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Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
#2759717 08/19/18 07:56 PM
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Wanted to know from all current piano owners (including technicians & tuners) as to what you think of the following:

1) Dampp-Chaser humidity control system:

http://www.dampp-chaser.com/

2) Dawson String Covers:

http://www.dawsonstringcovers.com/

All comments are welcome!

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Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759726 08/19/18 08:51 PM
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SE Michigan here, temps vary from subzero to mid-90s Fahrenheit...humidity just as much. My damp chaser system is 23yrs old, still works and gives the piano remarkable tuning stability. 5 stars.

Don't have a string cover.


At home avoiding the virus.
Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759743 08/19/18 11:10 PM
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I just bought a new grand and opted for a Venta airwasher/humidifier. I know others like the DC system; I just didn't want to physically install anything on the instrument.


Mason & Hamlin AA
Learning Mozart's Fantasie K.V. 397


Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759875 08/20/18 01:26 PM
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I don't really believe in the whole micro-climate under the piano thing so I opt for whole room humidification. I'm lucky its a small room and it's easier to simply close a door than to cover the piano.

Kurt


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Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
KurtZ #2759884 08/20/18 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by KurtZ
I don't really believe in the whole micro-climate under the piano thing so I opt for whole room humidification. I'm lucky its a small room and it's easier to simply close a door than to cover the piano.

Kurt
So you are saying that ‘belief’ trumps ‘evidence’. Interesting. I guess, if you believe the moon is made of green cheese, then, in your universe at least, it is. Sadly, not in mine, ‘cause I love green cheese.

I have a DC system and a whole house HVAC system that runs 24/7. I have hygrometers positioned 1 and 5 metres from the piano, and a hygrometer in the piano sitting on top of the iron frame. They were all checked for accuracy using the closed standard saturated solution test. Right now the house varies over the course of a day from 42% to about 55% RH. The inside of the piano varies from about 48% to 52% RH. In the spring and fall when the ouside temp prevents the HVAC from dehumidifying adequately, the house varies from about 50% to 65% and the inside of the piano varies from 50% to 52%. The tuning is very stable, and the action is consistent and not affected by the external variations in humidity.

I should mention that my DC system is set for a nominal 50%RH.

Last edited by prout; 08/20/18 02:01 PM.
Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759895 08/20/18 02:49 PM
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I had a DC system before my piano was in a dedicated room. Now I just control the room since I would have to do it anyway to do the high humidity in my area. Don't see any need to do both, just wasting energy. Don't see a need for a string cover either, I run a HEPA filter to keep the dust down, also helps keep the air moving allowing the dehumidifier to work more efficiently.




Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
prout #2759908 08/20/18 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by prout
Right now the house varies over the course of a day from 42% to about 55% RH. The inside of the piano varies from about 48% to 52% RH. In the spring and fall when the ouside temp prevents the HVAC from dehumidifying adequately, the house varies from about 50% to 65% and the inside of the piano varies from 50% to 52%. The tuning is very stable, and the action is consistent and not affected by the external variations in humidity.

I should mention that my DC system is set for a nominal 50%RH.

What are the numbers with DC off (assuming your piano is not at full stick all the time...)

Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
pelanglo #2759922 08/20/18 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by pelanglo
Originally Posted by prout
Right now the house varies over the course of a day from 42% to about 55% RH. The inside of the piano varies from about 48% to 52% RH. In the spring and fall when the ouside temp prevents the HVAC from dehumidifying adequately, the house varies from about 50% to 65% and the inside of the piano varies from 50% to 52%. The tuning is very stable, and the action is consistent and not affected by the external variations in humidity.

I should mention that my DC system is set for a nominal 50%RH.

What are the numbers with DC off (assuming your piano is not at full stick all the time...)
I am unable to answer your question, as the DC has never been off.

The DC system has a dead band where it is neither humidifying nor dehumidifying. It happens to be in that band today where the house and the piano are both at 49%RH. Incidentally, the outdoor RH is 65%.

The DC obviously only works when the HVAC does not maintain the nominal RH. It does not, therefore, waste energy. It does however protect a piano whose current replacement value, not MSRP, is 120,000CAD, taxes in. Needless to say, I happily spend the 80-100CAD a year in electricity to keep my piano happy.

Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759930 08/20/18 05:20 PM
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I apologize. Sorry. My energy consumption value stated above for the DC system is incorrect. I assumed 1.92KWH/day average. It turns to be 0.864KWH/day, or about about 50CAD a year, about 38USD - what’s that, a weeks worth of lattés?

Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
prout #2759933 08/20/18 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by prout
I am unable to answer your question, as the DC has never been off.


I wasn't so much concerned with your potentially "wasting" electricity. Rather, I was thinking it would be interesting to see some measurements without DC to quantify the effect it was having. But it sounds like you've only ever had this piano with DC functional all the time. I'm curious then: why do you feel DC increases your piano's tuning and action stability?

Last edited by pelanglo; 08/20/18 05:42 PM.
Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759939 08/20/18 05:57 PM
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I would bet 120,000 CAD that your piano will be just fine with only your HVAC system running in terms of protecting your investment. Added tuning stability is arguable.




Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759941 08/20/18 06:03 PM
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I have a DC installed on my Yamaha C2 for about a year now with excellent results. Tuning is extremely stable and also the hammers are not affected by high humidity levels any more compared to the situation without the DC system. I am monitoring the humidity using calibrated humidity sensors that are installed under the soundboard and on top of the plate. I don’t use an undercover but I keep the lid down when not playing. The system controls the humidity under and above the soundboard perfectly around 48%. I use demineralized water to fill the water tank.

Please note that it is always the same story: when people are not positive about the system it turns out that they have never used it and have no experience with the system. It is a very good system. But of course when you already control humidity in an other way you don’t really need it.

Highly recommended!

Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759943 08/20/18 06:07 PM
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I forgot to give an answer on your second question. I don’t use a string cover because I keep the lid closed. Humidity measurements show that their is no need for an additional string cover.

Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
pelanglo #2759969 08/20/18 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by pelanglo
Originally Posted by prout
I am unable to answer your question, as the DC has never been off.


I wasn't so much concerned with your potentially "wasting" electricity. Rather, I was thinking it would be interesting to see some measurements without DC to quantify the effect it was having. But it sounds like you've only ever had this piano with DC functional all the time. I'm curious then: why do you feel DC increases your piano's tuning and action stability?
My response regarding wasting energy was to Miguel.

My experience with other pianos of equal quality in less than ideal environments has showed me the value of minimal RH variation. I have experience in churches where the piano previously did not have a DC system and then one was installed, and the tuning stability improved dramatically.

If an HVAC system can maintain the RH within a relatively small band, a DC system would not be necessary. But, if one really wants to save money, a DC system in a house with no HVAC would give the piano a better chance at survival than no system at all.

Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759987 08/20/18 09:49 PM
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I have a string cover, but made by "American Piano Covers" instead of Dawson. My cover does not have wooden struts in it to keep it off the speaking portions of the strings. I would suggest you ensure any cover you get has these struts, else you'll have to resort to black magic to keep the cover from drooping onto the strings. I think the cover was a good purchase as it keeps dust out of the piano, reduces temperature deviations and I'm hoping it will slow down the string oxidation rate. Note I have no proof that the latter is true. I will finish off by commenting on the manufacturer's claim that the cover will not dampen the piano sound. This is only true with respect to dynamic levels, however the timbre of the piano changes slightly with the cover on. My piano loses a little 'resonance' and 'complexity of tone' when the string cover is on.

Last edited by parnassus; 08/20/18 09:50 PM. Reason: Fixed some grammatical mistakes.
Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2759994 08/20/18 10:35 PM
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I have the DC system with both humidifier and de-humidifier, as well as central HVAC with a central humidifier. We also live in Seattle. The DC system is nice and I can definitely feel the heat coming off the rods when I put my hand near them. I haven't had to deal with many large humidity swings, I guess I'm just big on piece of mind.

I have a string cover, but I never use it because I didn't like how it looked and I didn't want to interfere with the Earthworks PM40 bar I've got close-miking near the dampers. It does NOT have wooden struts and that's the first I've heard about it. It relied on magnets sewn into the fabric to provide enough tension to keep it off the strings. Works...I think?


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Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2760015 08/21/18 03:06 AM
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I am a big fan of string covers and recommend them to everyone who has a grand. It is the best thing you can do for your piano from what I’ve seen over 32 years of piano servicing.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
Dave B #2760016 08/21/18 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave B
I am a big fan of string covers and recommend them to everyone who has a grand. It is the best thing you can do for your piano from what I’ve seen over 32 years of piano servicing.


Hmm...don't suppose it's too late to start on a five year old piano?


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Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2760061 08/21/18 11:10 AM
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I recently bought a 10 year old Shigeru Kawai and the RPT who inspected it said the strings looked practically brand new which he attributed to the string cover. After it was delivered, my local RPT said the same thing. In fact he has a studio where he teaches piano and has a shop where he rebuilds pianos, so I would say he has quite a bit of knowledge from every perspective with regards to the piano. In his studio his pianos also have string covers. Mine is a Dawson by the way, and it is fairly high quality IMO.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Dampp-Chaser system & Dawson String Covers
mypianos4evr #2760062 08/21/18 11:11 AM
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I dont like the way they effect the sound of the piano,they kill or mute the high frequencies a bit. I'm sure those with a very bright piano may welcome this but if you piano is properly voiced the sound does change.




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