best digital pianos - hybrids

Hybrid / Condo Digital Pianos - Only At Merriam Music

More people than ever are enjoying the benefits of downtown living, and for most of us, that means ‘condo life’. However, when condo, townhouse, or apartment units are stacked or placed adjacent to one another, noise bleed is almost inevitable. For piano owners this has been a sore spot, and we frequently hear about horror stories involving forced piano sales, face-offs with neighbours and condo boards. So how does a pianist still enjoy the experience of a great instrument, without creating stress and tension with your neighbours?

best digital piano - hybrid pianos
Kawai CS10 – a leading Hybrid model

Until recently, there weren’t many options. Even the best digital piano would send a piano player running for cover, and any digital conversion of an acoustic piano frequently ran into the $10,000’s. However, there have been great strides in the digital piano industry by a few key manufacturers, and for customers where the quality of experience is important, there are now some superb solutions.

What makes Hybrid Pianos the best digital pianos?

A hybrid piano is an instrument which uses elements of both digital and acoustic pianos. There are very few examples on the market, and not surprisingly, they are dominated by companies which build both acoustic and digital pianos. They are arguably the best digital pianos on the market. Some of the industry’s best known ones would be the Kawai CS10 and CA95, as well as Yamaha’s NU2 and NU3. There are some fantastic comparison reviews available on these models.

Hybrid Pianos

Most hybrids offer full wood-key action complete with hammers, full-length pivot action, and escapement. The benefit to this type of design is that rather than simulating a keys natural resistance through counter weights and springs (which does a fairly good of static resistance, but much less so with dynamic resistance), it does so with natural key length and total gravity actioning. The result? A life-like feel that delivers a highly responsive experience, that won’t leave you feeling like you’re in front of an imitation.
Hybrid pianos use some of the most sophisticated sound reproduction technology available in any industry. And in some cases, that sound is delivered, after going through millions of calculations and processes, through a real solid-spruce soundboard. Most digital pianos do a reasonable job of replaying samples of notes, as recorded on real pianos. These sounds are stored and replayed on command, and do a fairly decent job of reproducing individual tones. On a real piano though, when you play two or more sounds together, there is a whole symphony of harmonics occurring which simply gets missed through this technique. A hybrid piano calculates, models, and faithfully reproduces this delicate interplay of harmonics, even with up to 192 notes playing at once.
Objections about the look of digital pianos is nearly as common as complaints about it’s musical qualities. Hybrid pianos address this concern with aplomb. In the case of the Kawai CS10, an actual full cabinet of an acoustic piano is used. With many others, real polyester and hardwood ply is used to construct the body, meaning you are investing in lasting quality, not cheap press-board.
Whether it’s a USB connection to an iPad, dual headphones so that you and someone else can play in silence, sending the sound to a stereo that you get low volume by full coverage sound, or adjusting very computer model that’s making the piano tone, there are so many ways to make this musical experience a truly private one. Unlike many digital pianos, the best digital piano hybrids often use highly editable piano sounds where you can adjust how hard the hammers are, how heavy the action seems, how dark or bright the tone is, and even how ‘open’ the virtual piano lid is.
No tunings! No humidity concerns! No moving concerns! No cleaning problems! With hybrid pianos, it’s plug and play for years. From the day our movers set up the instrument, you’ll be ready to enjoy these amazing instruments with nothing more than the flick of an “on-switch”. You’ll never have to worry about keeping it against certain walls, scheduling a technician, or keeping a humidifier running. These are as easy to own as could be.