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Tuning in the echo chambers

  • 1.  Tuning in the echo chambers

    Posted 04-23-2019 19:07
    We service a lot of Catholic Churches/Cathedrals in our areas.  Their sanctuaries are always huge echo chambers and quite stressful places to tune.  I've started leaving several packs of single use foam ear plugs inside the pianos for the guys to use when tuning.  It cuts down on the echo so you can concentrate only on the sound in front of you.  I'm sure many of you do the same thing if you tune aurally.  I've found that the local gun shop will sell them in bulk so, when you buy a box of 200, it brings the cost down to like 14 cents per pair.  To me, that's well worth it.  We don't usually compact them enough to bring them up to the full NRR30, but just enough to lessen the echo a bit.  We have one Convent in Springfield, IL that has a Steinway D, but a full 2 second decay rate in the room.  It would take forever without some help from the ear plugs.

    Howard Leight MAX-1S Small 30 NRR Single-Use Earplugs - Uncorded w/ Polybag

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    Ted Rohde
    Central Illinois
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  • 2.  RE: Tuning in the echo chambers

    Posted 04-23-2019 19:25
    I especially like when the sanctuary is long enough that the Doppler shift affects the echo enough to make unison tuning more or less impossible. I've on occasion just given up and used the magnetic pickup with my Accu-Tuner.

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    Karl Roeder
    Pompano Beach FL
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  • 3.  RE: Tuning in the echo chambers

    Posted 04-23-2019 19:49
    Yeh.  I'm sayin'.  That specific Convent piano is exactly what you described.  I will say this, though.  When you get 200 nuns singing in that Chapel, it's something almost unreal to hear.  Absolutely magnificent.  But to work in there?  Ear plugs.  I once told Sister Frances Mary when she asked about the guys wearing ear plugs, "Those are 14 cents of salvation that the Lord forgot to supply."  She's a fine woman for whom we've worked for years.  Graciously, she laughed.

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    Ted Rohde
    Central Illinois
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