RE: Adjustments for Best Sound
My experience with the piano settings for the MP6 has taught me that experimentation is the best way to learn what suits your ear. What follows is a short tutorial, in no particular order that hopefully will aid in getting the best piano sounds for your board:
1) The MP6 manual, while explaining the function of the various buttons, knobs, and sliders, lacks specific instructions on how to adjust for quality sound.
2) My first goal is to adjust for a basic, pleasing sound for each sample, and then fine-tune the various parameters for optimal sound.
3) There are a variety of adjustments for the MP6 piano samples, and a change in any one of these will make a noticeable difference in sound. The various adjustments are easily accessible, and easy to set.
4) After choosing a piano sound, I first adjust the EQ
controls for low, midrange, and high. Forum member voxpops
has suggested adjusting the midrange all the way to max and then dialing back to the midrange sound that to you sounds like the "sweet spot." Once that is done, the same can be done for the low and high controls. Take them to max, then dial them back to what your ear tells you is the "sweet spot."
5) Once you have the EQ
set according to this method, you should have a reasonably pleasing sound with just this adjustment. Adjust the EQ for low, mid-range, and high. Leave the frequency setting at 1000 hertz to begin.
6) Next, go to the Tone Modify
adjustments and adjust for: a) cutoff; b) attack; c)decay; and d) release. The cutoff adjustment will control the sound for flatness or brightness. The higher the value, the brighter the sound. The attack control is adjusted with negative values and will effect the amount timbre of both the mid-range, and upper octave notes. From what you described in your post, it sounds as though either the "cutoff," or the "attack" setting for you piano samples, needs to be attenuated or detenuated. Adjust these in 5 degree increments, because a small change makes a big difference. You may, for example have a +35 for attack, and a -35 for cuffoff.
Let your ear be your guide, and use these two adjustments to set the desired sound for bass, mid-range, and high timbre. The "decay" and "release" adjustments control the amount of the decay of the notes; and the length of time required before the sound dies away. For piano sounds, I have found that anything beyond, say, decay of 3 and release of 7-10 results in too much resonance. Use these four adjustments to fine tune your sound.
Let me say at this point that I will follow this thread with some examples of what I consider to be great sound adjustments for each of the several pianos, so that if you don't understand what the adjustments are doing to the sound... you can experiment with the different suggested settings.
7) Now you should have a pretty good piano sound for your sample. You also have the option to save your settings at anytime by pushing, "save," "sound," "confirm" at anytime during the process of making changes. The EQ
settings will apply across the board to all sounds; the Tone Modify
adjustments will adjust uniquely for each piano. If you wish to adjust the EQ
differently for each piano sound, you can save your settings as a "setup," giving it a name, rather than a "sound" saving.
8) You can further refine the sound by choosing an Effect (EFX).
There are over 20 different effects you can choose from, but the ones that will apply to piano are "enhancer," "chorus," and perhaps "auto-pan." Press and hold the EFX
button and the effect in use will be displayed. Use the Value
button [up or down] select an effect. By far, the "enhancer" effect will be the one you apply the most. The "enhancer" effect will make the sound brighter, clearer; and add depth to the mix in different amounts. The Effect
button displays the settings for your chosen effect. Follow the same logic for setting these ad you did for cutoff and attack. EFX rate and EFX depth will make the sound brighter, more alive, and/or duller and more flat.
Each piano sample requires a different setting for the best sound. Generally speaking, the Concert 1 piano sounds allow for higher EFX rate and EFX depth settings to sound their best, while the Concert 2 piano sounds require lower EFX rate and EFX depth sounds. The EFX reverb time and reverb depth settings determine the amount of reverb and length of reverb. The higher the setting for these two controls, the longer the reverb effect will linger, and the more pronounced will be its effect. Higher settings result in deeper and longer reverb effects.
9) Use the Reverb
button to turn on the reverb effect, and to choose the size of the room (from small room to stage). Hold down the button and a grid for choosing the size of the room will appear.
10) Press and hold the Effect
button and you will see a display of the percent of reverb offset. Setting the value to 100% results in full reverb.
11) At this point you have made a variety of adjustments and these can add to the sound of any one sample by just engaging the button. To play a basically unaltered sound, disengage the EFX and the Reverb buttons. Engage the EFX button to add brightness, definition, and clarity to the sound; and engage the Reverb button to add reverb. A combination of all three buttons engaged together bolsters the sound; it's depth, brightness, fullness, and clarity immensely. Or, try any one of three buttons in combination for different sounds.
12) There is one other group of fine tuning adjustments. These are the editing parameters. They are accessed for each piano sample by engaging the "Menu
button either up or down. Here you fine all the adjustments for things like:
a) damper resonance; b) string resonance; c) key off effect; and d) voicing. Each of these are important settings because they will dramatic effect to your mix. The one that will likely be used most often is the "voicing" option.
This options allows you to set the sound from normal to mellow to bright to dynamic for any individual piano. Once you've selected the parameter you want, use the Value button
(up or down) to set the amount of desired effect. The same procedure applies for the other editing parameters. Setting the "Key Off" parameter to a high setting such as 7-10 will result in a definite key off noise that you will be able to hear in the higher registers. Same for the damper resonance. You can set the damper resonance to 6 or higher; hold down a c note silently, strike another C note on the board and release it, and you will hear the resonance of the struck key in your silent key. Reading the explanation of the various parameters in the owner's manual for this section is especially helpful [pp. 34-47)Be sure to save your settings as you go, or you will lose them when changing samples, or turning your MP6 on and off! You can save them as a "sound" setting or a "setup" setting.
You should, at this point, realize you have a wealth of control possibilities for the MP6. My observation of the newer Kawai DP's leads me to believe much of this has been somewhat simplified by the "virtual tech" feature. Still, you have unlimited adjustment possibilities for this board, and you can dial in your sound.
In addition, the MP6 is a great controller. I have used it with Pianoteq, and its as simple as setting the local parameter to "off" and connecting via USB to your computer.
I know all this may be a bit overwhelming and perhaps confusing. Suffice it to say, I will allow time for analysis of this tutorial and then post some sample settings for the various pianos onboard the MP6. If you don't understand what the various controls do; you can - at the very least - just try the suggested settings. I believe you will find the results amazing! It took me several months of experimentation with the various controls, reading the manual, experimenting, etc. to learn how to adjust the sounds. By the way here is a sample of the Concert Piano Sample #1 from my Box account: Box Postings
Understand, I've only been playing for two years... but this may give you some indication as to the sound.
By the way, if you look at the "DPBSD" thread in the forums, you will find that the MP6 compares very favorably with the MP10. In the final result, no DP is going to sound like an acoustic; but with the multitude of adjustments onboard the MP6, you can come very close.
Please post feedback/questions. Examples of settings for the basic 12 piano samples of the MP6 will follow.