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#2304564 - 07/20/14 09:47 PM Digital Piano Volume
Moonflow Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/20/14
Posts: 2
Hi,

I have just started piano 2 weeks ago and bought myself a Yamaha P-105 digital piano.

I wanted to know what are the recommended volume for this digital piano as I wish to set it very close to an acoustic in order to train effectively.

Appreciate if you could advise on the volume for both speaker and headphone.


Edited by Moonflow (07/20/14 11:46 PM)

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#2304647 - 07/21/14 02:18 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1645
Loc: Reseda, California

There is no one fixed perfect volume. Acoustic pianos vary widely in the volume that results from the same energy put into the keys. I just came back from playing a tinny little console with rock hard hammers that's very loud. I've even found a concert grand at a studio that takes a lot of work to get anything at all (They leave it in the lobby of a theater).

Digital volume controls typically have a much wider range than you'll actually need, so experiment with different settings within the reasonable mid range. I found and marked one that I use most of the time. But I also vary the volume to simulate the variety of acoustics I play elsewhere. A little higher to practice a delicate touch, a little lower to develop power.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2304658 - 07/21/14 02:41 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 595
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Moonflow
Appreciate if you could advise on the volume for both speaker and headphone.


A standard 48" acoustic upright piano is *much* louder than the P105. You might as well set it to 100%. It is important that you learn to play softly with a DP at max volume. If your DP is loud enough or your room small enough to make you feel uncomfortable at max volume, you could experiment turning it down a little, until you think it's just very loud but not hurting your hearing, then you should leave it there and not touch that setting again. Always use the keyboard itself to change how loud or soft your music is at any given moment. This is in fact the short coming of *most* modern acoustic pianos. They are too loud for most average rooms in today's homes. Most beginners set the volume of their DP far too low, and have a false sense of playing softly when they are not.

With headphones, I would say try 50% for starters. There is no good guideline for headphone use because if you use headphones with the volume that feels as loud as an acoustic piano, you are in danger of damaging your hearing. You have to learn to play with less volume when using headphones to protect your hearing. Avoid headphones as much as possible especially before you have a good feel for dynamics.

_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
Studying RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Nölck: Good Humored | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2304661 - 07/21/14 02:45 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1775
Loc: California
I set my P105 to about 70% volume. It works for me, do whatever you want.
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Poetry is rhythm.

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#2304722 - 07/21/14 08:22 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
BrianDX Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 932
Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: Moonflow
Hi,
Appreciate if you could advise on the volume for both speaker and headphone.

Here is what I did when I bought our Kawai CN34; I used a sound pressure meter to capture several different notes on my teacher's Yamaha C3, at three dynamic levels (p, mf, f). I then went and played the same three notes at the three dynamic levels on the Kawai.
I simply adjusted the volume until the values matched, or were as close as I could get them.

The whole process takes about ten minutes. What I found is that I had the volume of my Kawai set way too high initially.

My Kawai did not have a separate headphone volume control as I recall.
_________________________
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2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F ..
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#2304793 - 07/21/14 10:59 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
Silver Keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/13
Posts: 167
Loc: Upstate N.Y.
You may want to consider buying a pair of studio monitors (self-powered speakers) and playing through those. I have a Yamaha P155 and my one complaint is that the built in speakers seem cheap and underpowered


Edited by Silver Keys (07/21/14 11:10 AM)
Edit Reason: Typo
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#2304794 - 07/21/14 10:59 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: BrianDX]
Purkoy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/14
Posts: 95
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: BrianDX
HI used a sound pressure meter to capture several different notes on my teacher's Yamaha C3, at three dynamic levels (p, mf, f). I then went and played the same three notes at the three dynamic levels on the Kawai.
I simply adjusted the volume until the values matched, or were as close as I could get them.


This place is costing me money. On Saturday, a new batch of sheet music arrived (the Agay Denes and the Tchaikovsky albums). I've now ordered a sound pressure level meter, and I shall carry out this same experiment.

In this same vein, 8Octaves' observation "Most beginners set the volume of their DP far too low, and have a false sense of playing softly when they are not" has just hit a bullseye for me with a resounding whack. I have been doing a lot of practising here late at night, and when I went for my lesson the other day, was continually frustrated to find that I was missing notes through not connecting, or thumping them out at the wrong level. And that's been it, I've been misleading myself into thinking I was controlling the dynamic when all the time, it was the volume slider. I've now changed to setting the control to a much higher level, and getting into the habit of letting my fingers learn to do the speaking.

Some things seem blindingly obviously only after someone else has pointed them out ...




Edited by Purkoy (07/21/14 11:01 AM)
Edit Reason: Removed a stray format token
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#2304812 - 07/21/14 12:15 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Purkoy]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 595
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Purkoy
I've now ordered a sound pressure level meter, and I shall carry out this same experiment.


You could simply download a free sound pressure meter app for your smartphone. I have 'dB Volume' which works pretty well. Simply set for slow response, C weighting, off, off. Be careful about using a SPL meter to measure DP versus AP. For some reason, the DP could measure high compared to the AP even when your ears are telling you it's not as loud. I am not sure exactly why but I am guessing it has to do with more synthetic nature of DP sound with majority of primary tones with a lot less overtones. I would rely on your ear for this exercise rather than rely on a meter since it is not an apples to apples comparison since neither your AP nor your DP is able to provide your SPL with the same white or pink noise or pure tones at any pitch. Besides, there is no standard dB level for mf on an acoustic piano at 1 meter away or any such thing. Our upright at mf playing is louder than our grand piano even though the upright is smaller. Every piano is a bit different.
_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
Studying RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Nölck: Good Humored | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2304994 - 07/21/14 06:03 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Purkoy]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1645
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: Purkoy
And that's been it, I've been misleading myself into thinking I was controlling the dynamic when all the time, it was the volume slider. I've now changed to setting the control to a much higher level, and getting into the habit of letting my fingers learn to do the speaking.


What you want to do is use the volume slider to challenge yourself a little. Set it high when you want to learn to play low, and vice versa.

The dynamic range of a DP is typically narrower than an acoustic, so you can think of the volume control as a movable window into that wider range.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2305031 - 07/21/14 07:03 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: JohnSprung]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 595
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
The dynamic range of a DP is typically narrower than an acoustic, so you can think of the volume control as a movable window into that wider range.


That's a pretty good suggestion actually. I would say for someone a little more experienced, that's definitely what you find yourself doing eventually. For a from scratch beginner probably too early to be doing that.

A P105 has 7-Watt per channel amp. Compared to a typical DP with a 40-Watt amp, the P105 is a bit anemic compared to a Clavinova. A Clavinova is still quieter than an acoustic upright. Just go to the store and play a Yamaha U1 and a Yamaha Clavinova. The U1 is much louder, especially in big space. So basically, with the P105, I would set the volume as high as possible. This is where you wish you could go to 11.

Now if you pick up a pair of Yamaha HS8 powered studio monitor speakers for the P105, now you're in a totally different league for sound.
_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
Studying RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Nölck: Good Humored | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2305042 - 07/21/14 07:27 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11847
Loc: Canada
The advice I was given was to set it at relatively high, and keep it consistently there. Ofc you have to adjust for what you need for ear phones vs. speakers.

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#2305048 - 07/21/14 07:43 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: 8 Octaves]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5530
Originally Posted By: 8 Octaves
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
The dynamic range of a DP is typically narrower than an acoustic, so you can think of the volume control as a movable window into that wider range.


That's a pretty good suggestion actually. I would say for someone a little more experienced, that's definitely what you find yourself doing eventually. For a from scratch beginner probably too early to be doing that.


A common problem I see with beginners learning exclusively on digitals is the inability to play softly, which is entirely due to practicing with the volume control set too low. They hit the keys hard because they can, on their digitals. Not so on acoustics.

I've said this ad nauseam in the digital forum - that if you want to develop the control of touch and dynamics that is necessary to play acoustic pianos, you need to set the volume control high enough to emulate the volume you would get from an acoustic, when played with the same force. Playing softly requires much more control than playing loudly, and it's all to easy to thump every note when playing a digital - because you can, when the volume control is set unrealistically low.

If the digital is unable to produce the requisite volume through its speakers, I'd advise using headphones instead.

I practice on my digital at home (which has no speakers - I use headphones exclusively, because of neighbor problems) and then perform the same pieces on a 6-foot grand once a month for an audience of colleagues and acquaintances, with absolutely no problems switching back & forth.
The volume setting on my digital is set at a volume equivalent to that of a small grand when heard through my headphones. It has been changed just once since the day it was delivered - two years ago, when I upgraded my headphones to a pair that required a higher setting for the same volume.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2305063 - 07/21/14 08:21 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: bennevis]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 595
Loc: USA
Good comments. To give an idea how long I left my volume slider alone, I set my slider at 80% on a Clavinova with a 40-Watt amp. I basically left it there for 3 years until around RCM Level 4. Again, what JohnSprung says is true, you eventually come into a situation where you need to practice something and it benefits to have the ability to change the volume, but for the first few years, don't touch the volume. When I use headphones I have my volume set at 35%. Those were the only two volume settings I ever used literally for years. Now I do use various settings, but now I also own a 6' grand piano, and by now I also more or less understand the number of techniques of playing pianissimo even ppp though have yet mastered it.
_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
Studying RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Nölck: Good Humored | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2305068 - 07/21/14 08:41 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: 8 Octaves]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5530
There are a few well-known classical concert pianists (one of whom spoke about this at length to me) who use digitals to practice on in the late hours. But not purely so that they don't disturb their family by playing on their grands.

They use their digitals for practicing tricky figurations and passages in the pieces they are learning, which they'd be repeating almost ad infinitum until they get them to their complete satisfaction, and for getting new pieces 'into their fingers', again a process that involves a lot of repetition, not to mention trying different fingerings etc. By doing that kind of 'groundwork' on their digitals, they save a lot of wear & tear on their acoustics, not to mention their ears. (Don't forget, most of the time, they're not playing recognizable music - just bits of it, at various tempi, and often dissected to varying degrees). For this, they turn the volume down low, because they're concentrating on the pure mechanics of playing, not the interpretation or even the balancing or voicing of chords and polyphonic passages. That's because they have their acoustic grands to do all that on, during more socially acceptable hours. Thus, for the basic groundwork, they 'disconnect' the sound from the mechanics of playing when using their digitals.

For me, my digital has to do duty for all my practicing, which is why I don't want to mess up the connection between my playing and the sound by altering the volume control at any time, even when I'm repeating a tricky passage numerous times while practicing.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2305081 - 07/21/14 09:07 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: bennevis]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 595
Loc: USA
Ah ha! You read my mind. And plus during the first year of lessons, when my teacher asked me to practice in a certain way, I was very confused and ask, "wouldn't that sound like terrible non-sense." Well, she said something to the effect that if my practice doesn't sound like modern music when I'm practicing, I'm not practicing effectively.

I practiced the entire book of technical exercises everyday increasingly at lower volumes. I want to save my hearing. Got to love the flexibility of a DP. However, I do have a grand piano in the same room a few feet away, so I could understand why if you don't, you want to leave the volume slider/knob alone. You're right that you need at least ONE instrument that remain consistently piano-like. Actually for 5 years, I never even touched the other instrumental voices, but recently, I rather starting to like the celesta, but it's very hard to pedal the celesta correctly, so different from a piano.
_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
Studying RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Nölck: Good Humored | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2305087 - 07/21/14 09:16 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: 8 Octaves]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11847
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: 8 Octaves
I never even touched the other instrumental voices, but recently, I rather starting to like the celesta, but it's very hard to pedal the celesta correctly, so different from a piano.

This is OT, but I found the more gimmicky features on my DP to be quite useful for music theory (later in harmony theory, especially). For example, a continuous sound (chorus or violin) can help listen for certain things. Also, one of my theory books suggested to play the examples, but some of those examples were two voices dueting, plus accompaniment. Using the memory feature, I could play in say the accompaniment, then use "playback" and add the two singing voices. (I don't know what the writers of the theory book were thinking.)

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#2305328 - 07/22/14 12:09 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
Moonflow Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/20/14
Posts: 2
Thanks for all the great feedbacks. So I should ensure around 80% when on speaker and around 40% on headphones?

I'm still quite new and have no idea how loud an acoustic sounds.

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#2305558 - 07/22/14 06:51 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1535
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Moonflow
. . . I'm still quite new and have no idea how loud an acoustic sounds.


I suggest a visit to a music store, or a church or school with an acoustic ("real") piano.

Play for a few minutes, whatever you can, even do-re-mi. Try to remember how loud it was, and how hard you hit the keys, and carry that back home.

As suggested earlier: An alternative is to use a smartphone, either iPhone or Android. There are _many_ free apps that measure sound-pressure levels (="loudness", roughly).

. Charles

PS -- you may find a problem:

. . . The average DP can't reach the volume levels of
. . . an acoustic piano playing "fff".

Which is a good reason to use a smartphone app. Otherwise, you'll be saying:

. . . "But I _can't_ just leave it at 10 all the time!"

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#2306179 - 07/23/14 09:16 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
TheodorN Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 1221
Loc: Skĺne, Sweden
Just wondering, but is it possible that speaker volume is not the only issue for someone who wants to learn to play delicately, or over the whole dynamic range? I mean, does the Yamaha P105 have enough dynamic range (or velocity layers, I think the technical term is for that?)

I ask because I had the P85, which I understand is quite similar to the P105, and one of it's predecessors, though the P95 came in between. The Yamaha P85 was very limited dynamically, you just couldn't get it to go all the way up in loudness/power. I know the P105 is an improvement, but is it an improvement what dynamic range concerns?
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#2306214 - 07/23/14 11:03 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: TheodorN]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 995
Originally Posted By: TheodorN
Just wondering, but is it possible that speaker volume is not the only issue for someone who wants to learn to play delicately, or over the whole dynamic range? I mean, does the Yamaha P105 have enough dynamic range (or velocity layers, I think the technical term is for that?)

I ask because I had the P85, which I understand is quite similar to the P105, and one of it's predecessors, though the P95 came in between. The Yamaha P85 was very limited dynamically, you just couldn't get it to go all the way up in loudness/power. I know the P105 is an improvement, but is it an improvement what dynamic range concerns?

Yes, I think the bigger issue would be the velocity curve (the velocity layers refer to how many separate samples there are on 1 key to reproduce the tone change as a piano gets louder).

Velocity is a value from 0 to 127. Not all keys will deliver every number, some have big gaps in what numbers they send. It all depends on how sensitive the sensor is and what sample is played with what level. You can change the touch settings to get closer to a natural curve. I tend to need to set my touch harder, with the keyboard getting too loud too fast, the opposite problem than what you mentioned. But if you have a sensor that can detect slight changes, plus a good sample, it should provide a smooth transition from soft to loud. Usually the cheaper the keyboard, the less sensitive the keys are.
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#2306251 - 07/24/14 01:00 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Brian Lucas]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: Brian Lucas
.... I tend to need to set my touch harder, with the keyboard getting too loud too fast, the opposite problem than what you mentioned. ......


I tend to do this also. It's just my personal opinion. I get lots of dynamic range out of my software piano and monitors. My teacher often commented on how softly I play.
To the OP.... For now, if I were you. I'd just use a good pair of headphones. You can also download pianoteq free trial version. It will give you an idea of better control and dynamic range. I think this would be a big step above what you're trying to do with your keyboard. Also, I don't know how good your keyboards midi generator is?
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The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2306266 - 07/24/14 01:58 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: TheodorN]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1535
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: TheodorN
Just wondering, but is it possible that speaker volume is not the only issue for someone who wants to learn to play delicately, or over the whole dynamic range? I mean, does the Yamaha P105 have enough dynamic range (or velocity layers, I think the technical term is for that?)

I ask because I had the P85, which I understand is quite similar to the P105, and one of it's predecessors, though the P95 came in between. The Yamaha P85 was very limited dynamically, you just couldn't get it to go all the way up in loudness/power. I know the P105 is an improvement, but is it an improvement what dynamic range concerns?


From the DPBSD test on the P105:

Quote:
. Dynamic range ~61.5dB (vel=1:127).


61.5 dB is perfectly OK for dynamic range on a DP. For comparison, the Roland FP-7F tests at 47 dB. The Roland 700NX tests at 47.7 dB. The Galaxy "Vintage D" tests at 55 dB.

So there may be problems with the P105, but "limited dynamic range" isn't one of them.

. Charles

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#2306407 - 07/24/14 10:45 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
TheodorN Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/10
Posts: 1221
Loc: Skĺne, Sweden
Thank you Charles, then the P105 is a big step up from the P85. I know how the latter felt, and how frustrated I was trying unsuccessfully to get those higher expressive notes out of it.

Still I'm surprised that the entry level Yamaha P105 can go louder than Roland FP-7F. I thought this model of Roland would be miles ahead of this particular Yamaha.


Edited by TheodorN (07/24/14 10:45 AM)
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#2306418 - 07/24/14 11:13 AM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: TheodorN]
BrianDX Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 932
Loc: Lewes DE
I checked my notes that I made while trying to adjust the volume of my CN34 to match my Teacher's C3.

At Forte, middle C read 91.0 dB, at Piano it measured 69.5 dB.

I know the above discussion was referring to dynamic range; this is simply how loud my teacher's C3 measured when I played these two notes. Of course, different folks will hit the key slightly differently than I do.
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2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F ..
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#2306540 - 07/24/14 03:30 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
Originally Posted By: Moonflow
Hi,

I have just started piano 2 weeks ago and bought myself a Yamaha P-105 digital piano.

I wanted to know what are the recommended volume for this digital piano as I wish to set it very close to an acoustic in order to train effectively.

Appreciate if you could advise on the volume for both speaker and headphone.


I have a 155 and I play on max volume. It's close to an acoustic this way. Remember tho, lots of loud loud loud play can mess up the terrible speakers. Maybe about 3/4 of the way till you get better at dynamics.
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#2306609 - 07/24/14 04:57 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Sweet06]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 595
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Sweet06
I have a 155 and I play on max volume. It's close to an acoustic this way. Remember tho, lots of loud loud loud play can mess up the terrible speakers. Maybe about 3/4 of the way till you get better at dynamics.


You hit it on the nail. The fact that most of us don't set our DP at 100% is precisely for this important reason. Otherwise, if you only care about matching volume levels, then 100% is closer. However, recall I said that the acoustic is often too loud? Why insist on playing an instrument that's too loud and hurt your hearing when you have the ability to turn it down? That's why most people end up at 80% or 75%. Obviously if you turn it down to 50%, you are doing so because dynamics is no longer important for what you happened to be doing, say Hanon. If you're practicing music, any less than 75% would not be a good idea except when you are learning a very difficult forte phrase and repeating it 100 times, then it may not be a bad idea to set it to 50% and pound the keys and save your hearing. I find this particularly helpful with a digital because on an acoustic, you generally do give up too soon because it is very hard to take the assault of an acoustic piano at forte repeating a single forte phrase for 30 minutes. You would have hearing loss / damage. In general, the reason I practice on a digital is almost always because I don't have to practice at 100%. If I'm practicing something mostly soft or if a piece is marked p to mp with only few mf or f measures, then by all means, 100% on the volume. It is important to have the ability to play softly with the instrument at 100%. Remember that the acoustic piano's volume is ALWAYS at 100%.
_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
Studying RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Nölck: Good Humored | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2306686 - 07/24/14 07:48 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: Moonflow]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: TheodorN
Still I'm surprised that the entry level Yamaha P105 can go louder than Roland FP-7F. I thought this model of Roland would be miles ahead of this particular Yamaha.
I suspect that dynamic range is less critical than the sound intensity range and is affected by the room size and the proximity of the speakers to the ears.

When you play a real acoustic piano louder the sound has greater intensity. I suspect this is why acoustic pianos are valued more highly than digitals for learning on. They have a greater range of intensity that is also a natural progression and it's accompanied by tangible sound waves generated by several hundred pounds of iron, steel and wood as opposed to the paper thin cones of speakers.

Earlier and cheaper digital pianos use a limited number of sound samples, from around four (say, P, MF, F and FF). Each one is used with different playback levels within its range for a certain level of measured key press. Also the samples may be taken from only a few keys whose pitch is modified to simulate a range of pitches.

I believe high-end Yamaha and Kawai models use a wider dynamic range for their sample source but modify them for playback to give the impression of greater intensity for each volume level. I know that Kawai has sampled all 88 keys, though I don't know at how many dynamic levels, but they have modified them to simulate a wide enough range for me. Roland uses modelling rather than sampling to generate a more authentic range of intensities to match the dynamic levels. I suspect this is a more natural experience providing the synthetic nature of the sound doesn't get in the way. Were it not for the keyboard and soundboard of my own Kawai CA95 I'd have been very happy with a Roland.

My own dp is a hybrid with a real soundboard (transducer driven) and a total of 135 watts of power output - enough that it resonates through my whole body. It has a wide enough palette that I can move easily from digital to acoustic without having to make any noticeable changes to the way I play. I can forget that it's a digital and the playing experience is enough that I don't foresee any reason to ever own an acoustic again in my home; their advantages, for me, are outweighed by their cost, space, care and limitations. I play almost exclusively classical.

I played on acoustic pianos for many years, including seven or eight years of lessons, before I ever even heard a digital piano but once tried, it became a staple tool and was used side by side with a couple of acoustics for a few years. I cannot, therefore, say how useful a digital is for learning on if there is no experience of playing a real acoustic. My son, however, has only played on the Kawai and has no trouble controlling the dynamic range well enough for his time playing. I insist on having the piano at full volume when not using headphones (some dp's cannot accommodate full volume on speakers) and I limit (rather than discourage) his use of headphones.

I do believe high-end digitals offer a better experience than low-end acoustics but I don't think beginners without acoustic experience are necessarily better off. A P105 only has 2 x 7 watts power output, which is hopelessly inadequate for simulating an acoustic, but may be acceptable for the player with sufficient experience on an acoustic coupled with a vivid imagination. Headphones may be even better here for bringing out the range of sound intensity - assuming the instrument is sufficient in that department.
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#2306717 - 07/24/14 09:26 PM Re: Digital Piano Volume [Re: zrtf90]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 595
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
A P105 only has 2 x 7 watts power output, which is hopelessly inadequate for simulating an acoustic, but may be acceptable for the player with sufficient experience on an acoustic coupled with a vivid imagination.


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