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#1983630 - 11/07/12 02:20 AM Silent Piano: £10k budget
MrSnuffles Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 4

I'm currently moving to London and am considering buying / renting a new piano. I will be living in a victorian house with very thin walls, and the piano will be probably placed in my 5m x 4m (13x16 ft) bedroom. I like to practice at night, so I figured it would be wise to go for a silent piano.
Here at home I own a Yamaha C2, and I very much like its touch and bass, though I find the tone lacks the "personality" of, for instance, a baby-grand steinway (though it's also worth a fraction of the price).

What do you guys think would be the best option for me considering the £10k budget?
I've been looking at U3, YUS3 and YUS5 by yamaha, and they seem to be quite good pianos, though as I said I'm not a huge fan of the yamaha tone color. Are there other options? Are those great pianos?

Also, I read somewhere that the silent mechanism on yamaha uprights makes the piano less responsive, since you lose control of the hammers a few millimeters earlier due the placement of the metal bar. Is this relevant?

Since my room will be quite small, I figured a baby grand might not be a great option, but I'm willing to consider it as well.

Thanks for the help,

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#1983647 - 11/07/12 03:29 AM Re: Silent Piano: £10k budget [Re: MrSnuffles]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 6508
Loc: Italy
I have a Yamaha P112 with the silent feature. It is certainly smaller than the pianos you mention, but it suits me, and my living situation (apartment!).

I am not an advanced player, but I don't think the mechanism interferes with playing. What is good about the Yamaha silent system is that you really can get excellent nuance of volume and articulation. When I bought my piano the fellow in the shop actually took 2 keyboards apart to show us the difference in how they worked. The Yamaha has a graduated "reader" for the effect whereas the other system we looked at (I'm not certain of the brand so I won't mention any) was much more of an "on/off" response.

You may want to think about contacting Chris Venables here in the forum - I asked him some questions when I was getting mine and he was very helpful. He is familiar with these systems and can certainly give you more technical info than I can.

#1983746 - 11/07/12 12:29 PM Re: Silent Piano: £10k budget [Re: casinitaly]
ChrisVenables Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 771
Loc: Hampshire, England
Hi Felipe (and casinitaly) smile

As you're moving home, have you checked whether the tall (and quite deep) upright pianos on your shortlist will go up your stairs, especially if there is a 90 degree twist? Without doubt, the YUS5 has the best tone of the three you mentioned due to its German strings, upgraded hammers, (found also on YUS3) plus vented music desk and greater mass (YUS5 only). The YUS5 also has wood composite sharps and Ivorite naturals. On 'European market' silent pianos of this size, the silent system is operated by pulling a lever underneath the keyboard, so that the middle pedal can remain as a sostenuto.

Judicious voicing of the hammers can add even more more character and variation to the tonal palette of the YUS3 and YUS5, so much so that it may sound as good or even better than your C2. The only other silent system worth considering is from Kawai, but I think the largest piano with their Anytime system in Europe is the K5, 125cm, whereas the K8 is more on a par with the YUS3 and YUS5. Personally I would stay away from retro-fitted kits.

Regarding Yamaha's silent action, there is a slight compromise as the set-off (escapement) on the upright silent system is around 3mm earlier than on an equivalent non silent model. This is whether in silent or non silent mode. Most pianists don't notice this (as in casinitaly's case) but it is worth comparing the two actions side by side for your own opinion. However, the touch weight and touch depth is the same, silent or non silent models.

Other options, if these 131cm H X 65cm D models are too big for your staircase, take a look at the YUS1, U1 or P121 silents at 121cm H X 61D.

The baby grand silent options such as GB1 151cm, GC1 and C1 161cm may be easier up any stairs with a 90 degree twist as they're around only 52cm deep when on their side, but they don't have such a good bass as the 131cm uprights.

Best wishes.
Tech. & Partner: Venables Pianos
Yamaha Piano UK main dealer and Grand Piano Centre
Stocking new Yamaha, Petrof and Venables & Son

#1983862 - 11/07/12 06:10 PM Re: Silent Piano: £10k budget [Re: ChrisVenables]
MrSnuffles Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 4
Many thanks for both casinitaly and Chris for the very comprehensive replies.

My main concerns with the limitations of the silent mechanism on uprights would be compromising fast one-note trills (as in Scarlatti's sonata in d minor) and diminshing the dynamic range. But I guess I'll have to check that for myself.

Regarding the piano size, I admit it would be quite frustrating to downgrade my piano because of the stairs. Here are the floorplans of the house:

My bedroom will be the larger one in the second floor.

As you see there are quite a few turns along the way, and the hallway is 1.8m wide. If we take the stairs to be less than half that much, it's pretty tight, but seems feasible.
I reckon there is also the possibility to deliver the piano through the window, though I have no idea if it would work.

I will surely be paying a visit to your showroom once I'm settled (though it'll be a long trip from Notting Hill x-x).

Thanks again for the support,

Edited by MrSnuffles (11/07/12 06:19 PM)

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#1983999 - 11/08/12 04:05 AM Re: Silent Piano: £10k budget [Re: MrSnuffles]
EssBrace Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 3033
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
I take it you'll be sharing the house? The best place for the piano is where I've marked X - and that could be a grand piano. But if you are sharing your housemates might have views about this!

#1984007 - 11/08/12 05:16 AM Re: Silent Piano: £10k budget [Re: MrSnuffles]
ChrisVenables Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 771
Loc: Hampshire, England
Dear Felipe

I can ask one of our movers to call in when convenient for you and assess the stairs/headroom so he can advise what size of pianos will safely go round those twists or whether a crane is viable. Please PM me if you want his details.
Tech. & Partner: Venables Pianos
Yamaha Piano UK main dealer and Grand Piano Centre
Stocking new Yamaha, Petrof and Venables & Son

#1984035 - 11/08/12 07:45 AM Re: Silent Piano: £10k budget [Re: EssBrace]
MrSnuffles Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 4
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
I take it you'll be sharing the house? The best place for the piano is where I've marked X - and that could be a grand piano. But if you are sharing your housemates might have views about this!

They do indeed x). My dad will probably be setting up his workplace in the Reception you marked, and I feel I will have more privacy and cause less trouble if I place the piano in my own room.
The option of purchasing a grand remains open though. However, for the moment I'm really counting on the silent technology, and there's no silent grand within this price range.

But who knows? Maybe one day I will be able to place a gorgeous Steinway over there as well *-*.

Edited by MrSnuffles (11/08/12 07:46 AM)


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