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#1880759 - 04/16/12 07:00 PM I need headphone help
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Hi, all you digital piano experts. I'm hoping someone out there can help me with a headphone problem.

First, I confess I'm mostly an acoustic player. BUT, I'm in a condo and therefore much of the time I needed to be able to play silently (through headphones).

SO, I got a Yamaha "Silent Piano". (If you're not familiar with this, it's an acoustic piano the sound of which can be shut off with the pull of a handle. The flip of a switch converts it to digital. It has no speakers. The digital component can only be heard through headphones.)

I have Bose noise-cancelling headphones. When I play 1 or 2 notes at the same time it sounds fine. When I'm playing 5 or 6 note chords, it sounds fuzzy. The same holds for the low-quality Yamaha headphones that came with the piano.

Is this problem a function of not having fancy enough headphones? If so, would the problem go away with high-end Sennheiser or other high-end phones?

If not, what do y'all think might be wrong? (The piano, a 5'8" C2 grand, is new and under warranty, so if the problem is in the instrument, then they 'sposed to fix it free.)

Thanks in advance for a reply!

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#1880850 - 04/16/12 10:46 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
Hubert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 27
try to connect the lineout fom your piano to a hifi and see if the fuzzy result is still there, if it is then it is a problem with the sound module of your slient piano, otherwise it is a problem with the headphone output of your piano.

if you don't have a hifi at home you can just connect your headphone to the lineout directly for testing, it is just to test the quality of the sound module.

probably not a problem with heaphone


Edited by Hubert (04/16/12 10:47 PM)

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#1880888 - 04/17/12 01:10 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
piano_shark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 201
Don't use noise-cancelling headphones, they're not created for high quality sound. To cancel noise they filter out most of the highs and lows. Get decent studio headphones AKG K240, Sennheiser HD-280 or Sony mdr 7506 at around 100$ not necessary high end which is way more expensive and not really required.

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#1881306 - 04/17/12 05:08 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
RB435 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/03/11
Posts: 14
I can't say whether your instrument might have an audio problem that requires repair or not, but I can say a lot about headphones in general. I had the so called Professional Studio Sony MDR 7506's that sell for around $99 but they sounded thin and artificial to my ears. They give digital pianos a very unnatural sound that's just bad. Very bad. The best ones I have and use every day are the Sennheiser HD600's. They are open backed and give the digital piano a very natural sound that blends in with ambient noise of the room so you feel like you're actually playing at a piano. The bass is deep and full, and the highs really sing. It's the most natural digital piano sound I have ever heard through headphones. I don't know if the cheaper Sennheiser's are the same, but I kind of doubt it. The 600's were the best $400.00 I ever spent for audio equipment. And when you're all done playing the piano you can go listen to your classical CD's with the HD600's. Absolutely stunning live sounding performance. Highly highly recommended. Go ahead and treat yourself. You'll absolutely love them.


Edited by RB435 (04/17/12 05:19 PM)

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#1881545 - 04/18/12 02:28 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
Carlos-CR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/12
Posts: 64
Loc: Madrid, Spain
Hello,

I,ve too experienced the same with my dp. I think it's some kind of intermodulation distortion. When using akg66 headphones sometimes i hear that fuzzy or ringing unnatural sound in chords. A friend of mine lent me his sennheiser hd595 and it sounded much better, but didnt dissapear completely. I'm investigating if there are better headphones in this regard that doesnt cost and arm and a leg, but reading hifi forums is givin me headaches!

If anybody heard the same that the op and I are describing and found headphones that solved it please, pretty please tell us the model.

Carlos

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#1882003 - 04/18/12 09:41 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
ankaka Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/16/12
Posts: 10
Loc: uk
You can just connect your headphone to the lineout directly for testing, it is just to test the quality of the sound module.
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#1882953 - 04/20/12 11:41 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: ankaka]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
First--thanks, everyone, for your suggestions! Plugging the Bose phones into one of thse Bose CD players did not produce fuzziness, even when multiple notes are played by the pianist on the CD (in this case, the mostly unknown jazz monster Mike Wofford).

I plugged again into the piano and again hear clarity with single notes but fuzziness when multiple notes are played. It might be the piano. I'm going to go to the dealer. They won't have a "Silent Piano" on the floor for me to plug into, but they should have a Yamaha digital with identical specs to the digital component of my piano. I'll let y'all know what comes of this.

Originally Posted By: ankaka
You can just connect your headphone to the lineout directly for testing, it is just to test the quality of the sound module.


I'm not an audiophile (and indeed admit to only playing the digital component of the piano because I have to for the neighbors' sake). Thus, I'm ignorant.

I would have thought that plugging my headphones into the receptacle meant for headphones would have been "the lineout directly" but it sure sounds like that's not so. Where do I plug in to get "the lineout directly" if not into the little hole marked "phones"? (The digital component of Yamaha's "Silent Piano" has very few controls--just a volume switch, an on/off switch, a reverb switch, two openings for headphones, and a place to plug in the cord that plugs the system into the wall socket for power. I think that's all there is.) 'Sounds like I'm missin' something here, ankaka. What is it? Thanks in advance for a reply.

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#1882955 - 04/20/12 11:50 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
leemax Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 501
Loc: pacific nw, usa
I use the Bose headphones and they sound fine, even with the fullest chords I can possibly play.
Also, I believe that the noise cancellation works not by filtering out the highs and lows but by cancelling certain frequencies that are heard by the microphones in the headphones. I've tried a number of different headphones, noise cancelling and not, and my Bose QC-15s are consistently the best. In my situation, especially, since I live close to a flour mill which has some loud blowers which drone away 24/7, it's nice to have the headphones that cancel out the mill noises.
_________________________
Lee

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#1882961 - 04/20/12 11:57 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: leemax]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: leemax
I use the Bose headphones and they sound fine, even with the fullest chords I can possibly play. . .


Given that the stock Yamaha phones are producing the same problem as the Bose phones and you're not having this problem with your Bose phones, it's starting to sound like the problem may be in the digital component of the piano.

What digital piano are you playing, leemax?

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#1882972 - 04/20/12 12:17 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3244
Maybe the headphones are clipping? Did you try putting volume lower?
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#1882974 - 04/20/12 12:19 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
Dave Horne Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5260
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
When I was shopping around for headphones I asked two guys, one a personal friend and owner of a well known and established studio in Philadelphia, and another who is well known here in the Netherlands in audio, what they recommend. Both suggested Beyer 770's.

I didn't take their advice but these guys are professional and that was their choice.
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#1882983 - 04/20/12 12:37 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: wouter79]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: wouter79
Maybe the headphones are clipping? Did you try putting volume lower?


I don't know what clipping is, but even with the volume low, there's a fuzziness when multiple notes are played.

I should add the following: when all the chord tones are well into the treble, the fuzziness completely disappears and the sound is clear as a bell. And yet, when I move into the mid range--even into areas where there is no muddy sound at all on the acoustic piano--the fuzziness is audible.

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#1882996 - 04/20/12 01:08 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3244
Sounds like a technical problem. But if you don't know what clipping is I don't know where to start
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#1883010 - 04/20/12 01:35 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Clipping = distortion from sending something more signal that it can handle.

Since clipping can happen at different points along a signal chain, it is not necessarily tied to high output volume.

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#1883067 - 04/20/12 03:14 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
leemax Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 501
Loc: pacific nw, usa
I have a Celviano AP-620.
_________________________
Lee

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#1883103 - 04/20/12 04:15 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: wouter79]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
OK--I go to the dealer. He sets me up with a Yamaha Disklavier, the digital component of which is purportedly just like the digital part of my "Silent Piano." Again, with multiple notes particularly as I reach mid range, there is less clarity. As the same thing happened with 2 unrelated headphones (Yamaha stock phones and Bose noise-cancelling phones), it sounds like the problem is either the limits of the current digital piano technology and/OR better headphones are needed to get rid of much of the problem, as someone said above.

Bottom line: sounds like time to bend over, take out the check book, and get the Sennheiser (spelling?) $350 phones. I'll wait before buying them to see what else y'all have to say. If nothing points me in a different direction, I'll order the fancy phones next week. Then I'll let y'all know what the outcome is. Thanks again, everyone!

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#1883110 - 04/20/12 04:17 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Ooops. I forgot one important thing. The dealer claims that if I get headphones with a built in 1/4" jack (vs. an 1/8" jack with an added converter to fit the 1/4" hole) I'll get better sound. IS THAT REALLY TRUE?

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#1883112 - 04/20/12 04:24 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
Dave Horne Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5260
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: jivemutha
Ooops. I forgot one important thing. The dealer claims that if I get headphones with a built in 1/4" jack (vs. an 1/8" jack with an added converter to fit the 1/4" hole) I'll get better sound. IS THAT REALLY TRUE?


No.
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#1883242 - 04/20/12 07:41 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: Dave Horne]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
Originally Posted By: jivemutha
Ooops. I forgot one important thing. The dealer claims that if I get headphones with a built in 1/4" jack (vs. an 1/8" jack with an added converter to fit the 1/4" hole) I'll get better sound. IS THAT REALLY TRUE?


No.


Thanks, Dave. It didn't sound right. I'm guessing it must have been something ELSE besides this issue that made one set of headphones sound better than another.

Maybe it's time for me to order the Sennheiser and just pay the big bucks, huh?

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#1883421 - 04/21/12 03:46 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
Dave Horne Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5260
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Headphones for professional use tend to use 1\4" plugs. As long as you're still looking for headphones consider one more property, the ability to easily replace damaged cables\plugs. I bought three sets of headphones this year and the cables for all of them can be easily replaced.
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#1883422 - 04/21/12 03:48 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3244
I get the impression that the problem is in the piano design, since you tried with different headphones AND similar but different DPs.

Is there any other audio output on your piano?

You might try using a separate amplifier instead of your headphones to see if this is an impedance problem with the output.

I would not spend $350 on new headphones before having ensured that it's not the DP itself.
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#1883990 - 04/21/12 10:28 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: wouter79]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: wouter79
Is there any other audio output on your piano?


I don't believe so. I looked but didn't find.

Originally Posted By: wouter79
I would not spend $350 on new headphones before having ensured that it's not the DP itself.


As a different Yamaha (a Disklavier) had a similar lack of clarity with chords containing more than a few notes, you're right--it might be the DP. If so, however, it's apparently not a defective unit--it would likely be a design flaw. If so, ain't nuthin' I'm likely to be able to do about it, not being a techy sort of guy.

Someone above with the same problem posted, saying the problem got significantly better with high end phones. So . . .

I placed an offer on a set yesterday. By tomorrow I'm supposed to find out if they accept it. 'Turns out prices have gone up. The HD650 Sennheisers are, alas, no longer $350 any more. If Sennheiser is German, then I'm guessing the fall of the dollar against the Euro may be at least partly the culprit. I'll let y'all know what comes of all this. Thanks again.

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#1885404 - 04/24/12 01:44 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
The Sennheiser HD650 headphones are to arrive a week from Wednesday (new, eBay, $390+shipping--ouch).

I'll let y'all know whether they get rid of the fuzzy sound I hear with multiple note chords. If not, it sounds like I'll have to start reading up on "headphone amps"--not exacly what this Luddite wants to do with his time. Nonetheless, if it comes to that I'll probably be back here with more questions. Of course I'm hoping these expensive phones will fix the problem all by themselves. Either way I'll let ya know. Thanks again, everyone.

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#1885417 - 04/24/12 02:29 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
The HD650 might need a headphone amp, but that won't get rid of the fuzzy sound for sure. If you hear it without amp you'll hear it with.

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#1885450 - 04/24/12 04:25 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
EssBrace Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2326
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
jivemutha - the Sennheiser HD-650s are really fantastic headphones - just about as good as you can get before going into "silly money" territory so I hope they work out for you.

This is off topic, but how do you like the C2 silent? Have you got experience of other DPs? If so, how does the silent element of the C2 compare? In "acoustic mode" how do you rate the low bass on the C2? And finally, before you start to reel at this flurry of questions, does the feel of the action change at all in silent mode?

Thanks!

Steve
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#1885628 - 04/24/12 11:22 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: Gigantoad]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Gigantoad
The HD650 might need a headphone amp, but that won't get rid of the fuzzy sound for sure. If you hear it without amp you'll hear it with.


Thanks for this info--it might be helpful.

What DOES the headphone amp do that makes the audiophiles sometimes talk in favor of them? (If you haven't read this whole thread, I'm NOT an audiophile.)

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#1885635 - 04/24/12 11:43 AM Re: I need headphone help [Re: EssBrace]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
jivemutha - the Sennheiser HD-650s are really fantastic headphones - just about as good as you can get before going into "silly money" territory so I hope they work out for you.

This is off topic, but how do you like the C2 silent? Have you got experience of other DPs? If so, how does the silent element of the C2 compare? In "acoustic mode" how do you rate the low bass on the C2? And finally, before you start to reel at this flurry of questions, does the feel of the action change at all in silent mode?


Thanks for your reassuring words about the HD650. It arrives May first. I'll let ya know what happens.

In silent mode there is absolutely zero effect on the feel of the action. Yamaha has some kind of corrective mechanism that undoes the changes in regulation created by the Silent technology. (Though the vertical Silent Piano design does not correct for these differences in regulation, I've played a Silent U3 upright and, like most people, I confess that I simply couldn't feel that there was a problem. Still, technically there is some small change that Yamaha admits occurs, but ONLY in the uprights.

About the bass in the acoustic component. . . if, like me, your expectations are formed by previously playing a U3, then like me, you'd just love the C2 up and down--bass included! If, however, your yardstick is referenced by previous experience playing a C3, you're not likely to be a happy camper. It's SOOOOOO subjective! That said, I love it.

It's very much akin to, "how do you like your BMW?" If your previous car was a Ford, you're thrilled. If it was a Ferrari, you ain't gonna be jumpin' up and down . . . But I still think you're asking a very important question!!! Whether the buyer is happy enough with the instrument to really enjoy playing it and to be inspired by it's sound is probably THE single most important issue, in my opinion. This suggests that the only issue for you (in this case, regarding C2s) is how it sounds to you personally.

Finally, I don't have much DP experience. During my hunt for the right instrument, the dealer wound up loaning me a P95, and later one or two steps up from a P95. Both sounded OK through (Bose noise-cancelling) headphones. Both sounded awful through their speakers. (Silent Pianos have no speakers, of course. The idea is, if you want to play without headphones you'd choose the real piano every time. In my case, at least, this is indeed true.) The sound of the Silent C2 through the Bose phones is better than that of the P95 or the fancier replacement they gave me--more akin to the sound of an AvantGrand or a Disklavier through phones. That said, obviously I'm still having a problem with it. That problem (fuzzy sound with multple-note chords) is what got this thread started (-:

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#1885673 - 04/24/12 12:59 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: jivemutha]
Dave Horne Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5260
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Would the HD650 need a headphone amplifier (since it's rated at 300 ohms)?
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#1885716 - 04/24/12 02:41 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: Dave Horne]
Erard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
Would the HD650 need a headphone amplifier (since it's rated at 300 ohms)?


I use the HD650 with the V-Piano with the volume in the middle position and usually cannot go much beyond that, as it gets too loud. Also with the Yamaha P90 I had no problems with it.

In my experience the problem with high impedance headphones arises with battery powered devices (phones, MP3 players etc.) where the headphone output has usually a low voltage/low impedance output combination and cannot drive a 300 ohm load easily.

So I think there is a very good chance that your new Sennheiser is going to work fine.
_________________________
Yamaha C3M - V-Piano

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#1885741 - 04/24/12 03:44 PM Re: I need headphone help [Re: Erard]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Erard
I use the HD650 with the V-Piano with the volume in the middle position and usually cannot go much beyond that, as it gets too loud. Also with the Yamaha P90 I had no problems with it.

In my experience the problem with high impedance headphones arises with battery powered devices (phones, MP3 players etc.) where the headphone output has usually a low voltage/low impedance output combination and cannot drive a 300 ohm load easily.

So I think there is a very good chance that your new Sennheiser is going to work fine.


Terrific! Most info regarding headphones that I've found on the internet is written by audiophiles. In my opinion, they will go to great lengths and expend huge amounts of money for improvements so small as to be undetectable by me, so I suspect your information here is probably way more valuable than some of the stuff I've drummed up googling "Sennheiser HD650 reviews." Thank you!

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