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#3128692 06/17/21 10:51 AM
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Have any of you encountered BB's in concert settings? Do you find them to project like Steinway's? The BB's I have encountered have all had original soundboards and were 100 years old (or a little older) and while the bass has universally been intoxicating, the sound projection was not as forward as good sounding S&S's, and overall more "contained"; I am wondering how well they project compared to Steinways when fully healthy. I am contemplating a new soundboard for a BB I have, but not having heard a BB with a well executed soundboard replacement I am not sure if it will project enough to fill a concert hall. Are these pianos better for smaller venues and large homes than the large soundboard would otherwise have one believe? I assume the tension resonator has helped preserve their otherwise lovely (if mellower) sound in spite of their age. How much better can it get?


Also wondering if there are any marked changes to modern BB's so I can make a better comparison if I get to hear one. Lastly, does anyone know if the action geometry and specs have changed from the original design to the newer BB's?

Big thanks,
j

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This is very astute of you to notice the projection of an instrument. I am very familiar with this and here is my opinions on the matter.
Steinway boards are lighter than Mason and Hamlins. Thus the inherent flexibility allows for more amplitude of the sound wave hence the projection. When a lighter board is installed in a MH it will project better than the Steinway. This is because of the stiffer rim structure.
What i do is measure each ribs deflection ( each scallop has to deflect the same on either side of the bridge) this increases the boards amplitude. Also shorter ribs (as seen by techs not making ribs longer than 36") do not contribute to projection. The last MHBB i put a board in was a "bigger" sounding instrument than a SSD. I had also thinned the panel from .42" thick to .35" and installed a more precise downbearing using the accu-adjust hitch pins. These collective techniques( precision rib scale, thinner panel that is chladni tested, precise downbearing) i describe offer any piano further acoustic advantages and potential no one else takes advantage of.

-chris


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Well, I can say that my own BB is louder than the Steinway D in my office at school, and it’s not due to the different rooms.

But you’re asking a question that is difficult to answer. For one, individual instruments will be different—multiple Steinway D’s will sound and project differently in the same room, especially if they are prepared by different technicians. So the only way to really answer your question is for the same technician to have prepared multiple M&H’s and Steinway’s of similar size and condition in the same room. There aren’t many who have done that.

There are other factors too. For instance, the condition and type of hammers and how they are voiced. I put a set of WNG (Abel) select hammers on my BB and the result was fabulous after voicing, the piano came to life. The previously installed hammers were Steinway’s and they sounded good but not like the Abel’s.

The BB is an excellent instrument but that doesn’t mean yours will project how you like. If you have the original hammers, I’d recommend you start with replacing them with high quality replacements before considering replacing the soundboard.

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@Chris - what you wrote about the Steinway D is very interesting. Are there any recordings we could hear of that instrument?


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Sorry I don't have an answer for you. You may want to also post this question on the Piano Forum where I suspect you will get some additional replies. Good luck.

Rich


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Seeker,

Projection won't come across in a recording. Its fully appreciated in a theater when you're in the back row and the piano matches the orchestra.

I'm currently working on an Baldwin SD-6 that will have all my recent modifications and upgrades in place (engineered ribs, adjusted scallops, chladni tested panel, Swiss 'Tonewood' Spruce, Chernoplex with hickory caps) accu- adjust hitchpins, and using the Fandrich-Rhodes weightbench system on the action). Should be a spectacular 9 footer for the Athens University Hall.

-chris

Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 06/18/21 12:34 PM.

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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Seeker,

Projection won't come across in a recording. Its fully appreciated in a theater when you're in the back row and the piano matches the orchestra.
Point taken. It would, however, still be nice to hear how the piano sounds.

Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
I'm currently working on an Baldwin SD-6 that will have all my recent modifications and upgrades in place (engineered ribs, adjusted scallops, chladni tested panel, Swiss 'Tonewood' Spruce, Chernoplex with hickory caps) accu- adjust hitchpins, and using the Fandrich-Rhodes weightbench system on the action). Should be a spectacular 9 footer for the Athens University Hall.
-chris
"Chernoplex"? Is that your proprietary blend?
Thanks, and... great to see this level of care and commitment to the rebuild. Wish I could play that SD-6. Sounds interesting.

Last edited by Seeker; 06/18/21 01:55 PM.

Andrew Kraus, Pianist
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Not to distract from the post, but since you asked, the Chernoplex is the use of a very hard bridge cap material ( i prefer hickory) and extended string segments in the duplex section ( and backscale), and if possible remove steel duplexes and replace with hickory. This eliminates false beats and all chiming. Here's a video( listen on high quality headphones):


And that is a recording on a Mason and Hamlin AA

Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 06/18/21 04:26 PM.

Chernobieff Piano Restorations
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Not to distract from the post, but since you asked, the Chernoplex is the use of a very hard bridge cap material ( i prefer hickory) and extended string segments in the duplex section ( and backscale), and if possible remove steel duplexes and replace with hickory. This eliminates false beats and all chiming. Here's a video( listen on high quality headphones):


And that is a recording on a Mason and Hamlin AA

What are we listening for here? If you’re able to make a similar video on a similarly prepared piano but without the Chernoplex that would be helpful.

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I think that we are supposed to be listening for some reason to think that a piano without dampers sounds good enough that someone would pay extra for it, despite the fact that the top notes sound mostly like piano hammers knocking on wood blocks.


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BDB, There's no reason to use mean trolling tactics here. Its simply a video i shared that i liked. It was a spur of the moment recording as i was trying some new concepts to improve my craft. The instrument is now in a public venue and is played by several professional pianists, and i have not received a single complaint, just praise.

JSilva,
The new concepts that are involved are bridge caps with a janka hardness of 1800 psi (maple is 1400psi). Longer string segment (longer backscale, longer speaking length, longer duplex section). In the instrument in the video hickory is the string rest before going to the tuning pin.
It was recorded with my android, so the projection and fullness of the tone is not fully captured. But in person everyone recognizes it right away.
All the best.
-chris


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Honest criticism is not trolling. If you think that piano sounds good, that is your right, just as it is for me to think it sounds like nothing special. You would be more convincing if you posted a more convincing recording.


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It would be honest criticism if you posted some of your work as a comparison. Otherwise it falls back into the trolling category.
-chris


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I have posted some of my work here, but that is beside the point. I recently recommended an artist to a performance organization that I have ties to, even though I do not sing, write, or act. That does not make my recommendation, which is a form of criticism, "trolling."

Your piano may be perfectly cromulent at this point. The video did not reflect that. That could just be the video. However, when someone posts a video that clearly shows problems, that reflects on the one who posts it.

For the record, I do not make videos of my work. Other people do.


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Chris, I won't try to say your AA is for good or ill, one simply cannot get a fair hearing of it. That is because of the recording setting you have placed it in. I believe that you wrote somewhere that the piano was recorded on your phone. No piano will sound good in that unfavorable circumstances, and high quality headphones will only tell you how bad the recording is. Secondly, there are no dampers. That is ridiculous in a demonstration setting. It becomes a washing machine of sound that does not allow us to listen closely.

BDB may be a troll, but that does not make him wrong here.


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Fair enough, but if you only knew the pains i take to get clients to send me high quality recordings, but alas, that is beyond my control.

Still waiting for a BDB recording for comparison, i really want to know what a treble is suppose to sound like according to BDB.


-chris


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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Fair enough, but if you only knew the pains i take to get clients to send me high quality recordings, but alas, that is beyond my control.
=====SNIP=================
-chris
May I suggest purchasing something like a Tascam DR-100 flash recorder to keep around the shop? Mounted on a tripod, even the built-in directional mics will give you a recording which is good enough. The nice thing about the DR-100 and similar gadgets is that you can plug in external mics with XLR should you decide to go that route in the future.


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Just the first one that popped up. Not to be considered an advertisement.


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The performance was very nice, and the cellist facial expressions are priceless.

I couldn't really determine piano tone quality as the cello dominated. Plus there is no credit to a BDB ( the technicians lament), not any back story/detail such as piano age, hammers,voicing, bridge cap material, scaling, modifications if any. In lieu of the side topic, those would have been nice details to provide for comparison purposes.

Thanks for sharing however.

-chris


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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
The performance was very nice, and the cellist facial expressions are priceless.

I couldn't really determine piano tone quality as the cello dominated. Plus there is no credit to a BDB ( the technicians lament), not any back story/detail such as piano age, hammers,voicing, bridge cap material, scaling, modifications if any. In lieu of the side topic, those would have been nice details to provide for comparison purposes.

Thanks for sharing however.

-chris


Too bad you missed the piano tone and concentrated on the cellist instead. The piano was lovely!


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