Nord stage piano 5 can you control decay?


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I'm looking at a NORD 88key stage piano... any owners out there? can you control your note decay? I would like the note to linger a bit after striking the key, like a real piano. this has been a chief criticism of boards I've own in the past.

also the tone too? bright/soft/warm?

thank you!
 
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The pianos on the Nords have two release settings. I find their "long release" setting to be properly realistic in its post-key-up decay (aka "release" in synth terminology), but that's the only control there is. (It's still more than most piano boards have.)
 
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The pianos on the Nords have two release settings. I find their "long release" setting to be properly realistic in its post-key-up decay (aka "release" in synth terminology), but that's the only control there is. (It's still more than most piano boards have.)
thank you! this is helpful. I'll check out the "release" function.

ps. I was just googling this and another forum came up. I guess they mention long release, but some use the term "sustain", separately. is there a way to increase your sustain as well?

thank you!
 

happyrat1

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Sustain is controlled by your damper pedal.

Adding a delay line effect will also increase the envelope.

Likewise Reverb.

Gary ;)
 
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thank you! this is helpful. I'll check out the "release" function.

ps. I was just googling this and another forum came up. I guess they mention long release, but some use the term "sustain", separately. is there a way to increase your sustain as well?

thank you!

Sustain refers only to what happens to the sound while you have the key depressed (or the sustain pedal). Release refers only to what happens after you let go of the key (and have released the pedal). Decay can be ambiguous. The way you used it in your OP is understandable from the normal English usage of the word, but it is not actually right when it comes to keyboard terminology. You were talking about what happens after you release a key, and that would be the release parameter, not a decay parameter. Decay refers to the diminishing of the sound while you still have the key (or pedal) depressed. A piano sound decays (fades away) even while the key is depressed, whereas, for example, organ and string sounds typically do not.

These terms also get complicated because they can sometimes be applied to either time or level. So with that background, to answer your question more directly...

"is there a way to increase your sustain as well?" -- Yes and no. You increase your sustain TIME by keeping your finger on the key longer, or pressing the sustain pedal. On a piano sound, you would not want to increase your sustain LEVEL because you always need the piano to eventually fade away, whether you hold the key down or not, and any sustain level above zero will never fade out. But for other kinds of sounds (non-piano), it is not uncommon to alter a sustain level.

Over-simplified, but that's the gist. ;-)

As for the Nord Piano, the ONLY envelope control for the piano library sounds would be the ability to enable/disable long release. All other behaviors are baked into the sample, so to speak. However, depending on which model of Nord piano you are looking at, there can be additional envelope settings for the NON-piano (sample/synth library) sounds.
 
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Sustain refers only to what happens to the sound while you have the key depressed (or the sustain pedal). Release refers only to what happens after you let go of the key (and have released the pedal). Decay can be ambiguous. The way you used it in your OP is understandable from the normal English usage of the word, but it is not actually right when it comes to keyboard terminology. You were talking about what happens after you release a key, and that would be the release parameter, not a decay parameter. Decay refers to the diminishing of the sound while you still have the key (or pedal) depressed. A piano sound decays (fades away) even while the key is depressed, whereas, for example, organ and string sounds typically do not.

These terms also get complicated because they can sometimes be applied to either time or level. So with that background, to answer your question more directly...

"is there a way to increase your sustain as well?" -- Yes and no. You increase your sustain TIME by keeping your finger on the key longer, or pressing the sustain pedal. On a piano sound, you would not want to increase your sustain LEVEL because you always need the piano to eventually fade away, whether you hold the key down or not, and any sustain level above zero will never fade out. But for other kinds of sounds (non-piano), it is not uncommon to alter a sustain level.

Over-simplified, but that's the gist. ;-)

As for the Nord Piano, the ONLY envelope control for the piano library sounds would be the ability to enable/disable long release. All other behaviors are baked into the sample, so to speak. However, depending on which model of Nord piano you are looking at, there can be additional envelope settings for the NON-piano (sample/synth library) sounds.
yes thank you. I think I mean the "release." it's funny. when I googled this, there were other forums that had lengthy discussions on the same kind of terminology ambiguity. so thank you for helping clarify.

technique wise, I try to stay off the "sustain pedal" as it can cover up sloppy technique etc. I dont use the sustain pedal when I'm playing piano.

thank you for educating me on "envelope" too. that's not a term I'm familiar with or know. although I do see it used here often.

but yes, after reading your post, I think I want to have the note sonically sustain longer after I press the key. on my Yamaha it currently disappears so quickly which can be frustrating when taking solos.

as one other member pointed out, it might be wise to get a pedal that can add a sustain effect. IE, FX pedal like the zoom ms70cdr
 
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happyrat1

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That's the pedal I use and recommend. It will change your piano notes from "Dink!" to "Dinnnngggg..."

Great multifunction pedal that also has about a hundred other FX.

A must if you're playing old 60's and 70's stuff.

Gary ;)
 
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thank you for educating me on "envelope" too. that's not a term I'm familiar with or know. although I do see it used here often.
Yeah, basically, envelope is just what happens to the sound over time. We're talking about it in terms of how it applies to amplitude (volume), but other things can have envelopes because volume isn't the only aspect of sound that can change over time, e.g. filter cutoff frequency (brightness) and pitch can change over time as well, and so keyboards may provide envelopes for those things, too. The most common common envelope settings for synths are attack time, decay time, sustain level, and release time, as illustrated below, but some systems provide for more control than that.

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But also, when a sound is sampled (recorded) from a "real-world" source (like a piano), some elements of its naturally occurring envelope can be maintained, regardless of any envelope settings.

but yes, after reading your post, I think I want to have the note sonically sustain longer after I press the key. on my Yamaha it currently disappears so quickly which can be frustrating when taking solos.
Yes, it is a common problem that piano notes on keyboards don't sustain as long as the real pianos do. Real piano envelopes are complex to reproduce, and there are compromises made... especially on older keyboards that had less memory and so relied more on loops.

as one other member pointed out, it might be wise to get a pedal that can add a sustain effect. IE, FX pedal like the zoom ms70cdr
I'm not familiar with such pedals. I'm skeptical, but Gary likes it...
 
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If adjusting the envelope is critical to you then perhaps the Nord is not the keyboard for you sinces its range of adjustments specifically for note decay is limited.

You may be better looking at a workstation where parameter adjustments in particular the note envelope are infinitely adjustable.

BTW, the Zoom pedal you quote will do the job but do note that Zoom products whilst pretty good for their price point, they are imo not of the best quality. I have used a few in my guitar rig only to change them for other makes until I moved over to a multi effects board in the Boss GT100.

I have hooked up both my pedal board setup and my GT100 to my keyboard and the array of adjustments to the sounds and fx went through the roof. Alas I no longer have my guitar rig so cannot try to replicate what you seek.
 
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If adjusting the envelope is critical to you then perhaps the Nord is not the keyboard for you sinces its range of adjustments specifically for note decay is limited.
I believe his entire interest in being able to adjust envelope (e.g. decay, release) is to get the pianos to behave the way he wants... and I'd say it's very possible (likely, even) that the Nord will give him the better pianos compared to most other keyboards regardless of their envelope controls. Nord has among the best pianos, and you don't need controls to fix something if it's not broken. ;-)

(Also, synth-type ADSR is limited in its ability to improve the envelope of a piano sample, since often so much of a piano patch's response is "baked into" the sound as provided by the factory.)
 
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I believe his entire interest in being able to adjust envelope (e.g. decay, release) is to get the pianos to behave the way he wants... and I'd say it's very possible (likely, even) that the Nord will give him the better pianos compared to most other keyboards regardless of their envelope controls. Nord has among the best pianos, and you don't need controls to fix something if it's not broken. ;-)

(Also, synth-type ADSR is limited in its ability to improve the envelope of a piano sample, since often so much of a piano patch's response is "baked into" the sound as provided by the factory.)
That is not how I see it.

The Op has to have tried and or watched reviews of a Nord Stage and surely if he was happy with what he has heard then why ask the question of decay adjustment?

I agree though the Nord Stage does sound great and I have heard the sales guy in my local store playing one just for pleasure and extolling the virture of the sound even knowing one was not on my wish list.

The cheapish Korg Kross 2 that I had for a while had a fully adjustable envelope especially attack, decay and release by individual control of said parameter. Hence you final comment is not really valid for all
 
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That is not how I see it.

The Op has to have tried and or watched reviews of a Nord Stage and surely if he was happy with what he has heard then why ask the question of decay adjustment?
Some more context... Before his post here, he posted at https://www.keyboardforums.com/thre...-piano-can-i-control-decay.33918/#post-227936 - He owns a CP33 and is unhappy with its envelope (decay, release, or both) - that's what really started the whole conversation, so I would not assume that he has yet concluded that the Nord is unsatisfactory as is, as opposed to being sensitive to the topic based on his experience with the CP33. He even said right in the post here, "this has been a chief criticism of boards I've own in the past." My take on it is that, based on his personal experience, he'd like to have the kind of control that he lacks on his CP33... but that doesn't mean he'll necessarily need it, i.e. on a board that has a more satisfactory piano sound to begin with.

Online videos may be insufficient to fully evaluate this aspect, since not only are there numerous different piano sounds available in the Nords, but also the people demonstrating online may or may not have the Long Release enabled, and likely won't have mentioned which setting they're using for their demo. But if he does try a Nord in a store, at least now he knows that there is a Long Release control he can check out.

(I also suspect he's looking at a Nord Piano rather than a Nord Stage, though I admit that is not entirely clear.)

The cheapish Korg Kross 2 that I had for a while had a fully adjustable envelope especially attack, decay and release by individual control of said parameter. Hence you final comment is not really valid for all
I said "often", not "all" -- it depends not just on the board, but also which aspect of the envelope you're trying to adjust. Maybe I was not clear enough in what I was trying to explain. Sure, the Kross has those controls, but for example, the initial fall-off from the attack is part of the sample as provided by Korg (a combination of the characteristics of the particular piano, how they recorded it and how they looped it), and if you find that fall-off too quick, for example, there is likely no Kross ADSR function that will really let you fix that. That's an example of what I meant when I said, "synth-type ADSR is limited in its ability to improve the envelope of a piano sample, since often so much of a piano patch's response is 'baked into' the sound as provided by the factory." There's even a further variable that you may feel the envelope need to be adjusted differently in different key ranges (like, maybe there's only a couple of octaves where the decay seems off to you), and boards generally don't let you get that granular. ADSR controls are very useful on multi-sound boards for many purposes, but I wouldn't rely on them too much for making piano patches play more realistically or to your taste.
 
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This is a great discussion about things I have always been unclear about, so thanks all! Leaves me with a couple more questions:

In the case of a sampled piano sound, is it true to say that sustain and decay are inextricably linked qualities, and basically baked into the sample? Do I have that right?

Are piano sounds always sampled? How does this apply to the Roland Supernatural engine? Are Nord pianos sampled?

So back to this: why is it so difficult for a board to get piano sustain /decay levels to a realistic length or level? Is it all about digitizing resolution and frequency, and requiring high memory /processing capabilities? It seems so weird to me that you can have a board that had a lot of polyphony, makes a good piano sound, but has a hard time with sustain /decay.

Thanks! Jeremy
 
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In the case of a sampled piano sound, is it true to say that sustain and decay are inextricably linked qualities

That's not a yes or no question. It depends on the keyboard, and how you're using the word sustain, and how you're using the word decay. ;-) If you're talking about the sustain level of the envelope, for a piano sound, it's always zero (because if you hold down the key, it always eventually fades to nothingness). If you're talking about the function of the sustain pedal, that makes a key behave as if you were holding it down even after you let go. What you're actually hearing at that point, though--whether because the sustain pedal is depressed OR because or finger is till on the key--is the decay portion of the envelope.

and basically baked into the sample?

For a sampled piano sound, if it is looped, then some portion of the decay is baked into the sample and the rest is programmed in. If it is a "loopless" sample, then an entire decay is baked in. Either way, you may be able to alter it somewhat with subsequent envelope processing, compression, or other programming, but certain characteristics will remain baked in.

Are piano sounds always sampled?

No, some are modeled, and some use a combination of techniques.

How does this apply to the Roland Supernatural engine?

Roland has multiple SuperNATURAL pianos. Originally, they were a sampled/modeled hybrid, but as I understand it, the FP-90 may have had an entirely modeled implementation. At least all the rest include sampling, though, afaik. Leaving SuperNATURAL, their V-Piano is entirely modeled, as I believe is the "Pure Acoustic Piano Modeling" engine of the FP-90X.

Are Nord pianos sampled?

yes.

So back to this: why is it so difficult for a board to get piano sustain /decay levels to a realistic length or level? Is it all about digitizing resolution and frequency, and requiring high memory /processing capabilities? It seems so weird to me that you can have a board that had a lot of polyphony, makes a good piano sound, but has a hard time with sustain /decay.

There are a number of variables. The qualities of the original piano that was sampled, the miking techniques, the experience of the engineer and the programmers who then manipulate those samples, at least. Looping is a tricky thing. And avoiding looping requires enormous amounts of memory (certainly by keyboard standards), OR a hardware/software operating environment that can stream samples in real time from storage.
 
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for a piano sound, it's always zero
Thanks Scott. So the term "sustain" as typically applied to an acoustic piano (finger on the key or damper pedal pressed) is actually "decay" in the ADSR envelope description, and an acoustic piano sound does not have an ADSR "sustain" component. True?

For a sampled piano sound, if it is looped...
Does "looped" mean the sample is, say, 1 sec long, and they repeat it at lower and lower volumes to simulate the "decay"? Loopless, would that mean that the each sample has to last many seconds in order to actually capture the acoustic piano's full decay? So loopless would be more accurate, but much much more memory intensive?

V-Piano is entirely modeled
Does this give them complete control over the decay? Do these instruments have a longer, more natural sounding decay?

Thanks!
 
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Thanks Scott. So the term "sustain" as typically applied to an acoustic piano (finger on the key or damper pedal pressed) is actually "decay" in the ADSR envelope description, and an acoustic piano sound does not have an ADSR "sustain" component. True?
Basically, yes. I mentioned earlier that envelopes can have both time and level parameters. There is no "sustain level" to a piano after the key is struck. You hear only "decay" until you left your finger off the key or release the pedal. (The decay rate is not entirely linear which is why simple envelopes can't capture it. There is a ton of rapid fall off at the beginning, and a more gradual fall-off thereafter.)

Does "looped" mean the sample is, say, 1 sec long, and they repeat it at lower and lower volumes to simulate the "decay"?
Close. They don't repeat the entire first second, because you never want to hear the initial attack again. They pick up the sound a bit later, after a substantial decay to a lower level, and loop a small portion from there, fading it over time.

Loopless, would that mean that the each sample has to last many seconds in order to actually capture the acoustic piano's full decay? So loopless would be more accurate, but much much more memory intensive?
Right.

Does this give them complete control over the decay?
Not really... the main source of the decay sound of an unlooped piano sample is determined by the piano itself, that's out of anyone's control... though it can be tweaked some through programming/processing.

Do these instruments have a longer, more natural sounding decay?
More natural sounding is the goal. Whether it's always achieved is up to your ears. Whether it's longer? I don't know. You can artificially create a very long decay, I imagine some looped models could have very long decays, I don't know. But increasing decay length and maintaining realism is another challenge, because as I said, the behavior of the real thing is not linear (in either level changes or in frequency response changes, I believe).
 
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happyrat1

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I dunno the modelling characteristics of the Kronos but envelope modelling is available if you are willing to pay for it.

Gary ;)
 
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I just bought the Stage 5 and they have a REVERB knob function that satisfies all my needs! I love it!

great piano feel and finally a great dial to control how much reverb/sustain each note gets after hitting it.

it gives a WET sound, much like you would put reverb on your VOX.

I went to a guitar center and played with it before I bought it. I was sold!
 

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