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My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R #1804816
12/12/11 12:50 PM
12/12/11 12:50 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 36
Virginia, USA
N
novaguy84 Offline OP
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novaguy84  Offline OP
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Virginia, USA
A few months ago I purchased a Ritmuller GH160R with a PianoDisc iQ (iPad) player system.

For the record, I love the piano. Have enjoyed hours and hours of live piano music. I had a DC system installed and it just had its first tuning. Nothing abnormal.

However, I have NOT been pleased with the "wireless" functionality of the PianoDisc iQ system. For the record I'm in IT so I do know what I'm doing in that regard. All that makes the PianoDisc wireless is an Apple AirPort Extreme adapter plugged in below the piano (and where iTunes using AirTunes to connect to the remote "speaker"). You can either have it connect to your home's wifi OR have it set up its own separate wifi network for the iPad to connect to.

The Apple AirPort will not bridge or extend an existing wifi signal, so if it joins your existing home network, you better have full bars/signal strength in your piano room. When I originally joined it to my existing home wifi network, it was a disaster. The system played 1 out of every 10 notes. Awful. And these results are repeatable.

OK, so what about if I boosted the signal to the living room with a wifi extender/booster? Still bad even with a better signal. I think it has something to do with the iPad sending the signal up through the house to the router, then back to AirTunes under the piano to be decompressed. Might be a packet priority issues since I have a lot of computers on my home network, regardless, I didn't pursue this connection method further.

For wireless, I found what “worked” tolerably was to configure the AirTunes Express to act as its own router and had it create a network called "iQ" that only the iPad connected to.

OK, so then you might be thinking, "but what really sold me was that PianoDisc internet live streaming station my dealer told me about...if the AirTunes acts as its own wifi router, it's not hooked up to my home's Internet now...am I screwed?" No, my piano technology padawan, what you have to do is connect a wired Ethernet cable from your home network to the AirTunes.

"Oh, duh…but wait, this is my piano room, I didn't think to run wired Ethernet to that room; I guess I need to fire my architect/electrician." No, buy a Ethernet over Powerline converter from any office/computer store. They cost about $70. Here is an example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122318

However, even after all of this tech gadgetry, you'll still find that the piano will miss notes, scramble songs every now and then, and really hate playing fast songs. And this is with the iPad literally 18 inches from the AirTunes adapter.

Best solution (finally, right?):

Just unplug the Apple AirTunes adapter (it's only a $99 part, and you can reuse it somewhere else in your home). There will be a standard headphone audio cable now dangling below your piano, go to RadioShack and buy an extender cable and just plug it directly in to the headphone jack on your iPad. Sure, it's not wireless anymore, but it'll finally play all of the notes consistently and accurately 100% of the time. And I simply connected the iPad to my home Internet wifi and the streaming channel works flawlessly.

Final Thoughts:

Love the piano, love the iPad, but the AirPort Extreme just doesn't work with the high encoding quality PianoDisc tracks require for consistent playback. For a system that is advertised to be "wireless" and that folks pay $3,000 to $6,000 for, I expected better.

For the record, I did reach out to PianoDisc support and for basic questions their support reps are professional and knowledgeable, however, when I started getting technical (beyond level 1 issues) I was referred to one of their internal Engineers who wasn't very helpful. It's not really his fault though, I think it just comes down to the AirPort adapter and/or AirTunes software not being suitable for this particular application.

Last edited by novaguy84; 12/12/11 01:06 PM.
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Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1804837
12/12/11 01:29 PM
12/12/11 01:29 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,302
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,302
Lexington, Kentucky
I'm guessing you have just saved some folks a lot of time and energy and frustration. I don't have a pianodisc system, but if I did, I'd be grateful for the user-friendly tips. Thanks for your helpful review! thumb

Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1804908
12/12/11 03:55 PM
12/12/11 03:55 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 750
Zichron Yaacov, Israel
S
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Steve Jackson  Offline
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S

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 750
Zichron Yaacov, Israel

Wireless has too much latency and dropped packets to work reliably for this application. There are other products out there that will work, or you can get a bluetooth receiver instead of the Airport which will work better.

Take care,

Steve

Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: Steve Jackson] #1805021
12/12/11 07:03 PM
12/12/11 07:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 36
Virginia, USA
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novaguy84 Offline OP
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novaguy84  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 36
Virginia, USA
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson

Wireless has too much latency and dropped packets to work reliably for this application. There are other products out there that will work, or you can get a bluetooth receiver instead of the Airport which will work better.

Take care,

Steve


Thanks, Steve. Do you have any recommendations on specific bluetooth devices?

I'm surprised PianoDisc hasn't made the switch to BlueTooth...I can't be the only person who has had trouble with the "wifi" configuration.

Last edited by novaguy84; 12/12/11 07:05 PM.
Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1805583
12/13/11 05:39 PM
12/13/11 05:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 750
Zichron Yaacov, Israel
S
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Steve Jackson  Offline
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S

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 750
Zichron Yaacov, Israel
Originally Posted by novaguy84
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson

Wireless has too much latency and dropped packets to work reliably for this application. There are other products out there that will work, or you can get a bluetooth receiver instead of the Airport which will work better.

Take care,

Steve


Thanks, Steve. Do you have any recommendations on specific bluetooth devices?

I'm surprised PianoDisc hasn't made the switch to BlueTooth...I can't be the only person who has had trouble with the "wifi" configuration.


Try this

http://www.xantech.com/Audio/AVDistribution/AudioDistribution/BDXTT/

Steve

Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1805951
12/14/11 10:41 AM
12/14/11 10:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 999
Ocala, Florida
M.O.P. Offline
500 Post Club Member
M.O.P.  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 999
Ocala, Florida
Hi Novaguy,

Do I read your thread correctly, that one of the difficulties you are having is the iQ Air wireless signal being weak to the iPad when using the iQ to play the piano? (aside from the streaming radio option) If the system was installed and adjusted correctly, there is no need to 'hardwire' the player system into the iPad for playback.

We've installed several of these systems and clients have had absolutely no problems at all. If there are notes 'dropping out' during normal play, chances are the installer needs to take a look at all of the system adjustment levels and make sure they are correct. If the system was installed by a technician who has taken the certification class from Piano Disc for the iQ system, he/she will have the necessary software to do this. After the physical installation, there is a whole laundry list of adjustments that are to be completed by the technician using software provided by Piano Disc to ensure the data translates correctly to the mechanism that plays the keys. All of these adjustments are a normal part of the installation process and cover every aspect of the data translation from the player system to the piano's action. Are the levels all adjusted correctly (not just volume)?

Of course, every piano is a little different, and the prep of the instrument itself will also be a factor as to how well the system and the piano integrate with each other. The player system can only perform as well as the piano can play.

Re the streaming radio option, you are right that the system does require a very strong broadband signal to perform correctly. Piano Disc has advised their dealers and certified technicians of this. Its the dealer and/or technician's responsibility to so advise their clients, as we do.


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Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1805989
12/14/11 11:45 AM
12/14/11 11:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 750
Zichron Yaacov, Israel
S
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Steve Jackson  Offline
500 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 750
Zichron Yaacov, Israel

Here's a link of a release by Apple about latency problems and the support for bluetooth.

Apple extending AirPlay to low-power, low-latency Bluetooth 4.0

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2...r-low-power-low-latency-bluetooth-40.ars

I'm just dealing with this issue. Many Airports have a very high latency that is transient, ie: sometimes not bad, sometimes unusable, or deteriorates over time. It's a known issue with the Airport in more exacting installations like a player.

Take care,

Steve

Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: M.O.P.] #1807931
12/18/11 02:41 AM
12/18/11 02:41 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 36
Virginia, USA
N
novaguy84 Offline OP
Full Member
novaguy84  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 36
Virginia, USA
Originally Posted by M.O.P.
Hi Novaguy,

Do I read your thread correctly, that one of the difficulties you are having is the iQ Air wireless signal being weak to the iPad when using the iQ to play the piano? (aside from the streaming radio option) If the system was installed and adjusted correctly, there is no need to 'hardwire' the player system into the iPad for playback.

We've installed several of these systems and clients have had absolutely no problems at all. If there are notes 'dropping out' during normal play, chances are the installer needs to take a look at all of the system adjustment levels and make sure they are correct. If the system was installed by a technician who has taken the certification class from Piano Disc for the iQ system, he/she will have the necessary software to do this. After the physical installation, there is a whole laundry list of adjustments that are to be completed by the technician using software provided by Piano Disc to ensure the data translates correctly to the mechanism that plays the keys. All of these adjustments are a normal part of the installation process and cover every aspect of the data translation from the player system to the piano's action. Are the levels all adjusted correctly (not just volume)?

Of course, every piano is a little different, and the prep of the instrument itself will also be a factor as to how well the system and the piano integrate with each other. The player system can only perform as well as the piano can play.

Re the streaming radio option, you are right that the system does require a very strong broadband signal to perform correctly. Piano Disc has advised their dealers and certified technicians of this. Its the dealer and/or technician's responsibility to so advise their clients, as we do.


There is nothing wrong with my piano. Used standard method of deduction here.

iPad + AirPort + Home Router = Epic Fail
iPad + AirPort Only = Less than perfect
iPad + Hardwire = 100% Consistent Playback

I made sure the only variable in this equation was the AirPort device.

So if I get perfect playback when hardwired, then it's reasonable to assume the weak link is with the wireless connection element of the setup.

The AirPort device has been configured per PianoDisc's direction; they even emailed me their "official" configuration file. So it's not how I have the AirPort configured.

And don't get me wrong, connecting the iPad to the AirPort by itself worked "OK" most of the time. But now that I've hardwired it-it's like night and day. I hear so much more detail in the music being played.

I will try the bluetooth device suggested and will report back my findings.

To your point about the other settings...I am only assuming that the shop I bought it from configured it correctly. If during my calls with PianoDisc, shouldn't they have walked me through those settings to verify everything is correct? I have looked all under my piano and I do not see any other knobs, dials, etc. to adjust. How do I access those settings? Is there some sort of App on the iPad I need to install?


Last edited by novaguy84; 12/18/11 02:52 AM.
Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1807963
12/18/11 07:25 AM
12/18/11 07:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 750
Zichron Yaacov, Israel
S
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Steve Jackson  Offline
500 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 750
Zichron Yaacov, Israel
Hi Novaguy:

Yes, you have it right. The iq with Airport places user experience over quality. If you want to consistently get the best quality, hard wire or bluetooth will do the job. The iq treats lost packets by reducing the capabilities of the player. Other systems, like the LX that place quality over user experience will stop playing rather than switch to low quality playback.

The Airport is not the best device, nor is wifi all that great for this application at its best. A switched packet network like tcp/ip cannot prioritize perfect serial streaming by design. Transmitting tcp/ip over radio reduces the quality even more, and connecting to a consumer grade device like Airport will cause even more quality degradations.

Take care,

Steve

Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1953858
09/04/12 02:28 PM
09/04/12 02:28 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 1
J
jjthom Offline
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jjthom  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 1
Novaguy,

thanks for the post. I have an IQ system too, and it drops notes regularly, especially on the faster selections. When you hardwired it, did you unplug the PianoDisc cable from the Apple adaptor plug (square white plug that's plugged into back of piano)and then attach a cable from the now unattached PianoDisc cable to the speaker jack of the Ipad? If so,what kind of cable? After that's done, there won't be an IQ network anymore, so would I then be able to access streaming music through my home wireless Uverse network?

Thanks again for taking the tim to write your post and any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1954069
09/05/12 01:14 AM
09/05/12 01:14 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 199
Minneapolis, MN
M
Mark Fontana Offline
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Mark Fontana  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 199
Minneapolis, MN
Regarding Bluetooth receivers, the Xantech BDXTT Bluetooth Music Receiver indeed works well - I've tested it with Live Performance LX, Pianocorder and PianoDisc systems. The Xantech comes in a glossy black wooden(!) case and includes an A/C adapter with interchangeable plugs fitting several of the most common styles of power outlets in the world. However, the Xantech buttons feel kind of cheap, it has a built-in rechargeable battery that is not needed for our application, and some faint digital noise/static is audible on the audio outputs. The equalization seems off, too-- there's a bit of a treble boost if you listen to normal music through it. I know I didn't get a defective unit because I ordered several for my business, and all of them performed the same.

I've found that Logitech's Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Adapter performs a little better and for half the price ($40 instead of $80+). The audio quality is better, the range is better, there's no battery that will eventually deteriorate, and the status LED is less obtrusive. The case is black plastic and lightweight... so light, in fact, that Logitech glued a metal bar inside to make the product feel more substantial. If you open up the unit and remove this bar, you'll get a few more feet of wireless range. All in all, I think this Logitech product beats the Xantech BDXTT for player piano control.

I've found that Bluetooth audio does not work well for streams derived from Yamaha Disklavier CDs. The slight lossy compression distorts the PSK modulation used by this format. For Disklavier material, a hardwired connection or uncompressed wireless link is required, and the content must be stored in a lossless codec such as FLAC or Apple Lossless.

Re: My verdict on PianoDisc iQ "wireless" iPad system on GH160R [Re: novaguy84] #1955067
09/06/12 07:42 PM
09/06/12 07:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 247
Uxbridge, ON, Canada
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gmf001 Offline
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gmf001  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 247
Uxbridge, ON, Canada
I can see why the Airport express and an iPad are not the best of technologies for this particular application, but to say that you can't reliably stream high quality audio thru an Airport Express isn't accurate either. For this particular application and set-up there are a number of red flags that jump in to mind. First installing the AXE underneath a grand piano - with that heavy metal plate and strings. The AXE doesn't have the best RF capabilities to start with - nor does the iPad so the combination, especially when connecting back to the rest of your home WiFi network can certainly be problematic. The first thing I would have done in this situation is pulled the AXE out from under the piano and possibly re-orient it. Unfortunately the Griffin Airbase is no longer commercially available - this was a nice stand with integrated power for the AXE that really helped in deploying the device, but getting the AXE away from the piano is the key thing. I would expect this would have helped. I also would have done as you tried - set up the AXE, not in extending your WiFi, but in independent mode (and also checked which channels both it and your home WiFi (and your neighbours...) were using) to ensure a minimum of WiFi interference. I'd also configure this to use the 5GHz band as that would limit interference from most other home WiFi networks, BT, etc.

In my home audio set-up I have two AXE's connected to my Ethernet backbone with a separate WiFi network for standard data connectivity (using two Aruba Instant APs - yes, I know, not your normal home network, but I'm in the business...). My iPad (or iPod) connects across the data network to an iMac hosted iTunes library which streams full CD quality back to the AXEs which then use the optical out capability in the AXE to connect to an external DAC then in to my NAD receiver. This works pretty reliably. I'll admit that every once in a while I'll get a glitch, but by and large you can listen to large works without problems.



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