- pocket remote control to communicate wirelessly with the Disklavier
- built-in Ethernet for connecting to your network and downloading MIDI files
- grayscale (continuous) hammershank sensors (on 6'' 1" and larger models) for more sensitive recording capabilities
- XG tone generator with hundreds of synthesized and sampled sounds
- dedicated digital piano sound chip
- Articulation Element Modeling (AEM) voices for greater realism in orchestrated backgrounds
- built-in speaker system
- karaoke capability
- 16-track recording capabilities
- Silent Mode: silences the acoustic piano for listening through headphones
- Quiet Mode: silences the acoustic piano and directs the sound to speakers
- Quick Escape Action: maintains correct action regulation when using Silent Mode or Quiet Mode
- SmartKey: a teaching device
- CueTime: a smart accompaniment feature
- PianoSmart Audio Synchronization: the ability to link a piano track in MIDI format with selected popular CDs on the general market for synchronized playback
- PianoSmart Video Synchronization: videotape a piano performance and the Disklavier will play the performance back perfectly on the piano whenever you play back the video of the performance
- Disklavier Radio: a group of streaming MIDI music stations, available on a subscription basis
The Version 3.0 operating system for the Mark IV includes the ability to make audio recordings of the piano and anything coming into the mic input, and enables control of the Mark IV via a PC or Macintosh computer through the use of a Web browser.
The current Mark IV Version 4.0 operating system provides Disklavier owners with the ability to control their system with an iPhone or iPod Touch, and the potential to take part in the new Remote Lesson feature (piano-to-piano connection via the Internet), described later in this article. Yamaha has also, for the first time, released its code to software developers so they can develop third-party Disklavier controllers.
The performance level of the standard Mark IV Disklavier is the same as formerly found in the Mark III PRO series. The Mark IV PRO provides the highest level of performance in the Disklavier line. The PRO series has a much higher internal recording resolution and a greater dynamic range in playback.
Introduced recently, the Disklavier E3 offers many of the most popular capabilities of the Mark IV at a lower price. The E3 is offered only on Yamaha’s smaller grands, from the 5' model GB1K through the 5' 8" model C2, and on the 48" U1 upright. The following are the differences between the E3 and Mark IV Disklaviers:
- The E3 has no internal hard drive. However, it does support a user-supplied USB hard drive.
- The E3 has no floppy-disk drive, though one can be added.
- The E3’s ensemble electronic voices do not include Yamaha’s Articulation Element Modeling (AEM) voices.
- The E3 has flash memory.
- The E3 does not have a dedicated digital piano sound chip, instead using the piano sound in the XG tone generator.
- The upright version of the E3 (DU1E3) does not come with built-in speakers.
- The E3 has only 2-track recording capability instead of 16-track.
- The E3 does not support Silent Mode, Quiet Mode, or Quick Escape Action.
- The E3 does not come with headphones.
Current E3 Version 3.0 adds the same capabilities as described earlier for the Mark IV Version 4.0.
Models DGC1B and DC2B, recently discontinued, are Mark III Disklaviers with some limits in their functionality. They don’t support Silent Mode, Quiet Mode, or Quick Escape Action, and headphones and a digital piano sound chip are not included (instead, they use the piano sound in the tone generator). The playback-only model DGB1CD is being discontinued in favor of the E3 version, the DGB1KE3. Owners of Mark IIXG and Mark III systems can access many of the advanced features found in the E3 system by purchasing replacement control unit DKC-850.
For simple playback, most player-piano systems now on the market are probably equally recommended. The Disklavier, however, has a slight edge in quality control, and its recording system is more sophisticated than most of the others, especially in the larger grands. For this reason, it is often the system of choice for professional applications such as performance and teaching, and much of Yamaha’s marketing efforts are directed at that audience.
Two examples are especially noteworthy. Yamaha sponsors regular piano “e-competitions” in which contestants gather in several cities and play Disklavier concert grands. Their performances are recorded using PianoSmart Video Synchronization, then sent to judges in another location, who, rather than listen to recordings, watch and listen to the music reproduced perfectly on other Disklavier pianos.