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#2380489 - Today at 01:43 PM Uninspired by my MP11
Markarian Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 535
Loc: Seattle Area
Hey all,

So I will admit off the bat that I haven't scoured every single one of the quite numerous MP11 threads on here, though I have contributed to quite a few. I will also admit that going between a Steinway B (downstairs) and the MP11 (upstairs) is kind of like going from an ocean to admittedly nice Olympic swimming pool.

I really love the action of my MP11. It's the best I've ever seen any digital, end of story. But I have to say the sound is one of the thinnest, most boring, uninspiring piano samples I've heard in years. My Korg SV-1 (2009) made my heart soar with its default acoustic piano patch more than the MP11 even after an hour of tweaking. The Roland RD-800 sounds better. The Yamaha CP-4 sounds better (though not by much). The Nord Stage 2 sounds better. I kind of expected to get the deep, moody sound of a Shigeru Kawai when I turned it on, but instead it just sounds flat and generic.

So I need a straight answer from those of you who have this instrument. I've seen endless threads where this question is obliquely asked and suggestions are made. But are we just fooling ourselves and is Kawai indeed, missing the mark when it comes to the onboard samples? Should I stop griping and fire up Kontakt every time I want to sit down and play (and not blow the neighbors away)? Or is there a thread I missed where people have solved the problem by tweaking the magic setting that makes the piano sound good? Is there a place where we can share settings files or patches we've tweaked?

I really want to love my MP11, but when I turn it on and play, all I usually hear is just "meh."
2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Korg Kross 61

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#2380515 - Today at 02:34 PM Re: Uninspired by my MP11 [Re: Markarian]
OneWatt Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/15
Posts: 17
Loc: Mountain Time, USA
Markarian -

I've got an MP7, so while your MP11 has a nicely improved world class action, I believe the sounds for piano are otherwise identical between the two models. I also have an acoustic grand downstairs (Boston, not Steinway!) but I tend to agree with you that while the "out-of-the-box" grand piano sounds on the MP keyboards are ok, they're not instantly "WOW!" ... and yes I believe that, for me, tweaking to taste is both required and part of the enjoyment too.

(Frankly I've never had a sampled or modeled sound of any genre, keyboard, wind, strings, etc.) that didn't need to be tweaked to my taste. Ever. So I tend to regard that as part of the deal ;-)

I too wish there were a well-established forum for exchanging setups/sounds so we could learn more easily from each other, but to be fair it's really not all that hard to tweak. And what's more, everyone's own personal taste, headphones, amp/speakers, accompaniment mix, mood, etc., will vary from player to player... so it's best to get familiar with how to adjust things on your own anyhow.

For me, I've found that a really nice "grand" sound for the particular headphones I tend to use is achieved by taking the Concert Grand (1-1-A voice on the MP7) and doing the following:

1. Pulling both the low-end and the high-end on the EQ up to about +3 or +4 while leaving the midrange about flat.

2. Using EFX1 for "Filter" with "Enhancer" type, with a DryWet setting about 127 and a Depth of about 25 or so.

3. I add a touch to REVERB, I like "Small Hall" with a 1.6ms PreDelay, Time of 2235ms and a Depth of about 40

These settings are stored to my SETUP #1-1-A with a personalized name for me. Sometimes when using ear buds instead of over-the-ear headphones I find I need to adjust accordingly and I might just setup another "SETUP" storage for the occasion.

Of course if you're comparing to a Steinway acoustic you'll want to spend time with the Virtual Technician feature for sure. I've pushed a few of the parameters a tad higher from midpoint of 5 to 6,7 or even 8 (i.e., StringReso and DamperReso and KeyOffEff, even DamperNois - while keeping to Topboard wide open @ "Open3". All of these tend to bring out a bit more of the acoustic sound/feel without overdoing things to the point of distraction.

I hope some of this helps. When I switch back to the plain old 1-1-A Piano SOUND preset "Concert Grand" it immediately sounds flat and - as you say "meh" - by comparison. In fact, I'm likely to just save my favorite settings above to the SOUND preset 1-1-A (instead of the SETUP 1-1-A) for convenience. That's one of the cool features of the MP series is that you can change all of the "presets" too (not just "user" banks like on most digital equipment).

Finally, since I've got your attention (and maybe someone at Kawai too), I'll also add my little rant about the metronome .. why the timing of the metronome changes with each individual voice is a truly ridiculous annoyance and I'm left constantly changing my Hanon and other practice timings each and every time I switch a voice ... increasingly annoying. I keep my interest level up by playing scales, arpeggios, Hanon, jazz comp changes, etc. on piano, organ, EP, harpsichord, vibes, ... so I'm constantly switching around the sounds and the metronome timing I'm using that day must be changed again every time. Highly irritating. But hey, I digress ;-)

Let us know if any of these or other "tweaks" you discover on your own make a difference for you.

Best wishes for your enhanced MP11 enjoyment! - OneWatt

#2380520 - Today at 02:45 PM Re: Uninspired by my MP11 [Re: Markarian]
lophiomys Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/14
Posts: 178
Loc: Austria, EU
I have the same issues with my Kawai MP7, written and winged about at many occasions.
For me and especially with my headphones the Concert Grand is too bright around F#5, also having some annoying artifacts in the sound. With the Mellow Grand I could neigther get accustomed.
I also have test played several Kawai acoustics, and could not relate the sound of those, to what I hear from the MP7 Concert Grand sound in the range of F#5.

The modding of the Concert Grand Sound I tried was
1.) using the Virtual Technician, to make it sound more agreeable. But the changes with the Virtual Technician just made it sound as if you would throw one or more thick blankets over the piano.

2.)Only later I discovered and slighty reduced the CutOff Filter, Filter Resonance and DCF Attack Level (Edit-Sound-Menu) which helped to reduce those disturbing high frequencies. But using the CutOff in conjunction with the piano sound unveiled a bug in v1.05 (MP7), which made the tones break through the filter irregularly. The fix to this bug in v1.10 is more of a workaround, but better than nothing and good enough for me at the moment.

BTW: Anyone knows where to find better documentation about all those DCA/DCF/CutOff parameter and their interactions?

Firmware v1.10:
I am not sure, but I believe, the sound of the CG around F#5 got a tiny little bit better with the new firmware v1.10 . What do your ears tell you about this?
- - -

In the end, all those hassles would not have been necessary, if the primary piano sound would be more pleasant.

Therefore please support the request to local Kawai support representatives, that MP11 and MP7 owners could get an upgrade to the new pianos samples of the Shigeru EX and the SK-5, which have been announced for the CA67 and CA69.
Beforehand I dare to give those new samples some advance praise - unheard.
Additionally a properly recorded piano sample in Mono would be great too.

So long
Lo PHi


#2380527 - Today at 02:58 PM Re: Uninspired by my MP11 [Re: Markarian]
pianomike Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/01/06
Posts: 62
Hi Markian, well its not a steinway but its the nicest playing and sounding digital that Ive owned. Steinways are one of my favorite sounding pianos, so when I edit and tweek the kawai I try to get it as close to a steinway as possible.I also own a roland 700 gx with the super natural piano sounds in it and a nord ex with a Yamaha and bosendorf samples in it.The speakers you are playing through also have a lot to do with the sound your getting from your piano. I know if I play through a different set of speakers I have to re tweek the sound. I use it for practice and run it through a set roland cm 30 6.5 inch speakers that are very clear sounding,I also turn the brightness down and put the lid down to 1,but that's with the roland speakers. Hope that helps. Ps.also use the heavy and some times extra heavy touch setting to get a darker sound out of the piano.

#2380531 - Today at 03:08 PM Re: Uninspired by my MP11 [Re: lophiomys]
OneWatt Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/15
Posts: 17
Loc: Mountain Time, USA
Originally Posted By: lophiomys
I have the same issues with my Kawai MP7, written and winged about at many occasions.
For me and especially with my headphones the Concert Grand is too bright around F#5, also having some annoying artifacts in the sound. With the Mellow Grand I could neigther get accustomed.
I also have test played several Kawai acoustics, and could not relate the sound of those, to what I hear from the MP7 Concert Grand sound in the range of F#5....
So long
Lo PHi

Lo PHi - I really don't want to risk hijacking this thread, so perhaps we can start a new one for the occasion, but I wanted to let you know I've tried very hard to produce an "odd" sound from the F#5 on my MP7 and I can't recreate anything that's different from the surrounding notes.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not doubting that you're hearing what you're hearing, but is it fair to ask whether you've switched out headphones, monitors, whatever?

Also, have you tried recording the sound of the F#5 along with surrounding notes on the built-in mp3 feature and playing it back on a different sound system?

That particular F# may just be a very specific note that is resonating with your particular setup - and it's not necessarily inherent in the sample itself.

Again, not to ignore your issue, but FWIW I don't seem to have the same experience happening with my particular home studio setup.

- OneWatt

ps - One other possibility would be to view the wave profile of the F#5 note in a graphic program like Audacity - zoom in really close - and see if you find evidence of these resonating artifcats in the sample itself (vs the environment in which you're playing it). If your wave graphic looks different than surropunding notes, or different from ones from a different MP7 keyboard, you may have the proof that you've got a defective sample in the mix somehow.

Edited by OneWatt (35 minutes 4 seconds ago)
Edit Reason: Added a p.s.

#2380547 - 18 minutes 27 seconds ago Re: Uninspired by my MP11 [Re: Markarian]
Frédéric L Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/29/13
Posts: 138
Loc: France
It maybe the time to use virtual piano on a PC. You could then reuse the MP11 action with another sound (as I do with a Clavinova bought in 2003)


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