How can one improve the live sound of a dig.piano?

Discussion in 'General Keyboard Discussion' started by leandrusi, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. leandrusi

    leandrusi

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    Hello.
    I never finish understanding the specific diferences between a digital piano and the "real" acoustic piano, (that doesnt mean i cant tell the diference,Im not dumm,I play both often)I mean I dont know EXCTLY wich are the phisical or acoustic features that the dig.pianos lack. I know harmonics come in play on this, so dig.pianos cant emulate harmonics? they emulate just part of them? are harmonics the only difference?

    Besides all this, the fact is I own a dpiano for live gigs, and I have no idea of the devices that exist im such a begginner on all this things, only know equalizers and midi modules. I wonder if there is something I can use for improving my piano live sound, I feel it has a fast decay, I would like it to sound fat and to last a little bit more (I tryed reverb, but is just isnt that), you know, closer to a real piano, when you do a chord and can stay there for a while listening the sound expand.

    AAAAAAANYWAY
    I heard there is a "harmonic enhacer" Would that work fine with a dig,piano? Isnt that for acoustics instruments only? What do you recomend me? Oh, laptops solutions are not my thing, I cant afford one.

    GIVE SOME IDEAS ILL BE THANKFUL!
     
    leandrusi, Feb 20, 2008
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  2. leandrusi

    keyplayer

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    what kind and model of dig. piano are you working with??.....need more info
     
    keyplayer, Feb 21, 2008
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  3. leandrusi

    leandrusi

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    My piano is a Kurzweil sp 88x, my question is about any digital piano, but if you happen to know this particular you may be able to advice me better I guess. :)
    Also, I dont use any rack or extra device, just plug in and play my heart! lol
     
    leandrusi, Feb 21, 2008
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  4. leandrusi

    keyplayer

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    Well how about that....I have an sp88..(without the x...semi weighted keys)....I use this board also to play live like you do..

    When you play live, there are alot of things that can make your keyboard sound funny....also if your listening to stage monitors then the sound coming thru the monitors is probably totaly different than what the house speakers sound like....the piano samples your dealing with are good....you mentioned when you play a chord, it dosent hold or sustain like a real piano.....that sounds like a pedal problem rather than a bad piano sound....make sure its in the right input jack....it does not go in the jack that says control.....it goes in the hold jack

    the only other thing you could do is apply some equalization on the piano channel...but i always thought the kurzweil piano sounds didnt really need any EQ
     
    keyplayer, Feb 21, 2008
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  5. leandrusi

    RotorOnTop

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    I agree with keyplayer ...sounds like a faulty or poorly made sustain pedal. I've had this happen to my keyboards, if the sustain pedal is not working properly it not only cuts the piano sustain off prematurely, but really can make the piano sound bad.
     
    RotorOnTop, Feb 21, 2008
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  6. leandrusi

    leandrusi

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    No, my pedal is working fine, it sustains the notes correctly and its plugged in the right hole. You guys are missunderstanding me. When I say it has a fast decay I mean COMPARED TO AN ACOUSTIC PIANO.
    Cmon, have you never stood hearing a chord you play sustain and expand for loooong on an acoustic piano?
    Keyplayer you have the same patches I do, didnt you realized the piano isnt as warm and fat and sustained as an acoustic?
    Maybe I should get some audible examples this. Ill record a chord on my piano and post it, then ill try to get the same thing from an acoustic
     
    leandrusi, Feb 21, 2008
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  7. leandrusi

    leandrusi

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    So NO ONE has any ideas? Im begining to think all of you "keyboard" users have NEVER played or listening a real PIANO! :mad:
     
    leandrusi, Apr 19, 2008
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  8. leandrusi

    GigMan

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    Ummm - insulting the folks you're asking for help is probably not the best approach, dude... :eek: :p

    Here are some ideas:

    Idea #1 - Amplification
    You didn't tell us what you're using for an amplifier to play your SP88X thru - the specific amp you use makes a HUGE difference in the sound. :)

    Idea #2 - Kurzweil SP88X is Old
    Your SP88X is how many years old...? It just may not have the technology built-in to have the kind of sustain/decay you're looking for. Try out the latest generation of digital pianos and see: Yamaha S90ES, Roland RD700SX or RD700GX... you'll probably notice a big difference in sound quality (between the current generation machines and your Kurz. SP88X), aside from the decay issue. :D

    Idea #3 - Digital Pianos Are NOT Real Pianos
    The digital pianos have come a long way - they provide a portable, lightweight instrument that indeed sounds very much like a piano. But of course, it is NOT a piano... so you can't hold digital keyboards to the exact same standard - the waveforms and that an acoustic piano produces are so complex they will never be EXACTLY recreated in a digital instrument. At least, not in our lifetimes. :cool:
     
    GigMan, Apr 19, 2008
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  9. leandrusi

    leandrusi

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    Well thank you very much for your kind and usefull answer, Im sorry if someone took my last post as insulting, I would never meant to do that! ;)
    I guess I was kind of dissapointed for no one have actually gave any practical suggestion, not one! In all this time.
    The thing about amplifiyng seems to be essencial, Ill definitely try with others equipments to see different results. Someone told me as well, that some light compression would help with the sound decay/sustain, well I was hoping more of those "tips".. so THANKS!
     
    leandrusi, Apr 23, 2008
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  10. leandrusi

    Skipp Moderator

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    I can't believe no one actually mentioned this...

    OK, first of all if you play a real piano you probably know how the sound is made -> by hitting the strings with a hammer right?

    So if you hit let's say a C note, the hammer hits a string and it vibrates... it vibrates ALONE. If you hit another note... let's say a G above the C, you have 2 strings vibrating at the same time and you have to know that vibration from one string affects the other.

    Why is this important? Well, while playing the real acoustic piano you have a lot of vibrations "under the hood" and all of them affect each other giving the piano that warm piano-ish sound.

    When it comes to keyboards, even THE BEST ones, you still have only STATIC piano samples recorded in only a few velocity layers. The piano sound on a digital keyboard sounds good while playing loud, but try playing softer and softer... you will come to a point when no matter you are still playing softer the sound will reproduce equal velocity.

    That's the main problem with digital pianos, no matter how good the sample is, it is still A STATIC SAMPLE. If you play the same example as above (C-G) you will hear pre-recorded samples of the C note, and the G note together, but they will NOT affect each other.

    The best way to hear how the notes actually affect each other is to press 2 keys that are together. Try playing a for example G and A on a acoustic piano, and hold, and then play the same thing on a digital piano.

    About the "strange sound" coming out of your speakers... If you're using width speakers you will have a LOT different sound then at home... let alone your headphones. When it comes to the EQ for the piano... I always use flat settings, and motif piano sounds amazing that way.

    There is still one more thing. When you play in a band (especially in a band with 2 guitars) you will have a wide range of frequencies coming
    out of your speakers. Bass guitar, rhythm guitar, solo guitar, drums and percussions etc etc... It is a known fact that various frequencies mixed together may cause other frequencies that are usually not there. In a band this usually means one thing only - sound distortion which will affect mostly the keyboard.

    I had a situation while playing a lead solo on a song (that's the only song we play wit that kind of solo) that not a single note came out of my keyboard cause the lead sound that i prepared at home had similar frequencies as a guitar. The main atributes of my sound got "eaten" by the guitar and nothing actually came out.

    Hope i was helpful a bit :)
     
    Skipp, Apr 23, 2008
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  11. leandrusi

    leandrusi

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    Well thank you, you have given me a bit of "light" in one of the aspects that make the difference between dig. and ac. pianos. I completly agree on the idea of "static" samples.
    Some presets of the sp88x actually have good acceptable velocity control though. But it is exactly then, when you are playing the "pp"´s and the "ppp"´s when the lack of sound fullyness and warmness (compared to an acoustic) gets in.
    I my experience I actually dont have much problems with the "band sound", just by taking care of the frecuency issue, mainly just picking the right octave (I almost never play on the same octave as the guitar) and a little bit of eq. This with the PIANO sounds right? Organs, strings and others may require some other observations.
    My "problem" is when playing solo (absolutely alone that is :D he he) or lets say a duo or trio (bass, drums or violin or flute for eg.) so the piano doesnt have any other "backround" (like a lead guitar) and must sometimes fill many spaces and really be the "little orchestra" that a piano is.
    I put the " because it is not really a problem. In fact I am satisfied with this digpiano sound, I´d just liked if it could sound better, so I ask for your ideas.
    By the way what did you mean with "strange sound" coming out of your speakers? I never mentioned i had one...? :confused: :D
     
    leandrusi, Apr 23, 2008
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  12. leandrusi

    Skipp Moderator

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    Oh, I just mis-interpreted your post sort of :D

    If you play in a duo-trio (like you mentioned - violins and flutes) you may
    want to get yourself piano monitors/speakers. Although, that won't do you that much cause Kurzweil hasn't change their piano sample for almost a decade, and are well known for their "must-program-and-tweak-everything-to-get-it-good".

    But once you do, it's a great workstation.

    That's the main reason I always choose Yamaha. You turn it on, press the PIANO button, and you play with an amazing
    sound out of the box :)
     
    Skipp, Apr 23, 2008
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  13. leandrusi

    PianoMan

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    Old topic, but here I go... the parts about 2 notes affecting each other and the decay being short are frustrating things. I don't know about your keyboard, but I recently bough a Roland RD-300sx (I imagine the 700sx has the same features I'm about to describe). It has 78 multi-effects, the 78th one being that the notes affect each other. You can play a C with the sustain pedal down and it will sound different than if you just play and hold it without the sustain pedal. Also I've started to notice that when I play just one note I can hear the harmonics of higher notes... weirded me out at first, it's pretty cool though. I've also heard Kawaii's keyboards do this.

    As for the decay I noticed this too. I play jazz so on the faster tempos it wasn't as big a deal, but on ballads it killed me. I later discovered that on a lot of my sounds they're customizable, you can increase or decrease attack time, cutoff, decay time, release time, etc. I don't know if yours can do this, maybe look in the manual closely? Likely not if it's an old model, in which case you're out of luck.

    As a brief aside... earlier the acoustic sound was described as being influenced by other notes being held down (C and G was the example used). Another thing to consider is the harmonic series. It goes an octave, a fifth, a fourth, a third, a second, etc. This means that when you play a C if you cut off the string half way, a C an octave higher will sound, if you go half again, a G, half again, another C, then E, etc. So when you play a C all these notes are ringing (you can hear it clearer with the sustain pedal down), which in the older keyboards I don't think this was taken into account. This is why an older keyboard's piano sound will sound thing (apart from being a digital signal), is you don't have all these harmonies being played, only the note.
     
    PianoMan, May 12, 2008
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  14. leandrusi

    Skipp Moderator

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    I know that, but my point was that on every workstation you have only static samples which play together... You're talking about an EFFECT that plays another static sample of higher notes and resonance... I was talking about the real thing and physics. If you're interested on this subject try downloading pianoteq demo and play for a while... you'll hear the difference :D

    It is not a sample, it's a piano simulation.
     
    Skipp, May 13, 2008
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  15. leandrusi

    leandrusi

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    Ok youre right, but THATs what I was talking (asking) about in the first place, effects.
    I didnt knew about that on rolands, it must sound pretty cool! Didnt know about pianoteq either! ill try it.
    Anyway, will there be a way to emulate this kind of effects with a external device?
     
    leandrusi, May 16, 2008
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  16. leandrusi

    Skipp Moderator

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    as far as I know there is no such thing yet. But i don't know why someone doesn't buy the license for pianoteq and integrates it into a stage piano. Every workstation now-a-days has big wave ROM size so i guess that's not the issue... some keyboards have huge piano samples, and pianoteq is around 15-20Mb.

    It would be great if someone designed a system running pianoteq and put it in a keyboard.
     
    Skipp, May 19, 2008
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  17. leandrusi

    PianoMan

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    Hey just wondering about PIanoteq.... if I download it to my PC can I hook it up to my computer (it has a USB connection) and play my keyboard using this software? I'm assuming I can, but never can be sure. I have a Roland RD-300sx.

    Also... since I'm using a laptop would it be better to use an external soundcard (firewire)? What do you use?
     
    PianoMan, May 22, 2008
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  18. leandrusi

    Camkey

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    Hi Everyone

    I am a newbie here. In answer to this thread, I understand that the Gem Rp X is the most realistic piano module and rivals all others. I have gone to the Gem site and the samples are really really good. I am thinking about ordering one soon. All other keys forums I have visited gave rave reviews. Yes it is not a real piano, but man it is close as you can get. Nice talkin.
    Camkey:)
     
    Camkey, May 22, 2008
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  19. leandrusi

    Skipp Moderator

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    No need for that. Piano has it's own sound generator so all you need is the
    USB to host connection on your keyboard (i think the RD300sx has it... most new keyboards do). Install Pianoteq, plug in your keyboard and turn it on, then start pianoteq.

    If you experience the delay between pressing the keys and the output tone (usual MIDI latency) install these http://www.asio4all.com/ drivers.

    Works like a charm :D
     
    Skipp, May 23, 2008
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  20. leandrusi

    letsel

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    Not really on topic, but distantly related, and I want to share :D

    When I still studied at the conservatory I had access to acoustic pianos(they had tons of them there in practice rooms). One fond memory was playing around with sympathetic resonance. I for example, use the middle pedal to only sustain two C notes, then I really hammer down on all the notes which share big overtones, like G and other C notes, E's and so forth, but when I release those notes only the origional two are still undampened and they resonated this eerie sound. Was awesome. Can't do that on my Yamaha S90 though :(

    </back on topic>
     
    letsel, May 23, 2008
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