The best player piano system?

At chicagopianos.com, we often get calls from customers across the country asking us which player piano system is the best.  These inquiries stem from the fact that we are in the unique position of being an authorized dealer for all three major player piano systems — the Yamaha Disklavier, QRS player piano systems and the full line of PianoDisc iQ player systems.   We have been told by many customers that they can’t find any dealer who truly represents all three.  The reasons for this could be the subject of another blog…a lengthy blog, so we won’t address that here but the important thing here is that you’re reading a blog entry about player pianos written by a piano dealer who A) is speaking from a distinctly unbiased position and B) has been carrying digital player systems for almost 25 years.

The notion of chicagopianos.com being a dealer for all three major player systems is indeed so unique that we had a “player piano summit” are our store where we invited representatives from each manufacturer to give a presentation to the press about “the latest and greatest”.  It was the first and only time this has ever been done.

The impetus for this particular blog is account of because of the newest player piano system from QRS.  We simply HAD to blog about it.  The below video shows the incredible ease of use the new QRS Pianomation2 player piano offers.  It’s truly amazing.  You can walk in our store, take your smartphone and within one minute you will have QRS’ entire library at your fingertips, controlling the piano from your phone.  There is no control box on the piano so there is no visual indication the piano is even a player piano.  Best of all, the most popular songs and recording artists in the world are represented in the QRS library and available for playback.  To clarify further, we mean the original recording artist’s versions play from cyberspace, so you hear, say, Billy Joel actually singing Just the Way You Are (as in the video) or Alicia Keys singing Fallin’ while the piano accompanies that original artist’s performance.

While all three player piano manufacturers offer the ability to hear original artist’s recordings, the new QRS Pianomation 2 system is hands down the easiest way to hear such music.  Please contact us for specific information about how the other systems differ.

The ease of use with the new Pianomation 2 system does not mean that this system is for everyone.  It just happens to be a breakthrough in the area of easily accessing a huge library of original artist recordings.  The features of other player systems may be of equal or greater importance to your particular needs so if you’re in the market for a player piano, please contact us to discuss this.

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2 responses to “The best player piano system?

  1. I live west of Washington DC and I just purchased a baby grand Hardman with a Pianomation (not II) system with a Petine controller. Since I’m recovering from a pretty serious auto accident, playing myself is out of the question and even searching for midi piano files that would work on it (beyond what QRS sells) is really hard to do with one finger. Would it be worth upgrading to Pianomation II (against my wife’s already stressed-out patience) or is there any other way to get playable files. I have a gazillion MIDI files I’ve bought and downloaded over the years but when I copied a variety of files to a CD, the player wouldn’t play them. I’ve heard such things exist, even that your customers have some kind of access, but I can’t figure out how to find them. Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Richard

    • Richard, sorry to hear about your accident, and sorry for our late reply! Although the PianoMation II system does make it easier to play standard MIDI files via a USB thumb drive, and also has the entire library built into the system (including a trial period with access to the entire library), there is a piece of freeware that will allow you to make QRS CDs out of stray MIDI files. They just need to be converted to the QRS format. Check this out: http://www.kinura.net/mid2pianocd/

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