Questions and Answers
In the following texts you'll find considerable information.
Why use a complete concert grand piano action?
Every passionate piano player, musician in training and pianist would always prefer to practice on a concert grand piano. The ALPHA Piano uses the fully-fledged action and keyboard of a concert grand, with the long keys in the bass and the short keys in the treble - similar to those in a Bösendorfer 280 Concert Grand or Steinway D-274. Because the ALPHA does not have a cast iron frame, we are able to cut the keyboard so that the keys go nearly straight back - a major advantage for wear resistance. In addition, we did not forswear the obligatory underdamping and use original felt hammer heads.
Why the height adjustability?
The raison d'être of the height adjustment feature is to fulfill the requirements of different piano players in terms of body size and posture and thereby to avoid postural problems and make longer playing periods possible. The feature was designed to enable optimal adjustment of the instrument to the player.
Today's problem is that pianos, especially grand pianos, have a lower edge of only 59 cm. Among other things, this is a reason that tall players have problems getting their thighs underneath the piano keyboard and one reason why spine problems arise.
Through simple and quick adjustment of height to the pianist, the piano should therefore create an ergonomics that allows playing without significant pressure or complications. In particular, the goal is to offer a piano to schools, universities and conservatories of music that considers the different needs of changing users.
A child can get by on the ALPHA without a children's pedal and an artist on the pop stage can play standing - that's how large the adjustable range is.
"When playing piano, primarily the lower back hurts and it often pulls all the way up into the neck." Konstantin Wecker
Why wireless pedals?
In contrast to those of traditional grand pianos, the pedals of the ALPHA Piano are not mechanically connected to the body of the instrument. The connection can be wireless or cabled, as desired. Through this technological solution the piano can be adjusted to the body size or requirements of the player without problem.
What connections are there?
Depending on the model, there are numerous inputs and outputs. Available analog outputs are RCA, TRS and XLR; digital outputs are ADAT optical, SPDif, AES and coaxial. Upon request, an iPod or iPhone may also be connected. Interfaces for data exchange can also be realized using USB. A LAN connection is available for connecting with the internet, as well as one or two VGA outputs for monitor use. MIDI In, Out and Thru are available for communicating with other studio or stage devices, as is the OSC format known amongst insiders, which represents the fast alternative to MIDI.
What technical options are there?
The ALPHA is offered in two variants: either with height adjustment at the push of a button and an electric closing mechanism, or in a traditional variant: without height adjustment and with manual opening of the fallboard.
Optionally, the ALPHA can be outfitted with a built-in PC and VSL (Vienna Symphonic Library) installed.
MIDI In and Out are standard.
A sound system may optionally be ordered. The ALPHA thereby becomes a standalone piano for the living room.
What software is installed in the "Workstation" version?
The DAW software is preinstalled, as desired. The platform and manufacturer can be individually determined.
When will the ALPHA Piano be available and how much will it cost?
The ALPHA Studio is available starting at 29,000 euros, including 20% VAT. It is expected to be deliverable as of 2011. We would be happy to take reservations and orders immediately.
Why eight octaves?
The Bösendorfer Imperial 290 is equipped with eight full octaves. Since in the version with computer and VSL library we use the original samples of this piano, it makes sense to equip the ALPHA Piano with 97 rather than 88 keys. The ALPHA Piano can thus also extend beyond the normal keyboard compass and be equipped with a full eight octaves, for 97 rather than the usual 88 keys.
We wanted to develop a new piano design that looks to the future - for demanding piano lovers and professionals.
The ALPHA Piano's appearance is distinctive, timelessly elegant and archetypically forward-looking. The surface can be customized with many different finishes (e.g., carbon, matte, glossy piano black, etc.).
By deciding to collaborate with such a renowned design company as Porsche Design Studio, a standard was deliberately set: The ALPHA is forward-looking in every respect - in terms of sound, technology and design.
What about the sensor technology is new?
The hammers do not strike the usual two or three strings, but rather pressure sensors that were specially designed for the ALPHA Piano. They represent an entirely novel form of measuring the hammer's strike energy.
These sensors involve plates that are equipped with pressure/force transducers. What is decisive for the playing feeling is the fact that these sensors behave like piano strings. Using them, the impact force and the resistance at the point of impact are determined. It works like a traditional grand piano, in which the force of the hammer head's impact determines the volume.
Why is the sound of the ALPHA Piano so special?
The outstanding sound quality of the ALPHA Piano with computer and the Vienna Symphonic Library onboard has to do with the fact that for the sound, a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial concert grand piano sampled at a previously unheard of level of precision was used. While tones are generally sampled at a maximum of seven dynamic levels, the data density in the VSL Bösendorfer is unique, with 1200 samples at 100 different dynamic levels for each of the 97 keys.
The gigantic amount of data of detailed touch information makes for a uniquely differentiated sound. The internal resolution of the dynamic levels is 3000. This value is reduced to MIDI resolution but is available in higher resolution. This higher data transmission is possible via OSC.
The sound is available at a bit depth of 24 bits and a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz stereo: no loops or amplitude or frequency modulation have been used.
How does technical maintenance work?
The keyboard and action are designed and manufactured to be low-maintenance. The keys are cut nearly straight so that there is hardly an unusual force application on the key surfaces. The key surfaces are furnished on the balance rail with graphite leather surfaces - this will hold for an eternity. The hammer heads do not strike think steel strings but rather sensor plates. These two most important parts that wear are thereby practically maintenance-free. Should a defect in the action appear nonetheless, any trained piano builder in the world can solve the problem.
The sensors are designed and manufactured to be maintenance-free. The calibration is made statically at the factory and dynamically maintenance-free. Should a deficiency arise nonetheless, the ALPHA Piano can be connected to a computer network and a diagnosis performed remotely and if necessary an error corrected from anywhere in the world.
And: The ALPHA Piano does not need to be tuned since the tones are generated digitally.
Where can I test the ALPHA?
The ALPHA STUDIO can be played at the production location in Enns, Brucknerstraße 21. We please ask you to make an appointment - we look forward to your visit!