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 that can be added to virtually any piano, grand or vertical, new or used, and even some digital pianos. Pianos fitted with PianoDisc systems maintain full manual functionality of all pedals, and playback (and optional recording) of all 88 notes. Piano manufacturers offer factory-installed PianoDisc products, and piano dealers in over 40 countries have installations done at their own locations by trained and certified PianoDisc technicians.
Introduced in 2010, PianoDisc’s high-resolution playback technology, SilentDrive HD, offers quiet playback of original piano performances, and features a faster processor and streamlined architecture that improve timing, velocity, and dynamics. With SilentDrive HD, each note has 1,024 levels of expression; trills, for example, play back with much more accuracy than was possible before. The iQ system and SilentDrive HD are standard equipment on all current PianoDisc systems, and both are available as an upgrade to all older PianoDisc models as well as player systems of other makes. A proportional pedal feature is scheduled to be introduced in the second quarter of 2013.
PianoDisc’s most recent player technology is an innovative player system called 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 or 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 a single familiar source. Using an iDevice, such as an 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 adjustments made in the volume of the music player to automatically match the piano’s volume to it.
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 software apps for learning, practicing, and performing are available through Apple’s 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.
New features and technology added to the line of iQ systems in 2013 include a low-profile, invisible drive system that uses the original pedal trapwork without modification to the profile or operation of the piano. Also introduced is the new Piano Tube LIVE station, available through YouTube, which delivers high-quality HD videos of live concerts to a customer’s home or commercial establishment. This exclusive PianoDisc station is compatible with player systems equipped with iQ technology, and is designed to enhance the PianoDisc experience by integrating it into social media and remote education networks.