It’s a fully acoustic, optionally silent piano teamed with a pair of transducers and a digital sample set lifted from Yamaha’s premium CFX concert grand, producing a piano sound you’ve never heard before.
Imagine, however improbable this sounds, an electrified piano that didn’t use speakers to send music vibrating through the air — a device that required electricity to trigger its sampled sounds, but that didn’t have two or four or however many discrete sound-generating cones planted somewhere beneath the skin of its frame to conjure audible vibrations.
What if instead, the entire device were the speaker? Just as a fully acoustic piano’s soundboard amplifies the sound generated by the piano’s hammers striking strings, the electrified device could channel its digital samples through that same resonant slab of wood, in turn projecting the samples through the body of the instrument, aping the acoustic hammer-string paradigm by making the entire piano the sound source. What sort of name would you give this bizarre-sounding electroacoustic contraption?
Yamaha, which makes just such a device, settled on the name “TransAcoustic,” or “beyond acoustic.” That’s because it’s an acoustic piano with strings, but also a digital piano that can trigger samples — and if you like, a third thing that combines both and produces sounds you’ve never heard before. Yamaha unveiled it at NAMM 2013, demoed it again at the winter show in 2014, and it’s just now shipping.
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