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Pianos on Nord #2988559 05/07/19 06:14 PM
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I don't normally use my Nord Stage for acoustic piano, but I do sometimes when I want to take just one keyboard. The issue is that the pianos don't really work for me - even though when I hear other people use pianos on Nord, I think they sound great.

One issue is that my Nord isn't hammer action, but independent of that I'm not keen on the sound. I recently loaded the Royal Grand into it, and I like that more than any of the default included pianos, but still I'm not that keen on the sound, particularly when playing in a band. I've tried EQing, but haven't got good results from that.

So I would appreciate some input. Anything I can do to tweak the sounds? Or is it just a case of taking more time to get used to the sounds?

Neil

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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: FXM] #2988561 05/07/19 06:19 PM
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In a blues/rock band, I prefer to use the Bright Grand and sometimes the Studio Grand. I think they cut through better.


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: Math&Music] #2988562 05/07/19 06:21 PM
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EQ more, try different approaches with the EQ...took me some time to get what I liked out of my NE5D's Nord Pianos


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: Math&Music] #2988563 05/07/19 06:26 PM
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Welcome to the world of Nord.

Where:

- you always hate the sound of the piano on stage
- everybody tells you how great the piano sounds in the room or on the recording
- you are always left unsatisfied playing it because the finger to ear connection is particularly lacking.

In my rock band, I prefer upright piano sounds to grand sounds for my default piano. In fact, I layer two of them to get more girth and looseness of tuning. I use the ancient bright Rain Piano along with the Bambino Baldwin.


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: mate stubb] #2988568 05/07/19 06:46 PM
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Long-time Nord AP player, big fan. My biases are self-evident.

Amplification matters much more than with other boards. You get raw AP samples, the rest is up to you. Other boards can sound better through mediocre amplification. The better your amplification, the less tweaking you will have to do (EQ, compression, etc.)

When I'm playing through really nice amplification, I have zero EQ and maybe a bit of subtle reverb -- and that's it. Put a pair of decent PA speakers behind you on poles (e.g. QSC K8.2) and prepare for a serious immersive experience.

Most of the AP voices cut through nicely as a result, plus there's tons of subtlety for those dramatic moments.

And if you're playing mono, use the mono button, it will make a difference.

I see that people often complain about the finger-ear connection. I play Nord weighted boards, and have zero complaints. I enjoy playing my NP2 and my newer NP4. OK, when it's hot and humid, it can sometimes get slippery.

I have every right to complain as I have this amazing acoustic grand sitting in my living room. Just not an issue for me.

Layering pianos on pianos is cool. Especially with an octave shift. Layering a bit of pad behind the piano is also cool (plucked, woodwinds, chorale, organ, etc.)

I routinely try other AP-centric boards (notably Yamahas and Kawais) but haven't found anything (yet) that would make me switch.

Color me happy?


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: FXM] #2988569 05/07/19 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted By: FXM
I don't normally use my Nord Stage for acoustic piano, but I do sometimes when I want to take just one keyboard. The issue is that the pianos don't really work for me - even though when I hear other people use pianos on Nord, I think they sound great.
What is the piano you DO like (i.e. when you take two keyboards)?

The ideas of checking out the uprights and of layering two pianos are good ways to expand the palette...


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: mate stubb] #2988571 05/07/19 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted By: mate stubb
Welcome to the world of Nord.

Where:

- you always hate the sound of the piano on stage
- everybody tells you how great the piano sounds in the room or on the recording
- you are always left unsatisfied playing it because the finger to ear connection is particularly lacking.

In my rock band, I prefer upright piano sounds to grand sounds for my default piano. In fact, I layer two of them to get more girth and looseness of tuning. I use the ancient bright Rain Piano along with the Bambino Baldwin.


I'm fairly new to this world (@ 6months) and I get the same stuff - sound man gushes about the piano, and I think it's sounding rather plain and unremarkable.
Been liking the Queen Upright and using here & there. Maybe I'll try more uprights, like the ones you suggest.


"Don't get drunk on the job, and don't play cards afterwards." - Walter Goerg
Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: cphollis] #2988577 05/07/19 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted By: cphollis

Amplification matters much more than with other boards.


When I first got the NP88 way back when, I only had a humble Behringer B208D speaker and the Nord's pianos sounded fine on that. I have owned four other powered speakers since, and none of them sounded right with the NP.

I really dig how it sounds on quality studio speakers, but getting it to feel right on gigs was always a challenge.

However, I must say I have similar issues with the otherwise superb piano sounds in the MODX, so maybe it's not Nord-specific. My best guess right now is that there's something about the sound of an acoustic piano that just doesn't go well with your typical powered speaker.

I don't often have issues with EP, synth, organ, or aux sounds.

Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: mate stubb] #2988588 05/07/19 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted By: mate stubb
Welcome to the world of Nord.

Where:

- you always hate the sound of the piano on stage
- everybody tells you how great the piano sounds in the room or on the recording
- you are always left unsatisfied playing it because the finger to ear connection is particularly lacking.

In my rock band, I prefer upright piano sounds to grand sounds for my default piano. In fact, I layer two of them to get more girth and looseness of tuning. I use the ancient bright Rain Piano along with the Bambino Baldwin.


Feel the same way.

For me it goes downhill with the attack. Not sure how to explain.

Most YouTube comparos, it rightfully wins. It just not my cup of noodles.


AG N2 | PX S3000 | GK MK & MP amps
Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: mate stubb] #2988594 05/07/19 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted By: mate stubb
Welcome to the world of Nord.

Where:

- you always hate the sound of the piano on stage
- everybody tells you how great the piano sounds in the room or on the recording
- you are always left unsatisfied playing it because the finger to ear connection is particularly lacking.

In my rock band, I prefer upright piano sounds to grand sounds for my default piano. In fact, I layer two of them to get more girth and looseness of tuning. I use the ancient bright Rain Piano along with the Bambino Baldwin.

I echo your sentiment. While there's little I have enjoyed as much as sitting at an acoustic grand and going for it, I have quite often layered pianos in the e-world. It seems heretical when phase cancellations alone can yield mud, yet I also learned early on that mixing them delicately delivered the goods. If you seek a serious solo-worthy tool, yeah, you'll go more upscale, but I was amazed at how that measly Mirage piano grew big biceps when layered with a DW8000 "piano" wave. You certainly wouldn't use it for Debussy, but it didn't crap on a lot of rock or livelier jazz at all. ROMpler AC pianos are often far too static, but I concocted a useful one within a single Korg 01W. If you're layering Nord pianos because it serves the band best, congratulations, you're both an actual synthesist and a Nardist. like


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: David Emm] #2988595 05/07/19 08:14 PM
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stepping out..

Last edited by Dave Ferris; 05/08/19 02:46 AM.
Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: cphollis] #2988633 05/08/19 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted By: cphollis
Amplification matters much more than with other boards. You get raw AP samples, the rest is up to you. Other boards can sound better through mediocre amplification. The better your amplification, the less tweaking you will have to do (EQ, compression, etc.)

When I'm playing through really nice amplification, I have zero EQ and maybe a bit of subtle reverb -- and that's it. Put a pair of decent PA speakers behind you on poles (e.g. QSC K8.2) and prepare for a serious immersive experience.


(Great... I finally find a Nord Stage 2 HA76, which should be here by Thursday, and now I see a thread where that great Nord Piano sound doesn't actually feel good to live players? Yikes, say it isn't so.)

I think the type of amplification and speaker matters a lot (can't stand keyboard amps). You've got the QSC K8.2, I've got a QSC K8. I'm thinking of getting a QSC K10.2... in your experience, doesn't a 10" speaker favor the AP sound more than an 8" speaker? How about 12"?

QSC K8.2 = 27lbs
QSC K10.2 = 32lbs
QSC K12.2 = 39lbs

Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: psionic11] #2988640 05/08/19 02:18 AM
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I'm not as experienced as many of the folks on this forum, but after years of careful listening, I'm starting to distinguish what pianos sounds good to me on my Stage Classic 88. My last audition of all the pianos last month took me hours and hours, and I had excellent stereo monitors, which of course is the ideal situation for listening to any DP.

There were some almost close contenders, but overall, enjoying the low register, mids and highs, the Grand Lady D Steinway came away as the mostly uncontested winner for me, which is great seeing as 128 MB for pianos leaves me few options. I like it for rock AND jazz.


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: psionic11] #2988661 05/08/19 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted By: psionic11
Originally Posted By: cphollis
Amplification matters much more than with other boards. You get raw AP samples, the rest is up to you. Other boards can sound better through mediocre amplification. The better your amplification, the less tweaking you will have to do (EQ, compression, etc.)

When I'm playing through really nice amplification, I have zero EQ and maybe a bit of subtle reverb -- and that's it. Put a pair of decent PA speakers behind you on poles (e.g. QSC K8.2) and prepare for a serious immersive experience.


(Great... I finally find a Nord Stage 2 HA76, which should be here by Thursday, and now I see a thread where that great Nord Piano sound doesn't actually feel good to live players? Yikes, say it isn't so.)

I think the type of amplification and speaker matters a lot (can't stand keyboard amps). You've got the QSC K8.2, I've got a QSC K8. I'm thinking of getting a QSC K10.2... in your experience, doesn't a 10" speaker favor the AP sound more than an 8" speaker? How about 12"?

QSC K8.2 = 27lbs
QSC K10.2 = 32lbs
QSC K12.2 = 39lbs


Some of us prefer the 8" speakers to the 10" as the smaller size sounds cleaner and more accurate. The 8" has wider dispersion, and of course is easier to schlep.

The 10" gets you a few more Hz in bass response and a bit less dispersion.

The 12" is a different game entirely in terms of size, weight, dispersion and bass response.

Playing through any of the K.2 series would be great. Stereo if you can.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Keys: NP2, NS3C
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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: cphollis] #2988682 05/08/19 09:50 AM
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Thanks, I'll probably stick with the 10" then for compromise of sound and portability.

From a bass player's point of view, speaker size is a very definable part of your sound. There are both subjective and objective differences between 4x10, 2x12, 1x15, 1x18, etc. This is not only for bottom end tightness and fullness, but also, and more importantly imo, the lower to mid range, which defines much of the character or signature of your sound.

For me, an analogy lies with the differences between large grands versus a home upright. Same notes, same fundamental frequencies, but a large quality of the character and fullness comes from the size of the resonating cavity. Ditto for reproducing piano sounds in various cabinet and speaker sizes. I choose 2x12.

Btw, cphollis, but in your signature you list generic "QSC K.2s"... sure you didn't mean K8.2s. Thx again for the input.

Last edited by psionic11; 05/08/19 09:51 AM.
Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: psionic11] #2988688 05/08/19 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted By: psionic11
Thanks, I'll probably stick with the 10" then for compromise of sound and portability.

From a bass player's point of view, speaker size is a very definable part of your sound. There are both subjective and objective differences between 4x10, 2x12, 1x15, 1x18, etc. This is not only for bottom end tightness and fullness, but also, and more importantly imo, the lower to mid range, which defines much of the character or signature of your sound.

For me, an analogy lies with the differences between large grands versus a home upright. Same notes, same fundamental frequencies, but a large quality of the character and fullness comes from the size of the resonating cavity. Ditto for reproducing piano sounds in various cabinet and speaker sizes. I choose 2x12.

Btw, cphollis, but in your signature you list generic "QSC K.2s"... sure you didn't mean K8.2s. Thx again for the input.


Well, the K8.2s are one of my go-to choices when I want great sound, good portability and flexible placement. A surprising amount of bass content, so much so that I don't want for something larger. I also had the K10.2s and K12.2s at one time (sig is outdated), but sold them off when I realized the K8.2 would do everything I needed.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Keys: NP2, NS3C
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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: cphollis] #2988693 05/08/19 10:49 AM
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I kind of feel the same, though it's early days with my electro 6. I'm still using my (flaky) pc3 as a bottom keyboard and was planning to have it midi'ed to the nord and play pianos...but I'm finding that the Kurzweil piano works just as well if not better for the rock I play...so why not keep it simple.

I run mono so this may be a factor. Part of it too may be that I'm just used to the Kurzweil piano, as long in the tooth as it may be.

The Nord pianos all have a sort of "detuned" or "round" sound to them that may well be a more accurate piano sound than the Kurzweil...I suppose it may be a bit like using a synth string patch for years and then having trouble getting used to sampled strings (obviously they aren't *that* different but same principle!). I've also never heard the Nord pianos from any keyboard other than the waterfall one on the electro, that could make a difference.

Last edited by Stokely; 05/08/19 10:51 AM.
Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: Stokely] #2988699 05/08/19 11:45 AM
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If you care about AP sounds from your Nord, get 2 speakers and run stereo. Place a higher priority on getting 2 speakers, than on how good each individual speaker is. Otherwise, I predict you will find that most of the Nord AP sounds don't work for you, which would be a shame. Nord has not yet put a priority on making their AP sounds work in single speaker mode (whether you use the mono button or not).

A pair of Electrovoice zx-a1 (19 pounds each) would be better than a single QSC 8.2, even though the QSC 8.2 is almost certainly a better powered speaker. And I suggest the Electrovoice zx-a1 because of its light weight, and because it is probably the entry point for decent amplification for AP sounds.

Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: Stokely] #2988700 05/08/19 11:46 AM
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I ran my NE5d pianos from my Casio PX5s for the 80's project I was in and a few others..I enjoyed that. If I had to play those pianos on the actual 5d I think I would go mad ... that made me wonder what the Nord 76 (or 73 key) Electro keybed were like. I finally played one in GC on an NE6, I dodn't like it ...I found the Nord pianos themselves more organic than Yamaha's and I needed a change...they were more than OK once I got the EQ's right for my use!

With the Nord pianos I was changing EQ's on almost every different room I played in almost, small tweaking mostly...in the beginning, some large tweaks. With the Yamahas I did much less of that...SO! But I still like the Nord AP samples!


SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: psionic11] #2988701 05/08/19 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted By: psionic11
(Great... I finally find a Nord Stage 2 HA76, which should be here by Thursday, and now I see a thread where that great Nord Piano sound doesn't actually feel good to live players? Yikes, say it isn't so.)
Don't despair just yet. Nord pianos have that really frustrating combination of an astonishingly detailed sample that sounds stellar out front, with an inability to cut through a band/connect with the player.

Spend a good half hour to an hour auditioning all the pianos, and pay attention to the uprights. If you find something close, play with the EQ and/or try layering another piano (EP?) in the background. I find Nord's pianos thin out between 1 and 2 octaves above middle C - and I've added a quiet Rhodes layer to fill in the gap.

I have both waterfall and hammer-action Nords, and I love the TP40 action in the hammer. I've learned to play AP on the waterfall, but many folks hate it.

Cheers, Mike.


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: stoken6] #2988750 05/08/19 05:28 PM
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Thanks for all the responses. I generally see positive comments about Nord pianos, see I was expecting to see responses along the line of 'the Nord pianos sound amazing, how can you not like them?'. So interesting to see that a number of people have the same experience is me: good for listening, more challenging for playing.

I'll play around with the EQ some more. I'm also tempted to go back to the Bright Piano. Although I don't like it's sound so much solo, I have previously found that it works best in a rock band setting.

I've seen mention a few time of a Mono button on Nord keyboards, but that's not on the Nord Stage 2 EX - right?

To respond to a few other questions/comments: My other keyboard is a Yamaha CP4, on which I use the CFX Grand. When playing with a band, I'm hearing the Nord through a Laney monitor, and I've always been happy with the sound of that monitor.

Neil

Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: FXM] #2988754 05/08/19 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted By: FXM
I'm also tempted to go back to the Bright Piano. Although I don't like it's sound so much solo, I have previously found that it works best in a rock band setting.

Yes, exactly, the Bright Piano doesn't sound too good solo, but I found it works quite well in a blues/rock band setting. In fact, that's probably the only place it works!


Joe
Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: FXM] #2988755 05/08/19 06:10 PM
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I own a Nord Stage 2 ex hp76 and have the exact issues mentioned above. Everyone else tells me the piano sounds amazing, if i listen to someone else playing it I think it sounds amazing but when I play it... I don’t enjoy the experience

UNLESS... I run stereo into quality in ear monitors.

Call me crazy, but what I am considering doing is sending stereo Nord out front and then midi-ing to a Kurzweil Micropiano running to a Keyboard Amp. Yes, even a Roland KC! I honestly think this might work. The audience gets a great sound and I get a sound that works for me!

Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: mate stubb] #2988756 05/08/19 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted By: mate stubb

In my rock band, I prefer upright piano sounds to grand sounds for my default piano. In fact, I layer two of them to get more girth and looseness of tuning. I use the ancient bright Rain Piano along with the Bambino Baldwin.


QFT.

My go-to piano for almost everything I've done in the last few years has been the Rain Piano. Playing in several bands and various styles including Blues, Rock, Folk/American, Reggae and even some light Jazz, it always seems to cut thru the mix without being over the top. I feel that it has a very authentic sound that definitely improves my finger-to-ear connection.

FWIW, I usually run mono and have been using QSC stuff. When I started I had a K12 but recently downsized to a 10.2.

Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: FXM] #2988764 05/08/19 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted By: FXM

I've seen mention a few time of a Mono button on Nord keyboards, but that's not on the Nord Stage 2 EX - right?

There's a mono button on the NS2 EX. Look closely in the Program section, near the bottom. It's surprisingly effective.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Keys: NP2, NS3C
Home: Bosie 200, Yam AG N3
Amps: FA 12acs, RCF TT08as, QSC K.2s, EVOX J8, SSv3
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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: The Piano Man] #2988807 05/09/19 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted By: The Piano Man
Call me crazy, but what I am considering doing is sending stereo Nord out front and then midi-ing to a Kurzweil Micropiano running to a Keyboard Amp. Yes, even a Roland KC! I honestly think this might work. The audience gets a great sound and I get a sound that works for me!


Suggestion: in addition to the main piano sound going to FOH, you could run a piano sound you connect with more to outputs 3/4, and then run that to your IEMs or keyboard amp.

As a side note, I also find a piano disconnect between what sounds good to others versus what feels good to me as I play. The Gigabyte sized Kronos pianos are very politely realistic, but they lack in dynamic connection. Ironically, I've found the smaller PCM sampled pianos "3-way Piano" or "Oasys Piano" more fun to play.

Layering can get the best of both worlds. Although if not careful you end up with an overly chorused Frankenpiano.

Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: psionic11] #2988811 05/09/19 10:38 AM
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The Piano Man: you can hear yourself while running outputs to the FOH by simply running earbuds from your headphone output on the Nord. I do it all the time and it works fine.


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: Coker] #2988814 05/09/19 10:51 AM
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I've found that some of the Nord pianos sound great in the lower register below middle C, but not great above middle C, and visa versa. So you could use Panel A for the best piano below middle C and Panel B for the best piano above middle C.


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: Randelph] #2988827 05/09/19 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted By: Randelph
I've found that some of the Nord pianos sound great in the lower register below middle C, but not great above middle C, and visa versa. So you could use Panel A for the best piano below middle C and Panel B for the best piano above middle C.

Interesting idea! (Though could impact the resonance features?) Could be useful for EPs as well.


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Re: Pianos on Nord [Re: cphollis] #2988881 05/09/19 03:17 PM
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Joined: May 2005
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Originally Posted By: cphollis
Originally Posted By: FXM

I've seen mention a few time of a Mono button on Nord keyboards, but that's not on the Nord Stage 2 EX - right?

There's a mono button on the NS2 EX. Look closely in the Program section, near the bottom. It's surprisingly effective.


Ah yes, I see it now! I assumed it was specifically for piano, so was looking for it in the piano section.

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