February 24, 2018
One of our favourite piano products of the last few years has been a new venture between electronics giant Casio and the historic piano manufacturer Bechstein to produce a unique digital instrument with many of the advantages of a traditional grand piano. We recently spent the day with Casio at their London headquarters so it seems like the perfect time to have a closer look at these fabulous instruments!
Introducing The Celviano Grand Hybrid
* World’s first collaboration on a digital piano between two large players in the piano market.
* Genuine wooden grand piano keys and hammer action of a grand piano – matched only by very expensive systems such as the Yamaha Avant Grand and Kawai Novus
* Samples taken from the three leading European piano manufacturers where other brands use either their own brand (Kawai, Yamaha) or a single main instrument (Roland)
* Speaker system intended to emulate grand piano with speakers facing upward or downward where a grand piano soundboard would be.
* Designed for authenticity rather than ease of play – many digitals are designed to be easy to play which is great when you’re trying one in a shop but not ideal for technique if you then take exams on a traditional strung piano.
* Scene Setting (400 and 500 only) allows fast recall of desired settings both in terms of the piano technician settings and features such as layering or split keyboard
* Concert play allows the user to play along with recordings made specially for the Grand Hybrids by the NHK orchestra in Japan
Mechanics of the Grand Hybrid
AiR Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator technology
The AiR system comprises the following elements:
* Piano Tone: the basic engine is driven by a series of recordings of three grand pianos sampled in an anechoic chamber. These are:
Berlin Bechstein 282 Concert Grand
Hamburg Steinway D
Vienna Bosendorfer Imperial
* Key Off: when you take your finger off the key the note does not simply stop but switches to a recording of the key being released. The Grand Hybrid actually uses two different key off samples to control how the note ends which means that when you take your finger off the key quickly it sounds different to when you remove your finger slowly. This gives an effect much closer to how the notes decay on a traditional strung piano.
* String resonance: on a traditional strung piano when you strike a note on one key there is much more going on than simply that string vibrating, and as long as the hammers are lifted away from the strings numerous strings vibrate in sympathy which adds a huge amount of colour to the sound. A good way to hear this is to hold down a C triad with your right hand then strike a staccato C in the bass register with your left: you will hear the C chord ringing out for as long as you hold down those keys. To simulate this the Grand Hybrid plays back numerous samples to properly reflect what you would hear on a traditional piano.
* Damper noise: As every part within a piano is mechanical, those parts create mechanical noise that you can hear when you play. A significant mechanical noise on grand pianos is the sound of the pedals being depressed, and the Grand Hybrid contains samples of this noise that it can add in whenever the pedals are moved.
* Action Noise (400 & 500 only): The action of a grand piano also adds noise, that can easily be heard if you play the Grand Hybrid with when it’s turned off. The GP400 and 500 have been designed to sound closer to a concert grand by creating the illusion of having the player and action close to each other while the strings are far away. This is done by blending a little artificial noise recorded from a concert grand piano into the sound you hear as you play.
* Aliquot resonance (400 & 500 only): concert and higher end baby grand pianos often have one of a couple of design attributes designed to add colour to the high end of the piano, which is particularly useful if the piano is being used in a large space where high frequencies don’t carry so well so benefit from a little enhancement. One such tuning is known as Aliquot stringing as invented by Julius Bluthner. This comprises an extra string in the top three octaves that is not struck but resonates in sympathy. Other makers obtain a similar effect known as duplex (or triplex) scaling by tuning the portions of the string outside of the actual speaking length so that they act as sympathetic resonators. The 400 and 500 have their own digital version of these sympathetic effects, adding a level of harmonic complexity to enhance the sound of the piano.
Grand Acoustic System
* Sound from an acoustic grand piano does not emanate forward and backward but rather up and down as the soundboard vibrates in those directions.In the Grand Hybrid there are four speakers firing upward and two downward to simulate this.
* The four upward speakers are aimed at the lid, so sound is reflected in the way it would be by a real piano lid.
* The headphone mode on the Grand Hybrid uses addition processing to give a realistic stereo spread rather than relying on the sample you hear through the speakers that will sound unnaturally wide through headphones.
* The Grand Hybrid has a genuine hammer action keyboard – all of their competitors use the term but very few actually have hammers in them!
* The key is Austrian quarter sawn Spruce bought from Bechstein’s suppler in Europe. Buying quarter sawn spruce ensures that the key is stable and will not warp, and ensures a more consistent density.
* The key bed is also Spruce and is very rigid. Most digital pianos have plastic or metal key beds which are not as strong or rigid and are less able to stand up to professional level of play over a long period.
* Although the hammer mechanism is simplified from a grand piano key, all the parts are lined up in the correct orientation so that they have the same travel as the hammer mechanism in a traditional piano key, and they are engineered to have the same weight. The practical upshot of this is that the key resistance and recoil is incredibly realistic. Using plastic parts in place of wooden ones means the Grand Hybrid does not need to be regulated, so there is no maintenance necessary.
* A common complaint with most digital piano is that they suffer from slow key recoil compared to a traditional piano. The Grand Hybrid keyboard tests as faster than a traditional piano key with a rate of 20 notes per second compared to 14 for a Bechstein grand – this is due to the combines hammer and whippen in the simplified hammer mechanism.
* The sensor in the Grand Hybrid is positioned at the hammer location rather than under the key as on most digital pianos. This means you hear the note at the split second a hammer would hit the string on a traditional piano.
* The Grand Hybrid comes loaded with 12 Concert Play tracks for which the sheet music can be found along with the manual. These are prerecorded backing tracks for which the pianist can play the piano part. These are not the typical MIDI files as found in many pianos with similar features but actual recordings made for Casio by the world renowned Japanese NHK orchestra.
* In addition to the 12 pieces installed Casio have been building a library of these recordings that is available for free online, along with PDF downloads of the manuscripts.
* If you are struggling with a new piece in the Concert Play mode it is possible to slow down the recording using the metronome controls.
* The reverb algorithms for the Grand Hybrid are based on 12 legendary venues and have been made specially by Casio in a process that involved visiting the venues offered on the Grand Hybrid and conducting acoustical tests.
* In addition to the 12 venues, the modelling process has been conducted from three listener locations so, not only can you choose between the venues you can also choose between sitting at the front, middle or rear of the venue.
Scene Setting (400 & 500 only)
* Scene setting gives the pianist a series of preset voices and allows them to store their own settings. These can comprise functions such as layering two sounds or splitting the keyboard, or they can be adjustments to elements of the piano sound such as mellow and bright voicings, reverb or lid position.
* The technician voice presets include sounds specifically set to compliment the style of certain composers
* There are 10 user scenes as well as the factory settings for players to input their most commonly used settings for instant recall.
There are a number of very cleverly designed digital pianos currently on the market that bring the digital piano ever closer to being able to function as a satisfactory substitute to a traditional piano even for experienced players, and pianos such as the Kawai CS11, Roland LX17 and Yamaha CLP685 are all exceptional instrument. In teaming up with Bechstein however, Casio have brought something genuinely unique to the market place and we’re blown away by how good these new instruments feel.
To make it even easier to buy one of these great instruments, we can also offer free concierge delivery on Casio Grand Hybrids in the Northwest UK* - that means we’ll assemble it at the shop and send out a team to install it in your home, so no trying to figure out how to put it together, no nasty surprises out of the box and no mountain of cardboard to dispose of afterwards!
We have all three in the showroom to try and will be delighted to demo them for you.
*The offer is restricted to properties with reasonably easy ground floor access. If there are multiple steps into the property of you want it in an upstairs room that’s no problem but we will have to make a small charge for the additional work. We can of course deliver boxed pianos to your door pretty much anywhere in the UK and do not charge for this service.
August 5, 2016
Here at Forsyth Music Shop we’re busily preparing the 11 pianos we’re bringing for Summer School participants to use. We’re bringing 4 Grands by Schimmel and Kawai UK for use in various teaching rooms, 5 uprights and digitals by Kawai, Yamaha and Schimmel for practice rooms as well as a Yamaha Transacoustic upright and NU1 (pictured) for use in the Atrium.
The NU1 is an interesting creature - a digital piano but with a real acoustic action…. and therefore like any ‘real’ piano needs its action regulating to perform at its best. Come and pickup a map/list of new Schimmel, Yamaha and Kawai pianos to discover around the school.
Meanwhile on our ground floor our Sheet Music and Recordings department staff are busily boxing up large quantities of interesting piano music to have on display in our shop in the atrium throughout the Summer School… along with our ever popular musical accessories and gifts.
We are proud to be sponsoring/supporting the Summer School for another year and look forward to seeing you there. We’d also like to invite you all down the road to explore our shop on Deansgate and come for one of the behind the scenes workshop tours on the changeover day and the last day of the Summer School.
We look forward to welcoming the first week’s participants next Friday!
July 31, 2016
New in store we have the flagship Roland LX-17! A wonderful marriage of the pinnacle of digital technology combined with Roland’s superb build quality and audio knowledge.
With limitless polyphony, six amplifier channels and eight built-in speakers it certainly packs a punch to the ear and is capable of faithfully handling even the most demanding of repertoire.
However, with over three hundred voices contained within you are not limited to the piano, and can turn your hand to recreating an orchestra or imitating old time jazz scat singers.
And when you’re not using it for music, it will be a beautiful addition to any room - the impressive polished black cabinet ensures you’ll always be pleased to have it on display.
Whatever I say about it will never be the same as trying it for yourself, so pop in store today and have a play!
July 28, 2016
We are extremely pleased and excited to show off this stunning rarity by Schimmel in our showroom in Manchester. It was originally designed and made for the musikmesse annual piano festival in Frankfurt this year. This particular Schimmel International I115M is the only one of its kind in the UK finished in white polyester with special chrome fittings!
It is currently on offer for £8,550 to include a matching single adjustable stool by Schimmel which is finished in white polish with a grey leather top (price on its own £600).
This piano would make a very beautiful and smart addition to any modern home.
Find out more here.
November 9, 2015
During November we are giving a free LED piano lamp and a free piano stool with Kawai CA & CS model digital pianos.The total cost of these items is nearly £180. offer ends 30/11/15
We are also able to offer 0% finance on most Kawai & Roland digital pianos. (subject to status).
All our digital pianos are priced at online matching prices both on our website and inside our superstore hear in central Manchester. So you can be sure you get the very best advice and the best deal.
October 16, 2014
We’ve had a busy week with new arrivals in our Piano Department, with some exciting additions to our stock.
Piano manufacturers are becoming increasingly clever at combining the traditional qualities and design of real acoustic instruments, with 21st century technology, and two of our new arrivals are excellent examples of this.
Yamaha have been making their Disklavier range of self-playing pianos for several years but the more recent developments have really transformed its capabilities. The DGC1 is in very short supply, but we have taken delivery of one this week. It is a very nice acoustic piano, made in Japan, with the added benefits of full Silent Piano functionality and the ability to play a wide range of Yamaha MusicSoft songs. You can also record your own playing and then have it played back by the piano - a great way of checking your progress with a new piece! Furthermore, the DGC1 is included in Yamaha’s Silence Is Golden campaign which could give you up to £950 extra for your part-exchange.
Meanwhile, Yamaha’s fellow Japanese competitors Kawai have also been busy. They have developed a new version of their ‘Anytime X’ silent piano system, and we’ve just taken delivery of a K200 upright piano fitted with it. ATX II builds on the talents of the previous version but adds the flexibility of a better piano sample with 256-note polyphony (the same as used on the company’s CA65 and CA95 digitals), and the ability to record your playing to a USB memory device in either WAV or MP3 format. The MP3 recording is particularly nice as it makes sharing your music so much easier.
The ATX II system can also be ordered on most other Kawai upright piano models.
In addition to these exciting new arrivals we also have Yamaha’s new TransAcoustic version of the ubiquitous U1 upright piano for you to try. This currently has very limited availability and we are one of the few shops where you can try the technology for yourself. The TransAcoustic takes Yamaha’s excellent SH silent system and adds a soundboard speaker system so that as well as being able to play in normal acoustic or digital silent modes, you can also play the digital side of the instrument out loud and benefit from the natural resonance of the solid spruce tone wood. You can even play the acoustic piano with the digital samples at the same time, so there are no limits to your creativity. Like the DGC1 this instrument is included in the Silence Is Golden upgrade bonus scheme.
September 9, 2014
Well, maybe not the lost chord but perhaps you are in search of the right piano so that you can play the right chord!
We’re here to make your search easier. Visit us to view our extensive range of new and second hand acoustic and digital pianos. We select the best the piano world has to offer including new pianos from Schimmel, Bechstein, Bosendorfer, Kawai, Yamaha, Kemble, Hoffmann, Wilhelm Schimmel, and Roland. You’ll find it so helpful to be able to directly compare a wide range of options, and our specialist staff will help you to see beyond the black and white specs so that you understand how the unique features of each piano can benefit you and your music making.
Furthermore, we’re open when you need us - 7 days a week! Come and see us 9am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday, or 11am-5pm on a Sunday. Spend us much time as you need in our relaxed surroundings, and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like. A piano is an important purchase and it is important to us that we help you to make the right choice.
We look forward to welcoming you to Forsyth.
August 31, 2014
Yamaha are never a company to sit still and their latest launch is the SH TransAcoustic version of their ubiquitous U1 upright piano. The U1SHTA combines the famed qualities of the U1 acoustic with Yamaha’s excellent SH silent system and the additional flexibility of being able to play the digital sounds (including the CFX grand sample) through a speaker system which utilises the piano’s soundboard. We now have the U1SHTA on our showroom floor ready for you to try, so do come in and experience it for yourself. Photographs are available to view on our product page
July 23, 2014
Forsyths is an authorised main dealer for every new piano we advertise and sell. In the same way that we are very careful in selecting the makers we wish to represent, so those makers are selective in who they wish to be represented by. The whole reason for piano makers to have authorised dealers is to ensure that their instruments are displayed, demonstrated, sold, prepared and delivered to the very highest standards and backed up by proper customer service. Only authorised dealers have access to manufacturer’s warranties and support.
We have been at the heart of piano sales, preparation, servicing and distribution in the UK since the Forsyth Brothers first established the company in Manchester in 1857. Back then we were distributors for instruments made by the famous firm of London piano builders John Broadwood & Son. Over the 157 years since then we have enjoyed close and trusted relationships with a wide array of piano makers. As the piano industry has changed, so the range of makers we represent has changed with it, but the premise remains the same: our on-site workshops, experienced piano tuners and technicians, passionate and expert piano specialists, extensive stock and total commitment to long-term customer service and relationships enable us to secure and maintain ‘authorised’ status with the makers we want to deal with.
We often come across older pianos by the fine English makers such as Broadwood, Collard & Collard, Knight, and Danemann with badges inside showing that they were originally supplied by Forsyths, and it is always rewarding to think of the pleasure these instruments will have given since leaving our premises. Today, these makers have sadly disappeared, but we continue to bring the best of the piano industry as main dealers for several of the key players in 21st century piano building.
C. Bechstein: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Bechstein pianos enjoyed huge popularity in this country due to their clear, noble sound and refined actions. We sold many of their pianos during this golden period, and are delighted that their upright and grand pianos in the 21st century very much live up to the Bechstein reputation. We stock a strong range of C.Bechstein and Bechstein ‘B’ range pianos and are pleased to be able to continue our long relationship with these fine German instruments. We are also pleased to offer the highly competitive W.Hoffmann Tradition range of upright pianos, designed and made by Bechstein in Europe.
Boesendorfer: Exquisite, beautifully crafted pianos from Vienna, marrying an instantly recognisable tone with precise, responsive mechanics. Boesendorfer has a very small group of dealers in the UK and we are proud to be their sole agents in Manchester. We currently have their Model 200 grand and 120CL upright in our showroom, and are able to supply any Boesendorfer model. We can even arrange factory selection visits in appropriate circumstances.
Schimmmel: Our relationship with the Schimmel family and their restless pursuit of the very highest standards in piano making has been long and rewarding and it is very exciting that in 2014 we are able to present the finest pianos the company has ever made. We are one of only a very small number of carefully selected dealers in the UK and the only authorised Schimmel piano dealers North of the Midlands. We stock a full complement of models from the Konzert, Classic, International and Wilhelm Schimmel ranges, including the only examples of the very latest Konzert grands in the UK - a K175T and a K195T.
Kawai: We were one of the first UK dealers to represent Kawai pianos, back in the early days of the ‘KG’ range of grands. Since then we’ve seen them go from strength to strength and in 2011 we were Kawai Piano Dealers of the Year. Only last year we sold the first GX-series grand piano in Europe - a GX2 - and we always have a wide selection of their uprights and grands available for you to try, all benefitting from the company’s industry-leading 10 year warranty.
Yamaha: Yamaha have one of the largest public profiles of any piano maker and produce a vast range of instruments, from their affordable B-series uprights through the ubiquitous U series, to the superb SE and SU series uprights and CX range grands. These instruments are characterised by excellent mechanical reliability and a clean contemporary sound. Yamaha are leaders in bringing technological innovation including their superb silent technology and Disklavier self-playing systems. We have been dealers for Yamaha pianos for a long time, and stock a wide selection of their instruments.
Kemble: Our relationship with Kemble goes back a long way and we have sold many of their instruments. We are a Kemble ‘Centre of Excellence’ and offer a 10 year warranty on their pianos. Although these pianos have been made by Yamaha since the Milton Keynes factory closed in 2009, the Kemble models are still specially prepared to give a more traditional sound and models such as the Conservatoire upright offer superb value for money.
Remember, we are authorised main dealers for all of these piano makers and, as standard, we offer:
* A traditional piano salon style showroom with a wide range of pianos to try, side by side. You should ALWAYS try a piano before buying it;
* Carefully prepared, maintained and regularly tuned stock;
* Piano Specialists with passion and experience to assist and advise;
* As much time as you need to try the pianos and feel that you have made the right choice;
* A wide choice of factory made piano stools, crafted in solid beech - no flat-packs with bolt-on legs!;
* Thorough preparation of your piano before delivery;
* Professional delivery by experienced piano delivery experts, with a 2-hour time window given the day before;
* Full manufacturer’s warranty;
* Long-term customer support and advice;
* Piano tuning, voicing, regulation, servicing, and moving services at competitive prices to ensure your piano stays in top shape;
* Part-exchange available.
June 5, 2014
Summer is beginning to make an appearance and, to celebrate, we’re delighted to announce a range of sale offers on pianos from our outstanding range of uprights and grands.
‘Jewels of June’ is a range of carefully selected pianos with stunning ‘fixed price’ reductions, that make this a great opportunity to bring a whole new level of musical enjoyment to your life. There are savings of up to £7,000 to be had on selected instruments by Yamaha, Kawai, Schimmel, Bechstein, Kemble, May, Vogel and also on some of our second hand piano stock.
Don’t delay, though. The specially selected nature of our sale range means that stocks are limited, and we’ve already sold two of the included pianos!
Follow @ForsythMusic on twitter and search for #JewelsofJune for some of the highlights, including this special instrument:
— Forsyths Music (@ForsythMusic) June 3, 2014
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