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I was following Mta88's thread as he is trying to put together a decent setup with studio monitors and a subwoofer. I mentioned a sub might not be needed depending on monitors. I also said a subwoofer can get a little muddy and artificial if not adjusted just right. Then it occurred to me, Im not really sure what Im talking about. Perhaps my subwoofer sounds artificial because the speaker is in the front rather than bottom. Maybe a bottom firing sub might be a better experience with less adjusting. Not sure what the answer is. I know many say it's all about the placement but we are dealing with digital pianos, not a home theater.

So, do you think down firing vs front firing subwoofer makes any difference with DP?

Last edited by Marko in Boston; 08/15/13 11:08 PM.
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Marko in Boston, I have read your post, here:

I was following Mta88's thread as he is trying to put together a decent setup with studio monitors and a subwoofer. I mentioned a sub might not be needed depending on monitors. I also said a subwoofer can get a little muddy and artificial if not adjusted just right. Then it occurred to me, Im not really sure what Im talking about. Perhaps my subwoofer sounds artificial because the speaker is in the front rather than bottom. Maybe a bottom firing sub might be a better experience with less adjusting. Not sure what the answer is. I know many say it's all about the placement but we are dealing with digital pianos, not a home theater.

So, do you think down firing vs front firing subwoofer makes any difference with DP?

_________________________________________________

I have a Yamaha subwoofer in the ceiling - but like you say - it is not connected to the digital piano. For my digital piano all I care about is that it sounds something like a piano of some sort and that I can read and play the music and that is why I like my Yamaha P95 because it is dirt cheap at 600 and does the job that I expect it to do.


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It makes a lot of difference imo. If they`re designed to be front loaders, then the manufacturers have taken that decision carefull, wrt the blend of other frequencies.

My piano is up-firing. But when the speaker is against the corner, the bass is far better. If the speaker faces away from you, the bass is again, far more pronaounced. You can have fun positioning these in different scenarios. I`m mounting mine in a new console . Carefully . . .


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Marco in Boston:

So, do you think down firing vs front firing subwoofer makes any difference with DP?

Michael 99

I have a Yamaha subwoofer in the ceiling

Once again, an astonishing sideways conversation stopper from Michael 99. Much appreciated.


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The majority of studio subwoofers primarily seem to be front fire. Maybe for good reason, not sure.
for example:
http://www.sweetwater.com/c407--Subwoofers

But then again Yamaha, arguably one of the most popular studio subwwofer, has bottom fire in both:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/studio-subwoofers/yamaha


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Is any one really concerned about using a subwoofer with a piano? A piano doesn't need a sub. There's precious little energy at the low end. Skip the sub. (But, are you using an organ? That's a different matter entirely.)

And, does anyone believe that a 6" driver can really serve as a subwoofer? Traditionally, an 18" driver could serve as a sub. A 15" driver was passable. But a 10" driver was a woofer wannabe, and a subwoofer not.

Modern long-throw coils allow more cone movement than was possible in the past. So driver size today is reduced.

But don't expect miracles from a small driver. Such will only be suitable as a woof or a sub when used in a VERY small room. There simply isn't enough coupling between a small driver and a big room.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Is any one really concerned about using a subwoofer with a piano? A piano doesn't need a sub. There's precious little energy at the low end. Skip the sub. (But, are you using an organ? That's a different matter entirely.)

And, does anyone believe that a 6" driver can really serve as a subwoofer? Traditionally, an 18" driver could serve as a sub. A 15" driver was passable. But a 10" driver was a woofer wannabe, and a subwoofer not.

Modern long-throw coils allow more cone movement than was possible in the past. So driver size today is reduced.

But don't expect miracles from a small driver. Such will only be suitable as a woof or a sub when used in a VERY small room. There simply isn't enough coupling between a small driver and a big room.


Of all instruments with a wide bass range, piano is one of the least worthy of a sub-woofer, I agree. If anything, you'd probably be filtering out some bass with eq shelving to get an 'accurate' piano sound.

It seems woofers really do not need to be the size they used to be to deliver the sound. It's just a matter of energy transfer, isn't it? If the little fellas you get today can move more air than the 15" giants you used to have to deal with, then they're good.

Perhaps modern l/f drivers are just much more efficient than the old ones.

Last edited by toddy; 08/16/13 08:38 AM.

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....and while we're on the subject, just WHY are sub-woofers so expensive ('cos that's why I object to them smile )? Looks suspiciously like profiteering to me....or maybe the modern super efficient designs really are costly to produce.


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I know the V piano isn't really liked much around here due to it's partially artificial sound..
But i was thinking about the "recommended" requirements for a decent piano sound according to roland..
I believe it was 4 studio monitors.. and no sub?

For the price of a sub you can get an additional set of Studio monitors and place it right in front of you( V-piano speaker style) in addition to the other set of studio monitors to the side.

I really think i'm gonna bypass the whole subwoofer route and get some 8 inchers.

On another note, And I apologize if this is a very amateur question, it has been mentioned that a piano sound mostly comprises of overtones....
Can someone please tell me what are overtones?


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Originally Posted by Mta88
Can someone please tell me what are overtones?


Every pitch we hear and identify with a certain note is actually the frequency of that note mixed with other accompanying and associated frequencies (twice the frequency, three times the frequency, four times the frequency, etc.). Our ears are able to take the information about all the frequencies it hears at once and deduce which is the single note that we are hearing. However, the relative strength of the overtones is what gives a note its timbre.

Vi Hart has an interesting and informative video on the subject.

In the low notes, particularly, very little of the energy of the note is in the fundamental frequency of that note. Our ear infers the note from all the overtones. This fact comes from the fact that we are not able to make pianos long enough that strings can vibrate at their fundamental frequency. If we could make a 50 foot piano or something, then a lot more energy could be in the fundamental tone and less in the overtones.

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Originally Posted by toddy
....and while we're on the subject, just WHY are sub-woofers so expensive ('cos that's why I object to them smile )? Looks suspiciously like profiteering to me....or maybe the modern super efficient designs really are costly to produce.

Sub drivers tend to be huge with big magnets, need large rigid boxes to contain the backwave, and tend to be inefficient so they need big amplifiers. These things are heavy and thus expensive to ship. It all adds up.

Though given some money one can usually build a better sub than one can buy ready-made (but this is generally true of all speakers).

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Thank you for posting that link.

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Might be somewhat interesting:

down vs front pdf

Last edited by Marko in Boston; 08/17/13 09:38 PM.
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Originally Posted by gvfarns
Originally Posted by Mta88
Can someone please tell me what are overtones?


Every pitch we hear and identify with a certain note is actually the frequency of that note mixed with other accompanying and associated frequencies (twice the frequency, three times the frequency, four times the frequency, etc.). Our ears are able to take the information about all the frequencies it hears at once and deduce which is the single note that we are hearing. However, the relative strength of the overtones is what gives a note its timbre.

Vi Hart has an interesting and informative video on the subject.

In the low notes, particularly, very little of the energy of the note is in the fundamental frequency of that note. Our ear infers the note from all the overtones. This fact comes from the fact that we are not able to make pianos long enough that strings can vibrate at their fundamental frequency. If we could make a 50 foot piano or something, then a lot more energy could be in the fundamental tone and less in the overtones.


Ahh... I see.. Very interesting...



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Originally Posted by Marko in Boston
Perhaps my subwoofer sounds artificial because the speaker is in the front rather than bottom. Maybe a bottom firing sub might be a better experience with less adjusting. Not sure what the answer is. I know many say it's all about the placement but we are dealing with digital pianos, not a home theater.

So, do you think down firing vs front firing subwoofer makes any difference with DP?


I've designed commercial subwoofers sytems for myself and for other companies, and I couldn't eyeball a subwoofer + spec sheet and tell you anything definitive about the sound quality (though I could probably tell you something about the sound quantity). Ime the thing which matters most to sound quality in a subwoofer (the shape of its in-room frequency response curve) isn't readily apparent, and I see no significant advantage to front-firing vs down-firing vs whatever-firing. The only significant configuration advantage comes from having multiple subs distributed around the room, which is probably outside the scope of what you're contemplating.

Originally Posted by toddy
....and while we're on the subject, just WHY are sub-woofers so expensive ('cos that's why I object to them smile )? Looks suspiciously like profiteering to me....


Part of the underlying reason is the inevitable tradeoff relationship between box size, bass extension, and efficiency. If we want deep bass from a small box, its efficiency is going to be low. So it has to be fed a lot of power, and it has to handle a lof of power, both thermally and mechanically (the cone has to displace a lot of air without objectionable distortion or physical damage). The result is fairly high parts cost.

Originally Posted by gvfarns
In the low notes, particularly, very little of the energy of the note is in the fundamental frequency of that note. Our ear infers the note from all the overtones. This fact comes from the fact that we are not able to make pianos long enough that strings can vibrate at their fundamental frequency.


Well actually the left-hand strings do vibrate at their fundamental frequency, they're just not very loud at that frequency.

Over in the bass guitar world, there are very few bass cabs that come close to reproducing the fundamentals of the lowest notes at a useful loudness level. In general, if you can deliver the first overtone (second harmonic) at normal levels, that's good enough. I would expect the same thing to apply to digital piano.

Originally Posted by dewster
Though given some money one can usually build a better sub than one can buy ready-made (but this is generally true of all speakers).


I agree with the first part - and Parts Express is a good source for suitable woofers and enclosures, just remember to take the room's effects into account as much as possible because room effects are dominant at low frequencies. However the part in parentheses implies that crossover design is either trivial or not very important, and I'd have to disagree with that. It's easy to design a crossover, but it's hard to design a good one.

Last edited by Duke LeJeune; 09/08/13 04:00 AM.

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