Eigenharp Unveiled

Two models, Alpha and Pico - both quite strange      06/10/09

Eigenharp Unveiled

Buying Choices

Yesterday was the day the Eigenharp roadshow kicked off in London at the BBC's Maida Vale studios. After 6 weeks or more of teaser videos on YouTube and scant facts we can now reveal the nature of the beast.

Heralded as the "Most revolutionary musical instrument of the last 60 years" it's quite a claim.  Specifications published in the Eiegenharp website reveal that there are to be two instruments the flagship Alpha (£3950) - bristling with controls and features, and the smaller and more affordable Pico (£395).

Essentially the system comprises of the main instrument unit, linked to a base station via a 6m lead, which in turn links up to the computer (Ma only) via USB.

Alpha Specifications

  • 133 keys in all.
  • 120 keys on the main keyboard.
  • 12 percussion keys on the lower part of the instrument.
  • Plus one mute key.

Key Properties:

  • Sampled at 2000 samples/second, per key.
  • 11 bit (2048 values) resolution.
  • Sensitive to direct pressure and to lateral pressure in both directions.

Breath pipe:

  • Sampled at 2000 samples/second.
  • 12 bit (4098 value) resolution.
  • Bidirectional, sensitive to blown and drawn breath.
  • Removable, interchangeable mouthpiece for hygiene.

2 Strip Controllers:

  • One on each side of the instrument, 480mm long.
  • Sampled at 2000 samples/second per strip.
  • 11 bit (2048 values) resolution.

Headphone output:

  • 48kHz sampling rate, 24-bit DAC Sigma-Delta.
  • Software programmable volume.
  • Mute, soft ramp and zero cross detection for volume adjustment.
  • SNR = 95dB.
  • THD < 0.01% at 1kHz, 30-Ohm load at -3dbFS.
  • Up to 750mW output on a 3.5mm mini jack.

Microphone input/preamp:

  • Balanced input on an industry standard 4 pin LEMO locking connector.
  • 24 bit at 96khz A/D converter.
  • Low noise programmable gain from 10 to 55db in 1db steps.
  • Software switchable 48V phantom power.
  • 8.2V Electret polarisation power available, requires specific cable.
  • Noise: EIN= (A-weighted) -120dBu with 150 Ohm source 20Hz to 20kHz, 50 dB gain. EIN Un-wtd= -125dBu with same conditions as A-weighted.
  • 26dB software switchable input pad.

Base Station:

  • 2 inputs for continuous control expression pedals:
  • Suitable for use with Boss FV50 and FV500 volume pedals.
  • Suitable for use with Yamaha FC3 continuous control sprung sustain pedals.
  • USB 2 interface to host computer.
  • 2 inputs for foot switches.
Plus an efficient software sound engine (less than 7ms end to end) component which contains the modular synthesis and voicing, sample and phrase capabilities and  event triggering (samples, MIDI, keychange and sequencing).


You can load and play your own Soundfonts, Audio Unit Plugins and Midi instruments with the Eigenharp Alpha. In addition, the Alpha comes with its own native instruments (at present a software model of a Cello, Clarinet and a Synth engine). The Alpha also ships with a collection of loop libraries and several acclaimed instruments from our partners:

  • 1500 AIFF format (timestretch and tempo change capable) varied Percussion and Drum loops.
  • Sampletekk 'Black Grand Steinway D, sampled at 20+ levels in a 6 Gigabyte set that includes three recordings from dry to highly ambient.
  • Sampletekk 'Tubed Rhodes', a multi sampled Rhodes Electric Piano.
  • Sampletekk 'Wurlittzer' electric piano in a Gigabyte multi sample set.
The software is Mac Only.
Meanwhile, the Pico offers:
  • 18 playing keys.
  • Sensitive to direct pressure and to lateral pressure in both directions.

Breath pipe:

  • Sampled at 2000 samples/second.
  • 12 bit (4098 value) resolution.
  • Sensitive to blown and drawn breath.
  • Removable, interchangeable mouthpiece for easy hygiene.

Strip Controller:

  • 180mm long.
  • Sampled at 2000 samples/second.
  • 10 bit (1024 values) resolution.
No word on availability just yet, but pricing is as one would expect for a revolutionary instrument that has had eight years of development put into it.
Eigenharp Alpha £3,950
Eigenharp Pico £395
For more hands on experience, the Eigenharp roadshow continues - see dates here.
    More Information
  • Eigenharp.com - including all custom finishes and full specification
Stay tuned for some exclusive videos from us.


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