Pocket Piano Review, by a Dedicated Pianist.
When I had first seen the YouTube video promoting Pocket Piano via an online news article, the idea of disassembling and carrying around a portable, collapsible, and modular piano with me when traveling, immediately caught my attention.
The idea was a true no brainer to me.
"Why hasn't someone thought of this earlier - much earlier?" I thought to myself.
The idea of playing a fully functional, collapsible, "pocket piano" might just literally be the most creative thing that could happen to the piano in its 300+ year history.
"Now it's for real," I mused to myself.
I couldn't stop thinking about what I had learned.
A piano you could take anywhere, with ease.
A piano that doesn't take up any space.
A FULL SIZED PIANO KEYBOARD THAT'S TRULY PORTABLE, FOR REAL.
digital keyboard made in Spain is MIDI 1.0 compatible, touch sensitive,
fully expandable, and runs on intelligent software developed for the
digital keyboard, specifically.
The sounds are generated via a
separate iOS app (sold separately), that uses the latest piano sampling
technology, gathered from some of the finest pianos in the world, such
as the Ravenscroft 275; Fazioli concert grand; Bösendorfer Imperial
Grand; Steinway Model D; Kawai-Shigeru grands; Yamaha Concert grands,
The thought of what could be in store kept me up all night, just thinking about the places I could visit, the
pieces I could practice, and the songs I could write with a portable
full size piano (Pocket Piano has 87 keys, not the full 88), that basically doesn't weigh anything.
Best of all, I could carry it around in a normal, everyday backpack.
Pocket Piano is designed to be broken down, intentionally, into eight square pieces. Ten pieces, to be exact, with the pedals included.
It is powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion 3,000 mAh battery, with a playing time duration of 4 hours or less. It uses a mini-USB port, and a regular 5V/1 amp or 2.1 amp mobile phone wall adapter, to charge.
The octaves of each section of the piano can be arranged in any order, and are connected together, magnetically.
The keyboard and foot pedals are connected via a wireless bluetooth connection, to your iOS device.
Not bad for a MIDI 1.0 digital piano that can be "tweaked" sound-wise, with a million different piano sounds, via Virtual Studio Technology software (VST).
Piano audio sound samples are used in VST software programs, that are designed specifically for MIDI keyboards and other digital musical instruments. These sound samples are played through your iOS/Apple and Android device (version soon to be released), from a digital piano keyboard as the originating controller. Pocket Piano is only made possible using a VST ("piano sounds") app, as no piano audio files are built into the device itself.
Expansion capabilities and piano audio sound samples are virtually limitless, in this case, as MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) enables musicians to express themselves within a range of 0 to 127 levels of musical expression. VST apps and software are useful for digital musical devices such as Pocket Piano or any other digital MIDI keyboard piano.
(Lesson: Never fear that you will never be able find the "perfect" piano sound with a digital piano or keyboard, such as Pocket Piano. Thank goodness for VST piano apps.)
I planned to travel to the beach, mountains, and the river with this newfound
device, based on what I was expecting for this new digital piano to do
for my overflowing musical creativity.
The thought of being able to "pack" a piano, taking it anywhere with me, around the world - in a backpack, suitcase, or in the zippered case it comes with - opens up a new universe of possibilities for pianists, who might have never have thought of traveling with a piano, in a suitcase, is possible.
Pianists as a group are always at a disadvantage.
We always need to find a room and piano to practice, when we travel - unless of course, you're a concert pianist and the 'Artist Services' Division of Steinway, Yamaha, or Kawai has a piano ready for you when your plane lands.
But even then, you can't take that piano with out out into the forest, or to the lake. ;)
can never carry around our instrument with us in a backpack the same way a violinist, flutist
(flautist), bassoonist, trumpet player, etc. can carry an instrument under their arm.
Even a cellist or bassist can carry their
instrument around with them, but not a pianist.
Pianists around the
world can now explore and go places with their music and imagination to be inspired... recreated... and uplifted by the sights and sounds of nature, which they could never
experience with a piano before, due to the inherent limitations of
carrying around a bulky keyboard, or heaven forbid: getting a real piano
moved into the forest. or near a river, or at a beach for inspiration.
(Piano Guys, anyone?...)
So I ordered one.
After it arrived, I had purchased the Ravenscroft piano app for my iPad ($35), so I could experience the authentic and realistic sounds of a 9 foot plus concert grand piano, just like the one in the video.
To be clear, the app did not disappoint.
The sound from the iOS device can be heard through either a portable bluetooth speaker - or several speakers - via a 3.5mm audio adapter for the iOs, or better yet, noise cancelling headphones, through your iOS device, which I prefer more.
found that headphones generally work best to dial in the exact sounds and touch
response of Pocket Piano, to achieve the right amount of
clear mids, highs, bass, reverb, room space (concert hall vs. practice room), and key sensitivity.
These settings can be dialed in exactly as you want to hear your piano, with or without reverb, echos, sustain, or room effects.
These settings all take place within the Ravenscroft piano app, that gets imported into the Apple GarageBand app, that comes free with any Apple device.
Watch the video, here, to learn how EASY it is to setup your Pocket Piano:
When I set everything up on my first try, I wasn't that impressed with my experience.
Allow me explain exactly what I mean.
up the app through Garage Band was a bit frustrating, for starters.
I was new to the whole Garage Band app experience, so I can't fault Pocket Piano for this one.
Getting my speakers to reproduce the exact piano sounds I was hoping for, was another challenge. This is not Pocket Piano's fault either.
The big challenge for me was getting used to Pocket Piano's shallow key dip and key resistance, that makes this invention possible.
Pocket Piano's key dip has half the amount of a piano's key dip that most professional pianists are used to experiencing, within a "normal" and "modern" grand piano.
Professional pianists are generally used to experiencing a much deeper >10mm to 12mm key dip on most grand pianos, whereas the device has a much smaller key dip by comparison, by only a few millimeters.
Having enough key dip makes pianists feel "safe" and allows them to express themselves "dynamically" and "adequately" and "artistically" on a properly prepped piano, whereas a shallow keydip does not facilitate this widely accepted hallmark of modern pianos in production, today.
A shallow keydip makes any piano feel to most pianists that it isn't interpreting your expressions correctly, or "connecting" with you as the principal communicator, commander, and master of your instrument.
Instead, you feel as if the piano is
'playing you' as the master, and that you lack a certain degree of control and expression, as a result of too little keydip.
A pianist should never have to fight their performance, or practice, piano to achieve an adequate touch response that's necessary to "communicate" one's artistic expressions and intentions, upon the piano's keyboard.
I never got used to the shallow key dip of Pocket Piano,
No matter what pieces I played... how I played it... or how I adjusted the VST.
I sincerely hope the company will make a future 2.0 or 3.0 version model that performs better than this one, in 2021.
My hope for Pocket Piano's future is they will sincerely recognize and accept their present inadequacy and limitations and choose to travel the extra mile in adjusting its design, to produce a digital piano with at least a >10mm keydip, at minimum, to not frustrate more pianists such as myself who are their intended demographic.
This piano might work for some beginner pianists. Speaking as a past piano teacher, however, I would never want to incorrectly "teach" any of my students that this digital piano is how a real acoustic piano should actually perform and "feel" to the touch.
Maybe in the future, after it is improved, perhaps.
The amount of shallow keydip may be fine to some pianists, but for most pianists who have played on any 'normal' acoustic piano, for any length of time, improvements over this 1.0 version model of Pocket Piano would most likely be welcomed among pianists, moving forward into 2022.
Originally, I had high hopes for my experience with Pocket Piano.
I earnestly look forward
to any future improvements the company can make to their otherwise
clever invention of a piano that fits in a suitcase.
If they happen to reach out to me for some reason in the future, I will post an update to this page.
a very sober negative note, I sincerely hope they will read this post, and make
the needed changes to their product in the near future - specifically, to change its shallow keydip to a normal average acoustic piano key depth of 10mm to 12mm, respectively.
The product literally has the physical room available to make this much needed improvement, without changing the design at all, which shouldn't be much of an issue to adjust, as we move forward into 2022.
I have great hopes and high expectations for this product in the future, and look forward to any improvements, software updates, and the like - including a full 88-key piano keyboard (from 87 keys) which they can realistically afford to make - in leaping from a good product to a great product, in the months and years to come.
Is Pocket Piano is worth the convenience and versatility of taking a portable piano with you on the go?
Only you can answer that question for yourself.
I leave you with this final thought: How else can you house and hear a live concert grand piano at your fingertips, in a small dorm room or a small bedroom, without having to store a full size 88-key digital piano or keyboard in your closet?...
Now you can enjoy a breakthrough digital piano that's 100% portable, to take with you on the go, with convenience and ease, with Pocket Piano.