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digital piano sound intensity (Read 3887 times)

Offline rmbarbosa

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digital piano sound intensity
« on: July 09, 2015, 11:21:24 AM »
I have a Roland digital piano.
I cant compare its sound intensity with the sound intensity of an acustic piano.
My question is: in order to "equalize" the intensity sound of the digital with the acustic, must I put the digital at its maximum of intensity or in its middle?

Offline michael_c

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Re: digital piano sound intensity
«Reply #1 on: July 09, 2015, 11:30:09 AM »
As a rule, as high as you can turn up the volume without the sound becoming distorted.

Different digital pianos have different maximum levels. Only a high-end digital piano with an extensive speaker system can match the intensity of a typical acoustic. Unless your Roland has several hundred watts of power, even if you put the sound level at maximum it probably won't be as loud as a grand piano.

Offline indianajo

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Re: digital piano sound intensity
«Reply #2 on: July 09, 2015, 01:25:06 PM »
I takes a sound system approaching $1000 (used prices) to make a digital toy sound anything like a high quality acoustic piano.  IMHO digital keyboards are all toys, I haven't heard a digital keyboard yet that is backed up by a proper sound system.  I do have a proper sounding system in my living room, that makes piano CD's sound approximately correct.  This involves a pair of $600 used Peavey SP2-XT speakers with 15" woofers and a 2" horn, some 10 ga speaker wire, a CS800s 800 w amp and a mixer I modified myself for correct sound.  Proper hiss free preamps instead of mixers are more like $1000 alone.  Little details like 16 ga zip cord instead of the 10 ga speaker wire, induce vibrato on top octave Steinway recordings, a sound that obviously wasn't in the original wood piano.  I haven't seen a mixer yet that doesn't hiss as is, but I have no access to the $$$$$ studio versions.   
As you can tell, I won't be buying a **** Roland toy.  They have a Roland toy on the alter at the church I attend, it sounds like a $35 transistor radio with the $1000 professionally installed Yamaha sound system they put behind it.  8" woofers are not physically capable of 50 hz tones with any power IMHO, and they didn't spring for the horn tweeters either, they have cheapo 3" cone ones.  
At the church I play exclusively the beat up looking Baldwin Howard console piano in the fellowship hall, that has beautiful bright tone.    
Get out and listen to some real pianos (not Yamaha consoles, we have one of those that sounds like it is under water on the alter, too). You'll know what to start saving for. By the time you buy a proper sound system weighing 200 lb and involving 7 components, fifties used console pianos for $500 + delivery may start sounding better to you.  Hint- I tune pianos myself, $100 a visit for tuning adds up.    

Offline rmbarbosa

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Re: digital piano sound intensity
«Reply #3 on: July 09, 2015, 06:50:43 PM »
Thank you! My Roland is a HP-507 and it sounds like a grand with headphones. Without them, it is not so good...
I have also an acoustic grand, a Bluthner, but they are not in the same room. My Bluthner is in a large room, my Roland in a small room. That`s why I cant compare the intensity of sound. I rarely play in my Bluthner because my wife and children will kill me ... :))). I only can play it when I`m alone at house.
Rolands sound, without headphones, is very harsh. I tried with pianotech but to use pianotech isnt easy, I dont work with him well, yet...
Best wishes
Rui

Offline iansinclair

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Re: digital piano sound intensity
«Reply #4 on: July 10, 2015, 12:27:50 AM »
I'll just second -- with vigour -- what Indianajo had to say.  The problem is not particularly in the Roland (or other digital pianos) itself; it is feasible to make a pretty decent digital reproduction of the sound characteristics of the instrument (which is not to say that it's always done...).  Nor is it that difficult to create an amplifier which will do a decent job of driving high quality headphones, since there is very little power involved with headphones and very little air to move around.  Whiuch is why a digital will sound pretty good with good headphones (although I confess that I don't really care for headphone sound in general -- but I'm an old fellow who didn't have the benefit of growing up with them).

However.  Once you try to get into real space it's a very different story, and you need pretty formidable equipment to come up with anything which sounds real.  I have different speakers than Indiana has -- a pair of really beautiful Tower speakers -- and a different amplifying system, but at today's prices I would be well into the thousands of dollars.  And that's for a large, but not outrageously large, home room.  As soon as you get into even larger spaces -- such as, for instance, an auditorium or a church -- you really begin to look at big equipment and big money.  This is the reason that electronic organs are usually pretty horrible -- and the reason that the ones that aren't (there are some decent hybrids out there, for instance) are chosen not for price, which is comparable to a real organ, but for space.  Same thing is true of a digital piano -- without a really major sound system, it won't sound right, and if you have the sound system, why not get a decent real piano???
Ian

Offline dcstudio

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Re: digital piano sound intensity
«Reply #5 on: July 10, 2015, 12:52:53 AM »
I have a Roland digital piano.
I cant compare its sound intensity with the sound intensity of an acustic piano.
My question is: in order to "equalize" the intensity sound of the digital with the acustic, must I put the digital at its maximum of intensity or in its middle?

if you are recording and not running the onboard speakers then max... if you are running into an amp--then max and control it with the volume on the amplifier. otherwise as loud as possible without it distorting---even when you pound.

Roland is a good brand-- but nothing is the same as an acoustic..  don't worry about making it sound like something it isn't---instead try and find a sound level you can live with.   There are effects right on board that you can add that will make a big difference...reverb for starters.  You can also add effects from your amp...  use a sustain pedal...always.  It's most important that it sound good to YOU...  it really sux to be playing live somewhere and hate the sound of your instrument...  play around with it for a while....

Offline outin

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Re: digital piano sound intensity
«Reply #6 on: July 10, 2015, 03:11:08 AM »
Thank you! My Roland is a HP-507 and it sounds like a grand with headphones. Without them, it is not so good...


I have a HP-506. You can do a lot to make it sound good with the built in speaker system (which is indeed quite good). But with factory settings it really does sound quite poor. Pick the manual and study the different features and it will be a lot better, just needs some work.

There's no way I could put the volume even close to the max, it would break my ears. This digital has the ability to be VERY loud. So I think your settings must be off homehow to even consider it.

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: digital piano sound intensity
«Reply #7 on: July 10, 2015, 04:58:32 AM »
I have a Roland digital piano.
I cant compare its sound intensity with the sound intensity of an acustic piano.
My question is: in order to "equalize" the intensity sound of the digital with the acustic, must I put the digital at its maximum of intensity or in its middle?

I have owned several digital keyboards including at least three roland digital pianos.
They are excellent keyboards but I have never seen a knob or slider to control "intensity"
But I like the idea! IF you really are trying to imitate a real piano it takes volume, reverb, attack, decay, resonance, etc and then you need a sound system that can project all that, and in the right kind of room. also the person playing  has something to do with it too. Almost forgot another variable, acoustic pianos never sound the same or have the same intensity even within the same brand so that may affect what the digital manufacturer thinks a real acoustic intense sound is

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: digital piano sound intensity
«Reply #8 on: July 22, 2015, 12:37:11 PM »
I have a Roland digital piano.
I cant compare its sound intensity with the sound intensity of an acustic piano.
My question is: in order to "equalize" the intensity sound of the digital with the acustic, must I put the digital at its maximum of intensity or in its middle?
If I'm reading your message correctly, I think what you are looking for is the "presence" that your acoustic delivers in the room you play it in. Intensity being a part of that. Indeed acoustics have a presence about them, each in their own way that digital  can only emulate, especially so in a different room. Even your grand would sound different than now if placed in a different room. But in part you also need to fill the room the digital is in with piano sound in a similar way as the acoustic fills it's room. It's not just a matter of volume control, it's a matter of resonance, echo and nuances that all emanate out into the room. You have to get well beyond the standard factory settings to accomplish that. You will , as already stated by others, have to get into particularly reverb and other settings. Additionally, unless you get reverb and those others settings perfect you will be playing with partial pedal most of the time to kind of echo an acoustic sound. It's very important to get the reverb right, the head and tail, the room size all cause a different linger in the effect.

Pianoteq is best suited for this, where you have it or said you had it ( I know every time I come on here I plug for Pianoteq lol). But in there,  and especially if your digital doesn't have lots of on board control and effects to work with, you can first start with a piano sound that has most of what you are looking for already loaded in a preset, then alter it. I have several set up this way. Indeed you do need volume up enough to deliver that sound. And if your sound system is weak then that needs to be addressed as well. On my MP6 before Pianoteq that required about 2/3 - 3/4 volume through a decent sound system. Since Pianoteq and adding the Scarlett 4 sound card and Audio interface features, hardware wise, the volume is run by that box and it's set just under half way. There is just way more volume and purity of sound  through the Scarlett than most home computer sound cards could handle. Within Pianoteq volume is set for each piano model I use to about 3/4. The MP6 volume control is rendered ineffective  when using the VST. My most used Pianos are a K2 that I recurved. A D4 Intimate that I worked on reverb basically. A D4 Classical and I bought into the Klemsegg to get the C. Bechstein series of pianos of which I also use a lot . These all have a presence about them that are easiest for me to work with personally and to tweak easily, getting me to a place beyond where the MP 6 sounds took me to after a couple of years of messing with knobs and sliders.

If anyone thinks they are just going to plug in their digital piano and it's going start right off sounding close to their favorite acoustic, you're faced quickly with a reality check. You got to do the work required to fill a room with sound.. It's just how it is and we are different, so some would not be willing to go the extra effort involved maybe. That's each persons choice. As digital sound engines improve maybe someday that will change. However, more the piano used is the sound system used. I suspect my digital piano will have no on board piano sounds, basically just a well balanced controller.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.