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Jazz piano examples on the Nord Piano & Yamaha CP-5


Dave Ferris

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I recorded two short excerpts last night of me blowing a couple choruses on the Dizzy Gillespie standard "Groovin" High". This was done more out of curiosity sake and not meant to be a controlled , scientific comparison. I added the drums of the CP-5 for more of a rhythmic reference point since there isn't a Bass player.

I tried to match the levels, I think the CP-5 has a tad more reverb. I purposely stuck to more linear playing, I'll try and record some more chordal, sustained examples later on.

 

Nord Piano "Grand Lady D "

http://www.divshare.com/download/12774435-4a1

 

CP-5 "CF Grand " (edited)

http://www.divshare.com/download/12774433-8e5

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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Dave, I think both of these sound excellent. The Yamaha has good presence but a very slight sameness from note to note and artificial quality to it reminiscent of what I hear in Pianoteq. Maybe this is a result of the modeling aspect? The Nord is woodier, a little warmer, and there's more air around it, especially in the upper register. It sounds like you're in the room with it. I don't hear the harpsichord-y quality that you and others have mentioned.
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Someone astutely pointed out on the PW forum the Nord is mono.

 

It was very late last night when I recorded these. Has I went out to the studio and looked at my Soundcraft Delta board this morning, I noticed the right NP's channel was not panned to the right :facepalm: it was at 12 o'clock straight up, so thus the mono vibe. That's why I don't call myself a "recording engineer". :laugh:

 

I'll try and re-record when I get a chance today.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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Dave thanks for the clips!

 

I hope I can try the nord piano soon to try the action vs. the nord stage 88 ex. It's nearly impossible to find a nord in a store near where I live - San Francisco/San Jose.

 

The stage 88 ex I borrowed to use for a lot of the jazz festival stuff I did in the summer proved that the nord had almost everything I wanted (loved the ep's, clav's, splits, layers, synth section) but when playing jazz lines with the acoustic piano, I found it difficult and I too heard that harpischord-ish sound. I tried to play around with the velocity curves but couldn't find perfectly for me. Plus, I couldn't play around with the piano library/presets/etc as much as I wanted because it was my friend's instrument.

 

 

 

www.brianho.net

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/brianho

www.youtube.com/brianhojazz

 

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Well I prefer the Nord, but then I'd say that as I own a Stage EX88!! I have that Grand Lady sample and think it's great. The CP5 sounds good as well.

 

I tried the CP1 in my local music shop, and have to say it isn't worth the extra £2500.

 

I thought the string resonance in the Nord was bit if a gimmick at first but I actually think it does contribute to the realism. I don't know if you had it on in this clip.

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Thanks a lot for that, Dave. They both sound very good to my ears. I was also listening closely to hear if you seemed to be more comfortable, inspired, "at home," or what have you, playing singles lines on one versus the other. Very hard to tell, though I think I'd give the Ferris Test nod to the CP5 based on those recordings.

 

Brian, you'd be welcome to come play my Nord Piano here in SF anytime.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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I prefer the Nord (you sound more comfortable playing it too). I don't think that yamaha sample works for jazz. It has that over exaggerated attack, and it's too perfect sounding, better suited for pop stuff. How bout a comparison with the S6 sample?
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My gosh, the Nords sound wonderful, I was at a store and played them all and was blown away. The piano sounded acoustic and almost every time I see anyone playing boards on TV a Nord or a couple are there. Here in Texas there is a program called Austin City Limits and many artists use the Nords including the C3. Another program is the Artists Corner, you see a lot of Nords there too, the Clave, Wurley and the rest sound perfect. The guy in Sweden who invented them and programmed them built and programmed the first electronic drums. They were Simons, I had a set. They did not sound like real drums though at first but after a couple of years others were doing the same thing and sampling real drum sounds. Ddrum came out next, but they all had the horrible rubber heads. You could really hurt your wrist and arm playing them too hard.
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Hard to compare when one is in stereo with reverb and one is almost dry in mono... could be the same piano.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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Dave, thanks for posting these! Even though they are not direct comparisons (dry and mono) one thing sticks out about the Nord; I didn't even look at which one I clicked on first. I just put my headphones on an started listening ... but after a few seconds I said to myself, "I bet this is the Nord" ... and I was right. Maybe it's what you describe as "harpsichordy" but one thing I hear with Nord pianos is what I call a "plasticky" sound, almost like a CP70 quality. NOT that it sounds just like that, but something about the decay of the note ... like it doesn't decay naturally, it takes too long and doesn't have the complexity I identify with acoustic piano timbres. It is unique to Nords.

 

You play it great though, and I think the average listener in a live gig setting wouldn't really notice ... it's more something I think that would affect a player's ability to "feel" this instrument. It didn't seem to affect you as you sounded wonderful on it ... I think it might affect me, but would reserve final judgment on playability of this piano until I have a chance to sit down at one myself.

 

The Yamaha sounded great ... not perfect (someone mentioned a uniformity across the board that one wouldn't expect to find in a real acoustic) but damn fine-sounding if you ask me.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Nice comparison and playing. I like the Nord. It does sound a bit darker and more like Red Garland's dry piano sound on some Miles recordings. I wonder how the Nord would sound in a group setting..... Having played mostly Yamaha's for many years, maybe my ears just prefer something different. Thanks for posting this.
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Actually, the one thing that strikes you when you first play the CP5 is how much less artificially bright it is than previous Yamaha DPs.

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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The weird thing about the NP--monitoring through my 240s it had a fair amount of reverb on it. I was going back and forth between the the two trying to make sure they both had equal amounts but the NP recorded here does sound dry. The effects knob on the Nord is very sensitive, if you move it a tad it sounded like too much verb so I was really sensitive to that. Maybe next time I'll just record everything dry so there will be no issues with that.

 

Hey thanks everyone for chiming in. All your opinions are welcome and respected here. It's interesting to hear different views on sound and player's perspective too.

 

Re-listening I actually felt the CP-5 take on my part was more musical and breathed more--despite the fact that I did that take standing up :blush: I had only one keyboard stand my WS-550, so I laid a keyboard case across a bench then gingerly placed the Yamaha on top of everything. It was too high to sit so I did my best KJ imitation. :cool:

 

The NP take had a few too many notes and wasn't quite has musical has I would have liked, it could have used more space in there...I think I was trying too hard to overemphasize the "harpsichordy" quality, which too my ears isn't that prevalent recorded here which is something I find somewhat strange.

 

The NP really surprised me how good it sounds recorded..they both do sound good I think.

 

I'm kinda busy with gigs the next few days but early next week I'll get to some more recording, now I have a second keyboard stand so that will make things easier. :laugh: I'll definitely try the S6 Grand on the CP has well has the Yamaha "Studio Grand" on the Nord. I 'll also do some different feels and some stuff without the canned drum track although like I've said I think the drum sounds on the CP-5 are outstanding.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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Oh, wow, I prefer the Nord by miles. Maybe it's the reverb, but the cp5 sounds artificial and cheezy next to it.

 

Actually, I have a slightly depressing thought: I think that Nord sounds better than my grand piano. :( I mean, that's the sound I wish I could get out of my piano.

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I too prefer the sound of the Nord. I guess I've played the CP33 for too long now, my ears are kinda tired of the Yamaha sound. The Nord did indeed sound to me like a RVG recording. It would be killer if it sounded like that, live, in mono.
It's not a clone, it's a Suzuki.
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I had to listen to these again since I was so tired and it was so late last night when I gave it a first go ... I think even in spite of that (unfavorable) Nord characteristic I hear, I DO like the Nord sample better than the CP5. The Yamaha's sameness is really pronounced to me upon further comparison, and I actually think the Nord overall sounds more musical. That surprises me, but in a good way. :) Also I do tend to like the darker quality of the Nord but was trying to listen for other things besides just that the first time around ...

 

Does anyone else hear this other quality I am talking about? It is mainly in the middle registers. I wonder if a little more reverb minimizes it.

 

What I'd love to hear now is the newer-generation Roland ... do you have access to one of those Dave? :blush: just a thought ... I'm seriously considering the RD-300 which is why I ask.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Great playing as usual Dave.

 

These recordings only reinforce my opinion of these two DPs. My main issues with the Nord have to do with the attack and release. In recordings, the release issue isn't as noticeable as it's usually covered by the main tone but it's very distracting for me as a player. But in the recording Dave posted the weak attack of the Nord is obvious, especially in the lower half of the keyboard. I don't get the sense of deliberate playing in the left hand. It sounds more like hemming and hawing. With the CP-5, the clear percussive attack leaves no doubt as to the player's intention.

 

Also, the Nord is MUCH more compressed. It sounds like everything is happening in an 8-10db range. It's only with the CP-5 example do I get to hear the dynamics of Dave's playing.

 

I understand why some would prefer the overall tone of the Nord. It's a balanced sound. But so too is the Roland "Superior Grand" and the Kurzweil "Triple Strike."

 

IMO, the CP-5 does a much better job of realizing the player's musical ideas. It has a clarity and dynamics the Nord lacks. Add to that the special connected feel of the Yamaha action to the linear piano sound and it is, again IMO, a better tool for the sophisticated player.

 

Busch.

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I am so with Nord on this one. As others point out the CP sounds artificial in comparison. It may be that the irregularities of the Nord are what makes it sound much more piano-like to me. Wonderful tone too.

 

And great playing.

When in doubt, superimpose pentatonics.
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