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  1. David
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. MODX Series Synthesizers
  4. Friday, 11 January 2019
why does the piano sound so different than the audition sample - what am I missing
Responses (18)
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Why not identify what you are talking about (which Piano)? Under what conditions you are playing it back? (are you connected Out via MIDI at the time you are playing back the Audition) and why don’t you tell us what it sounds so different from ?

Just FYI: The audition Phrases are real-time MIDI performances made by someone actually playing the instrument... so what you hear is the sound currently being played. You can even create your own Audition Phrases.

The results can be different from what you play on the keys due to offsets you can apply to the Audition phrase (you can change the key, you can change the velocity) changing these can alter how it sounds from when you play the keys if you don’t play in the same ranges.

From the HOME screen
Press [EDIT]
On the Common/Audio level of editing, touch “General”
Here you can make settings that affect the Audition function. Here you can select to play either a Preset Audition Phrase or you can select one from your Song Folder or from an installed Library.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The piano sounds are not even close to my Motif's - very thin and weak - but on the Audition they sound fantastic - I have no resonance or anything approaching a real piano sound. I know it's got to be something I'm doing wrong - I did change the velocity but then changed it back to the default setting - as I said - it has to be "operator error" because all of the YouTube video's sound great and the Audition's sound great - but what I'm getting is nothing like that. Is there something that you have to EQ or something like that? Please understand - I know this is me and not the instrument. I'm playing through my IEM's and also through a QSC 8" that I have in my office where I've been setting it up for live performances. I couldn't begin to use this live right now - the piano's are not even close to the Motif because I'm a moron!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 2
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Are you comparing the Audition Phrase or the Motif XF... You’ve lost me. Sorry.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I comparing both - what piano sounds = using the Yamaha grand rock - to the audition - but also to my Motif's - what I'm getting is very thin and not the least bit resonant from my MODX7 - I want to use it because of ease of use and the weight but the piano sounds are so terrible, I'm not going to be able to use it. I'm not talking about some subtle thing - they are just not remotely close to the sound made by the audition button and they are not remotely close to the nice strong full sounds I get from the Motif - I know it has to be something I'm doing wrong - is there some tweak I can apply that would get the piano voice to be more full and resonant. Right now it sounds like a Casio and I know it's not the instrument - it's something I'm doing wrong.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 4
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
what piano sounds = using the Yamaha grand rock
Sorry, I don't know this Performance
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
It would help to switch to the weak Performance with a great audition - press the [PERFORMANCE] button - then copy, exactly, the name of the Performance which is shown at the top portion of the touchscreen in larger print.

"CFX Pop/Rock" would be a valid name.
"Rock Grand Piano" would be a valid name.
"Rock Brite Piano" would be a valid name
"Piano Rock S6" ditto

Those cover the Performances that are piano with "Rock" in the name. Maybe none match the specific Performance you're referring to. It's important to get on the same page - so using a specific preset Performance name would help get everyone on the same page.

If you stop the audition at any point - the keyboard should be setup to sound just like the audition did (any scene or superknob or other changes would "freeze" when stopping the audition). The only other difference would be your ability to match the velocity values of the audition. Rock auditions tend to use high velocity. In order to match this - you may need to adjust the velocity curve so you can stay in the upper range of velocity while still being able to have variation in velocity. Or just fix your velocity to a high value if that sounds better to you without having to "work" at it.

Still, learning which Performance you're dealing with exactly would keep me from guessing - or minimize the guesses.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I'm using CFX Pop/Rock and if I turn off, or pause the audition - the keyboard sounds very thin and without resonance (the vibrating piano string sound) so it doesn't appear to freeze - there is very little chance what I'm hearing is the same settings the audition artist was using - I have the velocity on the default setting - I changed it to soft but changed it back - tomorrow I'll try high on the velocity curve. thanks for your attention by the way. I sincerely appreciate it.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
When you stop the audition, the settings are the same. There are only two possibilities I can think of. One is a "maybe" because I don't think audition changes your effects settings. But IF audition does ignore your effects settings and, during the duration of the audition, makes sure to turn ON your effects (if off) then you can make sure your Insertion, System, and Master effects are turned ON on your keyboard. There's an "FX" icon at the top of the screen you can press which is a shortcut to the screen which allows you to turn on/off effects. I don't think this is it - because I don't think audition changes the effect settings. But something to try that takes only seconds.

The other possibility is that you're not playing at the same velocity. Playing at different velocity triggers different samples. Which samples are playing has a drastic effect on the sound produced. The difference between a kazoo, thunder sound, and an organ are all just different samples - and velocity can trigger samples are that are widely different in "resonant" properties. The easiest way to quickly play at a given velocity is to set the velocity to fixed and "dial in" the velocity you want - setting it to 127 or close to this upper limit for a rock sound. That tends to be what is demonstrated in rock. Thanks for sending the Performance name - I can plug in my keyboard later and give more detail about exactly what the audition is doing which may be different than your playing by looking at what the audition is doing using a MIDI monitor. My guess is this is going to boil down to matching the velocity.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
OK - I changed the velocity setting as you suggested but that made it even worse. (changed it back to soft) Any resonance I had completely disappeared. the notes disappeared as soon as you played them. I'll go and attempt to check the FX settings to see if they are on or off when I get home from my gig today.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 9
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The difference you are hearing is real. The Preset Audition Phrases are stored in ROM and indeed, they play the Performance in real-time. The best I can explain it, in a similar way to how a “User Live Set” Slot can store a Volume Offset, the Audition Phrase does as well.

This Offset is applied to the “Performance Volume” parameter. Let’s take “CFX Pop/Rock” — a 4-Part Piano. Each of the four Parts has an individual Fader (cc07)... but since each Performance is like a multi channel Mixer.... the “Performance Volume” is like the mixer’s Master Fader.

From the HOME screen
Press [EDIT]
Touch “General”
The Volume found here is the “Performance Volume”
As you can see it is set to 103.

Turn it up to 127, you should now have the same robust dynamics as the Audition Phrase. This is the parameter that is offset in the LIVE SET.

Because “merging” of Performances is encouraged, you will find many of the program’s Volumes are conservatively set... if your use case is using the “CFX Pop/Rock” as the solitary instrument, you can afford to Offset the “Performance Volume” to fill more of the dynamic range. (You will know when you have exceed the dynamic range).

In order to do a multiple Part sequence you might use the 16 Part engine to build the composition. I did a soundalike of the Van Halen classic “Jump”. The overall dynamic range is shared among the 16 Parts, naturally. They all must share the range...

But if I’m going to play with a band, where I no longer need to be all of the Parts, I can combine (KBD CTRL merge) multiple Parts to recreate just the OB-Xa analog synth. I now can fill the entire dynamic range with just the one instrument I’m playing “live”. This tends to take the sound and put it right in your lap (“in your face” is what we’d say in the Bronx)! In comparison to the single Part among 16 in the sequence doing the analog synth, the Multi Part Oberheim recreation sounds ridiculously huge, massive... and scares the rest of the band (as it should). It’s what is meant when we say KBD CTRL Performances can be like simultaneously playing as many as 8 Motif XFs!

If you perform live, learn to check the Performance Volume... remember they can be conservatively set... in anticipation of people merging to make their own combinations. You might think most people would know to turn down each Part when layering several together (it has been our finding, not as much as you would think).

Hope that helps.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 10
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I had the same strange behaviour - like David has mentioned above - on my brand new MODX8 (2020-08-15), at least after I updated to the latest OS 2.5
I tried to get things right with editing velocity curve, velocity depth, accord to Bad Mister's reccomendation .... but with no success.

Then yesterday I reset the MODX8 to factory settings with

Utility - Initialize all data


...and magic after that the sound of the pianos is like it should be, very very similar to the audition in terms of sound, volume and velocity behavior!

By the way: I was forced to fully reset the MODX8 to factory settings because it hat another strange behavior after playing it with MIDI-cable from an KAWAI MP11.
Only a few notes createtd sound, then a few keys were ignored (no sound), then nexte few keys created sound, then a few keys were ignored (no sound) .... and so on - regardless if I was playing on the KAWAI MP11 (via MIDI) or direct on the MODX8 keyboard.
After reset to the factory settings all is fine again - but the imported libraries seemed to be deleted.

regards Wolfgang
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 11
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
By the way: I was forced to fully reset the MODX8 to factory settings because it hat another strange behavior after playing it with MIDI-cable from an KAWAI MP11.
Only a few notes createtd sound, then a few keys were ignored (no sound), then nexte few keys created sound, then a few keys were ignored (no sound) .... and so on - regardless if I was playing on the KAWAI MP11 (via MIDI) or direct on the MODX8 keyboard.
This sounds like it is caused by the MODX being in MIDI I/O Mode = Multi, and therefore the connection via MIDI only is addressing a portion of the MODX Performance.

Press [UTILITY] > touch “Settings” > “Advanced”
“MIDI I/O Mode” will determine how your instrument behaves when you are transmitting to it and what it transmits Out when you play its keys.

EXTRA CREDIT:
__ When your MODX is set to “MIDI I/O Mode” = Multi, it is set to Receive and Transmit on multiple MIDI Channels simultaneously, such that the Part Number = the Channel Number.
__ When your MODX is set to “MIDI I/O Mode“ = Single, all KBD CTRL linked Parts will Receive and Transmit on the one *selected* MIDI Channel.
__When your MODX is set to “MIDI I/O Mode“ = Hybrid, it combines the two above described Modes: those Parts linked by KBD CTRL will Receive and Transmit on the one *selected* MIDI Channel, and all others will Receive and Transmit individually on their correspondingly numbered Channel Number.
__ When your MODX Performance contains a Part slot setup to Transmit to an external device via what is called a “Zone”, the Performance will be — by nature — set to Transmit on multiple Channels... those concerning the MONTAGE/MODX itself and those generated specifically for your external device.
Thus activating a Zone slot creates the same situation as the setting MIDI I/O Mode = Multi.

In general, when using the MODX as a Master Keyboard you would use its Zone Settings — which are setup on a per Performance basis.
When using the MODX as a receiving MIDI device, you must set the MIDI I /O Mode parameter to the appropriate setting to properly replace the MODX’s own Keyboard.

Likely your external controller was set to Transmit on just one channel, and you had the MODX “MIDI I/O Mode” = Multi — when it should be set to Single or Hybrid.

Again Single would allow your external controller, transmitting on just one MIDI Channel to address the Multiple Parts of a MODX Multi Part Performance.

Extra, Extra Credit:
Deeper Understanding:

The MIDI I/O Mode = Multi _ (The default setting). Like any keyboard or synth you have ever owned, the data that it Transmits Out via MIDI is designed so that if captured by a MIDI sequencer it will be able to recreate every nuance of your musical performance when that data is played back and Received at the MIDI In. In this, the MONTAGE/MODX are no different. That is the “prime directive” for MIDI transmitting, by default.

You run into trouble when you attempt to use these MONTAGE/MODX specific default set of commands to control an external device. They are designed to be Received back by a MONTAGE/MODX. Many of the messages being generated by your interaction with the Synth hardware generate messages that your external device will never understand. What is different about the MONTAGE/MODX from other synths you may previously owned, is the fact that it generates MIDI messages for each Part you are actively controlling. If the Performance you are playing is eight Parts, for example, the engine will generate eight commands for each gesture - on eight MIDI channels (by default).

This is so that you can control the eight Parts in question, differently/uniquely, depending on how you setup the particular Performance. Instead of placing the eight Parts on the same MIDI channel so they all respond the same... this engine generates eight separate streams of messages. These messages can be unique to the instrument sound in the Performance Slot. The MONTAGE/MODX feature as many as 8 simultaneous Arpeggiators... you can understand why separate stream of data are necessary, a Drum Arp and it’s data will only make sense when received by a Drum Kit Part (in other words, the notes that YOU are playing are filtered, and a Drum Arp Phrase is sent Out instead... you could be controlling a bass, a rhythm guitar, strings, and electric piano all with your left hand, each following their own Arp Phrase, while with your right hand you might be controlling a B3 organ and a Tenor Sax playing lead lines with one or both! ... each generating their own stream of MIDI data, simultaneously! That’s Multi Mode.

In other words, your Key presses are filtered through a device that determines if what you played should be directly sent Out via MIDI or should something else be done with the information. It would be sent Out, as is, when it represents data that needs to be triggered by this message. Your Key press might be sent elsewhere in the Motion Control Engine to trigger a completely different set of commands to be sent Out via MIDI.

In traditional keyboards you would just place all the sounds you wanted to play (sound) on the same MIDI Channel... and they all would do the same thing. The architecture here is such that each internal Part slot can contain an eight Oscillator synth engine. You can think of each of these Part slots as a Motif XF, or as an 8-Operator DX-FM synth (on steroids). Each could easily function as a complete synth on its own... Motif sounds have been heard throughout popular music, the world over, for the better part of the last two decades! And FM sounds the better part of the two decades previous to that!

Because these 8 Oscillator PART slots can be used to create instrument sounds... they themselves can be splits, layers, combination split layers, or they can be used as a building component in a larger sound structure.

Example, you have an AWM2 Part (8 Oscillators called Elements) that uses four Elements to construct an acoustic piano, while the other four construct a string orchestra... a single Part functions as a layered sound. You could also use the 8 Elements of an AWM2 Part to build the very soft, soft, medium soft, medium, medium loud, loud, and very loud velocity layers of an acoustic piano, with one oscillator recreating the Key Off Sound.

The former building multiple sounds within a Part, or using the eight to build a single instrument.

Going further, you could create an 8-Element velocity swapping acoustic piano component that only concentrates on the Soft and Medium Soft segments, then “merging” a second 8-Element Part to cover the Medium Hard and Hard strike velocities... heck, you could construct an acoustic piano with as many 64 Elements — eight 8-Oscillator structures! If you wanted to..

The point is the architecture is open for those who want to use it as 16 Parts for sequencing, and open for those who want to use its power in linking multiple Parts together to create one mega sound that includes all the expanded nuance/detail by linking 8 oscillator modules (called Parts) in ways you may have not previously experienced. And tons of possibilities in between.

Quick example, you’re in a band... and in this particular composition you need to provide a Horn Section — in other words, you are tasked with being the horns. Instead of switching between a half dozen different Horn sounds to get all the gestures you’ll need, you can construct your brass section and reed sections as you may require. You can setup for sforzando, you can have a drop off ready, a pitch scoop (doit), octave trumpets on demand, how about octave high trumpets and a shake articulation.

These gestures can all be setup with little to no compromise, all in one Performance. Instead of trying to quickly switch to the sforzando swell program when needed, then switch back to your main Horn section sound, simply “merge“ that program into your Performance and set the Control Matrix to bring it in when *you* need it.

If you are tasked with being piano, organ, strings, synth lead and piano in the next number... you can do the traditional program change thing where you jump around... or you can merge your sounds into a KBD CTRL linked Performance where you can easily switch between the sounds using the Control Matrix.

Building your own multiple Part, Multi-purpose Performances should be the goal when attempting to dig into your instrument.


Hope that helps.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 12
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Bad Mister,
thank you very much for giving to me deep technical insights about how MIDI on the MODX will be used for different purpuses. In my first steps learning the MODX for now I only wanted to use the keyboard of the MP11 to play the MODX8 (which on my keyboard stand is sitting above the MP11) in a comfortable position to operate the foot controller and pedal with my feet. - Therefore SINGLE or Hybrid would be the best MIDI-mode for me, - but because it's on a performance basis (which makes sense), I won't change all my performances but playing on the MODX's keyboard.

Having had the S90ES for a long period of time (since 2005 and before the S90), I have first to learn now a lot about the extended functions and concepts of the MODX going step by step. Already learning to operate the S90 and S90ES I appreciated to read posts with your excellent advice and am very glad you are posting for the MODX too!

My main usage is to perform live - mainly in worship environments - therefore the main reason to buy the MODX was to get much better piano sounds and seemless switching between performances and pads. Even with the S90ES with two FC7 foot controllers I could smothly bring in either Strings, Brass, Organ, Pads, Flute, ... while playing piano as the main sound.
Now I am curious about the new possiblities the MODX would give to me - but I guess it will take some time for me to handle the MODX like I did the S90ES before.
(sorry for my english isn't perfect, but I try to write it as good as I can)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX Series Synthesizers
  3. # 13
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
OK - I changed the velocity setting as you suggested but that made it even worse. (changed it back to soft) Any resonance I had completely disappeared. the notes disappeared as soon as you played them. I'll go and attempt to check the FX settings to see if they are on or off when I get home from my gig today.


Did you manage to get this concern resolved on your MODX? Am interested because I share the same view and would like to know so I can do the same. I have read all the comments and feedback, but not sure what else to do. May be it's got to do with hitting the keyboard hard under low volume to trigger the goodies. I realized that if hit hard in the upper octaves, I get this beautiful response from the MODx.

I still believe the audition phrases are recorded with some secret settings that Yamaha don't want the competition to know about. One of the reasons I got the MODx is that, the Motif XF is no longer available and the budget couldn't afford the Montage. Someone convince me that the audition phrases are MIDI and using default settings. At first I thought it was the monitor am using but then I pressed the audition and like wooooooow....i want this. By the way I got it just two weeks ago and so far not impressed with the piano sound when playing. It even struggles to cut through the mix like the Motif does.

Any help with actual steps is appreciated.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I still believe the audition phrases are recorded with some secret settings that Yamaha don't want the competition to know about.


It's no secret. If you like what the auditions sound like - then play at those velocities. If you can't achieve those velocities then make adjustments one way or the other. Probably the fastest adjustment to make is to set your velocity to fixed and set it to 127 (or between 100-127) and see how that sounds you. You will probably be in the ballpark of where the audition rests. There's "better" (less global) ways to do this - but this is the fastest.

I would take a look at the auditions as they play using a connected PC and a MIDI monitor. This will tell you the velocities used.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Frederick it's tricky.

I've fiddled for ages. And it's basically impossible to get a good dynamic range with the MODX and pianos without hurting your fingers, because of the limitations of the keyboard and the odd manner it's programmed for pianos.

These issues, as you've probably noticed, don't show up with the other sounds.

It's just a pianos thing. And maybe a few of the old DX-7 type sounds.

Head on over to SoundMondo, and try out some of the heavily worked on pianos from there, to get a good feel for starting points on what to do to somewhat get the louds without losing the softs, and without hurting your hands.

I've never made a piano setting I'm happy with for dynamic range in live play on the MODX. Don't remember having this much trouble when we had a Montage. But that was another country, another era.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Andrew @ Jason,
Thanks for your response. Very helpful. I will check out your recommendations.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Frederick, just so you definitely don't think you're imagining what you're experiencing, here's an entire video about this exact issue:

https://youtu.be/8VbMzParso8
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