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Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
#2696301 12/12/17 01:18 AM
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Hi,

Does anyone have a silent system (such as PianoDisc QuietTime or something similar) installed in a grand piano and use it regularly? How much does it alter the action in your opinion?

Also, if you have a recommendation for a silent system that can be retro-fitted in a grand piano, please share. My key criteria is minimum change in feel of the action. It must have USB or other MIDI output - I plan to run it with a computer VST. So, I do not care about the included sound quality in the silent system.

Thanks,
Osho


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Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Osho #2696396 12/12/17 10:14 AM
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Rather than try to retrofit an existing piano, consider selling it and buying one with a silent system.

You'll have less down time that way. The net cost will likely be lower. You're not stuck with the results if you don't like the way it turns out. You get to shop for silent system pianos.


-- J.S.

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Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Osho #2696397 12/12/17 10:22 AM
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Or it gives you a reason to buy a digital piano smile

I recently purchased an acoustic and decided against a silent system. The reason I did was digital tech changes quickly and it is easier down the road to just purchase a new DP then upgrade a silent system on an acoustic you are otherwise happy with.


Acoustic: Cunningham Parlour Grand
Digital: Kawai ES-8 / Pianoteq 6

Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Osho #2696401 12/12/17 10:39 AM
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I have an acoustic grand with a silent system. Before that I had two separate pianos (the grand and a Kawai VPC1) but my new home could not accommodate two pianos hence I had to part with my DP.

I went for the QuietTime system (from Pianodisc). On the initial visit the technician told me no change would be needed to the action. I have not felt any change either after the system was installed. It has been a little over a year now and everything is still working perfectly.

I mostly use the USB out with VST as the internal piano sound is not the best (it is fine for doing exercises, sight-reading, or when I want a quick spin overnight and can't be bothered to plug the computer to the piano). Setting up a realistic velocity curve is a real pain and takes a lot of time, but that is no different than any other keyboard (the VPC1 is unbeatable on that front for some of the VSTs). I still have not managed to have something satisfactory when playing ff and above, however I rarely go too loud in DP mode as i fear for the hammers hitting the mute rail (probably not a justified fear though).

Overall I am very happy with having two pianos in one, however it is a costly solution which probably does not make sense to everyone when weighed vs the current DP offering.

Cheers,
C

Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Osho #2696452 12/12/17 01:38 PM
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As far as I know, the only retrofit systems with a stop rail for grands are the Pianodisc systems. I have tested the Magic Star on a Chinese Palatino grand at my local dealer's and did not notice any problem with the action. The sound, however, was less satisfactory in direct comparison to the acoustic part of the instrument.

Pianodisc offers another retrofit system called "Pro Record" which can be installed MIDI-only, but I have not yet tested it.

Both systems only have a single sensor which gives rise to the risk of shooting loud notes when you are quickly repeating the same key. The Yamaha silent systems therefore have two sensors to avoid this, and they are a much better choice. I would suggest to buy a new Yamaha grand with a Yamaha silent system.

I own an upright with a retrofit Quiet Time GT2mini (2015 version with the small levers under each key) and did not notice any change in the action of the piano after the system was built in. I am using it via MIDI-out with Galaxy Vintage D on my notebook. The latency was unacceptable until I plugged in Asio. Finding a suitable velocity curve was real hard and long work, since none of the preset curves would fit, even the max bend of 100% did not give satisfactory results. Furthermore, the MIDI output easily jumped to high volumes on single notes with the rest of the melody being blurry. I then tried to draw the curve with the mouse while raising the dynamics controller, and step by step got closer to an acceptable result. It works now to my satisfaction, but still less precisely than the built-in sound of the GT2mini.

If you are interested I can send you screenshots of my software settings to go with the Quiet Time (just send me a PM). Those settings should be similar for other VSTs like Garritan CFX or Pianoteq.






Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Pianist685 #2696456 12/12/17 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Pianist685

Both systems only have a single sensor which gives rise to the risk of shooting loud notes when you are quickly repeating the same key. The Yamaha silent systems therefore have two sensors to avoid this, and they are a much better choice. I would suggest to buy a new Yamaha grand with a Yamaha silent system.

I own an upright with a retrofit Quiet Time GT2mini (2015 version with the small levers under each key) and did not notice any change in the action of the piano after the system was built in. I am using it via MIDI-out with Galaxy Vintage D on my notebook. The latency was unacceptable until I plugged in Asio. Finding a suitable velocity curve was real hard and long work, since none of the preset curves would fit, even the max bend of 100% did not give satisfactory results. Furthermore, the MIDI output easily jumped to high volumes on single notes with the rest of the melody being blurry. I then tried to draw the curve with the mouse while raising the dynamics controller, and step by step got closer to an acceptable result. It works now to my satisfaction, but still less precise than the built-in sound of the GT2mini.


This is very useful information - thanks. I didn't realize that it was a single sensor solution. This rules it out in my book. I have space for a separate digital. In fact, I already have a digital (Kawai CA-67) that I use with VSTs a lot (and love it). I am contemplating between 2 options:

  • Buy acoustic without silent system. Upgrade Kawai CA-67 to something better (e.g. AvantGrand N2X or Kawai Novus NV10).
  • Buy acoustic with silent system. No upgrade for Digital piano.


From what you just mentioned, it seems that first option might be better.

Thanks,
Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Osho #2696493 12/12/17 04:10 PM
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Yes, the first option is all around better.


-- J.S.

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Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Osho #2696506 12/12/17 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Osho
I didn't realize that it was a single sensor solution.


There has to be at least two sensors to measure the velocity. The problem stems from the fact that retrofitted systems have the velocity measured on the keybed and not the hammer, this is why unrealistic velocity can be triggered.

Modern DPs generally have three sensors (to enhance repetition) with velocity measured on the hammer.

Cheers,
C

Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Osho #2696684 12/13/17 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Chewbacca
There has to be at least two sensors to measure the velocity. [...] Modern DPs generally have three sensors (to enhance repetition) with velocity measured on the hammer.
Oh yes, sorry, you are right, it is 2 versus 3 sensors. But the problem with repetitions remains the same.

Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Yes, the first option is all around better.
Yes, I can only endorse John Sprung if you (Osho) have enough room for two instruments. I haven't, so I opted for the retrofit silent solution.

Originally Posted by Osho
Upgrade Kawai CA-67 to something better (e.g. AvantGrand N2X or Kawai Novus NV10).
The CA67 is already quite a good instrument - to my mind, the Quiet Times from Pianodisc are not at all better than that. From my personal point of view, an upgrade to a real high-end DP like the AvantGrand is unnecessary unless you are a high-class pianist.

Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Osho #2696813 12/13/17 07:36 PM
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Hi Osho,

I have first hand experience with your question.
Kawai Digital pianos and Hybrids both are great, but the experience of playing an acoustic Kawai Grand piano-action it is not replaceable with a digital instrument. This is where the "quite-mechanism" make sense.
Pianodisc systems are good and you can improve the tonal quality by simply interfacing the system with another sound engine.
The blow-distance and key-depth are lightly compromised with the systems. Also Kawai makes the GL30 ATX which is a stellar system, better performance and priced lower than most Yamaha products of similar capabilities.
Regards,


San Mateo Piano
Kawai Piano Dealer San Francisco Bay Area
www.sanmateopiano.com
Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Kurtmen #2696821 12/13/17 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Kurtmen
Hi Osho,

I have first hand experience with your question.
Kawai Digital pianos and Hybrids both are great, but the experience of playing an acoustic Kawai Grand piano-action it is not replaceable with a digital instrument. This is where the "quite-mechanism" make sense.
Pianodisc systems are good and you can improve the tonal quality by simply interfacing the system with another sound engine.
The blow-distance and key-depth are lightly compromised with the systems. Also Kawai makes the GL30 ATX which is a stellar system, better performance and priced lower than most Yamaha products of similar capabilities.
Regards,


Thank you for your input - helpful! Do you know if the ATX/ATX2 can be retrofitted to a Kawai piano?

Thanks,
Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Retro-fit silent system in a grand piano
Pianist685 #2696824 12/13/17 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Pianist685

Originally Posted by Osho
Upgrade Kawai CA-67 to something better (e.g. AvantGrand N2X or Kawai Novus NV10).
The CA67 is already quite a good instrument - to my mind, the Quiet Times from Pianodisc are not at all better than that. From my personal point of view, an upgrade to a real high-end DP like the AvantGrand is unnecessary unless you are a high-class pianist.


Agreed - Kawai CA-67 is already quite good digital piano.

I am not a high-class pianist - far from it (sadly :)). Personally, I find that the desire for upgrade is proportional to (pianist caliber)*(disposable income). Both factors have increased for me in the real past, thankfully. Hence the upgrade considerations.

thanks,
Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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