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#1780883 - 11/01/11 12:46 AM The difference a good technician can make..
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2434
Loc: San Jose, CA
I had Dave Stahl spend a couple hours with my Schimmel 120 today. I wasn't actually there when he was working inside the mechanism, sadly, so I have only an amazing piano to judge his effort by. I recorded the same piece of music with the same settings on my camera before and after. I think the results speak for themselves. It was like he added an extra 5 feet onto the back of the piano, but without changing the positive aspects of its character.



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#1780984 - 11/01/11 08:36 AM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Yes, a good technician can make quite a difference but there so many incompetents. One regulated my Estonia and it's barely playable. Now I have to try to find someone to re-regulate it and re-voice it so it is good again. What a sad thing to have something done and it turns out worse than when it was started. I didn't want anything done to it.

Well, congrats on a GOOD one! smile

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#1781059 - 11/01/11 11:24 AM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
I have a new Bluthner grand that's still going through growing pains as it's barely a year old. Depending on weather conditions, it can get wonky in as little as a month...despite D.C. and trying to control humidity.

The instrument sounds so good it practically makes me weep after my tech gets through with it. I just wish it would last longer.


Edited by cardguy (11/01/11 11:25 AM)

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#1781073 - 11/01/11 11:56 AM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5693
Loc: Europe
Jeffrey, I believe you but I couldn't hear a thing... Both recordings are extremely soft to the point that even with the loudest settings possible on my laptop it's barely audible... frown Is anyone else experiencing that?
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1781080 - 11/01/11 12:06 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: Nikolas]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 20041
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Jeffrey, I believe you but I couldn't hear a thing... Both recordings are extremely soft to the point that even with the loudest settings possible on my laptop it's barely audible... frown Is anyone else experiencing that?
Yes.

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#1781107 - 11/01/11 12:53 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: Nikolas]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2434
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Jeffrey, I believe you but I couldn't hear a thing... Both recordings are extremely soft to the point that even with the loudest settings possible on my laptop it's barely audible... frown Is anyone else experiencing that?


To listen to almost any classical music I have to use headphones.. my laptop's speakers are just too quiet and crackly.

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#1781130 - 11/01/11 01:28 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6716
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Jeffrey -

As long as YOU can hear and feel a difference - that's all that really matters !!!!!

Even though I had to crank the volume of my computer speakers up to the highest setting, I was able to hear this quite well. (My PC is not a laptop).

I enjoy hearing you play this transcription.
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1781133 - 11/01/11 01:30 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18660
Loc: Victoria, BC
I don't have any difficulty listening to music from my laptop because I have external speakers with subwoofer attached. That said, I had to turn the volume to maximum on both the Youtube video and on my laptop's volume control; at that, I got relatively faint recordings, not loud enough to distinguish between the two.

Listening with a reasonably good headset didn't significantly change the results except to point out that the second recording is even fainter than the first.

But, yes, a good technician can do wonders, if you can find one.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1781149 - 11/01/11 01:40 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3920
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Are these Zoom Q3 recordings? I've found the low-input setting to produce faint recordings exactly like these. (And the high-input setting to produce distortion. And the auto setting to be OK, with reservations. I'm not a Q3 fan.)

-J
_________________________
Beethoven op.111 first movement -- Goldberg Variations (so far: -->V5)

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#1781363 - 11/01/11 07:49 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: beet31425]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2434
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Are these Zoom Q3 recordings? I've found the low-input setting to produce faint recordings exactly like these. (And the high-input setting to produce distortion. And the auto setting to be OK, with reservations. I'm not a Q3 fan.)

-J


Yes, exactly. Couldn't have said it any better..

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#1781472 - 11/01/11 11:25 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
Cinnamonbear Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 4107
Loc: Rockford, IL
Jeffrey,

I listened to this as soon as you put it up--like when the views said "3."

1) Your playing is excellent, and a joy to listen to/watch.

2) You are so very fortunate to have David Stahl as your tech. Very, very fortunate, indeed!

3) It was very difficult to really hear what you wanted us to hear, because you changed the recording set-up... The first recording is close and muffled. (BTW, did you have the lid open for both recordings?) The second recording is more clear, but distanted. I think what I am hearing in the second recording is a really nice ET, with excellent unisons and a really nice octave stretch for your piano. I definitely hear in the second recording very beautiful resonance and harmonics in some of the chords, AND, that seems to cause you to play more sensitively. Am I seeing/hearing this right?

4) Is there any way David can chime in and tell us what he did to your piano?

Thanks!
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1781494 - 11/02/11 12:16 AM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2434
Loc: San Jose, CA
I did have the lid open both times. What I notice is that the melody lines sing out more easily, because now the instrument is capable of a pianissimo, as well as a fortissimo without harshness. Before, there was a very narrow range of hollow tones.

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#1781510 - 11/02/11 12:43 AM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18660
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I did have the lid open both times. What I notice is that the melody lines sing out more easily, because now the instrument is capable of a pianissimo, as well as a fortissimo without harshness. Before, there was a very narrow range of hollow tones.


... and I don't care if the top is on it, get that damned water bottle off the top of the piano. After all his work, Dave would have a fit, wouldn't he? Shame!! smile
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1781604 - 11/02/11 07:45 AM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4981
Loc: boston north
Helps to put the recording on 480

Beautiful playing for a beautiful piece. Didn't know it before this. I'll put it in the 'queue'
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1781722 - 11/02/11 12:24 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: BruceD]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2434
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I did have the lid open both times. What I notice is that the melody lines sing out more easily, because now the instrument is capable of a pianissimo, as well as a fortissimo without harshness. Before, there was a very narrow range of hollow tones.


... and I don't care if the top is on it, get that damned water bottle off the top of the piano. After all his work, Dave would have a fit, wouldn't he? Shame!! smile


That's on a bookcase behind the piano. No sacrilege committed. smile

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#1781747 - 11/02/11 01:16 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18660
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I did have the lid open both times. What I notice is that the melody lines sing out more easily, because now the instrument is capable of a pianissimo, as well as a fortissimo without harshness. Before, there was a very narrow range of hollow tones.


... and I don't care if the top is on it, get that damned water bottle off the top of the piano. After all his work, Dave would have a fit, wouldn't he? Shame!! smile


That's on a bookcase behind the piano. No sacrilege committed. smile


I see that now. I should have asked. (Duh!) Whew! What a relief, though!
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1781862 - 11/02/11 05:15 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: beet31425]
NeilOS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/06
Posts: 617
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Are these Zoom Q3 recordings? I've found the low-input setting to produce faint recordings exactly like these. (And the high-input setting to produce distortion. And the auto setting to be OK, with reservations. I'm not a Q3 fan.)

-J


The auto setting cuts out high peaks. If you set the volume level at a midway point in the high-input setting it works great, with excellent sound. And of course pay attention to placement.
_________________________
Concert Pianist, University Professor, Private Teacher in Los Angeles
Blog: http://www.pianoteacherlosangeles.com/

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#1781864 - 11/02/11 05:16 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: NeilOS]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2434
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: NeilOS
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Are these Zoom Q3 recordings? I've found the low-input setting to produce faint recordings exactly like these. (And the high-input setting to produce distortion. And the auto setting to be OK, with reservations. I'm not a Q3 fan.)

-J


The auto setting cuts out high peaks. If you set the volume level at a midway point in the high-input setting it works great, with excellent sound. And of course pay attention to placement.


I didn't realize the volume control made a difference in the high-gain mode.. that changes everything!

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#1781886 - 11/02/11 05:42 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
NeilOS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/06
Posts: 617
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Originally Posted By: NeilOS
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Are these Zoom Q3 recordings? I've found the low-input setting to produce faint recordings exactly like these. (And the high-input setting to produce distortion. And the auto setting to be OK, with reservations. I'm not a Q3 fan.)

-J


The auto setting cuts out high peaks. If you set the volume level at a midway point in the high-input setting it works great, with excellent sound. And of course pay attention to placement.


I didn't realize the volume control made a difference in the high-gain mode.. that changes everything!


Well, I may have misspoken. I just did a test run and it seems that the volume slider only affects playback (sorry). I didn't notice this because I always leave the slider at a midway point. But I do get excellent results by placing the Zoom a significant distance away (15 feet or so) and I always record at hi input, reducing the volume at playback as needed. I've made very nice DVDs and youtube uploads with this setting. The audio can be extracted in iMovie and burned to CD, if desired.

The auto setting might be okay if your performance has a relatively constant volume level. The low setting is if your loudness level is consistently high.


Edited by NeilOS (11/02/11 06:15 PM)
_________________________
Concert Pianist, University Professor, Private Teacher in Los Angeles
Blog: http://www.pianoteacherlosangeles.com/

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#1782101 - 11/02/11 11:48 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2434
Loc: San Jose, CA
I don't have a room big enough to keep the piano 15 feet away from the soundboard, unfortuantely. I have 10 feet to the back wall and 10 feet to the front wall..

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#1785603 - 11/08/11 10:26 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear


4) Is there any way David can chime in and tell us what he did to your piano?

Thanks!


Thanks for the kind words, Jeffrey and others! Sorry I'm late in responding to this. One of my clients just told me about this thread today, so I had to give it a look...:-)

Regulation: The piano was in pretty good shape regulation-wise when I got there, so I only had to do fine regulation of the hammer let-off.

Tuning: Pitch adjustment of -5 / -15 cent, then fine tuned

Voicing: Light surface sanding and mating of hammers to strings. Once again, it wasn't bad when I got there.

Note: When a piano is serviced regularly at intervals of 6 months or less (depending on piano and climate), it is easier to bring it up to a high level.
_________________________
Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net

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#1785905 - 11/09/11 02:03 PM Re: The difference a good technician can make.. [Re: jeffreyjones]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4476
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...I wasn't actually there when he was working inside the mechanism, sadly, so I have only an amazing piano to judge his effort by...."

I often watch Dave at his work, but do not know enough about the mechanics and fine points, really, to say much from my observations. A little study of the matter only takes you so far, though he's generous enough to describe his work and tell me the purpose of the various operations. It is an astonishing and beautiful sight to see the mechanism of the piano, exposed and under fine adjustment. (It's also pretty hard to photograph, though I've tried it a few times. I mainly help by keeping the dogs from running off with his expensive tools.)

Darlene told me, "He worked so hard to get that Piano Technicians' Guild RPT certification." She gave me her best tech when I bought the piano from her, for a price that I thought was fair to us both. There is a current thread where a novice poster is crowing about having gotten the cheapest cheap deal by leveraging three local dealers against each other. The tone of the thread is not very attractive (though I'm all for smart shopping), and I wonder if this buyer outsmarted himself in his race-to-the-bottom deal when the piano arrived in his front yard in its shipping box, straight from Thailand. "It didn't even need tuning," he bragged.

I can't imagine that the seller will bother much with this gentleman. But I guess that's a side issue, and really beyond my concern. I think Dave deserves recognition from within the industry, as well as from those of us who are lucky enough to have him care for our pianos. I've never heard of any kind of award or prize for piano techs--- but why would I know about it. PTG could give out sales awards like Mary Kay Cosmetics does, for all I know.

If you play, you can hear his work, and you can feel it every time you touch a key or pedal. Granting that any one person is just part of a great web of skill and industry, and that all are essential for even a single key to sound... I wonder if there are that many people in the world who can say that their professional work makes that kind of a difference.

Well, maybe just to players.
_________________________
Clef


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