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Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample #2960380 03/25/20 05:50 PM
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JoeThePro Offline OP
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[ES8 model]

Is it just me, or does the SK-5 sample just sound thin and nasally, almost like an electric piano especially in the middle octave?
The hammer attack sound is way off, the depth is missing.
I hear people talk about how nice it is, but every time I play it, I'm just disappointed. Really sounds little to nothing like a real SK-5 (not like most of the other samples really do either...).
Am I just expecting too much out of built-in samples?

Last edited by JoeThePro; 03/25/20 05:53 PM.
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Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960383 03/25/20 05:57 PM
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πŸ”Š or 🎧?


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Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: CyberGene] #2960388 03/25/20 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
πŸ”Š or 🎧?

Either or.

Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960389 03/25/20 06:09 PM
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Try with other headphones just to make sure although if you hear it on speakers... then maybe it’s you smile


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Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960413 03/25/20 07:14 PM
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It was actually my favourite one in ES8 wink


Ars non habet osorem nisi ignorantem
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: AlphaBravoCharlie] #2960420 03/25/20 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AlphaBravoCharlie
It was actually my favourite one in ES8 wink


Same here. IMO the only really decent piano sound. SK Concert Grand sometimes sound OK but the bass range is not good IMO. But both do have some whinning characteristic (maybe what the OP means by "nasal") I did not like at first (liked the EX better).


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960426 03/25/20 08:05 PM
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The first 3 piano voices in MP7SE/ES8 are all great. If you compare what Yamaha offers for example, S6, CFIII or S700 or CP1 which are half-ass sampled and not even 88 keys, you'll appreciate what these three voices offer.

They all sound pretty close to a Kawai piano sound.

Listen to some actual SK5:



Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: Abdol] #2960448 03/25/20 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by EVC2017
Same here. IMO the only really decent piano sound. SK Concert Grand sometimes sound OK but the bass range is not good IMO. But both do have some whinning characteristic (maybe what the OP means by "nasal") I did not like at first (liked the EX better).


Originally Posted by Abdol
The first 3 piano voices in MP7SE/ES8 are all great. If you compare what Yamaha offers for example, S6, CFIII or S700 or CP1 which are half-ass sampled and not even 88 keys, you'll appreciate what these three voices offer.

They all sound pretty close to a Kawai piano sound.

Listen to some actual SK5:


I agree about the bottom end of the SKCG, its like there's a pillow over the sample or something. It's nice, but missing a bit of punch. I've voiced it to bright, and it helps, but, hmm..
I do love the sound of a real SK-5, I played one the day I bought my ES8 last week. But I swear the middle octave sounds like an EP on the ES8! I think it has to do with the hammers/attack. It just sounds off. I just played a bit more now with fresh ears, and with heavier fingers it does sound nice, but the softer sounds just arent doing it for me, at least not right now.

Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960473 03/25/20 10:40 PM
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You're right but when it comes to DPs, I think Kawai has a decent authentic recreation of its own grand pianos! Which others don't.

Kawai has a better sonic recreation of its own acoustic pianos compared to any other brand I know of.


Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960534 03/26/20 04:35 AM
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There are various settings depending on preset you choose.
Looking at MP7SE they are very different sounding if going for mellow or pop or whatever presets were called.

Since I found out that not every parameter is available for tweaking - so under the hood settings made it sound different.

So
#1. pick a preset that give you a as good starting point as possible
#2. look for if ES8 has the settings to tweak even each key on the piano to be more bright or mellow.
#3. if you phones are 150 ohm and up - get a phone preamp. Normal phones out on any gear are not fit to run these more high quality phones.

It could be that your phones reveal something or even distort a bit what is there. A dip or peak in a frequency range that bother.

Just a possible idea....

Last edited by Nip; 03/26/20 04:37 AM.

Kawai MP7SE - Hammond XK3c - Synthesizers
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960536 03/26/20 04:54 AM
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I said SK5 was my favourite sound, but I just recalled, that equally often I used something called 'Jazz Grand' (?). I'm curious if it is based on EX or SK sample. Anyone knows the answer?


Ars non habet osorem nisi ignorantem
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960552 03/26/20 06:22 AM
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Looking in manual for MP7SE there is a listing in groups and I gues they are based on each sample set in order.

Called EX Jazz Grand on mine.

Here are four groups on MP7SE, possibly tells sampleset it's based on

A SK Concert Grand
B SK Studio Grand
C SK Mellow Grand
D Standard Grand

2

A EX Concert Grand
B EX Studio Grand
C EX Mellow Grand
D EX Jazz Grand

3

A SK-5 Grand
B SK-5 StudioGrand
C SK-5 MellowGrand
D Studio Grand

4

A Upright Piano
B Bright Upright
C Old Upright
D Honky Tonk

5

Last edited by Nip; 03/26/20 06:25 AM.

Kawai MP7SE - Hammond XK3c - Synthesizers
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960553 03/26/20 06:23 AM
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Hello Joe,

Originally Posted by JoeThePro
Is it just me, or does the SK-5 sample just sound thin and nasally, almost like an electric piano especially in the middle octave?


Here is a recording of the CN39's SK-5 piano sound, however I believe the same samples are used in the ES8, MP11SE/MP7SE, CA99/CA79 etc.

https://soundcloud.com/kawai-global/cn39-sk-5

To my ears this does not sound like an electric piano.

This is what electric pianos typically sound like:
https://soundcloud.com/kawai-global/cn39-sk-5

Kind regards,
James
x


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Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: Kawai James] #2960710 03/26/20 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Here is a recording of the CN39's SK-5 piano sound, however I believe the same samples are used in the ES8, MP11SE/MP7SE, CA99/CA79 etc.

https://soundcloud.com/kawai-global/cn39-sk-5

To my ears this does not sound like an electric piano.

This is what electric pianos typically sound like:
https://soundcloud.com/kawai-global/cn39-sk-5

The two links are the same... unless the SK-5 sounds like a SK-5 and like an electric piano at the same time :-)

Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960850 03/26/20 10:00 PM
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Whoops, let's try that again...

Here is a recording of the CN39's SK-5 piano sound, however I believe the same samples are used in the ES8, MP11SE/MP7SE, CA99/CA79 etc.

https://soundcloud.com/kawai-global/cn39-sk-5

To my ears this does not sound like an electric piano.

This is what electric pianos typically sound like:
https://soundcloud.com/kawaimpseries/alt02-tine-ep1?in=kawaimpseries/sets/mp11-e-piano-section

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960925 Yesterday at 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Abdol
The first 3 piano voices in MP7SE/ES8 are all great. If you compare what Yamaha offers for example, S6, CFIII or S700 or CP1 which are half-ass sampled and not even 88 keys, you'll appreciate what these three voices offer.

They all sound pretty close to a Kawai piano sound.

Listen to some actual SK5:


The strange thing is that to me the acoustic SK-5 in that video sounds much more like the typical SK-EX digital piano patch of most Kawai DPs, rather than the SK-5 piano patch. It doesn't sound so nasal as the SK-5 piano patch in a Kawai digital.

Similarly, I think a true acoustic SK-EX sounds very different from the SK-EX digital piano patch:

Please go to 2:49 of the above video to hear the full piece.

IMHO the acoustic is so much more full & majestic in the bass register and so much more rich and detailed in the middle-high range, compared with the thin & boring looped sounds we have on our DPs... And that beautiful natural reverb of that hall... You cannot achieve that with the actual reverb algorithms in our DPs.

Originally Posted by JoeThePro
[ES8 model]

Is it just me, or does the SK-5 sample just sound thin and nasally, almost like an electric piano especially in the middle octave?
The hammer attack sound is way off, the depth is missing.
I hear people talk about how nice it is, but every time I play it, I'm just disappointed. Really sounds little to nothing like a real SK-5 (not like most of the other samples really do either...).
Am I just expecting too much out of built-in samples?

I think the SK-5 digital piano patch in Kawai DPs could be considered almost like a dark variant of the SK-EX, with some more detail in the low register and a more nasal sound in the middle. That's not a defect, it's just its character.

But... Yes, IMHO you are expecting too much from those samples. They are looped samples with a very few velocity layers (I think no more than 4-5 layers). Currently, if you really want high-quality piano samples, VSTs are the way to go.

Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960949 Yesterday at 11:08 AM
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I wonder if this is an effect of the "close mic" preference in sampling. When you sit at the keyboard, you're not in the optimal position for full sound from a piano, and you'll never hear what it's like to have your ear 2-5cm from the soundboard/strings, but this is how the piano is sampled.

I've wondered if this is why Garritan CFX sounds good to many people, perhaps because the ambient mics (across the room) provide more of the "impure" sound that a pianist actually heard, as opposed to the elf sitting inside the piano.

Last edited by Gombessa; Yesterday at 11:11 AM. Reason: "piano" not "computer"

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Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: Gombessa] #2960951 Yesterday at 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
I wonder if this is an effect of the "close mic" preference in sampling. When you sit at the keyboard, you're not in the optimal position for full sound from a piano, and you'll never hear what it's like to have your ear 2-5cm from the soundboard/strings, but this is how the piano is sampled.

I've wondered if this is why Garritan CFX sounds good to many people, perhaps because the ambient mics (across the room) provide more of the "impure" sound that a pianist actually heard, as opposed to the elf sitting inside the computer.

I have the same theory πŸ‘πŸ» Which is why the Yamaha CFX binaural is also popular: it's not a ear-on-the-string recording and captures more real ambiance.

Last edited by CyberGene; Yesterday at 11:10 AM.

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Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: Abdol] #2960952 Yesterday at 11:12 AM
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I agree
Originally Posted by Abdol
The first 3 piano voices in MP7SE/ES8 are all great. If you compare what Yamaha offers for example, S6, CFIII or S700 or CP1 which are half-ass sampled and not even 88 keys, you'll appreciate what these three voices offer.

They all sound pretty close to a Kawai piano sound.

Listen to some actual SK5:


The sampled SK-5 has a midrange that sounds very thin to me, and very nasally. I can listen to youtube clips all day, shot with cellphones, where you hear the full bodied attack, singing unisons, various harmonics... and there's just little to none of that in the middle octave of the sample. Its so frustrating that a cellphone can pick up these qualities, but professional sampling falls short....

Originally Posted by magicpiano

The strange thing is that to me the acoustic SK-5 in that video sounds much more like the typical SK-EX digital piano patch of most Kawai DPs, rather than the SK-5 piano patch. It doesn't sound so nasal as the SK-5 piano patch in a Kawai digital.

Similarly, I think a true acoustic SK-EX sounds very different from the SK-EX digital piano patch:

IMHO the acoustic is so much more full & majestic in the bass register and so much more rich and detailed in the middle-high range, compared with the thin & boring looped sounds we have on our DPs... And that beautiful natural reverb of that hall... You cannot achieve that with the actual reverb algorithms in our DPs.

I think the SK-5 digital piano patch in Kawai DPs could be considered almost like a dark variant of the SK-EX, with some more detail in the low register and a more nasal sound in the middle. That's not a defect, it's just its character.

But... Yes, IMHO you are expecting too much from those samples. They are looped samples with a very few velocity layers (I think no more than 4-5 layers). Currently, if you really want high-quality piano samples, VSTs are the way to go.


I agree with most everything you've said. Sometimes I can get it to sound OK, other times I'm just left disappointed with the character of the middle octaves of some of the patches. But the bass and usually the high octaves generally sound very good on all the piano patches. But I'm no audio engineer/designer, so I dont know the tradeoffs that have to be made in these types of productions.

Last edited by JoeThePro; Yesterday at 11:21 AM.
Re: Unpopular opinion about SK-5 sample [Re: JoeThePro] #2960980 Yesterday at 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeThePro
[...]The sampled SK-5 has a midrange that sounds very thin to me, and very nasally. I can listen to youtube clips all day, shot with cellphones, where you hear the full bodied attack, singing unisons, various harmonics... and there's just little to none of that in the middle octave of the sample. Its so frustrating that a cellphone can pick up these qualities, but professional sampling falls short....
You have to consider that the samples we have in our DPs are not exactly the original samples Kawai recorded from the acoustic instruments. They are heavily processed before getting into our DPs roms. They have to be split in attack part and looped part. The processing is necessary to make a very smooth transition from the initial attack part of the sample to the looped part. I'm pretty sure that in this process some details are lost, especially at high frequencies. And considering that the velocity layers are just a few, between the layers there could be some filtering/interpolation to smooth the transition. This filtering could make the sound more 'muffled' compared to the original samples.
Quote


[...]I agree with most everything you've said. Sometimes I can get it to sound OK, other times I'm just left disappointed with the character of the middle octaves of some of the patches. But the bass and usually the high octaves generally sound very good on all the piano patches. But I'm no audio engineer/designer, so I dont know the tradeoffs that have to be made in these types of productions.
If you think that each piano patch sounds good only in a specific part of the keyboard, you could use the split function to get a piano sound in the first half of the keyboard and another piano sound in the other half. Maybe you can find the perfect combination! wink

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