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#2380895 02/01/15 02:12 PM
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OneWatt Offline OP
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As suggested elsewhere, here's a thread intended for use by Kawai MP7 & MP11 owners to share favorite acoustic piano settings, in the spirit of learning about the possibilities.

Everyone's playing style, taste, gear and mood can differ (mine change regularly) so enjoy what you like and forget the rest.

========================

To kick things off, I'll share my current favorite unaccompanied acoustic grand settings (for use in daily headphone practice):

SOUND: 1-1-A ConcertGrand (envelope/filter settings left at default "0" but see *-below)

EQ:
L: +5
H: +1
M1: 0
M2: 0

EXF1: AutoPan
Type: 2-Band
Depth: 10
Balance: 64
LowerSpeed: 0.87 Hz
UpperSpeed: 1.11 Hz
SplitFreq: 675

EXF2: Filter
Type: Enhancer
DryWet: 127
Depth: 22

AMP: None

REVERB:
Type: Small Hall
PreDelay: 1.6ms
Time 2235ms
Depth: 25

VIRT TECH:
Voicing: Normal
StereoWidth:127
StringReso: 7
DamperRes0: 6
KeyOffEff: 6
DamperNoise: 4
HammerDelay: 1
FallBackNoise 6
Topboard: Open1


(*-the various envelope settings within "Sound" are useful for synth/string sounds but I've yet to find a particularly useful way to enhance an acoustic grand piano sound with any of these wave/envelope adjustments ... if anyone has please share your insights)

Last edited by OneWatt; 02/01/15 02:17 PM.
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Originally Posted by OneWatt
EXF1: AutoPan
Type: 2-Band
Depth: 10
Balance: 64
LowerSpeed: 0.87 Hz
UpperSpeed: 1.11 Hz
SplitFreq: 675

Interesting. Is this an attempt to conceal looping? Or is it a way to make one string sound like three beating together? Applied independently (per note) with somewhat randomized settings that might work, but as a global in-line effect I'm not sure what this would do to an AP voice.

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I think what would help me most of all, honestly, is a glossary and explanation of what all these parameters do so my tweaking of the sounds is a little more scientific than playing settings whack-a-mole.


2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Nord Stage 3 Compact | Moog Matriarch | ASM Hydrasynth 49 | Sequential Circuits Prophet 10 Rev4 | Yamaha ModX 61
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OneWatt Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Markarian
I think what would help me most of all, honestly, is a glossary and explanation of what all these parameters do so my tweaking of the sounds is a little more scientific than playing settings whack-a-mole.


Markarian - I appreciate that the functions of some (many?) of these parameters can feel a bit overwhelming if you're not already familiar with them from other musical contexts.

Besides providing the full (unabbreviated) names of some of Kawai's shortened labels (see owner's manual) a full explanatory glossary would be well beyond the scope of either Kawai's manuals or time/attention of most folks on this forum.

You can google around and learn much about what most of these variables mean (some are related to synthesizers, some are mechanical acoustic grand piano terms, some are simply studio mixing and mastering techniques, like EQ parameters, reverb types/settings, stereo separation techniques like autopan, etc.)

Are there particular ones that are most confusing? If so, perhaps we can single a few out for clarification.

But if most of them are daunting, then I'm afraid it's going to be challenging to cram all that knowledge into a narrow topic forum thread on the MP keyboard settings.

Many folks devote years to learning about much of this stuff. If it's all "Greek" to you (apologies to any Greek readers), you're probably not going to enjoy tweaking your sounds and are better off just dialing in what others suggest and seeing (listening) how it works for you.

Musicians who take no pleasure in "tweaking" are typically drawn to the "consumer" piano market products which have mostly presets and no need to open the hood. The "pro" and "pro-sumer" lines are intended for users who enjoy messing with all this musical voodoo crazy

- OneWatt

ps - You've got yourself a high end "pro audio" style keyboard, which offers a remarkable level of customization. But with that power comes the ability to get lost in the audio engineering stuff. Hopefully you enjoy it enough to learn more about it while getting some better sounding piano sounds out of your Kawai board.

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Originally Posted by dewster
Originally Posted by OneWatt
EXF1: AutoPan
Type: 2-Band
Depth: 10
Balance: 64
LowerSpeed: 0.87 Hz
UpperSpeed: 1.11 Hz
SplitFreq: 675

Interesting. Is this an attempt to conceal looping? Or is it a way to make one string sound like three beating together? Applied independently (per note) with somewhat randomized settings that might work, but as a global in-line effect I'm not sure what this would do to an AP voice.


Im also curious about this.

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OneWatt Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JoeThePro
Originally Posted by dewster
Originally Posted by OneWatt
EXF1: AutoPan
Type: 2-Band
Depth: 10
Balance: 64
LowerSpeed: 0.87 Hz
UpperSpeed: 1.11 Hz
SplitFreq: 675

Interesting. Is this an attempt to conceal looping? Or is it a way to make one string sound like three beating together? Applied independently (per note) with somewhat randomized settings that might work, but as a global in-line effect I'm not sure what this would do to an AP voice.


Im also curious about this.


Well since you've both asked, I'll give you a detailed explanation. But first, a bit about "Auto Pan" ...

Background: As its name implies, it's simply a way to move stereo (or even mono) sound from left to right (i.e., back and forth) without having your fingers on the "pan" knob.

If you have a strong effect and have it oscillate quickly, it's very spacey sounding ... a lot of electric piano sounds rely on this, kind of similar to a Leslie speaker system (iconic Hammond organ sound).

If you have a weak effect and do it very slowly, the result can be so subtle as being hard to even detect. At around one oscillation per second (which is what a frequency of roughly 1 Hz means, i.e., 1x per second) you're in the range of timing ("frequency") that's not unlike what your brain interprets as ambient echo (sound reflecting off of walls, studio surfaces, etc.)

But the brain will interpret this as such only if the effect is very gentle - just a little oscillation of where the sound direction is a bit stronger vs weaker following the initial primary note sound.

Again, if it's too strong or too frequent (higher timing settings) then it's just another kind of vibrato style effect, which makes little acoustic sense for a natural sounding grand piano.

My particular settings:
Type: 2-Band
Depth: 10
Balance: 64
LowerSpeed: 0.87 Hz
UpperSpeed: 1.11 Hz
SplitFreq: 675

2-Band means that the autopan effect is applied at 2 different speeds (Lower and Upper) where one speed of panning is applied to somewhat lower piano notes vs the higher ones. I've selected 675Hz as the note frequency - meaning the PITCH of the notes (NOT to be confused with the speed of the panning back and forth, which unfortunately is also referred to here as "frequency") - to split my "higher" notes and "lower" notes. This falls somewhere in the middle range of the keyboard (remember an A is a 440 HZ wave freq.)

In other words, I want the higher notes above 675Hz to pan (echo) a little more quickly at 1.11 times per second, than the lower notes, set at 0.87 times per second. Rationale: I believe that higher notes arriving slightly sooner intensifies the (psycho-)acoustic echo effect, at least as the brain interprets it. I don't know where this is based on science or mumbo-jumbo, but it just sounds better to my ears.

The balance @ 64 simply means (from between 0-127) I'm not biasing the stereo either way ... it's split down the middle or center.

Perhaps most importantly, the depth is set to only 10 - which is a fairly LOW AMOUNT of effect. A little bit higher and it gets tiring on the ears/brain after while. Too much more beyond that and it's just plain weird from the outset.

The point of all this:

This AutoPan setting tricks my brain/ear into hearing a very subtle touch of "richness" to the acoustic piano sound ... when listening in stereo (in mono, panning is basically pointless) this effect gently reinforces the sensation that the piano sound is more fully "filling" the room or stage. It makes the piano sound "come alive" just a pinch without one being able to quite puts one's finger (ear?) on why it's more complete.

This effect works nicely with other acoustic natural instrument sounds, like woodwinds, solo strings, quitar, banjo, acoustic jazz drumkit, even human voices.

Simple experiment suggestion: Dial in these settings (or ones you prefer) and then push the button on the MP's EFX on and off to see which you prefer (i.e., an "A/B" test).

This effect is best experienced through stereo headphones, but stereo speakers will likely give a comparable change in sound too.

For learning purposes, you might try overdoing this effect (simply raise the depth to a much higher level) just so you can more clearly hear what is going on.

But for me, once your ear can directly hear the effect itself instead of the underlying piano sound being the focus, it becomes too obvious - and then it becomes really annoying and distracting instead of a gentle reinforcement of space.

@dewster: With due respect, using autopan in this way is notintended to conceal anything ... on the contrary, it's intended to make the sampled piano sound slightly more noticeable cool

Hopefully some of this is helpful! - OneWatt


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Thanks for posting your settings OneWatt - much appreciated.

I've been playing around with various effects but know very little about how to go about things. I did take the Coursera audio production course, but that was really just an overview. I have been saving setups for each tune in our band's repertoire - but there are times when they are asking me for more reverb - that my sound is too "dry". I can easily change the reverb to cathedral, but I don't seem to be matching the qualities of the guitars -which use a lot of effects. Also, the settings I come up with at home on headphones don't always translate once plugged into the sound system (stereo out). I realize it's up to me to learn this - so could anyone recommend some resources to get up to speed on those 129 possible effects .... It's generally when I take a lead that I need to add some variation to the sound - guess adding another layer works too. On one tune I'm using EP3, adding chorus, upping the dry/wet. Perhaps add the pan effect too?

One thing I clued into recently - when recording we would all set our levels and away we'd go. Then I'd switch to one of the organ sounds and blast the poor bass player out of his socks. What I finally realized is that any sound or setup where the touch sensitivity is turned off will be at max volume vs the others which leave room for dynamics.


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Onewatt, I think that is a little bit of genius smile I have to try the auto pan. I loved the 'dynamic stereo' effect that Yamaha uses - when you play an acoustic piano, the sound seems bounce around inside the instrument so I want to see if I can emulate this a little with the auto pan. It adds a certain depth or liveliness to the tone.

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Originally Posted by Joe Garfield
Onewatt, I think that is a little bit of genius smile I have to try the auto pan. I loved the 'dynamic stereo' effect that Yamaha uses - when you play an acoustic piano, the sound seems bounce around inside the instrument so I want to see if I can emulate this a little with the auto pan. It adds a certain depth or liveliness to the tone.


Joe -

Great to hear you're looking forward to having fun with this aural device ... but to be clear, if there's any "genius" involved it certainly isn't mine. This is a tried n' true technique used by many others - imitation is my homage to those who have come before me.

It's sweet to have this level of granular control over the autopan on these Kawai keyboards enabling us to dial in just the right amount of ear space.

Note: What sounds good in headphones might not work at all through speakers in a live setting, so spend time with it to get comfortable with what you like best.

Enjoy! - OneWatt


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