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#2295414 - 06/26/14 05:05 PM Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments..
wickeeedwombat Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 2
Hello,

I am new to this forum and all the this vst piano stuff.

My problem is that I am totally unsattisfied with the sound quality of my vst pianos. It always sounds thin and tinny. There`s no pressure, no deepness, just a poor sound (it`s hard to describe).

I tried different instruments (Ravenscroft 275, Galaxy Vintage D and others) and compared my sound with videos on youtube. There are lots of demos played by users and mostly they sound very nice. I am not able to reproduce something like that with my setting.

I tried to modify velocity curves and other possiblee adjustments within the software (Kontakt/UVIWorkstation/Cubase) but it doesn`t change to overall character of the sound output.

My current setting is:

Kawai VPC1, connected via USB to the Mac
Steinberg UR22 audio interface
Yamaha HS7 monitors (no sub) connected via XLR to 6,3
Mac with 256MB SSD, 16GB RAM
Small room (12qm)

I don`t know what else I can do to improve the sound quality. Maybe I need other monitors/audio interface? My feeling is that the problem might be the Yamahas, but when listening to any other music these monitors sound very good to me. Maybe I have to do some others adjustments?

Any suggestions are much appreciated!

Greetz from Germany

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#2295430 - 06/26/14 05:58 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
joflah Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 297
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
A good first thing to try might be headphones, to see if the monitors or room acoustics are a problem.
_________________________
Jack

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#2295431 - 06/26/14 05:58 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11789
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
With the VPC1 you don't need the audio interface. That may be the problem. Try plugging it in directly to your Mac USB, and connect your monitors to the computer line-in.

If it still sounds bad, try plugging headphones into the computer and see how it sounds. Usually headphones sound better, but if not with that set up, then you know it's something else. If so, then you know it's your monitors.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2295439 - 06/26/14 06:08 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: Morodiene]
Enthusiast Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/13
Posts: 237
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
With the VPC1 you don't need the audio interface. That may be the problem. Try plugging it in directly to your Mac USB, and connect your monitors to the computer line-in.


Why would you not need an audio interface with the VPC1? Isn't the interface what gives you those nice Asio drivers and doesn't it also improve the sound quality in some way?

I'd agree that the monitors and room can have a big impact on how it'll sound so that must be the reason. I'm trying out different monitors/speakers myself and some can make anything sound bad through the DP.


Edited by Enthusiast (06/26/14 06:10 PM)

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#2295444 - 06/26/14 06:33 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: Morodiene]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1674
Loc: Portugal
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
With the VPC1 you don't need the audio interface. That may be the problem. Try plugging it in directly to your Mac USB, and connect your monitors to the computer line-in.

If it still sounds bad, try plugging headphones into the computer and see how it sounds. Usually headphones sound better, but if not with that set up, then you know it's something else. If so, then you know it's your monitors.


Does the type keyboard you're using have anything to do with the audio interface? I wouldn't have thought so. Surely it is to do with the computer you're using and, possibly, the type of software involved.

The VPC1, on the other hand, is just a midi trigger and has nothing to do with the audio side of the process.....unless I've completely misunderstood the VPC1, which is a distinct possibility!
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2295446 - 06/26/14 06:38 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3550
Loc: Northern England.
The video demos sound good; so do those on your installation no doubt, through whatever setting you have. You may be overcritical of your own playing, expecting a better sound, or something akin to whatever you`ve been used to.

Try recording it and contrast with a digital piano recording. You will hear the difference; it will sound fine. Probably to anybody listening, it`ll also sound great. Just my thoughts from my own experience such as it is . . .
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2295448 - 06/26/14 06:45 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: Enthusiast]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11789
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Enthusiast
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
With the VPC1 you don't need the audio interface. That may be the problem. Try plugging it in directly to your Mac USB, and connect your monitors to the computer line-in.


Why would you not need an audio interface with the VPC1? Isn't the interface what gives you those nice Asio drivers and doesn't it also improve the sound quality in some way?

I'd agree that the monitors and room can have a big impact on how it'll sound so that must be the reason. I'm trying out different monitors/speakers myself and some can make anything sound bad through the DP.
I didn't need an interface to use the vpc1 when I owned one. I was able to get great sound directly via USB from the VPC. I recommended removing it as a troubleshooting step to narrow down where the problem lies. I'm guessing the interface is unnecessary here.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2295467 - 06/26/14 07:27 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: Morodiene]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1840
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I didn't need an interface to use the vpc1 when I owned one. I was able to get great sound directly via USB from the VPC. I recommended removing it as a troubleshooting step to narrow down where the problem lies. I'm guessing the interface is unnecessary here.



Something doesn't make sense here.

Here is my concept of how this stuff interfaces.

The VPC1 (keyboard) connects to the computer via MIDI or USB.

When you press a key on the keyboard that keypress is transmitted to the VST software.

Then, the VST software transmits a "sound" which exits the computer via some plug, possibly a USB plug.

I have an audio interface connected to the computer at that "plug" and the "sound" is then transmitted through the audio interface and into a mixer and then out to the monitors.

The audio interface has nothing to do with the keyboard in my experience.

It sounds like you are picturing the audio interface connected between the VPC1 and the computer. That does not make sense to me.





Edited by dmd (06/26/14 07:30 PM)
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D

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#2295480 - 06/26/14 07:43 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: dmd]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11789
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: dmd
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I didn't need an interface to use the vpc1 when I owned one. I was able to get great sound directly via USB from the VPC. I recommended removing it as a troubleshooting step to narrow down where the problem lies. I'm guessing the interface is unnecessary here.



Something doesn't make sense here.

Here is my concept of how this stuff interfaces.

The VPC1 (keyboard) connects to the computer via MIDI or USB.

When you press a key on the keyboard that keypress is transmitted to the VST software.

Then, the VST software transmits a "sound" which exits the computer via some plug, possibly a USB plug.

I have an audio interface connected to the computer at that "plug" and the "sound" is then transmitted through the audio interface and into a mixer and then out to the monitors.

The audio interface has nothing to do with the keyboard in my experience.

It sounds like you are picturing the audio interface connected between the VPC1 and the computer. That does not make sense to me.



That doesn't make sense to me either, which is why I stated the VPC should be plugged into the computer, just to be sure. I don't think the OP did specify (not that I saw) just how things were set up.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2295481 - 06/26/14 07:43 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9086
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
The Mac's onboard audio and a pair of ear/headphones should be good enough to at least test the sound produced by these packages.

Listen to the audio demos and YouTube clips, then compare with the piano software running on your Mac - it should sound largely the same, depending on the settings of the library.

Perhaps you send a recording of the sound you are hearing for us to check?

Best of luck,
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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#2295487 - 06/26/14 07:55 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3805
Loc: North Carolina
Have a look at this ...
I'm showing a console piano, but picture the VPC1 in the same place.

I'm showing a laptop computer, but this applies equally to a desktop computer.

I'm showing an A/V receiver as an amplifier, and conventional home audio speakers. But active/amplified monitors could be used instead.

The diagram shows three methods of connection: a USB direct in blue (which the VPC1 supports), a MIDI-to-USB connection in green, and a straight MIDI in red. (The latter will require a computer MIDI interface, commonly provided by the audio interface.)

You might get away without using the audio interface ... if the computer sound card is adequate. The external audio interface may provide better quality sound ... but more importantly the reduction in latency it brings might be vital. It just depends on the characteristics of your computer and its sound card.

Morodienne: This won't work:
Quote:
Try plugging it in directly to your Mac USB, and connect your monitors to the computer line-in.
The computer sound comes out the line out port, not the line in.

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#2295502 - 06/26/14 08:24 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: MacMacMac]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11789
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Have a look at this ...
I'm showing a console piano, but picture the VPC1 in the same place.

I'm showing a laptop computer, but this applies equally to a desktop computer.

I'm showing an A/V receiver as an amplifier, and conventional home audio speakers. But active/amplified monitors could be used instead.

The diagram shows three methods of connection: a USB direct in blue (which the VPC1 supports), a MIDI-to-USB connection in green, and a straight MIDI in red. (The latter will require a computer MIDI interface, commonly provided by the audio interface.)

You might get away without using the audio interface ... if the computer sound card is adequate. The external audio interface may provide better quality sound ... but more importantly the reduction in latency it brings might be vital. It just depends on the characteristics of your computer and its sound card.

Morodienne: This won't work:
Quote:
Try plugging it in directly to your Mac USB, and connect your monitors to the computer line-in.
The computer sound comes out the line out port, not the line in.
Nice diagram! And good catch, I meant the line out.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2295525 - 06/26/14 09:12 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1265
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote:
. . .
I don`t know what else I can do to improve the sound quality. Maybe I need other monitors/audio interface? My feeling is that the problem might be the Yamahas, but when listening to any other music these monitors sound very good to me. Maybe I have to do some others adjustments? . . .


If the monitors and audio interface (they are both good, proven items) sound good for other people's piano recordings, they are not the problem.

You may need some EQ -- bass boost, maybe -- on your own VST's.

. . . Is it possible that something is badly set in your Kontakt player?

. . . Is is possible that you are feeding the right channel of stereo sound, from the VST, to both loudspeakers? That gives you a weak bass -- for piano, the left channel is for bass keys, the right channel is for treble keys.

A recording of your own VST's would be useful. Put one up on Soundcloud.com -- it's free.

. Charles

PS -- I trust headphones, more than I trust loudspeakers.

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#2295601 - 06/27/14 01:33 AM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
Trstan993 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/13
Posts: 86
You can always run a compressor in your DAW during recording and it will make a world of difference. You can try download a demo of Ableton and it has lots selections of acoustic compressor and see if you are satisfy with the result.

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#2295608 - 06/27/14 01:49 AM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
Maxpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 43
Loc: Italy
Check that the monitors are properly connected, if one of them has the wires inverted (compared to the other) the sound would have a 180 degrees phase shift which would cause frequencyncancellation( mainly bass and mid-bass)

http://www.uaudio.com/blog/understanding-audio-phase/

A test with the headphone would help to confirm this, i.e. if the sound throughnthe headphones is OK then there is something worng with your speakers.
_________________________
'Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself' (M. Davis)

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#2295610 - 06/27/14 01:59 AM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: Maxpiano]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1265
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Maxpiano
Check that the monitors are properly connected, if one of them has the wires inverted (compared to the other) the sound would have a 180 degrees phase shift which would cause frequencyncancellation( mainly bass and mid-bass)
. . . .


But that would affect, equally, his VST sound, and the sound of other recordings played back through the speakers.

. . . So it's unlikely to be the problem.

I have heard the effect -- low bass just disappears!

. Charles

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#2295636 - 06/27/14 03:06 AM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: Charles Cohen]
phunqe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/14
Posts: 45
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
. . . Is is possible that you are feeding the right channel of stereo sound, from the VST, to both loudspeakers? That gives you a weak bass -- for piano, the left channel is for bass keys, the right channel is for treble keys.


I would advise to check your DAW as well, if you feel that it's really that much of a difference.
Since the speakers and sound card seems to reproduce YouTube examples etc fine, there much be something in the DAW.
You might also be outputting mono only, go through all the "wiring" in your DAW.

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#2295681 - 06/27/14 08:17 AM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: Charles Cohen]
Maxpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 43
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
Originally Posted By: Maxpiano
Check that the monitors are properly connected, if one of them has the wires inverted (compared to the other) the sound would have a 180 degrees phase shift which would cause frequencyncancellation( mainly bass and mid-bass)
. . . .


But that would affect, equally, his VST sound, and the sound of other recordings played back through the speakers.

. . . So it's unlikely to be the problem.

I have heard the effect -- low bass just disappears!

. Charles


He didn't say that the problem is not happening with other recordings or other audio played through the same speakers, either
_________________________
'Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself' (M. Davis)

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#2295864 - 06/27/14 04:58 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
David Farley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 271
Loc: Illinois
It sure sounds like a bad connection somewhere. Any time I've had this "tinny sound" kind of problem, it always turns out to be something that isn't making a good physical connection.

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#2296204 - 06/28/14 02:59 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
wickeeedwombat Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 2
Hello,

sorry for my late reply and thanks a lot for all of your comments. I will start to check things out.

Today I tested the instruments with some new/old hardware.

1) Old setting: Yamahas + Steinberg UR22
2) RME Babyface Audio Interface + Tannoy Reveal 802 monitors
3) RME Babyface + Yamahas
4) Old Denon amp + Kennwood Speakers connected to onboard soundcard
5) Headphones

There are no major differeces regarding my feeling of a nice (perfect) sound but there are small differences between the interfaces and the monitors.

Best combination for me is the Babyface with the Yamahas. It sounds a bit more brilliant compared to the Tannoys/Steinberg AI, the Tannoys also produce a lot of noise in idle mode, so it`s not a good choice when looking for a nearfield monitor. Therefore I would exclude a monitor/interface problem. I tested with some headphones too (some cheap Speedlink), it makes no difference. Last I tested an old Denon amp with some older Kennwood Speakers and connected it to my soundcard (ALC892 codec) but with a bad result (latency was not to bad but the sound was horrible).

I recorded some piano samples using Cubase AI with UR22 vs. Babyface (Ravenscroft, Vintage D and IS Fazioli). I did`t change any sound setting within Kontakt/UVI Workstation. I realized that the recorded sounds are nicer compared to what I hear while playing. Maybe I have to look if the problem is somewhere here (within the Player/DAW). Anyway, what I recorded is less important to me.

So please let me know how it sounds to you! Maybe you can hear a differece between the interfaces and what my problem might be. I played the middle octave too, here you probably can hear the tinny/crouking sound of some notes (especially e, f) compared to the overall sound.

https://soundcloud.com/wickedwombat

In generel I think everythigs is connected properly. The Kawai goes via USB to the Mac. The Babyface goes via USB to the Mac. The monitors are connected to the Babyface via XLR male to XLR female.

Thanks again for your help.

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#2296206 - 06/28/14 03:06 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
emenelton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 468
I listened to the first 2.
Conclusion: There are no problems.

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#2296240 - 06/28/14 05:14 PM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: wickeeedwombat]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1674
Loc: Portugal
They sound good - the Vintage D with Babyface is a pleasant rounded sound across the spectrum.

However, I usually prefer the sound of my DP to the VST pianos I have - there is more body to the sound. This could be partly due to special lower frequency boosting by Roland (in this case) to get a more satisfactory sound from a smaller amplifier & speaker system. It could also be due to the connection factor with the keyboard and its own sound engine.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2296429 - 06/29/14 04:21 AM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: toddy]
Maxpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/12
Posts: 43
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: toddy
I usually prefer the sound of my DP to the VST pianos I have - there is more body to the sound. This could be partly due to special lower frequency boosting by Roland (in this case) to get a more satisfactory sound from a smaller amplifier & speaker system. It could also be due to the connection factor with the keyboard and its own sound engine.


I think you got a valid point here, though the VPC1 has velocity curves designed specifically for some VST pianos and for those I would expect to have the same "connection factor", at least at key-sound generator level.

That's probably why the amplification and speaker system becomes critical, on the other hand if you try to amplify your Roland with an external system you get the same problem because the built-in tone boost will not be "tuned" any more and so the sound will not be as effective (I speak based on personal experience with a FP7 and FP4)
_________________________
'Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself' (M. Davis)

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#2296445 - 06/29/14 06:43 AM Re: Confused with poor piano sound from vst instruments.. [Re: Maxpiano]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1674
Loc: Portugal
Originally Posted By: Maxpiano
Originally Posted By: toddy
I usually prefer the sound of my DP to the VST pianos I have - there is more body to the sound. This could be partly due to special lower frequency boosting by Roland (in this case) to get a more satisfactory sound from a smaller amplifier & speaker system. It could also be due to the connection factor with the keyboard and its own sound engine.


I think you got a valid point here, though the VPC1 has velocity curves designed specifically for some VST pianos and for those I would expect to have the same "connection factor", at least at key-sound generator level.

That's probably why the amplification and speaker system becomes critical, on the other hand if you try to amplify your Roland with an external system you get the same problem because the built-in tone boost will not be "tuned" any more and so the sound will not be as effective (I speak based on personal experience with a FP7 and FP4)


Yes, that's my experience too. The Roland SN piano sound is particularly satisfactory and realistic through the DP speakers, even though they are severely limited for other sounds, including the other 300 odd from the DP, provided by Roland - their standard palette, seems to be.

Even so, in tonal quality, as well as subtlety of expression, the SN sounds on-board the DP give all my VSTs a run for their money.

I do not have any of the premium VSTs (Ivory, Galaxy Vintage D, True Keys). And Roland SN still sounds well alongside the others, even through headphones.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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