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MMD > Archives > July 1998 > 1998.07.17 > 05Prev  Next

Ampico Reproducers and Solenoid Players
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Bruce Clark asked about a solenoid system that would play
Ampico rolls from disc.  Robbie Rhodes comments:

>[ "The first modern solenoid player system to reach significant
>[ production was the Marantz Pianocorder; that was almost 20 years
>[ ago, and the technology has slowly but surely improved without
>[ increasing the cost."

HELLO!  I just got off the phone with a PianoDisc Technician and posed
this question.  What do you say to a customer who purchased a brand new
Marantz Pianocorder with an 8-track player for $5800 in 1978 and would
like to increase the size of his musical library?

His answer: The Pianocorder 8-track format is obsolete.  I'd recommend
upgrading to the PianoDisc system.  Cost $5000.

(Understand that I know about upgrading the Pianocorder system to
accept a disc format and as I recall the upgrade costs about $1000.)

Now I'm no rocket scientist, but it seems painfully obvious that costs
have not remained constant.  Each new change in technology increases
the cost unless demand is high.  Unlike the computer market where 'what
you get versus what you pay' has continued to drop steadily, it's my
opinion that owners of older electronic players will continue to face
the dilemma of planned obsolescence.  And what's new today will be old
in a relatively short period of time, say 15-20 years.  Point is,
you'll never stop hearing the word 'UPGRADE'.

My recommendation to Bruce is; if you want to listen to Ampico rolls,
get a piano with an Ampico mechanism.  It will be fully supported for
at least the next fifty years.  There are a couple of Ampico players
listed at my site for about the same price as you'll pay for having a
solenoid system installed in your piano.  And if you really like the
idea of using a disc to operate the unit, I'd suggest the PowerRoll
system but it too will need to be upgraded sooner or later when the
3-1/2" floppy becomes obsolete.

In closing, you'll never hear the word 'upgrade' in connection with an
Ampico mechanism, you'll hear the word 'rebuild'.

With an opposing opinion,

John A. Tuttle

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, Players, Reproducers, Solenoid

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