For all these reasons, quoting prices for player systems without knowing the context in which they're installed and sold is nearly futile. Nevertheless, as a rule of thumb, one of the more popular, typically configured, factory-installed QRS or PianoDisc systems with playback and accompaniment might add $5,000 to $6,000 to the street price of the piano, with recording capability adding another $1,500 or so. However, for the reasons given above, prices 30 percent lower or higher aren't unusual. A list of electronic player-piano add-on systems and their manufacturers' suggested retail prices follows the "Model & Pricing Guide" in this publication.
As for systems available only as factory installations, Yamaha Disklavier grands generally cost $8,000 to $20,000 (street price) more than the same Yamaha model without the player system. At the high end, a Bösendorfer CEUS will set you back $45,000 to $50,000 (street price). The retail prices of these systems are included under their companies' listings in the "Model & Pricing Guide."
Yamaha Corporation of America
P.O. Box 6600
Buena Park, California 90622
Bösendorfer's SE Reproducer System, out of production for a number of years, has been replaced by an all-new design called CEUS (Create Emotions with Unique Sound), with updated electronics and solenoids. The visual display is discreetly located on the fallboard and is wireless, so the fallboard can be removed for servicing the piano without the need to disconnect any wires. Player controls for recording, playback, and data transfer are by means of a combination of keystrokes on the sharp keys aligned with the fallboard display, pedal movements, and four small, brass, touch-sensitive buttons on the left side of the fallboard. When the system is inactive, these four brass buttons are the only evidence that the CEUS system is installed in the piano. Optical sensors measure key and hammer movements at an extremely high sampling rate, for maximum accuracy and sensitivity to musical nuance. Bösendorfer has a library of recordings for CEUS, and the system will also play standard MIDI piano files. CEUS is available in every Bösendorfer grand model and adds about $60,000 to the piano's list price. Retrofitting of CEUS into previously sold Bösendorfers is available at the factory.
LIVE PERFORMANCE MODEL LX
Live Performance, Inc.
316 California Ave., Suite 825
Reno, Nevada 89509
Live Performance was founded in 1992 by Wayne Stahnke, one of the world's foremost authorities in the design of electronic player-piano systems. Stahnke is perhaps best known for designing the SE reproducing system, which Bösendorfer factory-installed in its pianos in the mid-1980s.
In 2007 Live Performance introduced its own player-piano system, the Model LX, providing playback performance the company says approaches that of the legendary SE system at a price competitive with other retrofittable player systems.
Compatible with any grand piano, the LX employs the technical specifications of the SE's playback system, including a high keyboard sample rate (800 times per second), high-resolution note expression (1,020 dynamic levels for each note), 96-note polyphony (which, for an 88-note piano, means unlimited), and proportional pedaling (256 positions). Among the LX's unique features is the immunity of its expression to variations in line voltage, using a patented proprietary method. The LX also features a closed-loop pedal servomechanism that enables it to reproduce with great accuracy a pianist's use of the sustain pedal — especially subtle half-pedaling effects. The sostenuto and una corda pedals are software-emulated. The LX does not include a Record feature.
In the interest of being future-proof, the LX does not include a proprietary control unit. Instead, it is driven by a CD, DVD, or MP3 player, a wireless link, a home music-distribution system, or other source of stereo audio. This provides maximum flexibility and the ability to take advantage of advanced audio technologies as they appear.