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What the F?


Aidan

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The more observant among you may have noticed that my sig has recently been augmented with an "F", signifying that I finally took the plunge and bought the Supernatural Piano kit for my RD700GX.

 

After living with it for a few days and experimenting a bit, I thought I'd post some initial impressions.

 

First, the good news. The SN voices have a much-improved dynamic range to them. It's now possible to play almost as quietly on the GX as it is on my CP5.

 

Now, the bad news. The new voices themselves are disappointing. They lack richness and character, exhibit unattractive metallic qualities when pushed and most problematic of all, appear to have an extremely uneven response. Thus, these metallic artefacts can suddenly appear in the middle of runs and they stick out like a very sore thumb.

 

Of the main SN voices, I find the first (Supernatural Grand) to be the best. But it sounds a bit thin and lifeless in the middle of the keyboard. The second (Clear Grand) is the best for avoiding the metallic harshness I mentioned but it's also quite bland and the level is mysteriously lower than the others (yes, I checked the settings in the "Designer" pages - it's at full output volume). The third, Mellow Grand, sounds like a wet dishcloth under a tea cosy - pass.

 

SN04 (Bright Grand) seems to get a lot of praise from GX(F) owners above all the others but frankly, I've no idea why. It sounds like a treble-ramped, compressed "Rock Piano" patch that's bordering on harpsichord territory. No amount of tinkering with the velocity response curve was able to tame it.

 

The patches which follow these are pretty much more of the same. The upright is so-so, and I have no real day-to-day use for an upright sound anyway. The "honky tonk" and "ragtime" pianos are truly horrid - obviously merely the work of some detuning and splashing on a bit of chorus.

 

The mono pianos (response curve aside) don't sound as good to me as the non-SN ones, either. They sound more boxy and even a little phasey, as if some pretty rudimentary mono-collapsing was happening here.

 

If the purchase conditions had allowed me to send this back to the supplier, it would be winging its way even now. If this represents what we can expect in the NX, I would urge prospective buyers to approach that product with caution.

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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Aidan:

 

Its too bad that you can't return what amounts to a poor product. In my experience, Roland has never been serious competition for Yamaha, they always fall short. :bor:

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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SN04 (Bright Grand) seems to get a lot of praise from GX(F) owners above all the others but frankly, I've no idea why. It sounds like a treble-ramped, compressed "Rock Piano" patch that's bordering on harpsichord territory. No amount of tinkering with the velocity response curve was able to tame it.

 

Maybe this is a great patch for cutting through in a band situation. I find that the brightest pianos on my Motif are the ones best suited to live playing.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Jason, funnily enough, the one thing I can't see these sounds doing is getting lost in a mix! I've managed to tame SN01 somewhat by ramping up the touch response to just sort of "Heavy". This is working somewhat. One annoying thing is that all of the sounds on the SN card appear to have significantly lower gain than the on-board sounds, which means I'm having to rebalance a lot of patches.

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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OK here's an (extremely) rough and ready recording. Apologies for the fluffs and crap, but I was more intent on demonstrating the sound than performing (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). First up is SN01, followed by less discursive bursts of patches two to four.

 

Supernatural Pianos Test

 

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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Its too bad that you can't return what amounts to a poor product. In my experience, Roland has never been serious competition for Yamaha, they always fall short.

Sonically, I'd agree. But I much prefer Roland's user interfaces. What we need is a Rolaha or a Yamand....

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I agree. Yamaha has been improving their user interfaces lately in some cases, but I always thought that their instruments were built by and for engineers. Musicians aren't that smart of they would have chosen a different career path. :/

 

OK, maybe I'm just speaking for myself. :D

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Aidan,

 

Sorry to read that the SN pianos don't work for you; but sometimes, after a new soundcard is added, an original product soundbank can remain the better sounding of the two. I found this to be the case when I added the newest PLG Piano card to my S90; I ended up selling that card.

 

With regard to your impressions: I found the dynamic range of the SN pianos to be quite good; very comparable to Yamaha.

I also found the 1st of the SN Grands to be the strongest. However, I didn't particularly notice the middle range thinness you described. Being that I've played the RD-700GXF in a room setting within a music store, I'm going to try a closer listen with headphones next time I'm there. Also, it's been quite a while since I've played the basic GX pianos; I plan to A/B the GX and SN pianos as well now.

 

I'll be back at the store next Monday/Tuesday. I'll let you know my impressions then.

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The piano piece sounded great I thought,,,sounded like an acoustic.

 

"Funnily", no such word, funny, yes, good try. Say the word out loud clearly, or just say it loudly and you would probably not have written it at all. I do this all the time when word just doesn't seem right, spell right, I'm not enounciating it properly etc. It looks funny as it is and it doesn't roll tripingly off the tungue but should. Say the word tripingly out loud. This is part of what you learn in college English, a writing class and composition so very many years ago. But then I had a chem proffesor who had English for a minor and wanted everyone to pronounce the elements and chemical names clearly so they rolled tripingly off your tongue. I am aware that everyone has not been to college but I am darned proud of my two and 1/2 degrees.

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The piano piece sounded great I thought,,,sounded like an acoustic.

 

"Funnily", no such word, funny, yes, good try. Say the word out loud clearly, or just say it loudly and you would probably not have written it at all. I do this all the time when word just doesn't seem right, spell right, I'm not enounciating it properly etc. It looks funny as it is and it doesn't roll tripingly off the tungue but should. Say the word tripingly out loud. This is part of what you learn in college English, a writing class and composition so very many years ago. But then I had a chem proffesor who had English for a minor and wanted everyone to pronounce the elements and chemical names clearly so they rolled tripingly off your tongue. I am aware that everyone has not been to college but I am darned proud of my two and 1/2 degrees.

 

tripingly?

 

 

Stuff and things.
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I thought the piano piece sounded great, like an acoustic.

 

There is no such word as "funnily.", funny, yes, good try. Say the word out loud clearly, or just say it loudly and you would probably not have written it at all. I do this all the time when the word just doesn't seem right, spell right, I'm not enunciating it properly, etc. It looks funny as it is and it doesn't roll trippingly off the tongue but should. Say the word trippingly out loud. This is part of what you learn in college English, where I took a writing class and composition so very many years ago. But then I had a chem professor who had English for a minor and wanted everyone to pronounce the elements and chemical names clearly so they rolled trippingly off your tongue. I am aware that not everyone has not been to college but I am darned proud of my two and a half degrees.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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OK here's an (extremely) rough and ready recording. Apologies for the fluffs and crap, but I was more intent on demonstrating the sound than performing (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). First up is SN01, followed by less discursive bursts of patches two to four.

 

Supernatural Pianos Test

 

To my ears, 1 is clearly the best.

2 is very nasally.

4 sounds like it has a chorus effect on it, which is never a good sound for an acoustic piano, IMO.

 

 

BTW,

I love your playing, even when you're just noodling.

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The piano piece sounded great I thought,,,sounded like an acoustic.

 

"Funnily", no such word, funny, yes, good try. Say the word out loud clearly, or just say it loudly and you would probably not have written it at all. I do this all the time when word just doesn't seem right, spell right, I'm not enounciating it properly etc. It looks funny as it is and it doesn't roll tripingly off the tungue but should. Say the word tripingly out loud. This is part of what you learn in college English, a writing class and composition so very many years ago. But then I had a chem proffesor who had English for a minor and wanted everyone to pronounce the elements and chemical names clearly so they rolled tripingly off your tongue. I am aware that everyone has not been to college but I am darned proud of my two and 1/2 degrees.

 

Well, my degree is in music but then I did spend the next 25 years of my career as a journalist, 20 of those as a copy editor; but of course, I understand that doesn't count.

 

BTW, Joe, nice edit. You just need to prod your initial point the other side of the close-quote. :/

 

Techeverlasting, the original GX piano voices are still on board and accessible; the upgrade adds rather than overwrites anything.

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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I thought the piano piece sounded great, like an acoustic.

 

There is no such word as "funnily.", funny, yes, good try. Say the word out loud clearly, or just say it loudly and you would probably not have written it at all. I do this all the time when the word just doesn't seem right, spell right, I'm not enunciating it properly, etc. It looks funny as it is and it doesn't roll trippingly off the tongue but should. Say the word trippingly out loud. This is part of what you learn in college English, where I took a writing class and composition so very many years ago. But then I had a chem professor who had English for a minor and wanted everyone to pronounce the elements and chemical names clearly so they rolled trippingly off your tongue. I am aware that not everyone has not been to college but I am darned proud of my two and a half degrees.

 

:D

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Somehow, I do believe this thread is WAY off topic. If anyone feels they should be teaching English composition, this is not the correct Forum. :cry:

 

I like going off topic too, but I usually confine that to subjects that are related to music.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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From the recordings, it sounds like a very playable piano to me. Yes, I did hear the sizzle in some samples, and I think I know (a) what causes that and (b) how manufacturers could avoid it if they used their brains.

 

My Ensoniq MR76 stereo grand has the same artifact -- that sizzle on some samples. When building my stereo Rhodes soundfont I discovered what causes it: looping stereo samples jointly.

 

If you've ever tried to loop a mono sample, you know that it takes a while to find the best looping point where the tone remains clear and unchanged. Now, imagine trying to loop TWO samples at the same points and finding the best compromise between left and right sides. With some samples, it's just damn near impossible. The best result sounds just like that metallic sizzle in the recording above.

 

The way to avoid the problem is to loop left and right samples independently. Yes, that causes issues too: the image shifts. But, I find it less annoying than the sizzle. And interestingly, if you play a real piano, you'll notice that the image DOES shift when you play a note: this is one of the problems with looped piano samples -- especially notable in and my least favorite aspect of Roland pianos.

 

Now, a perfectly tuned piano immediately after tuning has the most solid image with the least shift -- but still there's a gentle shift. As the piano wears in but well before many players would demand a tuning, the image shift increases. I was once a fan of the rock solid image but now I enjoy the "settled in" sound a lot too -- depends on the style of music.

 

On most ROMplers, the image is way too static.

 

We can add the looping problem to Kanker's list of why mono samples are better.

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