Problem with a digital piano

I’m working on Weeping Willow rag and hear these awful sounds come out of my digital piano. Bought just a couple of months ago.

When I play notes typical rag chords in the upper register — fourth and fifth octaves — the sound of a chord comes forth, but soon deteriotes to a high-pitched whine.

D F# B


Hit the same chords in the lower registers and the music prevails. No whine.

So the company is sending a 3rd party Technician to diagnose the problem. My fear is he will not hear any problem.

My questions are:

  1. Have you ever had such a problem? If so, what was the diagnosis and cure?

  2. If you never had such a problem, do you have a guess as to what’s causing it?

And most important…

  1. If the tech cannot hear the whine subjectively, can it be ascertained technologiically?

Hope to hear from you folks soon. The tech might come tomorrow, and question 3 just occurred to me.

In the interest of giving you SOMETHING before tomorrow…

  1. You MAY be able to record the sound with a computer and microphone and then use a program like Audacity or a trial version of Adobe Audition to visualize the sound as a spectrogram.

I say MAY because I don’t know if the average cheap consumer microphone is capable of picking up the relevant frequencies. Also, I don’t know if the technician will understand the graph or accept it as evidence.

Someone else may have a better suggestion.

Thank you, Reply.

I might be able to stall this guy, but even if I can’t, shouldn’t he have the requisite gear for such a check?

Well, I’m no expert, but a few questions come to mind:

  1. Make and model of the keyboard?

  2. You bought it a couple of months ago. New or used? (I’m going to guess that it’s new, and still under warranty, which is why the tech is coming out.)

  3. Are you listening through the keyboard’s internal speakers, an external amp/speaker, or headphones? Does the “whine” sound the same through all three?

  4. Does the “whine” only occur with a chord, or does it also happen with single notes? Only those chords, or others in the same range?

  5. Can you describe the “whine” a little more?

  6. Has it only just started doing this, or has it done it from Day 1?

  7. Can you go to the music dealer and see if another sample of the same model does the same thing?

If the keyboard is still under warranty, you should be able to return it for a replacement, even if the tech can’t hear what you hear.

How I hope that is true.

Thank you very much for your interest. I hope my answers help you diagnose the possible problems, but I know it’s very hard to imagine whines, etc. Like describing red to a blind man, I should think.

I forgot,** commasense**: It’s a Yamaha Clavinova CLP 270.


Okay, so it’s not a used or cheap no-name POS, and we’ve ruled out a problem with any singe set of speakers.

Although you say otherwise, I’m not 100% convinced that it’s a new problem. You may just not have noticed it before. IMO, if you try out a different sample of the same keyboard, and it does the same thing, I’m going to say that what you’re hearing is a characteristic of the sampling of that particular keyboard. If so, you’ll jst have to get used to it.

Although Yamaha has a justifiably great reputation, their products are not perfect, particularly in sampling real piano sounds. I have a Disklavier DC3A and I was quite dismayed, after shelling out $30,000 for the instrument, to find that the sampled piano sound, in certain ranges, sounded more like an electric piano than a real grand piano. (This was important to me because I live in a condo, and can’t play the real piano late at night.) It was quite annoying, but I found that they’re all like that, and that Yamaha service wasn’t particularly concerned about what I thought was a major problem. I couldn’t believe that they would have let such a crappy job of sampling get into this (then) top-of-the-line product.

I quite agree that it may not be a new problem. I only noticed it when Weeping Willow moved me to C5, and I held the one of those cords longer than needed.

So, if there’s no solution, do you think I can get my money back?

II’m really sorry about your problem.

My piano cost me $4K and I thought I was being shafted. but $30K…

Do all digital pianos plagued with the stuff I describe in my posts here, or is it just Yamaha?

Just for the sake of the thread, I just checked every key on my digital piano, a Casio Privia PX-100. Everything sounded perfectly fine.

It is not something that happens with all digital pianos. Actually, it doesn’t happen with all Yamahas either and I would be willing to bet that it rarely happens to all Clavinova CLP 270:s either. Yamaha are the leaders of the digital piano market, together with Roland and Korg. They put a big budget and care into leading the technique of sound sampling forward and this problem is too obvious for them not to notice.

My call? Bad luck. You got a lemon. Fortunately you have your warranty and they should let you have a new piano.

I’m definitely not saying all Yamahas are bad, or that all CLP 270s are bad, or even that yours is. I’m just saying that if there’s a problem with the sampling, I won’t be shocked.

So, this whine–is it clearly a non-musical sound? Is it distortion? Or does it just sound like the piano note going flat? Do you have perfect pitch, or are you particularly sensitive to tuning problems? Can you tell that an instrument is out of tune, even when your friends can’t?

The key will be if you hear the same thing on other CLP 270s (in which case it’s probably a characteristic of the sampling) or if the tech agrees that there’s a problem (in which case you should be able to get it fixed or replaced).

Good luck.

I have played the offending piano sounds for a couple of neightbors, Ward and his wife, who brought along their visiting granddaughter. They didn’t hear anything wrong.

To keep the little girl amused, I put on the keyboard “Choir” sound while we adults chatted.

Using one finger, the girl progressed to the higher registers and my buddy Ward, suddenly perked up. He heard the glitch. It was quite distinct — a harmonic problem he said with one frequency out of phase with another. So maybe I’ll play the choir for the Technician if he doesn’t hear the piano drek.

**And my sincere thanks to all of for your contrubutions to this thread.

Wish me luck!**

TRhanks for taking the trouble to hit all 88!! I hope you’re right about a replacement.

Good luck, BarnOwl! Let us know what happens :slight_smile:

Will do.