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Calling all Piano Player Audiophiles - Help!

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Darryl
Posts: 783
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Topic starter
 

In general, you get what you pay for with speakers. A good pair of Studio Monitors are recommended for critical listening. Designed to be balanced and reproduce sounds accurately, you don’t have to be using them for recording you simply have to use them properly. Studio Monitors are “near-field” speakers — this means they are optimized for the listening ‘sweetspot’: which basically is you seated in an equilateral triangle with the speakers (3 to 5 feet from each).

Hey BM, I am curious as to why almost everything I read about speakers, they recommend the configuration that you mention above (equilateral triangle, etc.), yet any professional studio that I've been in or have seen in a picture or video, have the studio monitors facing straight out (or with very little noticeable angle to them)?
This video is just another example...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKvbYU8aapg

 
Posted : 10/04/2019 6:38 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

The picture you show has the engineer’s sweet spot equal from the left and right Speakers. There are two pairs of speakers. The person playing is not (technically speaking) in the sweet spot. I see the back of an empty chair where the engineer would be seated.

Whether you turn the speakers in, at an angle, is a personal preference. Know this, high frequencies travel in a straight line... if you can’t see the tweeter, you’re not really hearing the tweeter. Angling the speakers or not angling the speakers, not as important as the distance between you and each speaker and that the distance between the two speakers be at least the distance you are from them both.

 
Posted : 10/04/2019 10:35 pm
Rod
 Rod
Posts: 0
Estimable Member
 

Reassuring that you get this occasional off-key note too - I sometimes think I imagined it, but I know I didn't - and of course you can't repeat it as it plays perfectly the second time ... I thought it might just be my Montage, but now there's at least one other ... the 'triangulation' BM speaks of to get a 'sweet spot' really does work! When I bought the Rokits I had a total re-build of my musicube as I had sold my beloved old Korg M3 to pay for the Rokits, so everything needed re-arranging to suit, and I particularly placed the Rokits as recommended by BM. I was pleasantly surprised at the result! The Rokits are 6' apart, at either end of the Montage, and tilted slightly up on foam cushions to aim straight at my ears, each 4' away. Integrated stereo sound! I am unaware of the speakers doing anything - the sound is right there in my head. Give it a try. You and BM have also encouraged me to use the EQ more - I'm not only not a musician, I'm not a technician either, so my knowledge of what does what is sketchy, to be polite. I really am a total amateur, so need a bit of coaxing and coaching ...

Love to see your multi-coloured chequered studio when it's done! Way out, man ... and they're not apple and orange crates, they're anechoic sculptures ...

 
Posted : 11/04/2019 8:47 am
Darryl
Posts: 783
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

The picture you show has the engineer’s sweet spot equal from the left and right Speakers. There are two pairs of speakers. The person playing is not (technically speaking) in the sweet spot. I see the back of an empty chair where the engineer would be seated.

Yes, I did realize that he's not sitting in his chair/sweet spot for those speakers. I was just observing that the speakers aren't facing inward much (if at all), and since you've been around some big studio engineers, I am curious as to what they say about angling in vs straight out!?

Whether you turn the speakers in, at an angle, is a personal preference. Know this, high frequencies travel in a straight line... if you can’t see the tweeter, you’re not really hearing the tweeter. Angling the speakers or not angling the speakers, not as important as the distance between you and each speaker and that the distance between the two speakers be at least the distance you are from them both.

That makes more sense regarding distance being more important than angling. My setup was(will be) basically an equilateral triangle between me and the tweeters(approx 5 feet apart), with the speakers' vertical angling/facing such that my eyes are between the tweeter & the woofer of each speaker ... and horizontally angled inward slightly so that they are pointing to at least 18 inches behind my head or more. I've found that on most speakers, facing the tweeters directly at me can be a pinch too much/too bright (subtly), and I think the stereo imaging is slightly better overall having them angled away from center (me), although the stereo imaging is more likely a factor of the distance/equilateral triangulation (sweet spot)...

 
Posted : 11/04/2019 3:52 pm
Jason
Posts: 7907
Illustrious Member
 

Since we're diving into the piano Performances here - I'll bring up something that isn't quite "realistic". Montage/MODX has no key-off velocity. With that fact - how to handle the key-off samples has to be a compromise. The programmers could have elected the key-off samples to have a fixed velocity or use the note-on velocity. The latter was chosen - but I'm not sure this leads to a more realistic compromise than just setting the key-off noise to a fixed velocity.

Turn off all of the PARTs except for key-off noise. In a preset like "CFX Concert" - you would mute PARTs 1-3. Now mash down on a cluster of notes in the lower part of your keyboard. Strike them quickly - leave the hand down for as long as you like - then gently lift up. It doesn't matter how "fast" or "gentle" you let up - results are the same. This is part of the limitation intrinsic in the hardware and I am not asking for this to change. You will notice doing this test the key off noise is "loud".

With the same PARTs muted, strike the same cluster of notes but do so slowly. Use the least velocity you can to press the same cluster of notes. After lifting off the notes - you'll see the volume of the key off noise depends only on the striking velocity.

This can get unrealistic if you strike a note with a high velocity - let it sustain for a very long time such that you're holding what was, back in time, struck with a high velocity - but now "died down" to a quiet velocity. The rest of your musical passage is now in the "pp" range - you let go of the keys you were holding down and "pop!" loud key-off noises now shoot through the mix.

The simple cure for this is to turn off the key-off noises altogether. A more complex one retaining key-off noises would be to change the velocity depth to 0, bump up the velocity offset (at PART level), then go into the element (there's only one for key-off noise) and make adjustments so the key-off noise is more balanced between the low and higher end of the keyboard as fixing velocity makes low notes "loud" and higher notes almost silent for key-off. Striking a fixed velocity that doesn't stand out in the quiet passages while still providing some added realism is a matter of personal taste and compromise - but I think some editing is necessary to prevent the key-off noise from jumping out "unexpectedly" (counter to a pianist's experience/intuition).

Regarding pitch - I haven't noticed anything that stands out pitch-wise with the pianos "like a sore thumb". Is there a particular Performance that demonstrates this more than others? A particular note range/velocity of that Performance? I just went through "CFX Concert" - maybe that's not the one you're auditioning.

Pivoting away from pianos somewhat - a Performance I do find "horrible" with pitch is the "Pedal Steel" Performance. Turning effects off so I can hear better - Element 3 goes down in pitch, element 2 wobbles up and down, element 1 also oscillates but primarily sounds like a slight ramp upwards in pitch. All 3 elements sound at the same time generally. This Performance just sounds crazy pitchy - so I do not use it. Most of the source of the weirdness is the Part-Level LFO which places a delayed vibrato on each of the elements. Setting the depth of the LFO (pitch target) to "0" helps. I know we're talking about Pianos here - but using this "Pedal Steel" Performance as an example of something that's obvious to me and that the piano Performances have not been this order of magnitude as perceptible.

 
Posted : 11/04/2019 8:43 pm
Darryl
Posts: 783
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

Since we're diving into the piano Performances here - I'll bring up something that isn't quite "realistic". Montage/MODX has no key-off velocity. ... - but using this "Pedal Steel" Performance as an example of something that's obvious to me and that the piano Performances have not been this order of magnitude as perceptible.

Hi Jason, I think you meant to post this in another thread..!?

 
Posted : 11/04/2019 11:32 pm
Rod
 Rod
Posts: 0
Estimable Member
 

'lo Jason! I'm not much of a 'realism' fan, and generally turn off the 'key off' sound altogether because of that. Very rare for me to try to emulate an instrument per se. I have to turn off loads of things to get at the original sound, especially in the 'Syn Lead' Category ... I have Libraries entitled 'Rescues' for various Categories, that I can use in my mixes that are totally unusable in their original form! Sorry Yamaha! Takes all sorts ...

As to Pfs being off-key, can be anything really. It's not common, just occasional, in any Category. And of course it doesn't repeat when played again. So it's not something you can worry at and track down. Maybe not even on every Montage, maybe only those built on Friday the 13th ... or something. So because of its random nature, it's not possible to point to any particular Pf or Category - could be anything. Or nothing at all for a couple of days - then there it was again!

 
Posted : 12/04/2019 9:47 am
 A
Posts: 0
Estimable Member
 

First of all, I must say thank you, Phil, for sharing all of this information and your experience, it is very invaluable! I learned so much just by going through your posts!

So after playing different sounds and starting to learn this beast, the Sony GTK-XB5 speakers I had bought sound completely awesome for everything, except 'Pianos'!
It's almost like they go into the twilight zones with pianos, but not with any other sound.

With the exception of the CFX Concert, all other piano sounds don't quite sound right. My Roland earphones sound so much better for playing those piano sounds.
So to anyone out there who 'MUST' have speakers that make their pianos sound as realistic as possible (including VST pianos), what speakers do you have or have tried that (a) make pianos sound awesome & as realistic as possible, and (b) that make pianos sound horrible or not quite right (so that I can steer away from them)?

I don't need these speakers to be good for recording/mixing or care whether they make all the other sounds horrible or not...as long as they make the pianos sound awesome & realistic, that is what I am looking for!

Phil already gave you the answer. Get the HS7 or HS8 monitor speakers! They are the best budget (monitor) speakers you can buy. Should I mention that they are studio standard monitors? Many studios have a pair of them. They sound very true. They play the audio as close as it was recorded originally. That's why they're called monitors... you use them as a reference.

You need a good pair of headphones and speakers if you want to have a true experience.

Also, it is best to listen to your performances through a good pair of monitor headphones (I don't know of any Roland studio monitor earphones?!). Get an open-back pair of headphones like Sennheiser hd650 or AKG k702. Something with a decent sound stage.

Not all of the sounds in your keyboard sound perfect! The monitor speakers are usually not as sensitive as your headphones in high frequencies. Compare the domes of your speakers with the domes inside your headphones! They are built and function differently! A pair of speakers that sound as good as good monitor headphones are very very very expensive!

I would restate what Phil and other folks originally said, get a pair of HS7 or HS8. They are the best bang for your buck and they sound very true.

 
Posted : 12/04/2019 2:39 pm
Darryl
Posts: 783
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

Phil already gave you the answer. Get the HS7 or HS8 monitor speakers! They are the best budget (monitor) speakers you can buy. Should I mention that they are studio standard monitors? Many studios have a pair of them. They sound very true. They play the audio as close as it was recorded originally. That's why they're called monitors... you use them as a reference.

You must have missed my post on page 1 - # 3
I actually demoed the HS7's & HS8's, and bought the HS8's. I tried setting the master EQ on the Montage to get the HS8's to sound as good as the earphones, and came quite close, but it just wasn't amazing, natural & realistic sounding like the Adam A7X's were that I played through at the music store as well that day. I would have been quite content with the HS8's had I not heard the Adam's, but I couldn't justify keeping the HS8's knowing I could never quite be content with them, as all I would be thinking about is the Adam's.

You need a good pair of headphones and speakers if you want to have a true experience.
Also, it is best to listen to your performances through a good pair of monitor headphones (I don't know of any Roland studio monitor earphones?!). Get an open-back pair of headphones like Sennheiser hd650 or AKG k702. Something with a decent sound stage.

The Roland earphones I have make the pianos sound pretty awesome...not quite as good as the Adam speaker though!

A pair of speakers that sound as good as good monitor headphones are very very very expensive!

That is the lesson I learned. I actually was avoiding listening to the Montage pianos through the Adam's because I knew they may be too awesome, but I was struggling a bit with the HS8's to find the harsh frequency and make them sound great, so the guy at the music store insisted I try it through the Adam's so I would hear the tonal difference between the Yamaha HS8's and speakers more than double the price. Turns out you do have to spend a lot of money on speakers to get the true sound and you get what you pay for, because the Adam's sounded more than twice as good as the HS8's.

I would restate what Phil and other folks originally said, get a pair of HS7 or HS8. They are the best bang for your buck and they sound very true.

They definitely are great for the price and I would have been content with them had I not heard the Adam's.

 
Posted : 12/04/2019 3:55 pm
 A
Posts: 0
Estimable Member
 

Again, if you're on a budget, HS series is the way to go. Those Adam monitors are not budget speakers. You can also check out HEDD monitors which are very very similar in design. With the budget you have... you already have the best!

 
Posted : 12/04/2019 4:14 pm
Darryl
Posts: 783
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

Again, if you're on a budget, HS series is the way to go. Those Adam monitors are not budget speakers. You can also check out HEDD monitors which are very very similar in design. With the budget you have... you already have the best!

I definitely am on a budget and the HS series are definitely top notch for speakers in that price range, and so yes I probably did have the best; However I can't unhear the Adam's and have been spoiled to discontentment. I am hoping I can save up over the next couple of years or so, or come into some money somehow to get the Adam's. Until then I will use my earphones.

 
Posted : 12/04/2019 4:25 pm
Darryl
Posts: 783
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

Reassuring that you get this occasional off-key note too - I sometimes think I imagined it, but I know I didn't - and of course you can't repeat it as it plays perfectly the second time ... I thought it might just be my Montage, but now there's at least one other

BM, has there ever been other posts on this forum regarding this phenomenon/issue? Have you ever noticed this happen to you when playing a Montage/MODX?
It's like the synth doesn't process the pitch shift/tuning fast enough, every now and then...!? Or maybe some kind of portamento creeps in a bit when it shouldn't..!?
Maybe you could check with some Yamaha programmers or engineers, as well to see if they may have ever noticed it?
One thing I think may be true is that it is with multi-PART Performances. I first noticed it when I took the CFX Stage piano, copied the PART, set the range on the first part to exclude D# and set the range on the second part to only include D#. I noticed that every now and then that D# note of PART 2 is not perfectly on pitch with the the notes of the PART 1, yet most times it is...of course in this example I have transposed the D# keyof PART 2 up 1 semi-tone and then 'fine' tuned all the Elements down all the way, so that I am actually using the D note waveform sample in place of the D# waveform sample.
I've even used a piano tuner app on my phone and get varying results (while watching the element velocities to make sure I'm comparing the exact same velocity layer). Most times the tuner app is the same, but every now and then it's off a bit...!? Can you submit this internally as a bug check?

Also, have you noticed that D# note on the CFX pianos when hitting the keys harder between the top 3 velocity layers, whereby it doesn't quite have the same hammer ting to it (not sure the proper term for it)..?

Love to see your multi-coloured chequered studio when it's done! Way out, man ... and they're not apple and orange crates, they're anechoic sculptures ...

lol...exactly!

 
Posted : 12/04/2019 4:27 pm
Jason
Posts: 7907
Illustrious Member
 

Since we're diving into the piano Performances here - I'll bring up something that isn't quite "realistic". Montage/MODX has no key-off velocity. ... - but using this "Pedal Steel" Performance as an example of something that's obvious to me and that the piano Performances have not been this order of magnitude as perceptible.

Hi Jason, I think you meant to post this in another thread..!?

No, I meant to post in this thread. I know that the topic is primarily monitors and how to get the most pristine sound that complements the piano Performances. However, discussion fractured off into problems with the factory preset pianos, such as:

BM, has there ever been other posts on this forum regarding this phenomenon/issue? Have you ever noticed this happen to you when playing a Montage/MODX?
It's like the synth doesn't process the pitch shift/tuning fast enough, every now and then...!? Or maybe some kind of portamento creeps in a bit when it shouldn't..!?
Maybe you could check with some Yamaha programmers or engineers, as well to see if they may have ever noticed it?
One thing I think may be true is that it is with multi-PART Performances. I first noticed it when I took the CFX Stage piano, copied the PART, set the range on the first part to exclude D# and set the range on the second part to only include D#. I noticed that every now and then that D# note of PART 2 is not perfectly on pitch with the the notes of the PART 1, yet most times it is...of course in this example I have transposed the D# keyof PART 2 up 1 semi-tone and then 'fine' tuned all the Elements down all the way, so that I am actually using the D note waveform sample in place of the D# waveform sample.
I've even used a piano tuner app on my phone and get varying results (while watching the element velocities to make sure I'm comparing the exact same velocity layer). Most times the tuner app is the same, but every now and then it's off a bit...!? Can you submit this internally as a bug check?

Also, have you noticed that D# note on the CFX pianos when hitting the keys harder between the top 3 velocity layers, whereby it doesn't quite have the same hammer ting to it (not sure the proper term for it)..?

And so in the spirit of this sub-topic of the thread, I shared one of my own issues with the preset programming of the CFX pianos.

I did ask a question sparked from something said in a previous message (in this thread).

My question:

Regarding pitch - I haven't noticed anything that stands out pitch-wise with the pianos "like a sore thumb". Is there a particular Performance that demonstrates this more than others? A particular note range/velocity of that Performance? I just went through "CFX Concert" - maybe that's not the one you're auditioning.

... was sparked by:

It's like the synth doesn't process the pitch shift/tuning fast enough, every now and then...!? Or maybe some kind of portamento creeps in a bit when it shouldn't..!?
Maybe you could check with some Yamaha programmers or engineers, as well to see if they may have ever noticed it?
One thing I think may be true is that it is with multi-PART Performances. I first noticed it when I took the CFX Stage piano, copied the PART, set the range on the first part to exclude D# and set the range on the second part to only include D#. I noticed that every now and then that D# note of PART 2 is not perfectly on pitch with the the notes of the PART 1, yet most times it is...

 
Posted : 12/04/2019 6:55 pm
Darryl
Posts: 783
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

Genelec 8040B's ?

So I finally bought the Adam A7X Monitors and they still sound super awesome as when I first demoed them; however they sadly & unfortunately have a design flaw in them that Adam Audio have confirmed to me in an email, as well as to others on a forum that talk about it:
What is causing distortion in both Adam A7X monitors?

It's a phenomenon whereby only when playing certain specific types of instruments, especially Pianos, does it occur. If I hit all the notes/chords on the entire Montage Pianos with the volume up to a fairly decent level (same as an actual acoustic grand) & playing harder/forte, it sounds sonically perfect, realistic & awesome with zero harshness or distortion! It handles "all" the mids perfectly!! However, if I then start playing more softly, especially an octave or 2 around the Mid-C, I hear a distorted/buzzing/vibrating noise in the woofer.

Here is the response I got back from Adam Audio Support, referring to the link above:

Dear Mr. Lowe,
thank you for your message and precise description of the effort you already took.
The reason for the sound you hear under these special circumstances is in fact what you already found out at gearsluz. It is a result of the technical and constructional features of the A7X.
Unfortunately there is no option to eliminate that sound.
Please excuse that we could not help you in this case. Out of many thousand satisfied users there are very few who experience that phenomenon. I am very sorry that you are one of them.
If under these circumstances the A7X are not usable for you, I can highly recommend our ADAM S-series. I know that these are in a different price range but I can promise that you will here difference.

So sadly I need to take them back, which is really unfortunate because aside from the noise when playing soft, they give the experience that you are playing an actual acoustic grand in front of you if you close your eyes, and they are the only speakers I've tried that can sound like that!

___________

My questions now are: Does anyone have experience with the Genelec 8040B's and playing pianos?
These Genelec's appear to be the only other option I can see at this point that might handle the mids of a grand piano the way the Adam's do when playing hard/forte, yet possibly not have the noise issue when playing softly that the Adam's do, and at around the same price point as the Adam's..!?

I have no way to demo them or know if they could do the job for pianos or not, but I was wondering if anyone on here is at all familiar with these specific Genelec Monitors, and if so, in your opinion would the 8040B's do the job that I am looking for them to do (specially for pianos)..?

To be perfectly clear, I am not concerned about having Studio Monitors that are perfectly flat and awesome for studio mixing. I am only interested in speakers/monitors that make digital pianos sound realistic & awesome like they do in most quality headphones (and on the Adams)! I don't necessarily need them to have the full high end detail that the Adam's do with their ribbon tweeter, as long as they can handle all the mids at fairly high volumes (with pianos), without any harshness(like the Adams are), but also without any issues...!?

 
Posted : 30/01/2020 5:01 pm
Manuel
Posts: 0
Eminent Member
 

I never had a pair Genelec 8040B, but I used a pair of Genelec M030 and I still have a pair of Genelec 8010A and I found both fatiguing (I still use the 8010A only for Hauptwerk software organs mixture stops).

I currently use a pair of Neumann KH120A with a Dynaudio 9S subwoofer.

 
Posted : 01/02/2020 8:20 am
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