The Definitive Piano Buying Guide for
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PianoDisc makes retrofit player-piano and performance-capturing systems, including a newly released optical recording system, that can be added to virtually any acoustic piano—grand or vertical, new or used—and even some digital pianos. Pianos fitted with PianoDisc systems maintain full functionality of all pedals, and playback (and optional record) of all 88 notes. Piano manufacturers offer factory-installed PianoDisc products, and piano dealers in over 60 countries have installations done at their locations by trained and certified PianoDisc technicians.
PianoDisc’s principal player-piano system is called iQ. The core technology of the iQ system, hidden within the piano body, can play back PianoDisc music using, as a source, almost any media player. The most popular configuration is the iQ iPad Air bundled with an Apple iPad and Airport Express for wireless control. With iQ, customers can operate all functions of the system from a single, familiar source that also allows them to take advantage of hundreds of apps (offered through Apple’s App Store and Google Play) for additional enhancement and enjoyment. Unique within the industry, iQ features a patented method of detecting adjustments made in the volume of the music player to automatically match the piano’s volume to it. Each PianoDisc system includes a free package of music and video software valued at $1,400, and a set of five CDs of the customer’s choice from the PianoDisc catalog.
PianoDisc’s high-resolution solenoid system, SilentDrive HD, is standard equipment on all current PianoDisc player systems. Each key’s solenoid recognizes 1,024 levels of expression. SilentDrive HD offers quiet playback of original piano performances, and features a faster processor and streamlined architecture that improve timing, velocity, and dynamics. The ProPedal proportional pedal feature, introduced in 2013, is a low-profile, invisible pedal-drive system that uses the piano’s original pedal trapwork without any modification of the piano’s profile or operation.
Beginning in the second quarter of 2014, PianoDisc customers will be able to use the latest Android technologies, in addition to Apple and other smart devices, to stream audio music and videos directly from PianoDisc’s vast library to their pianos, using a custom PianoDisc app or a media player such as Avia or DoubleTwist. In addition, customers will be able to purchase and play digitally delivered content directly from a smart device in a simple one-step process. With Android integration, customers can also project the synchronized videos using Google’s Chromecast.
PianoDisc’s live, free, streaming piano radio network, available 24/7 to all iQ-based systems, can play a customer’s piano directly. PianoDisc expects to soon add more stations with a greater variety of music programming. This service should be of special interest to hotels, restaurants, and other businesses that use PianoDisc to provide their customers with nonstop, royalty-free entertainment.
The PianoDisc Remote app is a utility for the iQ system with many custom features. Although piano and audio balance can be adjusted with the iQ Audio Balance Control, PianoDisc Remote lets users further customize the volume levels and balance of the piano and audio accompaniment, and to fine-tune their synchronization. Revamped with new features for 2014, this app is now available at a lower price ($24.99) through the Apple App Store.
iQ Flash, an entry-level system, is another addition to the PianoDisc line. Basic operation is accomplished by playing PianoDisc MP3 or MIDI files from USB, SD, or MMC flash memory. All functions can be accessed either from the included remote control or via a few multifunction buttons on the face of the iQ Flash control box. Audio and piano balance controls are easily adjusted with the wheel next to the SD slot. An easy-to-read, high-contrast, backlit LCD display allows the user to view and make song selections, and to use the Repeat and Shuffle features. Incorporating the Studio Performance package into iQ Flash allows players to capture performances as MP3 files on their preferred media-storage devices. With an additional mixer and a powered microphone, vocals can be added to the recording.
For use with its systems, PianoDisc maintains a growing library of thousands of music titles available as digital downloads, CDs, DVDs, and high-definition Blu-ray discs. The library includes solo-piano performances by famous artists, piano with instrumental accompaniment (most of these are live recordings), and vocals in 28 different categories. PianoDisc has recently introduced over a dozen famous Chinese albums, including folk, popular, traditional, and classical Chinese music.