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#1823193 - 01/12/12 08:09 AM Line in recording quality (fp7f)
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
So, been recording via line in from Roland FP7F with Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB as audio interface. The thing is that while sound quality is OK and it sounds as good or in some cases even better than some studio quality professional recordings I've listened to, when I'm listening directly with headphones pluged into FP7F the sound quality is better. The sound is more full and richer, more color in it if you know what I mean. I wonder if there's anything I can do to improve recording quality. Could line in cable might have to do something with it?
Thanks,

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#1823207 - 01/12/12 08:35 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
When you play back the recordings, how are you listening? The same headphones? Plugged into the Focusrite?

Or are you playing back the recordings on speakers of some kind? No speakers can sound like headphones and even a fairly decent pair of 'phones will "blow away", as they say, anything short of very expensive and elaborate speaker setups.

But if you're comparing headphone to headphone, the difference has to be something in your recording chain. That 8i6 should have pretty decent A/D converters so it's not likely the interface.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#1823279 - 01/12/12 11:02 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
I don't tend to believe people who say the cable itself significantly affects audio quality. Only in extreme cases where a very long or ghetto cable picks up interference do cables actually make a difference. A bad connection could make a difference, but it would show up as scratchy interference, not general low quality.

I assume you are sending audio into the focusrite from your line outs, not your headphone jack (probably true, but I thought I'd check).

Have you compared the quality of a recording through line-in to an recording to a USB drive?

I guess I'm with Brent, even if you are using the same headphones to listen to the piano and the recording, are you using the same headphone jack (the one on the focusrite)? The way the sound is coming out is the most likely source of difference. It's possible that the onboard headphone amp is better (or better with your headphones) than the focusrite one.

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#1823422 - 01/12/12 02:27 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Can the FP7F play audio recordings on a USB dongle? (EDIT: This may be what gvfarns meant ) (it has an "audio key" feature, which I think may be what I'm referring to) If so, it would be useful to play back your recordings FROM the FP7F, with headphones plugged into the FP7F, and compare that to the sound you get when playing live. Match the volume level as closely as possible. If they sound different, then you may indeed be losing quality during the recording somehow.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/12/12 02:42 PM)

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#1823434 - 01/12/12 02:39 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
What sort of software do you use to record? If there's any compression, automatic gain control, EQ or other effects being applied you'll want to turn all that off and get a straight recording.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#1823706 - 01/12/12 10:44 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: Brent H]
bman2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/11
Posts: 30
Loc: Montana
Are you using L/Mono only or are you using L and R Line Outs to your interface? Some DP sound a lot better when you use both L and R out, I know mine does.

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#1823878 - 01/13/12 07:40 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
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Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Hmm, maybe indeed the difference might be that FP7F headphone jack is better than audio interface...However, most high quality music sounds great via headphones. I use sony mdr-7506. I record using free Audacity software and yes, I use both L and R line outs. I also doubt that cable might be that important, it's labelled as interconnections professional flat cable, it's not very long (i think about 5 metres).
Of course, all my listening and comparing is via headphones, not monitor speakers.
I record without any inbuilt reverb or eq effects. Also, don't think the problem is the software, because when I'm listening while actually recording via focusrite headphone jack, the sound already is like it's in recording not like I can hear when listening via fp7f headphone jack. Maybe gain levels have something to do with it, I usually put gain at +8 in fp7f to record in proper volume.


Edited by EO3 (01/13/12 07:51 AM)

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#1824401 - 01/13/12 08:57 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
@EO3,
Aside from using a USB drive to play back a recording on the FP7F, you could also just run the line-outs from the Focusrite to the line-ins of the FP7F, and then listen to it from the FP7F. This is all assuming you want to be absolutely sure what is going on - if you've already done enough testing for your own needs then that's fine.

I've had this problem in the past, and never got to the bottom of it. (very long time ago, with a very old DP, but as it happens, it was a Roland)

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/13/12 08:59 PM)

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#1825780 - 01/16/12 07:23 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: sullivang]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: sullivang
@EO3,
Aside from using a USB drive to play back a recording on the FP7F, you could also just run the line-outs from the Focusrite to the line-ins of the FP7F, and then listen to it from the FP7F.


I think I'm already doing this, because I don't use USB. My typical method is the following - play and record listening via FP7F headphones (using song recording option in FP7F) and then I use "play" function to actually record it to the computer via line in. I do so because if something goes wrong I don't have to start recording on computer over and over again, I just re-record via FP7F till it's good and then record via line outs into computer. Hope this makes sense.
Thanks for all the feedbacks, any other opinions, suggestions are welcomed.


Edited by EO3 (01/16/12 07:26 AM)

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#1825781 - 01/16/12 07:29 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
Well then it would seem the "song recording" function in the DP is making a low-fidelity recording. Probably some sort of super-compressed lossy format, like a poorly implemented MP3 encoder of 100-ish kbps or similar. That won't totally ruin the sound but you'd be able to hear a difference.

Or it might even be recording in mono for that matter.

P.S. I went and looked online at the FP7F. The "song recording" function actually records a MIDI file and plays it back if I understand the spec sheet correctly. So really it ought to sound the same doing MIDI playback as it did live, I would think. Hmmm.


Edited by Brent H (01/16/12 07:39 AM)
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#1825785 - 01/16/12 07:42 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
@EO3,
When you use the "song recording" function, you are, I think, recording to a MIDI file that is stored on the FP7F. Once you're happy with this MIDI recording, you then play that MIDI file, and record the line out signal from the FP7F to your computer, using the line-ins of the Focusrite. The MIDI file is not audio, as you probably know. Even if you were recording the audio on the FP7F, though, that still wouldn't be good enough, because we need to listen to the audio that has passed through the Focusrite to the computer. The reason is that some fidelity might be lost in the Focusrite, during the recording process.

So, to help to prove that the problem is the headphone output of the Focusrite, I want you to listen to the audio signal that you recorded to the computer, using the headphone output of the FP7F. To do this, you can do either of the following:

Method 1: USB drive method
==========================
1. copy the digital audio file that you created on the computer to a USB drive (a USB dongle, or USB connected hard drive, etc)
2. Play the AUDIO recording on the FP7F, and listen to it with headphones plugged into the FP7F. If it sounds good again, then the problem may well be the headphone output of the Focusrite. If it sounds the same as it does when you listen with the headphones plugged into the Focusrite, then the loss of fidelity is in the recording itself, and then you'll have to try to diagnose that.

Method 2:Connect Focusrite Line-Outs back to FP7F Line-Ins Method
============================================================
1. Connect the Line-Outs of the Focusrite to the Line-Ins of the FP7F.
2. Play the recording back from the computer, listening with headphones plugged into the FP7F. If it sounds good again, then the problem may well be the headphone output of the Focusrite. If it sounds the same as it does when you listen with the headphones plugged into the Focusrite, then the loss of fidelity is in the recording itself, and then you'll have to try to diagnose that.

Method 1 is preferable.

It's possible, but unlikely, that the headphone output of the FP7F sounds different to the Line-Outs of the FP7F. You could eventually consider connecting the headphone output of the FP7F to the Line-Ins of the Focusrite, and making a recording that way. You'd need to be very careful with the levels. I don't suggest you do this yet.

Note that even if we find that the cause of the difference is the headphone output of the Focusrite, that still doesn't prove that it is worse than the FP7F - all it proves is that there is a difference between the two. The fact that you prefer the headphone output of the FP7F, with your particular headphones, doesn't prove that it is actually technically superior.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/16/12 08:34 AM)

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#1825987 - 01/16/12 03:22 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2380
Loc: UK
P82 of the FP-7F owners manual has a note that suggests the sound from headphones is not the same as the sound from line-out.

"The FP-7F is designed so that when you connect headphones, the sound is optimized for listening through headphones. For this reason, the sound heard from speakers connected to the FP-7F will be different depending on whether or not headphones are connected."

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#1825988 - 01/16/12 03:30 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
*click* ;^)

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#1825997 - 01/16/12 04:01 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I'll bet anything they are boosting the highs and lows on the line out under the assumption that you'll be listening through small, crummy, limited-range speakers. The headphone being plugged in probably reverts it to more of a straight signal.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#1826012 - 01/16/12 04:32 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
So, does the tone of the Line-Outs change when headphones are plugged in? If so, that would be an easy way to make a recording from the Line-Outs, with the headphone optimisation present in the recording. If not, and you really want the headphone optimisation in the recording, then I guess you'll have to record the signal from the headphone output. (which I think should be pretty easy, just be very careful with the levels - start low, and gradually increase the volume until you get a good recording level)

Caution: The sound with the headphone optimisation MAY not be ideal through loudspeakers, especially if they have made the stereo image very wide. There may be phasing artifacts (a thin, or nasal, sound) through loudspeakers, aside from any basic difference in EQ etc.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/16/12 04:52 PM)

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#1826034 - 01/16/12 04:56 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2380
Loc: UK
I find this slight digression is an interesting discussion. Although I don't have a FP-7F I always take the opportunity to play my mates one, usually through headphones, where it is very good (personal taste I know). But I have often complained on here that the GP1 sound through the inbuilt speakers is to loud, boomy, and overwhelms the mids and highs. People have reported trying to use EQ to 'roll off' the base and boost the mids and highs. My friend has tried this but it seems to affect the very soul of the sound adversely. Also there has been lots of past discussion on here on trying to get decent sound from the FP-7F through external speakers. I'm not too sure where that has got to. If that one was cracked then I would consider getting one.

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#1826504 - 01/17/12 01:21 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Ok, so i tested via method 2 suggested by Greg (thanks for input) and the sound wasn't good. Maybe something to do with audio levels also, but I have a feeling it was the same thing. So, problem should be in the focusrite recording...

Also, I have a cheap studio monitors and I agree that piano on them sounds not so good. Firstly it's low volume, bass is too much, however, they are not placed properly in my case (but almost any music sounds better on headphones than on monitors and that's just how it is, I guess studio monitor headphones give the most "neutral" sound with my setup).

Also I wasn't aware of possible audio optimization when listening via FP7F headphones... And that feature isn't that good in my scenario, because, what I want is as neutral and objective end recording as possible, so that in every possible setup it would sound OK (recordings are for some demo material).

At the moment I feel the current setup will have to go on, unless some other ideas come...


Edited by EO3 (01/17/12 01:22 PM)

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#1826550 - 01/17/12 02:26 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
@EOS3,
You could now make a recording with the headphones plugged in to the FP7F during the recording process. I.e - it is possible that the headphone optimisation will be present if the headphones are plugged in during the recording. As I said before, though, if it does sound better through headphones, it may sound worse through loudspeakers. Actually, since you have speakers, you could also see if the sound changes when headphones are plugged in, when listening to the speakers directly connected to the FP7F. The other thing you can probably do is to simply monitor the sound of the FP7F with headphones plugged into the Focusrite, without actually making a recording. I.e - configure the Focusrite to send the audio of it's own line input to the headphone output. (I'm not familiar with the Focusrite, but my own audio interface allows me to do that)

Yes, it is important to get the levels right when connecting to the line INPUTS of the FP7F, because those inputs may not behave identically, in terms of the level, as the line outputs. (if you heard distortion, then the level from the Focusrite would have been too high, but it doesn't seem that you did hear distortion - correct?)

Note that my Casio PX-330 also changes the tone when headphones are plugged in, and it DOES also change the tone of the line outputs.

I don't mind the headphone optimisation feature, but I would prefer that there was a setting for it, rather than be automatic.

Greg.

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#1826886 - 01/18/12 03:57 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Well, I now tried recording with headphones pluged in and it seems the recorded sound is different. Is it better, not so easy to say. Maybe the difference might be because of the gain levels... I mean, when I'm recording, to get proper audio levels I turn gain up +8 and so when listening via FP7F inbuilt speakers/headphones it's really really loud, almost not possible to listen. Maybe something happens here with gain level so the sound becomes a bit glitchy... But if recording without gain change, then it's too low volume (apparently, line out signal from fp7f by itself is weak). But I will try some other things with audio levels, if have progress, will let you know.

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#1826894 - 01/18/12 04:22 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Just record the song first to the FP7F locally, as you were before, and then play the song back, without listening to it. That way, you won't have to listen to the loud level. I.e - just press the "play" button and stand back and wait for it to finish recording. If you already have a recording sitting there on the FP7F, just use that.

There is a very slight chance that you'll damage your headphones if the level is very loud though. To be completely safe, just plug a spare 1/4" cable into the headphone output - I don't think you'll need to have real headphones plugged in. ;^) This introduces another uncertainty though, so maybe just take a chance with the real headphones if you can.......

You said yourself that you could get the song right on the FP7F first, and then record it. That's exactly how I think you should do this test. smile

Thanks for your patience. I'm very interested in this problem, but if you're getting sick of it I'd hate to be wasting your time. wink

Greg.

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#1826934 - 01/18/12 06:33 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: sullivang]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: sullivang
Just record the song first to the FP7F locally, as you were before, and then play the song back, without listening to it. That way, you won't have to listen to the loud level. I.e - just press the "play" button and stand back and wait for it to finish recording. If you already have a recording sitting there on the FP7F, just use that.

Thanks for your patience. I'm very interested in this problem, but if you're getting sick of it I'd hate to be wasting your time. wink
Greg.


That's how I was already doing the recording. But when I listened the recording in Audacity and back on FP7F , something sounded different but in an odd way... I have a feeling like I said that this could be because of something wrong in levels. I will try to lower gain and turn on FP7F volume knob more. Also I wonder is it better to turn Focusrite line in gain levels more up or do it in piano gain settings (currently I have done a bit in both).

Also, there's always a chance to maybe try and explore software piano options via MIDI. But I have heard that, for example, Pianoteq sound isn't better than FP7F sound, so is there a point doing that. But that's another subject.

smile

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#1826943 - 01/18/12 07:09 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Don't worry about listening to your (computer) recording on the FP7F for the time being. Just set the levels to how you had them originally (if you can remember), and then make two recordings through the Focusrite to the computer: one with the headphones plugged in to the FP7F, and one without. Then, listen to both recordings with the headphones plugged in to the Focusrite, and see if there's any difference.

If you can't remember what levels you were using originally, for the time being I suggest setting the volume on the FP7F on 100%, and then adjust the input gain setting on the Focusrite until the maximum level during the recording is near 100%, but not reaching all the way to 100%. If it has dB markings, try to aim for about -3dB. (3dB less than maximum).

I think it's worth persevering with recording the FP7F because it has a very good tone.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/18/12 07:12 AM)

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#1828458 - 01/20/12 12:10 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
So, finally tested with Your suggestion methods. Recording with headphones plugged in - records louder than without headphones plugged in (with the same volume/gain levels). Sounds richer. Recording without headphones - a bit lower volume, sounds OK, however.
Now ,then there's the factor to keep in mind that recording 1 while sounds good with headphones, could sound worse on audio systems. On my particular audio monitors that are not so great record 1 and 2 sound really simillar.
BUT - what I didn't do with these recordings is using master gain. I just turned up volume on FP7F near 100% and I think that now even recording without headphones it actually sounds better than it was before when I was messing with master gain.

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#1828731 - 01/20/12 08:13 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Ok, well, if the issue is mainly volume, you can very easily adjust the volume after making the recording.

You can also try to learn how to process the recording to sound closer to how it sounds with the headphone optimisation.

Greg.

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#1828738 - 01/20/12 08:53 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Also, if you can, it would be good if you could upload the two versions of the recordings, so we can hear for ourselves how they differ.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/20/12 09:37 PM)

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#1829561 - 01/22/12 08:39 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Made 2 simple test recordings:

1. Without headphones - http://www.mediafire.com/?sc4t1i6kr0z58r5

2. With headphones - http://www.mediafire.com/?hjx29y2vzk7d3tx

Same audio levels/settings for both recordings (a small distortion can be heard in recording with headphones due too high gain).

Also my piano settings are medium +6 keytouch, duplex scale set to 3, lid 5 , hammer noise -1 (maybe that also have something to do with quality...).

Another interesting thing is that it seems that when played in Audacity (before exporting in wav, flac, mp3 or whatever), the audio seems to sound better... But that might be depending also on software the recording is played afterwards (for example, VLC player sounds better than Winamp it seems).



Edited by EO3 (01/22/12 08:42 AM)

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#1829564 - 01/22/12 08:52 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
It's a pretty subtle difference on my (mediocre) Alesis monitors. A little brighter with "no headphone" and a little more natural-sounding midrange with the "headphone" one. Pretty subtle but sounds different to me.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#1829583 - 01/22/12 09:44 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Thanks EOS. I'm hearing it differently to Brent, but I'm listening with headphones, and at the moment I'm focussing on a tiny snippet of the recording - I am A/Bing the fourth chord strike into the recording. "With headphones" has less bass but more mids than "no headphones", and if I had to say which was "brighter", I would say the "with headphones" sounds brighter, due to the stronger mids.

I don't hear any difference in the stereo image, so I doubt whether any serious problems would occur running the "with headphones" sound through loudspeakers, although I haven't actually tested it yet.

I think it would be trivial match the bass levels between the two by applying EQ. Not sure about the rest of the frequency range.

Greg.

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#1830225 - 01/23/12 12:46 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
But in terms of tehnical recording quality, is the sound any good overall? smile I might maybe do another test laters, with all 88 keys, if that can help.

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#1830258 - 01/23/12 01:43 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2217
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Yes! It sounded fine to me. Btw, that Focusrite looks like a nice interface!

I'll have a closer listen later on. (btw, I haven't noticed any distortion yet, but I haven't tried hard to find it yet either)

Greg.

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