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Topic Options
#1487729 - 08/04/10 12:22 AM Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics
sdwtchlvr Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 9
Hi All,

Finally decided on a 1983 Kawai 50" Upright. Got it delivered my town home last Friday, it now resides on the second floor. The piano is in my living room which has hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings. It sounds considerably more bright than it did when I played it at the previous owners home which had standard 7 foot ceilings and carpet.

What do you recommend I do to mellow out the sound? I know Kawai is generally more warm and mellow sounding than Yamaha which is one of the reasons why I choose Kawai. But my upright sounds super bright and I'm sure it has everything to do with the acoustics of my space.

I've done some light research on picking up some acoustic foam but the professional stuff is super expensive. I wanted to put something on the wall behind the sound board. Will standard egg crate foam do the trick...you know the stuff for bedding?

Should I put a rug beneath the piano? It doesn't seem like this would do much as the sound board is on the back but I'm not sure.

Any advice would be awesome.

Thanks!!

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#1487743 - 08/04/10 12:42 AM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: sdwtchlvr]
tommytones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/13/09
Posts: 167
Loc: Northeast America
Originally Posted By: sdwtchlvr


Should I put a rug beneath the piano? It doesn't seem like this would do much as the sound board is on the back but I'm not sure.


Thanks!!


You've the right idea sdwtchlvr, as the wood floors act as an amplifier. The vaulted ceilings don't help either! I actually have the reverse problem on my Kawai--I have carpet underneath. I don't think the fact that it is an upright and the soundboard is in the back has anything to do with it as the casters on the wood floor act as a natural resonator.
Try the area rug. Even if it doesn't dampen the sound, you'll have a nice accent!
_________________________
tommytones
Mus. B., Classical Piano Performance
Kawai No. 600
Roland Digital Piano Model No. HP 147
Wurlitzer Electronic Piano Model No. 200A
Hammond M-3

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#1487770 - 08/04/10 02:19 AM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: tommytones]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21923
Loc: Oakland
The first thing to do is to find a good technician to see what can be done with the piano.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1487813 - 08/04/10 05:28 AM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: BDB]
Sviatoslav Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 98
Loc: Italy, Torino
I have an upright Kaway too; to me it helped to move it away from the wall. I was used to keep it very close (2-3 inches); sometimes I can get it to 2 feet instead. The sound is fuller and not so bright anymore. I know that it could sound not very practical, but it works for me.

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#1487931 - 08/04/10 10:38 AM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: Sviatoslav]
Konzert Patrick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 791
Loc: The Netherlands
Put a thick rug under the footprint of the piano, this should help a lot.
_________________________
Schimmel Konzert 189 Tradition

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#1487960 - 08/04/10 11:17 AM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: Konzert Patrick]
NeedleMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/02/10
Posts: 29
I have the same problem. I put a tree in my room. It helped a little bit. Is it really affect the sound when I move the piano away from the wall ?
_________________________
YAMAHA U300.

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#1487982 - 08/04/10 11:57 AM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: NeedleMan]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10528
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
There is a great article in Piano Buyer entitled How to Make Your Piano Room Sound Grand. It can be read free online at:

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/f43fcbf9#/f43fcbf9/102
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1487993 - 08/04/10 12:12 PM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: Steve Cohen]
sdwtchlvr Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 9
Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately, I cannot move my piano away from the wall. My only option is to add material behind and beneath the piano to help mellow the tone. I want to try and do this as economical as possible as I just dumped all of my "piano fund" into the actual piano and getting into my home. Can anybody suggest a practical material to put behind the piano? Soundproofing foam, egg crate, blanket? I am going to try a rug under the piano too. Thanks.

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#1488024 - 08/04/10 12:53 PM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: sdwtchlvr]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10528
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
A comforter works well. But you should still read the article. There are many other things you can do to the room.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1488054 - 08/04/10 01:47 PM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: sdwtchlvr]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1344
Loc: Michigan
Your first step is to disconnect the piano physically from the structure of the building. This can make a dramatic difference in sound transmission to remote areas of the building (as opposed to the same room). You cannot do this with carpet or padding. It must be with material specifically designed for acoustic isolation. Here are links:
http://www.stevespianoservice.com/Online-Piano-Parts-Catalog/piano-soundabsorbers.htm

(I was going to include a second link for an caster cup with an elastomer bonded to the bottom but can't find it right now. The guy is in western Canada.)

Rugs, comforters, and such may reduce reflection within a room (or may not -- some are acousticly transparent). But a rug beneath the piano will do absolutely nothing to impede transmission through the floor.

If you want to reduce the output of your instrument or if you need to reduce the transmission from air to wall to air on the other side, there are specalised materials available. Or, you may devise a construction solution such as special acoustic drywall or isolating walls. I built an isolating wall that has been very effective using generic material.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#1488065 - 08/04/10 01:59 PM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: kpembrook]
Aliwally Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/07
Posts: 521
Loc: Washington, D.C.
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Your first step is to disconnect the piano physically from the structure of the building. This can make a dramatic difference in sound transmission to remote areas of the building (as opposed to the same room). You cannot do this with carpet or padding. It must be with material specifically designed for acoustic isolation. Here are links:
http://www.stevespianoservice.com/Online-Piano-Parts-Catalog/piano-soundabsorbers.htm

(I was going to include a second link for an caster cup with an elastomer bonded to the bottom but can't find it right now. The guy is in western Canada.)

Rugs, comforters, and such may reduce reflection within a room (or may not -- some are acousticly transparent). But a rug beneath the piano will do absolutely nothing to impede transmission through the floor.

If you want to reduce the output of your instrument or if you need to reduce the transmission from air to wall to air on the other side, there are specalised materials available. Or, you may devise a construction solution such as special acoustic drywall or isolating walls. I built an isolating wall that has been very effective using generic material.




Great advice, to help the same exact materials are sold below for less than half the price of Steve's Piano Service.




Things you will need:
1- 48x48 Flexible Vinyl-Coated Fiberglass Sound Control Blanket – (9781T35)***
2- 5x7 Rug
3- 54x54 Flexible Egg-Carton Polyurethane Sound Absorbing Foam – (9710T46)***
4- Wool Disc – 6 inches diameter, ¼ inch thick, (4 total) – (8307K42)***
5- Piano Caster Cups – 5 ½ diameter (4 total)
Put the 48x48 Sound Control Blanket under the 5x7 Carpet, you should leave 6 inches on each side of the carpet, basically the sound control blanket is in the middle. (This will control the Bass notes mainly) The wool disk goes underneath the Piano Caster Cups. (This will control the vibrations throughout the legs of the piano). Put the 54x54 Sound Absorbing Foam behind the upright with the Egg side facing and barely touching the back of the piano, the flat side should be touching the wall. (This will control the mids and especially the highs, i.e., Yamaha highs exclusively) you can cut the top to your size upright.
You can buy this stuff at a reasonable price at www.mcmaster.com
The product numbers are at the top in ( *** )

(Total Cost $ 177.00)not including the Rug/ Piano Caster Cups which will be up to you, make sure they are 5 ½ inches in diameter because the wool disk are 6 inches.
It really works great!!
_________________________
Yamaha P-120, Feurich 122

Always look ahead, but never look back. - Miles Davis

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#1488146 - 08/04/10 04:33 PM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: sdwtchlvr]
tommytones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/13/09
Posts: 167
Loc: Northeast America
Originally Posted By: sdwtchlvr
Can anybody suggest a practical material to put behind the piano? Soundproofing foam, egg crate, blanket?


Try a helmholz attenuator in the room with the piano.
_________________________
tommytones
Mus. B., Classical Piano Performance
Kawai No. 600
Roland Digital Piano Model No. HP 147
Wurlitzer Electronic Piano Model No. 200A
Hammond M-3

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#1488159 - 08/04/10 05:11 PM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: tommytones]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
you can add a lot of things. i used to stuff pillows between the boards against the soundboard of my huge ancient upright. it seriously altered the resonance and sustain but effectively dampened the volume allowing my infants to sleep. a simple quilt over the top and back will help a lot. my husband made me a sound absorber of soundtile nailed to pegboard. .. that also worked well. good luck.

pillows, drapes, sofas (teddy bears).. soft absorbent things work wonders.


Edited by apple* (08/04/10 05:22 PM)
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1488165 - 08/04/10 05:18 PM Re: Got my Kawai 50" Upright, need help with acoustics [Re: tommytones]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
sdwtchlvr, ordinary room furnishings can help a lot--- carpet, curtains, couches, bookcases, etc. A 1983 piano may well benefit from some voicing by an experienced tech., and a regulation. Not all tuners have this kind of experience, so ask specifically... and go easy at first. A couple of moderate voicings, with some time in between, will probably get you there better than a single drastic treatment.

Your remark that it sounded very different in your home than in the showroom is a classic. A recent poster said that a K-6 played well, but lacked power--- right, till you get it home. Pianos are so often not shown in a setting that will really give you an idea of how they will sound in your home. Dealers like them to have more 'punch,' so they will sound well in the showroom. This is an unending drawback of a typical showroom sale.

The 'search' function here has its problems, but this topic has been discussed extensively--- surely it would turn up something for you.

I say, try the ordinary things first, before you start building sound walls or ordering special acoustic treatments or decouplers, etc.
_________________________
Clef


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