A piano’s soundboard is often thought of as the heart of the instrument. You can think of it as an in-built loudspeaker system: a large expanse that resonates with the strings to excite the air with sound waves.
Traditionally spruce has been selected as a soundboard material due to its favourable “strength-to-weight ratio”. Spruce has served pianos well, but it cannot begin to rival carbon fibre’s strength-to-weight ratio. Furthermore wooden boards are prone to cracking, changes in humidity and temperature, and general degradation over the years. This results in lost performance, and the need for either repair or replacement, both of which are costly and do not guarantee satisfactory results.
Carbon fibre is a simplified term for “carbon fibre reinforced polymer”. Phoenix soundboards comprise three inner layers of straight carbon fibres for strength, sandwiched by two protective outer layers of woven fibres.
The visible side of the soundboard is then layered with wood, which provides protection from UV light, whilst enhancing the overall appearance of the instrument.