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#17111 - 12/31/06 11:49 PM Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
I want to buy an acoustic piano. I have considered recanting and going with a digital because my wife is concerned me playing it at night and in the morning will wake our 14month old baby (none of us want that as he is a *light* sleeper).

1) I have seen much of the Yamaha Disklaviers. This is just a modern player piano? I would only be interested if I can use the piano keys and then power a MIDI controller so I can practice quietly while baby sleeping...

2) Then I saw the Midi piano. My understanding is this one you can play quietly and power a MIDI controller? Is it true that the piano action is not affected at all?

What is the opion on these options? Is this something to consider, or just an expensive gimmick that does not work well?
_________________________
Wade

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#17112 - 01/01/07 12:18 AM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
Disklavier, PianoDisc, and QRS Pianomation each offer a silent system.

The Disklavier, is available on new Yamaha pianos. The PianoDisc and Pianomation units are available as retrofits onto a piano of your choosing.

The silent feature does require that the let-off adjustment be set back somewhat further from the string than it would otherwise have to be. For some musicians, this effect is very noticeable, for others it doesn't bother them at all.

If you are not interested in having the piano play back what you record, it may be more economical for you to get the piano you like best, and then purchase a modestly priced digital for silent practice. (assuming you have sufficient room for this)
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#17113 - 01/01/07 12:24 AM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2242
Loc: Portland, Oregon
A Disklavier would also work and I believe you would be able to practice with headphones and have a very good player piano as well.

Another possibility and a lot less expensive is the PNOscan. It is a MIDI recording strip that you can have installed under the keys of any acoustic grand or upright that will do what you are asking and more. It will also record. It will not however, playback like a Disklavier, with the keys going down. It's a LOT less expensive than a Disklavier equipped piano.

It's called the PNOscan by QRS. Midi9 sells the same kit.

http://www.midi9.com/products.htm

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#17114 - 01/01/07 11:04 AM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
The PNOscan sounds neat. How much would something like this run? Can I add it myself or would I have to have it installed by a technician? Is this something most technicians could figure out?
_________________________
Wade

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#17115 - 01/01/07 06:03 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2242
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I believe retail, they are somewhere in the $1200 range, but not sure exactly. I would prob get a tech who is familiar with installing these types of devices, as the correct installation is very important. I would also check with Midi9 or QRS to make sure the kit can do what you are asking.

It's a great way to convert an acoustic piano into a MIDI recording piano etc, and for a lot less money than buying a digital, with it's inferior action.

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#17116 - 01/02/07 12:23 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
gpman:
It's a great way to convert an acoustic piano into a MIDI recording piano etc, and for a lot less money than buying a digital, with it's inferior action.

That is all well and good, but as far as I understand it from their website, PNOscan will do nothing to help Wade's 14 month old baby sleep whilst his Dad is playing his heart out... PNOscan merely optically senses the movements of the keys and pedals and translates this into MIDI/QRS player data for recording and subsequent playback (either by a MIDI sound module or a QRS compatible player-piano.)

Unfortunately, there seems to be some general confusion between MIDI/player/silent practice modifications, as many systems offer one or more of these elements as a combined package. A year ago I was looking a the possibility of a retrofitted "silent practice" option for a grand piano I was considering purchasing. Even when speaking to technical directors of a couple of highly-respected piano manufacturers, there was initial confusion, as they tried to sell me their latest player or MIDI systems, when all I wanted was a SILENT[/b] option. Even dealers (who should have known better) on this site, starting talking about player systems, when this was clearly not[/b] what I was referring to. I already have a player system called 'me' ;\) .

Anyway, in the end I purchased a separate digital piano (Clavinova CLP280) for quiet practice and an acoustic grand for times when the sound level is not an issue. This was for a variety of reasons, though mainly due to two major European piano manufacturers telling me quite unequivocally not to consider retrofitting any silent system to their pianos, as their experiences of them were not positive: e.g. the effect of increasing the let-off does lead to noticeably less control when playing softly.

Best of luck in your search,

-Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#17117 - 01/02/07 07:02 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
Good points Michael.

For clarification, the QRS's PNOscan, and PianoDisc's TFT record strip would be one item. A hammer stop rail would be another cost. Either can be purchased with or without a player system. I posted the links to the respective companies sites in my initial post.
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#17118 - 01/02/07 07:23 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Have you played an acoustic piano with a practice pedal? I love mine on my Yamaha UX3. I can play at 3 a.m. with none of my kids waking up, but then when everyone is awake (or in your case older with fewer naps), I can play it regularly.

Nancy
_________________________

Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#17119 - 01/02/07 08:03 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
Happy b-day Nancy \:\)
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#17120 - 01/03/07 04:03 AM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2242
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Good points all...that's why I said to make sure the PNOscan would do what Brazospiano was asking about...the silent feature. I was confused as well with the features of the PNOscan in relation to silent playing. \:\) The hammer stop rail sounds like a good idea. Good Luck!

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#17121 - 01/11/07 11:12 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
Thanks for all the info. I have a few more questions though...

1) Is the practice pedal the middle pedal on a piano or is this a special feature you can add or order?

2) I saw the Estonia has the keyboard "built into the rim". I don't understand exactly what this means, but I was curious is you could still add a PNOscan to an Estonia.

3) Would a hammer stop rail affect the sound negatively? If I went crazy and bought a $20k piano would it be a mistake to add a hammer stop rail and a PNOScan?

4) If I get the piano, and then want to add a hammer stop rail and PNOscan or midi9 later, is this something a technitian could do in my home?

I assume I can buy the piano and ad the PNO scan and hammer stop rail later whilst the piano is in my home? Can a technician do this easily?

Thanks!!!
_________________________
Wade

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#17122 - 01/11/07 11:55 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
1) The practice pedal is a feature found on most upright pianos. Instead of the middle pedal being a sostenuto as on a grand, a layer of felt is lowered between the hammers and strings when the middle pedal is depressed. I know there are add-ons for upright pianos, I don't know about grands.

2)Yes, PNOscan, Moog piano bar, and Pianodiscs sensor strip can be added to virtually any piano.

3)A stop rail can cause the let-off adjustment to have to be set back further than it would otherwise have to be. This can make controlling dynamics, particularly at soft levels, more challenging. Some folks report no difficulty in adjusting to the difference, others are immediately turned off by it.

4)Yes
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#17123 - 01/12/07 01:53 AM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
Meredith A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 120
Loc: San Diego, CA
I know Yamaha markets a 48" upright and the C2 with a "Silent Series" Option:

A bar is raised to stop the hammers from hitting the strings (I can't tell any difference in the action with this bar in place or down), you turn on and plug in your headphones to a small box underneath the keyboard, and voila - you are playing silently. When I read about this system Yamaha's site said each there are multiple optical sensors for each key. This system does not allow any kind of playback through the piano, but it has midi and audio output in case you want to record your playing.

I use this silent feature each week as I warm up on my teacher's C2 while another student is playing on the upright just 5 feet away. It's great!

Meredith

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#17124 - 01/12/07 03:01 AM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
As the acoustic pianos have the ultimate action I would personally stick with that first and purchase a digital for sound free practice in out of hours playing. Like I will be doing to avoid wife problems.

Alan

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#17125 - 01/12/07 06:32 AM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Yamaha(also Bechstein bying from Yamaha) and some Kawai systems are not noticable when playing

My advice is: Be aware of that systems built later on may affect the action adjustments - the most important part of a piano!!!!The action makes a piano playable or not.

A Yamaha P80 digital or similar "stage piano model" with decent action and headphones you get for less the price thatn a built-in silent system. if you have the space for both, do not destroy your piano by adding electronic that would not stand the lifetime of the piano and becomes obsolete.

P.S. A pianist should not have to adjust to everything: IMO only the best action is acceptable. There are enough with other factors: room accoustics, piano sound, demandinmg music

Why is there so little interst in actions specifications? Many features ar measurable, and then you have black on white how something affects the touch, respons etc.

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#17126 - 01/13/07 08:50 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
Whether or not the system is factory or retrofit, the same modification must be made.
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#17127 - 01/17/07 10:16 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
Sounds like good advice. I wanted the action of a real piano so I was considering it. Sounds like I should get the piano first and then save up and for $1-2k I can get a very nice electric for practicing when I need to be quiet.
_________________________
Wade

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#17128 - 01/18/07 02:50 AM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Wade:
Sounds like I should get the piano first and then save up and for $1-2k I can get a very nice electric for practicing when I need to be quiet.

If you can buy them both from the same dealer, you might get a good discount package deal. Saves on delivery costs too, and if you position them correctly, you don't even need two benches:

[img]http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f327/PoStTeNeBrAsLuX/Picture0157.jpg?t=1169106424[/img]


-Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#17129 - 01/18/07 05:23 PM Re: Confused about Midi options for acoustic pianos...
Mr. Kia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 179
Loc: Northeast, USA
Brazos, check with the dealer and ask this question. It was my impression that the yamaha midi and disklavier pianos have a second "toe" just behind the regular toe on the foot of the action jack that is then tripped by a second "let-off button" that engages when the midi function is activated.They claim this maintains the same touch as without the midi feature. Check it out, I may be wrong.
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Piano Technician

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