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Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? #2302220
07/14/14 01:08 PM
07/14/14 01:08 PM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Hi

I’ve provisionally agreed to purchase a house which has a room with a vaulted ceiling for my piano, but I'm wondering if the room is big enough to be manageable or whether I should keep looking at further houses. Any thoughts or advice really appreciated.

The piano is a 1920’s Steinway D. The room I currently have for the piano is much too small – 17’ x 13’ though with a 7’ square indent which eats into the rectangle so the room is ‘L-shaped’. The ceiling is also ludicrously low (c. 7’). Actually I suspect the ‘L’ may be helpful re the acoustics since there is no 'parallel wall' effect), but although my ears will sometimes ring after playing ff or above, I have managed to work/practice in this room for some years. Because it’s so restrictive, I’ve been looking for an affordable property with a bigger room for a long time.

The house I’ve found has a 3-sides-detached fully-rectangular room of 18’ x 14’, plus the vaulted ceiling. The walls are c. 8” high and the top of the vault is c. 12’. This gives more than double the space of my current room (roughly 2500 rather than 1200 cubic feet). I’ve viewed the new property twice; both times I sang loudly in the room and it seemed quite dry.

Obviously the new room is still relatively small considering the power of the ‘D’. But it’s the best house (piano-room-wise) I’ve seen that I can afford, and as I say I’ve been looking for a long time. So I’m hoping it would be an improvement over what I have at the moment -- but is that really likely the case? Might it be worse than my current room? Is the vaulted ceiling going to amplify the piano? Could more resonance actually be a problem? (Eg., I understand not to place the piano in the centre of the ‘vault’ due to ‘focussing’ of the sound, so it would be best alongside one of the longer walls, with the lid opening toward the centre of the room). Also, I know wall panels and bass traps can be installed – but are they likely to be effective in controlling things in a room of this size? (BTW, I like a relatively bright piano and do not want to prick the hammers too much).

Sorry for so many questions! Have been reading around on all this -- any experience or thoughts would be much appreciated – whether it’s reassurance or ‘don’t buy it’!!!

(My first post here -- hope it's in the right forum).

Thanks!


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Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302229
07/14/14 01:25 PM
07/14/14 01:25 PM
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Hehe...I'm imagining the Realtors reaction while you sang in the room during the open house.

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302237
07/14/14 01:44 PM
07/14/14 01:44 PM
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Oakland
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The only consideration of size that I would give is to make sure there is a path for the piano to be moved into the room. The acoustics of the room and the piano can be adjusted, although there are few people who are good at adjusting the piano.


Semipro Tech
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302244
07/14/14 02:11 PM
07/14/14 02:11 PM
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Suffolk, England
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I expect many others will tell you not to worry.

You could PM Kalee21 who wondered about room size when he first thought of replacing his B with a D.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
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Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: Withindale] #2302262
07/14/14 02:58 PM
07/14/14 02:58 PM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Many thanks for responses.

Yes... the singing seemed to go down OK... there is definitely a suitable entry-point... and I have PM-ed Kalee21.

I'd be very curious to know the experience of anyone who owns a piano in the 7 to 9 foot range and keeps it in a comparably sized (14 x 18 foot) room ?

Again, very many thanks for any thoughts.

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302284
07/14/14 04:04 PM
07/14/14 04:04 PM
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Los Angeles, Ca.
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Hi drblizard,

I can't figure out how to paste this picture so here's a link to my music room. The vault is about 27 feet at the top. I have just the Kawai now (in the same spot) with the lid open to the room. I don't have a piano your size, maybe in the next life but let me try to answer a part of your question.

I don't dampen the sound one bit and its not overpowering. However, I practice with the lid on the small stick. When I pull the string cover and the lid's fully open, it's concert time! Unlike your piano, mine has a mellow tone. I'll assume that's a huge factor when trying to comparing my set up to the tone and power of your D.

The vault throws the music out like a mini concert hall. Everyone tells me it fills the house as well as the deck right outside. I really don't think the vault is going to be a negative factor. I think the use of baffles and rug placement is going to be your best.

I hope it works out for you. I think there was thread where everyone was posting pix of their piano rooms. Maybe do a quick search for that as well for some ideas. Good luck.....blob

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...BECHSTEIN%20M-180%20AND%20KAWAI%20R.html

[Linked Image]


KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302308
07/14/14 04:59 PM
07/14/14 04:59 PM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Hi Blob

Nice room -- and interesting report -- thanks.

Your vault twice the height of what mine would be. But it gives a me a better feeling.

It looks like your vault is much narrower than the space below, which I'd guess is good acoustically speaking, breaking up & making more rich/complex the resonance/reflection within the room. But I'm just guessing...

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302320
07/14/14 05:28 PM
07/14/14 05:28 PM
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Los Angeles, Ca.
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Hi drblizard,

thanks for that.

what you can't see from that vantage point is the area beyond is also vaulted and completely open. I'm standing on the middle staircase landing and basically, the whole front third of the house is an open vault.

You're right though, it's not completely open all the way up in that room. I think the bottom portion of the soffits are around 8-9 feet. This design probably cuts down the echo effect. Sonically, it's pretty lively. I have wood floors (and saltio pavers just beyond the wood threshold at the bottom of the picture).

Which reminds me, I forgot to mention this. Everybody commented on how bright the CB sounded in that room. My g/f said it killed her ears actually (but she's biased towards the Kawai sound anyway). I think if I kept the CB, I would have put a rug under the piano to help tone down the high frequencies. There's a lot of sharp sound engineers on this site, I'm sure they'll come up with a solution should you encounter problems. Good Luck........blob


KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302485
07/15/14 06:29 AM
07/15/14 06:29 AM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Thanks again Blob.

Your post made me realise that in 'my' vaulted room there is a large door into the next room which actually has a much higher ceiling as it's kind of 'open-plan to the first floor' (but unfortunately no way of thaving the piano in there). So on the occasions in which it's possible I could simply leave that door open, which maybe would have a positive effect, reduing the 'pressure' in the piano room.

I've been reading good things about room treatments in similar cases, but also some nightmares... Hmmm.

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302493
07/15/14 06:54 AM
07/15/14 06:54 AM
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Remember that the brightness of the piano will also be affected by the room the piano is in, so if you find things too loud, then you can have the hammers voiced.

If the piano is too bright or loud in the room, have it taken down as far as it will go, play it for a few weeks and work up the way to the required brightness, rather than starting from bright to mellow.

Anyway, probably your room will be OK, but you'll want lots of soft furnishing to muffle the sound! I know the last thing you want to think about is moving from a D to an A.....

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: joe80] #2302536
07/15/14 10:56 AM
07/15/14 10:56 AM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Thanks Joe

I am reluctant to have any further work done on the hammers at the moment -- they are in near-optimal condition, and in my opinion they are the last thing to change. But I appreciate the reply.

As for thinking about an A -- well, a good one can be a really nice piano, but I would miss the palette of the D too much! I have tried new Bs and Cs (tho the latter seem fairly rare) but they are out of my price range anyway (let alone a new D). Finding an older instrumnent of that size that I would really trust and want to live with, in my experience is not at all easy -- another reason for wanting to hang on to and accomodate the D!

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302544
07/15/14 11:13 AM
07/15/14 11:13 AM
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London
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I have sent you a PM. Go for it.


Steingraeber E-272 and Walcker pipe organ
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: Carbonblob] #2302579
07/15/14 01:20 PM
07/15/14 01:20 PM
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Illinois
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88 Fingers Jeff Offline
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Hey Blob,

Love the dinosaurs on your digital keyboard.

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302586
07/15/14 01:43 PM
07/15/14 01:43 PM
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88,

I'll tell ya, it's hard to keeping dino poop out of the keyboard!

Check out the tarantula next to the dino, it's an actual size species that lives in the amazon jungle (or South America somewhere).

PS........if the show "walking with dinosaurs" ever comes to your town, go! We had front row seats and the dinos actually breath in your face. They had the dino you see in the picture (allosaurus) in actual size! His head was in the second balcony berating and snorting in peoples faces..........what a blast.

http://www.dinosaurlive.com


KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: Carbonblob] #2302596
07/15/14 02:14 PM
07/15/14 02:14 PM
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Posts: 47
Illinois
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88 Fingers Jeff Offline
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Yeah, I saw the tarantula and was going to mention it but forgot for some reason. I saw a similarly sized spider in the shower when on vacation in Costa Rica a few years back, but it wasn't as thick-bodied as the tarantula.

The dinosaur exhibit looks impressive and fun.

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302659
07/15/14 04:39 PM
07/15/14 04:39 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Are dinosaurs and spiders natural enemies? When I visited Jurassic Park, I didn't see any spiders. But, they might have all gotten squished before I got there.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302671
07/15/14 04:51 PM
07/15/14 04:51 PM
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MM,

I imagine back then, it was more like a spider checking the bottom of their shoe when they stepped on.......wait, man and dinos 65 million years apart. never mind........blob


KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302673
07/15/14 04:56 PM
07/15/14 04:56 PM
Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
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I just checked Zappos and I can't find any octets of shoes? Do spiders have hooves?


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302677
07/15/14 05:02 PM
07/15/14 05:02 PM
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Los Angeles, Ca.
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Besides,

Wait a minute.........Didn't the T-Rex ruin the park (and several stores) in San Diego? How could you have gone there?


KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302700
07/15/14 05:39 PM
07/15/14 05:39 PM
Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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I was caught in split screen with "Back to the Future" while wearing a Spiderman costume.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302735
07/15/14 06:59 PM
07/15/14 06:59 PM
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1929 D, I would make it fit. Let a qualified tech work on the hammers or maybe just try a string cover to take some of the edge off. First try to play with the room acoustics with acoustic panels.

http://www.acousticalsolutions.com





Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302763
07/15/14 08:47 PM
07/15/14 08:47 PM
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Los Angeles, Ca.
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Sorry I won't highjack the thread anymore but MM, that's just what I thought it was but felt it would be bragging to call it!


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YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2302868
07/16/14 03:25 AM
07/16/14 03:25 AM
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Reseda, California
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I have a 1929 Knabe 9 ft. in a similar room, no problem.

Also look for posts from Morodiene, she has a 9 ft. Petrof at home.



-- J.S.

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Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: Carbonblob] #2302886
07/16/14 04:54 AM
07/16/14 04:54 AM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Calling all Dinosaurs and Tarantulas

who keep their 7 to 9 foot piano in a pre-historic cave of anything resembling 14 x 18 feet -- would be great to hear your experience -- choose as appropriate!

Too loud
No problem
Loud but sorted by hanging heavy poisonous cobwebs
I keep pet Teradactyls flying in the room to disperse 'flutter'

Thanks!

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: JohnSprung] #2302889
07/16/14 05:23 AM
07/16/14 05:23 AM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Miguel and John -- thanks for replies

It sounds like I'm getting a positive response generally.

Possibly with a bit of tweaking with acoustic panels, carpet, or whatever, it should be possible to make it work.

Hope so! smile

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2303017
07/16/14 12:26 PM
07/16/14 12:26 PM
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Los Angeles, Ca.
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hey,

for 2 days I was trying to remember the member who used acoustics to balance his piano placement. He was shaolin95. If you do a search on him, he posted pix of his striking and brand new Y&C. You can see the diffusers in the background.

Also, Miguel gave you the perfect site to purchase tiles. Check out Shaolin's pictures, you can see how he placed them.I think it will beat out strategically placed cob webs! .....blob




KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: Carbonblob] #2303139
07/16/14 06:49 PM
07/16/14 06:49 PM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Thanks for that Blob -- found them. Quite acceptable really.

Been doing more reading -- overall, it looks like there is no need to worry because ultimately, at least in the majority of cases, a way can be found to modify the space accordingly. Probably with a bit of patience.

Indeed -- I prefer to go easy on the cobwebs!

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: drblizard] #2303153
07/16/14 07:51 PM
07/16/14 07:51 PM
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Glendale, Ca.
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I have my D in a standard S. Cal double car garage, which I converted into a 20' X 20' studio. I built it with double insulation in the walls, floor and ceiling. I raised the floor maybe a foot off the cement slab and installed hardwood & carpet. The piano sits on the hardwood floor.

It's an A frame type ceiling starting at around 7' on the sides and peaking at just under 16' at the top. I have some acoustic panels up to help with the absorption since there are the parallel walls with the 20 X 20 dimensions. I have a pretty ugly slap-back echo thing going on, but you don't notice it while you're playing too much.

Being really picky --I certainly could use some diffusers and thicker absorption panels but overall, things generally sound good in there.
Yes, it could be better, but I've heard much worse too. Basically I'm too cheap to invest any more dough into the room, as it's fine for my purpose of practicing, singer or jazz trio rehearsals, or solo piano recordings.

Two years ago I purchased a floor to celling book case which I placed directly behind the piano bench against the wall and in the corner. It's filled with music books. I think that helped diffuse the sound a lot.

I play 90% of the time with the lid down and the piano cover pulled back just enough to get the music rest out. It sounds great on half and full stick too, not overbearing at all for the room. I'm just too lazy most of the time to take the cover off and then have to replace it after I'm done practicing.

I think the ceiling height, raised floor and non-parallel walls are the best recipe for good acoustics/sound for a large, or any size piano for that matter. Plus it goes without saying to keep the piano voiced down. Mine desperately needs voicing right now.

But overall, I feel blessed, thankful and very lucky for what I have. smile


https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D
Yamaha CP4, CP5
RCF TT08A, TT22A speakers
JMK Audio JM-110 pre/di
Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: Dave Ferris] #2303176
07/16/14 09:58 PM
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I have a D which was for a few months in a room about the size of the one you described. The room had a vaulted ceiling with open beams which I think helped deflect sound nicely. In any event I played in that room with the D lid open to full stick with no problems whatsoever.

I think acousticians would tell you to avoid walls, floors and ceilings with no interutions to deflect the sound. So for example, bookshelves help, draperies help, rugs help, soft furniture and pillows help. In contrast a room with wood floors and bare walls with no interuptions will be a real problem because of all the reflective sound.

Re: Buying a house – Room big enough for large grand piano? [Re: plumpfingers] #2303622
07/18/14 07:18 AM
07/18/14 07:18 AM
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drblizard Offline OP
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Many thanks Dave and Plumpfingers

Again -- positive responses with advice to doctor the walls if necessary (whether with sound panels, books or dinosaurs). That's good!

BTW, I absolutely wouldn't be happy having to have the lid down or to leave a cover on. I really want to hear the colour of the instrument, even if it can't be in full Carnegie-Technicolour. In classical music, practicing (or composing) without attention to the colours which arrise from the voicing of melody and chords is a recipe for not impriving your playing (or compositions) -- because a number of dimensions are being passed over. I guess this is true in Jazz too, but maybe to a lesser extent, I don't know.

Just my two cents -- and again, thanks for the responses!

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