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How quietly should I set my keyboard?
#2965335 04/10/20 08:32 AM
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Currently, since I am not with my family right now, I have my apartment with a keyboard and a roommate. I play in the living room; my bedroom is the closer bedroom to the living room, but I think most of the sound travels through doors/windows/floors and not walls in this building, anyway.

My roommate suggested I should play less loudly to avoid disturbing study; even earplugs are not enough to block me out, apparently.

How can I know how much less loudly that means? (Yes, I see that the answer is some combination of ask-my-roommate and conduct-an-experiment, but so intensive!)

However, I get nervous playing too loudly, so I don't think I usually play very loudly, anyway. True, since I have a keyboard, I can set the volume very quietly, or I can try to use headphones (though they are annoying).

I play more loudly during my lessons--maybe set volume 3x. -And it is possible that the lessons were the primary cause for complaint.-

But how can I gauge if I am being too loud? How can I know that my roommate doesn't just have super-sharp hearing compared to me? How can I be willing to play only at ppp?

Likewise, how can I know that my streaming music on my computer is not too loud? Could that be my way of testing--I -haven't- got complaints about streaming music, only about playing keyboard?

Maybe I could buy more intense earplugs for my roommate.

Thanks...
Sorry for being so unscientific.

Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
winterflower #2965366 04/10/20 11:12 AM
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Find an acoustic piano, and play it for a few minutes.

... That's how loud your DP should sound.

For inexpensive DP's, that's usually around 3/4 of "full volume".

If that's way louder than your roommate can tolerate, use headphones.

If headphones are "annoying", find a pair that fits comfortably, for an hour or more. Or try using earbuds (called "in-ear monitors" for higher-quality versions, e.g. Shure SE215).

I've used Skullcandy earbuds, which are much less costly than the Shure's, but deliver OK sound. "Ink'd" are their lowest-cost line, and adequate. "Smokin' Buds 2" should be better.

IMHO you'll get better bass out of "sealed" ("noise isolating") earbuds, than "open" earbuds.

Headphone fit is very personal. Different people can't tolerate model X, or model Y, or whatever. My preference is for big-diameter, deep earcups, closed-back -- Senn HD280 or Sony MDR7506. Other people disagree.

The only earplugs I know that block out _all_ sound is a pair of push-in foam earplugs, with an industrial "hearing protector" on top of them. If your roommate accepts that combination, you're very lucky.

sorry for the poor organization --


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
winterflower #2965374 04/10/20 11:27 AM
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Thank you (and for anyone else who responds.)

I think maybe I can play a little more quietly than I like in general, and that the main problem is during my lessons, which should be acceptable.

Outside of lessons, I can probably get away with playing a-little-too-quietly, or with headphones.

Even I can see the rooms are not flawlessly soundproof, as sometimes I hear my roommate's computer.
---------------
It is possible I even set up the keyboard for 'slightly louder than a piano' during lessons, and since it is a keyboard, it seems easier to make a few notes come out disproportionately loud. But I think I might be safest going with 'slightly quieter than a piano'.

Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
winterflower #2965380 04/10/20 11:32 AM
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What I might need to do is buy new headphones, so it is nice to have a few suggestions. (Mine are buggy when plugged in to my keyboard; I have a jack, but... there's a design problem.)

Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
winterflower #2965395 04/10/20 12:20 PM
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So, you have a digital piano but refuse playing it with headphones, although you can, and although your flatmate is annoyed... smile

BTW, I play much better on headphones because I know nobody is listening to me and so I can play whatever I want and however I want and ultimately that gives me much more freedom. Even the slightest bit of thought that I'm annoying someone will totally ruin my playing.

But I guess it's about self-confidence.

P.S. If you still want headphones, go to the digital piano forum, there are at lest 1000 threads about that wink My recommendation is to use open-back over the ear headphones, they are more comfortable, the ears can "breathe" and the sound isn't boxy and too bassy.

Last edited by CyberGene; 04/10/20 12:23 PM.

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Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
winterflower #2965409 04/10/20 01:02 PM
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The sound of my Kawai CA65 is infinitely better with headphones. In fact, I bought the digital specifically to be used with headphones. I can practice whenever I need to without disturbing anyone else in the house.

Fortunately I have a pair of over the ear Sansui headphones that I bought at an Army PX in Germany in 1970 that still look new, function beautifully and are very comfortable to wear.

Of course, even if you use headphones others living with you can still hear the clicking/thumping of the keyboard keys. smile

Last edited by Carey; 04/10/20 01:03 PM.

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Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
winterflower #2965424 04/10/20 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by winterflower
My roommate suggested I should play less loudly to avoid disturbing study; even earplugs are not enough to block me out, apparently.
Lots of experienced pianists - including myself - use digitals with headphones so that we don't disturb our neighbours.

In fact, my (high end) digital doesn't even have speakers. I'm surrounded by neighbours on all sides.




Quote
How can I be willing to play only at ppp?
Don't play only at pp - you're only going to destroy your sense of touch and dynamic control.

That's why you need good headphones.

If you need a recommendation, try the ones I use - Sennheiser HD 600. They will last far longer than your digital if you look after them properly, and they also have excellent sound when plugged into your computer - far, far better than your computer's speakers.

I use them with my hi-fi system also (when listening to CDs or digital radio).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
winterflower #2966417 04/13/20 09:42 AM
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According to my experience there are2 groups of people regarding making noise that may disturb other people. The ones that don't give a [censored] about disturbing other people and even when they are asked to reduce the noise it seems their brains can't even understand it. Most people in my family is that way and i always been amazed how insensitive they can be. Since childhood no matter what i told them made any effect. Please brother turn dowm the tv while you are in bed, i can listen to it through the walls and i cant sleep and it's been the second night i have to go into your room and turn it off because you felt sleep. Please mom turn down the music, I'm trying to study and my ears are in pain because so many hours witn the earplugs in. Please do you really have to hit the walls with that hammer right now af 6am? Do you really need your computer to make continuous beep noises while you're on the web, can't you just be on the web silently like everybody else? I know you are with your buddy doing whatever stuff you think is cool at the basement so you put rock music and you fantasize about being the coolest guys in the hood, but it is really necessary to leave the music on after you have gone out and leave the door wide open? It is really necessary that as big as the world is you and your buddies have to come right under my window every Sunday morning screaming and discussing who is the best football player and who knows more about football players?

But is useless. This kind of people is completely unable to digest through their minds that the noise they make may be a disturbance to other people.
When they're annoyed by the noises of other people and they complain about it, and i told them "well you see that's what i was complaining for so many years about you" they don't even remember, it's like i don't know, some kind of retarded mind in that area.

The second group is the people that is conscious about not disturbing other ones. I'm in this group and all my life, except when i was a very little child, say till 8 or 9, i always have understood noise as a major annoyance so I've tried to avoid it, and no causing it. I don't need nobody to complain about it. It's common sense to me. Anyone to perform almost any task and to rest and just in order to keep health, needs a silent environment and needs noises from other people not to reach them. When my parents bought me my first digital piano i played it everyday but i always used headphones except when i was home alone or they were watching tv or whatever. They even thought i had stop playing because they never heard me.

So to me the rule is very simple. Noise is always bad. Whenever someone complains stop immediately and even better never go to the point where someone has to complain. This doesnt mind you have to be a Saint silent person in a world full of careless noisy people. With age I've learned to retaliate whenever it's necessary. Oh you're [censored] me with your noises? Wait a minute i remember now, i have a piano and i love to play it very loud at any time. But you know, having the nuclear weapon doesn't mind you have to use it, just make sure everybody knows you have it.

So summing up if your mate complains about noise don't ask anything here or anywhere. Just stop annoying your mate. Don't be a pain in the ass.

Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
winterflower #2966427 04/13/20 10:07 AM
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Ubu
I don’t agree with your conclusion not to ask here what to do when your mate complains. Asking here gets you valuable information: don’t play softer as that will affect your playing. Get headphones.

Re: How quietly should I set my keyboard?
Ubu #2967571 04/16/20 03:07 AM
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As someone who is hypersensitive to sound and who is an awfully light sleeper, I relate with your flatmate and with what Ubu wrote. From living with two other flatmates in an old apartment in a squeaky German house, I know that a digital piano is heard much more loudly and directly than, say, streaming music or watching movies. I think it's because its entire body stands against a wall, so the sound travels much more directly with less air in the way. For me, it's often very hard to ask others to turn down whatever they're doing, so I decided to pick my battles- I've stopped being picky about the daytime so I can ask for night quiet. Which still feels like a lot, since I sleep early. My flatmate doesn't like to use headphones, which I totally understand- they can be annoying and are unhealthy when used over prolonged periods. But I personally find it strange and incomprehensible that she would practice for a bit in the morning before going to school while our third flatmate is still sleeping, or that she would sometimes start practicing just a bit before 10 pm, when I am starting to fall asleep, when I am too physically tired to get out of bed and ask her to please stop. She does stop on her own half an hour later, but the damage is already done. It takes at least another hour to fall back asleep, and I can't afford to wake up an hour later or to sleep an hour or two less. She is such a kind person and shows understanding every time I ask, but to me, it is always incredibly painful, almost humiliating, to ask multiple times, and I wish the message could get across once. But it also makes me think, like Ubu put it, that it's simply so hard for people who don't mind noise to live in the skin of those who do.

This was of course all pre-Corona, when I could afford to spend most of the day at school and at the library and just come home to sleep. There were times when I had to do some study while she was practicing, and I let it go because it was short, but I would find it impossible to concentrate if I had to do it every day or for hours. These days I am so lucky to have the apartment to myself, as both have gone home to their families from the start of the crisis, and I am so grateful that I can use her electric piano when I no longer have access to the university buildings. But I still worry so much about the neighbors downstairs and practice at the lowest volume possible. I asked them if they hear it, and they said I can gladly play louder if I wanted, but I can't get myself to. I must admit that the constant fear of being loud and of being heard has affected my playing over the years, and reading this thread makes me more aware of it (and actually terrified of the realization).

A hyper-sensitive person is a hypersensitive person; I honestly think that suggesting buying stronger ear-plugs for them would come across as a little offensive and insensitive. Ear plugs are so effective at blocking outside noises- streets, cars, birds, but much less for noise in your own small apartment. I've tried all kinds of earplugs and use them daily, and I always read about the potential dangers of sustained use, but I can't manage otherwise. But if headphones are annoying, then earplugs are much more so. I would sit down with your roommate and ask them all of your honest questions- how loud is too loud, what is ok, when is ok. Make sure you show concern, not judgment. Show willingness to cooperate while also stressing that practice is very important for you. I would invest in good headphones to use in combination with low volume, to keep your ears healthy- I plan to do that same. Agree on a time during the day when you can turn it up when they're potentially not studying. For your lessons, I think you definitely have the right to use normal volume. I would maybe always tell them in advance when your lesson is planned to take place and apologize for the noise it will cause. For me personally, all I want to know is that others are aware and considerate, so if my flatmate sincerely asked, I would probably be so moved and grateful for their empathy that I wouldn't mind at all.


"Love has to be the starting point- love of music. It is one of my firmest convictions that love always produces some knowledge, while knowledge only rarely produces something similar to love."
Arthur Schnabel


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