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Silent piano buying advice? #2314188
08/11/14 11:38 AM
08/11/14 11:38 AM
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AnotherEmma Offline OP
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Hi! I'd like to buy a silent upright piano and I'm hoping for some advice please... I'm wondering whether to buy a new one or try and find a second hand one. My concern with second hand is that a good silent piano might be hard to find, and depending on how old it is, the silent technology might not be as advanced as a new piano. I would like to get the best quality piano I can find/afford. I should probably say that I'm in the UK... I know this is a USA-based forum so you probably won't be able to advise me on where to buy! But I was hoping for general advice about whether to buy old/new and also which models are best? Yamaha, Kemble, other? I've seen a second hand Kemble Conservatoire advertised, which looks like a good model, but I think it's from 2007 which means the technology might not be as advanced as newer models. For a new one, I'm looking at the Yamaha U & YUS series, but prices start at 9,900 ($16,600) and I might have a hard time persuading my husband we should spend that much! Any advice would be much appreciated...

Last edited by AnotherEmma; 08/11/14 11:39 AM.
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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314214
08/11/14 12:54 PM
08/11/14 12:54 PM
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I have also been looking into silent pianos, but am not in a great hurry, because I'm satisfied for the time being with my Roland HP-507. The Roland obviously has no acoustic pieces, but if you are satisfied with the sound quality it would be a much more economical solution than an acoustic piano with the silent option.


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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314231
08/11/14 02:08 PM
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In my earlier reply to AnotherEmma about silent pianos, I mentioned that I am not in a hurry to find one, because I'm somewhat satisfied with my Roland HP-507.

However I know that I will buy an acoustic piano in the not-too-distant future, but I need the silent option for several reasons, among them is late-night practice. I also need the MIDI capability and I greatly appreciate the built-in sound module for direct recording onto the computer through a USB interface. My piano teacher and I exchange many files as part of his lessons.

I believe that I have the digital needs pretty well worked out and have narrowed my choices to the Yamaha Silent Piano range. When I am rich in my next life I will buy a CX7-SH, but in this life I'm trying to decide between an entry-level grand (a GB1K-SG or maybe a GC1-SH) and a top-end Upright (U3-SH or YUS5-SH).

I know all the stated reasons about grand versus upright, but what are your opinions about reality versus my personal capabilities and the music that I play? I'm a returning adult beginner (well maybe not total beginner anymore - 2-1/2 years) who played as a child and in college. I'm studying jazz and standards. Would I be well served by Yamaha's best upright rather than their entry level grand in terms of sound and action? If I bought the U3 or the YUS5, will I be lusting after the CX7 in a couple of years and have to sell my kids to pay for it?


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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314278
08/11/14 05:21 PM
08/11/14 05:21 PM
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Hi wjf,
Thanks for the suggestion but I wouldn't consider a digital piano - I love acoustic pianos and the silent technology is a bonus really. I'm out of practice but I am (was) an advanced player and have always played acoustic pianos. I would rather spend more on a top quality piano that I will enjoy playing most days for years to come. But I realise that for a beginner it makes sense to use a digital piano first and then "upgrade" to an acoustic. You will probably find that once you've played an acoustic, there's no going back wink
As for your question about whether to buy a top range upright or entry level grand... It depends how much space you have, unless that's not an issue? I suggest going to a piano shop and trying out uprights vs grands - it's a slightly different experience and you might have a preference. Personally I would prefer a top range upright to an entry level grand. But as I say, try them out, and if you're happy with your digital piano for now, you have time to think it over.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314290
08/11/14 06:15 PM
08/11/14 06:15 PM
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Any piano can be retrofitted with the "PianoDisc - Quiet Time" system. I bought a 52" upright and had the "Quiet Time" option installed.

Depending on how advanced are and how serious the hobby, I personally would recommend trying out a few silent options, and then get the best you can afford. If you know now you will always want a grand do that. I love my upright but if I had the space I sure would love a grand. That said, my Ritmuller UH 132 with silent "PianoDisc" is wonderful. I am working on RCM Grade 9 and 10 pieces and the piano is more than enough for me at my level.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314294
08/11/14 06:24 PM
08/11/14 06:24 PM
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Thanks AnotherEmma,

I value opinions like yours. They will help me to make a final choice when the time comes. I am convinced that I will want an acoustic piano (with silent), but I have the luxury of being able to wait until I know exactly which one.

However, I have haunted piano stores for many months and have played all levels of grand and uprights, but I am still undecided about what to do. Many of the representatives have told me that I should play them enough and "it will become evident what I really want." Unfortunately this is not happening. Perhaps I'm just not discriminating enough, nor advanced enough (yet!) to distinguish.

There is a nearby store that has all four Yamaha models on the showroom floor, the YUS5, U3, GB1K and GC1. I can tell the general difference between the "in a box" sound of the upright and the clearer sound of the grand, but I simply feel no difference in the actions between the two.

I believe that the top-end uprights are of the highest quality of construction and will stand up to years of hard use, but is this the same for the entry level grands? I have been told that the YUS series corresponds in materials and quality to the CX series grands and the U series corresponds to the GC series, but that leaves the GB1K in a lower category.

Is my inability to distinguish usual for a newer pianist? Should I just stop thinking about it and just go buy one? :-)

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: wjf] #2314301
08/11/14 06:54 PM
08/11/14 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wjf

Is my inability to distinguish usual for a newer pianist? Should I just stop thinking about it and just go buy one? :-)


No... you haven't found the right one.
Bear in mind that I'm hardly any knowledgable person on acoustics. I'm always looking and learning.
May I suggest taking a trip to a store that has a great selection of used piano's. At the very least, you'll be able to try out a bunch. Better piano's in your price range. I personally don't think you'll be impressed with a five foot grand. Unless maybe it's a Steinway. He has some just over the top of your price range. Also a bunch of nice Yamaha's. Since you seem to be stuck on those. One there, #35G impressed me on sound over the internet. It's a C5. Well within your price range. Look at the website first. Rick Jones Piano
I go there for eye and ear candy. A bunch of affordable used pianos.

EDIT: Better yet. Here's #35G. I think it's probably a ton more piano than what you've been looking at.


He also has a bunch of shorter Yamaha Grands. I personally have always loved the little Kawai KG-2. It's 5 10 1/2. That's a big difference from the 5 foot. The Yamaha's and Kawai's at that length are well within your price range. I think those are a ton better than buying a new five footer.

Also.... have you considered an Estonia 168? Not sure on price. It's 5'6".

Last edited by rnaple; 08/11/14 07:18 PM. Reason: More blabbering.

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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: rnaple] #2314314
08/11/14 08:30 PM
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Thanks rnaple,

I'm not really stuck on Yamahas, nor on new pianos, but I live in a rural state with few piano stores. And I want to establish a long term relationship with a local store. The main store in the state is a multi-line dealer, but seems to specialize in Yamaha, and that is the only brand that is within my new-piano price range. I've watched for used silent pianos here, but have never seen one come one the market. That's why I spent considerable time becoming familiar with the Yamaha line.

I've seen discussion about retro fitting a used piano. Can this be easily and reliably done?



Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314327
08/11/14 09:12 PM
08/11/14 09:12 PM
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I should have read Spuds' post above. Is such an aftermarket system (Pianodisc-Quiet time) as good as the factory installed Yamaha system? And who would I find to install such a system?


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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: wjf] #2314525
08/12/14 11:40 AM
08/12/14 11:40 AM
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There are qualified PianoDisc technicians out there, not sure how you find one though. Perhaps check their website for installers. I have been for the most part happy with my system. It would be good to get opinions on the quality of the Yamaha silent piano factory installed vs PianoDisc in terms on sound quality etc. My understanding from my research on the system is that retrofits are perfectly fine, and should not affect the quality or touch in any noticeable way, (so say the technicians on Piano World). My question has only been is the piano sound sample better with Yamaha Silent vs PianoDisc. I don't love PianoDisc piano sound in silent mode but I have solved that completely by running a piano software eg. PianoTeq or Ivory Synthogy etc through the computer via usb cables to the PianoDisc system. This way I can get better sound quality and record etc straight to computer. Anyhow, depending on how much you want to play around with all this stuff, you can get a good piano sound via a silent option. You know one thing I have discovered through my fairly recent serious renewal of piano practice is that the practice is what makes the sound "better". I think, hey just my opinion, there are a number of posts on PianoWorld that are very particular about the piano quality, brand, action, very particular demands. Are all the requests for piano "perfection" equal to the playing quality? Or is the average "decent" piano out there upright or grand, plenty good enough for most of us? Hey, I ain't no Horowitz, just a gal wanting to improve. That said, heck, who wouldn't want a Steinway in their living room....




Last edited by Spuds; 08/12/14 11:48 AM.
Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314599
08/12/14 02:51 PM
08/12/14 02:51 PM
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I went to the piano shop today, got some useful advice and tried out the silent pianos... Firstly I have to say how AMAZING the silent pianos are! Just from reading about them I was pretty sure I wanted one, but trying them made me want to buy one then and there! This might sound silly, but when you first play in silent mode, it's really hard to believe the sound isn't acoustic. I tried the two Yamaha silent systems, SH and SG2, and SH is noticeably better. The sound quality is fantastic and I could definitely play in silent mode very happily.

Here's the advice I got:

- Yamaha silent systems (available with new Yamaha & Kemble pianos) are much better than the other manufacturers and systems that you can retrofit. Basically, if you want the best silent system on the market, buy a piano with the Yamaha SH system. It's only been on sale for about 2 years, so finding a second hand one is very unlikely.

(Spuds, I haven't tried PianoDisc, but based on this advice it sounds like Yamaha SH would be much better... If you try one please let us know how it compares!)

- Yamaha and Kemble are made by the same manufacturer in the same factory! They are made slightly differently... I think he said that Kembles are more "European" (whatever that means) so the decision would be on personal preference for the touch, tone etc.

From what I understand, all pianos with the SH system sound the same in silent mode, so I just need to decide which piano I prefer in normal acoustic mode. The choice is between Yamaha and Kemble, and I'm looking at uprights. I'd like to spend some time playing the Yamaha U1 and the Kemble Conservatoire to see which I prefer. They're not quite as expensive as I thought (U1 SH is 8229 and Conservatoire SH is 7377) so I should be able to persuade my husband... who also learned piano to a high standard and is out of practice, so I'm sure he would get back into playing again. There are higher and lower spec options but I think that's the price point I'd be comfortable with. As you say Spuds, no point spending a fortune on the most amazing piano if we're nowhere near good enough to do it justice! I would love a Steinway grand though. If I become very rich...

Last edited by AnotherEmma; 08/12/14 03:13 PM.
Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314679
08/12/14 06:06 PM
08/12/14 06:06 PM
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AnotherEmma,

Very interesting. Thank you. The sound module in my Roland is supposed to be of the same quality, so you can see why I'm in no great hurry to find an acoustic piano. But I know that I will in the next few months in any case. There is still that remaining 1% better realism in the real acoustic sound.



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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: wjf] #2314708
08/12/14 07:55 PM
08/12/14 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by wjf
There is still that remaining 1% better realism in the real acoustic sound.


Are you joking?! If you think a real piano is only 1% better, why do you want to buy one?

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314716
08/12/14 08:09 PM
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Some digital sound pretty great these days, but the touch and feel and reverberations of an acoustic can't be beat, one that is in tune smile that is. That said, the digital sound has improved a great deal, and I have listened to a number of synthetic piano sounds that I could have sworn were real, then found out it was software/digital. I tried a new digital last weekend that I was really impressed with.

Last edited by Spuds; 08/12/14 08:12 PM.
Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314728
08/12/14 08:45 PM
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1% headphones only, unless you have an AWESOME set of speakers attached, but even then I doubt it.

I assumed that you meant that you had played the silent pianos through headphones ... unless the dealer had it attached to expensive powered speakers?

Even the wonderful set of speakers in my Roland do not match real strings


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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314846
08/13/14 05:20 AM
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I"m having a hard time accepting that someone who has a digital they really like. That person wants to fool around with a silent system in an acoustic? In the price range the person can deal in. Why waste the money on the silent? Spend every last buck on the best acoustic you can afford. Then, when you want to play 'silent'. Just play the DP.

This is from a person who is running IvoryII on a VPC. My audio is so good. The imaging, I can pick the strings out of the air in front of me. The feel of the keys is good enough. I would never consider fooling around with a silent system on an acoustic. I would never consider any acoustic but a very good one.
Recently at NAMM. Ravenscroft set up their software piano on a special VPC reworked by them, right next to their Ravenscroft Grand. This is a quarter million dollar grand. Everyone said they sounded the same. Nobody has ever done that before. Yes, they are selling the reworked VPC's as Ravenscrofts. They're supposed to be lighter and a more refined action. That's all I know. Besides the Ravenscroft VPC sells for double the original.


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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314851
08/13/14 05:36 AM
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I agree with rnaple. Spend everything on the best accoustic you can find and do the silent part on the DP.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: WimPiano] #2314894
08/13/14 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by wimpiano
I agree with rnaple. Spend everything on the best accoustic you can find and do the silent part on the DP.


I agree with you both.

Does anyone have any advice for me? I know wjf has chimed in needing advice, but I did start the thread, and would appreciate advice too!

Thanks smile

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314901
08/13/14 08:01 AM
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For the amount of money you mention (10k GBP = 12.5k EUR) you could buy fantastic new or used upright piano's. Especially in young used upright pianos that would buy you almost anything.
I would advice you to go out, and play a lot of pianos to find out what you like sound and touch wise.

Over here (and prices here are not or not much lower then in the UK) I could get a young Bechstein, Grotrian, Schimmel, Sauter, Steinway and I could go on.. you name it.

Also for less money by the way..


Last edited by wimpiano; 08/13/14 08:02 AM.
Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: WimPiano] #2314938
08/13/14 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by wimpiano
For the amount of money you mention (10k GBP = 12.5k EUR) you could buy fantastic new or used upright piano's. Especially in young used upright pianos that would buy you almost anything.
I would advice you to go out, and play a lot of pianos to find out what you like sound and touch wise.

Over here (and prices here are not or not much lower then in the UK) I could get a young Bechstein, Grotrian, Schimmel, Sauter, Steinway and I could go on.. you name it.

Also for less money by the way..


Thank you! My local music shop has a reconditioned Bechstein listed on their website for 9k - I might try it. What about Hoffman (made by Bechstein)? Their Tradition T122 is about 9.5k.

As you say I'll have to try them - I do still want to try the Yamaha and Kemble, but I might just fall in love with an acoustic piano and ditch the silent piano idea! It would be great to be able to play whenever I want, though.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314943
08/13/14 09:37 AM
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Hoffman Tradition are fine piano's, however for that sort of money you could buy a new Bechstein which is better. The reconditioned depends on the condition and the age.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: WimPiano] #2314960
08/13/14 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by wimpiano
Hoffman Tradition are fine piano's, however for that sort of money you could buy a new Bechstein which is better. The reconditioned depends on the condition and the age.


Maybe Bechsteins are less expensive in Germany than in the UK? At my local music shop, new Bechstein uprights start at 13,734 for a B112.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314971
08/13/14 10:27 AM
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Pros of the silent option: touch, feel, action of your acoustic, and it saves on space.

Do you have the space for both? If you do, and you like your digital you might not need the silent. I did not have the space for both, and I love my silent option. I can play in the evenings with others in the room and my headphones on. No more neighbor issues either.

There are lots of posts on silent pianos check out the past posts on PW.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: Spuds] #2314984
08/13/14 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Spuds
Pros of the silent option: touch, feel, action of your acoustic, and it saves on space.

Do you have the space for both? If you do, and you like your digital you might not need the silent. I did not have the space for both, and I love my silent option. I can play in the evenings with others in the room and my headphones on. No more neighbor issues either.

There are lots of posts on silent pianos check out the past posts on PW.


+1


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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2314985
08/13/14 10:53 AM
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A new Bechstein B124 is listed here (Netherlands, tiny boattrip away) for 12.5k Eur.
They usually don't sell for the listprice so almost 14k Gbp (17k Eur) for the smallest Bechstein is outrageous.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2315075
08/13/14 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by AnotherEmma
[quote=wimpiano].. It would be great to be able to play whenever I want, though.


Am I wrong? Or... Doesn't many of the good uprights have a quiet pedal? Middle pedal, then move it to the left to lock it in place. Makes playing quiet. Wouldn't this fulfill wanting to play quietly?

I've read much good talk about the new Estonia's. Maybe the little one 5'6" might not be too much money? Or...you may like it so much. You'll finance the rest. ... Doh!


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
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Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: Spuds] #2315278
08/14/14 02:15 AM
08/14/14 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Spuds
Pros of the silent option: touch, feel, action of your acoustic, and it saves on space.

True, although the touch is impaired by the silent system. And not only when playing in silent mode.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2315283
08/14/14 02:24 AM
08/14/14 02:24 AM
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I was so flabbergasted by the prices you mentioned that I did some more research.
I have looked up the prices in the UK and for the price of a Bechstein upright you could get a nice grand piano here.. The prices at your dealer seam to be representive for the UK. For some reason the prices in the used market are much more reasonable.

In Germany you get a Bechstein B124 for 11.400 EUR. That's 9k in GBP. If you want to buy new, importing yourself might be a cheap option.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: rnaple] #2315287
08/14/14 02:43 AM
08/14/14 02:43 AM
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I'm watching this thread with interest because I'm likely to buy a silent piano soon. For the last 15 years I've made do with Yamaha digitals (currently is CVP503), but now I've settled down I'm looking for a decent acoustic piano. I can't justify the space required for 2 pianos, and I'll want to play quietly at night, so a silent piano sounds like the perfect solution. I'm going to a showroom tonight in central London to try them out, but I think I'll end up stretching to a U3 SH.

While a vanilla acoustic piano with a quiet pedal would allow you to practice at low volumes at night, the sound isn't that involving due to the muffling. I'd much prefer a good synthesised sound through headphones than a muffled acoustic sound.

Re: Silent piano buying advice? [Re: AnotherEmma] #2315290
08/14/14 02:48 AM
08/14/14 02:48 AM
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My brother has a piano with a silent option. He never uses it though. He plays VERY loud till quite late in the evening. His neighbours complained when he started using the silent option, they missed the music. That was a real LOL moment for me. I only use the muffler for when my kids are just asleep so I don't wake them. My neighbours say they hear hardly anything of my playing.

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