Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions.

Posted by: KillerCharlie

Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/24/13 10:16 PM

I finally pulled the trigger and bought a piano! Which one? Estonia 190, just like everyone else. The Yamaha C3X and rebuilt Steinway A were all final candidates and I liked the sound of all of them. In the end the Estonia was 10%-20% cheaper than the others! At first I wasn't warming up to its sound in my home, but now I definitely have.

The sound is nice and rich, yet not drowning in overtones. It was hardly prepped by the dealer (had been sitting in the showroom) so I was a bit hesitant, but that also factored into the price. I love the sound right now and have no doubt it will only get better. I've scheduled the tech to do voicing and regulation/mechanical work, and to work out some of the kinks.

I have some concerns about some of the treble notes which are quite weak. It sounded pretty minor in the showroom but now in my home I really hope it can be fixed with voicing.

It sounds a bit loud though, even with the lid down. The lowest part of the room is 11'x16'. Halfway up it's probably 11'x20'. At the highest level it's larger (I'm looking down from the upstairs hallway). The ceiling is 12'-18' high.

I'm pretty sure I've seen much bigger pianos in much smaller rooms? I think my first step will be soften up some of the walls, since there are a lot of them. The carpeting is low-medium pile, so maybe another rug will help. I just hope I didn't pick too large of a piano! Any other tips?

(Sorry for pic quality)


Posted by: RX2Bunny

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/24/13 10:27 PM

Beautiful, beautiful piano. Congrats!!!
Posted by: Michael Taylor

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/24/13 10:42 PM

Very nice! Congratulations!
Posted by: Steven Y. A.

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/24/13 11:22 PM

Congras! Any soft material will help: heavy curtains, acoustic panels in the ceiling and walls.

2nd carpet underneath the floor is not necessary.
Posted by: KillerCharlie

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/24/13 11:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Steven Y. A.
Congras! Any soft material will help: heavy curtains, acoustic panels in the ceiling and walls.

2nd carpet underneath the floor is not necessary.


I was pondering those cloth-covered acoustic panels as well. I think they will actually bring more color into the room and make it look nicer since the walls are so large and white. They're not cheap but they're not necessarily that expensive either.
link

Actually everything seems cheap after spending more on a piano than I put down on a house! crazy
Posted by: KillerCharlie

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/24/13 11:38 PM

I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to these forums, those who have posted on them, the dealers that I've communicated with through here, and those that contributed to the Larry Fine's piano buyer guide. I can't imagine buying a piano 20 years ago when these resources weren't around - they have dramatically educated me about pianos!
Posted by: Steven Y. A.

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/24/13 11:48 PM

if you or your family know some sewing work, the acoustic panel can be simply done as following:

1.get few pack 3-4 inch thick (4 inch stone wool can absorb low frequencies at 125hz) semi-rigid insulation (stone wool etc), they are not expensive, 2 packs shoud cover your entire room.

2.then pick any fabric you want and cover them up.
Posted by: KillerCharlie

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/25/13 12:32 AM

I'll have to try the stone wool, even if I fail at it it's not very expensive.

It feels like it's the "brightness" volume that can be a bit overwhelming, especially noticeable when I flip up the front part of the lid. I don't think the piano itself is that bright, plus when the tech comes I'll have him lean towards the mellower side.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/25/13 01:03 AM

Quote:
It feels like it's the "brightness" volume that can be a bit overwhelming, especially noticeable when I flip up the front part of the lid. I don't think the piano itself is that bright, plus when the tech comes I'll have him lean towards the mellower side.


Leaning towards the "mellower side" is one of the reasons why people often choose Estonia.

Just get the famous ....tech in from your city I had recomended to you before - chances you won't even recognize the instrument after!

Please report to us later: guarantee you'll be one happy [ perhaps slightly astounded..] camper!

Congrats and enjoy!

Norbert smile
Posted by: KillerCharlie

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/25/13 01:44 AM

I was always surprised how people say "I like it more every day." I mean you're making a huge jump to a grand piano, how does the sound not get you immediately?

The first time I played it in my home I thought "that's it?" Fast forward a week and I keep telling myself "just one more song" before I go to bed!
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/25/13 08:06 AM

Part of it is just getting used to having a grand piano in that space. Unless you had a similar-sized grand previously, the sound will of course seem loud to you by comparison. I remember thinking my Petrof was waaaay too loud when I got it in my house which had hardwood floors throughout, because before that I had a 5'6 Sammick. At first I played much softer than usual, but then my ears got accustomed to the wider dynamic range available and now I don't have any problems playing louder.

Then we moved to a different house that had carpeting in the living room, and I really disliked how my piano sounded there - it seemed lifeless by comparison. We soon removed the carpet and installed hardwood floors again and I'm a happy camper once more.

Unless you have neighbors complaining, I'd wait a couple of months before doing anything about noise reduction. I have a feeling that once you get used to the overall loudness of your instrument you will not want to do away with the acoustic properties of the room. It seems like the space would be nice for the piano with the high ceilings and open concept..
Posted by: backto_study_piano

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/25/13 08:32 AM

Congratulations, sounds like a great piano. I don't think we have a dealer in Australia, otherwise I'd have checked them out.

I wouldn't consider any sound reduction till the tech has worked his wonders. He would also be able to advise.

You mention "flip up the front part of the lid" - I notice that my piano is louder to the pianist with just the "front part of the lid flipped up", than if I put the lid up completely. Which could be due to the shape of my piano room - but it's worth trying. The tone is fuller, but not as loud.

If you can, open doors of the room - that can make a difference, cutting the sound reflected by the door. And drapes over windows - if I open them without opening the windows, the sound increases considerably - I assume the glass reflects the sound back rather than the drapes tending to absorb.
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/25/13 09:13 AM

You bought an outstanding piano. The issues you note in the OP should easily be addressed by voicing.

Just be sure that the tech you use had deep experience in voicing pianos.

Congrats.
Posted by: Mark VC

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/26/13 01:32 AM

You might just think about having the piano at a diagonal to the walls, though I know this takes space. I had mine lined up with the wall when I first got it and was getting slap-back, also some notes were 'booming'. I moved it to where it's aimed at a corner instead of at a wall, and these issues went away.
Posted by: Larry B

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/26/13 06:43 AM

Congrats on your new piano!

I've had a couple of different grands in a couple of different rooms over the last few years, and spent a lot of time trying the get the sound right. I can say that acoustic panels are one good option. I've got a few from Acoustimac on the ceiling and walls, and they look good and do make a subtle but distinct difference in the sound.

More importantly, you'll want to play with the placement of the piano in the room. You'll find that even just a few inches one way or another can matter. You'll want to think about "decoupling" the piano from the room's structure - its walls and ceiling - as much as possible.

In my case, we moved two years ago, and my piano went from a large high-ceilinged room that was built for the piano to one with mostly standard ceiling-height (except for an area under some skylights) and fewer places for a piano that weren't right next to walls. With the piano a foot or two from the walls, there was huge booming bass that I could not control. Right up against the wall, the bass problem was solved, but there was a loudness that took away my ability to enjoy a real dynamic range - it was fatiguing and it made me seem to be a worse player than I am. I tried having it voiced by an expert tech - he was great, and the difference was substantial. Still, it wasn't quite right.

Only a few weeks ago, my wife convinced me to rearrange the whole room (involved getting rid of some furniture and changing everything about how we use the space). Now the piano is no closer than three feet to a wall, and largely sits under the highest-ceiling part of the room. I also stuck a couple of leather stuffed hassocks and some pillows under it to help absorb sound. I can say that it's like a different instrument. There's a range of dynamics now that I hadn't heard since we've lived here, and I love it. I can get loud without it being uncomfortable, and I can play quietly without difficulty.

So - play with placement, wall treatments, and informal things like throw pillows and rugs. It can make all the difference between a nice sounding piano and one you love.
Posted by: Hakki

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/26/13 12:37 PM

Congratulations and I wish you many happy years of enjoyment with your new piano.

But this:

Originally Posted By: KillerCharlie
Which one? Estonia 190, just like everyone else.


LOL!
grin
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/26/13 12:54 PM

Thanks for the photos. It looks beautiful!
Posted by: KillerCharlie

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/26/13 03:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark VC
You might just think about having the piano at a diagonal to the walls, though I know this takes space. I had mine lined up with the wall when I first got it and was getting slap-back, also some notes were 'booming'. I moved it to where it's aimed at a corner instead of at a wall, and these issues went away.


It actually is at a bit of an angle already (impossible to tell from photos). The tail is maybe 5" from the wall and the keyboard is 12"+ from the wall, though I'll definitely be playing around with that.
Posted by: Mark VC

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/26/13 03:39 PM

Good. It's hard to believe, but inches can make a difference.
Posted by: Konzert Patrick

Re: Finally bought a piano! Also room/sound questions. - 02/26/13 04:19 PM

Find the sweet spot, move it a few inches and get yourself a good tech!
I have low ceilings, hardwood floors and my tech made my piano sound FANTASTIC in it's new home. No need to fill the house with stuff that really doesn't look that great in a livingroom.

You have carpets and heigh ceilings, it will be wonderful once it has been voiced.

Pianos are prepped to suit most environments, once it reaches its destination it is easy to make it sound perfect