The PianoDisc Remote app is a utility for the iQ system with many custom features. Although piano and audio balance can be adjusted with the iQ Audio Balance Control, PianoDisc Remote lets users further customize the volume levels and balance of the piano and audio accompaniment, and to fine-tune their synchronization. Revamped with new features for 2014, this app is now available at a lower price ($24.99) through the Apple App Store.
iQ Flash, an entry-level system, is another addition to the PianoDisc line. Basic operation is accomplished by playing PianoDisc MP3 or MIDI files from USB, SD, or MMC flash memory. All functions can be accessed either from the included remote control or via a few multifunction buttons on the face of the iQ Flash control box. Audio and piano balance controls are easily adjusted with the wheel next to the SD slot. An easy-to-read, high-contrast, backlit LCD display allows the user to view and make song selections, and to use the Repeat and Shuffle features. Incorporating the Studio Performance package into iQ Flash allows players to capture performances as MP3 files on their preferred media-storage devices. With an additional mixer and a powered microphone, vocals can be added to the recording.
AlwaysPlay allows the user to import any MIDI file and play it back on the piano, even if the original recording contains no piano part. AlwaysPlay recognizes the lead instrument (guitar, organ, flute, etc.) and substitutes the piano for it.
For use with its systems, PianoDisc maintains a growing library of thousands of music titles available as digital downloads, CDs, DVDs, and high-definition Blu-ray discs. The library includes solo-piano performances by famous artists, piano with instrumental accompaniment (most of these are live recordings), and vocals in 28 different categories. PianoDisc has recently introduced over a dozen famous Chinese albums, including folk, popular, traditional, and classical Chinese music.
PianoSync is a MIDI-controlled piano performance that synchronizes with a commercially available audio CD of a major recording artist. PianoSync albums are purchased from PianoDisc's website as downloads or CDs. (The purchase includes the original artist's CD.) When the buyer plays the merged file on the PianoDisc system, the original CD recording is heard, along with its new, live piano accompaniment.
PianoVideo HD, the first high-definition video format created specifically for modern player-piano systems, combines MIDI, audio, and video. The PianoVideo HD technology gives PianoDisc owners the ultimate entertainment experience: as they watch a high-definition video, their piano will play along with it live, in sync with the pianist on screen. PianoVideo HD performances come on standard-definition DVD or Blu-ray discs.
Pianoforce is a new entrant into the player-piano market under its own name, but the company that makes it — Ncode Ltd. of Bratislava, Slovakia — has been developing and manufacturing front-end controllers for the player-piano systems of other companies, such as Baldwin and QRS, since 1995. In 2005, Pianoforce was first offered as a complete system in the pianos of selected piano makers. In 2006, it was introduced as a retrofit kit installable in any piano, new or old. Designed and built by Ncode in Europe, the kit is ordered through a piano dealer and is typically installed in a new piano either at a distribution point or at the dealer location.
Pianoforce says that its system differs from those of its competitors in that the main rail component also contains all the controlling electronics, eliminating the need for a lot of complicated wiring and making for a neater and simpler installation. Also, a technician can plug a laptop computer into a USB port on the rail and, using software supplied by Pianoforce, can customize the system to the piano and to the customer's preferences through the control of many playing parameters, such as solenoid force, note release, and pedal release. These custom settings can then be archived on the laptop. The system automatically calibrates itself to the piano's sound with the help of a small sensor mounted on the soundboard. The combination of automatic calibration with manual setup ensures the best playback performance for each individual piano following installation.
In 2007 Pianoforce introduced its latest controller, the Performance. Expanding on the company's past experience in supplying control components for other companies, the new controller contains some of the newest, most advanced features in the player-piano arena, such as the ability to read the software of other systems, including Yamaha Disklavier, QRS (except SyncAlong), and Web Only software, plus standard MIDI files; and onboard connections to the Internet via an Ethernet or wireless hookup, through which the user can download music from Pianoforce or even have system problems diagnosed. There are three USB ports for greater versatility, such as plugging in flash memory or a WiFi key. There is an optical digital stereo output and a dedicated subwoofer output line. The system can now be controlled remotely via the user's iPod Touch or iPhone, and Internet streaming radio is available 24/7 with piano accompanied by original audio tracks.
The Definitive Piano Buying Guide for
Brookside Press LLC
P.O. Box 4916
Palm Springs, CA 92263 USA
Copyright 2014 Brookside Press LLC.
All rights reserved.