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Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70337
02/25/06 08:19 PM
02/25/06 08:19 PM
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Portland, Oregon
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Hi CTP, thanks for your advice. The solenoid system I have at the moment is a Pianocorder that is run by a computer program. The Pianocorder is old technology, but a genuine workhorse, and if installed correctly and the electronics were updated along with the solenoids, it can play quite well and very musically. With this new software by Mark Fontana: http://dp70.dyndns.org/pianocorder/wapc/ it does a great job. The problem of having to turn the volume up so that quiet notes do not drop out I belive is a combination of factors.....the action needs to be regulated and the whole Pianocorder needs to be re- furbished and installed in the optimum position in the piano.

I am expecting my new/old 1925 M&Hamlin RBB (BB) total rebuild to be finished in about 4 months, so doing anything to my current piano would not make any sense. The RBB is going to have a rebuilt Ampico as well as a new solenoid system. Meanwhile, I can put up with having to turn the volume up a bit and the occasional dropped note or two. smile

Gpman

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Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70338
02/25/06 08:27 PM
02/25/06 08:27 PM
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Portland, Oregon
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FLYA, Yes, the link to download the other formats is somewhat buried at the E-Competition site....look here as an example of one contestant's program...scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will be able to dload the 3 different formats.

http://www.piano-e-competition.com/contestantbios04/jiechen.htm


Here is the page that explains the different formats: http://www.piano-e-competition.com/midiinstructions.htm

and here is the page with all the contestant's programs:

http://www.piano-e-competition.com/2004Contestants.htm


You might want to try and playback the E-Competition files without going through a sequencer, that may be part of your problem.

Gpman

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70339
02/26/06 12:20 PM
02/26/06 12:20 PM
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Posts: 1,493
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Grandpianoman-

Wow a Mason+Hamlin BB with an Ampico! Very few of these were ever made. My father has a business restoring pneumatic players, and a properly restored Ampico on a restored Mason BB is as good as it gets! smile

My only question is how is it also going to have a solenoid based system on it? All the pneumatics are right were the solenoid rail would have to be. I have seen MIDI valves integrated with a pneumatic player (infact a M+HRBB as I recall). This system opperated the pneumatics, but instead of the information coming from the roll, it would come from a MIDI controller. Maybe this is what you were referring to.

The Pianocorders are workhorses indeed! Fontanas MIDI to Piano CD program was most helpful to me before the new QRS front end came out, since their previous "base" front end could not read a data CD.


Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
www.rivervalleypiano.com
Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70340
02/27/06 12:31 AM
02/27/06 12:31 AM
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Portland, Oregon
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Hi CTP, laugh Yes, a very rare beast indeed....of the M&H RBB, only 74 were made, 4 of those were B's, the rest A's! Actually, the only reason a solenoid system can be installed in there along with the Ampico, is the fact that there is a large amount of room underneath and couple that with an excellent rebuilder who understands both systems and you have a successful project.

Normally, as you correctly point out, you cannot put a solenoid system in with a reproducing system, but with this rebuilder, who is a whiz at this kind of stuff, and this RBB, it's possible. He had to re-engineer a lot of the workings to get it to fit and operate correctly, so it should work perfectly. I am hoping around June to have it back home here. Will post some pictures and a couple of sound files here with Rachmaninoff playing the Ampico and the solenoid system.


Gpman

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70341
02/27/06 02:35 AM
02/27/06 02:35 AM
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Posts: 39
Ohio
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So... would you buy a 6'1 S&C, with player or a Yamaha Disklavier DGC1A 5'3" grand if they were the same amount of money and both are new to one year old?


Proud new owner of a 2000 Boston GP-163 w/QRS 2000CD+
Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70342
02/27/06 09:55 PM
02/27/06 09:55 PM
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Posts: 1,493
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Sorry Card, got a little of track!

Let's start with the pianos apart from the systems-

Yamaha has an excellent reputation for reliability, and service. I service a number of S&C pianos, with all also seem to be doing quite well. The warranty service I have received from both companies has been what I would consider "above and beyond". (QRS Music is the company that owns the S&C name)
The next concern is for tone. A 5'3" does not sound as good as the 6'1" S+C IMHO. This is not in any way whatsoever a slap at Yamaha pianos. I think they are a good company that produces good pianos. It's really just a matter of scale design. Unless a manufacturer has done something dreadfully wrong, we should expect that a 6' will sound better than a 5'3". That being said, if your own ears tell you otherwise, listen to them first!

Our next concern is for the pianos with the player system:

Even though the Disklavier you mentioned is not of the new "Mark IV"(just guessing here) it should function very well as a reproducing player system with record, so long as everything is well calibrated. Does this system have a silent mode? In some cases the let-off has to be set pretty far back to accomadate a "shank stopper" which prevents the hammers from hitting the strings. It may be helpful to try playing some soft-loud-soft again passages on the piano and try to notice if you're having any undue difficulty changing dynamics. If not, then don't worry about it. The other potential concern that comes up sometimes with the Disklaviers, is not being able to turn the volume down enough on the piano during playback. Turn the volume down as low as it will go on the system, and ask yourself if this is going to be o.k. with you, in your home, during a party, or if you just want the piano as background. Now on that piano you may be able to shut the acoustic piano off, and hear digital piano music come through a speaker mounted in a piano. Many people use this option almost all the time on their Disklavier and enjoy it very much. To do this, to me, it just seems as though you'd have a very expensive, piano shaped keyboard, and why you'd do just as well to get a nice Clavinova and pocket the leftover $$.
As for the Pianomation, there are a few things as well to be aware of. First, the playback capabilities on the system are absolutely first rate when properly set up. If you are considering a S+C with a Pianomation, I would also make certain that you are getting the Petine or Ancho user box. These are QRS's new front ends, and they are a huge advacement over the previous units. You should be able to turn the volume down on the piano so that it is barely audible, and missing few, if any notes. I would also make certain that a pedal solenoid is included. In the past, QRS was very big on their "magic pedal" technology, which just sustained the notes, instead of having a solenoid that lifts the dampers off the strings. Many people have this on their Pianomation and like it fine. I however, think it is one of the stupidest, hokiest things I've ever heard. Properly set up, the QRS pedal solenoid works perfectly, and I've noticed on new S+C grands, more are coming with the soleniod already included, so I've probably just scared you for no reason. (sorry!) The next consideration is for the record system. QRS used the Gulbransen record strip for years, because it had a pretty consistent reliable track record. Just recently they anounced that the new PNOscan record strip is available. I've been speaking with tech support folks for months about this record strip, and they are all extremely exicted about it. In fact, I've put off installing a record strip in my own piano, partly because I've been waiting on this one. I'll let the forum know my results. That being said, for you, I would make sure you are happy with the record capabilities of the system prior to committing to buy. This is asking something of the dealer if it's not something they usually carry, but it seems only fair to me!

Ultimately, play the pianos, play with all the toys on the respective systems, and pick the one your most happy with that stays reasonably-kinda-sorta with your budget. Then have fun!

Best wishes!


Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
www.rivervalleypiano.com
Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70343
02/28/06 02:52 AM
02/28/06 02:52 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 39
Ohio
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CTPianotech,
Thank you so, so, so much. You have addressed the issues I am focusing on.

I did notice the acoustic playback limitations at a lower volume on the Yamaha. Since this will be in my "used to be dining room", that is a concern for me.

So, you think the that a S&C where the keys click alot (mechanical sound) was a poorly set up QRS system?

Do you also think that the S&C is less brighter than a Yamaha? Sorry for asking what to you is probably questions that could be answered by just playing but the dealer doesn't have a 6' in yet and the Yamaha is 100 miles away. Argh!

One more question, if I may, The 5'3 Yamaha (DGC1A w/Mark III) has a rather thin rim with a rough, looks like luan. The S&C has a laminate or veneer? Any take on that?

Thanks a heap!!!!!


Proud new owner of a 2000 Boston GP-163 w/QRS 2000CD+
Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70344
02/28/06 05:33 PM
02/28/06 05:33 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
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Gpman,

I finally got a chance to download all the appropriate midi files from the E-Competition website for the Disklavier MIII (Non-Pro edition).

I also transferred all the files to floppy disks and played the files on my Disklavier.

The difference in playback is night and day.(Playback is much improved) I've been playing the files via my computer and that seems to be the big problem.

Which brings up an important point? What good is it to have a Midi grand piano if you cannot use midi sequencing software with it?

It seems that the only way for proper playback on the Disklavier Mark III is to play from floppy disk or the memory bank.

Do you have the same issue with midi playback from a computer on your PianoDisk QRS system?

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70345
02/28/06 05:36 PM
02/28/06 05:36 PM
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Posts: 122
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Card,

I would consider the 6'1 S&C over the Disklavier DGC1A 5'3" if the S&C plays and sounds good to you. As I mentioned earlier, the bigger instrument may be more musically pleasing to you.

I don't know much about the QRS systems but if it's the latest technology I've heard good things about them.

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70346
02/28/06 06:18 PM
02/28/06 06:18 PM
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(off topic)
Quote
Originally posted by flya750:

I also transferred all the files to floppy disks and played the files on my Disklavier.

The difference in playback is night and day.(Playback is much improved) I've been playing the files via my computer and that seems to be the big problem.
Good MIDI playback requires precise sequencing/timing of events. Is it possible that your computer is multi-tasking too much as to miss the timing a bit here and there? The Disklavier controller box is a dedicated device to do a very small set of very specific tasks. A typical PC is set up to do many things at the same time: disk activity, network activity, keyboard/mouse inputs, switching betyween programs, etc. are all interrupts that can impact software timing... could that be the problem? I use a 5 year old laptop to record, and to avoid dropping samples, I always turn off the network interfaces, turn off the screen saver, turn off power-saving mode, etc. to get a "lean" running system for recording. Wondering if perhaps some of these tricks might help.

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70347
02/28/06 06:36 PM
02/28/06 06:36 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,242
Cape Cod
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Quote
Originally posted by flya750:
It seems that the only way for proper playback on the Disklavier Mark III is to play from floppy disk or the memory bank.

Do you have the same issue with midi playback from a computer on your PianoDisk QRS system?
I can tell you that as a general rule, you get a closer duplication of the original performance if you play it back on a system as close as possible to what the player was hearing when playing. The biggest differences being performances created on a midi-fied real piano and played back entirely by computer. Or vice versa.

But that's not to say you can't use a midi editor in between recording and playing back. Just use it sparingly to fix wrong notes or delete ghost notes. But forget about mucking with any timing or trying to add stuff that wasn't played. It'll never sound natural.

Howard

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70348
02/28/06 06:44 PM
02/28/06 06:44 PM
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Portland, Oregon
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Ax, good points.....one thing that helps me...when I do run the Pianocorder software from my computer, (Windows XP), I always do a crtl-alt-delete, which brings up the Windows Task Manager...I then scroll to Winamp, (which is what runs the Pianocorder) and right click on it...that brings up a box which on the bottom says "set priority", I then up it to either "above normal" or "high"...(don't use realtime as it might cause problems) ...that way the computer gives more power to that particular program. FLYA, you might find that this will help your playback when you use your sequencer. Ax, it might also help you so you don't have to close down all those other programs.

Gpman

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70349
02/28/06 06:57 PM
02/28/06 06:57 PM
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Portland, Oregon
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Yes, playback from a Disklavier file is going to sound better played by another Disklavier because the computer language used is a match and is superior to the Midi format. A Midi piano file recorded with some other sequencer, played back on a Disklavier or any of the other solenoid system, is not going to have the same quality due to the limitations of the Midi format. That being said, it will still sound good, but will not have the sophisticated expression and dynamics as a native Disklavier file would have, played back on a Disklavier. smile

Gpman

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70350
02/28/06 07:20 PM
02/28/06 07:20 PM
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Nashua, NH
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Is this because a MIDI piano file is taken from the 128 "general MIDI" voices? I believe the Yamaha uses the best available voice from their bank of "XG" voices. This way they're not "stuck with" just the GM voices from a standard MIDI file.

So perhaps it's not just the computer language is different. I think the voicing is also different.

(it's been too long since I was told this, thus the reason it's vague)


Retired Industry Professional
Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70351
02/28/06 08:05 PM
02/28/06 08:05 PM
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Portland, Oregon
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Hi Paul, I think you are right, but I also think it's a factor of the Disklavier software and of course, the hardware, optical sensors, solenoids etc. The Midi format does not have the same capabilities inherent in it's programing, so it can't reproduce as well as the Disklvier etc.

Gpman

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70352
03/01/06 09:00 PM
03/01/06 09:00 PM
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Card- I belive the noise you heard in the was in the action of the piano, not so much in the action of the QRS mechanism. This could be as simple as someone tightening a couple screws, but could also be something that requires a little more work. In any case, it is my opinion that showroom pianos should be in top form. It's an expense on the dealers part, but the customers deserve it.

As for the inner rim materials on both pianos. If want further details, ask and I'll give them, but suffice to say, virtually all piano rims are laminated, its actually stronger this way, the materials used can have a significant impact on the tone, but if you like the tone, the difference is merely accademic. (neither piano will fall apart on you!) Allow me to through one final reminder into the mix, Pianomations can be installed on any piano. (so long as there's a tech reasonably near by)

Good luck, and keep whatever questions you have coming!


Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
www.rivervalleypiano.com
Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70353
03/02/06 12:16 PM
03/02/06 12:16 PM
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Cape Cod
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Though the Disclavier's increased midi resolution is a great thing, when I record with them I don't find a noticeable difference in note accuracy compared to a calibrated PianoDisc. I expect they retain their calibration better, though. I have a PianoDisc on my own piano and always re-calibrate before recording sessions.

The sustain pedal control is the biggest difference between the systems. The PianoDisc only has 2 damper positions, up or down; it requires careful mechanical adjustment of the damper lift height to get good recording quality. Otherwise during soft passages you'll hear the dampers come down like a ton of bricks. The Yamaha is way better and seems to support more advanced pedal techniques.

The other apparent difference is in the keyboard sensors. The PianoDisc uses a tft strip that adds a gram or 2 of touch weight to the keys and enhances key return action slightly. I think Yamaha uses optical sensors which I assume don't affect key touch at all.

Yamaha picked up a lot of terrific ideas when they started collaborating with Wayne Stahnke but I wonder if they beefed up their solenoids enough. They seem a bit on the small side compared to the ones in the Stahnke-designed Bosendorfer SE's.

Howard

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70354
03/02/06 12:29 PM
03/02/06 12:29 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by CTPianotech:
Card- I belive the noise you heard in the was in the action of the piano, not so much in the action of the QRS mechanism....
Just wondering how the QRS key sensors are implemented. When the PianoDisc tft-strip was first installed in my new piano's Renner action, it was enough to bring out a some bearing noise that required the tech to do some additional action prep. Might be something similar.

Howard

Re: Yamaha Disklavier vs. Story & Clark w/QRS Petine #70355
03/03/06 08:20 PM
03/03/06 08:20 PM
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hv

The new QRS record strip is completely optical, and therefore cannot be felt or make any noise. Previous to this, they used the Gulbransen MIDI 9 KS1 record strip, which had "flags" that had 2-3 grams of resistance. In my own experience, I never had a customer complain about this issue though. The new record system also records "full key movement" and can record incremental pedaling. (although the pedal solenoid itself is still either on/off)

I have noticed on pianos with Pianodisc and Pianomation, some installers do not take full advantage of leverage when deciding where to locate the solenoid. If the solenoid is too close to the fulcrum, this can also cause the pedal to be very noisy and/or operate unreliably. With good installation and service, this is not an issue however.


Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
www.rivervalleypiano.com
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