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#1966479 - 09/29/12 07:25 PM Yet another room size thread
SBP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 258
So, the room for the piano is 12'x15'x9', and we're leaning toward a grand piano (although an upright will suffice). Is there any formula or rule of thumb for the proper piano size. Obviously, a concert grand won't fit (well, sorta, but it won't be acoustically viable no matter how hard you try :P ), but what would be the max size piano that the room can handle. The room has hardwood floors, a wooden desk, a plush couch, fireplace, a wood/glass table, thin curtains, and 2 chairs, so naturally, it's going to be a rather bright room. The room opens into a two story foyer (similar deal: hardwood floors, with the upstairs and stairway heavily carpeted, glass chandelier, etc.).
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#1966491 - 09/29/12 07:39 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: SBP]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
There is really no formula for this. Every room is different; every piano is different, so using a formula isn't appropriate. However, in case that's not the answer you would like to hear, here's a common formula:

2 X (L + W) / 10


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#1966507 - 09/29/12 08:08 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: SBP]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19348
Loc: New York City
Does the room open up into other rooms(then the previously given formula doesn't apply)or is the only opening a normal width door?

Other variables include:

1. the make of the piano
2. Do you want to play with the lid up?
3. room acoustics
4. personal preferences and hearing

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#1967106 - 09/30/12 10:29 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: SBP]
SBP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 258
So, going by the formula 4evrBeginR gave me, the maximum size would be a 5'5" grand, or a 54" upright, assuming I did my math right. That gives me a good range to work with, as I'm sure I can fudge the numbers northwards for a grand without overloading the room visually and acoustically.
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Does the room open up into other rooms(then the previously given formula doesn't apply)or is the only opening a normal width door?

Other variables include:

1. the make of the piano
2. Do you want to play with the lid up?
3. room acoustics
4. personal preferences and hearing

1. That's pending.
2. I'm flexible. Maybe if I wanted to make quick recordings with 2-3 mics mixed into stereo and fed into my computer/DVD recorder, I'd pop the lid up to mic over the bass & treble dampers and right under the lid. For practicing and normal playing, I'd keep it shut or at half stick.
3. The room in question opens up to a 2 story foyer, with no door but with a wide opening (about the size of two average door-frames). The entire first floor, sans the family room, is hardwood. The 2nd entire second floor, sans the bathrooms, is plushly carpeted. Acoustically, the room where the piano will be going is rather bright, with thin curtains, and only 1 very soft couch that sadly never really gets sat in. The chairs are wood, with moderately soft cushions, and the tables are wood and glass. There's also a fireplace, with glass doors and metal frame. The walls are pretty solid (drywall, I believe), but not super solid like cement.
4. I like a brighter tone, but not ear-piercingly so. I'd like to keep my hearing in check so I don't have the hearing of an 80 year-old by the time I'm 30 :P . However, I'll gladly settle for a soft tone that will brighten up over the years to err on the side of caution.

One of my aunts had this sort of thing happen to her when she got my grandmother's '60s Hazelton console. The room in my grandmother's house is heavily furnished, with heavy drapes, thick carpet, overstuffed sofas, leather armchairs, etc. The typical conservative '60s living room. I don't know how it sounded in there, but I imagine it was fairly subdued. When it was moved to my aunt's house, which is a bit more bare and not as formal, with hard floors, glass table, and a sofa, it was very bright (not to mention about a semitone flat, dang thing probably hasn't been tuned in a quarter of a century), to the point of being downright unpleasant, and objects (photos and nearby CD's) vibrating.


Edited by SBP (09/30/12 10:31 PM)
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#1967131 - 09/30/12 11:34 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: SBP]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7438
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi SBP,

One of the things to consider is the actual design/scale of the piano. Del Fandrich has been designing some very fine new instruments which employ a lower tension scale and are more appropriate for home use than the the bright, killer sound which has been the "style" for about the last 20 years or so. I would refer to them as more *refined* and *elegant* than big, bright, and brash. The tonal structure and complexity becomes much more of a consideration than volume output on these instruments.

If your checkbook has been pre-warmed, both the Charles Walter W-175 (5'-9") and the W-190 (6'-4") are lovely instruments and would work well in the size of room you have.

In a more modest range, the Albert Weber AW185 (6'-1") is a very nice instrument.

For cost considerations, the Weber W175 (5'-9") and W185 (6'-1") are certainly worth exploring. I have not played the W157 (5'-2") so I really can't comment on it.

In a home with hardwood floors and reflective surfaces, something to consider would be a well padded area rug under a grand. It can be very helpful so the piano doesn't overpower its surroundings. Make sure that it is large enough to include the bench area. It does make a difference.

I hope this is helpful for you.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1967139 - 09/30/12 11:50 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: SBP]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7438
Loc: Rochester MN
May I add something to my thoughts?

The term "bright" can be very misleading. What is perceived as bright and pleasant in a large showroom can seem like an arrow through the ears in a normal sized, reflective room. This is hard to convey with words, but it is better to listen "into" the tone, rather than to it.

Many builders are trying to produce pianos which "pop" in comparison to the competitor sitting next to it in the store. It can be an unpleasant trap.
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1967938 - 10/02/12 08:21 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: Minnesota Marty]
SBP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 258
Well, turns out the room dimensions are actually 12.5' x 17', making anything up to about 5'9" OK.

Those Weber grands do indeed look interesting, not to mention the dealer carries them (but not Young Chang, although a local music store sells Young Chang/Pramberger consoles and studios). I tried a Weber console, and didn't like the tone at first. It seemed kinda mushy, and almost digital-like. I didn't try the grands, but I'll give them a whirl later this week. From what I've heard, people like the sound from them, as it is considered deeper and more expressive. I can definitely work with that.
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#1967941 - 10/02/12 08:27 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: SBP]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19348
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: SBP
Well, turns out the room dimensions are actually 12.5' x 17', making anything up to about 5'9" OK.
Only if you think that the "formula" is absolute and whether a piano is too loud doesn't depend on a myriad of other factors several posters have mentioned. This is not to imply that the formula is not a reasonable starting point, but I think there are so many other variables involved that it's only minimally helpful. A tech who knows the piano you're considering and your room is probably much more useful than the formula.

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#1967984 - 10/02/12 10:09 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: SBP]
Melodialworks Music Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 1309
Loc: Canada
The height of the room is a critical factor, that is often overlooked.
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#1968019 - 10/02/12 11:01 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: pianoloverus]
SBP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 258
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: SBP
Well, turns out the room dimensions are actually 12.5' x 17', making anything up to about 5'9" OK.
Only if you think that the "formula" is absolute and whether a piano is too loud doesn't depend on a myriad of other factors several posters have mentioned. This is not to imply that the formula is not a reasonable starting point, but I think there are so many other variables involved that it's only minimally helpful. A tech who knows the piano you're considering and your room is probably much more useful than the formula.

I acknowledge that, but I'm just using the formula just to set a good guideline. I also acknowledge that voicing, build quality, how I play it, and lid up/half stick/down play a significant role in how the piano will work in an environment.
Originally Posted By: Melodialworks Music
The height of the room is a critical factor, that is often overlooked.

Yes, but many houses in the US do not have many high-ceilinged rooms. Most high-ceilinged rooms in my neck of the woods are usually foyers, or add-ons (screened-in/enclosed porches and sunrooms, studies, sitting rooms, usually around 12-15 ft.,etc.). Then again, I live in one of those rich, highly standardized suburbs where every house follows a basic design pattern, strictly enforced by the Homeowner's Association. It's probably different and more common in other parts of the country/world. And a taller room isn't always better. I've been in tall rooms where the acoustics are horrible (just talking creates a nasty ringback effect. Hard to describe properly), and in small rooms where the acoustics are great. Heck, my school fits a band and a 6' grand into a rather low ceilinged practice room all the time with little acoustic detriment (well, the band usually sounds like a drunk elephant orgy, but I think there are other factors that cause it to sound crappy besides acoustics :P ).


Edited by SBP (10/02/12 11:13 PM)
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#1968218 - 10/03/12 12:32 PM Re: Yet another room size thread [Re: SBP]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Don't allow the formula to stop you at 5'9". A few inches more in a piano could sound much better. The real limiting factor is really money and definitely not the formula.
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