Recently, I installed the Spencer Chase/Gene Gerety MIDI system on
my Steinway Duo-Art upright piano. Since this is a very new system,
I thought that the MMD members might be interested in a report.
The system consists of a 16-valve block with the electronics required
to operate the valves on board. You can obtain more details at
Spencer's web site, http://www.spencerserolls.com/MidiValve.htm.
I needed six blocks to cover the entire range. A MIDI controller
drives the electronics and you can operate the MIDI controller with
Cakewalk or similar software on your laptop or by a Viscount MIDI
The installation took a full, long day. Some of this time was due to
the tedious requirement of teeing the tubing in parallel with the
tracker bar. But a fair amount of time was spent playing with the
software, etc., to get everything playing perfectly. It should be
noted that mine was the first installation of this generation of device
so none of this was a surprise to us. I had agreed to be the guinea
pig to help them get this device going.
When we finished the installation and got everything working, the
system played like a champ. It has played solidly for the past week
with no problems whatsoever. I am thoroughly enjoying the wonderful
music on my Steinway. Spencer has scanned some really incredible
rolls. You can leave the piano on for hours and it just plays away.
It is my belief that Spencer and Gene have developed a very reliable
unit but time will tell.
I am one of the unfortunate people who bought a PowerRoll only to have
it fail in a few days. I returned it for service and never saw it
again. So having wanted a MIDI system for my piano for quite a few
years, I must say that I am now just ecstatic about my new Chase/Gerety
system. (Incidentally, what are you going to call it?) If you are
considering going in this direction, I think you should give their
system a serious look.