Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation

Posted by: Artemis1853

Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation - 12/03/12 09:16 AM

I started looking for a piano a few weeks ago, both at dealers and a couple of CL pianos. I really appreciate all of the responses on my prior inquiry here which spawns this one:

Every piano I have played has sounded very different from the others, including that of my parents'. It seems like setting may have huge impact on sound. My parents piano sounds so much warmer than all others. It is an older Steinway console on a padded carpet.

At one dealer, I played a Samick cont. console in a small lesson room and it sounded huge though I think that has to do with the rooms acoustics.

I went to a larger dealer and played a number of their used pianos on the open floor. The consoles were tight against the wall and didn't have much presence. Their studio uprights were back to back with some space between and sounded much more present which would be expected with studios and more open soundboards. Here i played among others a Baldwin 243 and liked the sound a lot once i opened the lid (but it was beaming the sound into my face) Being a large showroom, they didn't fill the room. None have sounded as warm (my term, not sure if that is the correct word) as the console in my parents living room. My parents have a really good tuner.

So how much of what you hear in a showroom, be it an open floor or a lesson studio, is the piano versus the floor material versus the size of the room and what's on the walls and type of ceiling versus the person who prepares the piano?

For the sake of transparency, other than a brief stint in 7th grade with piano lessons I have no musical education and have been self-learning for about 4 years.
Posted by: Cy Shuster, RPT

Re: Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation - 12/04/12 12:37 PM

I don't know if it's possible to say that room size contributes 12% to the sound, piano placement contributes 21%, and so on. The best thing to do is to keep playing different pianos, and keep developing your ear. You've already noticed some factors. I recommend playing the same piece on each piano; this helps you compare.

If you play two different pianos in the same room, you'll be able to factor out (mentally) the effect of the room itself. You can ask a dealer to move a piano slightly farther away from a wall (or closer) to hear the difference. Lastly, once you get a piano home, you can affect the sound a bit by its position in the room.

--Cy--
Posted by: sophial

Re: Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation - 12/05/12 11:45 AM

I think when upright pianos are placed back to back they can "borrow" resonance from each other through sympathetic vibrations and thus sound better than if they were alone. Can anyone confirm that?

Sophia
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation - 12/05/12 11:53 AM

Originally Posted By: sophial
I think when upright pianos are placed back to back they can "borrow" resonance from each other through sympathetic vibrations and thus sound better than if they were alone. Can anyone confirm that?

Sophia


Under certain circumstances, it is possible that there could be sympathetic vibrations. Whether or not this will lead to "better" sound is doubtful.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation - 12/05/12 11:55 AM

Room acoustics has a big influence in how a piano sounds. However, the piano's design and prepping have more influence. A Samick is probably going to sound bad regardless of what room it's in.
Posted by: Cy Shuster, RPT

Re: Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation - 12/05/12 06:34 PM

Originally Posted By: sophial
I think when upright pianos are placed back to back they can "borrow" resonance from each other through sympathetic vibrations and thus sound better than if they were alone. Can anyone confirm that?

Sophia


Only if you pushed the pedal down on the second piano. Remember that the strings are damped when the keys are at rest.

--Cy--

P.S. Yes, there are about 20 undamped treble notes. Not going to make much difference.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation - 12/05/12 06:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster, RPT
Originally Posted By: sophial
I think when upright pianos are placed back to back they can "borrow" resonance from each other through sympathetic vibrations and thus sound better than if they were alone. Can anyone confirm that?

Sophia


Only if you pushed the pedal down on the second piano. Remember that the strings are damped when the keys are at rest.


Yes, the strings are damped, but the sounding board of the second piano would resonate sympathetically.
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Piano shopping -sound and dealer setting/presentation - 12/05/12 07:43 PM

Most dealers would move a piano for you. Never hurts to ask.