The Miracle Piano hardware restoration and review

I’ve had many requests over the last year to review the Miracle Piano. On september 19th, we game Alyson Lyang.

I’ve had many requests over the last year
to review the Miracle Piano. On september 19th, we game Alyson Lyang a new piano teaching
system. It’s funny. One month later, she performed a miracle. If I goof up at the concert then
I’ll be really embarrassed. Well, as coincidence would have it, I was at an estate sale in
Flower Mound, TX when I came across one being sold for $25. They even found the box for
it on the way out. So I did get the manuals and the original floppy disks, which are 720K
to give you an idea how old this is. On the side of the box the system requirements show
it would work on even the oldest of PCs. Alternatively, you can see it would run on everything from
the Nintendo to an Amiga. Unfortunately, the box they gave me was empty. So I had no power
cable or interface cable. So let’s take a look at what condition it was in. The sticker
says $50, but it was half off because it was the last day of the sale. The condition doesn’t
look too bad on camera here, but the thing was disgusting and the keys were yellowed.
On the back, it has MIDI ports and a special one called the Miracle Port. This is where
it would connect to your game consoles and stuff. I noticed it used 12 Volts AC, so my
Nintendo power supply would work with it. I also picked up this Casio SA-9 for $2 at
the same location, it’s in pretty rotten condition too, but I’ll deal with this one later. So
I decided to go ahead and clean this thing up, starting with dis-assembly. Apparently
there were two ribbon cables that had to be unplugged before I could go any further. I
didn’t really NEED to get to the logic board for cleaning, but I couldn’t resist seeing
what was on the other side. So I unscrewed it. This just appears to be an RF shield.
And the good stuff is on the other side. So looking over it, I could identify a few chips.
This is an 8 kilobyte S-RAM chip. A surprising amount of RAM for a keyboard this basic. This
is an EPROM, which likely has the operating system and instrument sample data. This is
an Intel 8032 embedded CPU. And these are all custom chips that have the Software Toolworks
logo on them. One of them is probably a synthesizer chip. I couldn’t find anything on this ST
Microelectronics chip.. but my guess is it is for input/output. The logic board was actually
pretty dirty too, I used some compressed air to get the dirt off, but in some places looked
like it had corrosion from liquid exposure. I cleaned up most of it with a dry toothbrush.
It took some scrubbing, but it was easier than going the liquid cleaning route, which
would involve many extra steps. Once I got the keyboard mechanism out, I just used water
to clean the inside of the case. I’ve never encountered a key mechanism quite like this
one. Once I started getting the keys off, it was clear just how dirty it was under there.
I used some compressed air to clean off the main part. Then, I took the keys to the sink
and cleaned them off with water and a little scrubbing. The keys cleaned up pretty well,
except for two issues. One issue was these apparent scratches. But I’ve often found alcohol
can remove stuff like this. And sure enough, the stuff came right off. The next problem
is that the keys are yellowed from age and UV exposure. So, I stuck all of the keys in
a Ziplock bag and filled it with hydrogen peroxide. Then I sat them out in the sun for
the better part of a day, going out to rotate it and mix it up about once an hour. In the
meantime, I could re-attach the black keys since they don’t need any further treatment.
You can already see this thing looks a million times better. Once the white keys were done
being treated, I began to re-attach them. Of course, these keys aren’t all the same,
so it’s sort of like putting a puzzle together.. Woops, that one doesn’t go there. Ahh, there
we go.. much better. Once they were all in the correct places, I re-attached the little
springs. And here’s the finished keyboard mechanism. It looks much better, doesn’t it?
So then it was time to snap the keymech back into place. and here’s the finished product.
I could actually play this now without cringing. So, let me give you a quick demonstration.
Now, normally I would not show every single instrument on a keyboard review, but being
this thing literally only has 6 insturments, I guess I’ll show them all to you. I’ll start
with the piano. It doesn’t sound too bad, it’s sampled of course. I think the harpsichord
sounds more like an electric guitar. Here’s the organ. I like the sound of the Vibraphone.
Here’s the electric piano. and finally, synthesizer. So what do I like about it? Well, it is simple
to operate, I like that. It also has velocity sensitive keys, which allows for more expression.
I like that it has MIDI and line out ports for recording. What I don’t like about it
is the build-quality. It is made entirely of plastic. Now, plastic is fine for a keyboard
like this, but most larger keyboards use a metal frame for the keyboard mechanism. An
so, because this thing is all plastic, it creaks and cracks a lot when playing it. Take
a listen to what it sounds like in person with the keyboard turned off, to see what
I mean. And of course, I’m not fond of having only 6 instruments. Even early 1980’s keyboards
tend to have at least 8. This thing came out in 1991 and by point most keyboards had hundreds
So, I hate to say it but overall, from a hardware perspective, as a stand-alone instrument,
this thing is actually a piece of junk, especially considering it cost like $500 back in 1991.
But, this thing was marketed as a learning tool, and it’s ability to connect to game
consoles. I remember seeing it in computer stores, electronic stores, and even toy stores
back in the 1990’s. As for how I rate that aspect of the keyboard, well, I’ll have to
wait until I get the appropriate cable setup to connect it to my Nintendo and I’ll let
you know on that in a future episode. Even if it does turn out to be good for learning,
I think Software Toolworks would have been better off contracting with somebody like
Casio or Yamaha to include a re-branded version of one of their amateur keyboards. Just my
opinion, of course.

100 thoughts on “The Miracle Piano hardware restoration and review”

  1. man I remember I got this one Christmas 'cause my parents thought I'd actually learn piano better on my SNES than from lessons (also this was around 1993 so it was either old stock, or they were probably getting rid of it). I didn't jive too well with the software, and my parents thought the keyboard wasn't that great anyway so they ended up returning it lol. I know some comments are pointing out it's a lot better than on the surface, but my parents weren't exactly about RTFM (also you think you'd make all instruments more apparent on the casing itself, like every other keyboard ever).

  2. Hi there 8 bit keys, love your videos. I sent an earlier message with your other channel but I believe it didn’t save so I apologize if I am repeating myself. I recently picked up an creative “prodikeys” at goodwill. Do you know anything about this product? It is a hybrid midi piano/pc keyboard. I’m a Mac user and was hoping it would work with Mac but the midi keyboard does not. I’m curious to know if you have any suggestions on what I can do? Right now only the pc keyboard works and I’m thinking I just need a driver of some sort. Thanks!

  3. I had a fully boxed SNES copy of this keyboard (with the game, obviously) for a few days while I was a little kid. My keyboard ended up being a total dud and I took it back to the store. To this day I still want to try out the games that came with it. Now I'm curious if SNES/NES emulators can take MIDI input.

  4. this keyboard deserves a better review… try to get an interface cable… most probably the "miracle port" contains a RS232 serial…

  5. I just saw one of these at a Salvation Army over the weekend. All it had was the keyboard and the box and they wanted $20 for it. If it had the game with it it would been tempting to get it.

  6. I found one just today at a thrift store that was closing in my area. $30. It's super simple, lacks software, but sounds good and is cool nonetheless. When I found out it was a part of gaming history, I had to buy it. I hear the software's hard to get, but I'll try. Thanks for making the video, it was more informative than the Wikipedia entry.

  7. It worked best on the SNES, better than DOS at least for me. You will need the SNES cartridge, which was sold extra at the time. The NES is far more common here is the cart. for the NES cart

  8. Lovely demo for sure 😀 Could you make an sample bank out of this instrument in .wav / 16bit / 44.1 kHz ?

    / Daniel Fletcher of D.S. (a Swedish synthrock / synthpop group)

  9. There is also a noise setting. My brother had one for super nintendo and you held the synthesizer and press the volume to a certain setting. It has ducks and car horns and such.

  10. When i was a boy one of my fathers friend said :I am so good at sales that i could sell you canned air. Guess what he sells right now…

  11. Half of these instruments that are on this keyboard sound like those uses it Old School RuneScape. I love it

  12. I've got the Amiga version of the Miracle Piano. I found it at a second-hand store for the a bargain price of about £20. It was almost complete and in VGC, with box, manual, Amiga software 3.5" discs (software was HD installable), serial data cable, power supply. The only part missing was the foot pedal. I used it with my Amiga 1200 for quite a while to learn how to play piano (barely). I remember thinking that once you had learnt all the tunes the software taught you to play, there should have been a way to add more music to the library.

  13. Yes, we had the Amiga version and there were 128 . . . Full general midi map. They are even listed in the documentation.

  14. i came across one of these a few year back in a charity shop, i picked it up thinking it was just a funky old midi compatible keyboard, did not know it worked with the nes

  15. You know, this is gonna sound weird. I like your vids. They're so satisfying, it's like watching technological porn.

  16. I used to live in Flowermound back when the world was young.
    In fact, in December of 2016 I stopped at the Walmart in Flower Mound on my way to a concert in Dallas.

  17. I would really like to see the software this came with. I would like to know if it really is a good learning g system.

  18. I got one of these when they first went on sale in the UK. I remember being REALLY disappointed with the string sound, and the overall level of hiss – it is 8 bit. I you google for images of the Miracle, you will see that it should have a long list of instruments where yours has a blank space to the right of the volume LEDs. These are accessed by pressing combinations of the buttons

  19. The Software Toolworks! They also did a very neat Star Wars chess game with unique animations for every piece on the board. It chugged a bit when you played it but it was pretty to look at.

  20. I found a miracle keyboard and the power works fine nothing looks wrong at first glance on the inside but no sound comes out when i press the keys. Anybody know what could be wrong? The speakers turn on with the power so they seem to work. No sund comes from the sound headphone jack either so i figure it must be the keyboard connection somehow??

  21. Im a little bummed i used to have one of those and one day it was gone and i dont know what happened to it. It was probably thrown out as my mom likes to do that

  22. Found one of these with the NES cartridge and all the cables over at Tapper's Games in Hillsboro, Oregon.

  23. Those Ultima tones <3 reminds me of the countless hours I've played Ultima Online(Even though I know these tunes are much older than that lol)! Your videos are really cool man, keep the great job 🙂

  24. Nice. I have the keyboard and power cable but no interface cable. Still works with six voices and when I hook it to my Korg Kross via midi I get some crazy sounds out of it.

  25. the logic board looks like an pc logic board… Correct?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????v

  26. The Software Toolworks was a software company, as far as I know, they had little experience with making musical keyboards, they were also the original developer of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, a typical configuration for PCs at the time the Miracle Piano released were
    386 processor, 1 megabyte or 2 megabytes of system RAM, VGA card, 720k floppy drives alongside a 5.25-inch floppy drive, keyboard-only, 40-megabyte or 80-megabyte hard drive and MS-DOS 3.3

  27. Me and my old room mate had one of these hooked up to a laptop with Logic Pro and sound system. It wasn't great, but it was good enough to bang around on.

  28. If you need it i have an original power cord and a serial cable for this to hook up to your PC – if you're in need feel free to drop me an email at [email protected] and i just need an address to send it to /thumbup

  29. Can you talk about PPG Wave 2.3 Synthesiser? I know it's expensive… but… that would be great —- edit: Spelunker music is always welcome!

  30. You get what you pay for. My Roland harpsichord & organ sounds are very good but the keyboard cost $10,000.

  31. As the Guys say. You have a lot more bang for your Buck. I got one at a car boot sale under a fiver. It needed cleaning and a modern footswitch socket fitted but is a dream of a keyboard for the money I paid. I used mine as a accompaniment to my Hammond. What you  were missing with yours was the card that fits on the top next to select keys which shows you how to access the voice library. I still have mine and proudly use it as it has some voices used by famous bands in the eighties. Seriously the best few quid I ever spent.

  32. This needs another review after all the relevant missing parts have been found and functions explored.

  33. Thanks for the demo! I saw one of these in Goodwill the other day. I passed on it and wondered if I missed a good deal. Outside of its midi connections I would have no use for this.

  34. My favority Channel on tube ?
    If you Can, make a video of the Cássio cassitone ct 460 ?
    Send remembering to Brazil! ! !

  35. Yes David, as others have said you missed the 128 built in sounds. This is a surprise as the manual clearly shows this. I had the Amiga version, which when hooked up to the computer was very versital.

  36. ask James Rolfe from cinemassacre on the miracle cable and the software
    he reviewed it on avgn and he really liked the duck piano game and he was saying 'YEAH I'M SHOOTING DUCKS WITH A PIANO!!! YEAH!!!"
    and he also reviewed other nes accessories in the same video

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