The Kawai K-500 is one of Kawai’s top-selling acoustic uprights worldwide. At 51” high it offers the best-of-the-best when we talk about soundboard quality, scale design that gives you longer key length, longer speaking length of strings, and bigger sound than you would expect from a piano this size – it is resembles a grand piano in the power and tone and will outperform many lesser quality baby grands.
The K500 incorporates all of Kawai’s top features including the award-winning Millenium III action which was introduced in 2004 and uses carbon-fiber, a light, durable and steel-like strength that is not susceptible to humidity and heat, which means the action keeps on performing at the top level for years and years.
It was now time to build the best finest hybrid upright the world has ever seen.
Typical acoustic hybrid pianos use an acoustic piano, then add a sound engine where you either have to push the digital sound through on-board speakers, placed somewhere in the piano, or by externally adding external speakers such as Kawai ATX3 or the Yamaha Silent piano.
But Kawai wanted something different…they wanted to develop a new and innovative sound technology.
Realizing that it’s a known fact that spruce resonates sound better than any other wood, Kawai did not want to put just speakers in the piano like the other manufacturers, in fact, they decided not to use speakers at all!
This is the birth of the Kawai Aures! Developed in collaboration with Onkyo, Japan’s leading premier audio manufacturer, the soundboard technology incorporates newly-designed high-performance transducer components that allow the K-500 AURES to deliver digital audio through its premium solid spruce soundboard resulting in a rich, powerful, and expansive sound.
What does that mean? It means this amazing sound is achieved without using speakers!
How? 4 transducers are strategically placed directly on the soundboard. This means the sounds from the Kawai tone engine are being produced entirely by the soundboard, and the result is unbelievable. It creates a fuller, more immersive tone quality. It actually “blurs the line” between acoustic and digital sound because both are emanating from the same soundboard.
This Kawai hybrid incorporates the top-of-the-line digital technology that is used in Kawai’s concert artist digital pianos and Novus pianos. This means you have the incredible sound of the Shigeru Kawai EX concert grand piano samples that use a piano sound engine and advanced modeling to faithfully recreate the impressive tone of a 9 foot grand!
Imagine, you have the beautiful rich sound of your acoustic piano, with the digital concert grand of the Shigeru Kawai and a top-of-the-line audio reproduction of orchestral sounds playing together, both using the soundboard to generate the tone – it’s as if they were one!
But when you also hear the sound that is generated when you stream music from your favorite service like YouTube, Spotify, and Amazon music – the experience is mesmerizing!
Imagine having groups like Aerosmith, Beatles, Chicago, Journey, and artists like Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion, Drake, and thousands more having their songs play to your piano with the soundboard producing the music – while you play along. You will truly feel like you are part of the band and that they are right with you – playing live in your home!
While there are times when you will want the sound to resonate through your home like a concert hall, you can always use headphones that will give you the same music – but without disturbing anyone else.
You have to go to your nearest Kawai showroom and experience why the Aures is truly the next generation of hybrid pianos and in a league of its own.
- 51″ K-500 Professional Upright Piano with NEOTEX™ Key Surfaces
- New Kawai HybridSound Board amplification system featuring 4 High-end Performance Transducers powered by Onkyo
- SK-EX RenderingPiano Sound Engine with Multi-Channel Sampling
- Modern 5” LCD Touchscreen Display
- Integrated Bluetooth MIDI and Audio wireless technology
- Flexible Virtual Technician Function with 19 Adjustable Parameters
- MP3/WAV/SMF Playback, record and Overdub to USB
- 256 Polyphony (max.)
The piano action is so important in a piano as it is the only real place that allows a player to connect to the piano.
We do not want to drive a car with wobbly tires, where the steering is tight or you hit the gas and the acceleration is sluggish. It is the same with a piano. We want the keys to respond to our touch, to be able to repeat as fast as we can play, and allow us to drive the keys with tremendous velocity when power is needed and at the same time, just touch the key when the quietest of sound is required.
The Kawai K500 Aures accomplishes this so easily using the award-winning Millennium III action, which was developed by Kawai over decades of research and development. Wood that is exposed to humidity impacts the action’s integrity, so Kawai incorporated ABS Stryan, a much more stable material than wood, into the moving parts of the action more than 40 years ago. Since these parts don’t create the piano’s tone but provide the mechanical motion that allows the hammer to strike the string, it is important that the material remains stable.
If you have ever played the piano where, after depressing a key, no sound is made, forcing you to play with a heavier touch, then you will appreciate the action of the K500. The slightest touch will produce the quiet, yet rich sound that is so appreciated. In 2004, Kawai went one step further, by introducing carbon fiber into its new Millennium III action.
The biggest advantage with carbon fiber is the fact this material is not affected by humidity or heat and is super light and strong.
It is used in Boeing 777 planes, sports equipment, formula one cars, bridges, world-class racing bicycles. This means that the Millennium III action is built to last and will give you years and years of trouble-free performance, strength, and quickness.
While musicians know that the feel of the action is so important – the tone is equally if not more critical. The tone is the “soul” of the piano that allows the artists to immerse themselves in the sound with depth, color, richness, and subtle splashes of complex harmonics that create life and allows the performers to get ‘lost’ in the experience.
Remember how we used to take elastic bands and stretch them over a shoe-box, some loose and some tight, and then we would pluck the elastic so it would vibrate to produce sound.
Use that principle of the shoe-box and you can see where tone on a piano is a combination of a high-quality soundboard, combined with properly placed bridges on that soundboard that allow the strings to resonate properly. The soundboard, strings, and bridges work in synergy and along with Kawai’s hardwood cabinet, produce a sound that is deep and rich when you need power, but also light and bell-like when played softly.
Kawai is known for having a very deep and rich tone, not too bright, but the blend of pleasing tones across the full spectrum of sound.
Kawai uses Mahogany, as opposed to Maple, in their hammers which are lighter and denser, thus a superior material for this purpose. When combined with the Millenium III action, the t-fastened, premium, double-felted hammers allow a pianist to bring out a sublime tonal colour.
The soul of any piano is its soundboard. The frequencies of vibrating strings are transmitted to the piano’s soundboard, which, in turn, amplifies the sound. Spruce resonates better than any other wood, it’s used in guitars, violins, and cellos, and the finest, tight and straight grain count spruce is used in the K500. This is important because as the grain of the wood gets tighter and straighter, the easier it is for the vibrations to move across the soundboard. This is comparable to video resolution where the greater the dots per inch, the more realistic the picture.
Not only does the material make a difference, but so does the shape. The K500 has a tapered soundboard; thicker in the middle and progressively thinning towards the outer edges. The effect of this is to provide greater elasticity, allowing it to better vibrate, producing a tone that is richer.
The last facet of the soundboard’s design is the tension it is put under which creates slight curvature. This has a dramatic effect on the production of the sound. The ribs of the K500 are each securely notched into the rim liner, which helps preserve the crown of the soundboard and to more evenly spread the sound, optimizing the tone production.
Supporting the soundboard of the K500 are exceptionally strong, multi-layered back posts, along with a proprietary “matched strength” iron plate. The plate’s strength and mass are calibrated using CAD technology to match each model’s scale design, ensuring a back assembly that is well balanced and sturdy, and that is able to support the string tension as well as provide a solid foundation for superior tone.
By spraying a hardwood surface with multiple layers of polyester, a gorgeous mirror-like shine is achieved that will last for many years.