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Nothing except a real piano...


dansouth

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Nothing except a real piano *SOUNDS* like a real piano. All of the screamingly fast CPUs, megabytes of PCM waveforms, high sample rates, active monitors, digital mixers, reverb processors, surround systems, and third party D/A converters in the world can't fill a room with WARM PIANO SOUND as well as the cheap upright that I learned on.

 

Agree? Disagree?

 

Comments?

 

Is technology ever going to "get there?"

 

(flame suit on)

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Agree completely. Part of the piano is the presence. The mechanical action. The 'imperfectness'. The physical interaction between the parts.

 

Nothing inspires me to play more than the site of a real piano. No synth has that effect on me. Most pianos just BEG to be played.

 

I do think the electronic pianos have reached where they should, at least for the most part. Excellent recording sounds, and good live use sound. I've seen shows in pianos out of tune or bad mic'ing technique which would have been much better off with a sampler.

 

I think technology is pretty close to where it should be. No emulation is going to 'get there' to the real instrument. Electronics drums, rhodes, wurlys, you name it. I think we should just take the 'substitutes' for what they are.

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Nothing like a real piano- or a real anything for that matter!

 

I like "fake" instruments, especially when they really don't sound anything like the real thing, it's like the studio-set strange planets on the first Star Trek series. Much more alien and somehow "real" than dolled-up Southern California backyards or computer graphic images. But only a real piano is a real piano, I agree.

 

That being said, I wouldn't be surprised a bit if I could be fooled on a recording- the sound of modern recordings is so far from "real" that it might as well be a form of synthesis.

 

-CB

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No argument from me. For playing live, there's no comparison. It's like the difference between a really good flight sim, and flying a real airplane. You're only impressed with the sim until you experience the real thing.

 

Will digitals ever get it? Simulating the sympathetic vibrations of the undamped strings when you hit a two-fisted chord with the damper pedal down seems to be the biggest hurdle. That, and the harp resonance, the way the sound projects in so many different directions, etc. I doubt anyone will really nail it anytime soon.

 

Peace all,

Steve

><>

Steve

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Originally posted by SWBuck1074@aol.com:

Will digitals ever get it? Simulating the sympathetic vibrations of the undamped strings when you hit a two-fisted chord with the damper pedal down seems to be the biggest hurdle. That, and the harp resonance, the way the sound projects in so many different directions, etc.

 

Don't forget the actual physical sensation caused by all of that vibrating metal and wood...the buzz it sends up your arms...the way that you can feel bass notes in your feet and chest...yeah, baby...

 

(scottish brogue) It's alive, man - ya canna fake that!

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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I always find I overplay on digital pianos and find I can play much simpler on grand pianos... I think that we are waiting for the next technological breakthrough.. just increasing CPU speed/polyphony/MBs isnt enough.

 

I don't think digital pianos have improved that much really over the last 5-10 years, sure they've got smaller and cheaper but has the sound altered that much?

 

Maybe some things are best left untouched :-)

 

peace

neil

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Agree here too.

 

Nothing like the feel, the sound, the emotional rush of a real piano or a real Hammond. Can't beat the stage presence of either one too compared to seeing small keyboard on a stand. I also tend to play differently on a real piano compared to a keyboard-based piano sound.

 

Ain't nothin like the real thing baby.

 

BD

"With the help of God and true friends I've come to realize, I still have two strong legs and even wings to fly" Gregg Allman from "Ain't Wastin Time No More"
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Technology will never touch the sound of a real piano. It's the imperfection that makes it so beautiful. Until keyboards can make a note sound just slightly different with each stike, then the acoustic will always be my choice.

 

Mike

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Agreed, but I don't know if it is the sound as much as the feel. A piano is a big instrument and the sound envelopes, surrounds and physically interacts with you. Hmmm, a big instrument that physically interacts with you - let's not extend that metaphore to far. Nothing coming out of a speaker does that.

 

Don.

Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong: James Bryce
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Agreed, unquestionably!

 

... although I won't be hauling a real piano to a gig anytime soon!

 

One funny thing is that even "fake" pianos are often unmatched by simulations. I once saw a band who were using an actual Wurlitzer along with an Alesis QS. If they'd just used the QS for organ sounds (or anything other than pianos), it would have been fine. But they used the QS for grand piano sounds, which sounded *incredibly* fake and utterly AWFUL after hearing the the Wurli (sorry, Dave!). That show was actually one of the most disappointing sonic experiences of my life (especially since it was in a venue with great acoustics and sound system). The headliner was a highly-regarded Bay Area singer/songwriter/bandleader who supposedly has a great voice, but there was so much cheap digital reverb on his voice that there was no way you could tell what he really sounded like!

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I got to hear my own Yamaha S-80 in a jazz context the other night, and I was disappointed. I was doing sound for a multi-artist fundraiser for the Red Cross, and the hall did not have a real piano, so I hauled in the Yammy. No matter how I EQ'd it, no matter what pre I took it through... plonk plonk plonk.

 

Digitals have the edge for me in club situations where, even though the house may have a real piano, it's often out of tune and the sound guy's idea of miking it is to throw a couple of SM57's in the same general area as the piano. In a rock or dancing situation (i.e. loud), most of that delicate sound that travels through the air is going to get lost anyway, so I settle for the predictable, though mediocre, sound of a sample.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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I agree. I like acoustic pianos, and I've never found a substitute that sounds as good or feels as nice to play. Digital pianos have their place in the world, as they sure are handier for hauling out to a gig, but I'd prefer to take my acoustic if I could.

 

Regards,

Otto

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I have dreams of playing on a shiny black grand piano, then I wake up to my Alesis QS7.

 

Someone said they play "simpler" on a real piano than on a digital and I think that's because just a few simple notes on a real piano is all it takes to send shivers up my spine. A single note on a real piano is so complex compared to the "stripped down" sterilized digital version.

 

Each year, I volunteer as a sound effects technician with a local theatre group and the performances take place in a small but very nice studio theatre, and they always have a well tuned Baldwin grand piano in there. It's fun to just sit down and tickle the keys just before the performance.

 

There's a catch though, at least for me. A real piano must be in good tuned shape, and should preferably be a grand piano. I've got an EMU module with the coakeley piano and I would rather play that, which is a nicely sampled steinway, than an out of tune or crummy upright piano.

 

That said, I think the person playing the piano is far more sensitive and receptive to the characteristics of a piano sound than the listener. The coakley piano is actually pretty good when listening to it but not all that inspiring when playing it, especially on my unweighted keyboard.

 

Tom

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Hi everyone, I also believe in the REAL thing, http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/cool.gif but some keyboards that have a variety of sounds on them that I use in playing cool jazz make my hair stand up on end also. When I'm composing a song, a combination of things happen to me that allows my imagination to run wild, and that I can portray the necessary feelings to the arrangement. I don't own a REAL piano in my studio, it would be nice to have one though. I have always used synth sounds in my compositions, not to say that I would not use the REAL thing if the opportunity existed.

 

I feel that in some cases on recordings some of the simulated keyboard sounds are fine, even in the piano mode. They do have a sweet spot, and good players know how to find it and use it well, to his/her advantage. There are some good quality synths out there that have some very good quality sounds on them, and sound fine on recordings too. I don't believe that most of the layman out there can hear the real difference as we would in being critical in what we are playing on.

 

I've heard some REAL pianos that sound like crap too. But every piano has it's own signature, even ones that are built side by side in the factory. It depends on what you are willing to pay for in a fine piano, and what appeals to your ears. In Michigan, Baldwin is selling their pianos at half price, chapter 11.

 

I agree that the REAL instrument will probably never be copied one for one, that's the beauty of it, but what is the REAL thing? Just because it has a REAL hand made wood sound enclosure, weighted keys, and strings that have a resonance to them, doesn't necessarily make it sound any better than a selected top of the line synth for a specific need.

 

This is just another opinion from one that doesn't mind synths, but don't get me wrong, ALL REAL INSTRUMENTS ARE THE WAY TO GO WHERE EVER POSSIBLE. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif They have the right-of-way in my book. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/cool.gif

 

Thanks for allowing me my opinion on this issue.......

My fadeout.........

 

Jazzman http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/cool.gif

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I'll risk the flames!!!

 

I think that the reasons that nothing can capture the sound of a real piano is the fault of the speakers and not the synths.

 

Until we create some other type of audio delivery system (as opposed to oscillating cones, typically made of paper), you will never be able to replace the ambience of almost ANY live instrument in performance.

 

Be it acousticguitar, trumpet or violin.

 

The exceptions of coarse would be instruments such as the Therimin and the Electric stringed instruments and some organs as they depend upon speakers to perform in any case.

 

 

Here is where I'll go out on a limb. I think that there are definitely synths out there(the Yamaha S series comes to mind) that sound just as good as any recording of a piano. Recordings are just as dependent upon speakers as synths are.

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Nope. The sampled pianos will never be suitable. Samples will never duplicate the multiple strings resonating against a single soundboard, or any other of hundreds of interactions which occur within a piano. Mere velocity switching, which is all piano samples can really do, also isn't even close.

 

However, all the characteristics of individual elements AND interactions within a piano can be modeled! And while you still won't end up with a duplicate of a piano, it'll be much closer than samples will ever get.

 

Originally posted by Krakit:

I'll risk the flames!!!

I think that the reasons that nothing can capture the sound of a real piano is the fault of the speakers and not the synths.

Until we create some other type of audio delivery system (as opposed to oscillating cones, typically made of paper), you will never be able to replace the ambience of almost ANY live instrument in performance.

Here is where I'll go out on a limb. I think that there are definitely synths out there(the Yamaha S series comes to mind) that sound just as good as any recording of a piano. Recordings are just as dependent upon speakers as synths are.

 

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Of course nothing but a real piano can sound like a real piano. It's almost a tautology, by definition only a real piano sound like a real piano - otherwise it wouldn't be a real piano (copyright Blue 2001). But I mostly agree with the things said in Krakit post: the most difficult thing to imitate (IMHO) is the way the sound of a grand piano spreads into the air. No speaker or even a complex set of speakers can do that. Well, I don't know, maybe if they build something on purpose it might sound similar but not in ordinary speakers.

 

Anyway, also there are some considerations about the sound itself that as far as I know are not "modelled" into synths. For instance, as many already said, the slight imperfections that don't sound in "perfect" digital replications. Also, in a synth you can never have the... mmmh I 'm not sure about the name... overtones? I mean, you know, in nature a sound contains other sounds in it, the first is relatively apart, then the next is closer, etc, so that if you play a note, other strings may slightly vibrate for "sympathy" (specially if the key is down and the damper released). (note- I'm trying to see if somebody already mentioned it but the damn forum page takes forever to load lately so I can't check it out - therefore sorry if I am repeating things)

 

But overall I just wanted to make clear that in my opinion, it is not an exclusive privilege of the pianos to have an unique, distinct sound; what about acoustic guitars, for instance? Not only sound but even technique itself can't be replicated in a synth keyboard. But on the other hand, pianos will either never sound like a synth patch. What about that? Synths offer a lot of advantages you are never going to get on a piano (try to plug some headphones into it and look what happens). I don't like to look at this as some kind of absolute piano superiority in general terms.

 

 

 

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