Live sound on stage with a DP

General discussion about digital pianos

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Live sound on stage with a DP

Post by woodbass »

Everyone will have their favourite digital piano choice and lets face it the market place is full of amazing sounding digital pianos these days. My own favorite is the Roland 700nx as I mailnly play live with a band and as a stage keyboard this works for me, being able to adjust most perameters on the fly when the need arrises and having an exceptional action (in My opiniom).
There is one problem I have found however, and this applies to all the makes of piano I have owned over the years,
how to get a good 'live sound'.
When auditioning a new piano it usually sounds great either through headphones or the nearfild monitors found in many music shops these days. One can hear all the nuances and resonance that is often included in the sound samples these days, in my case even the pedal noise.
The problem is that as soon as you play with a band on stage at any resonable volume all this is lost and when one has to boost the volume a bit to contend with the drums or a loud guitar this subtle resonance becomes a muddy honk sound in your speaker. It is obvious that as the volume is increased the character of the sound can change and the clarity and richness seems to disappear.
I have spent many an hour delving into the editing section on my piano trying to get the best from it and coming up short as soon as I got back in the live situation, however all is not lost.
Back in 1992 still frustrated with my sound I bought a Kursweil micro piano. This served me well until it was replaced when I puchased my trusty Roland RD700 SX a few years later.
Having spent the last year or so with the NX and not getting what I was looking for sound wise I suddenly remembered the Micro Piano module and wondered what the result would be if I connected this,via midi to my set up.
Now the Micro Piano was the first to achieve a 'real piano' sound ,desingned by Ray Kursweil the inventor of the piano sample working for Stevie Wonder. Whilst this is very good it does not have all the overtones etc of the Roland and many up to date piano samples.( It was sampled with 2 inch analog tape and not digital, just as a matter of interest.)
Suddenly I have found that elusive live sound. Combining the sound from the Kursweil and blending a small amount of the grand piano sound on the Roland I am able to achieve the loudness I need on stage without the muddy effect of too much ambience.
This is not the sound you might want to hear in your headphones but on stage it works like a dream and I get that lovley Roland action and a good stage sound. I still send the Roland sound to the House PA and the engineer deals with that but the sound within the band that inspires my playing I can control to my own taste.
One may ask why is this so important to me......well it is about that word inspire. If you sound good to your ears you simply play better and get more back from doing so, a simple concept but the reason why we may all like to sit down infront of a well kept Stienway or Yamaha grand from time to time.
I would be very interested to hear if others have had a similar problem and what their solution might be, this seems a great place to share these thoughts and I look forward to further discussion.
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