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 Post subject: Silent pianos and grands
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:32 am 
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Anyone with experience from silent pianos and grands? Not sure if anyone but Yamaha produce such but I passed through the local piano shop the other day and tried them out and they are really good.

They are normal pianos/grands but have an option where you can silent the piano so that the hammers do not hit the strings when you play. Instead, optical sensors reads the action and translates it digitally so that you can play using headphones and it still sounds really good. Seems like the perfect solution in my case. Unfortunately, they do not really come for free ;).

The piano:
http://www.yamaha-europe.com/yamaha_eur ... index.html

The grand:
http://www.yamaha-europe.com/yamaha_eur ... index.html

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:57 am 
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I never heard of that before. Wow, what will they think of next?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:01 pm 
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I never tried out a silent piano. However a friend of mine considered buying one but he gave up. The reason was, he told me, that there is a mechanism what blocks the hammers to hit the strings (for silent playing). He said that the key feeling differs therefore for acoustic playing and silent playing. Because the hammer way is reduced, so that the strings are not touched. Although this happens when the hammer is released from the action, he felt a pretty large difference in the behaviour of the action.
The digital sound is not the problem, some sound better than acoustic pianos, especially if the grands are small and not really grand.

If the piano is used as acoustic piano however, the key feeling is like a normal acoustic piano, so this disadvantage (how small or large, I dunno) is only there during silent playing. At least one should check for the action difference, maybe the development is now further, so that this is no problem anymore.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:34 pm 
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MindenBlues wrote:
I never tried out a silent piano. However a friend of mine considered buying one but he gave up. The reason was, he told me, that there is a mechanism what blocks the hammers to hit the strings (for silent playing). He said that the key feeling differs therefore for acoustic playing and silent playing. Because the hammer way is reduced, so that the strings are not touched. Although this happens when the hammer is released from the action, he felt a pretty large difference in the behaviour of the action.
The digital sound is not the problem, some sound better than acoustic pianos, especially if the grands are small and not really grand.

If the piano is used as acoustic piano however, the key feeling is like a normal acoustic piano, so this disadvantage (how small or large, I dunno) is only there during silent playing. At least one should check for the action difference, maybe the development is now further, so that this is no problem anymore.


At one point, ideally right before the hammer hits the string, the jack escapes (echappement) from the action, freeing the hammer part of the action which travels by its own built up speed from there to eventually hit the string and fall back in to a catching system to prevent the hammer from bouncing back and forth between the string and the jack. (god I know all the dutch terms but my english piano nomenclature sucks)

It is true that a regular silent piano stops the hammers from hitting the string by means of a stop bar, not altering the action in any way, except shortens the travels of the hammers by 1-2mm (so they don't hit the strings) This system can be built into any existing piano or even grand piano as long as the piano tech that installs it is very skilled. (Korg produces a silent system, Technics used to, the most famous one is from Pianodisc, but imo it is not as good as the other two)

Now the trick to regulating a regular silent piano is to make it so the moment of escape comes a bit more early then you would normally do, which is not perfect for acoustic mode, but will still be sufficient (only noticable if you already knew the instrument before with optimal regulation, which it hardly never is) and this will still allow for enough escape to have a normal "natural" feel when in silent mode, where the hammers travel about 1-2 mm less.

So your friend is right. I have seen silent pianos where the stop bar was so horribly placed and the piano so badly regulated that the jacks didn't escape at all and you could literally push the hammers against the stop bar. This will give the piano a horrible touche which is comparable to how an organ feels. Mind you, this is only the case with badly installed and/or regulated instruments.

Yamaha silent grand pianos (afaik only the newer grand pianos) also use a stop bar, but when you pull the lever the action also gets altered so the moment of escape is always optimal in normal mode, or silent mode. This is why these instruments are so expensive, almost twice the price of their regular counterparts.

EDIT and slightly OT: the linked G1S is a piece of garbage though, I believe its not even made in Japan, but in China. I have played on several and even regulated 1 G1 and I cannot recommend them to anyone except the people that insist on having a grand but have no room to house one. And even then there are better instruments with the same footprint.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:05 pm 
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Wow. Never expected that much output from this topic and it is very interesting to read. I am not sure I played on the grand I linked, pretty sure it was a C3. I just linked the first I found. But to be honest, I liked the upright better. There was also a budget upright silent but...I did not like the sound of it.

I will go back and very carefully examine the touch and see what I find out. Thanks a lot guys.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:28 pm 
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So, I finally convinced my wife that getting a grand was the right thing (I mean, she a┬┤got a new kitchen and I even built it for her...like I would ever set my foot there again ;)) and I got a pretty good deal with a local musician who needed more space. I went for a silence Yamaha grand and was kind of lucky to get one that quick. My wife would never agree to it unless I could play in headphones. It is perhaps not the best sound in the world but it really works well.

I could not help making a video of me playing but I do not intend to have this on the site so I did not put it in the Audition Room. And the recording was made pretty hasty and have quite some slips. The funny faces I make to the silly slips are the bonus for anyone who care to download the 18 MB video. Enjoy :P .

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:25 pm 
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i've nothing to say on this except that i'm pretty sure schimmel makes a silent upright.

by the way, robert, your piano sounds great!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:38 pm 
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That was neat, Robert. How do you like the touch? Is it much different from what you played on before? Have you tried it with the lid open? From here it sounds good.

It looks like the sun blinded you a few times? I guess it doesn't matter when you have the piece memorized. I did laugh aloud once or twice at the slips too. Thanks for a good show.

Quote:
like I would ever set my foot there again

typical man :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:46 am 
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pianolady wrote:
That was neat, Robert. How do you like the touch? Is it much different from what you played on before? Have you tried it with the lid open? From here it sounds good.

I like the touch most of everything and even though it feels a bit heavy at first it pays off so to speak. It sound good with the lid half-open or completely open (can be adjusted in two steps) but it almost gets too much for the room it is located in but I am not sure what will be best for future recordings.
pianolady wrote:
It looks like the sun blinded you a few times? I guess it doesn't matter when you have the piece memorized. I did laugh aloud once or twice at the slips too. Thanks for a good show.

As you can see, I was rather suprised and laughed at myself to these really stupid slips. The sun blinded me and at a specific time of day, in about 30 minutes when the sun is really low during the winter, the sun finds it way through the window which is rather close to the back of the piano. Really a bit irritating if you read from score but not so much when I play from memory.

Quote:
like I would ever set my foot there again
pianolady wrote:
typical man :wink:
...and a man I am. But really kidding, I like to cook and often do that during the weekends and especially when we have guests. It is the ordinary working day food to yelling kids that I do not appreciate much.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:40 am 
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Congratulations!!!!

It sounds very good to me, not too bright (your digital piano recordings are more on the brighter side of tone color), and the tone can get sweet mellow too. You recorded with closed lid but the front part open? Beside the tone, you look pretty relaxed to me too, also your fingers are nice curved (maybe the hand wrists could be a bit looser, but that's only something you can feel yourself, hard to tell from video). I really like much your tone and voicing in that take.

So, what are your first impressions on key touch? Is there a stronger influence due to the silent system or not? What's the size of the grand? How does it feels and sounds with headphone and silent system?
Details, we want to know details here! :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:26 am 
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robert wrote:
I like the touch most of everything and even though it feels a bit heavy at first it pays off so to speak. It sound good with the lid half-open or completely open (can be adjusted in two steps) but it almost gets too much for the room it is located in but I am not sure what will be best for future recordings.


I have never tried recording with the lid closed. It is always fully up. I know that when I first got my piano and tried it out, I was surprised how loud the actual 'swooshing' noise was from raising the dampers. I first thought something was wrong with my piano. I am used to it now, but I wonder if closing the lid will make any difference in recording sound quality.

One more question: When you play with the silent mode, is it different hearing your sound right there in your head as opposed to the sound coming from farther away from your ears? Do your fingers hesitate or speed up because of it? (Not sure if that makes sense)

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:32 am 
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pianolady wrote:
I have never tried recording with the lid closed. It is always fully up. I know that when I first got my piano and tried it out, I was surprised how loud the actual 'swooshing' noise was from raising the dampers. I first thought something was wrong with my piano. I am used to it now, but I wonder if closing the lid will make any difference in recording sound quality.

It certainly sounds more muffled with the lid closed. I normally play with the lid closed, but open it up for recording. Always a bit of a shock and I need considerable time to adjust to the fuller sound.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:56 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I normally play with the lid closed, but open it up for recording. Always a bit of a shock and I need considerable time to adjust to the fuller sound.


Completely closed or only the back part of the lid closed (so that the note stand remains inside and not above the lid)?

I also play usually with closed lid (but front part open, so note stand is always inside the lid). It sounds only really muffled in my case if the lid is fully closed, so that the note stand is on top of the lid - I never played on a grand what sounded well that way.

For recordings I first tried with fully opened lid. But I don't feel very comfortable with that, is too loud for the room. And for a recording one should feel comfortable. So I record with half opened lid (it is opened in my case only about 30cm or so).

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:06 pm 
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Olaf, are you talking about the music stand - where the music book sits? You put that down? Where do you put your music then?

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:23 pm 
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MindenBlues wrote:
Completely closed or only the back part of the lid closed (so that the note stand remains inside and not above the lid)?

Being s sight reader, I neeed my music stand. So I have to open the front part. Never thought of putting the music stand on top of the lid - that would be considerable higher and probably not confortable.

MindenBlues wrote:
I also play usually with closed lid (but front part open, so note stand is always inside the lid). It sounds only really muffled in my case if the lid is fully closed, so that the note stand is on top of the lid - I never played on a grand what sounded well that way.

Perhaps it makes no difference for your grand, but it does for mine. I guess microphone placement is a factor here too.

MindenBlues wrote:
For recordings I first tried with fully opened lid. But I don't feel very comfortable with that, is too loud for the room. And for a recording one should feel comfortable. So I record with half opened lid (it is opened in my case only about 30cm or so).

It takes getting used to. It'' be at least an hour before I feel comfortable with it and can actually start rcording.

But we are way OT here.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:30 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Olaf, are you talking about the music stand - where the music book sits? You put that down? Where do you put your music then?


No, I was not precise. I meant, to have the music stand up, but it is inside the lid. So that I have to open the front part in order get the music stand upright. I think, that is the usual way, like Chris does it too. However, I know that some people like my old teacher, let their lid completely closed and the note stand upright on top of that. It is very high, like Chris said, not comfortable and sounds muffled. However if the hammers are not voiced since decades, they are that hard that you cannot play with open lid, it sounds always very harsh.

techneut wrote:
It takes getting used to. It'' be at least an hour before I feel comfortable with it and can actually start rcording.


Ok, will try that approach. Still, I believe it's better to change micropositions or something else but always play, especially while recording, that one feels most comfortable, because the audible result will be accordingly.

techneut wrote:
But we are way OT here.


You are right. Robert: PLEASE answer the questions from Monica and me, however they are numerous statements back. Because we are snoopy!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:35 pm 
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Well that was a nice video, and the slips are fun. Seems better though, to maintain a stony poker face even when playing a silly mistake. You still do something strange at the start of the slow section.

Sounds like a great instrument. And a nice sunny room ;-)

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:10 am 
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A lot more interest that I thought it would be ;). Ok here are some details and reflections I have made so far on the Yamaha C2 (173 cm).

Regarding the sound, it is overall more mellow and not so sharp as with the digital but far more dynamic as expected. When I try to play pianissimo on the digital, the difference is not as much as I want so I cannot really get the effect I want but here, it is a great difference. On the soft side, I have nothing to complain about at as the piano do what I want it to do but I would like it to be sharper when I apply more power. Perhaps that can be adjusted. In the mid register, I would like it to be a little more mellow but I know that other Yamaha instruments sound like this so I have to live with that. When I use it in silent mode, the sound is a bit different but not bad at all and it is nothing disturbing about it. Every sound detail is there as it simulates different pedal effects and string resonance etc. but I would liked to have an equalizer to adjust the sound. The video camera I used for the recording cannot capture the true sound so you will have to wait for new recordings before you get a better "sound picture" of how it sounds. Lid open, front part open or everything closed. I am not sure what will sound best when making a recording and have to experiment a bit.

The touch is of course a lot better and that is probably the reason I bought it. I have nothing to complain on it here and I am not sure I can feel any difference when it is silenced. The little heel is still there when I press the key slowly down (I think this is caused by the double escapment right?) and perhaps I am a bit more relaxed playing. I hope my wrist pain goes away and I image it already feels better. Time will tell.

And when it comes to this actual performance, I thought it would be more of fun than serious as I too had a really good time looking at my suprised face. I am not really used to play on it and it will probably take some more time before I feel really comfortable. I am also not used to video tape myself when playing and did not realize how much I change face when playing so that was new to me too :).

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:34 am 
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Quote:
The little heel is still there when I press the key slowly down (I think this is caused by the double escapment right?) and perhaps I am a bit more relaxed playing. I hope my wrist pain goes away and I image it already feels better. Time will tell.


I meant to tell you earlier that it looked to me like your wrists were relaxed. Your shirt covered them mostly but they looked level most of the time and your body did not indicate extreme tension so please keep us updated if your wrist pain does indeed go away.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:23 pm 
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Hey Rob, I just found this topic....It was my unltimate machine to convert my g3 to silent piano12 years ago......

It can be done on yamaha grands and it would cost me around 12000$(almost the same price to get another second hand c2). But I decided not to. Mainly, worried about its reliability. perhaps I worried too much.
The good thing is , it recorded to its build in disclavier. But needs a soft ware to transfer to computer and burned on cd. It also plays back with moving keys like ghost playing.....just imaging you invite your friends around and doing a recital with CD on with out telling them and all guests are facing away from grand.....call me a cheat......and they think you played brillant....

Do you have infromation on that??? on software to compuer transfer?


My experice with Roland digital grand -RP8..... it cost 24000$. And had 100 digital ajustment for key touch......woooh. so if you want a soft action less (energy to burn...and palying faster on op10/1). this is a quick escape....I am not sure either You or Chris would agree....but it can be done just like Chopin played on his light touched piano....

Its was fun...you will never loose a ppp touch, because it will always sound when played ppp :lol: which does not happen on real grand action.


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