How loud can I be? FR3 XB currently, how about 4XB or 8XB
#1
Hi

We are enjoying our Roland FR3XB and are practicing hard each day, basically learning tunes by ear which we then try out in local pub folk music sessions which, as soprano sax and fiddle players of many years we are very used to doing.

All is going well without too much comment about being battery driven but when everyone else joins in it's quite difficult to hear ourselves.

Recently, we got the opportunity to compare the volume of an acoustic accordion with our FR3 XB working on it's batteries and the acoustic accordion seemed much louder

Our question is, therefore, would an FR4XB be louder than our FR3XB and would an FR8XB be even louder playing with batteries?

Many thanks
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#2
The FR-8X and FR-4X are about the same maximum volume, however, both of these are a bit louder than the FR-3XB. That said, ambient noise depends a lot and I'd place the 4X and 8X at roughly the same maximum volume as my Hohner Morino VI N acoustic.

In terms of a pub, it depends on how loud the ambient is. I can see 30-40 people in an enthusiastic conversational level forcing any accordion to need external speakers to be effective, however in a place where you have 10-15 people all listening and singing along that even a 3X would be more than capable.

The answer is, like usual... it depends, but external speakers not only make one louder but can make it sound better. Small speakers do have limitations, especially in the bass region. Smile
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#3
Many thanks Jerry! That's just the information I needed.

The sessions I'm talking about are of the enthusiastic type not the folk club sort where people take turns and listen. Traditional Irish, English, Cornish, Scandinavian, French, Klezmer tunes rattled off with gusto for several hours with everybody joining in at the same time. So the sound levels can get a bit high and certainly overpower the FR3 XB.

Accordions are not very common. Most squeezeboxes tend to be diatonic melodeons, which seem able to hold their own, but I do know of one acoustic piano accordion that leads a number of sessions in various venues and has no trouble being heard and followed.

External speakers are out of the question, really. Strictly speaking the sessions are supposed to be acoustic.

I'd quite like to upgrade my FR3 XB to a 4XB but it sounds as if I'd probably be still lacking in the necessary oomph. Your comment about the speaker size seemed very persuasive.

I suppose we need to splash out on an acoustic button accordion to solve the volume problem, but which one? We are so used to all the great options and variety of sounds on the Roland. Also we are used to the C system and they seem few and far between in the UK.

Anyway, thanks Jerry for your helpful input
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#4
(25-04-2019, 07:27 PM)JerryPH Wrote: The FR-8X and FR-4X are about the same maximum volume, however, both of these are a bit louder than the FR-3XB.  That said, ambient noise depends a lot and I'd place the 4X and 8X at roughly the same maximum volume as my Hohner Morino VI N acoustic.

In terms of a pub, it depends on how loud the ambient is.  I can see 30-40 people in an enthusiastic conversational level forcing any accordion to need external speakers to be effective, however in a place where you have 10-15 people all listening and singing along that even a 3X would be more than capable.

The answer is, like usual... it depends, but external speakers not only make one louder but can make it sound better.  Small speakers do have limitations, especially in the bass region.  Smile

When the Roland is about as loud as a Morino VI N that means it's not very loud. My experience is that a Bugari Artist Cassotto (any model basically) is clearly louder than the Morino and my AKKO bayan is clearly louder than that. I fully agree that "small speakers do have limitations, especially in the bass region". I must also say that earlier this week I played for the first time (as an extra) in an accordion group with a dynamic range that varies between f, ff and fff, and I had trouble hearing what I was playing on my AKKO. With a Roland the situation would probably have been completely hopeless. External amplification is the only solution in noisy environments.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#5
(26-04-2019, 09:24 PM)debra Wrote: When the Roland is about as loud as a Morino VI N that means it's not very loud. My experience is that a Bugari Artist Cassotto (any model basically) is clearly louder than the Morino and my AKKO bayan is clearly louder than that. I fully agree that "small speakers do have limitations, especially in the bass region". I must also say that earlier this week I played for the first time (as an extra) in an accordion group with a dynamic range that varies between f, ff and fff, and I had trouble hearing what I was playing on my AKKO. With a Roland the situation would probably have been completely hopeless. External amplification is the only solution in noisy environments.

While it may or may not be true that a Bugari Artiste is louder, this certainly does not mean that my Morino is not very loud.  It certainly was loud enough that a 112lb 13 year old could easily out-volume an orchestra of 30 adult accordionists playing mostly Excelsior 930 and 950's all playing at their maximum volumes.  Many times I was told that I was clearly heard by people 10-15 rows back in a concert hall over all the other music.  The muusc my father recorded using microphones that were at the far sides and about 30 feet away confirm this in at least 4 recordings that I own.

I would not necessarily call it a weak volume accordion under any circumstance.

Now is my Morino VI N  louder than a Bayan?  Not likely, but then again, that's not what we were discussing... it was a comparison between a 3X and 4X, 8X and acoustic accordion, all 4 of which I have played several times at full volumes and 2 of which I own and play regularly, and hoped, I could share honest opinions about.  Smile
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#6
(27-04-2019, 12:08 AM)JerryPH Wrote: ...

While it may or may not be true that a Bugari Artiste is louder, this certainly does not mean that my Morino is not very loud.  It certainly was loud enough that a 112lb 13 year old could easily out-volume an orchestra of 30 adult accordionists playing mostly Excelsior 930 and 950's all playing at their maximum volumes.  Many times I was told that I was clearly heard by people 10-15 rows back in a concert hall over all the other music.  The muusc my father recorded using microphones that were at the far sides and about 30 feet away confirm this in at least 4 recordings that I own.

I would not necessarily call it a weak volume accordion under any circumstance.
...

I wasn't trying to suggest that the Morino is a weak instrument. It mostly depends on the player how loud you can play. I was merely stating that some other instruments are louder still. (And it shows when I make recordings track by track, although that does not include a Morino VI N.) When the Morino can overpower a Roland then some more modern accordions, that are optimized more an more for more volume, can certainly overpower the Roland.
Accordion makers have in the past few decades mainly made design changes with two goals in mind: lower weight and higher sound volume. The Morino was powerful in its time and at the time perhaps only overpowered by the Gola and other top instruments, but in recent years more and more louder and louder accordions have come on the market.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#7
(27-04-2019, 08:25 AM)debra Wrote:
(27-04-2019, 12:08 AM)JerryPH Wrote: ...

While it may or may not be true that a Bugari Artiste is louder, this certainly does not mean that my Morino is not very loud.  It certainly was loud enough that a 112lb 13 year old could easily out-volume an orchestra of 30 adult accordionists playing mostly Excelsior 930 and 950's all playing at their maximum volumes.  Many times I was told that I was clearly heard by people 10-15 rows back in a concert hall over all the other music.  The muusc my father recorded using microphones that were at the far sides and about 30 feet away confirm this in at least 4 recordings that I own.

I would not necessarily call it a weak volume accordion under any circumstance.
...

I wasn't trying to suggest that the Morino is a weak instrument. It mostly depends on the player how loud you can play. I was merely stating that some other instruments are louder still. (And it shows when I make recordings track by track, although that does not include a Morino VI N.) When the Morino can overpower a Roland then some more modern accordions, that are optimized more an more for more volume, can certainly overpower the Roland.
Accordion makers have in the past few decades mainly made design changes with two goals in mind: lower weight and higher sound volume. The Morino was powerful in its time and at the time perhaps only overpowered by the Gola and other top instruments, but in recent years more and more louder and louder accordions have come on the market.

All comments are really appreciated. It definitely seems that to achieve mobile volume we will have to add an acoustic to our collection.

The question is which one should we choose and from where? Buying digitally is so much easier and the more we learn about accordions the more complex the question becomes ... however, perhaps that is the subject of a different thread!

Thanks again
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#8
(28-04-2019, 10:35 AM)Windstrel Wrote: ...
All comments are really appreciated. It definitely seems that to achieve mobile volume we will have to add an acoustic to our collection.

The question is which one should we choose and from where? Buying digitally is so much easier and the more we learn about accordions the more complex the question becomes ... however, perhaps that is the subject of a different thread!

Thanks again

To achieve mobile high volume the best accordion I know is the Hohner Morino IV M (note M, not the later N or S series). Its construction is lightweight (lighter than the N and S series) and allows the sound from the cassotto to exit the instrument without being impeded by keyboard or register mechanism. That explains why it can be so loud. There are IV M accordions with German reeds and with Italian (Bugari) reeds. The latter are prefered although the former are also very good (if stored well and not rusted).
It may sound strange but I know of no other and more recent accordion that is as capable for acoustic high sound volume work and as light (for use while standing or walking).

Digital can do quite well when you can supplement the volume with a sound system and wireless connection (if you need to move around). But you need to work out how to combine the internal speakers (that give you the feeling of playing an accordion) with the sound system. I don't know whether that is possible with your Fr3x or with any other Roland (but I'm sure others here will know that).
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#9
(28-04-2019, 10:35 AM)Windstrel Wrote:
All comments are really appreciated. It definitely seems that to achieve mobile volume we will have to add an acoustic to our collection.

The question is which one should we choose and from where? Buying digitally is so much easier and the more we learn about accordions the more complex the question becomes ... however, perhaps that is the subject of a different thread!

Thanks again

I think that an important (but fairly obvious) fact is that no matter what the challenge is, that there is a solution available.  For example, if the club is very strict about being acoustic only, there are many possible options in the accordion world that accommodate almost any need, up to and including a small external amplifier for very weak instruments..

Same could be said for the digital world.  If a digital accordion doesn't have the volume the capabilities needed but spending thousands on a newer digital accordion with greater volume is not an option, adding a small, unobtrusive external speaker set under one's chair is a solid option (and used in a smart manner, meaning it is loud enough to be clearly heard, but not loud enough to drown out other naturally louder instruments).

The digital vs acoustic question... yes, that is a topic that deserves it's own thread, however, the answer to that one is fairly easy to solve, because it only depends on two things... the needs of the situation and the opinions/stance of the owner about digital vs acoustic.  Smile
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#10
(28-04-2019, 10:48 AM)debra Wrote:
(28-04-2019, 10:35 AM)Windstrel Wrote: ...
All comments are really appreciated. It definitely seems that to achieve mobile volume we will have to add an acoustic to our collection.

The question is which one should we choose and from where? Buying digitally is so much easier and the more we learn about accordions the more complex the question becomes ... however, perhaps that is the subject of a different thread!

Thanks again

To achieve mobile high volume the best accordion I know is the Hohner Morino IV M (note M, not the later N or S series). Its construction is lightweight (lighter than the N and S series) and allows the sound from the cassotto to exit the instrument without being impeded by keyboard or register mechanism. That explains why it can be so loud. There are IV M accordions with German reeds and with Italian (Bugari) reeds. The latter are prefered although the former are also very good (if stored well and not rusted).
It may sound strange but I know of no other and more recent accordion that is as capable for acoustic high sound volume work and as light (for use while standing or walking).

Digital can do quite well when you can supplement the volume with a sound system and wireless connection (if you need to move around). But you need to work out how to combine the internal speakers (that give you the feeling of playing an accordion) with the sound system. I don't know whether that is possible with your Fr3x or with any other Roland (but I'm sure others here will know that).
Thanks for the suggestion.  The Hohner Morino IV M looks very interesting, although substantially more expensive than the Rolands. Is there a CBA version?

The Roland Fr3 XB that we have is a CBA and we would need to acquire a CBA acoustic rather than a piano accordion. 

The big advantage of the FR3 XB is that it is not obvious it's driven by batteries. Except for the numeric display and the blue on/off button light. Sadly, I'm sure external speakers would be difficult in a crowded pub situation and the other folkies are pretty much wedded to acoustic.

Really appreciate your suggestion though. It's exactly what we need ?
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#11
when playing any type of box, digital or acoustic in a 'session''it is often difficult to hear your own instrument. Sme goes for the other instruments in the session. Being able to play louder is not the answer as you could then be drowning others out or just adding to the overall volume of the session. Better to play relatively quietly and hone the art of listening including if necessary cocking your head to one side to bring it nearer to the treble grille. Also unless doing a solo spot it can help to quieten the bass ( or at times not play the bass) using light coupler setting and or tapping a very light , maybe chords only rhythm.

Session playing is all about give and take and not a competitive 'Ive got the loudest' thing

george
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#12
(30-04-2019, 09:45 AM)george garside Wrote: as you could then be drowning others out or just adding to the overall volume of the session. Better to play relatively quietly and hone the art of listening

here is someone who understands it!

I guess it's not always easy, concerning the original question I guess one can only go so loud before distortion occurs on digital instruments

beware that when you go acoustic and still having trouble hearing yourself, do not strain and injure yourself by constantly pushing and pulling harder (as I have done many times)
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#13
(30-04-2019, 08:02 AM)Windstrel Wrote:
(28-04-2019, 10:48 AM)debra Wrote:
(28-04-2019, 10:35 AM)Windstrel Wrote: ...
All comments are really appreciated. It definitely seems that to achieve mobile volume we will have to add an acoustic to our collection.

The question is which one should we choose and from where? Buying digitally is so much easier and the more we learn about accordions the more complex the question becomes ... however, perhaps that is the subject of a different thread!

Thanks again

To achieve mobile high volume the best accordion I know is the Hohner Morino IV M (note M, not the later N or S series). Its construction is lightweight (lighter than the N and S series) and allows the sound from the cassotto to exit the instrument without being impeded by keyboard or register mechanism. That explains why it can be so loud. There are IV M accordions with German reeds and with Italian (Bugari) reeds. The latter are prefered although the former are also very good (if stored well and not rusted).
It may sound strange but I know of no other and more recent accordion that is as capable for acoustic high sound volume work and as light (for use while standing or walking).

Digital can do quite well when you can supplement the volume with a sound system and wireless connection (if you need to move around). But you need to work out how to combine the internal speakers (that give you the feeling of playing an accordion) with the sound system. I don't know whether that is possible with your Fr3x or with any other Roland (but I'm sure others here will know that).
Thanks for the suggestion.  The Hohner Morino IV M looks very interesting, although substantially more expensive than the Rolands. Is there a CBA version?

The Roland Fr3 XB that we have is a CBA and we would need to acquire a CBA acoustic rather than a piano accordion. 

The big advantage of the FR3 XB is that it is not obvious it's driven by batteries. Except for the numeric display and the blue on/off button light. Sadly, I'm sure external speakers would be difficult in a crowded pub situation and the other folkies are pretty much wedded to acoustic.

Really appreciate your suggestion though. It's exactly what we need ?
A Hohner Morino IV M currently goes for 1700 to 2000 euro depending on its condition. Sadly there is no CBA version. Hohner made the "Artiste" series of which at least the Artiste VI D has (if I'm not mistaken) a "declassement", but no real cassotto. The later Artiste IV and VI have no cassotto and I would not recommend them. (I have seen an Artiste VI S cassotto prototype but it never went into production. I guess it was just too good and would compromise Artiste IX sales.) Only the Artiste IX and X have cassotto (IX without MIII melody bass, X with) but these are heavy and not as loud as a Morino IV M.
So sadly there is no old Hohner alternative for a Roland FR3 XB.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#14
Generally speaking any instrument with Cassotto is going to have less volume than a non-Cassotto instrument.  If volume is your thing, Cassotto won't be on your "must have" list.

Also, one does not need a Hohner to have good sound and tons of volume, probably the loudest accordion I have ever heard (I'd even hazard saying that it is as loud as or maybe even slightly louder than a Bayan) is owned by Paul Ramunni of the New England Accordion Museum... it's his own personal accordion.

I am not sure of the brand, but shows "G Verde" on the front and a small sticker saying "Amplisound".  Playing this one at about 1/2 my normal playing strength still resulted in a louder volume than playing normally on other accordions I tested that day.  Not the highest quality tone (though not bad at all!)... but certainly easily the loudest.  Smile

[Image: verde.jpg]
___________________________________________________________

My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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#15
(30-04-2019, 03:19 PM)JerryPH Wrote: Generally speaking any instrument with Cassotto is going to have less volume than a non-Cassotto instrument.  If volume is your thing, Cassotto won't be on your "must have" list.

Also, one does not need a Hohner to have good sound and tons of volume, probably the loudest accordion I have ever heard (I'd even hazard saying that it is as loud as or maybe even slightly louder than a Bayan) is owned by Paul Ramunni of the New England Accordion Museum... it's his own personal accordion.

I am not sure of the brand, but shows "G Verde" on the front and a small sticker saying "Amplisound".  Playing this one at about 1/2 my normal playing strength still resulted in a louder volume than playing normally on other accordions I tested that day.  Not the highest quality tone (though not bad at all!)... but certainly easily the loudest.  Smile

[Image: verde.jpg]
G. Verde has been making high-end accordions for a long time.  They are very involved in customization, particularly where it comes to the externals.  There is an artist they employ for custom grille design, and some samples of his work can be found at www.musicmagicusa.com and at G. Verde's own website (which may be hard to navigate, but worth the required patience.)  I know somebody who ordered one of their accordions and I can post the specs when I get his permission to do so, but I know that they involve hand-made reeds, and a custom grille.  I also know that the accordion he ordered comes with an LMMM configuration, but will also include an H reed block so that he can switch to that configuration at will.  The picture you posted shows one of the many custom finishes available from this manufacturer.  One of the Accordion Kings has a G. Verde with a beautiful mahogany finish.  At one time (I don't know if they still do) G.Verde was offering a triple cassotto.  "Amplisound," seems to be one of those features that actually works.  The aluminum "organtone" tubes in the Titano grille, on the other hand, doesn't do anything for the sound and seems to be pure decoration.

Alan Sharkis
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#16
(30-04-2019, 03:19 PM)JerryPH Wrote: Generally speaking any instrument with Cassotto is going to have less volume than a non-Cassotto instrument.  If volume is your thing, Cassotto won't be on your "must have" list.
...
The cassotto serves two purposes: it dampens the higher frequencies, giving a more "mellow" tone, and it is a form of resonance chamber that amplifies the sound. Whether in the end the result is more volume or less volume depends on different factors in the construction.
I agree that cassotto should not be a choice to achieve higher volume. My experience is that often the cassotto does result in higher volume but that is not universally true and whether the perceived volume is higher or lower also depends on whether the subjective experience of having more high-frequency overtones is one of higher volume or whether the more pronounced base frequency results in a higher volume experience.
When I make recordings with AKKO or Bugari, all with 3 reed blocks in cassotto, the audio mixer visualization shows higher overall sound volume on the first row of buttons, with the reed block deepest in cassotto, than on the third row of buttons, wit the reed block closest to the "exit". Whether the listener experiences the objectively loudest (but also most mellow) sound as louder than the weakest (but sharper) sound depends on the listener.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#17
Loads of food for thought and many thanks to everybody.

Can anybody identify the accordion I've included in my avatar (because I don't know how to copy and paste to this post).

It's used by a very expert accordionist who is better than I will ever be and who leads many sessions I have been to.

If I can identify the accordion he uses and then identify a CBA equivalent then I should be well on the way to getting a solution to our problem of a suitable accordion for sessions.

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#18
with or without cassotto surely the easiest way to achieve a high volume is simply by using amplification. I have on occasion played for large dances in large halls using a simple 2 row diatonic box and with the aid of a good soundman the wee box can be heard thoughout a noisy hall without any need to push the box to or beyond its natural limits . It is also less knackering for the player

george
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#19
(30-04-2019, 05:01 PM)Windstrel Wrote: Loads of food for thought and many thanks to everybody.

Can anybody identify the accordion I've included in my avatar (because I don't know how to copy and paste to this post).

It's used by a very expert accordionist who is better than I will ever be and who leads many sessions I have been to.

If I can identify the accordion he uses and then identify a CBA equivalent then I should be well on the way to getting a solution to our problem of a suitable accordion for sessions.


Post a real picture. The Avatar is too small to see any detail, not even the writing on the treble side which should be in fairly large letters.
The basic editor on this forum already contains an "Insert an image" button, so it should be possible to find out how to insert an image, and if that fails, there is "Insert a link" through which you can link to a website containing the image.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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