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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845588 05/05/19 09:23 PM
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*sigh*

I guess there’s nothing like the real thing. I’m so torn. On the one hand, I want the real thing. On the other hand, I’m afraid of neighbour troubles preventing me from playing with the real thing. And I’m afraid I won’t be truly happy with a high end digital or silent piano.

Are there any good tricks to soften the sound of a piano going through the walls? Like, putting it on a carpet, or placing a sheet of styrofoam between the piano and the wall, etc? Do these tricks really work or am I just kidding myself?


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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845599 05/05/19 10:39 PM
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Have you considering moving house? laugh


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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845604 05/05/19 11:01 PM
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I’m not sure whether you’re talking about buying an acoustic grand or upright? There are ways to soften the sound of acoustic pianos with acoustic panels, rugs, and drapes. I would get the acoustic you want for daytime up to say 10 pm then you play a mid priced digital stage piano with weighted keys for later hours. Casio, Yamaha and Roland have reasonably priced digital keyboards that are nice. Buy a stand and a bench and you’re set. Nothing to change the sound or feel of the acoustic but easy silent practice on the keyboard. Digitals have improved immensely in sound and touch. My Casio works really well for silent practice and it’s good enough for performing in small bands. My Casio, stand, bench, and cover cost less than having a silent system installed on my acoustic plus it fits in a small SUV.


J & J
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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845608 05/05/19 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
*sigh*

I guess there’s nothing like the real thing. I’m so torn. On the one hand, I want the real thing. On the other hand, I’m afraid of neighbour troubles preventing me from playing with the real thing. And I’m afraid I won’t be truly happy with a high end digital or silent piano.

Are there any good tricks to soften the sound of a piano going through the walls? Like, putting it on a carpet, or placing a sheet of styrofoam between the piano and the wall, etc? Do these tricks really work or am I just kidding myself?

Definitely - I think you're talking upright.

There have been treads in PianoWorld in the past about quietening a room.

Carpet is where I'd start, I've read that wool is best, but any carpet at least a piece the size of the piano + bench. If you can do the entire floor, that's better.

Furniture makes a big difference, soft furnishings will absorb sound - I had a heavy padded armchair hard against my upright, and until I moved it, I didn't realise how much it absorbed sound. I resorted to standing a spare foam mattress behind my piano in a room with almost no furniture and pushed the piano hard against it. Only because we had it hanging around - but you could try it by "borrowing" one from one of your beds and try it. Along with the carpet square, it made a huge difference at my place.

Curtains too - particularly if you've got big glass expanses. Not only will they restrict the sound going through the glass to some extent, but will stop a lot of the echo back into the room - which has to go somewhere.

Not sure of StyroFoam - if it's not expensive, could be worth trying. There are acoustic foams - but check whether they're to stop echo, or stop transmission. I've known people to roll up blankets or put old pillows in the bottom of their piano - careful not to touch the strings, but I'm not sure if they make a huge difference, having never tried it.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845618 05/05/19 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
*sigh*

I guess there’s nothing like the real thing. I’m so torn. On the one hand, I want the real thing. On the other hand, I’m afraid of neighbour troubles preventing me from playing with the real thing. And I’m afraid I won’t be truly happy with a high end digital or silent piano.

Are there any good tricks to soften the sound of a piano going through the walls? Like, putting it on a carpet, or placing a sheet of styrofoam between the piano and the wall, etc? Do these tricks really work or am I just kidding myself?


Here's my experience:

I live in a flat and the sound travels well in my building. I am lucky that no-one lives under me, but I can hear a lot from upstairs. So they must hear my playing as well. That's why I originally bought the silent upright. The rules would allow me to play from 8 am to 10 pm, but I have set more limits to myself just to be more considerate to my neighbours with small children who they try to get to bed early. I also don't play acoustic before 9 am.

The acoustics in my rooms are really hard, so I have used all sort of things to soften it, but this is more because my own ears hurt, not sure how much it affects what the neighbours hear.

I never really liked the upright but was worried about getting a grand because of space limitations and the amount of sound. But I finally found something that is not too big but has both the touch and sound that I like. The sound gets bigger when fully open, but when closed it is not louder than the upright and has more dynamic variation. It can also be covered to further soften the sound and you can put stuff under it as well.

I also have a Roland digital which I got for my summer cabin. It's not the same as the real thing, but I do not mind practicing on it a few weeks. The cost of the new silent upright was about the same as the cost of the used grand and the digital. I have not played the upright in acoustic mode at all lately, because the grand is so much better to play for me. I only use the upright for silent practice, which is kind of a waste.

It's quite personal though, I know some people who think the upright sounds and feels great compared to what they have at home. And my U1 has hold tuning very well despite the silent system. The problem is the regulation limit. It really limits the dynamics, the bass is too loud no matter how you play and the touch in general is not responsive enough. Also my model has horrible slippery plastic keytops with an edge that hurts my thumb skin (I know I am unusually sensitive).

Finally getting the grand was the best decision ever for me. I think I might have regretted getting something bigger though for this apartment...

Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
outo #2845628 05/06/19 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by puremusic
Have you considering moving house? laugh


YES! But hubby thinks I’m nuts, because I’m not a concert pianist and piano is “just a hobby”. Plus, Google “Toronto house prices” and you’ll quickly realize it’s not an easy thing to do financially (anymore).

Originally Posted by j&j
I’m not sure whether you’re talking about buying an acoustic grand or upright? There are ways to soften the sound of acoustic pianos with acoustic panels, rugs, and drapes. I would get the acoustic you want for daytime up to say 10 pm then you play a mid priced digital stage piano with weighted keys for later hours. Casio, Yamaha and Roland have reasonably priced digital keyboards that are nice. Buy a stand and a bench and you’re set. Nothing to change the sound or feel of the acoustic but easy silent practice on the keyboard. Digitals have improved immensely in sound and touch. My Casio works really well for silent practice and it’s good enough for performing in small bands. My Casio, stand, bench, and cover cost less than having a silent system installed on my acoustic plus it fits in a small SUV.


This option sounds better and better although initially I thought it was a waste of money having both an acoustic and a digital.

Originally Posted by backto_study_piano
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
*sigh*

I guess there’s nothing like the real thing. I’m so torn. On the one hand, I want the real thing. On the other hand, I’m afraid of neighbour troubles preventing me from playing with the real thing. And I’m afraid I won’t be truly happy with a high end digital or silent piano.

Are there any good tricks to soften the sound of a piano going through the walls? Like, putting it on a carpet, or placing a sheet of styrofoam between the piano and the wall, etc? Do these tricks really work or am I just kidding myself?

Definitely - I think you're talking upright.

There have been treads in PianoWorld in the past about quietening a room.

Carpet is where I'd start, I've read that wool is best, but any carpet at least a piece the size of the piano + bench. If you can do the entire floor, that's better.

Furniture makes a big difference, soft furnishings will absorb sound - I had a heavy padded armchair hard against my upright, and until I moved it, I didn't realise how much it absorbed sound. I resorted to standing a spare foam mattress behind my piano in a room with almost no furniture and pushed the piano hard against it. Only because we had it hanging around - but you could try it by "borrowing" one from one of your beds and try it. Along with the carpet square, it made a huge difference at my place.

Curtains too - particularly if you've got big glass expanses. Not only will they restrict the sound going through the glass to some extent, but will stop a lot of the echo back into the room - which has to go somewhere.

Not sure of StyroFoam - if it's not expensive, could be worth trying. There are acoustic foams - but check whether they're to stop echo, or stop transmission. I've known people to roll up blankets or put old pillows in the bottom of their piano - careful not to touch the strings, but I'm not sure if they make a huge difference, having never tried it.


Thanks! Helpful thank you.


Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
*sigh*

I guess there’s nothing like the real thing. I’m so torn. On the one hand, I want the real thing. On the other hand, I’m afraid of neighbour troubles preventing me from playing with the real thing. And I’m afraid I won’t be truly happy with a high end digital or silent piano.

Are there any good tricks to soften the sound of a piano going through the walls? Like, putting it on a carpet, or placing a sheet of styrofoam between the piano and the wall, etc? Do these tricks really work or am I just kidding myself?


Here's my experience:

I live in a flat and the sound travels well in my building. I am lucky that no-one lives under me, but I can hear a lot from upstairs. So they must hear my playing as well. That's why I originally bought the silent upright. The rules would allow me to play from 8 am to 10 pm, but I have set more limits to myself just to be more considerate to my neighbours with small children who they try to get to bed early. I also don't play acoustic before 9 am.

The acoustics in my rooms are really hard, so I have used all sort of things to soften it, but this is more because my own ears hurt, not sure how much it affects what the neighbours hear.

I never really liked the upright but was worried about getting a grand because of space limitations and the amount of sound. But I finally found something that is not too big but has both the touch and sound that I like. The sound gets bigger when fully open, but when closed it is not louder than the upright and has more dynamic variation. It can also be covered to further soften the sound and you can put stuff under it as well.

I also have a Roland digital which I got for my summer cabin. It's not the same as the real thing, but I do not mind practicing on it a few weeks. The cost of the new silent upright was about the same as the cost of the used grand and the digital. I have not played the upright in acoustic mode at all lately, because the grand is so much better to play for me. I only use the upright for silent practice, which is kind of a waste.

It's quite personal though, I know some people who think the upright sounds and feels great compared to what they have at home. And my U1 has hold tuning very well despite the silent system. The problem is the regulation limit. It really limits the dynamics, the bass is too loud no matter how you play and the touch in general is not responsive enough. Also my model has horrible slippery plastic keytops with an edge that hurts my thumb skin (I know I am unusually sensitive).

Finally getting the grand was the best decision ever for me. I think I might have regretted getting something bigger though for this apartment...


Thanks. I’m like you. I’d prefer not to bother my neighbours even if I’m technically allowed to during certain hours of the day. I think I’ll consider buying a regular acoustic plus a decent digital. I currently have an entry level one (Casio Privia PX-735) which is fine but not great obviously.


Kawai K-500
Casio PX-735 (in retirement)
Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845637 05/06/19 01:40 AM
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Lots of us are “just a hobby” - and not professionals or concert pianists. Our playing piano is our sanity.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845644 05/06/19 02:03 AM
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I have just put a carpet in my piano room because the 130 piano
I have is very loud for me.Near the one window I have an accoustic
board behind the bookcase.It used to be behind the piano but made
the tone really mushy so I removed it ,as I love the tone.
The piano was also too near the corner of the room so we moved it
further away.
We have also added more furniture to the rather bare room.
The result is definitely a quiter tone ,but still as nice as it was.I can really hear the piano much better.
I have removed the accoustic boards altogether.
Also I do not have to worry so much about my neighbour's so much
as well.(thier house and garden is rather near ours.)
The problem was a combination of low ceilings and the piano being too near the corner.The carpet however made a huge difference.
But yes ,you can use accoustic boards, and I am sure there are
other sound damping material available.(accoustic blankets work well)

Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845690 05/06/19 07:58 AM
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Borrow a set of bagpipes for a few weeks. Your neighbors will pitch in and buy the piano for you.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
MarkL #2845704 05/06/19 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Borrow a set of bagpipes for a few weeks. Your neighbors will pitch in and buy the piano for you.

😂. Is that before or after your spouse kills you in your sleep? 😂


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
Casio Privia PX-330
I save far better than I play!
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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845791 05/06/19 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand

Are there any good tricks to soften the sound of a piano going through the walls? Like, putting it on a carpet, or placing a sheet of styrofoam between the piano and the wall, etc? Do these tricks really work or am I just kidding myself?

Sound transmission is one of those things where intuition doesn't usually work. All the things you mention will help improve the quality of the sound inside the room, but won't help at all to keep the sound from escaping to your neighbors.
You can read about sound isolation if you google it, but the bottom line is it's really expensive to soundproof a room and involves either using rubbery elastic material or building cavities to isolate your room from everything else.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845798 05/06/19 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m afraid of neighbour troubles preventing me from playing with the real thing.

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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
Tyrone Slothrop #2845803 05/06/19 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m afraid of neighbour troubles preventing me from playing with the real thing.

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That is EXACTLY what I’m afraid will happen.


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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845805 05/06/19 03:03 PM
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There was a cartoon in the New Yorker that showed the police coming to arrest a guy practicing the trumpet. In other apartments, the cartoon showed domestic abuse, drug abuse, and all sorts of other societal ills, but the most important thing was to arrest the guy playing music. :-)

There is a guy in my classical guitar trio who used to play the trumpet, professionally. He was living in Little Italy and in a phase of sound experimentation, producing noise, basically. Somebody threw a wine jug through his window during a practice session. I asked him what he did and he said he went out and bought a practice mute, and that the message had been received, lol.

I don’t think I’ll have a problem with an acoustic piano as long as I play during the day, not too early and not too late, and don’t play scales incessantly. My neighborhood is full of piano players. My real worry is not measuring up to the playing I hear around me.

Last edited by LarryK; 05/06/19 03:07 PM.

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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
MarkL #2845813 05/06/19 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Are there any good tricks to soften the sound of a piano going through the walls? Like, putting it on a carpet, or placing a sheet of styrofoam between the piano and the wall, etc? Do these tricks really work or am I just kidding myself?

You can easily tweak your room's acoustic properties using rather simple approaches and materials that absorb or reflect sound. But those will not secure that a significant amount of sound will not be transmitted through the building. That will require comprehensive sound proofing. In the place I lived before, I could hear a piano 4 floors above my apartment. In one of the rooms, I could hear low frequencies through the walls. However, the loudest and clearest sound came from transmission along the heating pipes... so, my radiators were a kind of passive speaker wink

Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845830 05/06/19 04:39 PM
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I remember when we were first married we lived in an apartment .
We did not have much in the way of furniture but we did have my
Kawai grand and and my husbands upright piano.We both practiced.
People were a great deal more tolerant then ?
On one occasion somebody knocked on the door and asked us
to quiten down. After that I felt a great deal more inhibited, although
we still practiced.But of course we were young then.
I do not know whether we would be tolerated to that extent now ?
A piano with a practice pedal is a help.A carpet is a must and
then accoustic material behind the (upright )piano and the wall.

Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845959 05/07/19 02:23 AM
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Voicing a Yamaha will often make the tone and volume much more neighbour friendly. When the tone is harsh and strident and loud, you need a silent mechanism, but when it's voiced you may find normal acoustic treatments adequate.

Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
Steve Jackson #2845961 05/07/19 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Voicing a Yamaha will often make the tone and volume much more neighbour friendly. When the tone is harsh and strident and loud, you need a silent mechanism, but when it's voiced you may find normal acoustic treatments adequate.

I agree with this as well.It may well work with a carpet with undercover and voiced more mellow sounding instead of very bright.

Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2845970 05/07/19 03:49 AM
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I will add to this that the sooner a Yamaha is voiced, the better.


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Re: Thoughts on “silent” pianos?
WeakLeftHand #2846047 05/07/19 10:05 AM
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Ahhhh, ok. Thanks for that info. I had no idea that would help make the sound less horrible for my neighbours.


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