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#3061495 12/26/20 05:28 PM
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Hi all,

I have been reading with interest all the threads about quietening a piano, by adding towels, carpets and foam...

Some time from now, I will be replacing a Kawai CN29 played at half range with an accoustic, and would not want to look for something that would lead me to have to change everything... I play in a corner of my living room, where the wall on which the piano stands is literally 2 meters away from the window...

So I was wondering. Will a shorter upright work in a smaller room? What would be the effect of going with a bechstein 114 instead of a 124? Would a Kawai K300 sound significantly less loud than a K500? Or is size only marginally changing the volume?

Thanks and Merry Christmas to all!

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Originally Posted by xlider
Hi all,

I have been reading with interest all the threads about quietening a piano, by adding towels, carpets and foam...

Some time from now, I will be replacing a Kawai CN29 played at half range with an accoustic, and would not want to look for something that would lead me to have to change everything... I play in a corner of my living room, where the wall on which the piano stands is literally 2 meters away from the window...

So I was wondering. Will a shorter upright work in a smaller room? What would be the effect of going with a bechstein 114 instead of a 124? Would a Kawai K300 sound significantly less loud than a K500? Or is size only marginally changing the volume?

Thanks and Merry Christmas to all!

Hello!

I'm no pro, but I've had a few upright pianos of various sizes, ranging from a spinet (35inch), a console (40inch), a studio (45inch), a professional upright (48inch), up to a 52inch full size upright. And, it has been my experience that some of the smaller uprights can squeal pretty loud (as we say here in the south smile ).

On the surface, logic would indicate a taller upright would have more volume due to the larger soundboard. But that is not always the case. (some things defy logic smile ). It actually depends on the individual piano in question.

I believe I would try some of the things you've read about first, to try and subdue the volume of your upright piano before trading up or down, just for the sake of volume.

Good luck!

Rick


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As a generalisation it seem pianos have become louder as room sizes have become smaller.

100 years ago and more. piano hammers were lighter and softer. Why not ask for pianos with hammers suitable for modern living spaces?


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Originally Posted by xlider
Would a Kawai K300 sound significantly less loud than a K500? Or is size only marginally changing the volume?

I have not played these Kawais, but I did play the Yamaha U1 (48") side-by-side with a U3 (52") inside a small room. The main difference I noticed was not in the volume of the sound but in the sound itself. The treble sounded similar and the bass of the taller U3 sounded less harsh/more pleasant to my ears. So my impression is that a 4-inch difference won't make a significant difference in volume.


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I had a very mellow, rather quiet sounding 48" upright.
It was nevertheless perfectly balanced in tone. It was a Kawai KL502 . This model is ideal for someone who wants a quiet piano.(it was actually a used piano from Japan)
Shorter German uprights (from what I have heard) have quite a powerful tone. So you need to try the Bechstein 114 before deciding.
Since you are not buying now ,there is plenty of time to do this.

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Originally Posted by xlider
Would a Kawai K300 sound significantly less loud than a K500? Or is size only marginally changing the volume?

I have the K300 and have played the K500 a couple of times. The K500 seems indeed somewhat louder, but it is hard to say for sure (since the rooms also differ, and I didn't play them side by side). It does not appear as a dramatic difference. If you are considering both, I would go for the K500. It is more expensive but if that is not a major problem to you, then it is worth it (although I like the K300 also very much).

If the acoustic turns out a little too loud, you can always add some sound absorbing to the room, like a carpet. The window will reflect sound. You could use absorbing material on the opposite wall. That would break the standing waves between two parallel reflective surfaces, which is the largest source of room resonance.


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If you are used to playing your keyboard at half volume *any* acoustic is likely to be a shock and sound incredibly loud as your fingers will most likely be trained to work with that. My suggestion is, right now, to turn that volume up full to develop the more gentle touch you will ned with (almost all) acoustics.

Larger pianos can, in general, sound richer and louder than smaller ones but the difference tends to be more in the power you can get from them when you want to, i.e. the dynamic range is greater but they aren't necessarily any louder when played quietly. You will ned to develop the touch for this - hence the suggestion earlier.

Modern uprights have developed and (I keep saying in general as there is so much variety) have become more powerful with greater dynamic range and you may find that, after you have become accustomed to the response of an acoustic, you actually prefer this. If not and you still want a more laid back and gentle presentation it could be worth looking at the (at least here in the UK) many old and varied uprights available. Not all are good, not all are quiet, but some are lovely and intimate - you just have to find the right piano for yourself. You can alter volume and tone with room furnishings and voicing somewhat, but it is always better to start with a piano you like and which produces the basic sound quality you want.

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Originally Posted by gwing
If you are used to playing your keyboard at half volume *any* acoustic is likely to be a shock and sound incredibly loud as your fingers will most likely be trained to work with that. My suggestion is, right now, to turn that volume up full to develop the more gentle touch you will ned with (almost all) acoustics.
[...]
Modern uprights have developed and (I keep saying in general as there is so much variety) have become more powerful with greater dynamic range and you may find that, after you have become accustomed to the response of an acoustic, you actually prefer this. If not and you still want a more laid back and gentle presentation it could be worth looking at the (at least here in the UK) many old and varied uprights available. Not all are good, not all are quiet, but some are lovely and intimate - you just have to find the right piano for yourself. You can alter volume and tone with room furnishings and voicing somewhat, but it is always better to start with a piano you like and which produces the basic sound quality you want.

Listen to this guy! I couldnt agree more: there is a lot you can do to make a piano less powerful without completely killing it: this includes both voicing and adding material to the piano (more effective than adding to the room)
I can confirm the observation that smaller and older tend to mean less powerful in pianos. So an older one in good condition might be a good choice for you. I used to own a 1969 steinway Z and that was nice and quiet but the best small upright I've played was a small Sauter. Certainly not cheap but very nice and balanced sound for the size.

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Originally Posted by Keybender
Adding material to the piano is more effective than adding to the room

In what way is it more effective? Won't material added to the piano change the quality of its sound?

Last edited by Withindale; 12/28/20 08:36 AM.

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Originally Posted by Lady Bird in Sound absotption for a loud piano

A good article (quote): It’s important to distinguish between acoustical problems caused by the piano and those caused by the room. For instance, a problem of too much loudness is often caused by a piano that is too large for the room. This can be best addressed at or close to the piano, rather than by increasing the amount of sound-absorbing materials elsewhere in the room. On the other hand, such problems as harshness of tone, excess lingering sound, and hot and dead spots, can often be attributed to the room.

Last edited by Withindale; 12/28/20 08:47 AM.

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https://www.dutchdesignpiano.nl/

I tried one of these last week at a private seller so it was in a living room.

As advertised it has a very pleasant living-room friendly volume indeed. But the rest was kind of hard to tell since the piano wasn't tuned in 3 years and needed some more maintenance as well. I'm not too sure about the tone, and the sustain pedal wasn't even working. I forgot to hold a key to see if the sustain is any good. It's action felt very good.

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I have a K800 and it does have a very nice full sound that I enjoy. To make it quieter, the technician Kawai sent adjusted the hammer distance, so that at rest it would be closer to the strings. It's similar to holding the soft pedal down a little. I find that it also improves the repetition as well. You can try to adjust this yourself by taking the panel off of the bottom of the piano and adjusting the nut that connects the pedal rod with the soft pedal. Before the technician adjusted it, he said the original hammer distance was a couple mm greater than spec, and he said it was likely setup for a much larger venue than a house. After a few weeks, I adjusted it more.

The other problem with the K800 is that there is a lot of "echo" because the dampers by themselves do not do a very good job dampening the longer bass strings. This is probably not noticeable in a larger venue, but for the player, it's a little annoying. The technician stuffed some felt between the strings, which helped the extra ringing, but I ended up removing them because they killed the sustain too much. The dampers pads are made of ABS plastic and there is a spring that pushes the dampers against the strings. This spring makes the key harder to push down (apparent upweight), so that it's more difficult to play pianissimo. I asked my technician to look into replacing the dampers with some heavy brass dampers so the spring could be weakened, but because of COVID he hasn't had a chance to evaluate the feasibility of this on the K800. If you google for "brass dampers" and "Fandrich", you can read about the theory behind this. It's a bit of an additional investment for a new piano, but I think it would be an upgrade (rather than a hack) that makes sense and could get the sound and control closer to a much more expensive upright.

Last edited by Kelwai; 12/28/20 04:12 PM.

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Originally Posted by Withindale

Piano with glass sound board, maximum sound said to be 80 decibels


Last edited by Withindale; 12/28/20 05:07 PM.

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Thanks for all your comments. Very helpful. I guess first step will be to have the family listen to my DP at full volume... and foresee room adaptations and tuning once the dream machine is coming...

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Originally Posted by Kelwai
I have a K800 and it does have a very nice full sound that I enjoy. To make it quieter, the technician Kawai sent adjusted the hammer distance, so that at rest it would be closer to the strings. It's similar to holding the soft pedal down a little. I find that it also improves the repetition as well. You can try to adjust this yourself by taking the panel off of the bottom of the piano and adjusting the nut that connects the pedal rod with the soft pedal. Before the technician adjusted it, he said the original hammer distance was a couple mm greater than spec, and he said it was likely setup for a much larger venue than a house. After a few weeks, I adjusted it more.

Doesn't this introduce "lost motion" or whatever it's called, same as using the soft pedal? It's a bit of empty space between parts of the action and results in a less precise action and faster wearing felts in the action.

I'm sure someone else can describe what i'm trying to say better.

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U3piano, you are correct it does add lost motion and affects the action as you describe. You can adjust the capstans to reduce the lost motion, but you will add more aftertouch so you would have to reduce the keydip as well. If Kelwai tends to play on the softer side, it's probably not worth those changes.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
Piano with glass sound board, maximum sound said to be 80 decibels

Has this topic been discussed previously in PW? Does anyone have further info about its performance comparatively to wood and carbon soundboards?

BTW, a Happier 2021 to you all! smile


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See JPM 9/26/2003


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That piano has almost an ethereal sound .It is surprising. I am just not sure what I think of a soundboard of glass .We are always told to avoid glass panels that the piano may bounce off.
I wonder what would happen if big bass chords or octaves are played very loudly on the piano.

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