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#1897310 - 02/24/08 09:03 AM Looking for the best piano sound module?
Kevinp Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 4
Hello everyone, I am new to the forum.

I retired from playing music when I got married and had some children, now that I have some time to play again I want to get back into getting a new rig set up. I haven't followed the new trends in keyboards so I need some advise in looking for a sound module that has great acoustic piano sounds.

I still have my Korg MKB1000 controller, Casio VZ10M and Oberheim Matrix6R. I sold everything else years ago.

I would prefer a sound module, but I would enteratin another keyboard as well.

Any suggestions?

Thanks

Kevin

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#1897312 - 02/24/08 09:18 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Kevinp]
Mike Martin Offline
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Registered: 01/10/01
Posts: 2651
Loc: Naperville, Ilinois
Kevin,
Are you going to be gigging or is this for home studio use? Do you have a computer and an I/O thats capable of running soft synths? There are many options if you go that route. Otherwise:

My first instict would be this -
http://www.kurzweilmusicsystems.com/Product.php?product=55
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#1897317 - 02/24/08 09:22 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Mike Martin]
Kevinp Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 4
Mike, it would be for home use for now as I need to get back into the practice routine and I want to have my kids use it for their practice as well.

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#1897323 - 02/24/08 09:32 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Kevinp]
Sven Golly Offline
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Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 10399
Loc: Toronto, ON
Kevin:

Firstly, welcome to the forum. I don't want to alarm you, but (to paraphrase a classic film) "you aren't in Kansas anymore, Dorothy." ;\)

Basically what I mean is that the old world of controllers and modules doesn't *really* exist anymore, at least not in the way you remember it. Modules are somewhat scarcer than they used to be, while workstations stretch out across the landscape as far as the eye can see. ;\)

Any module that's out there will invariably be a version of one of the 'do-it-all' workstations available (Motif, Fantom, Triton are some recent examples). Not really any dedicated piano modules to speak of... except one.

The one I'm speaking of is the GeneralMusic (GEM) RP-X Piano Module. Yes, it looks like something from 1989, but that just means it won't stick out like a sore thumb with your current rig... ;\)

The Kurzweil that Mike mentions above isn't a dedicated piano module, as it has your bread&butter sounds (strings, brass, drums, etc) as well, but it's a very capable unit. The Kurzweil piano sound is revered by some, reviled by others, but there are plenty of pros using it on stages and in studios around the world, so it may be perfect for you. \:\)

Alternately, you could do what many players are doing (especially those that are home- or studio-based players): use a software piano on a laptop or desktop computer. Examples of this are Synthogy Ivory and East/West Bosendorfer 290.

Good luck, and welcome back to playing!


Edited by Sven Golly (02/24/08 09:36 AM)
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#1897333 - 02/24/08 09:38 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Sven Golly]
Kevinp Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 4
Sven thanks for the info. I am looking forward to getting back into the groove. Any other suggestions on what brand/s have the best piano sounds? I had a Korg M1 and liked the acoustic piano on it.

KP

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#1897338 - 02/24/08 09:43 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Sven Golly]
Moonglow Offline
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Registered: 03/15/03
Posts: 3533
Loc: Northwest Indiana
 Originally Posted By: Sven Golly
.....The one I'm speaking of is the GeneralMusic (GEM) RP-X Piano Module....

+1. Been using a GEM-RPX for nearly one year now and have been very satisfied. Oh, and welcome to the forum!
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#1897341 - 02/24/08 09:46 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Kevinp]
Sven Golly Offline
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Registered: 11/12/03
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Loc: Toronto, ON
 Originally Posted By: Kevinp
I had a Korg M1 and liked the acoustic piano on it.




Frankly, and with all due respect, I have no idea what to say to that.

My suggestion is to pop on down to a local music instrument retailer and spend a few minutes with the Yamaha Motif, Roland Fantom, and Kurzweil ME-1 (if you can find the latter). Your ears will thank you.

Oh, and spend a few minutes over at Purgatory Creek and check out the wonderful Digital Piano Shootout to hear what the current (and not-so-current) piano sounds are like. Just a wee bit better than the ol' M1.
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#1897407 - 02/24/08 11:39 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Sven Golly]
Bobadohshe Offline
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Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 4654
Loc: San Diego / Los Angeles
 Originally Posted By: Sven Golly
 Originally Posted By: Kevinp
I had a Korg M1 and liked the acoustic piano on it.







+1. That's hilarious.

I think you will be very pleasantly surprised by what technology has to offer today. Even if what you're saying is that you prefer the brighter sound that cuts through, there are still alternatives a million times better than the M1 these days. I don't even use an M1 piano sound when I need an M1 piano sound!

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#1897458 - 02/24/08 01:09 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Bobadohshe]
Kevinp Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 4
Thanks for the advise everyone.

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#1897463 - 02/24/08 01:17 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Kevinp]
bloodyMary Offline
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Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 1785
Loc: Israel
I suggest you try a digital piano, if piano sound/feel is your main goal.

Also, what's your budget?

And yeah, just about any modern keyboard will emulate piano sound better than Korg M1 - 20 years of development...
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#1897585 - 02/24/08 05:53 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: bloodyMary]
Moonglow Offline
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Registered: 03/15/03
Posts: 3533
Loc: Northwest Indiana
...maybe he's in a Reggae band.
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#1897593 - 02/24/08 06:10 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Moonglow]
marlene2k3 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 6
Loc: NE China
Try some soft synth like Steinberg The Grand 2, EastWest Bosendorfer 290 and also Native Instruments Akoustik Piano.
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#1897664 - 02/24/08 08:23 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: marlene2k3]
Karl Sutton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 415
Loc: Mount Juliet, TN
some of the Casio Privia's aren't bad options either
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#1897697 - 02/24/08 10:28 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Kevinp]
Tobbe Offline
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Registered: 02/13/07
Posts: 1706
Loc: Írebro, Sweden
+1 for the GEM RP-X! If you're going for hardware. The RP-X is mainly a piano module, but is also good at Rhodes, Wurlies and Clavs. Also it got some really nice pads for layering with the pianos.

If you want more than just pianos the Yamaha Motif ES rack would be a nice choice, I think. Then you got all kinds of sounds you need. Also the Roland SonicCell might be an alternative.

If you're going for software instead - I can highly recommend TruePianos (a video demo can be found here). It's definitely one of the best sampled/modelled pianos I've tried and in contrast to the multi gigabyte libraries mentioned above, this one only uses about 90 MB per piano.

Good luck!
_________________________
Main rig: Nord Stage 2 sw73 with Vent/Burn, Leslie 3300, Korg M3-88, iPad, TC VL Touch, EV ZXa1. K&M stands.

At home: Ham Concorde, Kurz PC88, Korg TR76, EHX V256 vocoder, Yam EX5R and much more...

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#1897703 - 02/24/08 11:02 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Moonglow]
Bobadohshe Offline
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Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 4654
Loc: San Diego / Los Angeles
 Originally Posted By: Moonglow
...maybe he's in a Reggae band.


Yeah but so am I and like I said, even for the M1 sound I don't use an M1! I use a superbright piano from the Motif XS. It's better!

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#1897720 - 02/25/08 01:46 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: bloodyMary]
Dave Horne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/01
Posts: 9148
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
 Originally Posted By: bloodyMary
I suggest you try a digital piano, if piano sound/feel is your main goal.


That's the route I'd go.

About eight or nine years ago I walked into a music store and asked which piano had the best acoustic piano sound. The guy pointed to a Yamaha P200 I believe. I played it a for a few minutes but was less than thrilled. Without first consulting here I thought I knew the way to go - buy a sampler, a CD ROM of piano sounds ... and then have even more shit to carry around on jobs. I bought a well known 'Perfect' piano CD ROM ($400+) and was never happy with it.

The bottom line, I should have spent more time with that P200 stage piano.

I have since sold my loaded Akai S5000 sampler, CD ROM, the extra flight case that held that stuff and bought, at that time, a Yamaha P250 stage piano. I wasn't 100 percent happy with the piano sound but I could play an entire job without getting tired of its sound.

I have since sold that P250 and bought a Yamaha CP300. The CP300 is better than the P250 but I have an issue with six notes that have a slight buzz to them. (I'm sure the original Yamaha Grand piano that was sampled for the CP300 had that flaw as well .... but I can hear it and it annoys me when the piano is set up at home. On jobs I don't hear it at all.)

So, to the original poster, you might want to mosey on down to your local music store and try the latest stage piano from a handful of companies. Try the Roland RD700 SX, the Yamaha CP300 ... and anything else in that price range. The RD700 SX will have more fun things to play with than the CP300. Spend a lot of time, ask a lot of questions, come back and ask more and keep us posted on your journey.

Remember if you're not 100 percent thrilled with the sounds you hear, you can always edit the sound as there are a ton of adjustments you can make. (Whenever I play a CP300 in a store I almost always edit the sound for the next guy who will test drive the piano. The reverb setting and the choice of reverb for the CP300 default piano sound is too dry.)

This was the path I took .... others have taken another path.
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#1897726 - 02/25/08 02:11 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Dave Horne]
Tobbe Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/13/07
Posts: 1706
Loc: Írebro, Sweden
 Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
 Originally Posted By: bloodyMary
I suggest you try a digital piano, if piano sound/feel is your main goal.

So, to the original poster, you might want to mosey on down to your local music store and try the latest stage piano from a handful of companies. Try the Roland RD700 SX, the Yamaha CP300 ... and anything else in that price range. The RD700 SX will have more fun things to play with than the CP300. Spend a lot of time, ask a lot of questions, come back and ask more and keep us posted on your journey.

Good idea - but if you decide to go for a new digital stage piano, you might wanna wait for the new Roland RD700GX. It seems really interresting!
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Main rig: Nord Stage 2 sw73 with Vent/Burn, Leslie 3300, Korg M3-88, iPad, TC VL Touch, EV ZXa1. K&M stands.

At home: Ham Concorde, Kurz PC88, Korg TR76, EHX V256 vocoder, Yam EX5R and much more...

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#1897792 - 02/25/08 06:10 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Bobadohshe]
Moonglow Offline
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Registered: 03/15/03
Posts: 3533
Loc: Northwest Indiana
 Originally Posted By: Bobadohshe
 Originally Posted By: Moonglow
...maybe he's in a Reggae band.


Yeah but so am I and like I said, even for the M1 sound I don't use an M1! I use a superbright piano from the Motif XS. It's better!

_________________________
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
- George Bernard Shaw

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#1897837 - 02/25/08 07:18 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Dave Horne]
Floyd Tatum Offline
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Registered: 10/14/00
Posts: 3091
Loc: Toronto, Ont., Canada
 Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
So, to the original poster, you might want to mosey on down to your local music store and try the latest stage piano from a handful of companies.

-- snip --


Good advice, DH. I don't get the reverb thing, but whatever. I always turn reverb, and all other effects off when I'm auditioning dp's. And I usually leave them off on gigs too. We all have our own ways....

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#1897840 - 02/25/08 07:21 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Floyd Tatum]
Floyd Tatum Offline
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Registered: 10/14/00
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The way I look at that M1 piano sound is, that it's become an identifiable sound in its own right. Kind of like the DX rhodes sound - it started life as a rhodes imitation, and ended up as an icon.

The M1 piano hasn't reached that height of fame, but it has similarities - it started life as a piano imitation, never really sounded like a piano, and is now an identifiable entity in its own right. From that point of view, I like it, too.

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#1897896 - 02/25/08 08:40 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Floyd Tatum]
BluesKeys Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 3404
Loc: Raleigh, NC
All good advice from those before me, so all I have is my 2 cents worth.

+1 for the GEM RP-x ... I have used it for a little less than a year for live and studio work. I like this unit more everytime I play it. For Studio work it has several usable acoustic piano sounds and the EP record great too.

I also like the CP300 and RD700sx so you should spend an afternoon at your local music store and compare all of these you can find.

Happy hunting....

OH BTW, Welcome to the forum, please let us know what you decide.
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Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho
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#1897909 - 02/25/08 09:03 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Kevinp]
area51recording Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 1160
Loc: Newburgh,IN
RP-x. If you want a GREAT sounding piano, I'd have to agree w/many here and say buy one of these and don't look back. Excellent pianos in a 1/2 rack box.

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#1897929 - 02/25/08 09:44 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: area51recording]
SK Offline
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Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 4067
Loc: North America
My (subjective!) impressions: since I've had the Roland 700SX, the FP4 and the GEM RP-X module. I kept the FP4 - sold the others. I was able to compare all of them extensively at home to make my decision. The SX was excellent, but too heavy, and without some of the features I liked on the FP4.

The GEM sounded nice - best through headphones, and pretty good through speakers. The string resonance was very strong, with an almost hypnotic quality to it. I was encouraged, thinking this might be the one to go with.

After directly A/B'ing the Gem module with the Roland stage piano sounds, the "presence" of the main Roland stage piano sample blew the GEM away. In comparison, the attractive GEM sound was thin and weak. This has a lot to do with the sound processing found in stage pianos. The GEM sounded like a recording of a piano, while the stage pianos sounded more like a real piano in the room.

For that reason, undoubtedly the new Roland GX or the CP300 would also sound more realistic than the GEM. But the GEM has an impressive sound that you can be happy with, when there's no possibility of direct comparison to a good stage piano.

So my advice would be to compare them, if you have the opportunity. This isn't to say that the GEM will not be fully satisfying for many people.

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#1898044 - 02/25/08 11:18 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: SK]
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 05/15/04
Posts: 4716
What sk just said, +1
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#1898523 - 02/25/08 09:00 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: Jazz+]
gangsu Offline
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Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 4613
Oh reaeaeaeallllllly.

It's a challenge.

Ok let's see what you've got, Jazz+. You and me. Now. You pick the tune. I'll play the GEM and you play the generic stage piano.

Man, you got me in a knot here, SK.

Sheesh.

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#1898524 - 02/25/08 09:09 PM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: gangsu]
gangsu Offline
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Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 4613
love those "online" smilies
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#1898628 - 02/26/08 05:59 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: gangsu]
BluesKeys Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 3404
Loc: Raleigh, NC
Also keep in mind all the pianos are tweakable.

The GEM is more tweakable with the computer hook up. I will say I was not thrilled with mine right out of the box. But with the help of their former rep Dave McM I was able to tweak it to sound great through my EONS and those same tweaks record very well.

I find my Roland RD700 has a clunk sound to it especially in the upper register but I believe the RD700SX fixed that.
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Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho
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#1899573 - 02/27/08 08:57 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: BluesKeys]
area51recording Offline
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Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 1160
Loc: Newburgh,IN
BluesKeys, just curious-what tweaks did you apply to the RP-x?

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#1899588 - 02/27/08 09:15 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: area51recording]
BluesKeys Offline
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Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 3404
Loc: Raleigh, NC
 Originally Posted By: area51recording
BluesKeys, just curious-what tweaks did you apply to the RP-x?


This is where I started and I can't remember if I did some extra tweaking.

I still like the Fisoli sound so that's where I started (Perf #1). For the EQ adjustments I set Band 2 to Gain=54, Freq=51 and Q=0. This pulls out the muddy midrange being accentuated by the horn of the EON. Then I set Band 4 to Gain=86, Freq=105 and Q=0 and the High Band Shelving to Gain=96, Freq=101. This brings out the upper register a bit more.


I got this from Dave who is truly the expert. There are tons more tweaks you can do but I never went back into it after this.


Edited by BluesKeys (02/27/08 09:17 AM)
Edit Reason: looked back to see you own one.
_________________________
Jimmy

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho
NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT
www.themaineventband.com
www.handsofmassage.com

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#1899623 - 02/27/08 09:44 AM Re: Looking for the best piano sound module? [Re: BluesKeys]
area51recording Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 1160
Loc: Newburgh,IN
Thanks Jim. I was curious because I noticed you use EONs like me and I'm thrilled w/the RP-x but as you know you can always "dial it in" a bit more!

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