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New Player Piano Like Being At A Live Performance

Ann Thompson
The Spirio is the first new product in 70 years for Steinway & Sons.

Call up George Gershwin's own performance of "I've Got Rhythm" or Vladimir Horowitz's rendition of Robert Schumann's Täumerei on the Steinway & Sons Spirio and you will think you are in the same room as the great performers.

From the soft pianissimo to the loud forte this new breed of player piano makes it sound like you are in the audience. Unlike the player pianos of old which were programmed onto perforated paper and had a low accuracy rate, the Spirio:

  • Samples each note 800 times per second
  • Divides the dynamic range into more than 1,000 slices
  • Samples the pedal positions 100 times per second

Steinway Marketing Implementation Manager Michael Cabe says, "The keys are actually activated from the underside with a series of solenoids, an electronic device that's activating the keys, pushing them up, so the action of the piano is all intact. It functions as a normal piano, otherwise it's just on the underside of the keys, that's putting into motion."

The piano comes with an iPad loaded with a Spotify-like app. The app communicates with the piano via Bluetooth to play any one of 1700 pieces.

Piano consultant Alec Brockmeier is amazed at how realistic the Spirio sounds.  "The reaction is one of stunned disbelief because the library is just so exciting."

The Spirio has 90 hours worth of music and the company is adding three hours a month.

The Steinway Spirio is in select markets, including Cincinnati (Willis Music-Kenwood), and will eventually include select video performances. With this feature you can see the artist on an iPad at the same time the piano is playing that same performance. The Spirio sells for about $118,000.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.