Korg have announced their long awaited new digital piano – the G1 Air. I thought it might have appeared at NAMM a couple of months ago, but it wasn’t there (unless tucked away in some back room).
Two important aspects of this announcement are the price and availability. The UK’s SSP is expected to be £1249 (around 1500USD/1450Euros); and should be in the shops in the summer (2017).
In their press release, Korg highlight the following features:
- The sound of three of the world’s finest concert grand pianos
- Multiple-layer samples create authentic grand piano tone at all velocities
- Digital recreation of grand piano string and damper resonance for ultimate realism
- RH3 keyboard accurately simulates acoustic piano touch and response
- Newly developed amplification and speaker system
- Contemporary design cabinet available in 3 colour options
- Bluetooth audio playback
This is an 88 note (A0-C8) instrument with a weighted hammer action keyboard. The keys feel slightly heavier in the lower register and become lighter as you move up the keyboard. There are five levels of touch sensitivity, and (should you need them) nine types of temperament.
At the heart of the G1 are the three concert grand piano presets – German, Austrian and Japanese. So basically Korg have sampled three instruments that typify the characteristics of the pianos from these three ‘genres’. We may all have our own ideas as to the sound that these stereotype, but to my mind a German piano is one of power and energy, the Austrian is warmer and more delicate, whilst the Japanese is brighter and more percussive. Anyway, you need to check these out for yourselves.
The problem with samples is that when the damper pedal is held down strings cross resonate and this is often ignored by manufacturers. Korg developed Damper and String Resonance technologies to address this issue. They also feature a Key-Off simulation that replicates the sound of the pianist’s fingers lifting off the keys.
As one would expect the G1 Air also provides a wide range of other orchestral and electric sounds as well as a two-track digital recording facility.
This takes the form of a two large speakers below the keyboard in a resonant enclosure, and two above, delivering up to 80 watts. The cover is used to reflect the sound which Korg claim deliver “indirect acoustics similar to those of a traditional instrument”.
The G1 Air, available in black, brown or white, looks like a very competent digital piano. It focuses on giving a great concert piano sound (and feel) rather than being a jack-of-all trades.
Visit the Korg website for more information.