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#3212315 04/28/22 10:55 AM
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Hi All,

At last I'm about to move to a house that will enable me to have an acoustic upright. The new 'piano room' is quite small though - 3.75x3.44m (12'4" x 11'3").

The advice here is always "try, and buy what feels/sounds right for you", which I've been doing, and I find I'm always drawn to the sound of the taller models.

However, since piano showrooms tend to be much larger rooms it's hard to know how a given piano might sound in my future smaller one.

Is it a mistake to put a tall piano in a room this size? Or is the size of a piano more about tone than volume? Will other factors - soft furnishings vs. hard surfaces etc. make as much/more difference.

Thanks in advance.

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I think you should be ok with a tall upright in that size room. But yes, soft furnishings can help, including a rug and curtains/drapes as well as the actual furniture.

Is there a door that can be left open? That may help as well.


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My room is:
Width: 280cm / 9 feet 2 / 110.2 inches
Length: 355cm / 11 feet 7 / 139.7 inches

I used to have a 120cm W.Hoffman upright. Now I have a C2X (173cm) grand and do not find it uncomfortably loud. Recordings are fine too.

In general speaking, a grand can play softer and also louder than an upright. The dynamic spectrum is wider. So u may also consider a grand too.

Placement is another key. But most upright back face wall, so not applicable for your case.

Shirokuro is right about having the room acoustic treated.

Last edited by Jojovan; 04/28/22 01:18 PM.

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The volume of the piano was my biggest concern when selecting size. As it turns out, it's loud but rarely ever "too loud." You don't want to be sitting on the couch next to the piano during louder passages, but it's tolerable for anyone a room over. Sound diminishes greatly over distance. I WFH and am in online meetings 10 hours a day, and compared to my digital when my daughter practices, it sounds pretty much the same volume to me in the spare bedroom with the door closed.

I think with an upright in a small room, the volume concern is more for the pianist sitting at the bench (to me, a grand is about half as loud when sitting at the bench than up upright is, because with the latter, your face is right up against the soundboard and the wall reflecting it).


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Originally Posted by Bluesinlondon
...snip...
However, since piano showrooms tend to be much larger rooms it's hard to know how a given piano might sound in my future smaller one.
Many piano stores have practice rooms where they give lessons. They can move the piano into one of those rooms to give you a better idea of what it might sound like.

I've always wondered if it would be useful for piano stores to have those padded partitions that are used to construct cubicle office spaces. Those are pretty easy to move and they could put 4 of them around the piano of interest to artificially create a smaller room.


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You can explaining your concerns and asking the store for a short tryout of the taller piano in your home. Some stores will do this, especially if you agree to purchase the shorter model if the tall one is too loud. You might have to pay additional shipping costs if you return the tall piano.

I don't think it's possible to predict with any certainty if the piano will seem too loud since there are so many factors involved besides the size of the room.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/28/22 02:24 PM.
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On a well regulated quality grand, the size of the piano won't make it too loud, since you have much more control with the longer key lengths and potential evenness of tone across the registers even with a light touch. On my upright 53" Kawai, I've had to tweak it a bit to get the sound less loud. Since you are sitting right in front of the soundboard (instead of perpendicular to it), you can get a lot more direct sound, whereas on a grand, if you have the lid down you can control the reflected sound more easily by treating the room (floor). Depending on the design of the upright, the damper springs can make it harder to play ppp. If it's a big upright, there can be more "leaky" dampers, the so-called "wet" sound, so they can use heavier damper barrels (brass), which can reduce the necessity of stiffer damper springs. I found that I had to tighten the soft pedal wing nut (reduce hammer strike distance and more lost motion) which effectively makes the soft pedal always down ~20% without stepping on it. You can also voice down the piano, but that can change the timbre too much. I don't regret having the bigger upright since the tone is richer, but there are some limitations to the upright action if not well-designed.

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Originally Posted by Jojovan
My room is:
Width: 280cm / 9 feet 2 / 110.2 inches
Length: 355cm / 11 feet 7 / 139.7 inches

I used to have a 120cm W.Hoffman upright. Now I have a C2X (173cm) grand and do not find it uncomfortably loud. Recordings are fine too.

Jojovan, I am considering a C2X in a slightly bigger room (13' x 15'). Curious if you find, from an aesthetic décor point of view, if the piano overwhelms the room visually (this is a point of debate which will determine getting spousal support for a grand - otherwise, it's an upright).

Incidentally, if a grand is not in the cards, a C. Bechstein (or perhaps a W. Hoffmann) may be the "runner up."


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
The volume of the piano was my biggest concern when selecting size. As it turns out, it's loud but rarely ever "too loud." You don't want to be sitting on the couch next to the piano during louder passages, but it's tolerable for anyone a room over. Sound diminishes greatly over distance. I WFH and am in online meetings 10 hours a day, and compared to my digital when my daughter practices, it sounds pretty much the same volume to me in the spare bedroom with the door closed.

While I can't directly compare digital vs acoustic volumes in my home, since I don't (yet) own an acoustic, in my unofficial "lab tests", the volume in dbs as measured using a phone app, is around 75 - 80 db with my Avantgrand N2 (volume at around 12 o'clock, playing at "normal" dynamics) in my living room vs. about 80 - 85 db for various brands of grands (ranging from 5'5" to 6'2" or so, at same "normal" dynamics) in the showroom.

Both my daughter and I practice at around the same volume and it is not uncomfortable at all, volume-wise, for listeners near-by (musical content is another matter entirely: repeating tricky passages over and over tests the patience of just about anyone). Going further away (ie, downstairs), I barely hear the digital.


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I hope this article from Piano Buyer will help:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/ten-ways-to-voice-a-room/
In my experience, besides follow Part 1 in this article, we should not place the piano (both grand and upright) too close to a corner.


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Originally Posted by Jadam
Originally Posted by Jojovan
My room is:
Width: 280cm / 9 feet 2 / 110.2 inches
Length: 355cm / 11 feet 7 / 139.7 inches

I used to have a 120cm W.Hoffman upright. Now I have a C2X (173cm) grand and do not find it uncomfortably loud. Recordings are fine too.

Jojovan, I am considering a C2X in a slightly bigger room (13' x 15'). Curious if you find, from an aesthetic décor point of view, if the piano overwhelms the room visually (this is a point of debate which will determine getting spousal support for a grand - otherwise, it's an upright).

Incidentally, if a grand is not in the cards, a C. Bechstein (or perhaps a W. Hoffmann) may be the "runner up."



Hi, above is my music room. It has a comfy sofa, roland DP, yamaha portable piano, guitar, cpu... dehumidifier, a small stanfing fan. It double-up as a projector room for bonding time with my son. This is my 2nd position which works much better. The initial is the opening lid faceing the white wall (with sound dampering foam)

The black hangings are acoustic blankets. The blue curtain also have sound dampering function.

It may be small space to others but i'm comfortable - which is ultimstately the most important.

My experience is that upright sound rebounced and slap me in my face, it's a very direct hit. While grand is more like 3D surrounding me. Grand can be very loud, if u want it to be.

Last edited by Jojovan; 04/28/22 10:06 PM.

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Cool room! I would love to have that. 👍

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I have a 130cm/51" Kawai K-500 upright in a medium room and some days I find it loud, but I'm probably a bit sensitive to noise. My phone sitting on the music rest measures an average of about 85dB and peak of 105dB during typical playing in a silent house. I have taken steps to absorb the sound once it has already been emitted from the piano, e.g. thick carpets and curtains, couches in the room and a rug on the wall. The trouble is that:
  • You don't want to buy a small piano because they have worse bass and lower quality construction.
  • You don't want to just play more quietly, because this limits the range of tone/expression you can get from the instrument. A lot of Blues music (username 'Bluesinlondon') isn't soft and mellow either.
  • You don't want to muffle the piano (i.e. reduce the sound at the source) by playing with the piano closed or filling it with sound deadening materials, because it doesn't sound as nice that way.

What's the answer? I don't know. wink


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Originally Posted by Ben_NZ
I have a 130cm/51" Kawai K-500 upright in a medium room and some days I find it loud, but I'm probably a bit sensitive to noise. My phone sitting on the music rest measures an average of about 85dB and peak of 105dB during typical playing in a silent house. I have taken steps to absorb the sound once it has already been emitted from the piano, e.g. thick carpets and curtains, couches in the room and a rug on the wall. The trouble is that:
  • You don't want to buy a small piano because they have worse bass and lower quality construction.
  • You don't want to just play more quietly, because this limits the range of tone/expression you can get from the instrument. A lot of Blues music (username 'Bluesinlondon') isn't soft and mellow either.
  • You don't want to muffle the piano (i.e. reduce the sound at the source) by playing with the piano closed or filling it with sound deadening materials, because it doesn't sound as nice that way.

What's the answer? I don't know. wink

Totally agree with you. I experienced the same when I try to reduce piano volume with many materials. One day my son complained that he cannot play expressively, I recognized the problem. Maybe the only answer is to buy a right house but …. smile


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When my neighbor started complaining about my practicing on my M&H BB(after more than a decade of not complaining) my piano guy installed acoustic foam underneath the soundboard and on top of the strings(resting on the plate). This lowered the volume, and I still like the sound as much. I play with the lid down and flylid folded back.

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Jojovan, thank you for posting this video, very helpful! I imagine the piano sounds very nice in that room with all of the treatments you’ve put up.

Last edited by Jadam; 04/29/22 10:41 AM.

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Originally Posted by Jadam
Jojovan, thank you for posting this video, very helpful! I imagine the piano sounds very nice in that room with all of the treatments you’ve put up.

Thanks. Do post here or PM me shall you need help.


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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
I think you should be ok with a tall upright in that size room. But yes, soft furnishings can help, including a rug and curtains/drapes as well as the actual furniture.

Is there a door that can be left open? That may help as well.
I agree with ShiroKuro, a tall accoustic will be fine in a small room with the right surroundings.Perhaps a a full length carpet will be great furniture, pictures, drapes etc.The room could look great with the piano.

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It's a better idea to at least ask the dealer if they are willing to have you try out the piano in your room. Many dealers are willing to do this if you agree to purchase a shorter piano if the first piano is too loud. Some dealers might even let you try the piano without an agreement to buy a smaller one as long as you pay for shipping if you decide to return it. If the dealer agrees to this, then you have some protection. When people say to go ahead and everything will be fine, they are not the ones taking the risk!

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If the tall upright is too loud, you can stick towels behind the backposts. It's a trick a tuner taught me. For me, four towels (one behind each post) was too dampening but two made the volume much more manageable without reducing sound quality.


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