In 2007 Pianoforce introduced its latest controller, the Performance. Expanding on the company's past experience in supplying control components for other companies, the new controller contains some of the newest, most advanced features in the player-piano arena, such as the ability to read the software of other systems, including Yamaha Disklavier, QRS (except SyncAlong), and Web Only software, plus standard MIDI files; and onboard connections to the Internet via an Ethernet or wireless hookup, through which the user can download music from Pianoforce or even have system problems diagnosed. There are three USB ports for greater versatility, such as plugging in flash memory or a WiFi key. There is an optical digital stereo output and a dedicated subwoofer output line. The system can now be controlled remotely via the user's iPod Touch or iPhone, and Internet streaming radio is available 24/7 with piano accompanied by original audio tracks.
The system comes with 500 MB of internal memory, pre-loaded with approximately 20 hours of piano music and expandable to 8 GB. The units are also shipped with approximately 400 Star Track piano recordings. A Star Track is a piano file in MIDI format synchronized to an original audio CD. When the audio CD is inserted, the corresponding Star Track is activated and plays a 30-second sampler accompaniment on the piano.
Keescan, an optional recording feature, uses optical sensors to record key and sustain-pedal movement. Also available is the AMI box, which facilitates connection of a microphone, iPod, and other USB devices. In addition to the system's ability to play other makers' software, Pianoforce is building its own library of CDs.
QRS Music Technologies, Inc.
269 Quaker Drive
Seneca, Pennsylvania 16346
Pianomation is an electronic player-piano system that can be installed in virtually any piano, grand or vertical, new or used. Most manufacturers endorse Pianomation and install it at dealer request at one of their manufacturing or distribution points. QRS does factory installations on many major brands of pianos at its U.S. facilities, and Pianomation can be installed at a dealer location by a technician specially trained by QRS. Note, however, that while most Pianomation systems and controllers can be ordered or installed through any dealer doing business with QRS, the Ancho system (see below) can be purchased only through Story & Clark piano dealers.
Strictly speaking, Pianomation refers to the engine that makes the keys move up and down. It is always sold with a front-end controller as part of one of the systems described below. Pianomation systems are very modular; components can be mixed and matched to meet the requirements of many different situations, including the complex needs of commercial establishments.
The simplest and least expensive controller is the 2000C. The control box is hidden under the piano. It has no built-in disk drives, instead using the owner's stereo components (CD, DVD, or MP3 player) to drive the Pianomation engine and play QRS content. The background music comes from the user's stereo system, while a wireless transmitter sends the piano data to the Pianomation system. The 2000CD+ is similar, but with a provided CD player that plays QRS CDs.
The Petine (sometimes called Petine CD) control box is slim — just over 1.5 inches tall — and includes both a CD drive and a CompactFlash drive. The CD drive will play audio and data CDs (CD-ROMs), the latter potentially containing thousands of MIDI files on a single disc. (This controller plays Standard MIDI files types 1 and 0.) Other sources of music for playback include the internal memory, which comes with 24 songs, and auxiliary input, for an external computer, iPod, or MP3 or CD player. The system can accept QRS's optional PNOscan MIDI Record strip, with which the user can record and playback performances with Pianomation. An optional sound card is also available. The Petine has a three-digit LED display, and can be controlled by a data wheel or an infrared remote control. It also has a headphone output, microphone input for karaoke, and internal memory storage. The operating system is flash-upgradable. The Petine comes standard with a CompactFlash card containing a large sampling of free music from the QRS music library. The Petine LT model is a version without a CD drive.