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#1327493 - 12/17/09 01:22 PM Basic Piano software hardware setup questions
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 131
Loc: Hayden, ID
I'm thinking of trying something like Pianoteq, or more likely Ivory.

I've got some knucklehead basic questions about how this works. I take my keyboard midi out into a controller and that goes into the usb on my PC.

Does the sound then come out of my PC speakers?

So a setup would be 1) software, 2) usb controller, 3) PC, 4) external amp and speakers or amplified speakers.

I tried hooking amplified speakers directly out of my ES4 and it sounded horrible. Tinny and awful. I guess when the sound source (DP) is not that good, better speakers just make you hear how bad it is.

All comments welcome.

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#1328046 - 12/18/09 03:23 AM Re: Basic Piano software hardware setup questions [Re: LS35A]
Glenn NK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 457
Loc: Victoria BC
Originally Posted By: LS35A
I'm thinking of trying something like Pianoteq, or more likely Ivory.

Ivory sounds nice, but I believe that Pianoteq is more playable. This however can be highly subjective, and others may not concur.

I've got some knucklehead basic questions about how this works. I take my keyboard midi out into a controller and that goes into the usb on my PC.

(No questions are knucklehead.) Another option is to use a PCI or PCIe soundcard (goes into computer slot). I run a MIDI cable from the piano OUT to the S/C MIDI IN. There may some instances where USB will not transmit high burst rates of music information, and I've heard that firewire may be better. Certainly PCI or PCIe are better.

http://www.emu.com/products/welcome.asp?category=505&

I use the 1820M (discontinued), but have heard good things about the 0404 PCI - but this requires a PC obviously.

Does the sound then come out of my PC speakers?

You must run audio cables (L/R) from the soundcard to the piano's AUDIO IN. This requires two cables - on for the Left channel, one for the Right.

So a setup would be 1) software, 2) usb controller, 3) PC, 4) external amp and speakers or amplified speakers.

With the software mixer on my soundcard, I can route the audio signal to any or all of; the piano's speakers, powered monitor speakers, headphones.

I tried hooking amplified speakers directly out of my ES4 and it sounded horrible. Tinny and awful. I guess when the sound source (DP) is not that good, better speakers just make you hear how bad it is.

It's possible that the bad sound is a result of your internal computer soundcard. A few weeks ago, my S/C blew up (bad capacitors), and I resorted to the internal one. The sound was so bad that I almost cried. Fortunately, it cost me $60 to fix it - I'm much more careful about the S/C now.

All comments welcome.

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#1328246 - 12/18/09 12:01 PM Re: Basic Piano software hardware setup questions [Re: LS35A]
JBurn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 13
Loc: Mississippi, USA
Originally Posted By: LS35A
I'm thinking of trying something like Pianoteq, or more likely Ivory.

I've got some knucklehead basic questions about how this works. I take my keyboard midi out into a controller and that goes into the usb on my PC.


Hi there. I'll try to shed some light - I'm new to the software piano thing and have learned a lot reading on these forums the past month or so.

You have a few options here. You can go the MIDI-to-USB route, using a cable like this one:

http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=732

Or a complete USB audio interface like the M-Audio Fast Track, E-MU 0404, etc. These are great for recording and doing what you describe, and are easy to set up and use.

OR you can use a PCI or PCI-E sound card with MIDI connections, etc. Like the M-Audio Audiophile 192 or the E-MU 0404 PCI. The PCI-E bus is superior to USB and will allow lower latencies, but you probably won't even need this. The USB should option is sufficient in this area.

Quote:

Does the sound then come out of my PC speakers?

You have options here as well. You can use the DP's speaker system, but as you've already discovered, it's not that great. So dedicated speakers are probably better.

Speakers that sound good to YOU can be tough to find. Not to mention expensive. There are a lot of threads here asking what kind of speakers/monitors to use, so you might find it helpful to do a search for those.

The easiest way to get great sound out of your software piano is to buy a good set of headphones. This route is usually cheaper. I have a set of Bose quiet comfort's that only cost ~125 dollars, and they sound FANTASTIC. Way better than any speakers I've been able to try. I know they're not the best headphones but I'm completely satisfied with them.

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#1328263 - 12/18/09 12:23 PM Re: Basic Piano software hardware setup questions [Re: JBurn]
sid4iwpa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/09
Posts: 38
get this :
Yamaha Audiogram 3 or 6 will do.

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#1328291 - 12/18/09 12:57 PM Re: Basic Piano software hardware setup questions [Re: LS35A]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: LS35A

I tried hooking amplified speakers directly out of my ES4 and it sounded horrible. Tinny and awful. I guess when the sound source (DP) is not that good, better speakers just make you hear how bad it is.


Are you sure the amplified speakers you used were better quality then what is built into the piano? A reasonable indicator of quality is price and size. I'd guess you have to spend $400 to have good enough quality external speakers that it would be noticeably better. and even then you need to play around and experiment with location the aim of the speakers.

Yes the hookup to MIDI to the computer then you some software and out the computer's audio outout and then to some external speakers. But as you have found you need some really nice speakers or excelent sample in the computer are a waste.

Speakers good enough to be able to bring out the quality different of the computer based sound are physically large and expensive.

You will also almost certainly need an external USB audio interface as the audio built into most PCs is not very good, good enough for games and DVD movies, maybe but not the internal audio in not "studio quality" by any means. You can get aa USB interface that combines audio and midi and save some cables to make a nearer setup.

Expect to spend about 1/2 the price of a digital piano for the powered monitors.

When you listen to the digital piano, you are listening to speakers. These matter a LOT. he speakers define the quality of the sound. Even some of the weaker, older DPs when connected to high end sound system sound better then new DPs on their internal speakers. I'd say they are the most critical component.

Spend a lot of time auditioning speakers. Bring a CD recording of music you know well and liten critically for more than just a few minutes.

Beast deal on headphones right now are the AGK K240 for $99 at sweetwater. That's half price. These headphones are good. Comparable speakers are in the $600 to $1000 (each) range.

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#1328302 - 12/18/09 01:12 PM Re: Basic Piano software hardware setup questions [Re: ChrisA]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Regarding speakers, you might have a look at Logitech's Z-2300 2.1 system.

Packs in 200 watts, and sounds fabulous on arrangers and digital pianos.

Very popular and under $200 USD.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1328323 - 12/18/09 01:34 PM Re: Basic Piano software hardware setup questions [Re: snazzyplayer]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3666
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
... Logitech's Z-2300 2.1 ...
Packs in 200 watts ...
Take care with the maker's power claims. smile

When Logitech (or any maker of PC speakers) claims 200 watts, you should probably expect about 25 watts.

Their power claim lacks a test specification. They're probably talking about "peak dynamic music power", which is typically 8x greater than the honest methods mandated by the FTC in 1974.

PC speaker sets are exempt from that regulation, hence the oft seen claims of as much as 2000 watts! for desktop speakers.

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#1328335 - 12/18/09 01:42 PM Re: Basic Piano software hardware setup questions [Re: MacMacMac]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
You're correct Mac...but, however the power is measured, there are many keyboard players using these for home use, and the power is very substantial.

I have several sets of these, and use them on my Korg PA2XPro arranger, my P-85 pianos, and of course, on my laptop.

They were designed basically for home computer/home entertainment, but it was posted by several people on keyboard forums that they are excellent for pianos and/or arrangers.

I gave them a try, and was more than satisfied with their performance.

And...they have a remote control...cool!

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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