When Waldorf introduced the Zarenbourg in 2006, this piano was one of a very small minority. It had dawned on us that few contemporary instruments offered electric pianists and keyboardists that elusive quality called soul. Reduced to the essentials, this rare breed of instrument does one thing so well that it grows on the player, becoming an extension of body and mind.
It has that magical touch of purism that all-in-one devices lack. So we aimed high, achieving a sound nothing short of sublime. And we conjured a look that blends the hallmarks of classic designs with a more contemporary clean and cool vibe.
Handling is intuitive, not inquisitive. No more fussing with cords for this and that; simply power up, play, and possess instantly satisfying sound for player and audience alike. Its aluminum hood offers a sturdy perch for your other favorite instrument, and its integrated speaker system can render the piggybacked device’s signal. Let your laptop roost on this tower of power, and you can control plug-ins via USB and monitor the results via the Zarenbourg’s audio input.
Searching for the perfect speaker system, we turned to our friend Michael Seipel, owner of EMES, a prestigious maker of studio monitors. He agreed to develop a 2.1 speaker system for the Zarenbourg. The two fullrange front speakers aim for the spot where the sound is sweetest for the player. The omnidirectional woofer brings up the bass to round out the rig. Combined with a high-performance power amp and a precision digital crossover, this setup is the calibrated reference system for its class. Its sound is crystal-clear and transparent. Even chords pounded with a very heavy hand and strident bass notes on the sampled Steinway B grand piano come across ear-pleasingly clean and crisp.
Next, we set out on a quest for the optimum keyboard. It took us to Italy, where we encountered Marco Ragni of Fatar, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium-grade keyboards for electronic musical instruments. We wanted a perfectly balanced e-piano keyboard with a comfortable feel, not too heavily weighted, and a good repetition mechanism responsive enough for fast, precise playing. And we found the perfect counterpart to the Zarenbourg in the TP 40.
What we had in mind for the enclosure was something sleek, stylish, and strong as can be – though in a lightweight package. Our engineers developed a hybrid housing with a precision-welded aluminum hood on a birch multiplex chassis. All speakers are fully enclosed in shell-like casings made of low-vibration MDF. The front panel is milled from a solid block of aluminum. We sourced its classic knobs from the venerable US company Cosmo. Everything about them says, “Built to last and look sharp.” Custom-made for the Zarenbourg, the chromed legs screw into sturdy threaded bushings on the bottom of the base plate.
We sought to create an instrument people would covet; an instrument so close to technical and visual perfection that cannot be improved upon; an instrument people will want to keep for many tomorrows to come. The Zarenbourg is that instrument, the stuff of many a keyboardist’s dreams. And to make it all yours, you can add a personal touch with the optional hood color that strikes your fancy.