Hi All, Regarding Wayne's Rachmaninoff CD, I am a bit confused at
the odd reference to the old Victor records that Douglas Henderson has
I honestly don't see how Rachmaninoff's playing could ever be judged by
an old 78-rpm record! Fact is, the audio quality just isn't there. It
would never compete with a well regulated _real_ piano, even if the
record is played back on today's Hi-Fi equipment. It was not until the
early 1950s that audio equipment and records came close to realistic
The whole business of comparing Rachmaninoff's records to his rolls is
like comparing a spinet to a nine foot Baldwin! It is foolishness to
claim to be able to judge Rachmaninoff's performance by an old record.
Wayne did prove what I have been saying all along: With the right
music and regulation, the solenoid pianos _can_ be just as capable of
realistic music as a pneumatic piano.
Tempola Music Rolls
[ You're right, Andy -- we really should "compare apples with apples".
[ The question before us is "How accurately does the new CD of Ampico
[ rolls represent Rachmaninoff playing the piano?"
[ We don't have a super Hi-Fi recording of Rachmaninoff for compari-
[ son, but maybe we can make an acoustic recording of Wayne Stahnke's
[ piano and compare the results with the existent acoustic recordings
[ of Rachmaninoff at the piano in 1921. At least that's comparing
[ old apples with old apples! :-) -- Robbie
[ Regarding what solenoid pianos can do, the Boesendorfer SE is in
[ a class by itself. Wayne designed a "closed loop feedback system"
[ whereby there is per-note velocity monitoring. This automatically
[ produces the correct compensation of the power being sent to the
[ solenoid in real time so that the solenoid velocity is correctly
[ controlled through a much wider range than is possible without
[ feedback. This is why the Boesendorfer SE has such stunning dynamic
[ range and can accurately play the quietest passages. Proper
[ regulation is important even in this piano, but without closed loop
[ feedback none of the "other" solenoid systems can execute this
[ performance. (A Yamaha Disklavier with velocity feedback was
[ demonstrated at the NAMM show a little over a year ago. I don't
[ known if these are being sold yet. It should come as no surprise
[ that this is a "Stahnke influenced" design.)
[ As a musicologist and engineer, Wayne has brought a stunning amount
[ of talent and hard work to bear on this project. He did virtually
[ everything himself. He designed the SE (Stahnke Equipped) solenoid
[ reproducing system. He perfected (in my opinion) optical roll
[ archival. He wrote his own computer editing tools to deal with flaws
[ in the rolls being scanned. He designed his own Ampico emulator. He
[ rigorously studied the other Rachmaninoff works so that he could
[ make the Ampico emulator work correctly. He put it all together.
[ I'm still amazed. We owe him a debt of gratitude (and increased
[ CD sales -- buy some now for Christmas presents). -- Jody