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Joined: Jul 2007
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Utarg Offline OP
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Hi, I've been lurking in the forums for a few months now and finally found a good reason to participate. I spent some time looking for a stage piano and ended up with a Kawai MP5, although I bought it a few weeks after I tried it the first time, and the piano sound isn't as great as I remember it. Maybe it is because I've tried others since (especially the Roland ones, 700GX & 300GX).

I can't play the Concert Grand or Studio Grand, they just sound too synthetic. So far I only play the pianos in 1-2 and 1-5 (Concert Grand2, Studio Grand2, Piano Vari. etc), and still some notes in the medium-high range sound slightly fake sometimes.

However the sounds are extremely configurable, does anyone know if is it possible with some specific setting to fix this, even partially? Also, I've been looking in the specs for some info about how many samples per note have been taken but haven't found anything, I didn't ask this in the store (and depending on the guy they can tell you anything).

I know I should be looking for the settings myself, but any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Try various settings of Damper Resonance, String Resonance, and particularly the EQ and Reverb settings.
I mainly use Concert Grand, Mellow Grand, or Jazz Grand.
Also, I am currently experimenting with software piano demos of Pianoteq3, and TruePianos.
Having said that, I mainly use EQ and Reverb in Cubase4, rather than the MP-5 onboard effects.
A good pair of monitors can also make a world of difference. (just wish I could afford some :-( )

Last edited by R0B; 04/21/09 06:54 AM.

Rob
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Utarg Offline OP
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Hi Rob,

Thanks for the tips, I'll give it a try. I also tried pianoteq (not 3 though) and it was fine, not as good as the MP5 ones, I'll check TruePianos.

I don't have monitors yet, I play with headphones unless I use it as midi controller in the computer. When I played it in the store it was mainly with monitors, and it definitely sounded more "real".

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I think you will find PianoTeq 3 has a great improvement in tone. I have only tried the demo so far.
I run my MP-5 through a pair of Behringer 'Truth' active monitors. Not the best in the world, I admit, but if you set the level to roughly that of an acoustic piano, they are fine.


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Personally, I feel that the Kawai piano samples are a let down anyway. You really notice the limitations coming in during mf and f, ff playing.

Sounds very promising in softer movements which is disappointing. I was looking into the ES-6 and was shocked when I heard it! frown It is totally fake sounding in the louder dynamic ranges.

Last edited by sparx; 04/21/09 12:09 PM.
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I was considering MP5 as a controller for the computer based setup. I played MP8II and the keyboard feels great but local stores don't have MP5 that I could compare.
I don't want to order something online that I haven't tried.

As far as Pianoteq goes, I did not personally like version 2.3 but I really like version 3.0. I think it's a great improvement.

I still need nice 88 keys piano controller but so far I liked the keyboard feel of the MP8II the most.

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Charles,
Have you considered/tried the Casio Privias? If can get over the name-brand, it might be just what you need. I have a PX-320 that I use as a controller. It will not have some of the more advanced controller functions of something like the MP5 (which I was strongly considering buying sight-unseen before I tried the Casio), but if you just want basic controlling--i.e. just playing Pianoteq--it works fine for that. And I LOVE the action. Some people think it's too heavy or sluggish, but I like my action nice and beefy. It's my first weighted board, and I figured since I was finally making the transition to weighted, I want to REALLY make it; not get a board that is only slightly more weighted than a synth action and feels nothing like an acoustic.

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Seanakaforty,
That's a good suggestion, I did try PX-320 it was actually pretty good. I have to go back the store and check it out again.
I see PX-320 has USB, can be used to control VST's like with other typical USB keyboard controllers?
Right now I have and had for a while an maudio radium 61 which has really bad keyboard that's also breaking down slowly. I have few old analog mono synths but I want to get back to playing piano. I think PX320 might be a pretty good idea for a controller and the price is good too.
thanks...

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Yeah, you can use the onboard USB port to control vst's via MIDI. The 320 also has standard MIDI ports as well if you want to go that route. Now again, you won't get as extensive control as a dedicated controller (or even the MP5 for that matter) in terms of programming buttons to control vst parameters or setting up different MIDI zones, etc. But if you just want to hook it up to control something like Pianoteq, it's great for that. For clarification, I'm not saying the Casio is a better controller than MP5, I'm not even saying that the action is as good as the MP5 (never put my hands on one), but when you factor in the price difference, I'm not sure it's worth it, especially considering the fact that you won't even be using the sounds on your MP5 a lot of the time.

Last edited by seanakaforty; 04/23/09 02:21 AM.
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Cool, thanks...
Now I have a couple of choices. Looks like I can still get older Kawai EP2, brand new for $699 or 320 also brand new for $599. I wonder if older EP2 might be better choice. I tried both and I like both, they are different of course, EP2 keyboard is a bit lighter but still feels like nice grand ( as much as possible I guess).

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EP2 better sounds and sound system. (IMO)
Casio PX320 piano sound lacks sustain. (IMO)

If you plan on moving it around, Casio much lighter.


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I'd only move it around the house. This is strictly for practicing piano. More that I think about it I'm going to probably keep it away from a computer with VST's and my analog mono synths so I concentrate on practicing piano and not getting sidetracked with VST's etc. Then later use it to control Pianoteq which I would have to buy anyway, VST's and my analog toys.

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What headphones do you use?

My advice is to get yourself a really good pair of headphones (I use HD595's with my MP8II, which has the same sounds as the MP5). I had issues with the sound in the store through a pair of HD201's (which are not *bad*) which disappeared with better cans.

What specifically about the sound don't you like?



__
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Utarg Offline OP
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Hi keyring,

There are a few posts before my last one but I guess you're addressing to me. I use normal earphones, not too expensive, I'm planning to buy a pair of monitors in the following weeks.
It's not easy to explain what I find wrong with the sounds, they're just too synthetic, especially the 1st Concert Piano and Studio Piano settings, I never play them, they don't sound anything like a piano to me. With the 2nd Concert Piano and Studio Piano it is much better, but for example when playing descending thirds it still sounds a bit fake, like they have taken one sample for every 4 or 5 notes and it ends up sounding synthetic (I know it's not the case, it's just how it sounds to me). I'm working with the settings to see if I can get rid of that.

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Before buying new speakers, I would want to know why the existing sound is so unappealing.

I've never seen an MP5. Is it capable of producing sound that you will find satisfactory? This unit sells for around $1100-$1200. At that price, you should be getting much better sound than it's cheaper cousins. But there are many units capable of better sound.

So, again, is the MP5 capable of producing sound that you like? If it just needs some equalization that's easy. But if equalization doesn't provide the benefit you need, then better speakers or headphones might not help. The "artificial" sound that you speak of may be a reflection of the DP's tone generator rather than of the sound system.

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I forgot to mention earlier, to also experiment with the 'Voicing' settings, for each piano sound on the MP-5 ( Select a piano sound, for example, and using the menu up/down arrows, you can select and edit various parameters ) This along with EQ and FX settings, to your personal taste, can make a big difference.
You can also create your own personal 'User touch' setting, which I found to be much better than the standard settings.


Rob

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