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Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2764838 09/11/18 09:02 PM
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Thanks wolfgangmeister for the updated info. It is appreciated. Nothing like good dissent to correct a misconception.

Cheers,

prout

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Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2764854 09/12/18 12:14 AM
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Yeah, my hammers look more like the Selects with blue core. Explains why it took some effort on the part of my tech to tone them down. Wolfgangmeister, glad to hear you've had lasting results.


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


Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2855698 06/05/19 08:53 AM
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benjamink Offline OP
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Updating this thread for folks who are curious about the outcome. My technician finished installing new NY S&S D hammers into my M&H BB last week.

What a difference in sound! The piano has a more mellow tone which is really noticeable and it is a lot easier to control the dynamics (particularly the treble). I think the sound fits my home a lot better. I can play with the lid all the way up and it is always pleasing to my ears. It is still capable of creating a huge sound and producing a singing line, but I find that it no longer sounds percussive when I play at louder dynamics.

I made recordings before and after of the 1st movement of Scriabin's 2nd Sonata. The audio was recorded with the internal mics of a Zoom H6. The microphone has about the same placement in both videos - just outside the piano lid. The leveling of the microphones is identical in the videos.

Before:

After:

Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2855914 06/05/19 10:15 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Online Content
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Your new hammers make the piano sound so much better. Way more color and subtlety.

I am curious if your M&H has the composite action?


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Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2855918 06/05/19 11:18 PM
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Very nice playing. Judging by the recording, (it possibly sounds much better at the keyboard) the tone sounded a bit thin, like they need to be opened up a little. Some notes did sound open and others didn't. A jab or two with a needle to remove a hard spot in the cup line could do the trick. A couple notes also sounded like they have a soft spot right above the moulding in the low strike zone, a little lacquer applied from the side could bring them up to match the neighbor notes.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
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Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2856016 06/06/19 08:53 AM
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Ed - yes the piano has the composite action. My tech only installed new unbored S&S hammer heads, the rest of the action is the same as before.

Chernobieff - we decided to let the tone up naturally for the next several months. We might lacquer some in several months, but I'm really happy with the change as is.

Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2856146 06/06/19 04:05 PM
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Benjamink,

When it comes to voicing soft pressed hammers like Steinway and Ronsen, i spend roughly 2 weeks voicing them. Most of the time, after i apply lacquer, i wait until the next day to hear the result. Then you you have sand the crust off, and needle them to remove noise. To do a really good job doesn't happen in an hour as in a tuning visit.

Another point is the strategy of playing them in for a few months and then voice. I can break hammers in, in an hour. I have a key pounding machine just like the factories do. Here's a video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7yroMR4I5Y

Perhaps your technician wants you to be the key pounding machine. LOL

A much better strategy is to voice them to as near perfection (evenness, brightness, volume, bloom) as possible at the beginning, then just provide maintenance at the tuning visit.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2856216 06/06/19 10:27 PM
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Similar to what prout previously said in this thread - I wanted to hear the hammers out-of-the-box, then hear them develop over time. I'm hesitant to lacquer given how much bright my last set of hammers became. I'm really happy with my new hammers as is.

Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2856224 06/06/19 11:15 PM
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Listening over my laptop speakers, it certainly sounds nicer with the new NY S&S hammers on it. I love that sonata - littered with so many layers and indulgences in that movement...either need to assign that to one of my better students or get myself in gear and learn it sometime.


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Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2856327 06/07/19 09:27 AM
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Chernobieff Piano Online Content
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benjamink,
If you're happy with the piano, that's all that really matters (thumbs up!). And you have a valid concern regarding over- lacquering. I use much less lacquer than i use to these days, only because of my key pounding machine. What I do now is only apply one initial soaking (15-1) let it dry overnight and listen. The tone will of course be slightly brighter, but not much. At this point the normal course was to continue bringing up the tone to the point where i like it with more applications of laq (usually from the side). But instead of that, i now just put it on the pounder for an hour. And wow!, the tone has come up to where i like it with that one application after an hour on the pounder. All that's left to do is even up the tone across the keyboard.and remove noises.

I have put the pounder on with no laq, and although the hammer/string noise cleaned up a little(because of hammer/string mating) it doesn't really change much. If its soft, it will pretty much stay that way. I suspect, if you are wanting the tone to brighten up a little, that just playing alone will not do it. Let me know if i'm wrong, as i'm curious if it does in your case. Hammers are after all, unpredictable things.

There most likely some settling of the lacquer that pounding and playing it in does. So some lacquer is most likely needed if you do want the tone to come up slightly.

Happy Playing on your marvelous MHBB.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2856597 06/08/19 06:26 AM
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benjamink,

Wow! What a difference those hammers make, as Ed McMorrow astutely says, in terms of "way more color and subtlety". I finally had a chance to listen with a good set of headphones this morning. Since our instruments are near twins in both make, model, time of manufacture, and action components, the sound of your instrument is very familiar to me... and the change you and your tech have initially achieved is definitely in the direction of what you would expect of the signature tone of the M&H BB. You are a fine pianist, and even with the initial voicing of the new hammers I can hear your ability to bring out different shadings of the very challenging and beautiful Scriabin 2nd Sonata that I couldn't hear with the OEM hammers; in the first performance the color of the tone is virtually the same whether you play pianissimo or forte. In the second, I can hear you bringing out the "many layers and indulgences" - to quote terminaldegree - of the piece. I know Boaz and Eric Johnson (who worked on my piano most recently due to the former's busy schedule), have spend significant time toning down my Abel Selects with the composite / carbon-fiber WNG action to achieve some of this subtlety. My experience of hearing and performing on two very fine experimental Model CC-94 and Model AA's at the factory with Ronsen Wieckert and Abel Natural felts, respectively, was very similar to what Chris Chernobieff, prout. Ed McMorrow and now yourself have experienced. Bravo! I look forward to hearing your future performances as your instrument's voicing matures.


Best Wishes,


Jason Solomonides
Mason & Hamlin 7' BB 93623
Yamaha 6'1" C3 (w/WNG) D3010008
My Piano Recordings:
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Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2856615 06/08/19 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by benjamink
Similar to what prout previously said in this thread - I wanted to hear the hammers out-of-the-box, then hear them develop over time. I'm hesitant to lacquer given how much bright my last set of hammers became. I'm really happy with my new hammers as is.

FWIW- I agree with your technician and applaud your decision to let your new hammers develop over time. They don't sound overly soft to me, and from what I've been told about the merging of manufacturing techniques between New York and Hamburg, this comes as good news.

Nice playing too.

As to the sound of the recording, may I recommend some "boutique" microphones that will not break the bank. You might consider the OM-1 or CM-4 from Line Audio. They have no presence peaks being nearly ruler flat in their response. If your Zoom has XLR inputs (and phantom power), you can run directly into it as I do with my aging Tascam DR-100. PM me here if interested in why I recommend these. I can also give you a sample recording.

Meanwhile, congrats on the improvement to your piano and on your playing.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: M&H hammers [Re: benjamink] #2857361 06/10/19 07:18 PM
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Thanks all for the feedback.

Seeker - I can't send you a PM as apparently you have exceeded your PM quota (what a bizarre concept in 2019). My Zoom has support for XLR and phantom power. I'm considering eventually getting traditional XLR mics. Would you mind sharing recordings? Do you (or anyone else) know of a way to audition different microphones? ie - is there an easy way to rent them before buying something expensive?

Re: M&H hammers [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2857394 06/10/19 10:38 PM
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Steve Jackson Offline
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Benjamink,

When it comes to voicing soft pressed hammers like Steinway and Ronsen, i spend roughly 2 weeks voicing them. Most of the time, after i apply lacquer, i wait until the next day to hear the result. Then you you have sand the crust off, and needle them to remove noise. To do a really good job doesn't happen in an hour as in a tuning visit.

Another point is the strategy of playing them in for a few months and then voice. I can break hammers in, in an hour. I have a key pounding machine just like the factories do. Here's a video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7yroMR4I5Y

Perhaps your technician wants you to be the key pounding machine. LOL

A much better strategy is to voice them to as near perfection (evenness, brightness, volume, bloom) as possible at the beginning, then just provide maintenance at the tuning visit.
-chris


Although it takes at least 100 hours of playing to get them pounded in, or use a machine like yours, you can get them voiced and ready in a few days. Depends on the juice used at the early stages.

I just did a M&H Model E Upright with 10kg Weikart felt and a lot of sandpaper. Didn't need anything much, but used ground plexi judicously.

I only use traditionally made hammers and have almost no experience with the modern dead felt hammers that have no spring in them.

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