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Parker Robinson
Parker Robinson

How To Make Midi Piano Sound More Realistic

Thank you for your tip to mix the MIDI drums like real drums so it sounds closer to the real thing. I have been thinking of making some live drum loops. I will make sure to keep this tip in mind for doing this.

How To Make Midi Piano Sound More Realistic

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The piano is one of the most popular instruments in the world, so creating the best piano VSTs, for realistic software virtual piano emulation, has been the number one priority for software and DAW developers for the last couple of decades. As such, most DAWs already ship with decent enough software pianos, but they don't usually offer quite the nuanced character and breadth of dynamic sound you can expect from a real upright or concert grand. Third-party software developers have therefore been falling over themselves to create even better software virtual pianos so there are now loads of options out there.

If you aren't focussed on grand pianos, but the keyboard being your main instrument, then there are two other options that deliver great piano sounds alongside all sorts of other key-based instruments. Spectrasonics Keyscape (opens in new tab) is just about every keyboard instrument you can imagine in one package. Expensive, yes, but its quality emulations and effects are right up there with the best software instruments available. Finally, one of the few modelled instruments that scores well whenever a new version is released is Modartt's Pianoteq, an instrument that will run light on any system but sounds anything but light, and with loads of purchasing options for any budget level.

All the instruments sound phenomenal, serving up a versatile melange of flavours, from the super clean LA Custom C7, through the funky, evocative electric pianos and clavs, to the pretty Celeste and other Belltones, and the crusty finish and grit of the toy and tacked pianos.

Pianoteq, with its lean CPU requirements, stunning sound, and near-infinite editing capabilities is a breath of fresh air. Even if you have a go-to hardware or software piano instrument or library, Pianoteq is worth a look and listen; it sounds that good.

You get MIDI files and chordal features thrown in with each of these titles to help your playing and composing plus effects for a varied sound. There are also additional MIDI packs to help you home in on more specific playing styles, more than 70 titles covering genres like Prog, Synth Pop and even (our personal favourite) Goth Rock.

AK's core sounds tick all the right boxes, and although you're limited to the tonality of the source instruments, the mic options provide an enormous palette even before you touch the EQ. XLN have put a lot of work into creative patch design. The likes of Prepared Horror (grand), Reverse Attacks (upright), and Glow Sticks (electric piano) show off the insert effects, as much as the source samples, to great effect.

The Yamaha C3 is probably the one grand piano you are likely to find in more pro studios than any other grand, and on using Vivid Keys it's easy to hear why. It has a beautiful, mellow yet full sound, and this title captures it perfectly.

In truth, both types of pianos deliver amazing results, but multisampled instruments that focus on perhaps one or two models will deliver all of the character of the originals. These are the ones to choose if you want exacting detail, and perhaps if you are using the piano as a solo instrument, or the main focus of your music. Otherwise, every other instrument here will deliver a great piano sound for any kind of mix. Check our overall recommendations in the MusicRadar Choice section above.

I know it's common for people to bring up the 'plastic' sound, and I become more self-conscious because of it. What do you do to change this (besides telling those people to "- off")? The second option usually works, I just don't want to have to each and every time still.

- I adjusted the velocity curve to my keyboard. - I shortened the damping duration (a little bit higher in the low register) to about 54, this feels better for me when playing staccato notes. (Adjust the release velocity curve also) - decrease the duplex and sympathetic resonance - increase the volume of the dampers. I don't know if that is true but I think increasing the damper noise changes the attack sound of each note with a damper. I compared the loudness with the pedal noise of a real grand while sitting in front of it and made it the same volume. Also increasing the other noises.- I increase the unison detuning a little bit- play around with various mic placements. I have routed every mic output to a channel in the DAW and tried out settings as explained in this Video =K11lPSt-0ls- I use external reverb for more control

I don't second the opinion that PTQ has a 'plastic' sound. In my experience, PTQ sounds a lot more realistic than the sampled piano's that I tested (demos).Good USB-soundcard and decent loudspeakers will help.Also the placement of the speakers changes a lot about the sound (I experienced bad quality when the speakers were pointed to me directly).Good luck!

Obviously, people at MODARTT read into the complaints and were hard at work afterwards to provide more of a PIANOTEQ solution to do away, once and for all, with no wood or the scarcity sounding in physical modeling of physically wood pianos. Lastly via the recent release of PIANOTEQ v.6.7, MODARTT had came up with its own remedy to the situation of end users having to resort to their DAWs just to get an authentic wood sound out of its software.

one thing about pianoteq is the sustain pedal ambients that sounds quite good but still isn't quite perfect. but compared to any sampled piano, it just has that edge. Kurzweil in their k2500/k2600 had a patch that emulated that sustain, but it took up all the dsp it had to make it plausible. And the other is the grunts, farts and creaking of the stool that is missing from the recording. Will Keith Garrett ever use one - I wish he did, not that I dont like is grunts - sometimes but it can be quite a distraction.

Piano Genie was programmed without coding in any theoretical rules about harmony or composition. Its AI is based on a neural network that was trained with 1400 performances from the International Piano e-Competition. We can say that through this training it learned on its own, and by example, what piano music should sound like.

Giving your MIDI drum hits different velocity values will make them sound less rigid. Also, the subtle differences in volume will give your rhythms extra movement that sounds pleasing to listeners. This is the easiest way to humanize drums.

Mixing different drum hit lengths adds groove and variation that sounds human-like. For example, make louder notes longer and quieter notes shorter. You can shorten or lengthen various drum hit samples or MIDI notes. This technique also creates a push and pull feeling that sounds more intriguing than a repetitive pattern.

Humanizing your programmed beats is a great way to inject organic vibe into your music. This guide offers a few techniques to get your grooves sounding more natural and less robotic. The goal is to apply subtle variations in timing, timbre, duration, dynamics, and any other creative way to impart the imperfections of a real drummer.

Just wondering if there's any guidelines as far as recording a real instrument versus using a midi controller or synth. For example, let's say I have a song that I need a piano part for. I could set up a microphone on an actual piano or I could just use a midi controller or synthesizer with a piano sound. Are there any benefits to recording a real instrument- wouldn't the mic introduce background noise and make things harder to edit?

Assuming you have an adequately skilled pianist, a decent quality piano which is in tune, and a decent microphone or microphones for the job, then yes, absolutely there are benefits. It will sound real!

The real instrument will sound more real, but as you note, there are many challenges to recording acoustic instruments or anything with a microphone that are completely bypassed when using a virtual instrument plugin.

With a plugin, you don't have to have an audio interface, microphone or cables. You don't have to have an actual acoustic instrument, which usually cost much more than a good plugin, DAW, computer, and controller combined. You don't have to make sure the plugin is in tune. You don't have to have a quiet room with good acoustics to record in.

So in all ways except sound quality, plugins are much easier to work with. These days plugins sound very good. They still don't sound exactly the same, but the convenience and cost savings that they offer makes them a very popular tradeoff.

For most instruments (apart from piano), if you have access to the real instrument and a real player, and cost isn't a factor, and realism is seen as a plus point, then you'd probably go for the real instrument. It's very hard to achieve a performance with most synthesizers (including plugins) where all the articulations sound at they would on a real instrument.

Some of the same logic holds for piano, but piano is perhaps something of a special case as there are relatively few difficulties in synthesizing it well, and the market for piano-style midi controllers is much more developed than that for controllers for any other instrument. So if you can find a player who feels able to perform on a controller and synth you have access to, there's every chance of capturing an acceptable performance, with some added possibilities for directly redefining the midi, or changing the instrument sound or the ambience after the fact.

Even then, for a critical part (such as a solo piano piece) there will be plenty to be said for captioning the sound of a performer interacting with a suitable real instrument in a nice-sounding space.

Conversely, pretty much any half decent piano 'rompler' will have had all that time & effort already spent on getting the sound right - you just have to pick the one you like best & suits the part best - something you also couldn't do with a single piano in a single room, even if you had all the rest of the expertise.

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