The Omega gets its annual health check

Walter Haas arrived bright and early this last Saturday 20th June. He is in Singapore as usual to prepare the piano for the annual Singapore International Piano Festival. This year the Festival returns to the beautifully refurbished Victoria Concert Hall. I will be attending Imogen Cooper’s recital on Thursday 25th June.

First thing he did was of course to tune the piano. This took quite a while because it was punctuated by lots of chatting and a nice cup of coffee. There wasn’t much to be done at all. The action is still silky smooth, and the hammers in great shape. But then I have not played all that much because I’ve been too busy. And yet, despite the relatively light use, all but one of the inharmonic strings has ‘broken in’. The sole recalcitrant is one strong in the note just above the highest break, and even that was not so bad.

His verdict? The piano has settled in very well. The tone is rich and glorious, the sustain beautiful. Ideal for chamber music, he declared.

Walter by the way tunes a mild Well temperament, not that far away from the EBVT III that I tune myself. We both agree that Equal is probably the least sympathetic temperament. No key colour.

No pictures this time. I was so absorbed talking to him that I completely forgot to take any!

Acoustic treatment for a piano practice room: Galleria Music School

The customer is Galleria Music School, in Sin Ming Plaza Tower 1, Singapore. There is an upright piano in each teaching studio, backed up against a wall. The studios are small, carpeted, but with highly acoustically reflective walls of glass and plastered brick. As a result the sound level in them is intolerably high, and the pianos are tonally bright and ‘jangly’. In two studios the problem has been addressed by putting two UNISON SAP-75 panels in a six-inch gap between the rear of the piano and the wall. The panels are in portrait orientation and sit on the carpeted floor; no floor stands are used. The panels have cut the loudness of the pianos. The tonal character of the pianos has also been greatly improved – they are much more tonally balanced.

Pictures to follow.

Cross-posted from here.

Acoustic treatment for a music practice room: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 in a bedroom

The customer Mr K is an avid amateur pianist. He owns two grand pianos (Sauter Delta, Shigeru Kawai SK-6), and a Yamaha AvantGrand N3 hybrid piano. The Sauter and Shigeru Kawai grand pianos are located in the living room, whereas the Yamaha AvantGrand is located in a small bedroom.

The AvantGrand N3 is capable of playing as loud as a real piano. Although the loudness can be adjusted via the AvantGrand’s volume control the room imparts a ‘boxy’ colouration to the lower half of the keyboard, and a rather harsh ‘glare’ to the upper half of the keyboard. Bass articulation is also indistinct because of strong room modes. Mr K uses four UNISON SAP-75 panels on floor stands and six UNISON D-C diffusors on the ceiling to tame the room colouration. The ceiling diffusors also eliminated the intense slap-back echo off the ceiling, by dissipating the reflections rather than absorbing the sound.

Pictures to follow.

Cross-posted from here.

What I’ve been busy with

It’s been a long time since my last post in June last year! I’ve been so busy that I even forgot to post a couple of drafts that I had in the works, including pictures and impressions of Lang Lang’s recital in Singapore last November.

What kept me busy? Working my day job and in my spare time helping out a small business named AudioRev. Their website went live yesterday.

AudioRev Logo 300dpi

The Omega gets its second service

Last Thursday 20th June Walter Haas dropped by to service the Sauter Omega. He was in Singapore as the piano tech for the Singapore International Piano Festival, held at the School of the Arts (SOTA) auditorium, and had already spent two days getting the relatively young (2 years old) Steinway D into shape.

Walter arrived at 9am and stayed for about three hours. The action didn’t need regulation, but the hammers needed voicing, particular the A5-A6 octave. We had a great time chatting while he worked, but obviously not during the tuning before voicing. Interestingly, I hadn’t tuned the piano for about two months, but A4 was still at 440Hz — it hadn’t drifted at all!

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After he finished Walter headed off to SOTA to tune and tweak the D for Yevgeny Sudbin’s final practice session before the evening’s recital.

Ideas for DIY piano lights

I found some LED strip lights while browsing through my local IKEA store. Gave me ideas for building my own piano lamp from them. I’ll post again if I actually get around to implementing the ideas. The one thing I really won’t know until I try these lights is whether or not they are bright enough for my old eyes. (Click on the captions under the pictures to go to the IKEA product pages. The prices shown are in Singapore dollars.)

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