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Acoustic or digital recording?

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by Chopinesque, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. Chopinesque

    Chopinesque New Member

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    Hi,

    I can't seem to produce any good quality acoustic or digital recordings, and I need to decide on whether to invest my money and energy in acoustic or digital recordings. I have a really good German grand piano and a Clavinova CLP. The grand piano is fine, but the single microphone I've used is not great, so it picks up all sorts of unwanted noises but can't cope very well with fortes, and the other problem is that the room is fairly small so it also sounds dry. The Clavinova is perfect in that you get the pure sound, but is so absolutely dry that you get no ambience sound, and besides, it does sound very much like a keyboard. I tried downloading some software to give some "ambience" to the MP3 but I efforts yielded nothing but garbage.

    From what I've read so far, I gather it's really difficult to record a grand piano. I don't mind investing in equipment, but I really don't want complications. The other option is to get a really good digital piano but I'm disappointed with most of them - even with the Roland HP 207. I tried the Roland V Stage Piano in a shop yesterday and it sounded great compared with all the others, and it was really easy to change the ambience and all the settings, but it's also rather at over £4,000.

    I would like to hear what you would choose if you were in this position. Ease of use is my main requirement, followed by quality and cost.

    Many thanks
     
  2. s_winitsky

    s_winitsky Member

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    From what I know of digital and acoustic pianos, acoustic pianos will general have a much fuller/richer tone & sound. Digital pianos seem to miss the mark in one way or another. I don't know if it’s because of the way the tone is generated, or because of the action of digital pianos or whatever else. That being said, digitals have some nice advantages, they are generally portable, do not require microphones, do not require tuning, you can do countless takes without disturbing neighbors and family.

    I once moved into a small apartment and I had to sell my piano because there was simply no realistic way to move it into the apartment!

    I also tend to think that a skilled piano player can make a toy instrument sound good. I tend to think that as long as the instrument is in tune, clear, without too much reverb or noise for example, the performance is more important then the instrument (not that you can tell this from my own recordings...) Anyway, this is all just my own opinion and feelings about this probably vary.

     
  3. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    besides the variety of tone, the more important point that a digital piano does not have is: HARMONICS. when you hold down the pedal on an acoustic piano, then you play some notes, EVERY OTHER NOTE also vibrates by resonance.
    one misses a lot of effects and subtleties without this important feature of the piano sound.

    the reason why a digital piano does not emulate generating harmonics is that the algorithm for doing this is much complex (in other words, it takes much time to return the result), so it can't return the result in real-time. I think no one has discovered any workaround for this yet.

    anyway... my teacher says that "despite harmonics", the Roland digital piano is REALLY good!
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    In this month’s Popular Science magazine there is some information about Yamaha’s newest digital piano called the Yamaha Avantgrand N3. It’s supposed to be practically indistinguishable from a $100,000.00 acoustic grand. But the Avantgrand has a price tag of $19,000.00 US dollars. :shock: (wow - that's the highest I have ever heard of for a digital piano.)
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I just listened to the Avantgrand and the V-piano. As of yet, I have never been fooled by a digital piano. The Avantgrand I could tell right away that it was digital. There is that 'cleanness' like what you mentioned, or to me it also sounds too thin. I think I liked the sound on the V-piano even better. It sounded fuller to me. But it's not much to look at.

    Still, these two pianos certainly show how much better digital pianos are now than they used to be. Maybe you can make some recordings with an acoustic and the V-piano and then we can play a game guessing which is which. That would be fun!
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well, that just blew my theory. I’ve always felt that looks didn’t matter that much to women. I’ve been attracted to handsome men but also not handsome men – being more attracted to their personality or mind. But maybe looks actually do matter to me a little. But men always go to looks first, I thought, so it’s a little surprising that those tech guys didn’t mention the looks of the piano (or lack thereof). Then again, we’re talking about techy, gadges, machine things so there you go…

    That youtube video – it sounded pretty good. Almost a true grand piano sound. But then the way it sounds too smooth-like going from note to note in the lower ranges give it away. But I think I would be happy with this digital piano if I were to buy one.
     
  7. Syntaxerror

    Syntaxerror New Member

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    Hi Felipe! There are digitals that emulate this type of resonance (and to my mind they do it really well):
    http://www.kawai.de/digitalpianos_en_16.htm
     
  8. yaccob

    yaccob New Member

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    If the sound quality of the final MP3 output, i.e. how close it emulates a real acoustic grand, is your only concern, I'd:


    1. record a MIDI file using your Clavinova

    2. transfer the recorded MIDI file to your computer

    3. and render the audio (with desired ambience settings etc.) with Pianoteq. Here you can listen to some examples: http://www.pianoteq.com/discover_pianoteq3


    Pianoteq can only export audio in WAV format, but if you download Audacity (a freeware!), you can convert WAV to MP3. To sum up: record MIDI -> generate WAV -> convert to MP3

    This option will cost you about EUR 250, but is IMHO a very good investment.
     

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