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Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833325
03/31/19 10:57 AM
03/31/19 10:57 AM
Joined: Oct 2015
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Germany
JoBert Offline
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Originally Posted by KevinM
Originally Posted by JoBert
Originally Posted by KevinM
Could this be where using a Midi might help. You can see the results produced in the midi output from playing notes.

For me getting to a decent showroom is not trivial (though I have only looked for places with digital and acoustics) and then honestly I don't think my memory of loudness would not be reliable.

Is there perhaps a way of taking advantage of the digital technology and using that to help in setting the volume?

Kevin

You mean if MIDI can help to find out the "correct" volume that is comparable to an acoustic?
I don't see how it would help. The MIDI values only tell you which force (or velocity) you used to press the keys. They still don't tell you how loud (or quiet) that should sound.


I was more thinking as a way of recognising the minimum velocity/force required to make a sound. Often but nearly solely with the left hand when I am trying to play as quietly as possibly I can play the note and no sound comes out at all. This is more common when playing a complex (for me) piece and the volume of the support is just one of the things I am keeping track of.

But the question remains, when I play such a piece and I do hit the keys hard enough to produce a noise it is too loud. Is this just because the sound is turned up too high or more likely that I lack the required regulation. We should be able to check this with confidence by looking at the midi velocities I produce, if I am aiming for pp and the midi velocities I produce would be considered reasonable for a pp level but I am hearing the sound as too loud then that would suggest the volume is up too high.

Honestly this is just speculation and I have no midi experience at all.

I see what you mean. It may actually help a bit, in that regard. Of course the mapping from MIDI velocities to dynamic markings is always a bit arbitrary, but this image from Wikipedia can give you at least an estimation:

The [Linked Image]

Based on this, I would say that if you can play a pp passage consistently with velocity values in the 20s, then you are good.

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Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833326
03/31/19 10:57 AM
03/31/19 10:57 AM
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I have completely failed to save to any MIDI output to my usb flash drive. I've followed the instructions without success.

I will have a go with Casio's Chordana app.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833327
03/31/19 10:59 AM
03/31/19 10:59 AM
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I got the impression from other threads that you are having lessons with a teacher. Can you compare with the teacher's piano, and perhaps set it to that level for, well, pp or as near as you can get? If I play ff on my acoustic, the whole room shakes (kind of exaggeration, but you know what I mean), but similar playing on my old DP is a bit louder, but nowhere near by the same magnitude so I've just got to get used to what the range is on it and play to that.


regards
Pete
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833328
03/31/19 11:00 AM
03/31/19 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I have completely failed to save to any MIDI output to my usb flash drive. I've followed the instructions without success.

I will have a go with Casio's Chordana app.

I experienced this problem with my FP30 and realized it was because my flash drives had been formatted for the Mac/OSX. What format is your USB flash drive? Have you tried reformatting under Windows with the FAT32 format, which is the "lowest common denominator" format?


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2833332
03/31/19 11:10 AM
03/31/19 11:10 AM
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KevinM Online content OP
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by KevinM
I have completely failed to save to any MIDI output to my usb flash drive. I've followed the instructions without success.

I will have a go with Casio's Chordana app.

I experienced this problem with my FP30 and realized it was because my flash drives had been formatted for the Mac/OSX. What format is your USB flash drive? Have you tried reformatting under Windows with the FAT32 format, which is the "lowest common denominator" format?


The format is FAT32. I can do Audio recordings to the drive so I know it works. In this case I just think it is user error, though the manual is clear as mud increasing the chance of user error.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: petebfrance] #2833337
03/31/19 11:18 AM
03/31/19 11:18 AM
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KevinM Online content OP
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
I got the impression from other threads that you are having lessons with a teacher. Can you compare with the teacher's piano, and perhaps set it to that level for, well, pp or as near as you can get? If I play ff on my acoustic, the whole room shakes (kind of exaggeration, but you know what I mean), but similar playing on my old DP is a bit louder, but nowhere near by the same magnitude so I've just got to get used to what the range is on it and play to that.


My teacher is also using a digital. So in this situation it is not much help. Though perhaps she will have an idea for comparable volume, because most of her students she has on a Saturday at her parents house with the use of a grand piano, but that is quite a drive.

I tried the Chordana app as well and it is obviously reading the midi information when I am playing and I can get it to replay but I can't work out how to save from the app.

For now I'm done with this. I don't want to be that person spending more time playing with hardware than practising and that is already the case today. When I next give this a go I will get myself an extra long usb cable and plug it into my iMac and see what GarageBand shows.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833342
03/31/19 11:28 AM
03/31/19 11:28 AM
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Missed JoBert's chart. That looks useful. I appreciate the arbitrariness of it and I will try it out another time.


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833439
03/31/19 03:49 PM
03/31/19 03:49 PM
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For loudness calibration:

There are lots of free "sound pressure level" meters for smartphones, both Android and Apple. You can also buy stand-alone SPL meters. I wouldn't trust the absolute readings of the smartphone meters, but they're OK for comparing two sounds.

Install one of those on a smartphone, hold it near your head, and see how loud you can play an acoustic piano (any acoustic piano will do). Set the meter for "peak reading", if you have a choice.

Then go to the DP, hold the phone near your head, and adjust the DP's volume control for the same SPL, when you play the DP as hard as you played the acoustic piano.

That won't work for headphones (you must use your judgement, there), but it's a good technique for loudspeakers.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833450
03/31/19 04:17 PM
03/31/19 04:17 PM
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Thanks Charles that looks interesting. I will download some apps to give them a go and when I have a chance to compare against an acoustic I will give that a go.

Kevin


Learning Mendelssohn Song without Words Op. 19 No. 2, Schumann Bunte Blätter Stücklein Op. 99 No. 1. Jensen Sehnsucht Op. 8 No. 5. Schumann Kinderszenen Op15 No1, Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen.
Digital piano: Casio Celviano AP-470. Headphones: Superlux HD681 EVO
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833498
03/31/19 06:12 PM
03/31/19 06:12 PM
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If you try it, I suggest playing the acoustic at three different loudnesses -- say pp / mf / ff -- and making a note of the meter reading for each one.

I remember a warning (haven't checked into it recently) that some Android phones limit their internal loudness readings -- so no matter how loud a sound is, it won't register more than X dB. And that that limit is imposed by some software in the phone, _not_ by the microphone overloading.

Have fun -- please report back . . .


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2833509
03/31/19 06:35 PM
03/31/19 06:35 PM
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Warsaw, Poland
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by JoBert
Well, saying "if you have a section that is so problematic for you that with all the other stuff going on you forget to pay attention to the dynamics, then you could set the volume to be louder than an acoustic, so that if you inadvertently play too strongly, the exaggerated volume will remind you to play quieter" is a whole lot different than saying "set the piano volume to the maximum. If it feels too loud, go easier on the keys". The latter is much too easy to be misunderstood as advice to generally play the piano with max volume (and if you can't bear that, your technique is faulty). And if you understand it that way and follow the advice accordingly, you may endanger your hearing.

And TBH (and I don't want to come over as overly negative), I have my doubt that even the first interpretation is good advice. If used regularly, it would train you to use the wrong force/velocity for a given dynamic. You would play everything that is supposed to be p with the force for pp (because otherwise it would be mf) and so on.

I still think that the best advice is to figure out the perceived volume of an average acoustic, then set your DP to something comparable (as well as that is possible) and don't touch the volume setting again (well, unless switching to/from headphones, as discussed above).

But OP's problem is that he doesn't know which volume to select. Unfortunately, other than the suggestions already given, I have no other ideas.

This is probably just one of those "different strokes for different folks" issue, but like Darth, I do find it harder to control pp than ff. So if such a "trick" allows me to train myself to have a light touch with control, that's a net plus, like learning to balance on a unicycle, and even if I have to readjust to the regular touch of an acoustic, once I learned control with a very light touch, can Ondine be that far off? (j/k! laugh )

Unfortunately, it's not so simple. Your ears get used to the volume setting and over time start perceiving it as "normal" even if it's terribly loud. As your ears get used to the sound your hands will also get accustomed to playing those "normal" sounds. When you have passages to be played fff you will bang them and produce the loudest sound possible and, unless it is painful, you will get used to that too. But having loud noises played directly into your ears will invariably lead to hearing loss over time. This is very dangerous. Don't do it! I have tried that for a long time and I believe it has aggravated my tinnitus.

I also tried the opposite method (setting the volume rather low) with interesting consequences. When the volume is low the dynamic range is much more limited and it's much more difficult to differentiate, say, mp from p. Your ears have to get more attuned to hear nuances and you need more control to shape phrases like you want. I have played on both low and high volume on my digital and have weekly lessons on my teacher's grand piano as a test. From my teacher's observations I feel that my shaping is better after playing on a low volume setting but playing for too long like that leads to many ghost notes because of the different action. For my particular piano/headset combination I experimentally determined that 70% of max volume is the best setting with respect to my perceived skill on a grand piano afterwards.

So, I would say, please experiment and test yourself on a real piano. And, no, max volume is not a good idea.


[Linked Image]
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Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2833516
03/31/19 06:47 PM
03/31/19 06:47 PM
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Toronto, Canada
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Living in a building with neighbors on all sides I have a keyboard with the volume adjusted about 1/4 way up most of the time unless I'm recording myself playing I'd get the volume up. Don't like to use headphones if I don't have to.

I actually find an acoustic piano harder to play really loud and really soft. When you press the don't press the keys hard enough, the hammers don't get enough contact with the strings so you get 0 sound. Maintaining a soft sound without getting the volume down to 0 takes a lot of hand control. Most of the time I tend to be in the middle of the volume range with an acoustic piano. Getting the volume up to a double or triple forte would take a lot of force.

Re: Digital piano volume [Re: JoBert] #2833525
03/31/19 07:10 PM
03/31/19 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JoBert
With all due respect, but that is bad advice that is dangerous, and possibly even harmful.

Now, I agree that setting the piano volume too low is a typical mistake and should be avoided. I too recommend to set the volume to something comparable to an acoustic piano.

However, simply setting the volume to max and "if it is too loud, go easier on the keys" is bad advice, because it does not take into account that DPs and headphones differ from each other. It may be the correct advice for the DP/headphones JoeT was using, but for another combination it may not be appropriate. At worst, maxing the volume can even permanently damage your hearing (something that everyone should avoid, but musicians especially).

The real secret is: A concert grand piano can damage your hearing as well, if you happen to play it too loud. The modern piano is a dangerous instrument. wink

Quote
Instead of just "max it, and if it is too loud, go easier on the keys", find the volume setting where mf force sounds like mf, f force sounds like f and ff force sounds like ff.
Don't know how that is supposed to sound?

With regular headphones connected to the DP you know when it's time to stop and when it hurts. Hearing damage occurs, when you expose yourself to an average sound pressure level just below the pain threshold over multiple hours each day.

I don't think anybody of us enjoying practicing piano wants to do that. Also there is no "reference volume". A concert grand is really loud even at pianissimo (you want to be able to hear that at the other end of the recital hall), while a pianette has a rather modest forte, intended for a living room.

To come back to the main question of this thread: What does a volume slider on a digital piano actually do? It changes amplification. It makes quiet tones a bit louder and loud tones much louder. So it controls dynamic range, just like the keys itself - just in a different way.

You can have a setting, where you bang the keys like a madman and have a perfectly safe volume, while listening to the brightest sample layers. Or you put the volume slider up and stop hitting harder before the loudness gets uncomfortable. This is how you preserve both your hands and your ears - exactly how you do it on an acoustic instrument - you can hurt both your hands and ears by banging on the keys. But what point serves that?

The piano key is the tool to control volume on a pianoforte. The volume slider isn't. So don't use the latter to hamper your dynamic expression. Instead learn to control the velocity itself. If you miss some brightness or overtones, use the voice edit feature to adjust the piano tone itself (not its volume) instead of turning down the slider and playing harder automatically.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: Qazsedcft] #2833536
03/31/19 07:34 PM
03/31/19 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Unfortunately, it's not so simple. Your ears get used to the volume setting and over time start perceiving it as "normal" even if it's terribly loud. As your ears get used to the sound your hands will also get accustomed to playing those "normal" sounds. When you have passages to be played fff you will bang them and produce the loudest sound possible and, unless it is painful, you will get used to that too. But having loud noises played directly into your ears will invariably lead to hearing loss over time. This is very dangerous. Don't do it! I have tried that for a long time and I believe it has aggravated my tinnitus.

So to get some hard numbers, I attached my Sauter SU 130 calibrated SPL meter directly to the left driver of the Sony MDR-7506 and banged on the keys of my P-515 while having the piano set to maximum volume.

It reaches up to 80 decibels, the red 85 dB warning light comes on for a fraction of a second, if I really put in manual effort. Regular practice (p to f) happens in the 50-70 dB range, which is a tad quieter than an acoustic piano. (They usually start at 60 decibels). And that's exactly where you want to be, even if your piano/headphones can do louder.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: bennevis] #2833854
04/01/19 01:37 PM
04/01/19 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by KevinM
I started this discussion because I needed to turn the volume down when playing without headphones. Suddenly pp was a lot easier and I could still get a properly loud sound out of the piano when needed. I have complaints to prove it.

But I quickly guessed this would not be a good answer to my lack of regulation. I need the control in my fingers.

That's right.

Lots of students who only ever play digitals never develop finger control because they keep fiddling with the volume control to suit themselves. That's like a football player moving the goalposts to suit the distance he's trying to score from.

Use headphones if you need to avoid disturbing others, but keep the volume at the same realistic level, whether you're using the speakers or headphones.


For practice what you might do sometimes is move the goal posts the other way -- to make it harder for yourself. Up a little to practice ppp, down a little to practice fff. But always in a reasonable range, and back to your standard setting at all other times. Digitals have less dynamic range than acoustics.


-- J.S.

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Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2834597
04/02/19 11:52 PM
04/02/19 11:52 PM
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If your control is very, very good you will be able to produce 7 (seven) different loudness levels. Even better is 8!

Every acoustic piano is different some are louder than others. The important thing is to maintain the 7 or 8 distinct relative loudness levels. It doesn't matter if it's digital. Whatever you set the volume to, work your hands so ppp, pp ,p, mp, mf, f, ff and fff truly are different.


"the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." -- Chaucer.
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: Fidel] #2834599
04/03/19 12:31 AM
04/03/19 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Fidel
If your control is very, very good you will be able to produce 7 (seven) different loudness levels. Even better is 8!

John Mortensen has said that 8-10 levels is achievable: (7:03)



across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: KevinM] #2834701
04/03/19 08:00 AM
04/03/19 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I started this discussion because I needed to turn the volume down when playing without headphones. Suddenly pp was a lot easier and I could still get a properly loud sound out of the piano when needed. I have complaints to prove it.

But I quickly guessed this would not be a good answer to my lack of regulation. I need the control in my fingers.


My home piano is a kaiwai cs11, and I bought it for the keyboard. Lessons are on acoustic upright. I practice with ‘low’ volume and focus only on fingering, anything else has to be at ‘right’ volume- because, the translation to acoustic is dramatic re musicality.
I also spend 10 minutes before my lesson to adjust to the acoustic/pedal to adjust my touch. Highly recommend you try to practice on acoustic periodically to help your aural practice and adjust your practice at home. Look for piano stores/music practice studios.


Dream came true : playing the piano
Kawai CS11/Yamaha Arius 161
lessons: 150 hours + counting
Re: Digital piano volume [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2834776
04/03/19 11:29 AM
04/03/19 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416

I actually find an acoustic piano harder to play really loud and really soft. When you press the don't press the keys hard enough, the hammers don't get enough contact with the strings so you get 0 sound. Maintaining a soft sound without getting the volume down to 0 takes a lot of hand control. Most of the time I tend to be in the middle of the volume range with an acoustic piano. Getting the volume up to a double or triple forte would take a lot of force.


The secret is that you do not need to press the keys hard to get a loud sound. It is the speed of the attack that creates volume. In fact there's usually no need to press the keys at all, you strike or pull them...

Some acoustics are hard to play softer, that is true. It's a matter of action and regulation.

Re: Digital piano volume [Re: JoeT] #2834779
04/03/19 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeT
Originally Posted by JoBert
With all due respect, but that is bad advice that is dangerous, and possibly even harmful.

Now, I agree that setting the piano volume too low is a typical mistake and should be avoided. I too recommend to set the volume to something comparable to an acoustic piano.

However, simply setting the volume to max and "if it is too loud, go easier on the keys" is bad advice, because it does not take into account that DPs and headphones differ from each other. It may be the correct advice for the DP/headphones JoeT was using, but for another combination it may not be appropriate. At worst, maxing the volume can even permanently damage your hearing (something that everyone should avoid, but musicians especially).

The real secret is: A concert grand piano can damage your hearing as well, if you happen to play it too loud. The modern piano is a dangerous instrument. wink

Quote
Instead of just "max it, and if it is too loud, go easier on the keys", find the volume setting where mf force sounds like mf, f force sounds like f and ff force sounds like ff.
Don't know how that is supposed to sound?

With regular headphones connected to the DP you know when it's time to stop and when it hurts. Hearing damage occurs, when you expose yourself to an average sound pressure level just below the pain threshold over multiple hours each day.

I don't think anybody of us enjoying practicing piano wants to do that. Also there is no "reference volume". A concert grand is really loud even at pianissimo (you want to be able to hear that at the other end of the recital hall), while a pianette has a rather modest forte, intended for a living room.
.


Your ears do not need to hurt for your hearing to be damaged...Headphones do increase the risk of ear damage if not used very carefully. However you are right, loud banging with an acoustic (even an upright) for hours will be just as dangerous to your hearing.

I wish people would be more careful, first you will lose some frequences and that will lessen the enjoyment of playing and how well you can judge your tone. At the worst case you will get permanent ringing of ears which is no fun...

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