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#2032587 - 02/13/13 05:05 PM Piano Size vs Volume for apartment
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 291
Loc: Toronto
I am looking at upright pianos from 43.5" to 52". While I may not prefer 52" to the 43.5" but I am really concerned about the noise for neighbours live downstairs..

I know pianos differ from one to another, but just as a general question: is 52" too loud for an apartment?

my living room is about 11' x 16' with a open concept kitchen
floor is made of 200mm thick concrete..
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#2032630 - 02/13/13 06:51 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Steven Y. A.
I know pianos differ from one to another, but just as a general question: is 52" too loud for an apartment?

my living room is about 11' x 16' with a open concept kitchen
floor is made of 200mm thick concrete..

There are too many piano construction and design variables to answer this question directly. If two pianos were designed with the same overall philosophy then the basic difference should be in roughly the lower third of the scale. The tenor and treble sections could well be essentially the same while the larger piano would have at least the potential for a clearer, more articulate sounding bass section.

Rarely will you find things this simple. Different piano models have different histories; different design lineages. And sometimes the larger piano will end up more suitable for a smaller space. For example, the recently redesigned Weber 131 (just now coming into production) will have a warmer, richer voice than the new Young Chang 131 as well as the smaller (also redesigned) Young Chang 121. Because of the nature (and history) of the 131 skeleton and string frame it is well suited to a (hopefully) more pleasant but less loud overall tone quality. The hammer specifications reinforce this; they are pressed using a little less pressure than is used for the Young Chang hammers.

I don’t know if other manufacturers make any attempts to optimize larger designs for a specific type of environment or not. I expect that at least some are. To find out you’ll have to shop around and try a variety of different pianos. You’ll be looking for a piano that won’t overpower a small space so shy away from pianos that sound big and powerful in a big, open showroom.

ddf
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#2032643 - 02/13/13 07:08 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Mark VC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/12
Posts: 110
I don't think the experience of your neighbors is going to be all that different, between a 43 and a 52 inch piano. I definitely do NOT think the larger one is too large for your room! Consider how many people have 7 footers or larger in their apartments. I say get the bigger acoustic, and find yourself a digital keyboard and headphones, that you can use when beating Frederick Chopin to death in the middle of the night.

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#2032688 - 02/13/13 08:05 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
One of the things which will make a difference is the construction of the floors in the building. Poured concrete will transmit less sound than wood joist construction.

Placing it on well padded carpeting seems to help the most. If it is still a problem, there are caster cups which are designed as a solution to this problem.

In any apartment building, there is always some sound transmission between units. It is good that you are being considerate of others.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2032791 - 02/13/13 11:42 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 291
Loc: Toronto
thanks..the main reason im asking because it is difficult to evaluate the volume in dealers show room...
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#2032800 - 02/14/13 12:04 AM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2192
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Is there anyone else in your building that has a piano? If there is you could check with them about their experiences.
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#2032812 - 02/14/13 12:33 AM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21664
Loc: Oakland
A larger piano may be easier to play softly than a smaller piano. The maximum volume may be a bit greater but it may be more difficult to play it that loud.
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#2032871 - 02/14/13 05:27 AM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
backto_study_piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 452
Loc: Australia
I'd agree with BDB - a better piano - larger, presumably - will be easier to control. My 7'4" grand is capable of playing quieter than my old Yamaha upright. (And louder too!!)
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#2032935 - 02/14/13 10:23 AM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 291
Loc: Toronto
Thanks...I can understand in a grand piano the larger ones have longer keys, hence better leverage and control..
but is it the same for upright? I thought the key length are the same for uprights
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#2033033 - 02/14/13 12:44 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Steven Y. A.
Thanks...I can understand in a grand piano the larger ones have longer keys, hence better leverage and control..
but is it the same for upright? I thought the key length are the same for uprights

Well, they are not all the same but they are governed by different rules.

Key length in grand action is primarily established by the distance from the front of the keybed to the hammer strikeline. In two grands of the same overall length—but coming from different manufacturers—there can be small variances due to how the tuning pin field is laid out, the thickness of the stretcher, etc., but overall they will be fairly close.

The key lengths in vertical pianos are largely a matter of style. In general shorter vertical pianos will have shorter keys because case designers don’t want the keybed and its associated cabinetry extending overly far out away from the body of the piano. It visually unbalances the piano. Taller pianos can—but do not always—have longer keys because visually the taller cabinetry can accommodate them.

There are obviously exceptions to these generalities; occasionally we’ll see a tall piano with relatively short keys or a short piano with longer keys depending of the style of the instrument. But other than for the dictates of style there are no physical laws that dictate the length of keys in vertical pianos. If longer keys are used it is usually because somebody up the chain with an eye for performance overruled those with an eye for style.

ddf
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Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2033038 - 02/14/13 12:54 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21664
Loc: Oakland
You actually get better control from the longer strings. Aside from the purer tone that they give, there will be a bit more tension on them, which means they are a little more difficult to excite, so the same blow will give less volume. More tension will also resonate longer, so you play a little less loudly to hold the notes longer. It is subtile, but the difference is there.
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#2033050 - 02/14/13 01:26 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: BDB]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: BDB
You actually get better control from the longer strings. Aside from the purer tone that they give, there will be a bit more tension on them, which means they are a little more difficult to excite, so the same blow will give less volume. More tension will also resonate longer, so you play a little less loudly to hold the notes longer. It is subtile, but the difference is there.

Longer scales do not necessarily mean higher tensions. In several of the YC/Weber vertical pianos I've recently redesigned I both lengthened the scales slightly and reduced the tensions by using smaller diameter wire. They also use lighter, more flexible soundboard systems and softer, more resilient hammers. It's an inter-related system.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2033051 - 02/14/13 01:32 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 291
Loc: Toronto
Thanks for the detailed explaination Del, So its safe to say taller upright may not necessarily have better action/control even from same manufacturer?
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#2033071 - 02/14/13 02:28 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Steven Y. A.
Thanks for the detailed explaination Del, So its safe to say taller upright may not necessarily have better action/control even from same manufacturer?

It may not. It depends on the style of the cabinetry. And you can always ask.

It is not unusual for a manufacturer to have several different keysets that are used with a given skeleton depending on the case style. This is usually found more in shorter pianos--110 cm to 115 cm--but I have also seen it done with 132 cm pianos.

There is more to action touch and control than just the length of the key. The quality and fit of the keybushings, for example (the tighter the better consistent with the free motion of the keys). Or the amount of key flare (the less, the better). The overall precision of the action components and their regulation. The response of the hammers interacting with the strings. Not all of these things can be quantified by numbers. You have to play the piano and make a subjective judgment.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2033073 - 02/14/13 02:31 PM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 290
Hi Steven,

As Mark wrote, it won't make much difference for neighbors. Choose a piano according to its sound and touch. As a typical "stereotype" example, a smaller Yamaha piano has good chances to sound harsher than an European sounding slightly bigger piano. Of course, this can all vary within the same brand and even model depending on the regulation and voicing done on it.

What is sure though is that any piano will sound louder in your apartment than in a piano store showroom. So easily annoyed neighbors will bark regardless if you get a 43" or a 52" or a decent baby grand (on which it's likely you'll end up having better control compared to an upright).

So in the end, verify how soundproof is your apartment (turning your system loud for example). Or make arrangement with the neighbors if you think they could be annoyed, so you can play at certain hours or while they are out, etc. They might even end up enjoying hearing you play, you never know. And then choose the piano you feel has the better control and sound as you test it.


Edited by Bosendorff (02/14/13 02:33 PM)

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#2033657 - 02/15/13 10:55 AM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Bosendorff]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2192
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
As the ultimate in sound isolation of the piano from the building you could use cables secured to the load bearing structure of the ceiling above to hang the piano an inch off the floor with the casters removed. Not saying you should do it just a thought.
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#2033670 - 02/15/13 11:20 AM Re: Piano Size vs Volume for apartment [Re: Steven Y. A.]
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 291
Loc: Toronto
Thanks. Im less worried about impact sound (ie. knocking the concrete floor witha hammer), which can be easily solved by adding soft materials underneath the piano.

seems like an upright piano produces 70-100db...which is quite loud...
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