Silent Systems

What is a Silent System?

Silent Systems combine the best elements of acoustic and digital pianos into one.  A silent system on an acoustic piano allows players to use headphones and enjoy a sampled piano sound while practicing, without the need for the piano's sound to be audible.  Installation involves placing sensors installed under the piano keys and pedals. These sensors detect the movement and force applied to the keys and pedals by the pianist. The sensor data is then transmitted to a digital module or processor.

The digital module is equipped with high-quality piano samples that reproduce the sound of the acoustic piano. When the player presses a key or pedal, the corresponding digital sound is generated and delivered to the user through headphones or an external audio system. This part is installed under the keyboard, to the left or right of the pianist. Most systems have headphone inputs, a volume dial, and some buttons to allow you to change sounds, trigger a metronome, or add some reverb. Some systems have expanded controls accessed on a phone or tablet, as all these systems have bluetooth connectivity.

The final part of the silent system is the stop rail. This is a mechanical part that "catches" the hammer just before it strikes the string, meaning that all you hear is a very quiet 'thud'.  The stop rail is moved in to place and out of the way using a small level fitted under the keyboard.

Most silent systems also offer additional features, such as different instrument sounds (electric piano, strings, etc.), recording capabilities, and options to connect to phones, tablets, and computers for audio and MIDI control. It's a versatile solution for pianists who want the touch and feel of an acoustic piano combined with the flexibility of digital features.

Factory installed vs Retro fit

Yamaha and Kawai systems cannot be retrofitted, and instead come pre-installed on specific pianos, such as the Yamaha B series and U series, and the Kawai K series of pianos. The advantage of this is that the pianos and the silent systems have been developed together, so each of the parts fit perfectly, and the accompanying sampled sounds are designed for the pianos they've been fitted to. As a result the difference between the sound in headphones and the acoustic sound is far closer, making switching between the two almost seamless.

Retrofitted systems come with a range of parts to allow them to be fitted to almost any piano. Whether you have a brand new Bechstein or a 100 year old Broadwood, your piano may be suitable. Retrofit silent systems have a range of inbuilt sounds, usually several grand pianos and upright pianos, as well as harpsichords, organs etc. Because of the raneg of makes and models these systems can be fitted to, the digital samples are often quite different from the sounds of the acoustic piano they're installed in (the digital sample often sounds better!). 

Systems I install and repair

I've been trained to repair and adjust:

I'm also trained to install: