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Question about silent system and 'settling in' (Read 3644 times)

Offline tinyhands

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Question about silent system and 'settling in'
« on: February 14, 2016, 08:38:23 PM »
Hello, I wonder if anyone could give me some advice. I recently bought a brand new Kawai silent system piano, after putting up for years with a cheap digital. I wanted an acoustic but soundproofing issues, and neighbours that complain about anything ! ::) meant that I would have the option of acoustic benefits but I can use headphones when needed. We will be moving next year and then I could use it as solely acoustic but needs must just now.  I basically paid extra ( which I know I won't ever get back ) to have the luxury of an acoustic just now that I can play while my living arrangements are the way they are...  :'( For the last 4 weeks since I got the piano  I have been primarily using the head phones. Very occasionally I take the silent system off ( when the neighbours are out ) and the tone produced is pretty shrill and bright.. The shop I bought it from said it would take a while to mellow down and ajudst to the surroundings.  It is also in a bare room with no carpets and no curtains...it just sounds really bright and echoey...kind of sharp sounding..not pleasant ( my teacher's Kawai  sounds lovely and mellow ) also the model I tried in the shop had a lovely tone, ( acoustic only )  but I had to purchase a brand new piano that they would fit the silent system into ...I couldn't get a second hand silent piano in my town ( I had been looking for nearly a year, they don't seem that common where I live) anyway a long winded post but what I would like advice on is...  1-   As the silent system engages a bar inside that the hammers hit off and not the strings themselves...if I only play it as the silent system, (90 % of the time) will the strings ever  'mellow out' and should the tone change? And it will sound less 'bright' ?(not sure of the right terminology ) 2- does the silent system stop the piano needing tuned as often.. ? ( again since the strings are not being struck..so is there less wear and tear on them.?) 3- do you think the bare room is a factor? I have put the piano on a rug and a blanket over it.. It still sounds the same. I feel a bit disappointed, I have spent a lot of money ( for me) and truth be told I much prefer the tone when I am wearing the headphones.  But I can hear the difference and it is still a bit artificial and digital sounding...Another problem is the silent system makes the piano keys heavier so I do like to try it on acoustic when I can. I don't want to call a tuner out and spend money if it could recitfy itself over time. Any advice would be appreciated.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #1 on: February 14, 2016, 09:39:36 PM »
I don't know what country you are in, but the Kawai pianos here have more treble than Yamahas.  That is part of why I hate Yamahas so badly.  I like a bright piano.  Some of the Kawais I have heard here may have been built in North Carolina in the seventies, that is why the country you are in may matter.    Baldwin Acrosonic consoles are even more bright.  
You need to modify the room so you enjoy your piano.  I would say put bookcases on the wall full of books.  You could also try wall hangings or curtains. Certainly keep the rug on the floor.  An acoustic tile ceiling (soft tile with holes) may help.  Bright tone comes out the back of most quality consoles, so putting sound absorbant bats from the music supply on the wall behind the piano may address your problem directly.  Some Home Depot stores have them here, but not the one in my county.  Pieces of foam with 3 cm fingers that stick out the bumpy side, usually colored black.  
   If you grew up listening to muffled old Yamahas, or digital toys through cheap speakers, you may not be used to the commanding presence of a real piano.  
I doubt if the silent feature is creating the treble you are objecting to.  It takes an expensive thinly shaved piece of spruce wood for the soundboard to let high frequencies out.  Before Yamaha, if you wanted a dull lifeless piano without significant ping, North Americans bought Wurlitzers.  I picked one up for $50 last summer for my country trailer.  I have to open the top to get any sort of treble out of that cabinet of thick hardwood.  

Offline outin

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #2 on: February 15, 2016, 05:13:38 AM »
Hello, I wonder if anyone could give me some advice. I recently bought a brand new Kawai silent system piano, after putting up for years with a cheap digital. I wanted an acoustic but soundproofing issues, and neighbours that complain about anything ! ::) meant that I would have the option of acoustic benefits but I can use headphones when needed. We will be moving next year and then I could use it as solely acoustic but needs must just now.  I basically paid extra ( which I know I won't ever get back ) to have the luxury of an acoustic just now that I can play while my living arrangements are the way they are...  :'( For the last 4 weeks since I got the piano  I have been primarily using the head phones. Very occasionally I take the silent system off ( when the neighbours are out ) and the tone produced is pretty shrill and bright.. The shop I bought it from said it would take a while to mellow down and ajudst to the surroundings.  It is also in a bare room with no carpets and no curtains...it just sounds really bright and echoey...kind of sharp sounding..not pleasant ( my teacher's Kawai  sounds lovely and mellow ) also the model I tried in the shop had a lovely tone, ( acoustic only )  but I had to purchase a brand new piano that they would fit the silent system into ...I couldn't get a second hand silent piano in my town ( I had been looking for nearly a year, they don't seem that common where I live) anyway a long winded post but what I would like advice on is...  1-   As the silent system engages a bar inside that the hammers hit off and not the strings themselves...if I only play it as the silent system, (90 % of the time) will the strings ever  'mellow out' and should the tone change? And it will sound less 'bright' ?(not sure of the right terminology ) 2- does the silent system stop the piano needing tuned as often.. ? ( again since the strings are not being struck..so is there less wear and tear on them.?) 3- do you think the bare room is a factor? I have put the piano on a rug and a blanket over it.. It still sounds the same. I feel a bit disappointed, I have spent a lot of money ( for me) and truth be told I much prefer the tone when I am wearing the headphones.  But I can hear the difference and it is still a bit artificial and digital sounding...Another problem is the silent system makes the piano keys heavier so I do like to try it on acoustic when I can. I don't want to call a tuner out and spend money if it could recitfy itself over time. Any advice would be appreciated.

I have a Yamaha silent and I also found out some things aftrer I purchased it...

If you only play on the silent the hammers will never touch the strings so the piano will not "mellow" or develop it's sound in any way. My piano is over 4 years old now and I think it took about 3 years before it started feeling like a piano that was "played in" and I've always played in the acoustic mode as well.

When you go from a digital (or silent with headphones) a good sized upright will sound LOUD. Acoustics in the room are important to keep it pleasant for the ears. The sound from a grand spreads into the room, but the sound from an upright comes right to you when you play. I found it helped a lot to have a thick foam matress stucked into the wall behind the piano, leaving a little space between for not to dampen the piano too much. I also have some acoustic plates in the ceiling because I live in a concrete flat, but I am not sure that does much for the acoustics.

The silent bar does affect the sound and touch, at least with my piano. To have room for the bar on an upright, they must raise the hammers further from the strings than normally. That makes it harder to play softly with the piano. This also causes the keys to be heavier to play, especially between the black notes which has been a bit of a problem for me due to my hand shape. I have tested many silent upright models in piano shops, both Yamaha and Kawai and I can always feel the difference between them and a normal acoustic. So I don't think it's just my piano. Yet I have talked to others who say they notice no difference. So I guess it depends on your own touch sensitivity and playing technique as well.

If you only play with the silent mode, tuning is not needed for your playing, but I think at least once a year is still important for maintaining the piano for the future.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #3 on: February 15, 2016, 11:51:46 AM »
My Sohmer is as bright now as when I bought it new in 1982.  Of course the number of hours is low, I didn't practice many years and didn't get back to an hour a day until I quit working 8 years ago. 
Besides, excessive hours should beat the hammers down and make them harder, not softer.  While voicing can make the hammers softer and cut the ping (attack), I definitely recommend modifying the reflective character of the room surfaces than modifying the piano.  A bright piano can please a room full of experienced listeners wearing suit and wraps. That is an acoustically sound absorbant enviroment.  A dull piano can't sparkle to an audience, the highs all disappear into the seats and clothes. 

Offline quantum

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 02:16:28 AM »
I would start out with the room treatment, as it doesn't involve any direct modification of the piano.  You will likely need more than a rug.  Try out a combination of area rug, wall hangings/coverings, curtains, and furniture.  You need to fill the room with stuff - a rug on the floor won't help with the reflections off a window.

Playing the silent system will probably put less wear on the tuning, but don't ignore the fact that it is still an acoustic piano that needs regular tuning.  New pianos will often need more frequent tuning as the strings have not fully settled.  Be aware of the pitch so it does not drop - I've seen new pianos (few months in use) with A432 because owners were not diligent with tuning upkeep.  Once a year turnings would be reasonable in your situation.  

Have you had the initial tuning and voicing yet?

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline tinyhands

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #5 on: February 28, 2016, 02:14:57 PM »
Thanks everyone for your advice and taking time to reply. I have put some foam panels behind the piano and curtains in the room and some cushions, I think it has helped slightly. Yes I agree from going from playing a digital to a new acoustic it does take some getting used to, however I recorded myself and played it to my teacher and she agrees it does sound very bright and a bit sharp. her Kawai acoustic is much more mellow however it is over 6 years old. I feel myself it's needing settling in , it's almost like the strings feel too tight or 'zingy' . When I got it delivered the company said it didn't need an initial tuning as it had one before it was delivered (?) but I think I'm going to call someone out. 2 of the keys are sticking and with trills or playing a quick repeated note the note sticks and is silent. also playing it frequently on the silent mode is not ideal but because of  the unsociable hours I am able to practice needs must at the moment.. ( I practice 06.30 am for 30 mins then usually after 9.30 pm - I work long hours at work and a long commute. Also my husband is a night shift worker so sleeps most of the day at the weekends)  :-( Until we move to a house I think it'll just have to be the silent piano! Thanks again.

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #6 on: February 28, 2016, 11:39:24 PM »
I have a question. How can you practice at 9.30 pm and then be able to sleep shortly after your practice session?
When I practice late at night I have to finish at least 1 hour before going to bed because otherwise I can't fall asleep.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline outin

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #7 on: February 29, 2016, 06:18:00 AM »
When I got it delivered the company said it didn't need an initial tuning as it had one before it was delivered (?) but I think I'm going to call someone out.

Obviously they have no idea what they are talking about. After a piano is moved into a new environment it must always be tuned. So no wonder it doesn't sound nice...

Offline tinyhands

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #8 on: March 02, 2016, 10:02:25 PM »
I have a question. How can you practice at 9.30 pm and then be able to sleep shortly after your practice session?
When I practice late at night I have to finish at least 1 hour before going to bed because otherwise I can't fall asleep.

In reply to your question, I have no problem at all going to sleep after playing. I actually find it relaxes me. I also work long hours so maybe I'm tired from the day? I can read books and drink caffeine before bed and still have no  problems sleeping, just lucky I guess.  ;D

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #9 on: March 02, 2016, 10:50:15 PM »
Thank you for reply. Good for you :)
Yet, I wanted to ask you something else as well.
How do you find practicing with silent mode? What do you like about it or don't like? What is different for you? You wrote the keys feel heavier with silent system on?
You wrote you practice with headphones? I do not understand why with headphones? I thought silent system makes the piano just quieter like if using the silent pedal of an acoustic piano constantly?
If you are using headphones that means the sounds that are produced are from samples so your piano is than converted to digital piano? So it is a hybrid piano? 
Sorry for so many questions :) I, like you, cannot practice a regular acoustic piano because it is too loud and I don't have soundproof room.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline quantum

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #10 on: March 03, 2016, 12:06:53 AM »
When I got it delivered the company said it didn't need an initial tuning as it had one before it was delivered (?)

This is nonsense.  After a piano is moved into a new environment it needs to settle, then be tuned and voiced for the new space.  Doesn't matter if the piano is new and was just tuned before it left where ever it came from.  In needs an initial tuning in your home. 

Go back to the company and ask for a tuning.  May also want to ask for the piano to be voiced to the room.  Many dealers offer at least one tuning with the purchase of an instrument, so check your agreement if one was included. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline indianajo

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #11 on: March 03, 2016, 12:51:47 AM »
Nobody in this country voices a console or studio piano as part of a normal sale.  
Some sales include delivery and tuning, some don't.  the store should tell you what your price buys at time of sale.  As I lived 225 miles from the store, my new piano was sold explicitly without delivery or tuning.  I could not take off work to meet a delivery man Monday-Friday 9-5. This got me $225 off the price card.
Voicing in this country is quite often not available except in large cities over 2 million, or from traveling techs that charge  a lot for being 500 miles from home base so much and living in motels.  
I'm not sure any tech in that rare category capable of voicing would want to waste his time on a console piano.  He would try to refer you to a friend that sells grands.  The fact that one doesn't have room in his house for a grand is another barrier to getting a visit from such a tech.  No referrals to your rich friends would ensue.  
When I did use the tech from the most prestigious dealer in town to tune my 2 year old Sohmer, the ******** dealer, he tuned my piano ~1/4 tone flat without explaining that to me.  That drove me nuts trying play by ear to recordings.  When I complained one note was flat in days after tuning he sold and installed an electric humidifier unit, despite my being located one mile from the Ohio river and not air conditioning my house fully.  That humidifier did nothing.  He did not discuss oversize pins, cardboard or pine tar in the pin hole, oversize pins, redrilling the pin block and putting in a sleeve,  or any of the techniques I've discovered on this website.  What a low skill tech, is my opinion - and the most expensive in town.  Voicing from a tech like that? get real.  Not unless the dealership made $$$$$ on the sale of that grand.  

Offline outin

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #12 on: March 03, 2016, 04:36:58 AM »

Yet, I wanted to ask you something else as well.
How do you find practicing with silent mode? What do you like about it or don't like? What is different for you? You wrote the keys feel heavier with silent system on?
You wrote you practice with headphones? I do not understand why with headphones? I thought silent system makes the piano just quieter like if using the silent pedal of an acoustic piano constantly?
If you are using headphones that means the sounds that are produced are from samples so your piano is than converted to digital piano? So it is a hybrid piano? 
Sorry for so many questions :) I, like you, cannot practice a regular acoustic piano because it is too loud and I don't have soundproof room.


I am not sure if you asked me, but the silent system is actually like a digital piano installed into the acoustic. The piano will be completely silent (except for some key noise) when you play. The sound comes from the digital silent box to the headphones (or speakers if you like, but they are very prone to interference with mine). Or you can export midi as well. And yes, they are sampled piano sounds.

You really should go to a store and play one, otherwise you will not know if the difference in touch is siginificant for you in any way.

Offline quantum

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #13 on: March 03, 2016, 04:39:21 PM »
Just saying, if I were to purchase a brand new piano from a dealer I would expect a package.  For a new piano, saying to the customer: here's your instrument, if you have problems in a few weeks you're on your own, is simply unprofessional IMO.  If it were private sale or second hand instrument it may be a different story, however this instrument in question apparently is not.  If after-sale support was not to be included with the sale of the instrument, it should be written into the agreement. 

Regardless, a new piano in a new space, whether a Model D or a spinet, needs prep for that space.  If I were looking for a new piano at a dealer, and that dealer was not willing to provide a modicum of prep for the new instrument once delivered, I would walk out of there. 

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline indianajo

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #14 on: March 03, 2016, 07:01:16 PM »
I don't suppose you are going to buy a new console piano, then, without being disappointed.
Pianos with warrenties, the dealer will fix sticky keys or dampers, or broken strings. Possibly buzzes.
Making the piano conform to your idea of what it is supposed to sound like is sales in the $$$$$ category, not the $$$$ market.  I have a friend whose new organ was voiced for his house.  It cost $$$$$$. 
A friend bought a new *****ese console in 2010, the "superior" ***** *****.  His console broke the same wire four times over three years.  The dealership replaced it for free three times. No adjustments were made to stop the wire from breaking.   

Offline tinyhands

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #15 on: March 04, 2016, 05:57:52 PM »
Thank you for reply. Good for you :)
Yet, I wanted to ask you something else as well.
How do you find practicing with silent mode? What do you like about it or don't like? What is different for you? You wrote the keys feel heavier with silent system on?
You wrote you practice with headphones? I do not understand why with headphones? I thought silent system makes the piano just quieter like if using the silent pedal of an acoustic piano constantly?
If you are using headphones that means the sounds that are produced are from samples so your piano is than converted to digital piano? So it is a hybrid piano? 
Sorry for so many questions :) I, like you, cannot practice a regular acoustic piano because it is too loud and I don't have soundproof room.

Hello in response the 'silent system ' means it is an acoustic piano but you then you also  have the option to wear headphones and hear the sound digitally ( a sensor comes down inside and the dampeners hit off that instead of the strings) therefore it is 'silent' to anyone else in the room. I've not heard of the term hybrid piano but yes maybe that's what it is?   Yes the keys are  heavier not sure why I think it's maybe it is because the dampners hit off a solid bar inside rather than the strings?
Pros - I can practice anytime and not disturb anyone, it is an acoustic piano so weighted proper keys.good touch response when working on technique  Etc ( my digital felt too keyboardy and plastic )
Cons- when playing it through the headphones you can still very slightly hear that it is a 'digital' sampled sound... But it's MUCH better than the digital piano I had.
Like you I was not able to practice a regular loud acoustic so this was a good compromise for me, the benefits of a digital with acoustic action
I don't think they are that common in the UK but I heard try are quite popular in Asia, maybe small apartment living?

Offline tinyhands

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Re: Question about silent system and 'settling in'
«Reply #16 on: March 04, 2016, 05:59:46 PM »
Sorry kawai_cs I was trying to reply to you , but it's all been inserted as a quote from you. See post above.??  I'm not sure how you use this message board  😊