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.
The installed LX is more attractive than some other systems because the note solenoids are contained within the keybed slot and so do not protrude beneath the piano. The mounting rail is a rigid steel structure that restores the integrity of the keybed after the slot for the solenoid rail has been cut into it. Because of the solenoid rail’s shallow profile, the LX system may require less modification of the piano’s pedal trapwork than other player systems.
The Live Performance Model LX plays all non-encrypted CDs for player pianos, as well as its own high-resolution format. Ten high-resolution albums from a growing catalog are included with the purchase of each LX system. Software is available to translate MIDI and ESEQ (a Yamaha format) files into native LX format, extending the benefits of the LX’s high-resolution performance to these files, too.
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PianoDisc makes retrofit systems — including its popular player systems — that can be added to virtually any piano, grand or vertical, new or used. PianoDisc systems maintain full manual functionality of all pedals, and record and play back all 88 notes. Piano manufacturers offer factory-installed PianoDisc products, and piano dealers also have installations done at their own locations by trained and certified PianoDisc technicians.
Introduced in 2010, PianoDisc’s high-resolution playback technology, SilentDrive HD, features a faster processor and streamlined architecture that improve timing, velocity, and dynamics. With SilentDrive HD, each note has 1,024 levels of expression, so trills, for example, play back with much more accuracy than was possible before. SilentDrive HD is standard equipment on all current PianoDisc systems, and is available as an upgrade for legacy systems.
Also new in 2010 was PianoDisc’s live, 24/7, free streaming radio, a feature available on all iQ-based PianoDisc systems, and free to all iQ customers as well (see below). This service is of special interest to hotels, restaurants, and other business establishments that use PianoDisc to provide their customers with non-stop royalty-free entertainment. In addition, each PianoDisc system includes a generous software package valued at $1,000.
PianoDisc’s newest player system is iQ, “the Intelligent Player System.” Hidden within the piano body, iQ can play back PianoDisc music using as a source almost any media player: iPad, iTouch, MP3, iPod, Xbox, DVD, CD player, etc. 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 one familiar source. Using an iDevice, such as the iPad or iTouch, the customer can also take advantage of hundreds of apps offered through Apple’s App Store for additional enhancement and enjoyment. Unique within the industry, iQ features a patented method of detecting changes to the volume of the music player, and automatically adjusts the piano volume to match.
When combined with the MIDI Record option, an iQ-equipped piano includes MIDI IN and OUT ports on the instrument itself. This allows for easy connection to a computer-based sequencer or other MIDI device. The Performance package consists of MIDI Record and a USB/MIDI Cable. The Mobile Performance package, which includes the MIDI Record option and the iRig interface, is designed to easily integrate with popular iDevices such as the iPad. The professional user would prefer the Studio Performance package, with MIDI Record and iConnect interface, which will integrate with an iDevice or other USB-connected device. A recommended app for record and playback of iQ (using either the Mobile or Studio Performance package connected to an iDevice) is Symphonix Evolution. Dozens of other interactive software apps for learning, practicing, and performing are available through the Apple App Store for free or for purchase. Examples include Garage Band, Music Studio, Home Concert Extreme, 50in1 Piano HD, Grinta Karaoke Lite, ForScore, Piano Notes Pro, Scorecerer, and Steinway Etude.