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Q about 'Silent Pianos'
#3034084 10/10/20 09:28 AM
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Hi guys

I am in the process of selling my Yamaha Montage 8 to get an acoustic piano since well I'm classically trained and I miss playing advanced music the "right way"
with a good piano touch and a real instrument. That being said, I currently live in an apartment building with many neighbors and pretty awful acoustics overall
and I wanna be able to play at any time without interrupting my neighbors too much, also at night hours sometimes or between 14:00-16:00

My question is: is silent piano a good solution? I wonder whether there's a reliability problem in comparison with normal pianos due to the electronic system.
Will I be able to also use a silent piano keybed to trigger 3rd party VSTs and play them using my headphones and monitors as well? This is actually important to me if
I'm going to invest in a silent piano, not sure how far the MIDI capability goes on there and if it's any good and responsive like a normal electronic MIDI keyboard.

Anything else I should be considering?
thank you for your input
cheers

Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3034089 10/10/20 09:58 AM
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Unless you really do not have the space for a separate very simple digital (slab + stand + pedals), IMHO "silent" pianos are always a poor compromise, and adding "silent" to an existing acoustic is usually more expensive than acquiring a separate digital. You need no cabinet or speaker system since you will use it silently into headphones. You do need a good keyboard action (such as the Roland PHA 50 or similar Yamaha/Kawai gear). With a Roland FP 90 or Yamaha P 515 you will be state of the art and it will cost you around $1600 with reasonable phones.

Last edited by Vikendios; 10/10/20 10:00 AM.


Steinway "A". Roland LX 706. Viscount Sonus 45 hybrid organ with 165 real pipes. Harpsichord by Marc Fontaine.
Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3034108 10/10/20 11:03 AM
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Actually, Yamaha has changed the design of their grands and added a "bump stop" on the heel of the jack. This compensates for the small change in geometry when you switch the piano into the "silent mode". It is a very good solution.

I can always tell when a retrofit system is put in. It is simple science. The hammer travel is a little shorter and the key feels a little different. I notice the difference, but casual players sometimes do not. Just be aware of that issue.


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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3034114 10/10/20 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Chummy
[...]I 0wanna be able to play at any time without interrupting my neighbors too much, also at night hours sometimes or between 14:00-16:00

[...]

14:00 - 16:00 on a 24-hour clock is 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (afternoon); so, what do you mean?

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3034118 10/10/20 11:30 AM
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Silent pianos are not really silent at all. The hammers hitting the stop rail generate considerable noise. If you live in an appartment with many neighbours and awful acoustics, your neighbours will most likely complain about "those awful percussion sounds" they hear when you are playing. Yes, you can use a silent system as a MIDI controller for VSTs. I am doing exactly that: I own a Sauter upright with a retrofit Pianodisc silencer (I would not buy again because of lack of precision) and exclusively play it with Galaxy Vintage D on my notebook. The sound is quite good, see my recordings. You will only need some time to design the proper velocity curve.

Your questions have already been covered in lots of previous threads and the consensus there was the best solution is to have 2 instruments, an acoustic and a good digital. A silent system should only apply if you do not have enough space for two instruments.

Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
BruceD #3034381 10/11/20 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Chummy
[...]I 0wanna be able to play at any time without interrupting my neighbors too much, also at night hours sometimes or between 14:00-16:00

[...]

14:00 - 16:00 on a 24-hour clock is 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (afternoon); so, what do you mean?

Regards,

In many places around the Mediterranean, 14:00 to 16:00 is siesta time, the most sacred hours of the day for silence. Only cicadas are allowed to sing.



Steinway "A". Roland LX 706. Viscount Sonus 45 hybrid organ with 165 real pipes. Harpsichord by Marc Fontaine.
Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3034388 10/11/20 08:31 AM
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“ In many places around the Mediterranean, 14:00 to 16:00 is siesta time, the most sacred hours of the day for silence. Only cicadas are allowed to sing. “

Thank you for reminding us. It’s nice to think sensible traditions are still followed in some parts of the globe. After lunch on a hot Mediterranean afternoon the only thing people can do is sleep. laugh

We have the same dilemma in the Southwest US. Summer afternoons can get hot and the only thing you want to do is find a quiet shaded room and sleep for a couple of hours.


J & J
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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3034520 10/11/20 02:17 PM
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hi guys and thank you for your responses.
Based on your input I have decided to not sell my Montage 8 and not get a silent piano instead.
my parents actually have real upright and they leave quite nearby but due to the virus, it's been more than a month since I've seen them and I kinda crave playing acoustic (real) piano too
which led me to the thought of getting myself one... It's not a problem of space actually I have plenty of it. Neighbors and poor acoustics are the issue here.
but alas, everything in life has time I guess, and one day I'll justify getting a real piano when I live elsewhere, in the meantime The Montage 8 is not bad of an action actually.

regards
Chummy

Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3034966 10/12/20 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Chummy
Anything else I should be considering?

You should consider a separate digital piano and an acoustic piano combination if space and money budget allows. There are many advantage to this approach. Your choices increase significantly - both in new and used market. Except for a very few silent pianos, many silent system compromise the action of the acoustic piano. No such issues with an acoustic only instrument. Much easier maintenance. Better resale prospects. You could upgrade each independently in future as per need/budget.

Osho


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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Osho #3035014 10/13/20 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Osho
You should consider a separate digital piano and an acoustic piano combination if space and money budget allows. There are many advantage to this approach.
Osho

This issue comes up a lot, and Pianist685 is thinking along the same lines as you. Not saying you are wrong at all, but I think it depends on the situation.

To provide a different perspective: about a year ago I started looking into silent pianos to replace my mid-range DP (a Kawai CA58), and eventually I bought one. What I found is that indeed retrofited silent systems are not always very good. There is no reason that I know of that they can't be. But apparently it is a lot of work to regulate them optimally, which is not always done because the costs would be higher. However, Yamaha and Kawai systems are designed for the piano's they are built into (which is done in the factory) and modern ones are of mechanically and digitally of high quality. E.g., my Kawai silent system is very similar (the same?) to the system in your Novus NV10, which is among the best DPs on the market.

Although things like resale value etc should certainly be considered, in the end you buy a piano to play the piano, and to me it seems that playing on a Kawai silent piano silently is way better than playing on a 2000-3000 euro Kawai digital piano. This is because the action is so much better. So my point is: it depends on how much you are going to play with headphones. If that is a lot, you may appreciate a good silent piano much more than a acoustic / DP combo. I have been playing my K300 atx3 for about half a year now and would not go back to my CA58 in a million years.

Before buying I was quite nervous about reports here and elsewhere that the regulation of a silent piano is 'a compromise' and therefore will never be as good as an acoustic-only. In practice I could not detect differences between the silent and non-silent versions of a K300 and K500. Sensors are optical and blow distance apparently is designed/regulated well. I paid much attention to very soft playing (because this was problematic on my CA58) and had an advanced-level pianist with many decades of grand and upright piano experience checking this as well.

Given the above, it remains of course true that with a silent piano your choices are much more limited in terms of which piano you buy. Perhaps only a Kawai or Yamaha... Although I saw that Bechstein has a brand new silent system for their pianos (which include Hoffman) that I did not try (the older one is not so good, I found), and also that Petrof will deliver them built-in from the factory. They may be good as well. It seems other manufacturers are waking up now.

Last edited by pianogabe; 10/13/20 01:44 AM. Reason: typo

Yamaha P-115 -> Kawai CA-58 -> Kawai K-300 ATX3
Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3035056 10/13/20 06:23 AM
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A factory fitted silent system like Yamaha supply will be very good. You need not worry about the noise travelling out and disturbing anyone. The only person that might be able to hear it is someone who is sitting in the same room doing something quiet while you are playing the piano in silent mode, and then it would be a gentle clunking noise, not really all that intrusive.

If they have the TV on for example it would be virtually unnoticeable.


Yamaha U1. Yamaha P-45. Yamaha RD-250 (a long time ago). smile
Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
scirocco #3035095 10/13/20 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by scirocco
A factory fitted silent system like Yamaha supply will be very good. You need not worry about the noise travelling out and disturbing anyone. The only person that might be able to hear it is someone who is sitting in the same room doing something quiet while you are playing the piano in silent mode, and then it would be a gentle clunking noise, not really all that intrusive.

If they have the TV on for example it would be virtually unnoticeable.
Hmmm... The proof of the pudding is always in the eating. I have heard that the factory fitted Yamaha and Kawai silencers are good, but the mute rail should be more or less identical in all the silent systems. Of course, I can only speak for my retrofit Pianodisc system: when I played it for the first time my neighbours asked me if I was playing strange rhythms on some kind of drum. The impact sound travels through the structure, esp. the floor of the building. My piano is standing on a carpeted floor and I additionally put stripes of Isofloor underneath the instrument, but the structure-borne noise still remains. This has been the subject of previous threads as well.

Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3035134 10/13/20 10:07 AM
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There are a few Youtube videos around that show Yamaha silents playing in silent mode, but with no background noise so it is hard to tell in absolute terms how loud the clunking is.

However, I found one video where the guy is talking while playing in silent mode which gives a bit of context to how loud the clunking is. And notice that this is with the lid open. If it was closed it would be even quieter.

The playing is at 6 minutes 55 but the link below should go there anyway.

Silent Yamaha


Yamaha U1. Yamaha P-45. Yamaha RD-250 (a long time ago). smile
Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3035146 10/13/20 10:46 AM
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Went to a piano store recently and there was a Johannes Seiler GS112 silent piano on display. You move the middle paddle to the left to switch to silent mode. The lower right is where you plug in the headphones as shown. When it is in silent mode, there is no sound.

Based on the info online: the pianos are manufactured entirely at Samick's Indonesian factory, using German CNC machinery, to the exact scales and specifications of the hand-built German models.

The model shown here is around US $7,800:
44" Silent Upright Piano
Available Finishes- High Polish Ebony, High Polished Dark Walnut, High Polished Red
New Johannes Seiler Artisan Adjustable Bench Included
Slow Close Fallboard
10 Year Manufacturers Warranty

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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3035148 10/13/20 10:51 AM
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If your neighbors ask you if you are playing some kind of percussion instrument then explain that you are playing a silent piano. I guess you will never hear anything from your neighbors again. It’s not a problem if your neighbors hear something sometimes from you. I also don’t have a problem if I hear something sometimes. I guess they were just curious and couldn’t place what they were hearing. It’s definitely not a loud sound.

Last edited by Gretel; 10/13/20 10:51 AM.

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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
thepianoplayer416 #3035170 10/13/20 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Went to a piano store recently and there was a Johannes Seiler GS112 silent piano on display...Based on the info online: the pianos are manufactured entirely at Samick's Indonesian factory, using German CNC machinery, to the exact scales and specifications of the hand-built German models.

Just for the sake of accuracy, I believe only the ED models are the facsimiles of the German Seiler models.

Does a CNC machine know its nationality? grin


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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3035213 10/13/20 02:04 PM
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In this video you can hear the noise level of different acoustic pianos and also hybrids and digital pianos. The K500 silent is very quiet.

https://youtu.be/Xfee0c8ww2A

Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Boboulus #3035234 10/13/20 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Boboulus
In this video you can hear the noise level of different acoustic pianos and also hybrids and digital pianos. The K500 silent is very quiet.

https://youtu.be/Xfee0c8ww2A

This video is useless for noise level comparison IMO, and can hint only about the action sound timbre/tone.
The mic is noticeably placed at different distance from keys, there is no guarantee that the finger pressure applied is the same (subjectively it is not from what I saw), he does not play the same (weighted!) keys on all pianos, and even ambient shows different noise levels which may mean that the mic gain level was automatic instead of fixed. Add to this that the demo DP might be set to different touch sensitivity, etc.
Add to this that different models employ different dampening desings, and transmit different levels of vibration to the piano body, and to the floor.

Last edited by VladK; 10/13/20 03:14 PM.

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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3035241 10/13/20 03:25 PM
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The more or less properly executed test would be to measure the silent action which generates the same MIDI velocity, say 65, for middle C with fixed gain mic from the same distance. And even then we ignore the fact that even if we generated the same velocity, hitting the key with finger with different initial speed during the contact will produce different noise levels as well. You can push (silent initial contact sound), or hit hard but slowdown after touching the key - the contact sound will be relatively loud.
There are 2 sound sources - the action itself, and the contact of finger with the key surface.

Last edited by VladK; 10/13/20 03:26 PM.

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Re: Q about 'Silent Pianos'
Chummy #3035245 10/13/20 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Chummy
hi guys and thank you for your responses.
Based on your input I have decided to not sell my Montage 8 and not get a silent piano instead.
my parents actually have real upright and they leave quite nearby but due to the virus, it's been more than a month since I've seen them and I kinda crave playing acoustic (real) piano too

Anything wrong with just using the practice mute pedal in a regular acoustic? I mean, sure, you're not gonna get the proper tonal color and sound, but it's enough for practicing. Or is that still too loud.

For me personally, I'm generally of the opinion that for the premium of getting a silent (upright) piano, I'd rather just buy a better piano.

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