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Best grand piano sound for keyboard


Ybyb

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Dave, you haven't mentioned a budget, but I'd recommend a few things to try before the Kronos:

 

Yamaha CP4

Nord Piano 2

Casio PX5s

 

I have a strong preference for what I use (the CP4), but nothing is more subjective than a pianist's touch moving to the compromises of a digital piano.

 

 

 

Edit: Also, if you don't already know this, it behooves me to note there is no other sound more sensitive to good downstream amplification than digital acoustic piano patches. Your amp can make or break it. I'd much prefer a merely adequate AP patch through great amplification than the best AP sound through a crappy amp. So that should factor into your total purchase equation as well.

 

well said... and the the the mention of amplification making or breaking your DP experience is so true..

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Software pianos do sound great, I have Ivory at home loaded on a Receptor. Going the software route involves buying a host - either a laptop or Receptor - and an audio interface and a controller. The excellent video seems to have a Kawai VPC1 - which is a 70 pound controller that costs 1700 bucks - a Mac laptop - 2000 bucks? - and an audio interface - 500 bucks? - the cost of the software is minor in comparison. I have not gigged w a laptop but when I have gigged w modules I hated it - too many wires and plugs and connections when all I need is a piano sound. I would much rather gig w a dedicated digital and keep it simple.

 

 

 

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For Jazz you'll need to be able to play with accurate starting phase of notes, soundboard behavior (the half-resonance and the non-linearity), not have too many sampling issues, good variation of tones to play with (switched samples aren't nice for this), and there's a lot pf standard (audio/studio) production values in Jazz recordings, it may be nice to have some of that recognizable sound in a keyboard. The Kurzweils (if you can get them to properly work) are the only ones able to pull certain deeper sound tricks off, that work well tuned with these production tricks. I know the CP4 can be multi-compressed, given mid-low warmth that reflects good, and when programmed right is well behaved in the sensitive mid-range, also to reflect good (and not dangerous to the hearing without warning).

 

I suppose the V-piano is realistic enough a piano simulation to be able to create a recognizable "produced" sound from, but every software I"ve heard messes with the self-convolution properties of the sounds they produce, and all other piano hardware out there will not connect well with even the standard mid-range diffusion effects (including Lexicon effects on PAs, etc.), except for the Motifs, they are well under control.

 

Of course, this may not be important, but I can usually hear within second if a sound is "killed" through some modern-ish production fussing, or in line with the A grade recordings since at least the 60s. All the romplers besides the motifs simply cannot create certain very natural piano effects, because the functionality in them doesn't do certain processing, nor do they attempt to. Instandly audible, and usually very quickly boring me.

 

Of course hacking some chords in a Rock band. and getting some nice solo lines in place probably *can* be done from the free Proteus VX software, but for a rewarding Jazz session, it's usually needed to have some more instrument/amping to play with.

 

T.

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Hi Dave, for all the keyboards I've owned, piano is still my instrument. When looking for the "best grand piano sound for keyboard", in a portable context... and in case you're open to a software piano using a controller, this is the latest benchmark for a "piano sound" in my estimation. It's so 'late' in fact, it's not even out yet - due out in about 3 days or less. There's a thread on here somewhere about it. Of course, as someone else said, ultimately your ears and hands will be the test.

Can you adjust how quick and complete the dampers act? Sounding a bit fierce for me on this.

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Considering it's the NYC club scene, schlepp factor is part of the equation. So I'd suggest keeping things a simple as possible. IMO, that makes the controller / notebook / software piano a little less attractive - especially if a powered monitor is part of the rig. Also, while the latest crop of software pianos do sound terrific, they don't always mix as well live with a band as they do in the studio. There are a lot of sonic variables, live.

 

Especially when dealing with a dense mix that includes loud guitar(s), it seems the basic, average priced digital piano 'cuts' much better than the typical 'gigahog' software piano. Speaking strictly of dedicated pianos: I've had good luck, live with Yamaha, Roland, and Casio. I currently use a Yamaha CP4, and recommend it highly. But the Roland FP4, and RD-300NX both work well; same with the Casio PX-330 - a few years back. As you are seeking the highest quality piano sound possible, Dave, I'd say that the CP4, Roland RD-700NX (or the new RD-800), or Kurzweil Artis are probably at the top of the heap to check out. If a self contained unit - with built-in speakers - is an option, I've heard good things about the new, Yamaha P-255. Also the Roland FP-50 is very much worth trying out. I spent some time recently with one of those; it's one of the best amplified digital pianos I've played.

 

Like others here, I'd advise against a Kronos - or any of the big, workstation type keyboards - for a gig where piano is the main sound. Unless all of the additional sounds and features are going to be used it's somewhat a waste of resources.

'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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Dave, big fan of you and your vids. Also very surprised at this stage of your career this is the first time you've had a need for a digital.

 

First thing to get over is this and I'm completely serious:

 

Next to a good grand all digital's suck and I mean really suck. Several years ago I had a gig in a lounge that had a brand new Yamaha baby grand. I loved it except the action was kinda stiff for me but I still loved it. The bandleader also likes my B3 and EP sounds from my Kurzweil PC3 so I brought that to the gig as well. I've used several top flight amps for the PC3, for this gig I used my Barbetta. Considered one of the best amps for piano. I did a few songs on the Yamaha and just for shits and giggles decided to do a piano tune on the Kurz because I was curious. The Kurz was set up right adjacent to the piano. I could not believe it. It sounded like some kids toy kazoo next to that grand. This is one of the very best keyboards you can get going through one of the best amps you can get and it sounded like a kazoo. It was so awful I leaped from the Kurz right back to the Yamaha in mid song, I just couldn't stand it.

 

Now the thing is I've recorded myself at several gigs using the Kurz and it sounds very good, I've heard a couple of very good players sitting in on it (one was David Benoit) and it sounded great out front. I think what it is is the ambient surround sound you get as a player sitting at a grand, you're facing the strings with the lid up and the sound is glorious, it's all around you. Unless you're playing a digital with some kind of 4 speaker surround system you don't get that. You just have to trust that it sounds good out front and that's where the adjustment comes for you because it really does sound good out front in most cases.

 

I've seen several good players use two monitors right at their feet one to the right and one to the left and I'm sure it's because they're trying to recreate that in your face real grand sound. I've done that before if the stage is big enough. I picked up a pair of Behringer B208 powered monitors and put them on the floor to each side of me and then put my EV ELX112P powered PA speaker behind me. The sound then is pretty good but lots of places don't have the room for that.

 

Personally, I can't be messing with software, laptops and all that crap at a gig. Any of the top DP's mentioned here will sound great considering you're losing some fidelity with stage amps vs your nice home studio monitors. You'll never get a studio or headphone quality sound at a gig without some big time rock star level sound production going on.

 

Bob

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
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Quick and light. A piano with some speakers for a stereo image and a small amp plus (stool/stand.) I have a second amp, which I would have to use if the piano didn't have speakers.

 

I did the vst/laptop and it sounded great (Vintage D/Neo Soul EP,) but it's more time consuming and I noticed for a live gig, it's not as important after I went back to internal sounds of piano. I was still having fun.

 

Dave, you don't look like you want to lug a 50lbs+ axe, plus amp, etc.

AvantGrand N2 | ES520 | Gallien-Krueger MK & MP | https://soundcloud.com/pete36251

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Dave Frank, FWIW, I wasn't trying to suggest software over digital pianos for gigs. My post was in response to the "best grand piano sound for keyboard." And a software rig doesn't have to be too expensive... if one already has a laptop that can run it.

 

Digital pianos are the 'simplest' and most practical way to get a piano sound out to the listeners. I'd recommend the ones mentioned: Yamaha CP4, Roland RD-800, Nord, Korg, Kawai, Kurzweil and Privia. It's whatever you like and what you're willing to spend, including the sound system. Same goes for software.

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I beg to differ on the Bose L1. Esp with the Jbl 10 to round out the sound

You must try it to see. Pat Metheny used multiple bose

I know he does not play piano.

But Dave you have not explained this "loud guitar" comment.

What kind of music. What size band. What size rooms

What size transportation for gear- certainly not a subway!

 

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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That guitarist ( I listened to half a min or so ) is not in the truly loud class. Therefore the gear that has been brought up here will be appropriate.

The heavy jazz guy in this ( used to be in NYC ) town who uses the officially poo pooed Bose L1 Model 2, also uses the Nord Stage 2.. so a $7500 investment, plus stand and seat.

Another jazz fellow here said 2 of those Bose systems are very very good.

I suggest you "consider the source" when you listen to advice here. For sure SK and Dave Ferris are pro jazz players... the rest I am not sure of their status in that regard.

My unanswered question... how will you transport whatever it is you decide upon?

Bose are in 5 pieces including tiny mixer. So it is lightweight- one trip on a dolly ( you need a dolly too ) or two trips without a dolly. But nix, the no dolly idea; my experiences in Manhattan back in the day when the crime rate was awful, suggested you never leave your gear unattended even for a second.

I am afraid all this idealistic talk about best sound, must be tempered with reality of NYC street life. One trip in, is the only way to go. It must all fit on a dolly.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Carts---Dollies-Stage---Roadie-Supplies.gc

There are a number of dollies here... this is the company I bought my problem free dolly from. But that was over 5 even 10 years ago... AND I changed all 4 wheels, to better wheels.

All gear can fit on this dolly ( not sure which model among those on that page, but it can be verified later ) that I own. I would not consider for one second leaving some gear unattended.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I have been using a Roland FP4 (32 lbs, $1,000) with built in stereo speakers and a pair of 500 watt EV Sx-a360 powered speakers (36 pounds each, $900 each) for 6 years now. For me built in speakers are very important as near field monitors when playing live because I hate how artificial it feels when the sound only comes for "over there" and no sound whatsoever comes from the instrument itself. I would not use a software piano running on a laptop live. That is a big expensive hassle to carry and set up and there is latency. I had the Bose L1 systems for a month and returned it, no thanks.

 

FP4 sounds like this:

 

[video:youtube]

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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Here's a recent and excellent A/B/C comparison between the Kurzweil , Roland and Yamaha . You can click on the times in the info. and hear the sounds compared straight away.

>

( click on "about" , then click on "show more" - there are the times for the various sounds).

 

Brett

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Sorry Tee, gonna have to agree with the others on the Bose. I don't play Jazz, but I know what a piano should sound like. I've played through them at my buddy's church. They are impressive for what they do out of a small package, but I still don't care for the sound, which is very colored. The bass module is kind of boomy in true Bose fashion, and the rest is very midrangey. The advantage to them is they serve equally well as monitor and PA. But if you're going to carry and set up 2 sticks with 2 bass modules, besides being expensive, I don't see it being any more compact or easier than a pair of small powered monitors. I've got the k10s, which are fine, I've played through the Line 6's and thought they sounded a bit better as did the DXR's. I think consensus is that the EV's have the most natural sound for piano. I haven't played through them myself, but there's enough consensus on here that I would trust it. The only criticism is they aren't as loud as dome of the others, but you don't need anywhere near that volume anyway.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Quite alright J.Dan, (I appreciate the respect!)

I agree about the bass.. I used the Bose with an Eon, and it was a good sound, that had advantage, as you said, of sounding the same volume on and 50 or more feet off stage.

I own an EV 15 ZLX and K 10's as well. So I have been in search of the perfect sound. I don't see anything wrong with a mid strong sound for jazz.

To get a perfect sound on and off stage with a "loud" or louder guitar player is rather unlikely! So perfect is not the goal, regardless of what Dave requested. Therefore ability to HEAR one self, brings to my mind mids which Bose delivers.

The K10's need a mixer and do not have that advantage of monitor and main well balanced. Maybe there is an ideal way that I am not aware of to set the K 10's up to achieve this.

I only have one EV.. and it has a nice sound, I quite agree. Not sure about the monitor and mains issue with EV.

Dave Franks I am waiting to hear from you about transportation!

Until we know budget and transportation, this thread has been informative, but has run its course.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I noticed a Bose L1 mentioned..Avoid this for playing AP - it has quite a "honky" mid-range when it comes to AP's which is difficult to eradicate, even with eq'ing. Just my experience with the L1 (model 1 and II) and with both Korg and Yamaha APs. Others probably ( will ;) ) could argue with that, but it is jmo :D

Maybe your AP choices are part of the reason for the honkiness.

I and my friend who recommended Bose L1 both used Kurzweils and later he switched to Stage 2 ... and again augmented by a JBL Eon 10. I augmented it with a JBL 15.

There IS no perfect sound esp with loud guitar in the mix.

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I don't have a car. The steady gig I have for the foreseeable future is 4 doors down from my apt. on 52nd St.)a kind person offered to supply me with a Casio PX-5S for $500..is this perhaps a good place to start just to see if the overall concept has legs?

 

Thanks everybody) Here's a class segment you may enjoy on Bill Evans' left hand arrangement techniques:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CH9d4CvsYs4

 

Dave Frank

 

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I know it is a workstation, but I have read great things about the grand piano sound (and variations) that are included in the relatively lightweight and inexpensive Korg Krome. It has unlooped samples for every note.

 

(By the way, this is NOT me playing in the video below.)

 

[video:youtube]

Michael

Montage 8, Logic Pro X, Omnisphere, Diva, Zebra 2, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

 

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)a kind person offered to supply me with a Casio PX-5S for $500..is this perhaps a good place to start just to see if the overall concept

 

Dave Frank

 

If it's in good condition, grab it quick, before they change their mind. That's a great deal IMHO.

 

 

SSM

Occasionally, do something nice for a total stranger. They'll wonder what the hell is going on!
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Do folks generally like the grand piano sound on this box? I'm figuring the the heat of playing with a live group, and with a good amp the various different sounds of the many possibilities that folks have mentioned in this thread will sound pretty alike to the audience...?
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The px5s would be highest on my list for feel, sound, options, weight and bang for the buck, whether at $500 or $999...

 

Apart from the spectrum of opinions on the bose, my experience playing through it in a band where only my keyboards went through it was problematic: because of the difference in sound dispersion compared to other speakers/amps, if you mix yourself appropriately on stage, you will be louder at the back of the venue relative to the other instruments... (line array volume decrease over distance).

 

While I personally like the bose sound, I gave it up for that reason... still use a bose in a trio situation where we all go through it...

 

At 28 lbs and a compact size, I love my Acoustic Image ten2 - pulling mids on the eq especially for the AP's makes it music to my ears... but they are pricey...

 

sounds like a more cost effective alternative might be the yamaha dxr series - for you the 10" model could be the perfect tradeoff for weight and sound...

 

good luck!

 

 

 

 

gig: hammond sk-1 73, neo vent, nord stage 2 76, ancona 34 accordion, cps space station v3

home: steinway m, 1950 hammond c2

 

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I don't have a car.

Ah! As I see it, that changes the focus from from "the most accurate grand piano sound/touch" for an admittedly fussy player to something more like "something practical for NYC gigs with no car, that won't be terrible." ;-)

 

I think the PX-5S is a great choice, and that price is a steal. You won't find a better action anywhere near the price or the travel weight. The sound might be good enough for you... there are numerous improvements you can make to the stock piano sounds, including variations downloadable from casiomusicforums.com

 

If the sound doesn't do it for you, still keeping travel weight low, you can then look into adding a laptop... or even a tablet might do the trick, which is less fussy ergonomically. Voxpops just reported positive experiences using a PX-5S to trigger Pianoteq on a Surface Pro. https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2574262/Re_Windows_Tablet_as_a_Sound_M#Post2574262

 

The Surface Pro is available as a refurb for $449. At its balance of price, weight, action, ergonomics, and sound, Casio+tablet looks pretty hard to beat for piano, assuming you like a software piano that runs well on a tablet. Even a Casio PX-150 would work for that (lowest price), or PX-350 (where you could feed the audio of the tablet back into its own speakers), but the PX-5S has lots of other nice capabilities.

 

Amplification is another issue, as has been mentioned. Do you need to supply amplification, or is there typically a house system, or do other members of your group bring PA? If you need something light and good sounding to travel with, check out the EV ZXa1.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I'm fairly sure, even though I haven't recently gigged the equipment mostly use now, that from simple small amp to moderately sized venue PA, you'll certainly hear differences.

 

Not for that one note at the right spot, if the instrument you choose happens to do that nicely. Not that part of the scale of C certain machines do how they do that. Maybe not even the few well practiced chords on any of the names mentioned.

 

But play a few serious scales with feeling, or put down some normally serious Jazz chords, and you'll be at the mercy of what keyboard happens to work good for those things on the PA at hand, really, unless you show little taste, and want to wander very far from the life in an acoustic piano, all the discussions about piano sound are for a reason.

 

Again, not to just put something down, preferably with a bit of practice on the actual instrument+amping, that may work fine. Depends a bit on how experienced session player you are, but hey, I don't need to tell people here that.

 

T.

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Dave Franks

I think the point Jazzmammal made about how he would not want to deal with keyboard without self contained speakers; is a valid point, that causes me to reevaluate my current set up(s).

I know senior citizen ( not heavily muscled ) who plays a very heavy CP250 or 300 ( not sure of model.. but it is very heavy ) he does not use a case. He lifts it alone on end on to a hand truck. The thing is this keyboard has self contained speakers. Keyboards that have this feature are not top of the line sounding, but, having the stereo image so close to you, is a strong point in favor.

 

Can anyone list viable candidates for decent keyboards with decent internal speakers? Another member here said, you could later add the laptop -Ivory, Purgatory whatever - route, and use that same keyboard with its speakers!

At that point you just go into a PA and be done with it. Failing that any lighter stereo PA will do, because you have your sound right in front of you.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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