Sensor technology

Sensor and MIDI technologies for acoustic upright and grand pianos

The excellent touch of an acoustic piano is the result of perfect harmony between technology and expert handcrafting. Playing on a high quality keyboard is a source of pleasure and boosts the inspiration of any musician.

With this in mind, and with our natural inclination towards acoustic instruments, we developed the VARIO connect system for connecting your piano to digital devices using the Bluetooth LE MIDI protocol.

Newly developed optical sensors located on the bottom of the keyboard detect every movement of the keys. They function without contact, so that they have no effect at all on your piano’s touch, nor on the aesthetic pleasure of playing an acoustic instrument.

The VARIO connect system converts the signals from the sensors to the MIDI standard, so that the data generated when you press a key (notes, pitch, dynamics) can be transmitted to any third-party software.

The VARIO connect system continuously detects all key movements using nearly one thousand measuring points located over the entire key stroke (usually about ten millimeters). Processing of the measurement data further improves accuracy by a factor of four.

The speed of both the stroke measurement and the data processing is also impressive: across all keys, more than 200,000 pieces of information are analyzed per second.

The state-of-the-art sensor technology implemented in the VARIO connect system is radically different from the standards applied by manufacturers of premium digital pianos.

Bluetooth technology provides wireless connections between your piano and a smartphone, tablet or notebook. The Bluetooth LE MIDI protocol (MIDI over Bluetooth Low Energy), available for virtually all operating systems from Android to Windows, opens up a realm of countless music apps for practicing, playing and composing directly from your acoustic piano.

Click here to explore our catalog of third-party music apps.

The responsiveness of the MIDI protocol under Bluetooth is particularly fast in the VARIO digital system and doesn’t require installation of a special driver in the operating system.

The C. Bechstein VARIO app for Android and iOS/iPadOS facilitates the setup and configuration of the system. (Click here for more information on the VARIO app)

The VARIO connect+ version of the system is equipped with a USB-C interface for cable connection to a PC or mobile device. Moreover, the USB-C PD protocol (Power Delivery) supplies the connected device with power.

Coupled with a digital application, the VARIO connect system provides exceptional control of the dynamics.

In addition, the accuracy of the real-time measurements makes it possible to use a wealth of piano learning and practice apps, with visual feedback to help you refine your skills.

MIDI data (industry-wide standard) transferred to connected devices over MIDI Bluetooth LE or USB-C (VARIO connect+ version).

Powerful ARM processors handle up to 200,000 digital signals per second.

The mainboard of the VARIO connect system processes the signals sent by the sensors on all 88 keys and the three pedals and ensures perfect interoperability of all system components.

The VARIO connect+ version has a USB-C PD (Power Delivery) interface for connecting various devices and providing power supply.

Setting and storing of dynamic curves

Continuous measurement by the VARIO system (graph: chord played on a grand piano, from moment of attack).