For the longest time, people who were interested in electronic instruments have struggled with finding a digital piano that, as the saying often goes, “sounds like an acoustic piano.”
And for traditionalists, they have often scoffed at the mere suggestion that any digital piano could be mentioned in the same breath as it’s heftier, acoustic cousin.
Well, Yamaha’s TransAcoustic U1TA hybrid piano might be an interesting choice for some, as this instrument will quite literally blend the world of acoustic and digital into one all-encompassing instrument.
Breaking Down the Yamaha U1TA
The TransAcoustic U1TA is a piano that features real hammers and real strings. Yep—that’s a real, true-to-life upright piano folks.
But here’s where things get interesting. If you take your foot and press down and to the left on the middle pedal, the hammers slip away from the strings. Now, when you press down on the piano keys, you hear no sound. You have rendered this glorious piano utterly silent.
No, don’t worry—you didn’t break it. What you did, however, is set up the U1TA’s unique hybrid functionality. In short, you’re about to turn what was seemingly an acoustic piano into a digital one.
This is where you can hit the power button on the panel (that sits just below the keybed) and, well, you’ve officially gone digital.
Like most digital pianos, the U1TA provides you with a bunch of features and a ton of flexibility. You can plug in headphones, you can manipulate the volume as you see fit, and you’ve got more than a dozen of instrument sounds that are right at your disposal.
Without amplifiers or speakers on the U1TA, Yamaha has installed two transducers against the soundboard. This makes for a fuller, richer sound that fills a room and ultimately engulfs the player.
What Else Can It Do?
So you may be thinking, great, it can morph “Transformers” style from an acoustic into a digital piano. But is that all it can do?
Well, no, actually.
What’s interesting about the TransAcoustic is how, after you’ve powered the electronics on, you can then unhook the middle pedal and bring the hammers back into place.
Now, when you play the U1TA, you get essentially two piano sounds in one—the live acoustic piano and the sampled digital piano sound.
You can even do some funky things using this feature too, like playing the live acoustic piano while having the digital sound emit a sampled harpsichord or a violin tone.
Well, like anything, the price is a bit prohibitive.
Coming in at approximately $16,000, this is one expensive hybrid piano. For that price, you might be able to get an incredible acoustic piano and a couple top-notch Yamaha digital pianos if you felt so inclined.
Another downside is probably obvious by now, but it’s likely worth mentioning here: you’ll have to tune this piano. It may have the ability to “change” into a digital piano, but it still has the blood and guts of an acoustic instrument. So you’ll have to be prepared to pony up money to get those strings tightened under the hood every so often.
Downsides aside, this is a unique instrument that just might offer the best of both worlds for acoustic and digital piano players alike. And even if the price puts you off, the Yamaha TransAcoustic U1TA is definitely a piano that is worth keeping your eye on.
For more information on digital pianos and reviews, please be sure to bookmark our website: Digital Piano Review Guide.
If this piano is, understandably, out of your price range, here’s a great article we did about the Yamaha’s Arius lineup that we hope might help you: