What are your piano playing habits?

Posted by: CyberGene

What are your piano playing habits? - 01/31/13 04:33 PM

What are your playing habits? Do you usually plan your playing in advance and follow a strict agenda on the piano or are you more spontaneous and stochastic? smile

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Inspired by the wonderful Kawai VPC1, I started thinking about my piano playing habits and realized a pure MIDI-controller solution is still not for me. There's one thing in which a digital piano is still unbeaten compared to software. You turn it on and play in an instant.

Now, let's see how things are going on with MIDI:
- Start the computer/laptop and log in
- Connect the USB cable to the computer/laptop.
- Turn on the controller first, otherwise it will not get detected by the software
- Start the software
- Choose a preset, wait for it to fully load
- Now play

If you fail to observe that sequence, you'll have to redo it in most cases. Some of the steps may be redundant but generally that's what most people do. Unless you keep your laptop and controller always on and connected (not sure if that's recommended for both the laptop and controller), you'll have to make this procedure each time you want to play.

If you happen to be like me who likes to pass by the piano many times a day and just quick-test some spontaneous ideas for a minute, you'll get bored pretty easy by having to wait each time.
Posted by: pv88

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 03:35 AM

Originally Posted By: CyberGene
There's one thing in which a digital piano is still unbeaten compared to software. You turn it on and play in an instant.


Agreed, as that is the best route to the sounds and music.

No muss or fuss with a speakers-to-ears connection.
Posted by: MVshabeer2

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 04:16 AM

Exactly, I hate even to turn on the external speakers,

Every time I want to adjust two volume knobs, one from the keyboard & the other from the speakers.
You can push the DP volume to max & keep the speaker vol to min or vice verse. You will get different response from speakers. Sometimes I route my VST audio the keyboard, then I have 4 vol controls. (2 from keyboard (master out and audio in), speaker & from PC)

Better to have a good internal speakers.
There is no such thing good as to turn on the power & play

Posted by: o0Ampy0o

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 04:53 AM

Using a controller may not be as simple as pushing one button but it is still so quick and simple that complaining about setup time and effort is like complaining about the speed of microwave cooking.

I keep the controller/piano connected to the computer. There is no reason not to unless you move the piano routinely. So what if you have to turn the controller on before starting the software? Unless you stand while playing you have to sit down first too. crazy I have my computer running almost all the time when I am home so I really only have this sequence to follow:

1. power on the controller
2. start the software (a DAW)
3. pick a plug-in project file* and wait a few seconds while the samples load (less than a minute to 2 minutes depending on the plug-in)
4. play

4 quick steps instead of 1 but nothing worth complaining about and I have a vastly superior piano sound to enjoy.

Should I count placing headphones on my head as a step? I'd do that whether using internal or external sounds so I think not.

*I create individual project files in a DAW for each plug-in so all I have to do is open the project and play. I have one for every piano plug-in preset I use. I also have the option to record my experiments, practice, song ideas or whatever. If I want I can also switch presets using any project file I just don't overwrite the project.
Posted by: CyberGene

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 05:05 AM

When I feel like I am in the mood to play Chopin for quite some time, I need the best possible sound which means Ivory or Vintage D and I don't care if I have to wait few minutes.

However there are many moments during the day when I do something else at home and out of a sudden I need to quickly try few chords, a melodic line, jam over the music I am listening to, etc. and then go back to my other duties. Most of the time that's under a minute. I don't need a superior piano sound at all. All I need is to be able to play immediately smile Even if I have to wait 5 seconds for a piano to boot up can sometimes kill the inspiration of the moment. I grew up in a house with an acoustic piano always open and that's probably the reason why I developed this (possibly bad) habit.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 05:12 AM

As it takes me a few minutes to warm my fingers up (- I also play a different sort of music from most people here), I rarely spontaneously just sit down and play for a few minutes - once I get going, I keep going. And I soon forget that I've got headphones clamped over my head, and just immerse myself into music-making.

Switching the DP on, and then putting on my headphones is the most tedious part of playing a DP, as opposed to an acoustic. I can't imagine having to go through all the steps the OP says, just in order to be able to start playing. Life is too short......
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 05:20 AM

1) Walk into kitchen ...get annoyed by wife and/or kids
2) Proceed to foyer play the good grand piano until told to stop (5 mins)
3) Proceed to studio/ man cave to play old grand piano until forced to rejoin the fray
Posted by: JFP

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 05:58 AM

Well...my Retina is always on anyway. I can imagine I just have to plug in the VPC , fire up Pianoteq or similar , plug in my headphones or speaker set and go. It will take half a minute to a minute to complete that sequence. I agree that "switch on and go" on a hardware DP is he easiest , most comfortable way, but I don't think the few steps to make are a big deal in a modern laptop (with SSD/ flash memory) setup.

I'm seriously considering one , but haven't decided yet. Could be I stick with hardware too for a while longer - wih added software when I feel like it.
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 06:21 AM

Wake computer ... one button.
Turn on piano and audio equipment ... one button.
When? Anytime the mood strikes.
Posted by: 36251

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 06:21 AM

set up at gig
turn on pc
turn off wifi, disable anti virus
disable more stuff in device manager
plug in usb soundcard
run kontakt
open Vintage D and NeoSoul Keys
make a few adjustments
plug in usb/midi
turn on DP

I usually like to wait between each one of the computer steps to give pc time to adjust.

noodle to find "zone"
Posted by: chicolom

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 10:43 AM

Mine takes 4 steps:

1) Turn on Keyboard
2) Turn on Laptop
3) Double click DAW project file
4) Plug in headphones - ready to play

Luckily, I've got an MP6 so if I Know I just want to quickly want to quickly play something I can shorten it to just two steps: 1) turn on keyboard (boots in about 3 seconds), 2) plug in headphones - ready to play.

I recommend doing the same thing o0Ampy0ov mentioned above,which is saving everything they way you want it to a DAW project file. Then all you have to do is power on the power on the computer and double click the DAW project file and it loads everything exactly as you had it dialed in before. A lot easier than loading Kontakt, then loading a VST piano and/or other instruments, then loading specific preset, dialing in the settings, etc. Just one-click and it will load everything for you.


I also keep a separate partition on my Hard drive that has my "Music OS", which is just a very clean OS install with most background processes disabled and all my music software loaded. Because it is so light it boots up very quickly and runs and loads things particularly fast. I can dual boot back and forth between it or my "regular OS" which is the normal one loaded with other misc. stuff and background processes.

Posted by: ando

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 11:36 AM

Sit down, play. (acoustic piano) smile
Posted by: personne

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 01:01 PM

1. Sit down.
2. Open the lid and turn the DP on.
3. Play.

Headphones are always connected, I rarely unplug them to play aloud.
Posted by: Possum SP280Krome

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/03/13 01:25 PM

Originally Posted By: MVshabeer2
Exactly, I hate even to turn on the external speakers,

Every time I want to adjust two volume knobs, one from the keyboard & the other from the speakers.
You can push the DP volume to max & keep the speaker vol to min or vice verse. You will get different response from speakers. Sometimes I route my VST audio the keyboard, then I have 4 vol controls. (2 from keyboard (master out and audio in), speaker & from PC)

Better to have a good internal speakers.
There is no such thing good as to turn on the power & play



+1. I agree 100%. That is why I complain so much about speakers not being loud enough. I just want to come home from work or the Phillies game, hit power once, and start playing.
For years I did the Fatar/Piano Module/Monitor Left/Monitor Right routine and for me I like the idea of everything in one unit
Posted by: Peter B

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/04/13 12:27 AM

Play at least one song/piece each time I walk by the piano. By the way, no on/off switch on my acoustic grand :-)
Posted by: thercman

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/04/13 12:56 AM

My computer usually runs all day with the usual VST (Kawai EX Pro) already loaded and minimized. Typically I just have to turn on the controller (wait 3 sec) and play.....
Posted by: CyberGene

Re: What are your piano playing habits? - 02/04/13 02:26 AM

DIN MIDI connectors are better than USB because they allow you to turn on and off the controller at any time and the software will not hang. With USB you always have to first turn on the controller and then the software. If you turn it off and on, you'll have to restart the software.