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Live sound for digital piano - too strident!
#1401689 03/22/10 11:19 PM
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When playing live, I've never been happy plugging my digital pianos into house PA's, or even my own PA (Crown Powertech Amp and 2 JBL 15" speakers). The resulting amplified sound is certainly loud enough, but the tone is flat, one-dimensional, and excessively strident in the treble.

I can EQ it, using the on-board EQ, which helps some, but I wanted to start this thread to learn of any "magic bullets" or cool tone-shaping boxes like compressors or? that can sit between my keyboard and the PA - to make my digital pianos sound like, yeah, real pianos!

I currently own an RD-700gx, but I've had the same problems with the Yamahas I've had - just too damn trebly and thin when routed through a PA.

Any ideas to save my live audience?

thanks!

Re: Live sound for digital piano - too strident!
emeraldsoul #1401747 03/23/10 01:16 AM
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Is the house PA or yours set up in stereo or mono? I've heard some posters here say that the stereo set up on DPs sounds a lot better than if you use a mono set up when connecting to a PA system.

Re: Live sound for digital piano - too strident!
Volusiano #1402028 03/23/10 12:13 PM
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I would suggest running your signal through a high quality graphic equalizer. That way, if you have enough sound-check time, you could dial in the best setting for the room and the PA. It's very difficult to come up with something that will work for every venue and all equipment, so the ability to deal with individual frequencies is important. At least, using Roland pianos, you have a more mellow sound to start with.

I totally agree with Volusiano about the mono/stereo issue. I always run my keyboards in stereo.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Live sound for digital piano - too strident!
emeraldsoul #1402046 03/23/10 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by emeraldsoul
When playing live, I've never been happy plugging my digital pianos into house PA's, or even my own PA (Crown Powertech Amp and 2 JBL 15" speakers). The resulting amplified sound is certainly loud enough, but the tone is flat, one-dimensional, and excessively strident in the treble.


I have a theory about DPs, it's that almost all of them are not set up correctly for public performance. They are designed to sound best to the pianist, not an audience.

Listen to the left and right monitor speakers as you play. The bass sounds will be on the player's the left. This is totally un-natural for an audience. A live piano is always set up so the side of the piano faces forward and the audience only hears the treble stings after the sound is reflected off the open lid.

When you connect the DP to a pair of good PA speakers those speakers are playing back samples that were recorded with mics placed under the lid of a grand piano So the sound you are progesting into the room is what people would hear if they were to put their head under the lid of a grand piano. No wonder EQ, compression and what not is needed

What would happen if you place the the stereo pair of PA speakers 5 feet apart with the "left" speaker directly behind the "right" both facing the ceiling. Then suspend a large sheet of thick (2") plywood angled over both speakers so as to simulate an open piano lid?

This would create an approximation of the speaker geometry of the Yamaha Avent Grand. The idea is to place the PA speakers in about the same place as were the sampling microphones and then place them inside a simulated piano case. From this point you are dependent on the hall's acoustics to project the sound. You hope they have it set up right.

I've just started somo simple experiments and so far have convinced myself there there is a potential for a huge improvement in sound by using special built "piano speakers" rather then general purpose monitors. I think the N3 is a perfect example of this.

I have a long term goal to build a speaker that looks like a table with folding legs. You'd set up the table on stage near the keyboard then it would have a lid that opens like a grand piano to expose some speaker drivers. I'll get there in a series of small steps. I have a couple simpler ideas to try first

Re: Live sound for digital piano - too strident!
ChrisA #1402064 03/23/10 01:08 PM
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Yep, stereo is better. My band runs mono, unfortunately. eek ChrisA, if doing the reflective thing, finish the surface with a comparable hardness to a real piano. I'd even suggest extra high eq, to compensate for the likely deficiencies in the speaker. I'd love to hear how this sounds when finished!

Last edited by elecmuse3; 03/23/10 01:08 PM.

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Re: Live sound for digital piano - too strident!
elecmuse3 #1402116 03/23/10 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by elecmuse3
Yep, stereo is better. My band runs mono, unfortunately. eek ChrisA, if doing the reflective thing, finish the surface with a comparable hardness to a real piano. I'd even suggest extra high eq, to compensate for the likely deficiencies in the speaker. I'd love to hear how this sounds when finished!


I plan to start small, with some smaller Fostex full range drivers and a total cost of under $100.

I did one experiment with a crudely built mock-up. I used two 10" speakers salvaged from a Hammond organ, mounted as described in previous post but with everything jigged together using a dozen large c-clamps, 2x4s and saw horses. This was driven by an older Roland synth playing a piano patch. These were all low quality parts but still this could do something studio monitor could not. I could walk around in a circle and the sound would sound like a piano in every point in the room. Proof of concept worked but better parts and design is needed.


Last edited by ChrisA; 03/23/10 02:38 PM.
Re: Live sound for digital piano - too strident!
ChrisA #1402132 03/23/10 03:03 PM
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ChrisA, your concept is intriguing. Get it to market quickly before the big boys step in!


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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