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question about solenoids and latency...

Posted By: Mark A.

question about solenoids and latency... - 05/13/11 09:35 PM

I'd like to have a midi keyboard connected to solenoids that push on a regular piano keys.

I want to use this to play the piano in real time... not to play back midi files.

Wayne Stahnke once told me that this would have such a latency that the playing experience would be very poor.

Does anyone feel like a setup such as this would work and who i might contact to build this for me (for a novel invention-not a regular piano).

Posted By: athomik

Re: question about solenoids and latency... - 05/17/11 10:11 AM

Latency would definitely be a problem. On Disklavier systems, incoming MIDI data for the XG backing parts is delayed by a buffer for up to 500ms to allow the solenoids and the action on the acoustic piano part to catch up. Unless you can insert a 500ms buffer between your ears and your fingers, I suspect it would be virtually impossible to play such a system as you describe.
Posted By: ROMagister

Re: question about solenoids and latency... - 05/21/11 06:49 PM

The pneumatic action of the 1914 pipe organ in Sibiu, Romania has a delay of ~400ms, and different to different divisions in different parts of the church hall. It requires the special experience of the local organist to disconnect the ears from the proper fingering and build the difference in delays in finger control.
Posted By: wouter79

Re: question about solenoids and latency... - 06/14/13 01:09 PM

I don't think the solenoids themselves suffer delay. But the software probably does.

So it depends on HOW you connect the keyboard. Is midi connection a requirement?

Midi itself already introduces some delay which is well noticeable by experienced musicians according to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midi).


MIDI's serial transmission leads to timing problems. Experienced musicians can detect time differences of as small as 1/3 of a millisecond (ms)[citation needed] (which is how long it takes sound to travel 4 inches), and a three-byte MIDI message requires nearly 1ms for transmission.[57] Because MIDI is serial, it can only send one event at a time. If an event is sent on two channels at once, the event on the higher-numbered channel cannot transmit until the first one is finished, and so is delayed by 1ms. If an event is sent on all channels at the same time, the highest-numbered channel's transmission will be delayed by as much as 16ms.

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