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#2052006 - 03/21/13 02:49 PM Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling?
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19776
Loc: New York
Even with all the places I've been in my 200 years grin I don't really know the answer to this, and I might need to.

We're considering moving to a house that has a nice big living room (about 15' x 25') but with a ceiling height of barely 8' (7'11 to 8'). (Our old house was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy but that's another story.) mad

I've never lived in a place with such a low ceiling in the time since I've had large grands. I love the resonance and richness of the sound in a good space and that would be hard to give up. I'm used to ceilings of at least 9' and I know that something like 8'6" can be OK. But I can imagine that 8' might be pushing it. Anyone have experience with such a space with such a low ceiling, and with a B-size grand or something close to it? Thanks in advance for any feedback. It will be much appreciated.
(I'm also asking this on Pianist Corner.)

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#2052063 - 03/21/13 05:25 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Mark VC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/12
Posts: 110
You need to start talking up how attractive acoustic baffles can be.

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#2052067 - 03/21/13 05:30 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21519
Loc: Oakland
My gut feeling is that size-wise, small pianos fit into more spaces than large pianos, but sound-wise, large pianos fit into more sizes than small pianos.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2052101 - 03/21/13 06:53 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2083
Loc: Rocky Mountains
I would suggest you go to a forum called: Gearslutz. They have one forum just on acoustics. They are audio/recording people. I think you might find some good advise there.
I admit. Low ceiling doesn't sound good.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2052119 - 03/21/13 07:32 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4378
Loc: Jersey Shore
If it is a single story home, and you are willing to spend some money you can put in a tray ceiling or maybe even insulate the rafters and make it full cathedral.

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#2052197 - 03/21/13 11:47 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1260
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Mark, our living room is pretty much as you described. Our room has been through a couple permutations. Presently it has hardwoods and that made quite a difference. With carpet, things were quite subdued. My wife is a singer and always hated the room carpeted. She regards it now as tolerable. I have had a few different pianos in this room including a Steinway B that I rebuilt for a friend. With carpet I was quite unimpressed. When I moved it to her house it was placed in an alcove with a cathedral ceiling. You can hear it anywhere in the house and it sounds great. I was so relieved because initially I was worried that she might regard it as a weak instrument and it is really quite a beast in the right environs. I have a 9' Knabe in the living room now and it is bright and nearly overpowering. It really compels me to work on my control. Our first house had a smaller living room and carpet and the 9' sounded great. Since we are battling with the state now with eminent domain proceedings, we are planning the next house and it looks like the piano room will have 10-11 foot ceilings which hopefully will make the singer happy,and the piano will get a new set of hammers. I am sure that perfection is attainable somewhere, but as you are finding compromises lie everywhere. I would say that a pianist can definitely get happy with the lower ceilings, but you might have to play some games with floor coverings. If we were going to stay here I would likely opt for an area rug under the piano for instance.

Sorry to hear about your house. I hope insurance covers any damage. I know some that weren't so lucky with Katrina for instance.

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#2052211 - 03/22/13 12:35 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark...]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19776
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Mark...
If it is a single story home, and you are willing to spend some money you can put in a tray ceiling or maybe even insulate the rafters and make it full cathedral.

It's 2-story, but I still did start thinking of raising the ceiling and I'll be inquiring about it, but I pretty much figure it won't be feasible. I imagine you could do it, but for big bucks, and it would sort of ruin the house.

JOHN: Thanks for the great and detailed post. We have area rugs that we'd be putting in the room and it would be almost fully 'carpeted' with those, which I'm sure would help. And BTW we are pretty well covered by insurance. We're among the lucky ones in that respect.

Very helpful replies. I'm hoping we might get some more. What I'd really love is if someone has known such a room where the acoustics with a large grand were real good.

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#2053131 - 03/23/13 07:57 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 291
Loc: Toronto
I think correct placement will solve the problem.
With right room treatment, piano placement it will sound fine.

Treatment includes reverberation control, and diffuser placement(if necessary)
_________________________
PLEYEL P124

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#2053138 - 03/23/13 08:06 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7423
Loc: Rochester MN
Mark,

There are so many variables that I don't think there is a definite answer. I've seen 9 footers in similar sized rooms, with 8' 'spec' home ceilings, and the piano sounded great. In both of those cases, the piano was not exactly parallel to the backing wall. They were placed on a slight angle from the wall and that may have helped.

You might have to do 'room tuning' with rugs, drapes, and other stuff.

Let us know how this proceeds.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2053236 - 03/24/13 12:30 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19776
Loc: New York
Thanks, Steven and Marty! Very encouraging and very useful, especially about the 9-footer!
But....

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
....I've seen 9 footers in similar sized rooms, with 8' 'spec' home ceilings....

....what's "spec"?

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#2053248 - 03/24/13 01:00 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
RealPlayer Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2332
Loc: NYC
Yes, as others have said, I think creativity with room treatment and piano placement will help a lot. I've seen concert grands in friends' homes, in rooms that would seem far too small, yet they sounded just fine and not overpowering. My piano room could use some of this fine-tuning as well, mind you.

Sorry about your Sandy damage. We're in the affected area too, but up on a hill...people down at the waterfront had it bad.
_________________________
Joe

www.josephkubera.com

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#2053361 - 03/24/13 09:32 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7423
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Mark,

A "spec" home means "built to specifictions" as in a housing development, by a single builder, without many options other than cosmetic, to produce a number of very similar structures. Think "tract" homes.

The opposite would be the construction of a home, designed by a commissioned architect, to fulfill the needs of the client. It is often referred to as a "custom design."

Hope this helps.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2053369 - 03/24/13 09:46 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 793
Loc: Darlington, UK
8 foot celings are about normal for houses round here!
_________________________
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Yamaha PSR225-I NEED A PIANO wink

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#2053372 - 03/24/13 09:54 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Strings & Wood Offline


Gold member until Dec. 2012


Registered: 05/22/08
Posts: 1837
Loc: USA
Knowing,(somewhat) what the piano means to you, and under your circumstance (opportunity?), were I in your shoes, I would look for a home that offered an ideal piano room. I would not consider a home, that compromised the sound or performance aspect of the piano. I would want a home with a piano room that called to me every time I walked by it.

I can say that with confidence, because a couple of years ago when looking for our new and perhaps final home, those were the basic criteria of my search. Of course, my wife had another list, but in time, we were able to find the home that suited both list.

Good luck with your search, Mark.
_________________________







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#2053396 - 03/24/13 10:55 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
LFL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/12
Posts: 72
Marc C: I have 9 foot ceilings with a somewhat open floorplan. I had the same concerns as you do. I agree that placement of the piano in the room and various "acoutrements" in the room can soften the sound of a larger piano. Check out how I placed my reently obtained piano in the photos I put on the thread: "SK5 delivered". My wife and mother tell me that the piano sounds fine. There's a good section in the Piano Buyer Guide about room placement and such issues.
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK5L

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#2053402 - 03/24/13 11:06 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Hi Mark,

A "spec" home means "built to specifictions" as in a housing development, by a single builder, without many options other than cosmetic, to produce a number of very similar structures. Think "tract" homes.

The opposite would be the construction of a home, designed by a commissioned architect, to fulfill the needs of the client. It is often referred to as a "custom design."

Hope this helps.

I think "spec" means "speculation", meaning the developer built the house without having a buyer. That makes it a financial speculation.

Andy

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#2053436 - 03/24/13 12:00 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7423
Loc: Rochester MN
Andy,

I'm not so sure about that. It would be a very rare builder who would build without having a contract with a buyer. The ones that are built, are the models for the development, and would be sold after the development is finished, or nearing completion. The "specs" are the blueprints for homes which share the same structure and "foot print."
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2053480 - 03/24/13 01:23 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3577
Loc: Melbourne, Australia

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#2053509 - 03/24/13 02:06 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7423
Loc: Rochester MN
It seems to be the difference of usage between realtors and builders. That is often the case of similar terminology between pianists and technicians.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2053519 - 03/24/13 02:18 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: ando]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4378
Loc: Jersey Shore


At least in NJ and most areas in the county as well as Canada, my son the Architect agrees with this definition.

Usually you cant make many changes to a "spec" house as its either done or mostly done.

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#2053529 - 03/24/13 02:57 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: LFL]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2083
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: LFL
...Check out how I placed my reently obtained piano in the photos I put on the thread: "SK5 delivered".


I did a search on SK5 Delivered. 100 Results. Not one matched that thread title?

How did this get off on a discussion of architecture, track, and spec. homes?
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2053617 - 03/24/13 06:07 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
LFL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/12
Posts: 72
sorry, should have just given the link: https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2009037/SK5_delivered_followup_from_ol.html&sa=U&ei=rnhPUajFM4TE2gXiooCgDQ&ved=0CAcQFjAA&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNFo05ZiOa7KBrLDPFBSFuklvNgJUw

Hope this works and maybe helps the OP.
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK5L

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#2054286 - 03/25/13 10:20 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: LFL]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19776
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: LFL
Hope this works and maybe helps the OP.

Everything on here is helping me -- including the debate on what "spec" means! thumb

BTW, "specifications" and "speculation" were exactly the two possibilities I was guessing. The immediate context of the post seemed to suggest "speculation" (I'm aware of spec homes, which BTW are very often built before having any buyer) but the context of the thread seemed to suggest the other, so I just didn't know, and figured maybe it was something else entirely.

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#2054443 - 03/26/13 08:46 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7423
Loc: Rochester MN
What is important is the discussion of the success of a large piano in a low ceiling space. To Rebuild, or Not to Rebuild, is a secondary question. Mark, barn raising parties were once common, how about a ceiling raising party?

LFL - Could you edit your post using "link to a webpage" feature in the full reply screen? It is located just to the right of the "emoticon" insertion button. That long URL has made this post difficult to read. - Thanks.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2054524 - 03/26/13 11:45 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
In a perfect world, we would all live in homes with a music room that was acoustically perfect for our (also perfect) piano and music set-up. But in the real world, we can all put up with a room that is serviceable and possibly improvable, at least for a few years. A rug here, a couch there. In my case, I had to put a two-story drape over a naked sheetrock wall to tame the sound reflections that were going head-to-head. A 16-foot ceiling is not necessarily All That.

If you really don't find that it will serve, you can move up more easily than you can tear out a ceiling (which will create a white elephant for some poor realtor to deal with). Anyway, the contractors are all used up, for the time being. In a few years there will be more (and new) housing stock.

I'm really sorry you had to suffer through Sandy--- and Congress's behavior was almost worse than the storm. And considering the novelty of a weather system that was a hurricane on the front side and a blizzard on the back side, that is saying something.
_________________________
Clef


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#2054539 - 03/26/13 12:37 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Strings & Wood]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17777
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Strings & Wood
Knowing,(somewhat) what the piano means to you, and under your circumstance (opportunity?), were I in your shoes, I would look for a home that offered an ideal piano room. I would not consider a home, that compromised the sound or performance aspect of the piano. I would want a home with a piano room that called to me every time I walked by it.


+1

Having shopped for, bought, and renovated several houses so far in my life, I can say with confidence there is no such thing as a perfect house. But it is entirely possible to find one that hits all the important criteria. There aren't as many decisions as important as house-buying. Take your time to wait until you feel good about your choice.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#2054611 - 03/26/13 03:48 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Monica K.]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11907
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Strings & Wood
Knowing,(somewhat) what the piano means to you, and under your circumstance (opportunity?), were I in your shoes, I would look for a home that offered an ideal piano room. I would not consider a home, that compromised the sound or performance aspect of the piano. I would want a home with a piano room that called to me every time I walked by it.


+1

Having shopped for, bought, and renovated several houses so far in my life, I can say with confidence there is no such thing as a perfect house. But it is entirely possible to find one that hits all the important criteria. There aren't as many decisions as important as house-buying. Take your time to wait until you feel good about your choice.


I, too, had this as a part of my criteria when searching for a home in FL. If we didn't have a room that would mainly be occupied by my piano and also have another room that could serve as our den and dining area, then it was not in consideration. I think it's pretty much a buyer's market these days (but not sure of NY), so keep your eyes open for something else.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2054857 - 03/26/13 10:29 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Strings & Wood]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19776
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Strings & Wood
Knowing,(somewhat) what the piano means to you, and under your circumstance (opportunity?), were I in your shoes, I would look for a home that offered an ideal piano room. I would not consider a home, that compromised the sound or performance aspect of the piano. I would want a home with a piano room that called to me every time I walked by it.

+1

....There aren't as many decisions as important as house-buying. Take your time to wait until you feel good about your choice.

In theory, I agree.
But we can't. smile

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
.... I think it's pretty much a buyer's market these days (but not sure of NY), so keep your eyes open for something else.

It's an extreme seller's market -- maybe as extreme as there has ever been.

Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
....I'm really sorry you had to suffer through Sandy --- and Congress's behavior was almost worse than the storm. And considering the novelty of a weather system that was a hurricane on the front side and a blizzard on the back side, that is saying something.

Thanks, Jeff -- and thanks to everyone again for the sympathy and well wishes. And well said about the political aspects, but....happily we at least aren't affected by that. We're well covered by insurance (unusually well covered), to the point that when we see stuff in the media about victims of the storm, we hardly identify with it. Our life has been turned upside down, but we're far more fortunate than most.

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#2054868 - 03/26/13 10:54 PM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: RealPlayer]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19776
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
....We're in the affected area too, but up on a hill...people down at the waterfront had it bad.

Oddly, while we're not far from the water, water had nothing to do with it. (We're sort of up on a hill too!) Huge old tree (huge!) got blown over and fell on house -- from long distance, meaning that it had great velocity.

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#2054997 - 03/27/13 08:34 AM Re: Acoustics of big room but with low ceiling? [Re: Mark_C]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11907
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I can't help but think how lucky your piano wasn't ruined along with the house!
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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