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What to do with older pianodisc system? #2509975
02/12/16 08:02 PM
02/12/16 08:02 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 30
M
mosspianotuning Offline OP
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mosspianotuning  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 30
Hi all-

I recently acquired a Knabe upright with an older Pianodisc 128plus system. I have read several threads on converting midi files to pianodisc format and playing them through the system...potentially setting up wireless connectivity.
Through my own experimentation I have tried to get the player to work by connecting the audio input to my computer just using a standard 1/8 inch. The screechy noise heard when playing the file through my computer speakers was not interpreted as beautiful piano music by the pianodisc system---actually it didn't work at all and nothing happened.

I think with the slightly more modern 228 systems you can indeed get this to work through the 1/8 inch audio input. I only suggest this because I read it in another post. I don't know for sure.

My questions are; can I retro fit a new IQ system controller to the existing hardware in the piano (swap the old controller for a modern one)?

Also is there any way to get the 128 to play files from a computer other than writing them to 3.5 inch floppies after converting them and then playing them in the piano disc drive (this option sounds straightforward but not convenient)

Also if anyone has any other suggestions about what I should do with this piano I would be grateful for any advice.

I picked up the piano for only $500 and it is in excellent shape. I was hoping to mess around with the pianodisc and see if I could get it to play wirelessly or at least off a computer. The idea was to sell it and market the pianodisc system as something that ADDS value. I am afraid with the limits of this older technology the user is confined to buying discs if they want new music. It would be much much more desirable to download any midi and convert it to be played--or even better the wireless option.

Didn't mean to go on this long. Thanks so much in advance for any and all comments.

Matthew Moss
www.MossPianoTuning.com
Prescott AZ




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Re: What to do with older pianodisc system? [Re: mosspianotuning] #2510025
02/13/16 12:16 AM
02/13/16 12:16 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
D
Dale Fox Offline
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Dale Fox  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
Matthew, I suggest you contact PianoDisc with your questions. They can answer them, though they may need you to gather some information about what equipment is currently attached to the piano.


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
Re: What to do with older pianodisc system? [Re: mosspianotuning] #2510031
02/13/16 01:21 AM
02/13/16 01:21 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,726
Portland, Oregon
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Grandpianoman  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,726
Portland, Oregon
Matthew, I would send Marc Fontana a message here on PW. He is well versed in these subjects.

Re: What to do with older pianodisc system? [Re: mosspianotuning] #2511038
02/15/16 07:36 PM
02/15/16 07:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 30
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mosspianotuning Offline OP
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mosspianotuning  Offline OP
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Just in case anyone was curious I thought I might update my thread. The piano disc 128plus came in two versions. The more modern version (luckily the one I have) is indeed upgradable to the IQ system. There is a floppy disc upgrade you can get from pianodisc that will configure the cpu to work with the IQ controller. Then you can swap it out. Not sure if this is the route I will go but it is good to know that it can be done. Perhaps this might be useful for someone else if they have the 128 plus pianodisc system and want to upgrade.

At the moment I am leaning towards selling the piano with about 20 discs worth of music and showing the buyer how to create move from midi files using conversion software. It is certainly the less expensive and potentially more user friendly/less techy way to go especially if the buyer was non-tech savy. It just seems easier to put the disc in and be done than for someone who struggles with computers to figure out the wireless/ipod thing.

Also it should be noted that there is unfortunately no way to connect a computer or other device directly to the 128plus system---something you can easily do with the IQ

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Re: What to do with older pianodisc system? [Re: mosspianotuning] #2511175
02/16/16 05:27 AM
02/16/16 05:27 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 199
Minneapolis, MN
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Mark Fontana Offline
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Mark Fontana  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 199
Minneapolis, MN
Hi Matthew, there are two Yahoo discussion groups PianoDiscUser and PianoDiscTech with a higher concentration of PianoDisc info than Piano World. It might be useful to post your questions there too.

My experience from following those groups is that most people tend to modernize PianoDisc PDS-128+ systems by connecting the controller's MIDI IN jack to computers using USB MIDI interfaces and using MIDI jukebox software such as VanBasco's Karaoke Player to play MIDI files from the Internet or PianoDisc floppies that have been converted to MIDI format using tools such as PPFBU. Alternatively, one can connect the PDS-128+ CD input jacks to a computer or mobile device and stream signals in PianoDisc's CD format created from MIDI files using MID2PianoCD. I think PianoDisc's own conversion software MusiConnect won't work for this, since it only supports their newer streaming format, described below. Some people are successfully using wireless audio links such as Airport Express to stream such audio to PianoDisc systems. The tricky part with this is keeping the signal quality high enough. PianoDisc's decoder is finicky and doesn't work so well with audio compressed at under 192 Kbps or lossy audio links such as Bluetooth.

The firmware upgrade PianoDisc mentioned enables the system to play "Silent Drive Plus" content, which is the CD/streaming format they introduced in 2005 that includes a scrambling technique designed to thwart playback on competitors' systems. Without it, the PDS-128+ can't play any CDs or floppies made after 2005 that say "Silent Drive Plus" (or SDP) on them. It's worthwhile to install this upgrade if your customer will want to play any of PianoDisc's current material; without it, they would be limited to whatever old pre-2005 CDs and floppies they can find on eBay.

Re: What to do with older pianodisc system? [Re: Mark Fontana] #2511267
02/16/16 10:59 AM
02/16/16 10:59 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 30
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mosspianotuning Offline OP
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mosspianotuning  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 30
Thank you Mark-

I was unaware of those other two discussion groups for
Pianodisc- I am eager to explore them and learn more. I have not tried a usb midi interface but I think I may and see what kind of results I get. The point you made about the cd input (which is an 1/8 inch) input on the pianodisc controller I am confused about. I did try several times to play converted midi files through this jack from my computer using the MID2pianoCD program. If I am not mistaken this 1/8 inch input is only for playing a cd player through the system and out aux speakers. I don't think the player was set up to receive code from this input. If I am wrong things would be much easier but I think the player is set up only to recieve input for playing through the midi inputs. The midi usb interface may be the way to go. I certainly appreciate your time in responding and for the helpful information. Thank you very much.

Matthew

Re: What to do with older pianodisc system? [Re: mosspianotuning] #2514572
02/24/16 10:28 PM
02/24/16 10:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 30
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mosspianotuning Offline OP
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mosspianotuning  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 30
The final outcome: I bought a usb floppy drive $10 and some blank disks. There are multiple midi 1 to midi 0 type file converters that are free. Any midi 0 file will play fine off the disk on my pianodisc 128 plus. I will include an assortment of pre-made disks with midi music files and the drive and software with the piano. I think this is not so inconvenient to use and create custom disks. Also some might prefer to have "less technology" just insert a disk and enjoy.

Re: What to do with older pianodisc system? [Re: mosspianotuning] #2538973
05/12/16 03:34 AM
05/12/16 03:34 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 13
Blue Mountains NSW AUSTRALIA
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MrWups Offline
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MrWups  Offline
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Joined: May 2016
Posts: 13
Blue Mountains NSW AUSTRALIA
Matthew,

The screechy noise you heard might mean you need to swap the red and white din plugs, but don't bother, as streaming is NOT the way anyone should play a Pianodisc or Disklavier piano.

Good on you for using the floppy technology! It is based on what I call raw midi, which can be extracted from floppies and put onto nearly any computer - even an old early one you have not yet thrown out – to drive your piano. You are missing nothing other than accompaniments by voice or other instruments in not being able to use the latest streaming technology. Streaming is inferior by far, when compared on playback to the quality of playback that the floppies can give you.

I sent this following advice to another part of this Forum today:

You will get much better quality reproduction from your piano using only raw midi.

I play raw midi directly from my computer into my piano via USB thru a cheap cable which has 2 midi plugs (in & out) running from a USB plug.

To play a raw midi you will need to open it using a free shareware midi editor such as MidiSwing or Aria Maestosa, covert it to Type 0 then adjust the note velocities down to suit your piano (so the hammers in your piano do not pound the strings too hard). Thereafter, any and every nuance of playback can be adjusted on screen in real time as you play back directly on the piano through the editor or an editor playlist.

Here are the facts (to the best of my limited knowledge) about .wav and other audio files used to play Yamaha Disklavier or Pianodisc via streaming audio signals:

Playback thru thru these pianos direct from raw midis is far superior to putting audio files thru the CD input which uses converted midis playing like a fax tone (the screechy noise you heard) from much larger audio tracks. E.g. BACH Chaconne in the Busoni piano transcription occupies 70KB on midi but takes 32.2MB converted to an audio file. I understand that the audio protocol still used to make the CD signal goes back to the 70s when slow moving cassettes drove solenoid pianos and that the conversion process actually makes use of only 1/17th of the available data in the midi file! To play from raw midi is to play your piano digitally direct and extremely efficiently. To play from the CD or CD input by converting the midi to an audio signal is highly inefficient and vastly inferior in quality of output.

Ironic and surprising as it sounds, the old floppy discs are far superior in their quality of output compared to the CDs which replaced them, but I guess that Pianodisc & Disklavier still persist with CD as they can put real instrument accompaniments and voice on them. Raw midi can be also extracted from floppies.

Very few owners of Pianodisc or Disklavier realise the full potential of these remarkable instruments as they do not understand the technology which drives them.

Re: What to do with older pianodisc system? [Re: Mark Fontana] #2749093
07/03/18 03:38 PM
07/03/18 03:38 PM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 1
Orlando, Fl
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Hubert Offline
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Hubert  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 1
Orlando, Fl
Does anyone have the Pianodisc floppy disc for the Silent drive plus software upgrade? There is only one Pianodisc piano tech here near me that seems to not have it any more and is trying to get it from Pianodisc and they told me they no longer have the software upgrade on floppy.


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