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#2353592 - Yesterday at 02:57 PM Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 252
Hi Everyone,

I need some ideas about reducing the sound of the ‘thump’ of my digital keyboard keys through the floor. I live in an apartment, and my downstairs neighbour has been good so far but she does tell me it sounds like I am ‘exercising’ up here—I told her no, that was just me playing the piano. In any case I want to keep her content and am tired of feeling like every time I play it might be a bother. I hold back on practicing and avoid certain pieces entirely because I don’t want to drive her crazy.

My keyboard is an old Roland--very heavy--and sits on a wooden stand where there is contact with the floor 15.5 in long by approx. 1.5 in. wide on each side.

I’ve seen these roland sound eaters for drums:
https://www.long-mcquade.com/50588/Drums/Accessories/Roland/Noise_Eater_Pad.htm

And these for subwoofers:
http://www.amazon.com/Auralex-SubDude-II-Subwoofer-Acoustic-Isolation/dp/B00DI5AXNI/ref=pd_cp_MI_1

Do you think either of these would work for the digital piano? Is there any way I could make one of these sound reducers myself for cheaper?

I found this thread with some ideas:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1815651/Key

But was not sure from this what actually works and what doesn’t. Would putting some dense packing foam under a piece of plywood under each side of the stand be effective?

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#2353605 - Yesterday at 03:13 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
LarryShone Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 856
Loc: Darlington, UK
Swap the wood for concrete.
_________________________
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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#2353633 - Yesterday at 04:14 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
Scott Hamlin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 569
The big problem with the "thumping" noise is the low frequency - the sound just penetrates everything. There are special "decoupler" floor coverings that will help, but unless you make a "floating floor" with acoustical treatment, it will be very difficult to eliminate the noise 100%.

Maybe try including your neighbor in the process - See what room they are in when you usually practice (maybe moving the DP is possible to reduce the sound)... Asking what times are better for you play. Also let them know what you are doing to reduce the noise.

Just some ideas. smile
_________________________
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#2353651 - Yesterday at 04:38 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
MeghanM Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 19
I haven't dealt with this sort of problem, so take what I suggest with a grain of salt.

At $100, that Roland Noise Eater Pad looks like a ripoff. Maybe worth trying if it were 1/4 of that price, but not at $100.

Do you at least have a rug under the DP?
When I got a new aquarium pump a few years ago, I found that the noise it was generating was unbearable. I put several very thick, folded towels beneath it, and that muffled most of the noise. I then put the pump, with the towels, on a small PVC-sort of cart that is on rubberized wheels. With that, you can barely hear the pump when it's on, unless you are right next to it.

So it might be worth at least trying some folded towels and/or rugs, if there's a way to do that that would not be too unsightly.

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#2353664 - Yesterday at 05:17 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 535
I had the problem. Privia 575(a lot of brands have the same issue), 2nd floor tabletop stand.

It sounded like a rubber mallet was being pounded on the floor in the room above you and the continuous arhythmic patterns just sounded weird. If you didn't know what it was you probably couldn't guess. It sounded like a big typewriter being operated by a dummy.

If you were going to build a new stand, there are a lot of improvements you could make called decoupling.

Use the screw in spikes found at the bottom of some speakers. You can get those. You would need the threaded insert for the bottom of your stand as well. The point minimizes the volume of the mass that transfers the energy from the piano to the floor. On the floor use, on each side, front to back lengths of 2 x 4 that sit on a few strips of thin carpet. Your stand with the spikes would be set on the 2 x 4's that are 'decoupled' to the floor by the carpet pieces.

That gives you 3 decoupling stages.

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#2353673 - Yesterday at 05:51 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2423
Loc: UK
Put the DP and yourself on a platform (MDF, ply, wood, etc), with holes cut in it that in turn locate on and rest on top of tennis balls. Problem solved.

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#2353678 - Yesterday at 06:21 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: spanishbuddha]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
Put the DP and yourself on a platform (MDF, ply, wood, etc), with holes cut in it that in turn locate on and rest on top of tennis balls. Problem solved.

That looks like a good idea. There's one here but I wonder if it's necessary to have the complete 'sandwich'. Could it work just as well with the board on only the upper side, tennis balls in contact directly with the floor and secured to the underside of the board with an adhesive? That would reduce the cost and the weight of the contraption. Also, I guess this could work just as well built as two separate pieces side by side to reduce the weight/unwieldiness.

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#2353679 - Yesterday at 06:27 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: dire tonic]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 535
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
Put the DP and yourself on a platform (MDF, ply, wood, etc), with holes cut in it that in turn locate on and rest on top of tennis balls. Problem solved.

That looks like a good idea. There's one here but I wonder if it's necessary to have the complete 'sandwich'. Could it work just as well with the board on only the upper side, tennis balls in contact directly with the floor and secured to the underside of the board with an adhesive? That would reduce the cost and the weight of the contraption. Also, I guess this could work just as well built as two separate pieces side by side to reduce the weight/unwieldiness.


It sounds a little wobbly.

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#2353680 - Yesterday at 06:32 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: emenelton]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: emenelton
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
Put the DP and yourself on a platform (MDF, ply, wood, etc), with holes cut in it that in turn locate on and rest on top of tennis balls. Problem solved.

That looks like a good idea. There's one here but I wonder if it's necessary to have the complete 'sandwich'. Could it work just as well with the board on only the upper side, tennis balls in contact directly with the floor and secured to the underside of the board with an adhesive? That would reduce the cost and the weight of the contraption. Also, I guess this could work just as well built as two separate pieces side by side to reduce the weight/unwieldiness.


It sounds a little unstable.


- would it be unstable as a single piece? Making sure that the four outermost balls are set at the extremes of the corners?

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#2353687 - Yesterday at 07:05 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: dire tonic]
Charles Cohen Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1481
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
FWIW --

That tennis-balls-between-plywood idea has good physics behind it. Note that the plywood is pretty thick, and he uses a solid foam pad (on top of the top plywood piece) as well.

You _must_ drill undersize holes for the balls to sit in, but if you do that, they won't roll.

It should work with one layer of plywood, balls underneath it, sitting on the floor. The thicker the plywood, the better -- you don't want it acting as a soundboard!

If you check the Yellow Pages (or the Internet) for "vibration isolating pads", you'll find lots of industrial-strength (and cost) rubber pads. They're designed for the purpose -- very high-loss rubber is used.

. Charles

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#2353731 - Yesterday at 09:00 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Charles Cohen]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 252
Thanks Charles Cohen, Scott Hamlin, Emenelton, LarryShone, dire tonic, spanishbuddha and MeghanM for these ideas! Regarding the tennis ball method, I found a video where they cut the balls in half and then put a wood platform over them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upww1-I4sD4

I wonder if something like this would work? Wish I would have paid more attention in school to the physics so I could understand exactly how something would work or not work. For example, why would the concrete work better than the wood? And why do the tennis balls work? I'll continue to do some reading and see if I can figure this out.

Emenelton, thanks for the suggestion of decoupling. I didn’t think of trying to alter the stand itself but maybe I can do that.

Scott Hamlin, I read about the floating floor on this webpage: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may08/articles/soundproofing.htm

“Concrete floors already offer a reasonable amount of sound isolation, although as with wooden floors, they can be further improved — this time by building a so-called 'floating floor' on top. There are many ways to do this but a simple and effective solution for those on a tight budget is to lay 30mm or 60mm high-density Rockwool or glass-fibre slab (the rigid type used for cavity wall insulation) directly onto the floor and then to create a floor on top of that using two layers of chipboard (three-quarter inch or 16mm) glued and screwed together, making sure the joints in the bottom layer are bridged by solid sheets in the top layer. If you don't plan to carpet the floor, then plywood may make a more attractive and more durable upper surface….
If you're working on a wooden floor and sound transmission to the room below is a problem, you may get a worthwhile improvement by laying 20kg per metre squared barrier matt on the floor before putting down the Rockwool…..”

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#2353761 - Yesterday at 11:16 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 535
On Stands like this:

http://products.k-m.de/us/Keyboard-stands/Keyboard-tables/18950-Table-style-keyboard-stand-black

you can replace the feet with speaker spikes.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/261648604058?lpid=82

If you had a tabletop stand like that a spike is a good start.

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: emenelton
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
P

Also, I guess this could work just as well built as two separate pieces side by side to reduce the weight/unwieldiness.


It sounds a little unstable.


- would it be unstable as a single piece? Making sure that the four outermost balls are set at the extremes of the corners?


I think it would have to be a single.
With the spikes as the feet of a table top stand however, that could sit on a single 2 x 4 and not have any play.

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#2353811 - Today at 03:54 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
MRC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/05/14
Posts: 20
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Valencia
I wonder if something like this would work? Wish I would have paid more attention in school to the physics so I could understand exactly how something would work or not work. For example, why would the concrete work better than the wood? And why do the tennis balls work?


Your floor as acting as a soundboard, just like the soundboard of an acoustic piano: it's transmitting the vibrations caused by your "thumping" to the air both above and below it. Wood is much better at transmitting sound vibrations to the air than concrete for several reason, the principal one being density. A concrete floor will have considerably more mass than a wooden one, so it will need more energy input to make it vibrate as much as the wooden one.

To stop your floor acting as a soundboard you need to find a way of preventing the vibrations from reaching it: something between the instrument and the floor which absorbs the energy of the vibrations. That's what the tennis balls should do.

I'd try something simple first, like putting the instrument on an exercise mat. If that makes a difference, have a look at more complex or expensive solutions. The Roland Noise Eaters might be worth looking at: they are specifically built to reduce the low frequency vibrations coming from a drummer's pedalling, so they could help with a thumping piano.

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#2353833 - Today at 06:50 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
A concrete slab sounds a bit ambitious!

I like the idea of the half-tennis balls - no need to mark out or drill but be careful with those knives.

As a guide, my measurements would suggest a platform of 4'x5' to accommodate both bench and DP so if you can find a 4' x 6' board - often a standard size - that would do the job nicely. I'd go for 18mm thick, even thicker if the price is right and you can lift it. Cheap grade MDF, chipboard (usually a lot cheaper) or ply should all work well. Ask if you can have the top board in the pile at a discount (it's usually scuffed or marked). Get some help carrying up the stairs!

I might be on the move next year, needing to cope with a noise problem so would be interested to know how it goes, Valencia...good luck!

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#2353838 - Today at 07:29 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
toddy Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1811
Loc: Portugal
Wouldn't half tennis balls get squashed flat, making the platform collapse and thus, ineffective? The piano, pianist(s) and auxiliary gear amounts to a lot of weight - it could easily be 400lbs or more if the pianist is heavy, or there is more than one at the piano.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2353843 - Today at 07:42 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: toddy]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: toddy
Wouldn't half tennis balls get squashed flat, making the platform collapse and thus, ineffective? The piano, pianist(s) and auxiliary gear amounts to a lot of weight - it could easily be 400lbs or more if the pianist is heavy, or there is more than one at the piano.


That did cross my mind. Also, is it possible that each 1/2 ball with it's open side down - almost resembling a miniature speaker driver - could act as an efficient transmitter (only joking).

20 balls, halved, would put 10lb stress on each half. Could that split them?

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#2353846 - Today at 07:56 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: dire tonic]
toddy Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1811
Loc: Portugal
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: toddy
Wouldn't half tennis balls get squashed flat, making the platform collapse and thus, ineffective? The piano, pianist(s) and auxiliary gear amounts to a lot of weight - it could easily be 400lbs or more if the pianist is heavy, or there is more than one at the piano.


That did cross my mind. Also, is it possible that each 1/2 ball with it's open side down - almost resembling a miniature speaker driver - could act as an efficient transmitter (only joking).

20 balls, halved, would put 10lb stress on each half. Could that split them?


I wouldn't have thought so, no - and you're right in that the weight can be distributed over many half balls. But the clever thing about using tennis balls whole is that they're working on the pneumatic tyre principle whereas half balls rely on the structure/material of the ball itself only to provide the cushioning.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2353847 - Today at 08:03 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3866
Loc: North Carolina
If you set a piano on top of tennis balls, won't the piano become wobbly?

I think a foam mat (or even a cloth mat) is the best choice.

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#2353848 - Today at 08:05 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
Slicing the balls vs using a hole saw...quite a bit more skill or experience demanded for the latter.

I'm not sure the pneumatics are as important as the spacer aspect, after all, we don't need a sprung suspension, in fact it would be better if the platform didn't feel springy. If the split balls fail then ~£20 is wasted, but you've still got the platform for working up the original idea.

Another thing, if the downturned halves are on a rough-ish carpet surface, that would go some way to avoid the splitting/splaying tendency.

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#2353849 - Today at 08:06 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: MacMacMac]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
If you set a piano on top of tennis balls, won't the piano become wobbly?


it's the 'safety in numbers' principle. I doubt there'd be much lateral movement for either whole (stuck in a hole) or halved balls. So providing there's lots of them and plenty at the periphery of the platform, I don't foresee a problem.

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#2353850 - Today at 08:17 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: MacMacMac]
toddy Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1811
Loc: Portugal
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
If you set a piano on top of tennis balls, won't the piano become wobbly?


Lots of balls - that's what's needed for this kind of project.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2353852 - Today at 08:21 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: toddy]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: toddy
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
If you set a piano on top of tennis balls, won't the piano become wobbly?


Lots of balls - that's what's needed for this kind of project.


..sooner or later...it had to be said...

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#2353860 - Today at 08:50 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
toddy Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1811
Loc: Portugal
....sorry....
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2353866 - Today at 09:12 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: dire tonic]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3866
Loc: North Carolina
I'm not thinking about falling-over wobbly. Rather, I mean the not-quite-stable situation where the unit moves when played. Mine is on ordinary pile carpet, and it sways slightly. I'd expect much more motion from "lots of balls".
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
If you set a piano on top of tennis balls, won't the piano become wobbly?
it's the 'safety in numbers' principle. I doubt there'd be much lateral movement for either whole (stuck in a hole) or halved balls. So providing there's lots of them and plenty at the periphery of the platform, I don't foresee a problem.

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#2353875 - Today at 09:57 AM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: MacMacMac]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
I'm not thinking about falling-over wobbly. Rather, I mean the not-quite-stable situation where the unit moves when played. Mine is on ordinary pile carpet, and it sways slightly. I'd expect much more motion from "lots of balls


Maybe. I'd expect the sandwich idea, where the balls are pinched between the two sheets, to be more stable. The half-balls idea I'm not so sure. Does more balls mean less stability? The proof of the pudding....

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#2353922 - Today at 01:17 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
LarryShone Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 856
Loc: Darlington, UK
Instead of tennis balls you could use what amateur astronomers use-golf balls!
_________________________
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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#2353925 - Today at 01:40 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
toddy Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1811
Loc: Portugal
It wouldn't be a cushion of air in that case though - they're pretty solid things, golf balls. The last one I took apart had a seemingly endless string of elastic band under which, in the middle was a little sack of which, when pierced, dribbled out liquid latex which stank to a scary extent.

Though I should mention that I was about seven when I did this piece of research. The innards of golf balls might well have changed since then.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2353930 - Today at 01:49 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
bjorn of brekkukot Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 18
I had this problem once. I tried a thick rug, and it helped marginally. I ended up having to move my piano into an area below which the neighbor didn't really spend any time.

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#2353945 - Today at 02:56 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Valencia]
Vid Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 870
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
I used a layer of foam on the floor and then a piece MDF on top of that. The (older) Clavinovas sure make a lot of key noise.
_________________________
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#2353949 - Today at 03:07 PM Re: Thumpy keys and downstairs neighbours [Re: Vid]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1452
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Vid
I used a layer of foam on the floor and then a piece MDF on top of that. The (older) Clavinovas sure make a lot of key noise.

I had in mind a variant of that and Valencia's proposal in her first post. Instead of the tennis balls, using fairly wide strips of polystyrene, the dense kind used to pack our DPs for their lengthy and dangerous journeys. Much less compressible than foam, maybe that would provide a firm but insulating layer?

If it's possible to grab a pile of the stuff from a recycling centre (it needs to be of constant thickness, of course) then distributed evenly underneath the MDF or ply sheet.

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