Pianissimo - doesn't sound as good as recorded piece

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In my attempt to get softer sound from my keyboard, I tried yet another virtual piano SW - Pianissimo. My keyboard is yamaha psr-e353.

But
unfortunately, I again did not get similar kind of soft sound that I wanted. But the quality of sound from pre-loaded music piece that comes with the application sounds beautiful. That gives me hope that I might be eventually be able to get the sound I want. But the point is that I don't see many settings that need to be done. I tried chorus and reverb that caused certain modifications in the output, but nothing close to demo piece.

Is there something obvious I am missing?
 

Fred Coulter

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It is harder to get the full piano dynamics of a piano using a non-weighted keyboard. Not impossible, just harder. The PSR-E353 has a non-weighted keyboard. If you've got a friend with a weighted key controller, perhaps you could borrow it and see if it sounds better.

I'm not at all sure what the solution would be. (Other than getting yourself an 88 key controller. I'm assuming you don't want to spend money if you can avoid it.)

I'm assuming that the preloaded piece is played by a sequencer, using the same audio drivers as Pianissimo, and is not just a saved audio file.
 
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No, and I think that could be the difference. When I play, the driver is ASIO, but the preloaded piece is played using Windows default driver. And no, the music piece is not a saved audio file.
 
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Manish

If you have not already done so, follow the instructions on Page 40 of the manual, and try adjusting Function 007 - "Touch Response". That will give you some control over the playing dynamics that Fred is referring to above. It is still not as good as you would get from a weighted action keyboard, but may get you a little closer to what you are looking for. Keep in mind that you may need to change this adjustment as you select different tones, as each tone has its own dynamic response characteristics. As you develop a palette of favorite tones, you can save them along with the appropriate Touch Response setting and most other keyboard settings into Registrations for quick recall.
 
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SeaGtGruff

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What is the demo piece you're trying to emulate the sound of? Is it a demo song that's built into the PSR-E353, or is it some other file that you've downloaded? And is it MIDI or something else?

If it's one of the songs that's built into the keyboard, there is unfortunately no way to output it to a computer to see what's being done to get the desired sound, because the built-in songs are protected to prevent them from being output via MIDI.

But if it's a MIDI file that you've downloaded from somewhere, then we can look at the file in a MIDI editor to see what MIDI messages it's using to get the desired sound.
 
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The demo piece I am talking about is the one that is bundled with Pianissimo, not of the keyboard.
 

SeaGtGruff

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Pianissimo has a number of parameters that you can set-- not just reverb and chorus, but also things like velocity curve, piano lid, tone controls, and sympathetic resonance. If you're trying to get a softer sound then I'd recommend experimenting with the velocity curve first, as well as the touch sensitivity setting on your PSR-E353. Once you've got the velocity/touch more or less where you like it, try experimenting with the other settings.
 
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Manish said: "The demo piece I am talking about is the one that is bundled with Pianissimo, not of the keyboard."

And now, I am afraid that we may well be back to what Fred was alluding to, to begin with. Whether that Pianissimo demo is a MIDI demo or an audio demo, it was most likely ultimately made using an 88 key weighted hammer action keyboard. You should still try the recommendations we have made, so far, but the full range playing dynamics in that demo are going to be difficult for the PSR-353 to duplicate from its own keybed.
 

SeaGtGruff

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Yes, with the differences in the keybeds, about the only thing that can be done when using the PSR-E353 or similar synth-action, unweighted keyboard is to try different touch sensitivity settings on the keyboard and velocity curves in the virtual instrument. Synth-style keyboards just aren't designed for "tinkling the ivories" with a light touch.
 
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Thanks. I will try, and I also get the feeling that SW can go only so far - instrument makes a lot of difference. I was thinking a good SW can make even a cheap instrument sound amazing. Wishful thinking, I guess. :(
 
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Most likely the PSR-353's sound engine would come very close to responding to the full range (0 - 127) of MIDI velocity levels - probably closer than most of us would guess. That part of the technology has come a long way in the past few years, but as we have already discussed, its problem is the keybed. At the low (soft) end, the PSR-353's keybed would cease generating signals to the sound engine while a real piano or a weighted keybed would still produce a very soft audible sound. At the other (hard) end, one of two things happen. A real piano will generate a sort of "twang" on the middle to lower notes, when struck very hard, or the wooden hammer mechanism will produce a very audible "clunk" when the higher notes are struck with the same force. The PSR-353's keybed would either never reach this threshold to produce these sounds (most likely) or would reach this threshold way too soon (least likely). Where a good weighted hammer action keybed might be able to reliably produce velocity values of 10 or 20 to 110 or 120, the PSR-353 would probably only be able to produce 20 or 30 to 90 or 100. So you can see, whether you are using the PSR-353's internal sound engine or an external sound module or software sound engine, your playing dynamics are still limited by the dynamic response capabilities of the PSR-353's keybed. Whatever the case, I think if you follow Michael's (SeaGtGruff's) suggestions, you will certainly notice an improvement, with just your current setup, over what you have been getting.

Now, so that we don't leave you feeling like we have pulled the rug out from under you, I will tell you an anecdote. Some years ago, a very animated Dutch fellow by the name of Bert Smorenburg, who normally demos high end Yamaha gear, and has a reputation on several forums as having the ability to sell rectangular tires, introduced an entry level Yamaha synth with several wave samples from the original Motif model and a set of DJ type real time sound controls. It was known as the MM6, and provided the proto-type for the current PSR-E4X3 models. It also introduced the body-shell style for the current PSR-E3XX and E4XX model lines. I have a very strong feeling that it also used the same, or very similar, keybed as these current models. Typical of Bert's demos, he started with the marquee grand piano voice. You would not believe the dynamics he got from that keyboard. The point is, if you can learn to live with your keyboard's limitations, you can learn to exploit them to their utmost.

Best of luck !

Regards,

Ted
 
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Bert Smorenburg on the Yamaha MM6:


(Makes me wish I still had mine !)

As I think about it, the MM6 may have had a little bit better keyboard, than I discussed above. The current PSR-E4X3's go for around $300 USD ($400 USD for the 76 key EW400), but I paid right around $600 for my MM6 9 or 10 years ago. Even so, I think some of that difference in price went for the Motif wave samples and the PSR-3000's advanced articulation Mega Voices. Still, I think the video shows what can be done with a low end keyboard with enough familiarization and practice.
 
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