Author Topic: Metallic sounds on release of keys  (Read 2583 times)

Offline alexdecker

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Metallic sounds on release of keys
« on: December 08, 2016, 12:41:10 PM »
Hi all

I noticed (I think after installing the pre '74 hammertips) that when I release a key on the piano, it has a slight metallic sound. I thought it was a damper issue, but after messing around with it for a bit, I couldn't improve it. It's rather distracting. Has any of you had that problem, and how did you go about solving it?

I uploaded a small 15 sec. sound clip for demonstration purposes:

https://soundcloud.com/alexdeckerdk/rhodes-test-recording/s-wkdEy

– Alex


Offline David Aubke

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2016, 12:55:41 PM »
You don't like that? I think it's just the sound of the tine being dampened. A bit of the character you get from the real thing vs. a sample.

Did you try increasing the force of the damper arm? maybe even beyond what's appropriate (like, so it starts to mute the notes on heavy key strikes) just to see if that changes the condition?
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Offline Jenzz

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2016, 01:49:57 PM »
Sounds pretty normal to me...

Sometimes, release noise is a bit increased when the damper arm just touches the damper bar when swinging back to its released position.

Jenzz

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2016, 02:15:22 PM »
It's a normal sound. I agree with David about real vs. sampled. I prefer to hear all the little nuances of a real EP any day.
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1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
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Offline alexdecker

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2016, 02:21:03 PM »
Well, I actually dont mind that much. I like character :-) But when I hear recordings (Robert Glasper etc.) I dont hear the sound. So kinda figured there was some adjustments to be made?

- Alex

Offline alexdecker

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2016, 02:54:20 AM »
So considering that I don't hear this sound on the majority of recordings (even lots of amateur recordings on YouTube and Soundcloud), surely somebody must have an educated opinion as to how I can avoid these metallic sounds?

– Alex

Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2016, 05:21:53 AM »
Hi Alex,
It might have something to do with the strike line (and maybe escapement) in combination with the type of tines in your piano. Only a few keys in my piano have the sound you described and I heard in the audioclip. These notes have different tines on the tonebar and the rest do not have this metalic like sound (when stopped by the dampers).

Maybe not only the base sound/ tonal character is influenced by the strike line but how this energy is stopped by the dampers as well. It might be worth to try. On this forum and in the Rhodes manual there is plenty of information about this :)

--Roy
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 05:24:32 AM by rhodesjuzz »
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Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2016, 08:35:39 AM »
I forgot to mention that the right EQ might make a big difference. If you turn down some of the (higher) frequencies these sort of sounds will become less noticable....

My suitcase has 2 active tone regulators and when I turn 'high' all the way up, I can hear the metallic sound much clearer.....
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 03:51:10 PM by rhodesjuzz »
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 02:36:05 PM »
First off, thanks for a recording of the problem - always helps greatly.  From the recording, I can hear that your dampers can be improved a bit, but as they mentioned above, there will always be some mechanical noise from the damper stopping a tine.  In fact, new Rhodes samples including Yamaha's Montage Rhodes galleries have a mechanical noise layer on their Rhodes patches that emulate this key-off sound.

However, I believe it can be reduced on your piano.  Note 1 in your recording is from not enough damper tension as David mentioned.  The damper arm isn't strong enough and is getting bounced off of the tine too easily as it's trying to stop the note.  This would probably mean unscrewing the damper arms from the action rail, inspecting them and bending them back flat.  If you listen to notes 4 and 5 on your recording, I can hear that your damper felts aren't high enough to stop the tines from ringing, so they're not in strong contact with the tine and that gives you the long-release sound.  I would check out some youtube videos if they're out there about setting up dampers, and it should help at least reduce the problem. 

Why it happens - the damper can't bring a dead-stop to a tine on initial release, especially in the lower register where the swing of the tine is so large (this doesn't happen in the higher register).  There isn't enough tension to do so from the action design.  What happens in a fraction of a second is the damper bounces off of the tine as it continues to try to bring it to a stop.  This is what creates the mechanical noise - the tine is technically continuing to "play" as it's interacting with the damper felt.  The reason the Rhodes action design doesn't have damper arms with a huge amount of tension is that the damper arms are directly connected to the hammers, connected to the keys.  So, the action would become incredibly heavy for you to play as you'd basically be cranking down little "catapults" that would be strong enough to instantly stop the tines.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 02:40:25 PM by Ben Bove »
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Offline alexdecker

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2016, 01:39:39 PM »
Thank you for your reply Ben!

I did mess about with the damper arms to try and find a better stop for them. I couldn't get a satisfactory result. The weird thing is that this happening when I switched from the tapered hammer tips to the square hammer tips. I dont know - maybe they blow with a bigger force, making it hard for the damper to damp it.

Question though - I just watched this video: https://youtu.be/wUkj6BybduI

In here, Vintage Vibe mentions, that if you install the damper felts with the grain going in the wrong direction, it could possibly give a little chirping sound upon release. Now, its been a few years since I installed the felts, and can't remember if I did it right, and since the problem started with the change of hammer tips, I dont know if it relates - but in my recording, it does sound like it could be that chirping sound they talk about in the video.

What do you guys say?

– Alex

Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2016, 06:41:01 PM »
If the grain of the felt is going vertically up, yes there will be a louder-than-normal chirp sound - the edge of the felt layers as they stack up are physically harder on their ends.  If those hit the tines as opposed to a regular felt surface, it will be a bit louder.

If you switched to square hammer tips from tapered hammer tips, without adjusting the strikeline (position of the harp front to back), it may be that the square hammer tips are hitting the tines closer to the optimum strike point. This'll launch the tines a bit better on attack.

I can hear needing a bit more detail on adjusting the dampers.  I'll browse around youtube for damper set up videos, but I would take this piano, bend the dampers back to flat or a little concave where they screw into the action rail, and probably be bending the fronts of them up a bit to help stopping the tines a little better.
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Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2016, 08:37:38 AM »
Thank you for your reply Ben!

I did mess about with the damper arms to try and find a better stop for them. I couldn't get a satisfactory result. The weird thing is that this happening when I switched from the tapered hammer tips to the square hammer tips. I dont know - maybe they blow with a bigger force, making it hard for the damper to damp it.

Question though - I just watched this video: https://youtu.be/wUkj6BybduI

In here, Vintage Vibe mentions, that if you install the damper felts with the grain going in the wrong direction, it could possibly give a little chirping sound upon release. Now, its been a few years since I installed the felts, and can't remember if I did it right, and since the problem started with the change of hammer tips, I dont know if it relates - but in my recording, it does sound like it could be that chirping sound they talk about in the video.

What do you guys say?

– Alex

If your previous tapered hammer tips were graduated, you really need to change escapement and most likely your strike line. The latter changes the sound (bell metallic etc). Square tips are not graduated but of equal height. Hope this helps plus what Ben mentioned; his advices are great!!!
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Offline alexdecker

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2016, 04:24:39 PM »
I readjusted escapement and strikeline. I am gonna have a go at adjusting the dampers, but did a test on one of them tonight, but not much difference though. If I bend them upwards too much, they dont let the tine ring through on a proper strike, so I tried bending it back little by little, until I could play the note, and then the chirp was still there. Double checked the felt grain, and I installed it correctly as well. I am gonna have another go at it over the weekend, but I dont think its gonna work though :-(

Ben, it is my understanding that your gold Rhodes suitcase was used on Calls, the Robert Glasper track? I realise that it during recording probably went through a longer signal chain, but listening closely to it, I dont hear any chirp at all. That goes for all his recordings actually. Maybe my Rhodes is just doomed to sound like that. Maybe I could try and move the pickups a little further back, and hope they only pick up the tine, and not the dampening chirp?

- Alex

Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2017, 05:01:57 PM »
Hey Alex!  It was actually the Vintage Vibe piano on Glasper/Jill Scott's "Calls" and "Somebody Else" Emeli Sandé.  The gold Rhodes was all the other tracks.  There is a slight natural chirp to it, but I do admit it's less than the case of your piano.

You're definitely doing the right adjustments as you describe what happens on bending the dampers, not being able to have the note ring clearly etc.  My guess is you may need to get deeper with it as I mentioned above, by unscrewing the damper arms from the inside action rail of the piano, and bending them back flat or up a bit.  If the damper tension isn't strong enough, they'll bounce around off the tine while trying to make the tine stop.  This could elongate the time to dampen the note.  What year is your piano - all plastic hammers or hybrid wood/plastic hammers?  The all plastic hammer versions have the dampers in groups which are easier to pop out and flex back straight.  There's a trick to the hybrid single dampers but will explain if that's the case.
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Offline retro-mike

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2017, 04:35:33 PM »
Did you by any chance install new damper felts?


Offline alexdecker

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Re: Metallic sounds on release of keys
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2017, 07:06:09 AM »
I did install new damper felts! As noted above, I also became suspicious that I might've turned them with the grain the wrong way. This is not the case though.

Did you have a theory relating to the damper felts other than that though??

– Alex