April 05, 2021 I Feature
By Ed Enright
Home and professional digital pianos are one market segment that has enjoyed steady, if not increasing, sales during the past year. For a pair of European-based keyboard manufacturers, their own niche standing has been key to weathering any economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
For Proel North America, business has been “exploding,” according to company president Antonio Ferranti.
“Not only is our Dexibell brand of premium, professional and home digital pianos soaring, but we have also just brought to America our other made-in-Italy brands of pro-audio, lighting, drums and accessories such as cables, bags, cases and stands,” Ferranti said. “Dexibell entered the North American market in 2017, so we have experienced a high-growth upward start-up style trend for the past three years. But 2020, in particular, was a pivotal breakout year that saw so many more players discover our premium brand. Many North American dealers discovered us and built a relationship with us out of necessity to keep their sales moving while other brands were not able to satisfy their market demands.”
Phoenix Piano has found success in the pandemic market by offering an innovative new product characteristic: a completely foldable digital piano.
“Our piano is unique and responds to what until now has been an impossible dream of every pianist to be able to travel with his own instrument, just like a guitarist can do,” said Arnaud Vasset, managing director of Phoenix Piano, whose French-made premium instrument is capable of fitting in a suitcase yet sounds and feels authentic enough to appeal to the most discerning player, including French jazz pianist Jacky Terrasson.
“The Phoenix reproduces the playing intention of the pianist perfectly. And it creates many new performance opportunities for professionals.”
Bill Erlandson, director of piano sales for Roland U.S., said that digital pianos remain consistently strong heading into 2021.
“Customers continue to seek great values, and our new RP701 delivers outstanding value with great tone and touch plus Bluetooth connectivity for both audio and MIDI,” Erlandson said, noting that the Best In Show-winning instrument has already proven to be popular with dealers and end-users alike. “We’ve also refreshed our popular lineup of FP pianos, including our multiple award-winning FP-30,” he added. “These new FP-X models range in price from $749.99 to $2,199.99, allowing customers the opportunity to match their needs to a piano that fits their budget.”
In the synthesizer market, Erik Norlander of IK Multimedia stressed the importance of holding a strong market position with powerful mobile instruments amid increasing competition.
“Our approach is more one of innovation than competition,” Norlander said. “Our IK synthesizers, like all of our products, are created to meet to the hi-tech demands of the cutting-edge, modern musician who lives in an ever-changing mobile world.”
Scott May, senior product specialist for Hammond Organ, said the new Sk Pro marks a major advancement in the company’s ultralight Sk series of organs designed for keyboard players who need pro-quality piano sounds and common synth tones. Its virtual multi-contact keyboard is a dead ringer for the unique touch of a classic Hammond B-3. “Beside that, it’s got the sound engine from our Sk 5, which revolutionized the portable organ industry,” May said. “All the samples are at a higher resolution, including a new grand piano. So the working musician, instead of having to carry 20 keyboards, could carry this one little 15.5-pound keyboard and still have a full-featured Hammond organ.” MI