other piano manufacturers and distributors exhibiting include:

NAMM: Believe in Music Week runs from 18th to 22nd January 2021. “Entrance” is free, although you will have to register.


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