QRS PNOmation3 Installation and Upgrade Services

At Accutone Piano Service, we love the old vacuum-style player piano systems, and specialize in their restoration. However, we are pleased to announce that we now also offer installation of the PNOmation3 Player Piano system by QRS Music Technologies!

PNOmation3 History.
QRS Music Technologies Inc. was founded in 1900 by piano maker Melville Clark, who was connected with the Story & Clark piano company, and who also helped to develop expressive vacuum operated player piano systems. (Click here to see pictures of a vintage Melville Clark player grand piano that we restored.) QRS is known world-wide as the only remaining manufacturer of music rolls. In 1986 they introduced the PNOmation Player Piano System. PNOmation now has a 30-year history of filling homes and other venues with music at the touch of a button.

The company is in sync with the most advanced technology available. Today, their modern, updated system no longer requires bulky, unsightly control boxes controlled with tapes, floppy disks or CDs! This advanced system is all but invisible. Unlike many older designs, your instrument’s touch will be unchanged by the addition of this system, so that your enjoyment of playing the piano by hand will not be diminished. Its precise, detailed dynamics capture the subtle nuances of a live performance.

Is It Superior To A Vintage, Pneumatic Player Piano?
Vintage player pianos are unique pieces of history, and they can certainly be worth restoring in many cases. However, most of the vintage systems did have limitations. There are areas where the modern PNOmation system excels:

  • Most were not “expressive” or “reproducing” pianos, and are unable to play exactly the way the original performer did. Only the Duo-Art or AMPICO systems approached that capability, and they are extraordinarily complicated to restore.
  • Their catalog is also, to some extent, frozen in time. Antique rolls can be expensive, and may be suffering the effects of advanced age, causing damage to restored pneumatic systems.
  • One of the most common questions we are asked after restoring a vintage pneumatic player piano is: “Can you turn it down?” Unfortunately, you can only turn them down so much; they were meant to be the center of attention, and require a certain level of vacuum to operate correctly. The PNOmation3 system, on the other hand, is infinitely adjustable in volume.
  • The new PNOmation3 system can play songs with full accompaniment of a band or orchestra, or the voice of an artist, through its speaker outputs (either to its on-board speaker, or through a connection to a sound system), in addition to solo piano playback

How Does It Work?
It isn’t magic, but it certainly seems like it is!
This is the most advanced player piano system on the market, with WiFi and Bluetooth integration, and optional Amazon Echo Dot control which allows you to control your piano with just your voice! Would you like to hear an Irving Berlin Medley? Just tell Alexa, and she will get PNO to play it for you!

What Does It Include?
The PNOmation3 comes with thousands of complimentary selections of music (from all genres) direct from the company, including piano solos, piano with accompanying instruments from a band or orchestra, and even featuring vocals from the original artists. More selections are available to purchase from QRS, including many of today’s most popular hits. Simply open their store through the control app, select the piece of music you want, and purchase it; the song or album is instantly available without phone calls, waiting for shipping, or accompanying shipping fees!

Or try your hand at playing video directly from QRS’s free YouTube channel. (Don’t worry, you won’t hear the high-pitched screeching when you are playing these selections through the piano.) You can watch a video of the original artists playing their piano, hear them performing it through the speaker output (or not, if you prefer), and have your own piano “mirror” the performance on your instrument “live”!

The PNOmation3 system also has the option of adding features like SilentPNO (so that those taking lessons can practice without disrupting everyone around them), and PNOScan Record, so that you can record and play back your own performances!

What Are the Advantages of Adding the System?
Frequently when we restore non-player pianos, our customers tell us that they are now going to have to break down and start taking their piano lessons again. We encourage everyone to do so, but we realize that this can also be discouraging if the learning process takes time. Sometimes customers get so discouraged that they do not maintain the piano after restoration, which is truly sad.

By adding the PNOmation3 installation during the restoration, however, you can begin enjoying your new player piano immediately! No frustration or discouragement if you aren’t as quick to pick up playing as you had hoped you would be, or if you are too busy to take regular lessons.

When you have a dinner party for friends, you can set the piano to play softly in the background, or have your friends gather around and “crank it up” so that it’s the center of attention – maybe even starting an impromptu singalong! This system can also be of special interest to those who own:

  • restaurants
  • coffee shops
  • rentable public venues
  • DJ’s

Having a piano equipped with this system in a restaurant or coffee shop can boost traffic, increase your customer base, and it is certain to be the talk of the community! Offering it in your facility can be just the factor that induces potential clients to rent your hall. And while any disc jockey can play music or scratch a record, not many can boast of bringing their own player piano for live performances at events!

Adding a PNOmation3 system will also add value to your piano, should you ever decide to sell it.

Can You Install It On My Existing Piano?
PNOmation3 can be installed on almost all existing pianos, old or new, grand or upright. 
Although there are certain requirements for fit and the addition of the new components, most pianos (other than spinets) are capable of accepting the new system. If you have a vintage instrument, you may add the PNOmation3 installation to our restoration services; we are able to fully restore and refinish your piano while at the same time installing the PNOmation3 system! You will end up with a piano that looks and sounds beautiful, and is a complete musical entertainment system. We are also able to add the system to nearly any modern piano.

I already have an older CD Player System. Can I replace or upgrade to the digital system?
The short answer is YES! Many of the older CD systems no longer work, and parts are not available to repair them. But we can upgrade your system to a completely digital system for a reduced cost of installing a whole new system from scratch! Contact us to discuss the options that are available for upgrading your system. You will be able to control your piano with an included remote control, or from anywhere using your smartphone or computer, or even through an Alexa device. No changing CDs, the new all-digital systems are a dream! And QRS will give you digital versions of all the selections you currently have on CD if they are available, so you won’t lose your current library!

Can I See It Work?
Of course! If you live in the Central New York area, you can contact us to set up an appointment for a demonstration in our shop. But before undertaking the trip, we would recommend starting off by watching our videos, showing a Sterling Grand piano we recently restored and retrofit with the PNOmation3 system in action.

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