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Best Piano Recording ???

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Best Piano Recording ???

Postby DigitalMusicProduction » Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:26 am

Hi

I'm sure it's varied and all about personal choice, but when attempting to produce a solo piano album for disc retail using a VI such as the CFX Concert grand, what would be some of the usual or common settings applied to the piano?

What would a sound engineer recommend in post production? should Compression or a Limiter be added? What's the industry standard for a reverb environment?

In my case the genre of music for the album would be soundtracks.

Thanks.
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Re: Best Piano Recording ???

Postby Arpangel » Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:48 am

You’re right, it is about personal choice! and soundtracks can be anything, depending on context, and what the visuals are.
But if you’re wanting to produce the sound of a concert grand in a hall, you need as little processing as possible, no compression, maybe a bit of EQ to get exactly the right sound from your plug-in, and some ambience/reverb. As for damping, lid positions, virtual mic placement, that also depends on the music.
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Re: Best Piano Recording ???

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:11 pm

It needs to sound pleasant to the intended audience.

There is no prescribed treatment.

That's why it's considered an art...
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Re: Best Piano Recording ???

Postby RichardT » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:45 pm

Try listening to some high quality real piano tracks to get an overview of how they sound and to see what kind of sound you like.

Getting sampled pianos to sound exactly like real ones is extremely difficult. One key thing to get right is the amount of resonance on the piano sound. This is usually adjustable in the virtual instrument. This helps the sound gel if you get it right.

Another major question is the quality of the keyboard you use to play the pianos. The keyboards on good real pianos have greater resistance when you play louder in a way that very few electronic keyboards do, even weighted ones. They are also very responsive at low velocities. This helps even out the sound. When you play on an electronic keyboard, you can expect the sound to be ‘lumpier’ than it would on a good real piano. What I do to overcome this is to compress the midi slightly (in the midi domain not the audio domain) and manually tweak notes that stick out too much. You can also tune the keyboard response in the virtual instrument. I often adjust this after the fact to reduce the responsiveness of the keyboard.

I think reverb and audio compression are really a matter of taste!
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Re: Best Piano Recording ???

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:21 pm

DigitalMusicProduction wrote:What would a sound engineer recommend in post production? should Compression or a Limiter be added? What's the industry standard for a reverb environment?
A sound engineer would recommend a real concert grand. Boesendorfer or Fazioli for a big sound, Steinway for a more 'present' sound.

Post? A little limiting or nothing - depending on the dynamic range of the material.
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Re: Best Piano Recording ???

Postby Arpangel » Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:38 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:
DigitalMusicProduction wrote:What would a sound engineer recommend in post production? should Compression or a Limiter be added? What's the industry standard for a reverb environment?
A sound engineer would recommend a real concert grand. Boesendorfer or Fazioli for a big sound, Steinway for a more 'present' sound.

Post? A little limiting or nothing - depending on the dynamic range of the material.

If you’re going to go down that route, you may as well get Barenboim or Ashkenazi to play it, or if you’re on a tight budget, I’m sure Chick Corea will step in at the last minute, they’re all sitting around doing nothing now anyway.

:D :D :D
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Re: Best Piano Recording ???

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:03 am

The plugin you use to generate the piano will be far more of a factor than the processing you apply.

Make sure that you use a high quality instrument. Or better yet, have someone record the piano tracks for you!
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Re: Best Piano Recording ???

Postby DigitalMusicProduction » Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:55 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:The plugin you use to generate the piano will be far more of a factor than the processing you apply.

Make sure that you use a high quality instrument. Or better yet, have someone record the piano tracks for you!

The album will be recorded using Garritans CFX Concert Grand inside Logic Pro, as mentioned in the original post i just wanted some input on what piano settings would be best recommended, so far its been helpful.

Listening to many professional recordings is what I'm doing to provide a greater understanding of what needs to be done to replicate the sound, my main concern is the sound environment, choosing the correct reverb.
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Re: Best Piano Recording ???

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:07 am

I recently tried to duplicate the sound of a modern Herbie Hancock record's grand piano.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrNs4_F ... Aa&index=1

An experienced producer/engineer (who is also my piano tech) showed me how you have to EQ the piano to be quite bright to get that sound. I am talking here of +10 dB boosts in large portions of the upper mids and highs. I find that to pull this off on real piano tracks you need a linear phase EQ or at least a high quality EQ. Some EQs have too much phase distortion on the out of band part of the sound which makes the piano sound artificial.

I am talking hear of getting a piano sound from a real recording of a real piano. But the same thing applies to a good VI I suppose.

I was surprised by how much EQ is used to get that modern piano sound.
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