This is a fun subject, too! Robbie's letter about the SE Boesendorfer
refers to the ultimate reproducer/registering piano ever built, but not
really a product one can sell on the general market. There is no
question, however, of its superiority. We know they _can_ work. The
question is how do you sell them and make money, which is what I believe
Laurent Coray was asking about.
The three or four people I know who own solenoid players frankly _do_
have problems with them. One household has a repairman coming from
Texas, about 600 miles away, to do the work whenever it needs it. I was
in their home voicing hammers and had hoped to hear it, but although it
was working, it wasn't pedaling correctly. The units installed in the
spinets had trouble with their pedal rods, too, and since the music
needed a pedal, it sounded jerky. I am going strictly on the basis of
4-for-4 when I think that perhaps a little more thought needed to be put
into these instruments first.
In my opinion, the finest one seems to be the Yamaha. Although that one
[in the customers home] too was silent and never played, it was a few
years ago, and I think they have improved them quite a bit. But we have
to deal with the others, right?
If I was to make a suggestion to Laurent Coray, I would suggest that he
find a way to replace that huge, inefficient valve magnet for interfaces
on band organs and player pianos, so that a single note strip of them
isn't 4 inches tall, five inches wide, and 60 inches long, and weighs
thirty pounds. They amount to about 500% overkill, in my estimation --
designed for something else, completely.
[ Reisner makes smaller valves which are suitable for organs, but the
[ spokesman explained that most customers demand the old-fashioned
[ design with the horse-shoe magnet-coil and the pot-metal base. That's
[ the reason why we see mostly the old giant magnet valves: "Tradition"!
[ -- Robbie