Bösendorfer's SE Reproducer System, out of production for a number of years, has been replaced by an all-new design called CEUS (Create Emotions with Unique Sound), with updated electronics and solenoids.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 $70,000 to the piano's list price. Retrofitting of CEUS into previously sold Bösendorfers is available at the factory.
Live Performance was founded in 1992 by Wayne Stahnke, one of the world's foremost authorities on the design of electronic player-piano systems, and perhaps best known for designing the SE reproducing system that Bösendorfer factory-installed in its pianos in the mid-1980s.
In 2007, Live Performance introduced its own player-piano system, the Model LX, which provides playback performance that the company says rivals that of the legendary SE system at a price competitive with other retrofittable player systems.
Compatible with any grand piano, the LX matches 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), support for 96 notes (to cover the extended keyboards of some concert grands), 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. A keyboard-shift (una corda pedal) option provides proportional control of the shift with 256 positions, to make available the added tonal colors that the una corda provides. Retrofit LX kits are playback-only, but a high-resolution recording system providing SE-level performance is available as a custom installation.
In the interest of being future-proof, the LX is not dependent on any particular audio technology; instead, it is driven by a special audio signal delivered from any current or future source, including CD, DVD, and MP3 players, mobile devices, computers, and home multimedia distribution systems. This provides maximum flexibility and the ability to take advantage of future audio technologies as they appear.
The LX is notable for having pioneered the low-profile style of solenoid rail that has become fashionable among providers of today's retrofittable player systems. This style houses an arrangement of staggered solenoids within the keybed slot, eliminating unsightly protrusions beneath the piano and requiring less modification of the piano's pedal trapwork during installation. The mounting rail's rigid steel structure restores the integrity of the keybed after the slot for the solenoid rail has been cut into it.
In addition to its own high-resolution format, the Live Performance Model LX plays a variety of commercial player-piano formats. Ten high-resolution albums from a growing catalog of piano performances are included with the purchase of each LX system. Software is available to translate piano performances in other formats (e.g., MIDI files) into native LX streams, extending the benefits of the LX's high-resolution performance to a wider selection of music.
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