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How to reduce sound of a piano
#2855000 06/02/19 05:55 PM
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I have a Yamaha upright piano for now 6 years but it’s getting too loud now. I have moved houses so it’s in a smaller room now. The piano is too bright and loud for me to even enjoy. Is there any suggestions on how to make a more mellow sound. I know voicing can do it but how much will that cost. And does putting a rug under it or placing soundproof foam on the wall behind it help. I don’t want it silent just a little easy to the ear.
Btw it is on tiles and the room has no soft furniture in it. It is also not fully against the wall as there is a radiator behind it (don’t worry it is turned off). But any suggestions would be helpful.
Ty
-D
Oh btw I also have a mute rail just saying but I don’t like using it as it’s hard to practice dynamics with.

Last edited by Daniel odriscoll; 06/02/19 06:00 PM.
Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2855008 06/02/19 06:26 PM
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There have been many discussions on PianoWorld - you'll get lots of information there.

But start with a carpet under the piano and bench - as big as practical, if possibly the whole room.

Drapes over glass prevents reflected sound.

Soft furnishings - I had an empty back bedroom with my tall YAMAHA upright - I had to move some chairs, a mattress, scattered some cushions - along with an area carpet made it useable.

Try moving it closer to a wall if that's possible - or try a different wall if that's able to be done.

You can roll up an old blanket and put it in the bottom, but just check it doesn't foul the pedal mechanism - doesn't have a lot of effect, but every bit helps.

Or stand an old mattress behind the piano.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2855014 06/02/19 06:44 PM
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You can buy an accoustic board or accoustic blanket for behind
the soundboard.I used to have one behind a large bookcase.
The board I bought was made of a flakey kind of material so
I wrapped it in plastic.I think it is meant to be placed inside a
wall.You can place material around it to look.better.
If you do place it behind the piano it may make the sound a
bit mushy.If the piano is very bright it may be allright ?
When we got a full sized carpet and added more soft furniture
to the room I removed the accoustic board completely.
I also have moved the piano 6 inches from the wall.
So now the room is not like an echo chamber.
In your case voicing the piano is best.I do not believe foam will notdo much.Yes a full sized carpet with an undercover will help.Make sure no one can turn on the radiator PLEASE !


Last edited by Lady Bird; 06/02/19 06:48 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2855018 06/02/19 06:58 PM
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This is typical of acoustic pianos. They get louder over time, due to playing them. The more and harder you play, the sooner they get louder and brighter. A good tuning, regulation and voicing by a good tech will tame the beast quite well, usually. smile

However, I like loud and bright, unless I'm wearing my hearing aids, which is most of the time. smile

Rick


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Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2855019 06/02/19 06:59 PM
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Thinking more about it - at 6yrs old, it could be worth having it voiced next time you have it serviced.

When my Upright YAMAHA was about that age, I had a regulation adjustment and voicing done (back in 1984 approx) - and it cost me about double what a regular service cost. But he eased the bushings, adjusted everything which needed it, leveled keys which to me I thought were fine, but afterwards, I could notice the money was well spent. Particularly noticeable was the improvement in repetition.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2855065 06/02/19 09:56 PM
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+1 on blankets. We have a 1970s U1. It was rather bright sounding it its present room. I tucked one end of a twin blanket under the lid, wrapped the rest over the top and down the back, Tone much improved. Appearance,maybe not so much...


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Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2855070 06/02/19 10:12 PM
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Get the hammers reshaped and the action regulated, with other voicing as appropriate.


Semipro Tech
Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2855105 06/03/19 04:50 AM
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I had the idea of replacing the mute rail felt with thinner felt, so it's more useable. I haven't done this yet, but im still planning on trying it.

I installed an aftermarket mute rail, but i don't use it because it's just too much. The felt is quite thick, and it's hardly playable because of it.

I can imagine with felt that's about half the thickness, or maybe even thinner, it will be much better, and actually usable. Im not trying to play at night, just with a little less volume.

Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
U3piano #2855106 06/03/19 04:58 AM
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I've had them on a few uprights - I don't find them very satisfactory, as they tend to damp other strings as they hammer strikes, giving a muddy effect. Some are better than others - my Mum used one all the time on a KAWAI - and it was so thin that it was virtually useless, but didn't have such a muddy effect.

Try the room acoustics first. When I was studying for my Diploma, doing 3+hrs practise a day, it was suggested that it would be appreciated if I move the UX YAMAHA to the back, spare, unfurnished bedroom. Which I did - and I had the same problem as the OP - much too loud. My post above outlines what I did, and it worked out well.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2855232 06/03/19 02:50 PM
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First, if the piano hasn’t been voiced or regulated, nows the time. Once your piano tech has done his/her best, then put a thick wool or wool blend rug under it (vegan equivalents work too). If it’s still a bit much thick drapes absorb sound. Acoustic panels also help.


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Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2857614 06/11/19 07:49 PM
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The hammers get compressed over time, so the sound gets harsher and brighter. A good tech can "needle" the hammers and soften them up a bit. I did that to a Yamaha upright (and a grand) back when and it made a difference.

I would agree with the sound dampening advice presented here. A fluffy rug. Dense window treatments. Soft furniture with pillows and throws. If you've got a grand, consider an ottoman under it. We also made our own decorative acoustic panels which worked out pretty well. Nice fabric from the fancy store, stretched over frames, with acoustic batting behind the cloth. Made a bunch of them. Short money, works well, looks good.

I have a "stone room" in my main residence (tile, cement block, glass, etc.) and we were able to soften up the tone of my grand without a lot of drama, and without changing the character of the instrument. It sounds wonderful these days.

Getting rid of that clangy sound is definitely achievable.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

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Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2857729 06/12/19 09:00 AM
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Daniel, did you ever figure out what to do? I was dealing with this exact issue just recently. Before we moved, my upright sat in a 13 by 20 ft. room, the room had a sofa and two big plush fabric chairs -- IOW, lots of soft furniture! In our new house, I have a dedicated piano room (yay!) so there's no soft furniture in it, and at first, no curtains (only blinds, which when closed are probably almost as "live" as a hard wood floor). And it's also 11 by 18 feet. The room is super live, and although there's an area rug in there, with nothing else, it was really painful (on the ears) to play.

I thought about voicing, although I was hesitant to spend the money on that because I'm preparing to upgrade to a grand. Also, my tuner said I should be really hesitant to have that done because, in his words "voicing is destructive" and once it's done, it can't be undone.

So, what I did was use some flat foam cushions from Walmart, that you can buy at a bigger Walmart that has a crafts section in it (not one of those "neighborhood" Walmarts that mainly have food). And I put those cushions between the back of the piano and the wall. I experimented with how much "coverage" to have. So first I have cushions all the way from the bottom of the piano to the top, and the full width of the piano, bass to treble. Well, that kind of made it sound dead, so I started taking the cushions out. What I ended up with is cushions that go from the treble side to a little more than halfway past the middle of the piano, so there are no cushions behind the bass side of the piano, and they stop about a foot or a foot and a half from the top of the piano.

It has made such a difference! So if you haven't tried something like this, I highly recommend it. Much easier, and cheaper, than trying to get acoustic tiles or something, and easier to make minor adjustments than it would be with a blanket or something floppy. Also, the cushions don't really touch the back of the piano, they sit just outside the frame, and I suspect that helps as well.

I'll see if I can find a link for the cushions so you can see what I'm talking about.


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2857734 06/12/19 09:11 AM
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Ok, I can't remember what kind I got, but I think these are close:

Walmart:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Morning-...lar-Density-Foam-Cushion-2-pack/50178782

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/24-Square-Foam-Sheet/dp/B00CAYALT4/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=foam%2Bcushion&qid=1560348217&refinements=p_36%3A-1000&rnid=2638325011&s=arts-crafts&sr=1-9&th=1

If you get something from Walmart, it's returnable too if you discover that it's not the solution you want. (At Walmart they would either be in the crafts section or in bedding/housewares I think).

The benefit of these kinds of cushions is that they practically stand up on their own, and they keep their shape. So you can stack them so that they go up along the back of the piano, and if you need to you can easily push them around for placement or removal. And you can cut them if you want to have more control over the area that they cover.

If you like, I'll check when I go home and let you know how thick the ones I used are (1 inch or 2 inch).


Started piano June 1999.
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Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2939086 01/27/20 03:53 AM
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I am also looking for a solution to quiet an upright piano. I tried the method above, using this material:

https://www.hornbach.de/shop/Noppenplatte-Schaumstoff-Akupur-200x100x5-cm/6225568/artikel.html

which is advertised as a very good sound absorbing material. However the effect is minimal. I measured the loudness with an app on my iphone, and the difference between before and after is about ~1dB.

I also asked the techniker who tuned the piano for advice; he suggested to put a thick and heavy wooden panel behind the soundboard. I haven't tried this method yet, since it takes more effort to implement.

I already did some searching on this topic, and it seems the common solutions belong to 2 groups:

(1) use a sound-absorbing material: acoustic foam, curtains, heavy blankets, etc. These materials absorb sound.

(2) use a sound-proofing material: wood, or heavy material which block (and hence reflect) the sound back to where it comes from.

The solutions in group (1) seem more popular, yet I am surprised to hear a suggestion for a solution in group (2) from a piano techniker.

What is your opinion on this topic?

Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2939094 01/27/20 04:38 AM
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Did you know that pianos used to be very quiet instruments?

Chopin's pianos were so quiet and soft-sounding that they were not really fit for concerts, and the concerts he was able to give were in very small halls.

In the late 1800's pianos became much louder, and in the last 50 years or so, even louder.

And yet so many people complain about their piano being too loud. What's going on?


Max di Mario
Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
acortot #2939114 01/27/20 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by acortot
Did you know that pianos used to be very quiet instruments?

Chopin's pianos were so quiet and soft-sounding that they were not really fit for concerts, and the concerts he was able to give were in very small halls.

In the late 1800's pianos became much louder, and in the last 50 years or so, even louder.

And yet so many people complain about their piano being too loud. What's going on?



What's going on is improvement in materials technology. With stronger plates and stronger strings, modern instruments can put a whole lot more tension on the strings than they could back in Chopin's day. Of course it would be possible to make new pianos with historic low tension scales. It's just a matter of convincing a piano company that there's a large enough market to make that worthwhile.....



-- J.S.


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Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2939130 01/27/20 06:14 AM
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Tony - I had the same problem/situation. What helped in my case greatly was that I put a kid‘s mattress behind the piano. So roughly like you did with the sound absorbing material, but I think my material is a bit thicker. Also in my case my mattress is touching the back of the piano, which probably helps in absorbing. I also out a rug under the piano.

This only reduces by about 2dB. The rest would need to come from articulation, i.e. softer playing. I f this does not suffice, then you would probably need a voicing. If your piano is relatively old (maybe more than 10 years or so) and has never been voiced then that‘s probably what is causing the problem. Felts get compressed and sound harsher over time.


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Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2939134 01/27/20 06:21 AM
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My U3 was way too loud for my living room, and I live in a townhouse, so i had to tame it. And it worked out quite succesfully.

Besides the obvious things like putting it on a carpet, I did 2 things that make alot of difference.

1 - Polypress between the backposts. This is heavy material which is also used for sound isolation in walls. (Don't use acoustic foam or bubble foam, things like that are too light, and hardly reduce any volume.) The volume will immediatly be reduced, but you will also loose some of the openness of the sound. Do this at your own risk. Some say it can cause a problem with the soundboard because it can't breath at the back, others say it won't cause any problems. I got this tip from a Dutch piano technician, and he says it won't be a problem, because the polypress is not air tight. It still breathes a little, and yes it does, I tested it, I can blow air through it. Personally I don't think it will cause problems, and ill take the risk, because I want to play my piano, rather than sell it for a digital. I used a thickness that let's 2cm of space between the polypress and the soundboard, because it should not touch the soundboard. If it touches the soundboard, the piano will be even softer, but it will also destroy the tone and the resonance.

https://imgshare.io/image/uWmpg
https://imgshare.io/image/uWxix


2. If you want to make it even softer. You can replace the thick muffler rail felt with very thin cloth, like from a pillowcase. This thin cloth between the hammers and the strings will make the piano softer and mellower. Add as many layers as you want, till you reach the result you want. (Don't worry, this sounds nothing like the original muffler rail felt, it will sound like a piano, just a softer and mellower one.)

https://imgshare.io/image/uWTxS

If you wonder how my piano sounds after all this, i made an example. This is with all panels on and the lid fully closed:

https://sndup.net/5rfm

(don't mind the dog)

Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Daniel odriscoll #2939225 01/27/20 10:35 AM
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So the sound example is with all panels on and the lid closed, but is it also with the muffler rail on? Sounds good by the way. Quite soft and gentle.


W.Hoffmann T122, Roland FP-50, Roland RD-64
Re: How to reduce sound of a piano
Gretel #2939232 01/27/20 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Gretel
So the sound example is with all panels on and the lid closed, but is it also with the muffler rail on? Sounds good by the way. Quite soft and gentle.


Yes, it's with all panels on, lid fully closed and with the modified muffler rail on. I recorded it with an old zoom H4 which i just placed on the music rack.

I plan to get it voiced down so i don't need te muffler rail anymore. The drawback of it is when you play with removed front panel you can hear the hammers hitting the cloth a bit, which is annoying. And I expect it to sound even better without it, since the intended way to play a piano is of course without cloth between the hammers and strings.

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