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#614308 - 10/20/07 04:56 PM What brand piano has the least noise
Confucian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/07
Posts: 33
Loc: NJ
1 key on my piano makes a light clicking sound, which is barely audible in the day. In the night, however, one can clearly hear it. My piano tuner said the noise was within normal range, as there are so many moving parts in action to produce sound.

Still, that little noise bothers me. Any idea what brand piano makes the least noise?
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Confucian

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#614309 - 10/20/07 07:46 PM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Here is a good way to test for mechanical noise in an action: with your flat hand, slowly depress the 8 notes or so that you can cover. Depress the keys so slowly that none of the notes is actually struck. Then quickly lift your hand up and off the keys. You will hear a fair bit of thumping and maybe more sounds such as knocks or clicks.

[WARNING: You may become sensitized to the noise and begin to hear it all the time. Do this only if you are willing to live with the new-found knowledge of how noisy your piano actually is.]


A certain amount of this is inherent in the piano sound as we know it, but it can become bothersome if it is too much

I have found that in many Asian pianos, the felts in the keys and action are on the firm side. This makes it faster and easier to regulate, and the regulation is more stable. However, harder felts dampen mechanical noise less than softer felts. If the mechanical noise on these pianos is not noticable (or even annoying) when the pianos are new, they tend to become so after a fairly short time ( a few months to a few years).

On the other end of the spectrum (in my experience) are European instruments. The felts are often somewhat softer and more resilient, and tend to dampen mechanical noise better. Drawbacks: the touch can feel a bit less precise, regulation can be a bit more ambiguous, and needs touching up more frequently.

My vote for pianos that make the least noise goes to Petrof.
Note: as manufacturers' specifications, their sources for felts, felt consistency from batch to batch and a number of other factors are subject to change over time and without notice, so too will the effective noise damping.
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Piano Forte Supply
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#614310 - 10/20/07 08:18 PM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3662
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Supply:
[QB] Here is a good way to test for mechanical noise in an action: with your flat hand, slowly depress the 8 notes or so that you can cover. Depress the keys so slowly that none of the notes is actually struck. Then quickly lift your hand up and off the keys. You will hear a fair bit of thumping and maybe more sounds such as knocks or clicks.
__________________________________________________

Good comments. Better put than what I wrote on the same question on the piano forum.

This is the same sound I can't stand on pianos that you explained better than me.
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#614311 - 10/21/07 02:26 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2016
Loc: Belgium
Supply,

Nice description indeed of how the parts used in an action (mainly the felts, but in the other thread which Rod refers to, also knuckle buckskin and even regulation) influence action noise.

I also wonder to what extend the key bed and the whole 'cavity' which surrounds the action (wood used, way it is constructed) influences the inherent noise produced by the action and that we finally notice?

I could imagine that different 'cavities' where the action is sitting in will amplify to a greater or lesser extend any noise produced?

You refer to Petrof as in your opinion being one of the more silent actions. Petrof always stress the care they take in e.g. the construction of the key bed; perhaps there is a relationship?

schwammerl.

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#614312 - 10/21/07 10:43 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Rod & Schwammerl- thanks for the input. When I wrote action felts, in my thoughts I was including buckskin in the knuckles and other parts as well, which is very often a source of extraneous noise, especially in Asian pianos.

If the keyframe is properly bedded in the piano, there should be no noise coming from that in itself.
However, the make-up and design of the keybed probably has an effect on how much any key and action noise is amplified.

Older traditional European instruments had keybeds made of frames with inserted thin panels. These panels are excellent soundboards for any vibration or noise (much more than solid laminate construction) - that is why tuners hold their tuning forks there. The fact that these pianos don't exhibit a lot of action noise (if the felt and leather is in good shape) speaks to the quality of materials used in the action.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#614313 - 10/21/07 11:50 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
tds Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/06
Posts: 446
Loc: Bastrop, Texas
One thing to check is that the action screws are tight, especially if your action happens to have an aluminum rail. A loose screw can sometimes cause a lot of noise which can be difficult to diagnose.
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Tom Seay, Recovering Piano Technician
Bastrop, Texas

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#614314 - 10/21/07 11:57 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
if you do have more action noise than you like, and the leather knuckles are the cause, what would you prescribe for reducing knuckle noise?
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#614315 - 10/22/07 01:51 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
replacement
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Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

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#614316 - 10/22/07 11:04 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
what if the knuckles are new? are there modifications one can make to make them play more softly?
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#614317 - 10/22/07 12:25 PM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
If the knuckles ar nwe and they are too noisy, there is a problem with the knuckles. The problem could be in the characteristics of the leather (which is often not buckskin, or a low grade of it), or with the cloth inside, or with the manufacturing process, or any combination thereof. I can imagine someone has tried to needle knuckles, but I am sceptical of the outcome. I guess it would be worth a try before tossing them out.
But it really boils down to parts quality: if it ain't there, it ain't there.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#614318 - 10/22/07 01:27 PM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
This is all complicated by the acoustic qualities of the keybed...some pianos have keybeds that are better at resonating noises than thier soundboards are at resonating tone.
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Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#614319 - 11/01/07 11:05 PM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
Confucian,
You started this thread by posting that one key on your piano makes the noise. Clearly 87 of your key assemblies are quient enough for your ear. Have your tech issolate what is causing your one note to "click" and fix it. Now you have the quietest piano on the block.
_________________________
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

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#614320 - 11/02/07 07:56 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Roy123 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: Massachusetts
Nowadays, there are better materials than felt for reducing noise. I have played with a few on an action model, and if they wanted to, action makers could use materials that don't take a compression set nearly as much as felt, and damp so well that, smaller, lighter pieces could be used. I think they could be cheaper as well because of the reduced requirement for size.

For example, the relatively huge and thick piece of felt that it used for the jack return stop could be replaced by a little piece of material that, by being of smaller size, would lighten the jack, and maybe make the action quicker.

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#614321 - 11/02/07 12:01 PM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Roy, what kind of material is that? Sounds interesting. Up to now, (with the exceptions of Ecsaine as a replacement for buckskin) all alternatives to using traditional wearing materials in piano actions have failed.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#614322 - 11/02/07 12:33 PM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Roy123 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Supply:
Roy, what kind of material is that? Sounds interesting. Up to now, (with the exceptions of Ecsaine as a replacement for buckskin) all alternatives to using traditional wearing materials in piano actions have failed. [/b]
In areas that are not subject to sliding, such as the jack stop and the rep. lever stop, I have played with 3 products, Poron, silicone sponge, and neoprene sponge, that may be suitable. They all have interesting characteristics. Poron and silicone sponge have especially little compression set. All three are very durable materials. I have pieces of silicone sponge that are over 30 years old, pieces of Poron that are around 20 years old, and they both are like new. All three of these products are available in different durometers.

In places where sliding is present, such as the wippen heel, the above materials have too much friction.

In addition to their long life, excellent damping, and minimal compression set, I have found that very small pieces, relative to felt, are required to do the job. The greatly reduced compression set would mean that the regulation of actions would be stable for longer periods. Using materials like these is one of the many potential places where pianos could be made better and cheaper at the same time.

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#614323 - 11/03/07 01:35 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I am not familiar with Poron and I haven't worked with silicon sponge, but I have seen neoprene sponge which had hardened and crumbled within a fraction of the lifespan of felt or leather. Perhaps there are different types of noeprene?

No doubt, in the future more and more synthetic materials will be introduced and used in pianos. But by and large, it seems to be a very conservative industry, and even improvements in materials seem to take a long time to manifest themselves in production. There have been too many embarrassing and costly failures of "new and improved" materials in the past - plastic action parts, teflon bushings, Corfam on hammer butts, neoprene foam on hammer rails and upr. spring rail ... the list goes on pretty long.

This conservatism is borne out in the fact that the majority of high end pianos are built out of virtually the same materials that were used a century ago.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#614324 - 11/03/07 09:10 AM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Roy123 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Supply:

This conservatism is borne out in the fact that the majority of high end pianos are built out of virtually the same materials that were used a century ago. [/b]
You are unfortunately correct.

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#614325 - 11/11/07 09:04 PM Re: What brand piano has the least noise
Bruckner Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 30
Loc: Canada
Have you had a tech in to isolate the noise yet, Confucian? Something to help figure it out is determinng whether the click is when you strike the key, or when you elease it. There are two very different aspects of noise production with the two aspects of playing.
_________________________
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