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Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
#2925457 12/21/19 02:45 PM
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Nice introduction video of Steinway Spirio piano by Tiffany Poon. We meet the Director of Music for Steinway and see some of the technical workings of the piano & software. Tiffany highlights the use cases of Spirio and what the R option is. I enjoyed this video and understand the Spirio now.



Tiffany has a Spirio on loan. Despite the insider status, I find her to be a straight shooter and admire her efforts to promote classical piano to the masses.

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
newer player #2925462 12/21/19 02:47 PM
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Thanks for posting.



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Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
newer player #2925834 12/22/19 04:35 PM
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Important to keep in mind that she is demonstrating 30 yr old technology. The recording and playback quality is trying to catch up with the rest of the industry.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
Dave B #2925837 12/22/19 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave B
Important to keep in mind that she is demonstrating 30 yr old technology. The recording and playback quality is trying to catch up with the rest of the industry.


Wayne Stahnke sold the technology to Steinway, right?

Did he also license it to Yamaha? I owned a Disklavier 30 years ago and I am thinking of getting a DYUS1, a YUS1 with the Disklavier system.

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
newer player #2925852 12/22/19 05:52 PM
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Larry. They came to an agreement after Bösendorfer took the opportunity use Yamaha’s system.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
newer player #2925880 12/22/19 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player
Nice introduction video of Steinway Spirio piano by Tiffany Poon. We meet the Director of Music for Steinway and see some of the technical workings of the piano & software. Tiffany highlights the use cases of Spirio and what the R option is. I enjoyed this video and understand the Spirio now.



Tiffany has a Spirio on loan. Despite the insider status, I find her to be a straight shooter and admire her efforts to promote classical piano to the masses.


I've been watching her videos on youtube for quite some time now. She's really striking a nice balance between vlogging and playing now smile


Ex-member. As there's no delete account option, feel free to quote my posts but there will be no response.
Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
newer player #2926238 12/23/19 08:46 PM
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The piano in her home is the original playback-only version of Spirio, sold from 2015-2018, the one derived from the Live Performance LX system, which Steinway acquired in 2014 to quickly enter the high-end player system market. But the piano in the studio shots is the Spirio R, which is a re-design from the ground up that is not based on Wayne Stahnke's LX or SE systems (and was created without his involvement). There's a playback-only version of the new system, too, so the older LX-based version of Spirio is likely being phased out.

The fundamental patents on driving solenoids with varying duty cycles to expressively play a piano all expired decades ago. There isn't any licensing of patents or entire systems going on, just companies like Yamaha, Steinway, QRS, and PianoDisc slowly iterating on existing designs. This is because it's a non-trivial engineering effort to implement a system that plays WELL and to get all the manufacturing channels in place for specialized, custom components in fairly small quantities. Creating a player system draws on a variety of disciplines and can easily take several years for a small team. I would add that LX/Spirio is not "30-year-old technology". The LX was introduced circa 2006 and implemented with modern components such as FPGAs. It was sold to Steinway after 8 years on the market. Its data format bears some similarities to that of the 1980s SE system, but internally, it's completely different. Progress in actually improving recording and playback quality has been very slow in the solenoid player piano industry, with only minor advances since the late 1990s. Most new features being added recently are ephemeral things like DRM schemes, HDMI for streaming videos, integrating with Alexa, supporting USB 3.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, etc... most of which will be superceded or obsolete in 15 years.

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
Mark Fontana #2926253 12/23/19 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Fontana
The piano in her home is the original playback-only version of Spirio, sold from 2015-2018, the one derived from the Live Performance LX system, which Steinway acquired in 2014 to quickly enter the high-end player system market. But the piano in the studio shots is the Spirio R, which is a re-design from the ground up that is not based on Wayne Stahnke's LX or SE systems (and was created without his involvement). There's a playback-only version of the new system, too, so the older LX-based version of Spirio is likely being phased out.

Do you know who designed this new system? Did Steinway hire a team of engineers and programmers just for Spirio R?

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
Mark Fontana #2926256 12/23/19 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Fontana
The piano in her home is the original playback-only version of Spirio, sold from 2015-2018, the one derived from the Live Performance LX system, which Steinway acquired in 2014 to quickly enter the high-end player system market. But the piano in the studio shots is the Spirio R, which is a re-design from the ground up that is not based on Wayne Stahnke's LX or SE systems (and was created without his involvement). There's a playback-only version of the new system, too, so the older LX-based version of Spirio is likely being phased out.

The fundamental patents on driving solenoids with varying duty cycles to expressively play a piano all expired decades ago. There isn't any licensing of patents or entire systems going on, just companies like Yamaha, Steinway, QRS, and PianoDisc slowly iterating on existing designs. This is because it's a non-trivial engineering effort to implement a system that plays WELL and to get all the manufacturing channels in place for specialized, custom components in fairly small quantities. Creating a player system draws on a variety of disciplines and can easily take several years for a small team. I would add that LX/Spirio is not "30-year-old technology". The LX was introduced circa 2006 and implemented with modern components such as FPGAs. It was sold to Steinway after 8 years on the market. Its data format bears some similarities to that of the 1980s SE system, but internally, it's completely different. Progress in actually improving recording and playback quality has been very slow in the solenoid player piano industry, with only minor advances since the late 1990s. Most new features being added recently are ephemeral things like DRM schemes, HDMI for streaming videos, integrating with Alexa, supporting USB 3.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, etc... most of which will be superceded or obsolete in 15 years.


Thanks for this information. You obviously know a lot about the technology. Could you comment on the Disklavier/Enspire Pro system vs the ST system? How noticeable is the increase in resolution in the Pro model? Unfortunately, I don’t have the room for a grand so an ST in an upright is my only choice. I owned a Mark II Disklavier, if I remember correctly, and may buy another one.

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
iObsessed #2926323 12/24/19 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by iObsessed
Do you know who designed this new system? Did Steinway hire a team of engineers and programmers just for Spirio R?

That's unlikely, given the greatly-reduced need for full-time engineering work once the system is in production. It appears they contracted it out, similar to how Bösendorfer's (discontinued?) CEUS player system was developed by TVE Electronic Systems. In Steinway's case, it appears the work was performed by Long Island firm Intelligent Product Solutions, which describes itself in press releases as follows:
Quote
Intelligent Product Solutions, a subsidiary of Forward Industries Inc., is a single source solution for the full spectrum of hardware and software product design and engineering services. The firm has extensive end to end experience in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies development and is currently involved in dozens of connected product designs. IPS specializes in the rapid “productization” of emerging technologies and advanced materials into high-value consumer and industrial products and applications. Its partners include market leaders that require sophisticated design solutions for their most promising and potentially profitable ideas. Clients include Google, Pepsico, Steinway and Sons, and Anheuser Busch.

I could be wrong, but it looks like a pretty solid match between this company's capabilities and the type of product Spirio is.

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
LarryK #2926327 12/24/19 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Could you comment on the Disklavier/Enspire Pro system vs the ST system? How noticeable is the increase in resolution in the Pro model? Unfortunately, I don’t have the room for a grand so an ST in an upright is my only choice. I owned a Mark II Disklavier, if I remember correctly, and may buy another one.

Might be best to start a new thread on this. But briefly, Disklavier Pro adds the benefits of closed-loop control when operating the keys. This means the system continuously monitors position and velocity of action components and can adjust the drive mid-stroke to compensate for stiction and other physical factors. This improves the accuracy of soft playing and fast repetition, which are the most challenging aspects of a performance for solenoid-based systems to reproduce (definitely areas to test thoroughly when evaluating systems like Disklavier and Spirio as a prospective customer, particularly if you plan to record).

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
Mark Fontana #2926385 12/24/19 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Fontana
Originally Posted by LarryK
Could you comment on the Disklavier/Enspire Pro system vs the ST system? How noticeable is the increase in resolution in the Pro model? Unfortunately, I don’t have the room for a grand so an ST in an upright is my only choice. I owned a Mark II Disklavier, if I remember correctly, and may buy another one.

Might be best to start a new thread on this. But briefly, Disklavier Pro adds the benefits of closed-loop control when operating the keys. This means the system continuously monitors position and velocity of action components and can adjust the drive mid-stroke to compensate for stiction and other physical factors. This improves the accuracy of soft playing and fast repetition, which are the most challenging aspects of a performance for solenoid-based systems to reproduce (definitely areas to test thoroughly when evaluating systems like Disklavier and Spirio as a prospective customer, particularly if you plan to record).


Interesting! I created a new thread for this discussion, here:

http://forum.pianoworld.com//ubbthreads.php/topics/2926383.html#Post2926383

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
Mark Fontana #2926501 12/24/19 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Fontana
Progress in actually improving recording and playback quality has been very slow in the solenoid player piano industry, with only minor advances since the late 1990s. Most new features being added recently are ephemeral things like DRM schemes, HDMI for streaming videos, integrating with Alexa, supporting USB 3.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, etc... most of which will be superceded or obsolete in 15 years.



That‘s exactly is what concerns me about the whole player and recording systems are obsoleted long before the piano needs any serious work or refurbishment. Probably by my age it certainly wouldn’t matter. But for families that buy a beautiful handmade >$150K piano for their child and their future heirs, I just wonder how long the Spirio or Disklavier will be functional and an added benefit? It sure looks and sounds cool, but again I’m old school and like acoustic instruments to be purely acoustic. But that’s just me.


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Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
j&j #2926505 12/24/19 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Mark Fontana
Progress in actually improving recording and playback quality has been very slow in the solenoid player piano industry, with only minor advances since the late 1990s. Most new features being added recently are ephemeral things like DRM schemes, HDMI for streaming videos, integrating with Alexa, supporting USB 3.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, etc... most of which will be superceded or obsolete in 15 years.



That‘s exactly is what concerns me about the whole player and recording systems are obsoleted long before the piano needs any serious work or refurbishment. Probably by my age it certainly wouldn’t matter. But for families that buy a beautiful handmade >$150K piano for their child and their future heirs, I just wonder how long the Spirio or Disklavier will be functional and an added benefit? It sure looks and sounds cool, but again I’m old school and like acoustic instruments to be purely acoustic. But that’s just me.


I don’t think it is that difficult to remove the player systems and wind up with a stock piano that can continue to be played like a regular acoustic piano. We’re taking about a bunch of solenoid driven plungers to activate the keys by pushing the back of them, and some sensors and flags to measure hammer, key, and pedal velocities. I don’t know for sure, perhaps a qualified tech can comment about what it takes to remove a player system. After all, you don’t have to even turn on the system to sit down and play it like a regular piano. You could buy a Spirio or Disklavier and play it like a regular Steinway or a Yamaha without a player mechanism, as far as I know.

Anyway, I’m not worried about leaving anything to an heir, and I wouldn’t want to miss the fun of having a player piano because of such a concern. I can’t drop $150k on a piano but if I were wealthier, I’d do it.

Last edited by LarryK; 12/24/19 05:05 PM.
Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
newer player #2926694 12/25/19 10:22 AM
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Larry I’m not sure the Yamaha system is easily removed or if it is removable.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
Dave B #2926702 12/25/19 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave B
Larry I’m not sure the Yamaha system is easily removed or if it is removable.


In my mind, the question is whether it matters. So, say, you get twenty years of service out of the Disklavier system and it goes kaput, and you can’t get it fixed. Don’t you still have an underlying acoustic piano which can still play as well as a stock piano of the same year without the Disklavier mechanism?

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
LarryK #2926711 12/25/19 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Dave B
Larry I’m not sure the Yamaha system is easily removed or if it is removable.


In my mind, the question is whether it matters. So, say, you get twenty years of service out of the Disklavier system and it goes kaput, and you can’t get it fixed. Don’t you still have an underlying acoustic piano which can still play as well as a stock piano of the same year without the Disklavier mechanism?


The other question: if the system could not be removed, would the piano be salable? I would think the value would be significantly reduced and a sale would not be easy.... but really just a guess with no evidence


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Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
dogperson #2926715 12/25/19 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Dave B
Larry I’m not sure the Yamaha system is easily removed or if it is removable.


In my mind, the question is whether it matters. So, say, you get twenty years of service out of the Disklavier system and it goes kaput, and you can’t get it fixed. Don’t you still have an underlying acoustic piano which can still play as well as a stock piano of the same year without the Disklavier mechanism?


The other question: if the system could not be removed, would the piano be salable? I would think the value would be significantly reduced and a sale would not be easy.... but really just a guess with no evidence


Yes, I’m pretty sure that the value of a piano would be significantly reduced without a working Disklavier system, but then again, twenty or thirty year old pianos lose a large percentage of their value anyway. I look at Mark IIs of the era I owned and they can be had pretty cheaply. Pianos are depreciating assets. At least a Disklavier without a working player system is still a serviceable acoustic piano, while a broken digital piano is a useless thing. Just my opinion.

Last edited by LarryK; 12/25/19 11:22 AM.
Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
dogperson #2926725 12/25/19 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Dave B
Larry I’m not sure the Yamaha system is easily removed or if it is removable.


In my mind, the question is whether it matters. So, say, you get twenty years of service out of the Disklavier system and it goes kaput, and you can’t get it fixed. Don’t you still have an underlying acoustic piano which can still play as well as a stock piano of the same year without the Disklavier mechanism?


The other question: if the system could not be removed, would the piano be salable? I would think the value would be significantly reduced and a sale would not be easy.... but really just a guess with no evidence
If having a non functioning Disklavier in the piano doesn't affect the acoustic piano, which is very likely true, then unless the buyer wanted a player system in the piano why would it matter? The condition of the non player system part of the piano would be what's important to the buyer.

Re: Tiffany Poon introducing Steinway Spirio
pianoloverus #2926728 12/25/19 12:29 PM
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I can only speak for myself but why would I want a used piano with a non functioning player system installed? It’s not like there’s any serious shortage of used pianos available that don’t have inoperable equipment attached.


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