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Joined: Apr 2013
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Okay guys...

To be honest, I'm some way away from investing in quality speaker systems, but maybe in a year's time, I'll have the necessary money + time, etc.

At present, I have Ivory II - a software piano, and I've been experimenting with it a little - this has served, to me, as a "proof-of-concept", if you like, that I can work with this kind of stuff.

However, at present, I don't really have a speaker system to make the most of it. Using my 50W music system doesn't quite do justice to Ivory II.

I'm hoping, perhaps in a year's time, to move to a middle-size flat, where I'll have the space to install a more "professional" speaker system, so I'd like to hear your advice on that, i.e., what systems do you use, your recommendations, etc.

Also, with high-end speakers, how close to a real piano does it get? I mean, I've heard some saying that even experts would struggle to tell the difference, whereas there are others who assert that even the best software simply doesn't come close to a real grand piano. How much difference can speakers make?

Also, fact is, I don't want to inconvenience flatmates/neighbours. So any advice on sound-proofing/insulation that is (relatively) inexpensive + reversible (i.e., being as I'm going to be renting premises, I don't want to make alterations that can't be easily undone, if you know what I mean - some form of sound-proofing that can be "taken down" easily)? Had any experiences with this?


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Getting great sounds from speakers is a complex problem, unfortunately. Even when you have a really nice set of speakers, the room acoustics and positioning make a really big difference in how things sound in my experience. I've literally never had a speaker setup I've liked and I've blown a lot of money on them.

These days I just use headphones. A good set of headphones always sounds great. I have some cheapo speakers I use when my kids sing along with me. That's about it. Like you I keep saying some day I'll get the whole situation figured out.

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It depends on what sounds your are trying to sound proof. Do you think you will have your system cranked loud enough that its much louder than listening to a stereo or T.V.?

Some keyboards produce a very audible sound and vibration with every keystroke and this could be annoying to downstair neighbors. You can dampen this effect quite a bit by laying 1/8" mdf board over some type of insulating foam material.

If you have an acoustic piano then its nearly impossible to sound proof them in an apartment situation and the steps you would have to take would be prohibitively expensive.

If you are just talking about an electric sound system then the only really feasible way to 'sound proof' is to use the volume control or wear headphones.





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You should go to: Gearslutz.com . They have a forum just on acoustics and rooms. You can get much info there.
Yes, you can build acoustic panels that hang like pictures. Then you can take them with you.

I have what I have. It's good. I'm happy with it. Don't know what to tell you on audio.


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Short wavelengths are easy to absorb, but long wavelengths (low frequencies) are not. Placing the speakers on compliant pads (like the Gramma) will pretty much eliminate mechanical vibrations from being transmitted from the speaker to the building, but won't do anything about acoustic (air-borne) energy at low frequencies.

So I suggest taking steps to reduce the sound pressure level you need to get out of your speakers.

First, start out with speakers that have very good detail and articulation at low levels. Some speakers don't let you hear the inner detail until you turn them up fairly loud. There are no published specs that will reveal this characteristic - you find it by auditioning a bunch of different speakers.

Obviously, you don't want speakers with exaggerated low-frequency output, but you still want enough to get a realistic presentation at low levels. The ear's sensitivty to bass increases as the overall SPL rises, so if the speaker is too weak in the bass region, that can sucker you into turning the volume level up higher so that the tonal balance is more natural (warmer), but now you've got everything else louder too and therefore more likely to disturb your neighbors.

Get the noise floor in your room as low as you can. This way, you can hear all the texture and nuance at a lower volume level.

Position the speakers very close to you, as this makes them louder to you without being louder to your neighbors.

Imo, ime, ymmv, etc.



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Quote

Position the speakers very close to you, as this makes them louder to you without being louder to your neighbors.


Pushed to its logical conclusion (two small loudspeakers, sitting on your ears):

. . . Use headphones if you don't want to disturb the neighbors.

"Soundproofing" a room involves structural considerations _during construction_. You can't do it if you're renting.

You _can_ "dampen" a room by hanging draperies, using foam egg-crates, and so on. That will help a bit with the neighbors.

. Charles

PS -- Google:

acoustical treatment for home studios

to see what's possible.


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Originally Posted by Vid

If you have an acoustic piano then its nearly impossible to sound proof them in an apartment situation and the steps you would have to take would be prohibitively expensive.


Actually, I'm kind of hoping that, with the right speakers, I can replicate the absolute exact sound of a Steinway Model D Grand, right down to every fine detail of the acoustic profile, to the extent that it shouldn't be possible to tell the difference from a real grand piano.

Of course, it might seem a little paradoxic that I'm aiming for the exact sound of a grand piano in my room, but still expect not to annoy my flatmates/neighbours...

What can I say... I want everything...

I'll keep experimenting... and I'll update y'all with the results I get...


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

. . . Use headphones if you don't want to disturb the neighbors.


Which is what I'm doing at the moment, and I expect this is going to be the situation for some months yet...

Sometime probably around the end of this year/beginning of next, I expect to be moving into a mid-sized flat/apartment, and I'm just trying to plan ahead...

Thanks for all your suggestions folks...

Like I said, I'll keep y'all updated...


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Originally Posted by Vijay '82
[quote=Vid]
Actually, I'm kind of hoping that, with the right speakers, I can replicate the absolute exact sound of a Steinway Model D Grand, right down to every fine detail of the acoustic profile, to the extent that it shouldn't be possible to tell the difference from a real grand piano.

Haha, good luck with that. Even the best and most advanced digital pianos available with today's technology don't quite reach that level. Some are pretty darn good, but if you want the exact acoustic profile of a Steinway D, you need, well, a Steinway D (with all the adjustments and routine maintenance that come with owning a fine acoustic piano).

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Lets try a little constructive criticism. Instead of pointing out the obvious. Leading to destructiveness instead of helping.


The obvious: Any audiophile will tell you that live is better. No matter how good your audio reproduction is. Yet, audio can get awfully good. Stunningly good. It takes money though.

I like Event brand monitors. I have an old pair that isn't made anymore. They fulfill my benchmark of good enough. I would suggest you look at something like their Opals. They ain't cheap.

I would use a sub woofer. Set it on a stand, isolated from the floor. Have it touching your keyboard. This is trying to replicate what Kawai does with the soundboard in the CA95. I would call Event and ask them what would be the best sub to buy to go along with the Opals.

Whatever you do on monitors. Definitely buy power. The power is not to play loud. It is for proper accurate reproduction at low levels. Also it gives you proper bass at low levels. Also gives you plenty of dynamic range at low levels. You need headroom in your amps. I'd suggest 250 watts per channel. I'm running 280 on my Event's. Bear in mind. Even when you are playing where the softest pp is barely heard. When you play fff. Your flatmates and neighbors will probably hear it. Hopefully not enough for them to complain. I haven't had any complaints so far. That's the way I play.

I would also get a good soundbox interface to your computer. Something like a Babyface. That pre-amp means a whole lot. That good sound card means a whole lot. I just have a pre-sonus. I wish I could afford a Babyface.

I can understand what you are trying to do. I'm doing that with financial restrictions. Of course we would love to have a real grand. That just doesn't work for us. You can do pretty darn good. Even with my restrictions. I'm still sounding a ton better than most of what I hear from others. I'm getting ready to post a "first" on the Ecco Fatto thread in Beginners. As soon as I get a Tascam DR05 delivered on monday. This will give a recording of what I hear myself. You might think...Why not record from the computer input? My stupid PC is getting overloaded. Ivory is hogging all the audio. I won't upgrade the Cantabile to record. This one is stuck on the two allowed recordings...doh! I want to get a Mac. Not waste more money on this PC. So if anyone is interested. Check back next weekend. I should have a recording up of what I hear. Yes, I think that Tascam DR05 is the smartest choice in a recorder. No wasting money.
Just to say: Right now I prefer my "Close C7 Club" on my Ivory. I do switch around favorites. My Steinway is never in there. From what I've heard, the American D I do prefer to mine. I'm not interested in spending the money on it though.

EDIT: Hello? James? I would be interested in spending the money on a Kawai Software Piano. Hello?

Last edited by rnaple; 05/12/13 02:24 AM.

Ron
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Originally Posted by Vijay '82
to the extent that it shouldn't be possible to tell the difference from a real grand piano.


Depends on how you measure this. No speaker, ever, will be able to fool someone with a discerning ear and sitting right next to it into thinking it's a Steinway D IRL. I don't think it matters how good the rest of the tech gets.

However, digitals have been able to fool people in more casual situations for a long time. Play a digital at full acoustic volume and have a non-pianist sit in the other room. If your speakers are even decent your friend may think you are playing the acoustic. If you go back and forth between a digital and an acoustic, they will likely prefer the sound of the digital. That's been true for many years.

Listen to a CD of new age solo piano music. Made on an acoustic or a digital? No way to know, in many cases.

Last edited by gvfarns; 05/12/13 08:10 PM.

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