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#2264462 - 04/20/14 04:55 AM Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95
wolferblade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I posted this in the member's recording forum, but then realised its probably more suited to this forum (I'm a newbie, so please be kind!).

So for Easter I decided to try recording some pieces for the first time on my Kawai CA95, which I bought new a few months ago. I did this partly because there weren't many slower pieces I found for the CA95 when researching what piano to buy; for a digital, slower pieces can really reveal their weaknesses. I also wanted to record these because they are wonderful songs which I think celebrate and bring out the themes of Easter wonderfully.

I'm not a professional player, so hopefully these are up to scratch - there are the occasional parts which, if I'm being critical could be improved, such as the occasional badly resolved ad-lib. The first two pieces have the soft (una corda) pedal held for the entire length of the piece so that the piano is not so bright. For the Christ is Risen piece it is only held in quieter parts.

Piano settings - for those who are interested in such things - are generally some minor tweaks in the Virtual Technician to increase the note sustain length slightly, quieten the pedal board effect down, add a touch of Cathedral reverb, and for the How Deep piece, to add some extra string resonance in for a less clean sound. The Concert Grand is used for all pieces.

http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

There are 3 pieces, all longish length interpretations to varying degrees on the original:
- How Deep the Father's Love (Stuart Townend)
- Just the Mention of Your Name (Chris Bowater)
- Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (Charles Wesley, from Lyra Davidica)

Hopefully these help those of you looking at buying a digital piano (and for the rest of us, provides some music to listen to over Easter!). I really think the CA95 does itself proud, especially if you listen to these on some good quality stereo equipment.

Mark
_________________________
http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

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#2264464 - 04/20/14 05:20 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: wolferblade]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3878
Loc: Northern England.
I liked the variation you put in on the first one "Christ is Risen" in between verses or even variations on verses. You can extend that, a deviate from the melody. Bach did this, so I believe; his interludes between verses became longer and longer . . .Nice, nice, man!
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

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#2264465 - 04/20/14 05:37 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: peterws]
wolferblade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks Peter, your feedback is much appreciated. I actually like the "Christ is Risen" one the best also, and for a similar reason. I think repeat verse-style pieces like this become more interesting when you are confident enough to vary the theme and play around with them a bit. So yes, I tried... smile
I'll need to practice on this some more then.
_________________________
http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

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#2264467 - 04/20/14 06:06 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: wolferblade]
evamar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/02/12
Posts: 554
Loc: Spanish living in UK
No surprises with regards to the sound (I really like Kawai and also have a CA95), but I just wanted to say that I really liked them, again specially "Christ is Risen".

As per the settings, I normally go for the Concert Grand 2 because I prefer a mellow tone, but the Concert 1 is also getting me more now that I have got the CA95 instead of the CA65, I can feel it much better. Of course I mean on speakers.

Can I ask which headphones you use?

Thanks for your post
_________________________
Serious since Dec 2013. March 2014, Kawai CA95!

Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted



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#2264514 - 04/20/14 09:58 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: evamar]
lolatu Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/13
Posts: 563
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: evamar
As per the settings, I normally go for the Concert Grand 2 because I prefer a mellow tone, but the Concert 1 is also getting me more now that I have got the CA95 instead of the CA65, I can feel it much better. Of course I mean on speakers.

My favourite is currently Jazz Grand - I like the richer tone and greater depth than Concert Grand. Studio and Mellow are also OK quality. Try using Heavy touch, as this effectively makes the tone mellower... I find it hard to play using Normal touch, and I don't think it's my technique! I'd rather play around with the virtual tech settings for Concert 1 if I wanted a mellower tone, than play Concert 2, which is stretched and sounds artificial to me.

The CA95 has a great speaker system, but that requires great quality samples, and you really notice the difference in quality between some of the sounds. I wonder which of the sounds are HI-XL, and 88-note sampled? The manual doesn't say.
_________________________
Kawai CA95 / Pianoteq Stage / Sony MDR-7506 / Steinberg UR22
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810

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#2264521 - 04/20/14 10:35 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: evamar]
wolferblade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: evamar
...but I just wanted to say that I really liked them, again specially "Christ is Risen".

Can I ask which headphones you use?


Thanks so much evamar, glad you like them. I've enjoyed the CA95, but sometimes find the tone a bit bright on Concert Grand. Hence me making good use of the soft peddle. I use Concert Grand mostly though because to me it sounds more real than the others, including Concert Grand 2. I wish there was a slightly more mellow version of it. Changing the mellow settings in Virtual Technician is too severe and doesn't really have the desired effect for me. (It really does compare very well to the competing brands despite my minor complaints!) That's me listening through the normal speakers/soundboard anyway.

I don't play using headphones. I have listened to the Kawais on headphones when I was buying... I used my Klipsch S4 II set to audition pianos, which are quite reasonable headphones. The sales people kept trying to give me dodgy headphones to try the pianos with, thinking my small in-ear headphones were cheapies. I would look at theirs, have a giggle, then gently refuse the offer. smile

I should try my headphones and see what the other piano sounds on the CA95 are like with them. I notice when I play these recorded songs back as WAV files on my good quality amp and speakers, the sound is quite impressive and nuanced. I wonder if I'm dismissing the other piano sounds when I shouldn't?

(For any Star Trek fans... if you follow the link to my blog you'll find an extra piece, kind of a not-so-Easter-related-but-still-good-so-i-will-record-it-anyway piece, called Captain Picard's Air / The Inner Light. It's another slow and thoughtful piece, with me playing around with it for much of the middle portion).

Mark
_________________________
http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

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#2264524 - 04/20/14 10:51 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: lolatu]
wolferblade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: lolatu
My favourite is currently Jazz Grand - I like the richer tone and greater depth than Concert Grand. Studio and Mellow are also OK quality. Try using Heavy touch, as this effectively makes the tone mellower...

Jazz Grand and Studio I do like, but I have found them too dry or lacking a bit of character. But Jazz Grand is too bright for my taste in music. Mellow does not have a good sustain, which is unfortunate because it sounds good otherwise - the music it's suited for I think requires longer sustains. I haven't really tried these others much though, so haven't done much experimenting with them. I fairly quickly settled on Concert Grand 1 after the first week of having the piano.

And yes, Concert Grand 2 isn't as good in quality, agreed. All the "2" pianos seem stretched or have some style of effect put on them which doesn't quite sound real, through the speakers anyway.


Edited by wolferblade (04/20/14 10:53 AM)
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http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

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#2264542 - 04/20/14 12:26 PM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: wolferblade]
LarryMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 63
Hi there,

Very well done, you make me thinking for a CA95 smile now smile, with such a great sound make me wandering if a slab is a wise purchase.

Happy Easter to you!

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#2264663 - 04/20/14 06:06 PM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: wolferblade]
kapelli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 407
Loc: Poland
Wolfblade, really nice recordings.
Btw, did you tried to mellowing the ca95 tone by softening the hammers parameter? Is it any significant change, which still allows you to fully having fun from playing on it! For me it's also a bit bright, but I live the action though.


Edited by kapelli (04/20/14 06:11 PM)

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#2264717 - 04/20/14 08:19 PM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: wolferblade]
Kawai James Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9680
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Hello wolferblade, welcome to the forum, and thank you for sharing your Easter recordings!

The playing and sound is very nice, however reading your tumblr I noticed that you converted the audio from MP3 (192 kbit) to MP3 (128 kbit) in order to reduce the filesizes. This practise of compressing an already compressed audio file is referred to as 'transcoding', and not really recommended. Every time an audio file is converted to MP3 some sound information is lost, therefore converting from the CA95's original MP3 to a lower bit-rate MP3 is stripping away quite a lot of information. My recommendation would be to stick with the original 192 kbit MP3s from the CA95, or if you really must use a 128 kbit rate in order to save webspace, record the piece in WAV format on the CA95, then convert directly to MP3.

I hope you don't mind my commenting on this point. With all this being said, the audio quality of the recordings is still very good. wink

Happy Easter!

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2264771 - 04/20/14 10:25 PM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: LarryMan]
wolferblade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
@LarryMan. A slab keyboard isn't necessarily a bad idea - you shouldn't discount a slab just because the CA95 sounds so good. The recordings I made of the CA95 would sound very similar from a higher range slab Kawai keyboard, because we are bypassing the external speakers when recording like this anyway.

@kapelli. As far as I know there is no 'hammers' setting that gives fine grain control of the tone. You can change the tone to be more mellow or more bright, but I find that setting changes the sound too much for my liking. Happy to be enlightened though.

I'm glad that you liked the recordings. Happy Easter to you both. smile
_________________________
http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

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#2264781 - 04/20/14 10:53 PM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: Kawai James]
wolferblade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Hello wolferblade, welcome to the forum, and thank you for sharing your Easter recordings!

The playing and sound is very nice, however reading your tumblr I noticed that you converted the audio from MP3 (192 kbit) to MP3 (128 kbit) in order to reduce the filesizes.


Hi James, good to have someone from Kawai have a listen. smile You know... the fact that there is someone active on this forum from Kawai, allbiet "unofficial", was one of the reasons I bought my CA95. It gave me confidence that Kawai are an active brand interested in how people use their products.

Yes, I'm aware that doing the 192 to 128kbps conversion was not exactly the best approach. I don't mind the comment and I appreciate the advice. smile

I had to do this conversion to get them within the file size limit on Tumblr - a major problem because these pieces are getting quite long (one is over 10 minutes). I've since re-recorded each piece to WAV instead of MP3 after learning that lesson. The later Inner Light recording that is on my blog was actually recorded this way - direct as a WAV and converted down to MP3 128kbps from the WAV. It *just* fits under their file size limit.

Why Tumblr has such a restriction on music file size is beyond me. I don't think they have much interest in high fidelity music. frown

Fortunately the down-converted recordings still sound quite good. What I was more displeased about is in the Christ is Risen piece there is some audio peaking on some notes towards the end. Not too obvious, but it is there. I need to re-record that again with a slightly lower gain setting.

Ahh... the joys of getting technology to work for you. smile

If anyone has suggestions on where I can upload higher quality versions instead of on Tumblr... I'm happy to take advice!

Mark
_________________________
http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

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#2264891 - 04/21/14 09:42 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: wolferblade]
HisKidd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 198
Loc: AL/USA
wolferblade…

I enjoyed each of your recordings. "How Deep the Father's Love for Us," has always been a personal favorite.

I'm just curious. How long have you been playing? Very nice touch on the keys!


Play On!
H.K.
_________________________
Keyboards are the best therapy I know of...
______________________________________________
Kawai MP6 stage piano
DCM CX-17 Monitors
Sennheiser HD 205, DJ series, headset

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#2264917 - 04/21/14 11:05 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: wolferblade]
MiguelAngel07 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/13
Posts: 99
Loc: Quito, Ecuador - South America

"If anyone has suggestions on where I can upload higher quality versions instead of on Tumblr... I'm happy to take advice"

Hello Wolferblade

Thanks for sharing your well done recordings. I am considering a Kawai MP11 and it great to hear performances made on the CA95 which shares it's keyboard. action and sound engine.

Soundcloud is a pretty good high quality option for uploading and sharing music. It has a free option that limits the number and size of uploads, but those limits can be removed with reasonably priced pay options.

Miguel Angel

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#2265191 - 04/22/14 06:46 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: HisKidd]
wolferblade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: HisKidd
I enjoyed each of your recordings. "How Deep the Father's Love for Us," has always been a personal favorite.

I'm just curious. How long have you been playing? Very nice touch on the keys!

Hi HisKidd. Yep, long time favourite here too. I've been playing with a focus on getting better (when life permits) for about the last 1.5 years on organ mostly, which has greatly helped with my piano technique also. But really I've played on and off casually for most of my life (I'm 37), with the longest recent "off" stretch for about 5 years prior to taking up organ. I've had no formal tuition, which probably shows.

Thanks for the compliment! smile


Edited by wolferblade (04/22/14 06:46 AM)
_________________________
http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

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#2265195 - 04/22/14 07:04 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: wolferblade]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3878
Loc: Northern England.
" I've had no formal tuition, which probably shows."

Not all bad; formal training can produce set patterns in any scenario and sport. A uniformity which can become hackneyed. But training is helpful particularly for foundation work. In my opinion! Depends on what you want to do; sometimes just observing others is all that`s needed . . .
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2265198 - 04/22/14 07:21 AM Re: Easter Themed Recordings - Kawai CA95 [Re: MiguelAngel07]
wolferblade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for the info Miguel, I will check them out. I have used Soundcloud before to listen to stuff, but had forgotten about them.

RE the keyboard action and sound, I doubt you'd have too many regrets about either. Kawai wooden key actions are, in my opinion, one of the best actions. I also liked the new Roland keyboard action on the HP-508/506 when trying out digital pianos - better than their older action - much less tiring and allowed for more control (incidentally, the 506 sounded better than the 508 through its normal speakers). But it's personal preference really. I didn't try any of the slabs.

The thing I notice with these CA95 recordings is that the keyboard touch actually allows for quite expressive play, and there are no discernible key layering points in the sound that I have noticed. When I listen on good speakers, the nuances are also quite amazing... the pedal board sounds, key-offs, sustain pedal effects that really do replicate a lot of what you can do with a real sustain pedal, and the sound doesn't become tiring. I was amazed by what I could get out of the CA95 for the "Inner Light" piece especially. But sound, like touch, is personal preference really.
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http://wolferblade.tumblr.com/

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