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Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system #2493631
12/25/15 12:00 PM
12/25/15 12:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 243
Norway
A
Auver Offline OP
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Auver  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 243
Norway
Hi!

I'm having troubles getting a good digital piano sound out of a PA system. I have a Nord Stage 2, but when I see someone using a piano sound live with other boards it usually sounds crap too. I'm wondering if you have any tricks on getting a good and realistic sound out of a PA system.

I find that in general, they are way too bright, and if they're not they're so dull, round and lifeless. I think it's an EQ matter since I've tried many different piano samples from Nord, and also heard the same problems with other boards (Korg SV, Yamaha CP-4, Korg Kronos too name a few).

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Auver; 12/25/15 12:03 PM.

Nord Stage 2, Nord Lead 4, Rhodes MkII, Yamaha MOX6, Novation SL MkII
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Re: Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system [Re: Auver] #2493639
12/25/15 12:41 PM
12/25/15 12:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 110
United States
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PianoMan51 Offline
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Joined: Sep 2010
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United States
For us piano players, we are the most sensitive to the changes that a PA makes in the sound of an acoustic piano. Far more than electric pianos or organs, synths, strings, etc.

If you start with a mediocre sound (my backup board is an old Privia), then you can use almost any PA, with some EQ to remove the heavy un-pianolike bass response and the cutting un-pianolike high end. If you use a great PA it will only sound marginally better.

If you start with a great sound, full of piano-like sound characteristics, a mediocre PA will make it sound like my old Privia. This has been explored in other forums, but if want your great piano sounds to sound great to an audience you have to be very very choosey about your PA and prepare to pay the price.

My normal gig gear uses Ravenscroft through a Turbosound Nuq10DP. This sounds like a piano to me. BTW, no EQ.

Last edited by PianoMan51; 12/25/15 12:43 PM.
Re: Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system [Re: Auver] #2493649
12/25/15 01:57 PM
12/25/15 01:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,394
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
Are you playing solo piano, or with a band?

Usually with a band, the piano has to be very bright almost to the point of harsh to cut through the mix. If you're doing solo only, try working with the EQ to reduce the highs and bring out more mid and lows. You'll have to play around since the PA can certainly affect the sound as well.

If you are playing with a band, perhaps you can use your "solo" sound for moments where the piano is more exposed/less instruments playing, and then switch to a brighter sound for when everyone's playing along.

I totally agree, though, and VSTs will always get you the better sound.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system [Re: Morodiene] #2493652
12/25/15 02:19 PM
12/25/15 02:19 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,171
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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peterws  Offline
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Northern England.
Most pa sysems dont even make vocalists sound good. Money is the clue here for pa.

If its not a stereo system (and your piano will be) then you may find that which causes the nice stereo wil cause abominable mono! Something to do with phasing I think.


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Re: Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system [Re: Auver] #2493654
12/25/15 02:34 PM
12/25/15 02:34 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,291
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maurus Offline
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I'm by no means an expert in PA systems but I notice that once in a while a PA system may sound truly good for piano, whereas in most of the cases there are problems as mentioned above. Recently I was in Köln's Philharmonie in a concert of Hiromi with Simon Philips and Anthony Jackson and while the musicians were truly fabulous - !!! - the PA (mic'ing Hiromi's grand) was not. Awkward resonances emphasizing parts of the range while making others sound quite unnatural. When she played solo (with less volume) it was better...

On the other hand I remember a concert in a smaller venue (Centralstation in Darmstadt, with Kari Bremnes & band) where the piano (a Nord stage in fact), the voice, and actually all of the instruments sounded absolutely gorgeous. I guess it's mostly down to the abilities of the sound engineers, and to a smaller extent to the quality of the equipment.

Re: Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system [Re: Auver] #2493664
12/25/15 03:27 PM
12/25/15 03:27 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 301
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ColoRodney Offline
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The PA will almost certainly be in running in mono, since if they send stereo to the speakers, you have to be in the middle of the audience to actually get the effect. Most people will be hearing only R or L, whichever they're closest to.

If your piano has a mono sample (some Yamahas and Korgs do, and I think I remember that Kawai James implied that the "Rock Piano" sample on one of the Kawai consoles is mono), it will avoid phase issues that can arise from combining the L and R signals. But that's your second best option (and is what I do.) Most slab pianos are set up so that if you run sound only out of one 1/4" jack, it combines the channels into a mono sample. Electric piano sounds are mono anyway (though some of the effects introduce stereo), but don't bother with auto-pan effects if the sound guy is running the sound in mono.

Also, be willing to try some of the piano sounds that you don't like as well when playing on your own through headphones: some of those are tweaked to where they may sound better over a PA, or may work better in the cluttered soundscape of band performances, than the gorgeous 9ft concert grand sound.

This is one good use for those demo songs on your keyboard: during set-up, put the piano on a demo song, and go out into the hall, and mess with the EQ to make it sound more like a piano if you can. Remember what you did, and start there the next time.

Last edited by ColoRodney; 12/25/15 03:28 PM.

Rodney Sauer
Kawai KG-2E • Kawai ES8
Re: Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system [Re: ColoRodney] #2493736
12/25/15 10:31 PM
12/25/15 10:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 765
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PossumES8Krome61 Offline
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Are any of the ~$200 speakers good? I read about Electro Vox and the JBLs etc but simply don't need a large wedge.
Amazon has good deal on Berhinger B205 but since missing Saturday delivery I am not motivated to rush on it


Roland Juno Gi
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Kawai ES8
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MXL V67G microphone
Re: Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system [Re: Auver] #2494180
12/27/15 02:53 PM
12/27/15 02:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,388
Vught, The Netherlands
Dave Horne Online content
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Dave Horne  Online Content
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Posts: 6,388
Vught, The Netherlands
In general, the better the sound system, the better everything sounds. An excellent sound system will have the EQ very close to flat, period.

It's a good idea to play classical music, choirs, though the system. If it sounds natural, then your piano is going to sound as good as it can.

If a piano sounds bad through good headphones, it won't sound any better through a good sound system.


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Re: Getting a good piano sound out of a PA system [Re: Auver] #2494191
12/27/15 03:45 PM
12/27/15 03:45 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 595
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Fer De Armas Offline
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Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 595
Hi, look for italians FBT Promaxx 14A or Made in USA Electrovoice SxA100+... these offer the best piano sound reproduction, IMHO... Cheers!


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