CyberGene Just received a mail that I can pre-order now for €3790. I'm pretty tempted to get it, a very compact instrument, fully acoustic, very interesting and probably quirky...
I assume you did not get it, otherwise we'd have learned about it.
They are now accepting orders, even though there is a 3-ish month wait from order to delivery. They have a relatively inexpensive MIDI option, about which they don't say much, but I assume being the usual key-based optical strip (not bad, but likely suffering the loud note issue as the NU1). They showed up at NANN and received (in the other piano place) mostly positive feedback from people who tried it. The only negatives being "its sustain and resonance characteristics" being slightly shorter than traditional acoustic (but still longer than most digital besides a few virtual instruments) and reminiscent of forterpianos and that kind of stuff (which I view as a positive).
They are also much more open about the design, and they are now saying openly everything what I speculated about:
- very lightweight unlike any other acoustic instrument, because it has one string only per note and (my speculation) less tension in that one string, and because it has a smaller soundboard
- and that single string (and less tension, if it's true), not to mention the smaller soundboard, make this piano much less loud, and hence suitable for apartment players
- given the single string per note, and hence the absence of unison tuning width, and probably also because of the difference in soundboard, the timbre will probably be not the common one -- which might be good or bad
(it appears I was spot-on for all counts).
Bad for them, Pearl river decided to enter this niche too, with a very similar model (the 100) and an even smaller one (the 95). Being Made in China, likely in big numbers, and having Pearl River a substantial distribution network, I anticipate both models costing much less to the end customer than the Keybird (especially in the US, where X1 price has a whopping $900 shipping added to the already not-cheap price). I speculate the Pear River will cost same amount as a premium non-hybrid digital (that is, in the $2,000 range for the USA, a bit less for the 95 and a bit more for the 100).
Frankly, I find it insulting that they are marketing the UP95 for kids only, and they offer it only with questionable cosmetics. But still, it's a great opportunity to try a smaller-key instrument and if the price is really low I would even consider it for my daughter (who has reached the driving-car age, but is really petite and has still troubles even reaching the octave). I would even consider it for myself, if I were still playing seriously, as a way to reach the 10th which I craved to do (but I have quit trying to learn any decent repertoire 😭)