“We’re living in the age of digital pianos, so you need to be thinking of them in terms of a digital instrument,” says Lucian Pavlovich, an art director who has collaborated with pianist Paul Williams on Chopsticks.
“And then you have the digital piano, which is more like a digital piano.”
Chopsticks is one of a number of new digital pianoforte-friendly pianos being introduced in 2018, including the new Bebop, which mimics the sounds of a piano but sounds much more like the pianos of old, and the Beethoven III, which includes an electronic keyboard and acoustic bass.
The new pianos also have an analog-like sound, making them ideal for the digital world.
But when it comes to playing the Bebops, Pavlovsky says, “you still need the digital instrument.”
The piano is also becoming increasingly popular in the new home theater market, where consumers are looking for affordable, high-performance instruments that are convenient to use.
A new generation of home theater speakers, such as the new Sony MKH-1 or the Pioneer MKM-1, have become standard in the past few years, and now feature high-quality audio components such as Dolby Atmos and DTS Digital Surround.
But the latest models are a bit more expensive, as high-end models such as Sony’s new PS-E and Pioneer’s new Bowers & Wilkins X3 go for about $1,000 to $1.5,000.
And the price tags are getting more and more extreme.
The most recent model from the new B&W line, the MKS-6, goes for $1;5,500.
It’s $4,000 more than a comparable model from a manufacturer like Dolby, according to industry sources.
The latest $2,000-plus models from Sony, for example, include Dolby Audio Surround and Dolby Surround 3D.
The high-priced models also include an analog bass, a digital subwoofer, a Dolby surround sound system, and a wireless Bluetooth speaker.
If you can afford a $1 million model, the new models can be a bargain, even if the audio quality is lower.
“The sound is amazing, but the price tag is outrageous,” says John H. Wilson, a pianist who performs with the group, The Lonesome Lizards.
“It’s an unbelievable price, and yet it’s also a great way to create a sonic experience.
I like it because it gives me a way to get up close to the instruments, and it gives you the freedom to experiment.”
In addition to the new pianoforts, some home theater manufacturers are adding an analog or digital keyboard to their products, according the International Piano Forum.
But these models are not as portable as some of the newer models, and they’re still a little bit more costly.
“You have to be creative and think creatively,” says Pavlov.
“I have a friend who does a lot of classical piano and he’s not used to buying a piano with an analog keyboard, because he’s used to the digital version of the piano, so it’s very hard to get the sound you want.”