The system comes with 500 MB of internal memory, pre-loaded with approximately 20 hours of piano music and expandable to 8 GB. The units are also shipped with approximately 400 Star Track piano recordings. A Star Track is a piano file in MIDI format synchronized to an original audio CD. When the audio CD is inserted, the corresponding Star Track is activated and plays a 30-second sampler accompaniment on the piano.

Keescan, an optional recording feature, uses optical sensors to record key and sustain-pedal movement. Also available is the AMI box, which facilitates connection of a microphone, iPod, and other USB devices. In addition to the system's ability to play other makers' software, Pianoforce is building its own library of CDs.

QRS PNOmation

QRS Music Technologies, Inc.
269 Quaker Drive
Seneca, Pennsylvania 16346

PNOmation II is the latest generation of QRS Music's flagship player-piano product, PNOmation, formerly called Pianomation. In addition to PNOmation, QRS has released a family of products under the PNO trademark, including PNOscan, SilentPNO, PNOcloud, and others.

PNOmation II is an electronic player-piano system that can be installed in virtually any piano, grand or vertical, new or used. Most manufacturers endorse the PNOmation system, and will install it, at a dealer's request, at one of their manufacturing or distribution points. QRS installs the system in many major brands of piano at its own U.S. factory, and it can also be installed at a dealer location by a QRS-trained technician.

Traditionally, electronic player pianos have been defined by the type of control box at the front of the piano, or by the controller's capabilities. PNOmation II differs in integrating the core features of every controller, including the music, into the PNOmation engine, thereby eliminating confusing options as well as the need to have a box hanging under the piano. Instead of offering a modular approach to the equipment required for various features, PNOmation offers all features standard, and a modular approach to their use. For example, the user can log in to the PNOmation system through any web-enabled device, pull up the system's embedded web-app user interface, and begin to play the piano; or, for those who are more comfortable with inserting their music selections into the device, music can be delivered via a USB thumb key; then you need only push Play on the system's remote control, or the Play button on the unit itself.

Key to PNOmation II's flexibility is the fact that it is delivered in a standalone-network mode, with its own network serving its own user interface, or web app. The big advantage of this approach is that a web app gives the user full control of all parameters of the system and how music is played. Some customers are concerned only with whether a song is a solo performance or a performance with background music, which they can determine from the web-app screen. Other customers may want to manipulate a MIDI file to change the tempo or tuning, and some may want to upload a recorded performance to view or change. None of this is possible with an off-the-shelf MP3 playback engine, but all of it is easily done with QRS's PNOmation II web app.

The web app also offers the customer several new control capabilities over the PNOmation II engine, including controlled release of the sustain pedal, to give it a soft landing and eliminate the potential thump heard with the release of the damper tray. The same controlled-release technology has also been applied to the keys, improving the PNOmation's already quiet playback while adding much more lifelike fingering. Other features include trill timing compensation, delay compensation, pitch correction, and MIDI-output curve maps. While most customers will use the default settings, those who want to dial in the perfect performance will be able to do so.

All of the data that controls the movements of the piano keys and pedals is in a non-compressed MIDI format (a high-definition MIDI format will soon be released). All music available for the new PNOmation II — currently over 6,300 tracks and growing — can be purchased one song at a time or by the album, using a subscription or credits, giving listeners great flexibility in hearing what they want to hear.

While not required, connecting PNOmation II to a home network is easy to do. As a device on a home network, a PNOmation-equipped piano can be updated and/or controlled remotely via the Internet by accessing the web-app user interface via iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Android, Mac, Google Chrome browser, Kindle Fire, or any other similar piece of technology.

The Definitive Piano Buying Guide for

Buying New, Used, and Restored Acoustic Pianos and Digital Pianos

Spring 2014    Page 154

Spring 2014    Page 154

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