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I'm not sure if I even made this heading correct, but here's what I want to do and I'm hoping some of you gurus here can get me in the right direction:

I want to make recordings and then add effects like reverb (to simulate a room or concert hall). I can do this, but the piano sound itself always sounds a bit, well, digital. So I'm wondering what can be done to edit the sound afterwards, say if I record as a midi file, then playback using a better piano sound and export that as a .wav file. Is that possible? I am not necessarily concerned with using piano software for playback options in real time.

Thanks!


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Hi Morodiene,

A bit more info on what you've done so far would be helpful. You said you've done the recording - what instrument was used (acoustic or digital) and how was it recorded? What you want to do is quite possible, just need a bit more info.

I remember that FAIL cat!

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LOL someone recognized the FAIL cat!

Sorry, I should be more clear in my posts. I have a Roland FP-7, direct line-in to a laptop (vista). I can record using audacity or sound forge, but like I said, I don't really like the actual sound of the piano when it's recorded. The quality is great as far as clarity, but I want to make it sound like an acoustic and get some ambient room sound in there. Someone mentioned using midi instead, but I'm not quite sure how that would work.

edited to add: oops! not a direct line-in, I use an edirol usb interface, and from there into the laptop.

Last edited by Morodiene; 12/01/09 11:18 PM.

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Apologies if I am stating the obvious, but have you experimented with the various reverb and equaliser (tone) settings on your FP7?


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Someone mentioned using midi instead, but I'm not quite sure how that would work.


Hi Morodiene. The only way midi will make your FP-7 sound different is if you're using it to trigger the sound of a virtual piano. There are any number of effects (free and commercial) that you may or may not be aware of, that could help improve the sound of your Roland after you've made your recording but midi by itself has no impact on the sound you're getting from your FP-7.

I have a website that I'm putting the finishing touches on that will hopefully help you and others like you with questions just like these. I'll be mentioning it at the forums here soon.


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ROB: I have, but that doesn't seem to carry over when I'm recording since it's going from the line out of the DP into the interface and then into the computer. So while it sounds fine as I record, the playback lacks the reverb.

setchman: I think that's what I'm talking about, using a virtual piano sound to playback the midi file, then record that. Or is there a simpler way of using a different piano sound when recording?

I look forward to seeing your website!


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I think that's what I'm talking about, using a virtual piano sound to playback the midi file, then record that. Or is there a simpler way of using a different piano sound when recording?


In theory, it's very simple. Your keyboard triggers a virtual piano on your computer using its midi output and then you record the sound of the virtual piano. Unfortunately the reality is that there are a lot of variables that can make the process a bit more difficult, but it can be done. If you have a relatively new computer and a decent sound card, IMHO, you're halfway there.


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It seems strange that the reverb you add to your piano sound, doesn't get recorded through the line outs of your FP-7, but I am not too familiar with the model.

This may be overkill for you, but why not try the 'Pianoteq' free demo.

It is a standalone 'virtual piano' although the demo has a few disabled notes, but should give you a good idea if it is useful to you.

It will record midi direct from your piano, and can then be tweaked, with various piano sounds,reverb effects and microphone settings.
The midi file can be saved as a .mid, or .wav

Edited to add: A couple of alternatives are, 'Truepianos' and 'Garritan authorised Steinway'

Last edited by R0B; 12/02/09 01:00 AM.

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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I'm not sure if I even made this heading correct, but here's what I want to do and I'm hoping some of you gurus here can get me in the right direction:

I want to make recordings and then add effects like reverb (to simulate a room or concert hall). I can do this, but the piano sound itself always sounds a bit, well, digital. So I'm wondering what can be done to edit the sound afterwards, say if I record as a midi file, then playback using a better piano sound and export that as a .wav file. Is that possible? I am not necessarily concerned with using piano software for playback options in real time.

Thanks!


What you are talking about is very common with home studios.

If you are using a Mac then you have "garage Band" which is perfect for this kind of thing and already on your system. It is a muti-tack audio/MIDI recorder and editor. I use "Logic Express" for this kind of work. It's a more advanced version of the same thing. At a gross level all of this kind of software works the same way. Choosing this software is as hard as selecting a digital piano. People will argue which is "best" endlessly.


They all allow you to record mutiple sources, either midi or audio all at the same time onto a simulated multitrack tape recorder. You can attach virtual devices to the inputs and outputs of each track, devices might be EQ, Reverb, compressors or whatever. Most people would put thes on the outputs and record the "dry" or clean signal from the mics or instruments. On MIDI tracks you can place "Software instruments" like pianos or flutes to play the midi tracks and then route this audio through a string is audio devices, like a reverb.

Sound or data gets into tracks either by recording or "cut and paste" from other tracks or you can add drum loops. There are editors that will present the data as music notation, paino roll and audio waveforms. You can fix wrong notes and timing and slice to getter the best takes Just about all of the software has these "basics". Then when you are done, you get to master a CD. That means match up the mix you made to the technical characteristic of some consummer playback equipment.

How to learn and what to get? I suggest yu choose the software first. Get something that has good third party suport and third party training material, like books and tutorial videos and even hand-on classes.

The college where I'm at (I'm over 50 and gone back to school to study music) has a series of classes that teach all this in a recording studio. They call it "music production". So find software that is taught in classes and books and has good Internet forums. It's complex and you will want to suport. Also it is hard to change software after spending so much time learning, you don't want to have to re-learn another. "Pro Tools" is the defacto industry standard. Apple's "Logic is fast catching up and is likely number two. Then there are a zillion others with CuBase maybe being #3. Once you've pick the software buy the equipment. In your case a very simple and in-expansive (for studio gear) audio interface is required. Then you need a computer. Apple dominates the music industry buy PCs are used too.

Take a look at...
http://www.apple.com/logicexpress/what-is.html
http://www.digidesign.com/index.cfm?navid=28
http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/musicproduction/cubase5_product.html

Software like "Pianoteq", "Ivory" and other software pianos would be run as plug-ins (AU or VST) inside either of the above. However each of these would already have a set of piano samples

Last edited by ChrisA; 12/02/09 01:30 AM.
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Originally Posted by setchman

In theory, it's very simple. Your keyboard triggers a virtual piano on your computer using its midi output and then you record the sound of the virtual piano. Unfortunately the reality is that there are a lot of variables that can make the process a bit more difficult, but it can be done. If you have a relatively new computer and a decent sound card, IMHO, you're halfway there.


That's not the way it's typically done. Most people would choose to record the signal that is the "most un-processed" so as to preserve their options.

What you'd do is first capture the performance to a MIDI file. Then later in post production listen to the track as it plays through a software piano and decide on the piano sound that is best for that piece. Then maybe you notice a mistake and you edit that out. Next you work on the audio, maybe adding some EQ or reverb. Listen on monitors and then headphones. Software reverb units have a half dozen "knobs" that you can tweak Then finally you master this onto your output media, be that a CD or MP3. This is very straightforward when you have just one instrument.

With a band it gets harder. You might record 8 or 20 tracks at once. Then you might go back and have the guitar player do some more takes the next day. You might edit out some vocal defects and you can spend a month getting it right. But solo piano is a straight shot -- the rule is always to record the most un-processed signal

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Getting back to basics, I see that Audacity now has the capability of using vst plugins.

There are many resources for free vsts available, so you could record your piano 'dry' in Audacity, and then apply reverb, EQ, etc., directly in Audacity, post recording.


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Hi.

With the statement "the piano itself sounds digital" do you mean you don't like its sound?

How do you listen your recordings? Do you use the built-in speakers of your laptop? Or do you monitorize through your Edirol interface? How about the settings you choice for recording?

You can try this: record as you normally do, then clone the track. I've done with a Yamaha PSR-E413 and it improves the sound a lot!







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Wow, some great advice here, thanks everyone! It's all a learning process. I have used Cakewalk in the past, so the whole midi thing makes sense now. I'll look into those software suggestions, Chris. I'm on a PC, so not sure if I can use Logic. Although I may mess around with vsts in audacity first.

Angel, yes, I don't like the sound as it gets recorded. I can always tell the difference between the sound of a digital piano and an acoustic. My goal is to make it sound as acoustic as possible smile. I've heard it done, so I'm looking to figure out how. I've listened to the recording quality on a stereo with good speakers and headphones too. I'm not sure what you mean by cloning the track. Can you pleas explain?



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Yes, of course ;-)

You don't need a complex software to do this. You can use Audacity, as you mention above. You only need to record, then just create a new track, copy the track you recorded previously and copy into the new one. So you'll have two tracks with the same information. In this way the sound is more powerful, it works ver well with electric guitars too.

I hope this help you. Sorry, I not sure if you don't like the sound when you play normally, or only when you heard it after recording. Anywaym I think that if you can distinguish now you'll do always ;-)

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Altought is not necessary a complex software for recording, it can help you to improve your sound, get a warmer tone... But the better is the source the better results you'll obtain. Don't expect miracles if you don't like the original sound.

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Angel, OK I understand now. I do like the sound of my digital piano, although, of course, it does sound like a DP, but certainly better than some I've heard. I think the recording process just seems to amplify the aspects that I don't like about the sound. I'll give that a try though, certainly can't hurt!


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Yes, I doubt because I've tested your DP and I liked it, even has a very attractive modern design. In my experience, normally, when I record I get a warmer sound. Most of the digital instruments sound better connected via line-out or via headphones, unless they have a good speakers system, and that's not the rule. Curiosly, my Yamaha sounds better through its speakers than with headphones, in this way it sound VERY digital, as you said.

Let us know the results of your test!

Kind regards.

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One question I have: I have Finale which came with Garritan instruments, including their Steinway. Can this be used with other programs, say Audacity?


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Originally Posted by ChrisA

That's not the way it's typically done. Most people would choose to record the signal that is the "most un-processed" so as to preserve their options.

What you'd do is first capture the performance to a MIDI file. Then later in post production listen to the track as it plays through a software piano and decide on the piano sound that is best for that piece. Then maybe you notice a mistake and you edit that out. Next you work on the audio, maybe adding some EQ or reverb. Listen on monitors and then headphones. Software reverb units have a half dozen "knobs" that you can tweak Then finally you master this onto your output media, be that a CD or MP3. This is very straightforward when you have just one instrument.

With a band it gets harder. You might record 8 or 20 tracks at once. Then you might go back and have the guitar player do some more takes the next day. You might edit out some vocal defects and you can spend a month getting it right. But solo piano is a straight shot -- the rule is always to record the most un-processed signal


I'm quoting ChrisA because I've been doing this for quite a few years.

The advantages of recording a MIDI file are:

1) A MIDI file does not include any sound so that any instrument sound can be used for playback. As Chris pointed out, some songs are better with a specific piano sound.

2) MIDI files are relatively easy to edit. By edit, I mean one can change the pitch, location, duration, loudness of any note or notes. For example if you meant to hit middle C, and hit B instead, it's very easy to "fix" (we're not always perfect). I recorded a MIDI file once in what I would call "strict rubato". Later I decided it should have been in strict tempo - I fixed it in 15 minutes or so.

3) A MIDI file takes very little storage space (Beethoven's Appassionata is about 122 KB total, playing time about 25 minutes).


When I have recorded my MIDI file, I transfer it to my computer, and load it into a sequencer/midi editor. I personally use Power Tracks Pro Audio. For $49, it's a best buy.
http://www.pgmusic.com/powertracks.htm

When I've finished "fixing" my MIDI, I load it into Pianoteq to create the sound I want. This program physically models the piano sound (it does not use samples) and the sound is extremely changeable. Reverberation effects are included in this program, but I usually turn reverb off, and place the microphones at four locations to achieve this effect.
http://www.pianoteq.com/

This software contains a number of "preset" piano sounds that can very easily be altered to suit individual tastes. The demo is fully functioning, but some notes are disabled.

I will point out that the entire process has a learning curve (everything useful does), but the results are very satisfying.

Fortunately, both softwares have very good user forums where help is freely available.

Glenn

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Thanks, Glenn. That is exactly what I'm thinking of doing. I was pretty impressed by the Pianoteq sound, although I think I liked Ivory's Steinway D better. The costs seem about the same for both.

Do you and any other posters have any sound examples of what you've done and what equipment you're using? I think it would be great to hear what post-production editing can do.


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