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Harmonic Imaging – Delivering the True Sound of a Grand Piano

The Sound of a Grand Piano Kawai's Unique Harmonic Imaging
Kawai’s highly acclaimed sound technology is called Harmonic Imaging™. Simply put, Harmonic Imaging is a blend of technology and techniques aimed at producing the most realistic recreation of our 9-foot concert grand piano possible.

We began with one of the world's finest pianos... the handcrafted Kawai EX Concert Piano. This remarkable concert grand piano, featured in many of the world’s most prestigious universities and performance venues, is capable of a myriad of subtle tonal shades. Using state-of-the-art digital equipment in an anechoic chamber, our sound specialists meticulously recorded the rich tone of this exceptional piano using the most advanced digital recording equipment and techniques available.

Since each dynamic level of the EX piano carries a unique harmonic signature, our engineers created extremely accurate stereo "maps" of the entire dynamic range of this instrument. Next, the proprietary process called Harmonic Imaging was created to transform this vast "harmonic data" into a vibrant re-creation of the EX Concert Piano. The result is a faithful reproduction of the rich dynamic range of the original concert grand piano, from its delicate pianissimos to the thunderous fortissimos.

Harmonic Imaging with 88-Key Sampling
Recently, Kawai engineers entered the recording studio to develop a newer, enhanced version of the original piano sound. Building upon their previous experience and methods, and incorporating techniques learned from world-famous recording studios in Los Angeles and Japan, Kawai sound engineers created the all new Harmonic Imaging with 88-key piano sampling.

Each key of a piano has its own unique tonal characteristics. Some have only one string, others two and still others three, for instance. There are also differences in hammer felt shape and density. These and other factors create subtle differences in tone from one note to the next. By sampling and recreating each key individually (rather than “stretching” a smaller number of samples) the unique tonal character of each note is preserved.

Kawai’s Progressive Harmonic Imaging (PHI) with 88-key sampling uses a larger tonal “database” than regular Harmonic Imaging to provide greater tonal details throughout the dynamic range. Ultra Progressive Harmonic Imaging (UPHI) with 88-key sampling uses our largest tonal database, thus providing the greatest tonal detail possible.

Harmonic Imaging XL
Starting with the new Concert Artists series, Kawai will roll out Harmonic Imaging XL with 88-key sampling. Standing for “extra-long”, HI-XL extends the length of the critical attack portion of the sound by up to 120%, articulating the characteristics of each note more clearly and organically.

More Than One Piano Sound
A musician’s preference for the sound of a piano is highly subjective. Much of it depends upon personal taste. The type of music to be played is also a factor. For this reason, most Kawai digital pianos offer more than one type of acoustic piano sound.

On models featuring 88-key sampling, Concert Grand 1 is a well-rounded EX Concert Grand recorded in the standard fashion for classical and jazz music. On many models there is Concert Grand 2, which will be the original Harmonic Imaging Concert Grand sound. It has a very different character from Concert Grand 1.

Many upper models also feature a “Pop Piano” sound. Like the others, this is also an EX Concert Piano, but the recording methods and equipment were those used on many famous pop and rock piano recordings done in Los Angeles area recording studios. New Concert Artist instruments also feature a new upright piano sound, perfect for music that needs a more intimate piano sound.

So, whether your favorite piano sound turns out to be the acclaimed original Harmonic Imaging sound or one of its new counterparts, it will be one of tremendous realism and expression, worthy of the most demanding piano enthusiast.

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