The Pianet T
This (pictured above) is one of 2 Hohner Pianet T electromechanical keyboards that I own, and probably the best one I have ever heard. This model is from 1984 (s/n 849797).
There seem to be 2 designs for the Pianet T and at some point in the 1980’s the design changed. My other Pianet T is from 1980.
The main different is the way the pickup is wired. On the later models, it seems that they changed the design to use a single filament that winds across all of the pickup elements, while the earlier models have small PCB boards that connect the pickups together. The first image below shows the old pickup wiring, and the 2nd image shows the newer design. Another difference is in the type of hardware, the screws that hold the tines may be better on the later models.
My 1980 Pianet is super loud, and has virtually no noise. It’s just a great, clean sound. I have upgraded the pads to use the super sticky pads, adjusted all of the action for evenness and cleaned the reeds. When I got the 1984 Pianet T, it was missing the weight from the lowest F key. I didn’t use it for a while and wasn’t sure how to remedy that, but eventually I just took the reed out and added solder to it, then filed it until it tuned to the correct pitch. Consequently I have a fully working unit that sounds incredible and is being used on recordings every day.
Here is a short example of how this Pianet T sounds. This was recorded direct into a Metric Halo ULN-8, and the only added effect is a small amount of Arturia Plate.
The other (older) Pianet T (1980) has some issues. Cosmetically it is in very good shape and clean, but the output is low, and there is hum. I tried re-wiring the output jack and inadvertently melted some part of the component board there. Fortunately I was able to have one of the techs at Analog Man repair it by resoldering it and adding a jumper or something. It works now, but still nowhere near the output of the 1984.
If you are reading this and have any idea how to repair one of these earlier models to gain improved output and eliminate the hum, please contact me here. I have already read pretty much evey forum post on the clavinet.com and didn’t find any useful info. The hum may have something to do with grounding, and the low output may be related to the transformer.
On Sample LIbraries & Models
I should also mention that I own several Pianet T sample libraries and the Sampleson Model T.
- SampleTekk PianeT - This is pretty good Pianet library for Kontakt. It also has some good features like controls for Key Click, Key Release, and Velocity. It also has built in effects - Tremolo, Phaser and Chorus. So as a “plug-n-play” solution
- Zero-G Nostalgia - Nostalgia comes with a basic Pianet T, but not fully multisampled. There are only 2 velocity levels and all keys were not sampled.
- Jensen Pianet T (free): This appears to be no longer available.
- Hispasonic (free): https://www.hispasonic.com/noticias/dsk-music-presenta-hispasonic-sampled-series/3685
- Purgatory Creek: https://www.purgatorycreek.com/index.php/product/pianet-t-kontakt/#tab/-description
None of them sound remotely close to my 1985 Pianet T. Not sure if that is just because this instrument is somewhat rare and most people only own one. So the existing sample libraries could have sampled versions of the Pianet T that were from a particular era that sounded a certain way.