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Feedback on this digital piano sound...
#2937749 01/23/20 08:12 PM
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Being that I'm a beginner I just learned to play a little but beautiful piece from Gurlitt (op.205 n.11, also known as "A Little Flower"), so I was trying to find the best piano sound for it, because with the default SK-EX ConcertGrand piano patch of my DP it didn't sound good enough to me... I wanted more cleanliness in the sound (the SK-EX is a little too mellow) but not the harshness of the EX ConcertGrand timbre. And I wanted some "wood" in the sound.

But now I think I found a nice piano sound timbre. I changed some parameters with the Virtual Technician options and that's the result:

LINK to listen

What do you think of this piano sound timbre?

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2937764 01/23/20 08:36 PM
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Sounds good to me, I think it works. Mind sharing the other renderings for comparison?

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2937797 01/23/20 10:35 PM
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Ok, I just made a version with the SK-EX sound:

LINK to listen to the SK-EX version

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2937894 01/24/20 05:43 AM
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I think even the SK-EX version sound nice, you have a nice touch for capturing the tone you want, nicely payed.

Your first version with your changes in VT I agree does sound better, there is more richness to the sound.

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2937908 01/24/20 06:58 AM
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Thanks Kevin. wink
BTW, the first version uses a variation of the "Upright Piano" sound that I customized a little with the VT. I always felt the Upright samples on Kawai DPs were sampled with higher quality compared to the other 2 main pianos (the SK-EX and the EX). Maybe they are newer samples or they are just recorded with different equipment, I don't know, but they sound more clean and natural to me. And I found a way that let me have more control on its dynamics, because at default settings the Upright Piano timbre is very difficult to manage.

IMHO the EX is the most digital sounding of the 3, but I found some good settings in the VT that make it very nice for classical (but not romantic) music. The SK-EX is an all-rounder piano sound, so they made it the current default piano sound, but sometimes I feel it's too mellow...

Summarizing, those are my thoughts of the 3 main piano sounds I have in my DP:

SK-EX: all-rounder. A little too mellow. Very good for Jazz.

EX: at default too much bright and jumpy. Great for pop music. Good for classical music too if you find the right settings in the VT.

UPRIGHT: nice and clean "close-mic" samples, but too little dynamic range at default settings. If you can find the right settings it can be very very good for romantic, intimate music.

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2938098 01/24/20 04:13 PM
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What is your DP? Would you mind sharing your VT tweaks?


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
EVC2017 #2938155 01/24/20 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by EVC2017
What is your DP? Would you mind sharing your VT tweaks?

My DP is a Kawai CN37.
I used the "Upright Piano 2" sound. It's a brighter and a little cleaner variation of the main "Upright Piano" sound. Then I changed in the VT options the following:

Touch: User1 <-- this is a customized velocity curve that I created on my PC. It gives you better control from ppp to fff;

String Resonance: 8 <-- to hear more "color" in the sound;

Cabinet Resonance: 6 <-- to hear more "wood" resonance in the sound;

Topboard Simulation: open1 <-- to get a "darker" timbre, like it was from an old piano.

The other parameters are at default.

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2938311 01/25/20 08:49 AM
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Thank you. I will play with this setings on ES8 (not sure if the same sound generator but it has similar named pianos). I once tweaked with some VT settings but did not notice significant changes. But then I was not especially motivated so I just let it alone and only changed equalization to tame the low end range. I am in a crossroad, I have a love/hate relation with ES8, sometimes I love the sounds (both SKs), sometimes I think they are OK, sometimes I hate them. Maybe with some work I may find a sound I can get along well with.

Last edited by EVC2017; 01/25/20 08:49 AM.

Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2938412 01/25/20 01:12 PM
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The ES8 (HI-XL engine) has longer samples compared with my CN37 (PHI engine), but I noticed that the ES8 Virtual Technician lacks the options "Cabinet Resonance" and "Undamped String Resonance".
Even the top-line MP11SE doesn't have the "Cabinet Resonance" effect and I don't know why. I think it's a very nice effect that helps to make the DP more natural sounding, especially for a piano solo recording. Probably Kawai puts this effect only in cabinet-style DPs because they think that who wants just to play piano solo music will buy cabinet-style DPs instead of slab-pianos... But that's a wrong assumption to me...

About the piano sounds from Kawai DPs, I have separated them for genres:
SK-EX for Jazz, EX (VT modded) for powerful Classical music, Upright (VT modded) for romantic, intimate pieces. They are not comparable to the best piano VSTs sound quality, but on my digital I power-on the instrument and I can play immediately...

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2938673 01/26/20 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Ok, I just made a version with the SK-EX sound:

LINK to listen to the SK-EX version

This is of course a matter of personal preference, but I think your version with the SK-EX is much superior due to the singing quality of the tone that is less pronounced in the other version.



My chronological list of the top 20 composers: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Debussy, Bartok, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich.
Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2938683 01/26/20 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Thanks Kevin. wink
BTW, the first version uses a variation of the "Upright Piano" sound that I customized a little with the VT. I always felt the Upright samples on Kawai DPs were sampled with higher quality compared to the other 2 main pianos (the SK-EX and the EX). Maybe they are newer samples or they are just recorded with different equipment, I don't know, but they sound more clean and natural to me. And I found a way that let me have more control on its dynamics, because at default settings the Upright Piano timbre is very difficult to manage.

IMHO the EX is the most digital sounding of the 3, but I found some good settings in the VT that make it very nice for classical (but not romantic) music. The SK-EX is an all-rounder piano sound, so they made it the current default piano sound, but sometimes I feel it's too mellow...

Summarizing, those are my thoughts of the 3 main piano sounds I have in my DP:

SK-EX: all-rounder. A little too mellow. Very good for Jazz.

EX: at default too much bright and jumpy. Great for pop music. Good for classical music too if you find the right settings in the VT.

UPRIGHT: nice and clean "close-mic" samples, but too little dynamic range at default settings. If you can find the right settings it can be very very good for romantic, intimate music.

Very nice! I prefer the second one...please, let me know which digital piano it is. Thank you!

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
Sweelinck #2938690 01/26/20 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Ok, I just made a version with the SK-EX sound:

LINK to listen to the SK-EX version

This is of course a matter of personal preference, but I think your version with the SK-EX is much superior due to the singing quality of the tone that is less pronounced in the other version.

Tecnically speaking, the SK-EX sound, being sampled from an acoustic grand piano, has less volume difference between the attack part and the sustained part compared with the Upright Piano sound that instead is more percussive and has a much faster volume reduction for the sustained part (I think this is typical for upright acoustic pianos). This is the reason you hear more "singing" in the SK-EX version. But for this little piece I was more interested in making the single notes of the main melody line "sparkle" above a "darker" bass line. IMHO the "Upright Piano 2" sound of my DP (with my mods) does this job very nicely. Of course what version you like more is a matter of personal tastes. wink

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
Alexiapiano #2938692 01/26/20 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Alexiapiano
Very nice! I prefer the second one...please, let me know which digital piano it is. Thank you!

I already mentioned before: it's a Kawai CN37. Now it's discontinued. It has been replaced by the new CN39 which has better internal speakers, bluetooth audio and an additional piano sound (SK-5).

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2938946 01/26/20 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Ok, I just made a version with the SK-EX sound:

LINK to listen to the SK-EX version

This is of course a matter of personal preference, but I think your version with the SK-EX is much superior due to the singing quality of the tone that is less pronounced in the other version.

Tecnically speaking, the SK-EX sound, being sampled from an acoustic grand piano, has less volume difference between the attack part and the sustained part compared with the Upright Piano sound that instead is more percussive and has a much faster volume reduction for the sustained part (I think this is typical for upright acoustic pianos). This is the reason you hear more "singing" in the SK-EX version. But for this little piece I was more interested in making the single notes of the main melody line "sparkle" above a "darker" bass line. IMHO the "Upright Piano 2" sound of my DP (with my mods) does this job very nicely. Of course what version you like more is a matter of personal tastes. wink

Yes, that is the technical description of the difference.

The quality of upright pianos varies a fair bit. The best ones have a much more singing quality to the tone than inferior ones. I’ve never heard of a professional pianist saying that they need an inferior grade upright as a substitute for a high quality concert grand to produce the effect they intend, at least with traditional classical repertoire (e.g. excluding 20th century “prepared pianos” and non-traditional compositions).

If I were playing this piece, I would strive for a floating, ethereal quality to the melody and use of a soft touch with the accompaniment and use of pedaling so that the accompaniment is woven into a tapestry underneath where individual notes in the accompaniment are de-emphasized. A percussive tone would detract from that effect. This would be my conception of the piece. You may have a different vision, but I do consider your playing of it with the SK-EX patch more convincing musically.


My chronological list of the top 20 composers: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Debussy, Bartok, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich.
Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2938966 01/26/20 08:18 PM
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I think both recordings sounds pretty good, with the upright piano sample quite a lot "darker" than the SK-EX. I would opt for a little more reverb to add some "air" so the piece, but I can appreciate that this is a personal preference.

Very nicely played magicpiano!

Cheers,
James
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Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
Sweelinck #2939202 01/27/20 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
[...]The quality of upright pianos varies a fair bit. The best ones have a much more singing quality to the tone than inferior ones. I’ve never heard of a professional pianist saying that they need an inferior grade upright as a substitute for a high quality concert grand to produce the effect they intend, at least with traditional classical repertoire (e.g. excluding 20th century “prepared pianos” and non-traditional compositions).
If a pianist has to play in a theater, of course he would need a big grand piano. If a pianist can choose between an upright piano and a grand piano for its home, and he has no budget and no space problems, then probably he would choose the grand piano (or maybe both of them!). But if a pianist is hired for example to make the soundtrack of a movie, in some cases the sound of an upright is better to achieve a different mood. Sometimes playing an old vintage instrument, maybe even a little detuned, helps to give particular emotions to the listener, very different from the emotions that a brand new perfectly tuned grand piano sound could give.
Quote


If I were playing this piece, I would strive for a floating, ethereal quality to the melody and use of a soft touch with the accompaniment and use of pedaling so that the accompaniment is woven into a tapestry underneath where individual notes in the accompaniment are de-emphasized. A percussive tone would detract from that effect. This would be my conception of the piece. You may have a different vision, but I do consider your playing of it with the SK-EX patch more convincing musically.

That was the idea, but with my modded Upright sound I'm able to put more volume and timbral distance between the melody line and the accompaniment part and I like this. Of course, the upright notes decay faster, so this piano sound is not good when you want to hear longer background resonances blending together (think about many Debussy compositions), but in this particular piece I like how it sounds because in my mind I wanted the melody line to be very clean and sparkling over the accompaniment, but not too much strong. Maybe that's not what you prefer, but I had some positive feedback in this thread about my choice.

One of the advantages of a DP over an acoustic is the possibility to change the main piano sound to better adapt it to your needs and preferences of the moment. To each his own! smile

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
Kawai James #2939205 01/27/20 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
I think both recordings sounds pretty good, with the upright piano sample quite a lot "darker" than the SK-EX. I would opt for a little more reverb to add some "air" so the piece, but I can appreciate that this is a personal preference.

Very nicely played magicpiano!
Thanks James! wink

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2939216 01/27/20 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Being that I'm a beginner I just learned to play a little but beautiful piece from Gurlitt (op.205 n.11, also known as "A Little Flower"), so I was trying to find the best piano sound for it, because with the default SK-EX ConcertGrand piano patch of my DP it didn't sound good enough to me... I wanted more cleanliness in the sound (the SK-EX is a little too mellow) but not the harshness of the EX ConcertGrand timbre. And I wanted some "wood" in the sound.

But now I think I found a nice piano sound timbre. I changed some parameters with the Virtual Technician options and that's the result:

LINK to listen

What do you think of this piano sound timbre?


No difference in the timber.

The only difference is how it cuts through the mix. In order to achieve different sounds, you need different samples or a DSP that modifies the timber of the samples you have.

That's why a well thought of digital piano must be capable of loading samples in keyboards, like Nord.

Yamaha has tried this trick so many times. It will never satisfy any musicians. Brightness or darkenss of a sound must be part of the timber of the sound and not trick by EQing the sound.

Last edited by Abdol; 01/27/20 11:10 AM.

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Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
magicpiano #2939220 01/27/20 11:11 AM
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It's a beautiful piece and you play it really nicely. Inspired me to try it also... just give me a couple of months haha smile

Re: Feedback on this digital piano sound...
Abdol #2939247 01/27/20 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Abdol
No difference in the timber.

The only difference is how it cuts through the mix. In order to achieve different sounds, you need different samples or a DSP that modifies the timber of the samples you have.
No difference compared to? I just posted 2 versions, one with an Upright piano patch and another one with the SK-EX piano patch. They use different samples so they are very different sounding...
And usually a digital piano has a DSP to make some variations to the waveform in real time (to add sympathetic resonances, damper resonance, undamped string resonances, some filters, etc.) and you can change a little the voicing. Of course the variations allowed are not many, unless the DP has a piano modeling engine more Pianoteq-style.
Quote


That's why a well thought of digital piano must be capable of loading samples in keyboards, like Nord.

Yamaha has tried this trick so many times. It will never satisfy any musicians. Brightness or darkenss of a sound must be part of the timber of the sound and not trick by EQing the sound.
Of course, a sound that is directly sampled from a dark-sounding piano will sound better than a piano sound sampled from a bright piano and then digitally modified to make it sound more dark. But that doesn't mean that those options in the Virtual Technician are useless... I modded the options of all the 3 main piano sounds of my DP. Now I can play them with much more satisfaction, so the VT is not perfect but it's a good thing. I'm a geek, so to me more options is better. cool

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