Auto-play pianos
October 31, 2005 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Can someone give me a quick dump on the various offerings for auto-play pianos -- including Disklavier, PianoDisc, Pianomation, Pianocorder. Are they worth the investment? Is this a cop out for "real" playing? How is the sound?

I love piano but never learned how to play. My kids are taking lessons, are doing quite well, and seem to enjoy it, so I'm about to invest in something better than the cheap Casio digital piano we currently have.

I'd like to get a setup that enables the kids to continue practicing on a good instrument while I can also enjoy classics from one of the systems mentioned above, a la auto-play. I'm in the early stages of my homework so any advice/experience with these systems is helpful. I know they are pricey -- but it seems like a good investment for me at this stage of the game.
posted by terrier319 to Shopping (2 answers total)
I have limited experience with the Disklavier. From what I know and have experienced it provides great , true sound. The recording options cover a wide range and Yamaha is a very well respected brand.
Another plus to the Yamaha brand is that they hold their value over time.
posted by Wallzatcha at 9:29 AM on October 31, 2005

Is this a cop out for "real" playing? How is the sound?

These two I can answer, at least: It's not so much a cop-out for real playing as it is a cop-out for hiring a pianist. Your piano will be playing someone else's recorded finger movements while you listen. I find it a bit gimmicky, but it's certainly neat.

If you're using it to play back your own playing, well, same deal, really. Minidisk recorder and a decent mic (or the line-out of an electronic piano) and you've got the same thing for cheaper, but without the gimmick.

As for the sound, it sounds like whatever it's attached to. If you buy a low-end electronic piano with the feature it'll sound like the famous pianist is playing a low-end electronic piano; if you buy a full-size grand with the feature it'll sound like the pianist is playing a full-size grand, because hammers are actually hitting strings.
posted by mendel at 10:05 AM on October 31, 2005

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