2022 marked the 50th anniversary of storied instrument maker Roland. But, even though we’ve switched over to our 2023 calendars, the company took the opportunity at CES to take one more victory lap by showing off its 50th Anniversary Concept Piano. It’s an audacious electronic piano built in collaboration with Japanese furniture maker Karimoku. The outside is one piece molded from Japanese Nara oak that hides a 360-degree, 14 speaker system.
If the elegant curves stuffed to the brim with speakers aren’t exciting enough for you, well I’ve got good news: Roland has also built speakers into drones that hover above the piano and can be controlled by the player. Unfortunately, those couldn’t be flown on the show floor at CES, so Roland dangled a pair of them from wires. Those are combined with a proprietary low-latency audio connection and the company’s PureAcoustic Ambience tech to create flexible natural sounding reverb that more accurately mimics what you’d hear in, say, a concert hall. And I can confirm that even in the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center, fighting against the constant din of people and other exhibitors, the concept piano sounded amazing.
Above the keyboard itself there’s a large touchscreen that can be used to stream tutorials, video conference with a piano teacher, or even run Zenbeats from Roland Cloud, turning the instrument into a studio hub. There’s even USB MIDI and Bluetooth connectivity for interacting with other instruments.
Of course, the Roland 50th Anniversary Concept Piano is not for sale. And never will be. This is a creation in the tradition of over-the-top concept cars. Maybe some of its features will eventually make their way to future instruments, but for now it’s truly a one of a kind.