In November 2015, two heavyweights of the Japanese music and audio industry, Kawai Musical Instruments and Onkyo Corporation, formed a business and capital funding alliance.
This partnership paved the way for shared research and development in audio and music technologies, culminating in the CS-X1 collaboration prototype – a state-of-the-art digital piano configuration presented to the industry at Frankfurt Musikmesse 2016.
As the mutual relationship between the two companies continues to prosper, Kawai and Onkyo return to Frankfurt Musikmesse 2017 with another demonstration of their shared philosophies.
In this 90th anniversary year, Kawai is proud to unveil the Novus NV10, a stunning hybrid piano that fuses the finest acoustic and digital technologies, to redefine the playing and listening experience for pianists and audience members alike.
Koichi Kawai designed and built the first complete acoustic piano action in Japan in the early 1900s. In the decades that have followed, Kawai engineers continue to pursue the company founder’s quest for perfection, pioneering the use of state-of-the-art materials and ideas that advance the piano art form.
The Millennium III grand piano action exemplifies Koichi’s philosophy, featuring unique innovations such as ABS Carbon components that are stronger and lighter than conventional wooden action parts.
The Millennium III Hybrid action represents the latest milestone in Kawai’s rich legacy of piano innovation, and serves as the centrepiece of the Novus NV10.
Based on the action mechanism of Kawai’s popular GX Series grand pianos, Millennium III Hybrid replaces traditional felt hammers with newly developed ABS equivalents that are individual weighted from bass to treble, while high-precision optical sensors take the place of metal strings, reading the subtle movements of each hammer as the corresponding keys are played.
Celebrating 90 years of acoustic piano craftsmanship, the NV10’s stunning grand-like cabinet is finished from top to bottom in a luxurious ebony polish, with handsome silver-chrome fittings and an exposed pedal trap-work.
The instrument’s stately appearance and wide fallboard, proudly embellished by the Kawai family crest, gives the impression of playing a fine acoustic. Yet the Novus’ surprisingly compact cabinet occupies a depth of less than 65 cm, allowing pianists to enjoy the full grand piano experience in spaces usually restricted to an upright.
In addition to featuring a Kawai acoustic grand piano action, the Novus NV10 is the first hybrid piano to also incorporate a real grand piano damper mechanism.
While there are no strings to require physical damping, the instrument’s unique mechanism still replicates the true weighting of a grand piano damper pedal, while also easing the keyboard action’s touch weight as the pedal is pressed. These special details allow professional pianists to practise with complete confidence, and minimise any awkward transition time when performing in concerts.
Named after Kawai’s 2nd company president and former chairman, the Shigeru Kawai series of premium grand pianos are crafted by highly-skilled Master Piano Artisans (MPAs), utilising the finest available materials to ensure optimum touch, tone, and musical expression.
As the flagship instrument of the Shigeru Kawai line, the SK-EX concert grand piano has established a reputation for its exceptional tonal clarity and broad dynamic range, and in 2015 was selected by 1st prize winner Alexander Gadjiev at the 9th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition.
The beautiful sound of the SK-EX concert grand piano is at the heart of the NV10, with all 88 keys of this world-class instrument lovingly recorded, meticulously analysed, and accurately reproduced as high-fidelity digital waveforms.
This rich, multi-sampled acoustic portrait of the original grand piano is then brought to life using Kawai’s unique Harmonic Imaging XL sound technology and advanced Acoustic Rendering resonance modelling. The results are stunning, with smooth, detailed tonal transitions from pianissimo to fortissimo, across the length of the keyboard.
With a distinguished background in premium audio equipment spanning over 70 years, Onkyo is widely respected as an industry leader, developing unique technologies that enrich the listening experience.
The NV10 is the first product to be engineered in partnership with Onkyo, and the first digital musical instrument to utilise specialist components designed for high-end audio reproduction. This supreme level of quality epitomises the Novus concept, and reflects Kawai-Onkyo’s shared commitment to excellence.
The NV10’s audio output signal chain is optimised for fidelity and power, with 1-bit sample processing that enhances the depth and airiness of the Shigeru Kawai tone, and premium dual DAC components ensuring ultra-precise analogue conversion for each channel.
Onkyo’s unique DIDRC filter technology prevents super- high-frequency distortion, preserving the harmonic character of the original acoustic piano sound, while enhancements to the instrument’s three main power amplifiers deliver greater energy, richness and clarity.
Kawai NOVUS NV10
A brand new hybrid instrument that fuses Kawai’s finest acoustic and digital achievements, to redefine the grand piano experience for players and audience members alike.
The NV10 is the first digital piano to incorporate Kawai’s finest Millennium III grand piano keyboard action, a real damper pedal mechanism, and premium audio technologies developed by Onkyo. NOVUS is the embodiment of Kawai’s ‘the future of the piano’ company motto.
Onkyo Scepter (FFM 2017 special edition)
The latest edition of Onkyo’s flagship high-end speaker system, selected for their exceptional ability to reproduce the broad dynamic range of orchestral recordings.
These special edition pieces feature a luxurious ebony polish appearance, provided by Kawai’s acoustic piano finishing division based in Ryuyo, Japan.
Piano solo performed on the NOVUS NV10:
1. Musica Nara (Minako Tokuyama)
2. Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31 (Fryderyk Chopin)
Ensemble performed on the NOVUS NV10, with backing accompaniment produced by the Onkyo speaker system:
3. Fugace from Suite for Flute and Jazz Trio (Claude Bolling)
4. Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18 (Sergei Rachmaninoff)
After graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts, Ayano chose to further her piano development by moving to Germany. She attended the State University of Music and the Performing Arts Stuttgart, and graduated with the highest possible score, receiving special honours.
Ayano continued her education at the Mannheim University of Music, studying for the German national qualification for musical performance, while also appearing with the Baden-Baden symphony orchestra.
Upon graduating from the Mannheim University of Music in 2015, Ayano returned to Japan as a performing artist. With a versatile repertoire, she has won prizes at events including the International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia, the Vienna Music Festival Competition, and the Alfred Schnittke Academy International Piano Competition.
Ayano has studied under Itoko Nishikido, Yukiko Hibiya, Akiyoshi Sako, Andrzej Ratusiński, and Robert Benz, has participated in masterclasses held by Vitaly Margulis, Piotr Paleczny, and Pascal Roge, and continues to perform in recitals throughout Europe and Asia.
Established in 1927 by founder Koichi Kawai, Kawai Musical Instruments is a Japanese musical instrument manufacturer that specialises in the production of high specification acoustic and digital pianos, with subsidiaries related to music education and publishing, precision metals, wood finishing, and business and music software. The company also produces the Shigeru Kawai line of luxury, hand-crafted grand piano instruments.
Established in 1946, Onkyo Corporation is a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer that specialises in premium home cinema and audio equipment, including receivers, surround sound speakers and other portable devices. The current Onkyo Corporation umbrella includes the Integra and Pioneer home AV divisions, as well as the main Onkyo brand. The word Onkyo translates as “sound harmony”.