Steinway's high-tech piano can play back exactly what you just played

It's like your ghost is playing on the piano.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
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Steinway & Sons Unveils Spirio R With Jon Batiste Performance In New York

Jon Batiste performs as Steinway & Sons unveils the Spirio R at Steinway Hall in New York.

Mike Coppola via Getty Images

A 166-year-old piano maker is advancing further into the tech world. Steinway & Sons on Tuesday launched its high-tech piano, Spirio | r, which lets you record, play back and edit your own tunes via the Spirio app on iPad. The piano can also play on its own like a speaker but with real acoustic sounds.

"Never before have artists been able to capture the nuance and soul of their playing so precisely on a Steinway," said Steinway CEO and President Ron Losby.

Jon Batiste, the pianist from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performed at Steinway's launch event on Tuesday night at the Steinway Hall here in New York, demonstrating what Spirio | r can accomplish. Batiste first played and recorded a Sam Cooke piece to see if the piano can "capture the soulfulness." The piano played it back just how Batiste performed it, while he played a melodica along with the piano.

Steinway Spirio pianos came out in 2015, allowing users to choose a song from the Spirio app and let the piano play it on its own. The new Spirio | r not only plays songs, it also offers the recording, playback and editing capabilities. 

Steinway's launch of a high-tech piano means people who practice at home can play back their music and improve their craft. Music lovers can also use the Spirio | r to reenact a maestro's performance while maintaining its dynamics, volume and sound quality, the company says.

The Spirio | r piano is available in a Steinway Model D and Model B, though the price range hasn't been announced yet. The piano works with multiple file formats including Spirio high-resolution, MIDI and MP3 high-quality sampled audio.