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Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
#1762098 09/30/11 04:12 AM
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Here is a question that came to my mind: Has any company ever tried to add *purely optical* digital sensors to an existing action in a traditional piano/grand? In times of advanced optoelectronics this should be doable in principle, but perhaps it is forbiddingly expensive.


Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.
Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
maurus #1762121 09/30/11 06:12 AM
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Kawai's AnyTimeX pianos use optical sensors to measure the velocity of hammers. I believe the recent Yamaha 'Silent' grands also employ a similar principle, as do the Avant Grand instruments.

James
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Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
Kawai James #1762124 09/30/11 06:18 AM
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Thanks, James. Do these pianos use electromechanical sensors in addition, or are *only* optical sensors used?


Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.
Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
maurus #1762126 09/30/11 06:23 AM
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I expect they're fully optical.

James
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Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
Kawai James #1762131 09/30/11 06:42 AM
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Hi Maurus,
Recently i was investigating available options to add MIDI to acoustic pianos, and came across this company called "QRS Music" (of Story & Clark pianos) that sells an optical sensor with a controller board that could be installed into any AP.... I don't think it includes a dampening system like on the Silent Yamahas so the piano will still sound, but on the positive side their system does not interfere with the action in any way since it's purely optical...

I haven't followed through with my project so did not contact them for more detail but they have good info, demos, and installation guide on their web site so you might want to check it out:

http://www.qrsmusic.com/pianomation-p.asp?pid=3382


Cheers.

Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
Kawai James #1762132 09/30/11 06:51 AM
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I am 'doremi' because I play scales smile
Had I progressed to playing chords,
I would be 'domisol' shocked
Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
maurus #1762166 09/30/11 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by maurus
Here is a question that came to my mind: Has any company ever tried to add *purely optical* digital sensors to an existing action in a traditional piano/grand? In times of advanced optoelectronics this should be doable in principle, but perhaps it is forbiddingly expensive.


Aren't the sensors in the Silent series just that? The sensors in my N3 no way interfere with the action ... and I assumed they were purely optical in nature.


website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
maurus #1762185 09/30/11 08:48 AM
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QRS PNOscan.... check it out here:

http://www.qrsmusic.com/pianomation-p.asp?pid=3382


- Gary Girouard
Consultant for Viscount ("Physis" Physical-model piano; http://www.physispiano.com)
Pianist/Composer of "The Naked Piano" series (Free Music Samples http://www.garygirouardmusic.com)
Teacher, Entrepreneur...Parent
Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
maurus #1762480 09/30/11 05:59 PM
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I thought all digital pianos use optical sensors, not electromechanical. Is that not correct?

Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
maurus #1762493 09/30/11 06:44 PM
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No, they use little rubber pads with contacts in them. The time measured between the moment each sensor (there are two sensors) is actuated tells the piano's "brain" about the key velocity. Some actions have a third sensor but this is actuated on the key's return to a given point in order to allow for faster note repetition.

To my knowledge only Yamaha Silent Grands, the Kawai equivalents, Yamaha AvantGrands and older GranTouch pianos and some retro-fit MIDI kits for acoustic pianos use optical sensors, the advantage being that there is no physical contact between action and sensors that could negatively affect keyboard feel.

Steve


C. Bechstein Model B | Roland RD-1000 |
Re: Optical sensors in acoustic pianos?
pianoxcape #1762505 09/30/11 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoxcape
QRS PNOscan.... check it out here:

http://www.qrsmusic.com/pianomation-p.asp?pid=3382


One of the Pianoteq forum members has fitted his Fatar keyboard with PNO Scan sensors - he was asked why he was adding expensive sensors for a device that already had midi capability.

His answer was that there were inconsistent velocity issues with the original strip, and that the PNOscan strip which will replace Fatar's is not only extremely consistent and accurate, it is also high definition midi ready. Also the PNOscan strip fully optimizes PianoTeq.

His latest comments are that it's a completely different playing experience - beautiful touch and a lovely dynamic range.

Almost makes me think of putting the system in my Roland KR7.

Glenn


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