Live Performance was founded in 1992 by Wayne Stahnke, one of the world's foremost authorities in the field 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.
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 piano's conventional pedal trapwork doesn't need to be moved or modified to accommodate the system.
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. Third-party software is available to encode MIDI and ESEQ (a Yamaha format) files for use with the LX.
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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. Most piano manufacturers offer factory-installed PianoDisc products, and piano dealers can also have the installation done at their own locations by certified PianoDisc technicians.
PianoDisc's newest player system is the iQ. Hidden within the piano body, iQ can play back PianoDisc music using almost any media player (MP3, iPod, iTunes, CD/DVD, and multimedia) as a source. The most popular configuration is bundled with an Apple iPod. 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. Customers can operate all functions of the piano from one familiar device. When combined with the TFT Record option (see below), 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.
PianoDisc's basic system is the model 228CFX, which has both floppy and CD drives as standard equipment. Its slimline controller can be mounted on the piano or located up to 100 feet away and operated with an infrared wireless remote control (included). The 228CFX has several options: SymphonyPro, a 128-voice General MIDI sound module set to provide sampled-sound orchestration as an accompaniment to the piano; TFT (Touch Film Technology) MIDI Record for recording one's playing; and MX (Music Expansion), a flash memory in which to store music and play it back without having to change a disk.
PianoDisc's entry-level system is PianoCD, an easy-to-use system that plays only PianoDisc and regular audio CDs, and has fewer features than the 228CFX.
The flagship of the PianoDisc line is Opus7, the first player system to connect to the Internet. Opus7 can be controlled via a Web browser or a wireless, Internet-ready Web Tablet with touchscreen and full color. It can download music and system upgrades directly from PianoDisc's website, surf the Web, and receive e-mail (broadband connection required), among other features. Opus7 comes in two versions, Opulence and Luxury. Opulence is the full system; Luxury, designed to integrate with home-automation systems, does not come with the Web Tablet or router, as it's assumed that the home-automation system will already include these or similar interfaces.
Opus7's MX3 hard drive comes with 40 hours of pre-loaded music and will accept standard type 0 and 1 MIDI files available from a wide variety of standard MIDI file publishers, PianoDisc CDs, and standard audio CDs. Using PianoDisc's PianoCast technology and broadband Internet, Opus7 can connect to one of PianoDisc's Internet radio streams for listening to special events, interviews, and performances, combining a traditional audio broadcast with a piano performance. The "Classical and More" stream features uninterrupted classical music—of interest to hotels or restaurants that need royalty-free background music.
SPRING 2010 -- page 163
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hybrid & Player Pianos
New-Piano Buyers’ Reference