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Old 9th April 2011, 09:51 AM   #1
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Default The ultimate Grand Piano

Hello Gentleman and Gentlewomen,

I am an audiophile and pianist, and am looking to build the ultimate digital piano in a grand piano shell. The source will be from high quality keyboard (Roland V Piano seamlessly integrated to appear as OEM). I am seeking advice and guidance on how to effectively representing an accurate reproduciton of a real piano. I do not wish to use conventional speakers, as the cross over point scares me with phasing issues, etc.

My budget is <$10,000, so ribbons are out... I do have access to a full shop and regard myself as talented with tools, so Iím up for just about anything.

I would like to hear your feedback on what type of speaker system you guys would recommend I construct to achieve maximum realism. On a side note, to fulfil my curiosity, I have a set of transducers on the way (Clark Synthesis Platinum) that I would like to attempt to mount to the existing soundboard. I would like to try this, as it almost makes sense to play a piano through a piano... you know? I have my reservations of this going well, but at least I will have a pair of transducers to play with if it doesnít work out. Thoughts on this would be appreciated!

Would ESLís work? I am not familiar with the level of tension of the diaphragm, and if a panel could successfully be laid flat without big complications arising from sagging. Also, would the volume levels of ESLís high enough to match that of a real piano?

What other suggestions would you have? What would you guys do? I am hungry for your input!

Thanks in advance!

Robert
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Old 9th April 2011, 11:20 AM   #2
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Hi,

IMHO, nothing beats the sound of a real piano.

Wachara C.
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Old 9th April 2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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Wow Robert.....This is the craziest thing I have ever read. I dont really know where to begin, but I have a few questions.

1- Where will you be utilizing this instrument? Environment?
2 - How do you want the instrument to direct the sound? Omnidirectional, directional...?
3 - Is your goal to have a complete all in one unit?
4- Do you plan on having amplification within the unit?
5- Will there also be a kitchen sink installed?
6 - Will there be the typical grand piano top that you can open and close?

I'm also a pianist btw.

Spiro
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Old 9th April 2011, 11:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chinsettawong View Post
Hi,

IMHO, nothing beats the sound of a real piano.

Wachara C.
True...but dont forget that we cant have a real band playing in our living rooms either...
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Old 9th April 2011, 01:51 PM   #5
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Default The Ultimate Gand Piano

Don,t fool with mother nature. The modern top line grand piano is an evolutionary development of the keyboard. I don't see your purpose. "If it ain,t broke don,t fix it."
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Old 9th April 2011, 02:16 PM   #6
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A ten-grand-piano. Interesting concept.

To start you're going to need a really, really good keyboard controller if you want action even close to the real thing. Then there is the waveform synthesis.... that's gonna be another big chunk of change.

As to the speaker system. You have two issues that I see right away. First, the strings vibrate and bounce off the angled lid of the piano, but from different positions inside the shell. Second, the shell itself resonates from how the strings are mounted.

My first thought from all this is to mount a bunch of drivers directly to the baseboard of the shell using big screws and stand offs. This way the sound waves radiate both up and down, like they do from the strings. The drivers maybe should be different sizes just the way the strings are sized for each note and each powered one with it's own amplifier. And finally, an active multi-multi-way cross over between the amps and the synthesizer.

But that's just a guess. While Yamaha may have proprietary experience with this kind of thing, I really think you're in truly unexplored territory.

:)ensen.
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Old 9th April 2011, 02:58 PM   #7
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" #3 Click the image to open in full size. aptquark Click the image to open in full size.
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Click the image to open in full size.

Wow Robert.....This is the craziest thing I have ever read. I dont really know where to begin, but I have a few questions.

1- Where will you be utilizing this instrument? Environment?
2 - How do you want the instrument to direct the sound? Omnidirectional, directional...?
3 - Is your goal to have a complete all in one unit?
4- Do you plan on having amplification within the unit?
5- Will there also be a kitchen sink installed?
6 - Will there be the typical grand piano top that you can open and close?

I'm also a pianist btw.

Spiro "





These are all very good questions that must be condisidered.

An ESL driver is without question the lowest distortion and uncolored driver in exsistence (IMO) as well as many magnetic ribbon and planar designs and only second to plasma technology as far as sound quality.

However they do have their own issues as far as size vs lowest reproduceable frequency and sound dispersion.

The drive electronics is a very big issue and although we here at DIY Audio have made some very large leaps and bounds and it is getting better and better and more less as expensive than it used to be.
However, It can be very costly and time consuming to get/find the right combinatoin of crossovers,amplifiers and especialy transformers to drive them properly.

All of these things must be considered along with, Is mounting the (any) driver in the piano case going to give you the kind of sound you are looking for?
As well as is might sound great in the nearfield,But how will it sound across to the other side of the room?

ESl's are well noted for there incredible detail and they don't fair well in an enclosure or having anything (even like the soft side of fiber glass insulation) near the proximity of the diagphram.
I have done some investigations on this matter.

What happens is that any reflections (no mater how small) that can be redirect back through the diagphram can cause cancelations at some frequency's, therefore, reducing the the high end detail that they are so noted for.

However this does not mean that a good compromise can not be had.
BUT, that is what it would be "a compromise" between the best and second best.
I know this as I have experimented with different ways attemping to turn the dipole esl driver into a monople driver.
It is not an easy tasc and all my attemps have turned out as "Oh it's okay" and not "Ahh that is just awesome".

Just as a suggestion, As I always try to inspire individuals to try building their own ESL's, is to maybe take a look at the magnetic planar technology.

You will still have the same issues as far as sound qaulity is concerned as listed above, But the drive requirements will be much easier and simpler than what an ESL requires.
Although good neo magnets are not cheap and are getting more expensive by the day.

I hope this gives you a little more insight as to what may be involved.
And I hope that any of this information does not discourage you in any way.
But too incourage you to see your project as a reality, as you never know, you might just come up with something totaly great as it happens quite a bit here in the DIY audio forums.

Good Luck! jer

P.S The very first time I ever heard a true sounding piano was through the Amazing Carver ribbons and then the Apogee Duetta's (which I still have) and now my very own DIY ESL's top the both of them,Cheers!

Last edited by geraldfryjr; 9th April 2011 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 9th April 2011, 05:01 PM   #8
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As to answer your other two questions sagging would not be an issue with an esl.

And with a panel area of at least 1 square foot or more the loudness would be more than enough when properly driven.

The problem is the beaming and the unequal dispersion of different frequency's are the issues that go along with most all planar drivers. jer
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Old 9th April 2011, 05:08 PM   #9
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Which piano module are you planning to use?
I am not up on what is available today but in the past I have found that EMU's piano module and YAMAHA's Clavinova where some of the best I have heard (IMO). jer
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Old 9th April 2011, 06:41 PM   #10
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Hi Robert,

whichever transducer you use, you'll be faced with the problem that the keyboard controller is designed to reproduce the sound of the piano as a whole; if you put out this sound through transducers inside a piano shell, the shell will influence the sound "a second time", so to speak. Therefore I don't know if the end result will be what you'd expect.

Having said that, my feeling is that the best way to do this is to have many different transducers, with the bass notes being reproduced at the left side and the trebles at the right side, just as in the real thing. Using ESLs this is easily realized, especially if you would use wire ESLs with electrical sectioning.

Finally, depending on what your goals are, I'm not sure whether an ESL would produce sufficient sound pressure in the very low register...

Kenneth
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