How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

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pupika
KVRer
12 posts since 26 Jul, 2018

Post Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:11 pm

Hi,

I have an example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhEB7UpYbyw&t=501s

My piano (EMO, NOIRE, KEYSCAPE) all sound tiny and sharply in the upper register.
How to make it more like the example above?

High shelf did not help - it sounds dull.
Doubling the piano - it just adds more sharpness and dullness...

Also, how to get that present piano and endless reverb?
If I put a lot of reverb piano just go way back.
If I double piano one with, one without reverb on a separate bus, it still swims in reverb - overwhelms the one without.
Even though I ducked the reverb and lowered the volume.

Anyone has a clue how to do this?

Thanks!

deastman
KVRAF
7433 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:16 pm

I certainly think Noire should be able to get that sort of tone. Are you perhaps playing too forcefully? Try keep the velocity levels lower.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

pupika
KVRer
12 posts since 26 Jul, 2018

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:43 pm

Thank you for your quick reply.
I started a You Tube channel" Nature Music Therapy".
Here you can hear what is wrong with my mixing.
Right hand is dull and piercing - too tiny and sharp.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COXz1fio4AI
or
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1He_KVwZvE&t=416s

Overall sound is empty - but in the examples piano sounds fat and full. I do not know how they get that.
I tried layering piano with synth but it is not that. It has something with reverb maybe...
How they get this soft piano and soft reverb sound, I wonder.
I tried to cut frequencies of both but it is not that either...

Example track:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qHrHTKLxbM&t=5846s

Thanks!

User avatar
zerocrossing
KVRAF
10215 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:30 pm

I can’t listen to the track right now, but maybe you need a 12 or 6 dB filter? Of course you can always try a multiband EQ. The one in Bitwig is very easy to work with and can be easily side chained with any other track. In that way, the piano can have a bit more high end when it’s in a busy part of a mix, but then sound soft when alone. F6 from Waves is good to, and it can be dynamic depending on signal content. So the lower notes can have a nice normal sound but when high notes are played the whole track can get dampened down.
Zerocrossing Media

4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

pupika
KVRer
12 posts since 26 Jul, 2018

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:00 am

Hi zerocrossing ,
If you listened my tracks and the reference track - my piano sounds dull in the right hand.
I recorded separate tracks for left and right hand.
When I put a filter it ruins high harmonics and piano just sound as on funeral.
I listened an example of Waves F6 - it is a dinamics pluging for voice meaning it react when voice becomes overwhelming on some spots. This does not work on piano as if the freequency is stady on the particular note. I cut frequency on some notes but the overll sound of piano is still too tiny and sharp, compared to reference track. Ti is not some particular notes.

I use Cubase 9.5 which is enough professional to solve all problems - and the guy from the reference track use that too. If he can solve these problems with Cubase I should too, but just do not know how?

So my problem is how to make the upper register sound more fat, round like their ones.
When I add any reverb it just becomes more piercing and sharper.
I cut frequencies with reverb but the sound is bad as you can hear in the examples.

I have perfect pitch so I hear perfectly what is wrong.

I can not believe there is no one who knows how to solve this problem exactly.
And not to give me advise like - play with controls and settings... :)
I did that and can not find a solution that is I ask on the forum.

I asked many sound engineers but they do not have a clue how to get this sound. They just say put a ton of reverb/cut frequencies etc.

Hopefully somebody can figure it out.

Thanks!

deastman
KVRAF
7433 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:07 am

Yours is dull, piercing, tiny, sharp, empty, while theirs is fat, full, soft.

Your choice of descriptors isn’t helping. Soft and dull seem like synonyms to me, while dull and piercing, tiny, sharp seem like opposites. Empty makes me think of only odd harmonics.

Maybe you could look at a spectral plot to see how the recording actually differs from what you’re doing? And sure, things like reverb, compression, and EQ can make a big difference in the final sound. Same with playing technique. Or choice of room and microphones, if any of these were recorded live with an actual piano in an actual space.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
67322 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:11 am

if you want to soften the soumd without losing brightness...

some sort of transient shaping on the attack. wont effect the frequency at all, but will soften the sound.

if thats not what you mean, im with deastman, youre mixing stuff up...?

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
67322 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:13 am

pupika wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:00 am

I have perfect pitch so I hear perfectly what is wrong.

then you should know how to make it right, or at least explain what is wrong.

Funkybot's Evil Twin
KVRAF
7369 posts since 16 Aug, 2006

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:24 am

Gave the different examples a quick listen, and I hear what you're saying. But I have some questions:

1. What velocity range are you using? The attack is quite pronounced. As suggested, did you try using much lower velocity levels?

2. Did you use different piano samples? I mean, if a bright piano with very hard hammers was recorded with a bright set of microphones and EQ'd before it ever even hit the sampler, then that becomes very hard to undo. Find a piano that sounds closest to the sound you want with no processing, then work from there.

Also, back to point #1, different piano samples will require you to adjust the velocity levels, so maybe one library has a nice medium velocity around 80 but another library gets you in a similar range with a velocity of 65 with 80 being hard and bright. So don't be afraid to try a bunch of different pianos and audition by scaling the velocity levels or velocity response up or down to see how it impacts the sound.

3. What kind of processing are you doing in the mix? What's your piano EQ look like? What's your master EQ look like? What reverb are you using? If you're boosting anything about say 5k, then maybe stop. Darkening up your reverb may help with that part of the sound, but you still want to fix the source. You're not trying to mix this like a bright pop song, with a vocal, so don't be afraid to use darker sounds. Don't use any presets for things like EQ because you have no idea what the context was for those.

Funkybot's Evil Twin
KVRAF
7369 posts since 16 Aug, 2006

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:28 am

pupika wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:00 am
I have perfect pitch so I hear perfectly what is wrong.
Pitch and timbre are different though. If you have perfect pitch, great. But you're struggling to get a good set of sounds and a good mix. Different set of skills from having perfect pitch. There's no such thing as "perfect mix" or "perfect timbre" that would allow someone to take a bad recording and polish it enough to make a perfect mix out of it. But you may be able to spot a flat or sharp note, and that's perfect pitch.

fese
KVRian
1238 posts since 14 Sep, 2004 from $HOME

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:43 am

The first of your examples sounds as if the upper piano register is even distorted or clipped in a nasty way. The second example is better, but there i still hear some distortion here and there, this time in the mids. If you have any kind of saturation/distortion plugin somewhere, don’t use it. Not the kind of music for distorted piano.
Do you have a limiter on your master bus that has some clipper engaged? Is you piano signal too loud? Make sure your tracks are peaking at around -10db (give or take), makes life easier.
Come to think of it, the first examples sounds a bit like a too loud signal clipping the master bus when you don’t have a limiter engaged...

Personally, I find the lower mids a bit too muddy, too. Might be the reverb.

The overall honest answer would be: choice of sound and for mixing: practice, practice, practice ;). You probably practiced the piano for some time. You won’t get good at mixing without the hard work (trust me, I’ve been doing that for a long time and I’m still shit). Not the quick-fix answer but I don’t think there is one.

Some ideas for the reverb:
- Pre-delay. If you don’t already use, try it.
- filtering the signal before the reverb (google “abbey road reverb trick”). My guess is if you hipass the signal, it would help with the muddiness in the low mids.
- the right reverb algorithm/setting/preset is crucial. Learning what the reverb controls actually do is really helpful.

pupika
KVRer
12 posts since 26 Jul, 2018

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:30 pm

Hi Guys, I looked into your advises that are helpfull.
I work with Cubase and vst pianos - Keyscape, Emotional piano and Noire Felt.
I noticed after you pointed out that the attack of the hammer is strong.
So I have a problem with it.
There is a slider for attack - until half way the attach is stil strong and afterwards there is no attack but the piano sounds like synth!
So if it is not possible to do on the patch itself how do I cut the attack to be soft?

lfm
KVRAF
5329 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:54 pm

pupika wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:30 pm
So if it is not possible to do on the patch itself how do I cut the attack to be soft?
Usually you do it like on a synth - modulate a filter envelope on velocity.
I had a SampleTank Piano Collection - and they just had a knob for this.
So light touch give more mellow soft sound, and decide how much to open filter when attacking harder.

I did the same thing on AddictiveKeys, to emulate the same thing. Just adjust envelope of filter.

I have not listened to samples, but those that said they hear distortion - if that is the case change your pianos to something else. Often the key curve tell how sensitive keys are giving certain velocity out, so guessing you have studied that a bit as first option.

But moved to digital pianos long ago now, and Kawai MP7SE, and can adjust every key all over for volume, tone, stretch tuning and whatnot. The virtual technician open a world of options, how open the topboard is, sympathetic resonance etc. Half pedalling etc. A joy to play in every sense, and a single power button to sit down and play a bit.

pupika
KVRer
12 posts since 26 Jul, 2018

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:00 am

Hi, yes I first adjusted a velocity curve.
I wanted to send and example mp3 or wav but this window does not allow these files to attach.
It is very hard to explain the sound with words.

magicmusic
KVRian
1190 posts since 11 Nov, 2013

Re: How to make piano upper register (right hand) sound warm and soft?

Post Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:21 am

you need a piano that is good sampled with many velocity layers and then play very soft and make loud with the level knob. maybe you try demo of modart pianoteq. its a pysical modelling piano https://www.modartt.com/pianoteq_stage

or for darker fuller pianos are bösendorfer or a c7. but all pianos sound only as you like when you play them with very low velocity. but many sample piano do jumps in velocity when play them low.
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