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Alternatives to "perfect" digital piano sound


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This is gonna sound sacrilegious, but I played a rig at a rehearsal the other day that by most of our opinions would qualify as less-than-ideal: a Roland RD-600 (I think) and a beat-up Roland KC-550 amp with a blown tweeter. I was playing in mono.


You're gonna laugh, but it sounded friggin' great- like there was a real piano in the room. My bandmates felt the same way. It made me rethink how I try to get the best sound out of my K10 or K10s with my Nord Stage2 or my Kronos2. Perhaps losing some of that high-end is a good thing...




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Perhaps losing some of that high-end is a good thing...

I think there is something to that. If a keyboard doesn't do something well, it's better if the part it doesn't do well is simply not heard at all, rather than permitting it to distract from the rest.


I had a similar thought about how some early Casio Privia models had much better Rhodes sounds than some later ones. The later ones attempted to be more authentic by emphasizing more of the "bell like" quality that was missing from the earlier one, but it didn't do it terribly well. Casio was better off "aiming lower" and capturing the less subtle and delicate sound really well, rather than "aiming higher" and capturing a more full range sound less well.


Similarly, on the new PX560, I prefer some of the GM versions of the sounds to some of the "better" versions of the same sounds in the same instrument. The better ones obviously have more layers, more dynamic variation, but they don't play as naturally. The sound that "aims lower" works fine and is more pleasing to play.

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A lot of this reminds me of how they make food for advertising shoots. Real food does not look good on camera, so they do a lot of "prop work" to make it look appetizing for photos and film.


I think about pianos and sounds in general that sound great in the studio, through headphones, or in stand-alone situations. Get it out in a real-world venue and add other instruments in the mix and all of a sudden your perfect sound goes muddy.


My rule is: if it sounds good, it is good. So if a KC amp gives you what you need for a sound, by all means use it. Who cares what Moe thinks. :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

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One of my favorite acoustic piano recordings is the double album "Staircase" from Keith Jarrett. The second LP-long piece, Hourglass, is simply transcendent. The actual sound of the piano on that record is hardly common or typical.


In some spots, it reminds me of the bastard child of a Steinway and a Dyno my'd Rhodes. I had heard from someone it's Manfred Eicher's rosewood Hamburg Steinway.


My point is simply that while I find the clinical sound of the piano atypical, most times I listen to Hourglass I don't even notice - because the playing is so lyrical and beautiful (IMHO, it may not be your cup of tea) I find myself no paying attention.


Just my 0.02.



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