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#299737 - 01/01/09 11:42 PM Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
SteveJacobson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, California
From researching other postings it looks like the Disklavier Mark IV (standard – not the pro) appears to add between 12K and 15k to the cost of the base Yamaha. I used posting about the costs of the CG1 and DCG1M4 to come up with this figure. While the functionality and quality differ, other systems appear to offer similar functionality at a much lower price (5K to 8K). I understand that with the Mark IV you get everything (there is no modularization, you have no choice): recording, playback, computer, hard disk, synthesizer, speakers, internet music, etc.

Do the other systems offer most of these functions I think that some of them do, such as Pianodisk; I have yet to see a side by side function, quality, and cost comparison between the different systems.

I have read that the Mark IV allows for software upgrades but not hardware. I was told, for example, that I cannot upgrade from a Mark III to a Mark IV, I have to trade in or sell the piano and buy a new piano and system will this be true when the Mark V comes out in the future. This means that I not only have to take a hit on the player but on the piano also. With the other systems I can replace them with a new one if there is significant hardware upgrades and keep the piano. With the price difference, I have the ability to replace an entire system x number of years in the future and still break even on costs.

I am looking at this from a cost / benefit perspective but am having trouble getting a good picture. Can anyone add some insight or correct me if am wrong on any of my assumptions.

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#299738 - 01/02/09 06:11 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Toronto
Hi Steve:

I believe all of the systems on the market have a common initial inventor and there is in reality not a huge difference with them. The Yamaha offers integration and other Yamaha technology they have from their electronic pro equipment. That's a good thing. Factory install is nice too. The QRS Pianomation, Pianodisk and some of the other newer systems offer different variations. I believe the QRS PNOscan is the best MIDI sensor out there using ballistic velocity sensors. It has evolved from the earliest Gulbransen MIDI sensor over the past 15 years or so. If you want a system on something other than a Yamaha, then go with something else. If you want a Yamaha, get the Disklavier. Integration and a single warranty are worth the extra cost in that case.

Take care,

Steve
_________________________
Vintage Piano sales and restoration in Toronto
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer

http://stevejacksonpianos.com

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#299739 - 01/02/09 06:35 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Rich Galassini Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8974
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
 Quote:
I have to trade in or sell the piano and buy a new piano and system will this be true when the Mark V comes out in the future.
Steve,

This alone is a big deal. I have clients who initially chose a PianoCD system by PianoDisc who have recently upgraded to the IQ system. They could go from there easily to a Syncavision.

Just for fun, here is a video we recently made of the IQ system:

Ipod on a Cunningham

Recording capabilities exist with both PianoDisc and QRS. You have the freedom to choose what capabilities appeal to you as well. In other words, you do not pay for something yu will not use. Installation is key for the system to serve you well in either case.

One other thought - the Yamaha system is very good, but I personally would not choose a Yamaha piano. My taste brings me elsewhere. There are lots of great pianos out there. With an installed system you are free to choose what truly inspires you as a pianist.

I hope that helps,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#299740 - 01/02/09 01:56 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
KevinG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/07
Posts: 55
Loc: S. Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by SteveJacobson:
From researching other postings it looks like the Disklavier Mark IV (standard – not the pro) appears to add between 12K and 15k to the cost of the base Yamaha. I used posting about the costs of the CG1 and DCG1M4 to come up with this figure. [/b]
I think you are talking about MSRP? After negotiations, I think the price difference might be closer to what you quoted for non-Disklavier player systems...
_________________________
Yamaha DC3M4

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#299741 - 01/02/09 06:09 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
SteveJacobson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Based on what I have seen on this Web site the price of a GC1 is between 13K and 16K. With this as the base, adding 8k to that price would put the DGC1M4 at between 21K and 24K is this a reasonable range for a new DGC1M4?

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#299742 - 01/02/09 06:58 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Pianomadam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 416
Loc: Southern United States
FROM RICH:

"One other thought - the Yamaha system is very good, but I personally would not choose a Yamaha piano. My taste brings me elsewhere. There are lots of great pianos out there"

---No bias in that comment!
_________________________
PianoMadam

Family of Steinway-Designed Pianos (Steinway & Sons, Boston, Essex) Dealer

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#299743 - 01/02/09 11:58 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Rich Galassini Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8974
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
I wrote:
 Quote:
the Yamaha system is very good, but I personally would not choose a Yamaha piano. My taste brings me elsewhere.
Then Pianomadam commented:
 Quote:
---No bias in that comment!
Pianomadam,

Guilty as charged. Louis Armstrong may have said it best:

There are two kinds of music - good and bad. I play the good kind.

Just like Louis Armstrong, I have personal preference. We all do, Pianomadam. If you prefer a Yamaha piano, you are free to choose it and I will support that choice. This is what makes the spice of life. Wouldn't it be a shame if we all had the same musical taste?
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#299744 - 01/03/09 01:41 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
YES!
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#299745 - 01/03/09 01:57 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
SteveJacobson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Marty

Yes to Rich’s statement or to is between 21k and 24k a reasonable range for a DGC1M4 or both.

Thanks,
Steve

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#299746 - 01/03/09 02:56 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2244
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Steve, another possibility....if you are not set on a Yamaha piano, is the "LX" system from Wayne Stahnke. www.live-performance.com It is definitely the best retro-fit system on the market. The playback quality is superb, and it can be installed in any piano. Live Performance is collaborating now with www.zenph.com to produce their high-resolution files exclusively for the LX....I have the very first LX installed in my 7ft M&Hamlin BB, and the first Zenph/LX disc, Glenn Gould's 1955 Goldberg Variations sounds incredible, as does all of the material from Live-Performance. Art Tatums's Jazz disc is now out as well, with more to come. In addition to the Live-Performance material, the LX can also playback other companies discs, except for certain encoded discs. If you want to record though, you would have to install the Midi9 recording strip. www.midi9.com This recording strip is the same device as the PNOscan from QRS. In fact, Midi9 is the manufacturer for it, so either one would be fine.

Just a few weeks ago, a fellow here at PWorld messaged me asking about the LX system and what I thought about it. I basically told him about my experience with it, and how happy I was, and pointed him to both websites, and some very good recorded material for the LX.

http://www.grandpianohaus.com/iklavier.asp

He eventually decided to have the LX installed in his very expensive new German Grand Piano, replacing the playback system that was installed by his dealer! PM me for more info on that.

One other point, cost. The LX is much less expensive then it's competition.

If you are looking for the best playback on a solenoid system, the LX is the one, and would certainly be worth looking into. \:\)

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#299747 - 01/03/09 06:23 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
SteveJacobson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, California
I am not set on any one system and I am familiar with the LS and its high quality and superior reproducing capabilities (high definition capability). What I am looking for is a price / value (both functions and quality) comparison between the different systems. What am I getting for the cost and does the extra cost of the Mark IV give me equivalent extra value.

I picked the Mark IV (not the pro) because it appears to be the most popular, has all the possible functionality (except high definition capability) (even if you do not need or want them), by all accounts is a high quality system, and the most expensive. However, as of yet I have been unable to get a good fair and reasonable cost for the Mark IV to base this comparison on.

What is strange is that for almost every other product that I have looked to purchase from real estate to electronic equipment I can easily find comparison information without having to physically go from store to store wasting everyone’s time. Even if I take price out of the equation I cannot find this comparison in an easy to understand format with an explanation of what each function means and a relative ranking of the different systems in each area.

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#299748 - 01/04/09 01:33 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Mark Fontana Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/04
Posts: 154
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
The market for player piano systems is so much smaller than the markets for cars, TVs, etc. It's difficult to shop around, and Yamaha in particular doesn't help the situation by granting dealers territorial protection. (There is only one Yamaha dealer serving all of Minnesota, for example.)

The Mark IV is an excellent reproducing piano, but if I were in the market, I'd carefully consider how much I really need all of the features beyond accurate playback. I'd also be concerned about how quickly some components (such as the Linux computer, hard drive, wireless network, tablet/PDA remote, USB interface, CD player, etc.) will become obsolete or fail.

Yamaha has never offered full upgrades from one model of player system to the next while keeping the same piano. While that's not surprising, they do seem to have discontinued some of the more useful upgrade accessories that added functionality to the Mark II and Mark III models (such as the DCD1 CD player).

Although they lack many features of the Mark IV, a key advantage of systems like the Live Performance LX and PianoDisc iQ is that they are headless (i.e. they don't include a user interface); they're compatible with any device that can supply a properly-encoded signal to their analog audio inputs. Such systems will work today with MP3 players, CD players, laptops, whole-house audio systems etc. In the future, they'll continue to work with whatever audio playback technology is popular 5, 10 or even 25+ years from now. By substantially reducing the number of components in these player systems, the number of potential failure points is reduced as well.

The Mark IV's "analog MIDI" inputs would give it similar flexibility, in theory, but I'm skeptical that this much more complicated system (with full Linux computer) will realistically last longer than 15 years unless Yamaha opens the system up for third party development once they stop supporting it themselves. That could happen, but it seems unlikely.

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#299749 - 01/04/09 05:21 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Peter Shank Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Seattle, WA
Grandpianoman, you said about LX, "It is definitely the best retro-fit system on the market."

Please give some details about how you came to that opinion! Like SteveJacobsen, I can't find anybody saying "LX does such and such very nicely, especially the way they blah blah. On the other hand, PianoDisc does it such and though, which I don't like because it trades away too much foo, without gaining as much baz.

Thanks!

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#299750 - 01/04/09 11:10 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
KevinG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/07
Posts: 55
Loc: S. Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Fontana:
The Mark IV is an excellent reproducing piano, but if I were in the market, I'd carefully consider how much I really need all of the features beyond accurate playback. I'd also be concerned about how quickly some components (such as the Linux computer, hard drive, wireless network, tablet/PDA remote, USB interface, CD player, etc.) will become obsolete or fail.

The Mark IV's "analog MIDI" inputs would give it similar flexibility, in theory, but I'm skeptical that this much more complicated system (with full Linux computer) will realistically last longer than 15 years unless Yamaha opens the system up for third party development once they stop supporting it themselves. That could happen, but it seems unlikely. [/b]
Just to defend the Mark IV a little (and partially to defend my own sensibilities since I bought one!) I wanted to respond to this...

I don't think there should be *much* concern over parts failing. All player systems incorporate parts that may fail. The Yamaha system may, in fact, have more parts, but more on that later. There have been very few instances of failures, and in the rare cases where they have happened, Yamaha has gone above and beyond to cause near immediate replacement. As far as obsolescence, I think the same argument holds true. (Although, of course, with other systems you get to keep your piano... I wonder if someone could take a Disklavier Mark II and retrofit an LX system if they felt like upgrading...why not?) Will parts become obsolete? Sure. Especially the floppy disk. But the networking component (ethernet) will be will us for a long long time.

So, let's say your PDA remote breaks. Then, your tablet controller breaks. What do you do? Well, you use your computer to run the virtual PDA, or my DKVBrowser software to control the piano. That brings me to the next point about Yamaha opening the system to third party development. While they have not opened the server side up, and one could argue that that is what is important, DKVBrowser demonstrates that if Yamaha were to completely abandon the product (and no longer replace PDAs or Tablets) that it isn't the end of the world. While they don't actually support my development, they also haven't interfered.

I think its pretty unlikely that they will completely abandon the product of course, and, in fact, the Linux computer has some expandability which hasn't been tapped yet...

-Kevin
_________________________
Yamaha DC3M4

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#299751 - 01/04/09 03:48 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2244
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Peter,

A bit of history is in order here....My enthusiasm comes from my personal experience with the LX system. Wayne Stahnke is known in the player piano world as one of the best, if not the best, inventor/engineer for the player piano system. It is also known that he spent many years as a consultant for Yamaha-Disklavier, and was responsible for many of the systems that make up the the Disklavier you see today. He was also the inventor of the Bosendorfer "SE" player piano system in the 1980's. It was an excellent playback and record system, that has now been re-designed with modern electronics and is once again being sold. In fact, www.zenph.com has purchased a rebuilt older Steinway D that has this newly designed "SE" playback/record system, and will be using that to record some of their work in the future. Perhaps someone who is more familiar with that can comment further.

"A Window in Time" featuring Rachmaninoff's original Ampico Piano rolls transcribed by Mr. Stahnke for the SE, is a wonderful CD if you want to listen to Mr. Stahnke's work for the original SE system. Incidentally, I believe that most all of the high-resolution files/music that were for the original "SE" system, are now available for the LX.

Given all that information, when I found out he was working on a retro-fit system that was going to be very close to the playback quality of the SE system, and it was going to be relatively affordable, I jumped on it. The release of this LX system also happened to coincide with the rebuilding of my 1925 M&Hamlin RBB, which btw, has a complete rebuilt Ampico roll playing system in it as well.

I have heard all of the playback systems out there, and none of them can match the quality and expression capabilities of the LX system. Proportional pedaling is another one of the LX's strength over the competition.

When you hear and see a demostration of the LX, you will understand my enthusiasm! \:\)

I refer again to the website that has some very well recorded LX material on a Shigeru-Kawai S6, as well as some video. Scroll down to the bottom of the webpage for the links. This is an excellent representation of how well the LX plays.

http://www.grandpianohaus.com/iklavier.asp

Another fact to consider, www.Zenph.com chose www.live-performance.com and the LX system as their exclusive vehicle for the release of their high-resolution files...plus the fact that they are going to use the newly designed "SE" system in a Steinway Grand..that says a lot.

I am hoping the fellow that messaged me a few weeks ago here on PianoWorld, will post some mp3's of the newly installed LX on his new German Grand Piano. He was so disenchanted with the playback system that was installed originally, after hearing the LX and doing some research on it, he decided to replace it with the LX.

I am sure some of the long time readers here at PWorld, and perhaps dealers of other competing systems, are tired of me always praising the LX, and going on and on about it. I make no apologies though because the LX is simply, fantastic, so it's easy to praise it! \:\)

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#299752 - 01/05/09 12:38 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Peter Shank Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Seattle, WA
Grandpianoman, thanks very much..
In order to hear the superior expressiveness I suppose the ultimate comparison would be to have two pianos side by side, one with LX and the other with Pianodisc et al, and then play back the same file on each. I'm just starting the research on what system to add to the 1979 Knabe 5'7" which will be gracing my living room in a week or two. I will certainly take a CD or two to the local (Seattle) dealers of at least Pianodisc and LX, hoping to make the best comparison possible.
I need recording as well as playback, and I understand the LX system to be a playback system only. Any comments on installing LX as well as a QRS PianoScan or other recorder?

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#299753 - 01/05/09 07:52 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
At this time, I do not believe you can record your playing directly into the LX system for immediate playback.

You should be able to connect your PNOscan to a computer, to create your own MIDI file of your playing. Then you could use Mark Fontana's Mid-2-Piano-CD program to convert that into a format the LX will recognize.

I'm not quite sure how the expression curves from different systems will wind up matching up, so you may have to experiment with some editing there.

That is one of the primary benefits of to having the same system for both functions, whether it be a Disklavier, CEUS, PianoDisc w/TFT, or Pianomation w/PNOscan. They each have their own particular formula for converting a piece of velocity data, into specific volume level that you hear. (this happens with digital pianos also--a recording on one mode/brand, can come out sounding quite different on another without some editing)


To Steve--Yes, PianoDisc and QRS offer the other features you mentioned, in their own ways... You can read more about them at

www.pianodisc.com

or

www.qrsmusic.com

Even after reading through the websites, you'll still have some questions about just what they mean by XYZ.. so feel free to ask.
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#299754 - 01/05/09 01:13 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
SteveJacobson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Thanks for all the input so far,

I was looking at a price comparison for equivalent functionality. It appears that it will be very difficult to look at anything but MSRP because of the differing discounts and the understandable unwillingness to list discount prices.

Using Yamaha Disclavier Mark IV (not the pro and not the tablet) as the base for functionality as a entertainment center (Playback, Record, high level synthesizer, speakers, internet access, storage, wireless personal assistant style remote control, integration of all systems, etc – whatever else) what would it cost, based on MSRP, for the other systems to provide this same functionality. Note: I am using the Mark IV because it appears to be the standard for this type of entertainment center, not because it is necessarily the best.

If possible, a quality comparison for each of these areas of functionality would also be very helpful with the most significant being the quality of playback or reproduction.

I have not found this style of comparison anywhere. I can look at each Web site and understand what each system does but not being an expert it is difficult to build a comparison especially if some of the functions are different and/or need to be customized. Also prices are not listed on the Web sites.

I understand that some of the systems do not provide all the functionality of the Mark IV and that is ok since all the functionality is not required or even wanted, but I would still like to understand what do they provide and what does it cost (MSRP).

I think that this discussion and whatever level of detail provided will be helpful, as a reference or starting point, for everyone looking for these systems. The discussion so far has been very informative.

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#299755 - 01/05/09 04:21 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Peter Shank Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Seattle, WA
Rich, that's an excellent point about mix-n-matching recording and playback files from disparate systems.

Steve, you and I are at the same stage, looking for the same comparisons.
pianodisc.com does a very poor job of explaining the differences between their products and options. At least QRS has http://www.qrsmusic.com/pianomation_compare.html to tell you something substantive about their players. Apparently you can add the (optical) PNOscan recorder to any of the QRS playback systems.
From what I can tell, Pianodisc's answer to the MK IV is their Opus7 product. Their other products have less functionality. Note that their recording mechanism looks to be mechanical (it's called Touch Film Technology)


I'm not yet clear on what QRS products and options you would have to put together to rival the MK IV in functionality. However, note that the QRS record mechanism (PNOscan) is optical; there's no physical contact with the keys, which seems an obvious advantage.

I think the only reliable way to learn the details is to spend a lot of time finding a live knowledgeable dealer and then darken his or door.

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#299756 - 01/05/09 04:23 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
KevinG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/07
Posts: 55
Loc: S. Jersey
Steve,

I appreciate what you are trying to do, but IMHO, sticking to MSRP won't really help in the end...

Since the real price for these systems will be at (potentially) drastic percentage differences from MSRP, your table won't have much value (aside from nicely pointing out the feature differences).

In other words (and I'm making this up...) if a Disklavier Mark IV is MSRP at 12K, but really available at 8K, and an LX system is MSRP at 8K and it isn't available at a discount anywhere, what have we learned by comparing MSRP?

I think what you need to do is figure out what features you need, find the systems that offer those features and negotiate prices until you feel that you have found out all that you can...only then can you make a choice. I'm happy to tell you what I paid for my DC3M4, but since I don't know what a C3 would cost after negotiations, I don't know if it would help...

-Kevin
_________________________
Yamaha DC3M4

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#299757 - 01/05/09 05:02 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2244
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Peter, you shouldn't have any problems or compatibility issues, having a PNOscan/midi9 strip installed into any piano with any of the systems out there, LX, Pianodisc, QRS etc. That being said, the best quality playback is going to come from the LX system. The other competing systems simply can not reproduce as well as the LX.

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#299758 - 01/06/09 02:34 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
SteveJacobson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Peter

Here are some of my conclusions to date and I hope they help.

Since you already own a Kanbe you are looking at retrofit systems which eliminate the Yamaha Disklavier and the Bosendorfer CEUS. However, if recording is important to you I would suggest that you first go to a Yamaha dealer and record on both the Mark IV and the Mark IV pro (which records and plays back in high definition similar to the LX). I would do this to get an idea of what the top of the line does. You can then compare this to the retrofit systems. Where I live in Los Angeles the Yamaha dealer also installs the major retrofit systems but not the LX so you can hear your recordings and playback side by side. The key is that you like what you see and hear. I would also pick a classical piece that you like, the more complex the better, and have the dealer play it back on each system using that systems disk (music that is formatted for the specific system). I would take your Yamaha Mark IV pro recording to the LX dealer just in case the dealer does not have a good recording piano.

I do not know what other features you are looking at but I would use the Yamaha Mark IV as the standard for an integrated entertainment center (both function and quality) and reduce functionality to the level that you are comfortable with.

From what I understand, all of the systems playback to the MIDI standard of 128 levels of intensity for each key but there is a lot more involved in both playback and recording. For example the Live Performance LX plays back at over 1000 levels of intensity and has I think 256 levels of proportional pedaling – High definition (Disklavier Mark IV pro also has High definition for record and playback). There is a lot more to high definition and someone more qualified than me can explain it (I hope) and better compare the Disklavier Mark IV pro to the LX.

I have a few concerns.
-From what I have been told, the installation and adjusting of the retrofit system is critical so make sure that whoever does it is very experienced (this is not an issue with the factory installed systems Disklavier and CEUS).
-While the LX may be the best playback system, if you want the other functionality including recording, it will not come from the factory but from the dealer / technician who installers it (someone correct me if I am wrong). I would prefer to get all the system components from one company so I know that they have been integrated and tested. The LX comes from Wayne Stahnke who I understand developed the modern technology, developed the older Bosendorfer SE (which is still in use) and was key to the development of the Disklavier Mark IV. So with him you are getting the best with a reputation of standing behind his products and if he is behind adding any additional functionality or interfacing to the components that you need than I would not be concerned about quality.
-Make sure the system can play from multiple sources including Yamaha because of the size of their library.

No matter how you look at it, price is always an issue and I am having trouble getting good target prices for comparison over the Web other than ranges. It looks like it will require a lot of foot work. There have been a lot of postings about price and discount issues, just search for price and/or wholesale and you have a lot of interesting reading.

Steve

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#299759 - 01/06/09 06:40 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
SteveJacobson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Kevin

Is your DC3M4 a pro and if you looked at both why did you decide one way or the other. On paper there is a significant difference in recording and playback, but I am not sure that difference matters to the normal ear like mine considering the cost delta (I have heard it is about 3k – 4k more but I am not sure and you have to purchase a C3 or above)

Thanks,
Steve

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#299760 - 01/06/09 11:29 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
Mark Fontana Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/04
Posts: 154
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
If recording is important, the Disklavier, CEUS and SE systems are by far the best options, as they utilize the "optical shutters on the hammer shanks" method of measuring hammer velocity (invented by Mr. Stahnke) and they capture proportional pedaling. The recording options supplied by PianoDisc and QRS are not terrible, but they fall short of these more accurate (and expensive) systems. As for the LX, it currently does not have its own recording system. I suspect this is because it would be prohibitively labor-intensive to install an optical shutter system, difficult to design one that could be fitted to "any" grand piano, and because anything less would be a poor match to the LX's playback capabilities.

The retrofit MIDI output options such as the MIDI9 and Moog PianoBar can be used for recording, but these systems are really more geared towards layering MIDI synth sounds on top of an acoustic piano during live performance. They won't capture pedaling very accurately, and there may be inconsistencies in timing and velocity measurements from note to note. But depending on the application, they may be good enough. A separate high-end digital piano with built-in sequencer would likely produce higher-quality recordings, as it will be mechanically more consistent and the onboard sequencer will eliminate timing inaccuracy resulting from wireline MIDI event serialization.

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#299761 - 01/07/09 08:50 AM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
KevinG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/07
Posts: 55
Loc: S. Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by SteveJacobson:
Kevin

Is your DC3M4 a pro and if you looked at both why did you decide one way or the other. On paper there is a significant difference in recording and playback, but I am not sure that difference matters to the normal ear like mine considering the cost delta (I have heard it is about 3k – 4k more but I am not sure and you have to purchase a C3 or above)

Thanks,
Steve [/b]
Steve, I do not have a pro. I only considered it very briefly. When I purchased mine (Nov. 2007ish) the pro was differentiated from the non pro by the fact that the pro DIDN'T include the speakers built into the piano (I guess they assumed that "pros" would have their own monitors?). Recording was very important to me, and upon listening to recordings on a non pro I was quite satisfied that my untrained ear couldn't tell the difference between the pro and non-pro. It may very well come down to what type of music you are playing back and/or recording. My uncle is a fantastic jazz improve artist...maybe my opinion would be different if I had access to a classical pianist to record?

There is extraordinarily little prerecorded music available in the Disklavier Pro format (maybe only the e-competition? and the e-competition files sound great on my piano anyway) So, the major benefit of the pro system will *only* show itself on recordings that you make yourself.

-Kevin
_________________________
Yamaha DC3M4

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#299762 - 01/07/09 03:52 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
I'll offer some of the possibilities with the QRS system since they are my primary specialty...

Internet connectivity: Yes. With QRS, the best way to do this IMO, would be to purchase the Lifetime NetPiano subscription. This allows you access to their entire music library (except sync-alongs) forever. As the QRS music library expands, so does your music collection--at no additional cost. http://www.netpiano.com/NetPiano/default.aspx

Entertainment Center: There are a couple ways to handle this. The more expensive way would be to use the Q-Touch Tablet--http://qrsmusic.com/pianomation-p.asp?pid=3383 More recently though, QRS has entered into an agreement with Phillips, so that some of their specialty 'home-entertainment system' remotes will also be able to control your player system-- http://qrsmusic.com/press_details.asp?rid=123

You can view the QRS music library here:

http://qrsmusic.com/music.asp

They've been especially active in developing 'sync along' music--which combines accompaniment to familiar original artist CD's:

http://qrsmusic.com/music.asp?cid1=8

There is also the option of adding a device that matches certain DVDs to piano music:

http://qrsmusic.com/music.asp?cid1=9

The QRS 'front ends' do not come with internal harddrives. Their preference is to use removable mediums such as CF cards. They systems come with 24 pre-loaded songs, and a flashcard with 309 (or so) songs from their own music library.

While at one time they read other formats libraries, they no longer do, especially since PianoDiscs recent conversion to its copywrighted 'silent drive' format.

They can however, read all type 0, and 1 MIDI files. These are couple of sites where I've gotten a several thousand files myself (mostly free-some not) to listen to:

http://www.midiworld.com/classic.htm
http://www.classicalarchives.com/
http://home.wanadoo.nl/dougmckenzie/
http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/1114/justjaz2.htm
http://www.classicalmusicmidipage.com/music/index.php
http://www.midnitesun.co.uk/otherhtm/framset1.htm
http://members.shaw.ca/smythe/archive.htm

As has been mentioned earlier, QRS does have the PNOscan record strip. If you are particularly interested in silent practice though, I would actually tend to agree with his point about simply getting an separate digital piano for recording.

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

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#299763 - 01/08/09 02:14 PM Re: Is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2x the cost of some of the other systems
SteveJacobson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Thanks for all the input so far.

From what I can see the issues surrounding the purchase of a reproducing piano are based on a balance between the following, not necessarily in this order:

-Price (Piano – if you need to buy & System)
-Quality of the piano (Condition –if used, brand, and length)
-Quality of the systems performance (Based on your desired functionality with a minimum being playback / reproduction)
-Quality of the systems components
-Functionality of the system (Playback / reproduction, Record, Synthesizer, remote interface, storage, speakers, internet, etc)
-Overall integration / installation
-Resale value of piano and system x years in the future – I do not believe that you make this type of purchase based on resale value but on getting enjoyment for the foreseeable future
-System longevity and upgrade paths

This balance is up to the individual purchaser to decide based on their individual requirements. I think that the key to an informed purchase would for the buyer to understand these variables.

It would be interesting to hear how different members who purchased these systems weighed these variables and how the different sales professions use / weigh these variables.

As for my original question – is the Disklavier Mark IV worth almost 2X the cost of some of the other systems – I have found that the question was flawed because when you add to the other systems all the functionality of the Mark IV you do not have a large price delta. However, with the Mark IV you have to purchase a Yamaha grand at least a DGC1M4 (5’3”) which can change the price component and is problematic is you do not like or want a Yamaha.

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