Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers

Posted by: Albatrossone

Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 05:11 AM

Hello

Has anyone had any success doing this? I have tried however I simply can't get the volume. This is outputing from a laptop headphone jack. I can get plenty of volume hooking the laptop to a cheap low power 2.1 system.

I have also hooked up a PC with a decent audio interface to the Avantgrand line ins and I can get a reasonable volume if I use pro level signals (+4dBU) but still not great and that's at full volume.

It may be an issue with the Avantgrand line inputs - on paper at least it seems like there is a reasonable amount of amplifier power in there!

Is there something else I can do to up the power? If not I am either stuck with getting an external interface for the laptop and hoping it gives me enough volume, or getting a decent 2.1 setup. I know that both together would probably be the best of both worlds but I'm trying to keep everything uncluttered, hence the reason for using the internal speakers in the first place.

Any suggestions very welcome! - including 2.1 options if you think that's the way to go (budget is probably £100 - £200).

Cheers
Nick

PS - despite listening very closely to the decay, I am unable to perceive the noise gate issue mentioned elsewhere.
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 05:22 AM

A laptop's headphone output is not the best choice for driving an amplifier.

You might try adding a mixer between the laptop and the AG, one with level controls. You might be able to get some extra gain from it. Or you might try an external sound card for the laptop.

Both of those solutions produce the clutter you shun. But I don't see any alternatives.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 06:15 AM

My worry is that an audio interface isn't going to do it. Using a good interface (e-mu 1616m) with proper line outs only just gave me enough volume. I could spend a load of money on another one and find it doesn't do the job. The main problem seems to be that the AG just doesn't seem to amplify the line ins.

Maybe its because the line ins need to drive a number of different amplifiers in the AG so the signal is getting split multiple ways...
Posted by: SLiX

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 08:15 AM

I own an AG N2 and I've already hooked up some devices to AUX input without any issue, at least these ones:
* BlackBerry phone
* Asus tablet (Android)), very noisy :-(
* Advance WTX500 Bluetooth receiver (to send audio from the asus tablet, less noisy and very handy)

I can easily get very loud sound (the N2 is very impressive as an audio playing system).

I also own an E-MU 0202 that I use to record output from the piano. I could try to use it to play audio on the piano but I think your problem is elsewhere. As you say, maybe an issue with line inputs on N1 or especially yours.
Posted by: Wess. Chr. K.

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 10:28 AM

I did the same test and it works. From Macbook Pro headphones jack. No problem at all. Sounds loud enough on 50% (volume) form AG N1 and 50-70% from Macbook pro.
Reset the Amer.D settings or load some factory preset (Carnegie hall).
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 10:56 AM

Thanks for this - I will give it a go.

Just to clarify, I do get sound out, just not at a very loud volume. What I am using as a benchmark is the AGs own volume.

When you say it is working, are you managing to get the same volume as the AG or are you having to turn it up more to get the same?

I have managed to get a reasonable volume with an iPhone...
Posted by: Wess. Chr. K.

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 11:24 AM

To have the same volume as N1 you have to adjust the out put from the macbook pro (any laptop or external device).
Check one more time the connections: from "out" of the device to AG "in". I know it sounds a bit silly, but this kind of mistakes are not rear and might happen to any one.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 11:32 AM

I've checked all the connections. The volume in the laptop is at full. To get the volume to match the onboard sound in the AG I need to add around 10-12dB in Ivory Cantible - but at this level it just distorts. I've also tried with a different laptop - same problem.
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 11:43 AM

You might try a different cable if you haven't yet.
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 12:01 PM

Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
. . .
You might try adding a mixer between the laptop and the AG, one with level controls. You might be able to get some extra gain from it. . .
. . .


+1. Even including the cost of cables, it's well within your budget.

. Charles
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 01:14 PM

I personally think, after reading posts of people that have the same piano working, the OP has either defective cables or the aux in input is defective.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 02:13 PM

I'm gonna try a few different cables - is there any particular type I should stay away from that you'd expect to attenuate the signal?

I stress though that it's not that the output is quiet just that its just not loud enough (compared to the volume of the internal sounds) so I'm trying to see whether that's normal operation.

All the help's appreciated guys!
Posted by: 36251

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 02:26 PM

I have an AG but have never tried this. I have read somewhere that there is a noise gate that might be the issue.
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 02:33 PM

The cable won't make any difference (unless it's outright broken).
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 02:33 PM

You wrote:

Originally Posted By: Albatrossone
I've checked all the connections. The volume in the laptop is at full. To get the volume to match the onboard sound in the AG I need to add around 10-12dB in Ivory Cantible - but at this level it just distorts. I've also tried with a different laptop - same problem.


To me, coupled with the successful posts, your experience seems like something is wrong.
What cable have you been using?
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 03:13 PM

I've used a few different cables. Just standard jack to jack line level cable and I've just tried it with another one.

I plugged an iPhone directly in and played a track. Listening through headphones plugged into the piano the volume was ok but not super loud with the iphone and AG volume on max.

I then plugged the same headphones directly into the Iphone and the volume was much higher - enough to hurt my ears.

I assumed this was a property of the piano but this now doesn't seem right to me - what do you think? Time to call yamaha?
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 03:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Albatrossone
Hello
I have also hooked up a PC with a decent audio interface to the Avantgrand line ins and I can get a reasonable volume if I use pro level signals (+4dBU) but still not great and that's at full volume.


I can't see a different +4 mixer acting different. Were you pinning the meters on this interface when you tried it?
Maybe a mixer would solve it but I would investigate further. You really shouldn't need it especially after running a +4 interface unsuccessfully.

All the line in threads have one flaky element or another that seem to get in the way. I would think that the Line in on an instrument like the N1 would have significant headroom and could be driven hot enough to be more than loud enough.

Perhaps a visit to the dealer to try your iphone player on a different N1.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 06:58 PM

Yeah - I'll give the dealer a ring tomorrow. To be honest I can't see how an audio signal can possibly be quieter after its been through an external amplifier on max volume unless there is something wrong. I'll update when I know what's happening (bet they fix the level problem and the noise gate'll make an appearance!)
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/02/13 07:26 PM

It is possible that you were running your external computer interface at -10. Some of them have switches that toggle between -10 and +4.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/03/13 08:31 AM

Well for the laptops and iphone there isn't that option and it was +4 which (just) gave an acceptable signal. Its not unreasonable to expect a decent volume out of any -10 device though.

However, I have now had the shop try out another two N1s and they are also reporting low volume.


For those who got it working (SLiX or Wess), can you be any more specific about how loud it actually got? i.e. louder, equal or lower than the onboard sound at the same volume setting? We may just have different views on acceptable volume. If you are getting it as loud as the onboard sound maybe its a firmware thing...
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/03/13 08:51 AM

At least you know now. The 1616m has, I believe, a software toggle on it's mixer GUI that switches between
-10 and +4. It would be worth looking into to confirm.

The outboard mixer suggestions are most likely your next step.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/03/13 08:57 AM

Yeah - I flicked back and forth between the settings on the 1616m. Maybe some external 2.1 speakers instead - any you'd recommend for best reproducing a piano?
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/03/13 10:13 AM

As far as speakers go, there are posters here that can give you very good suggestions. I have good trouble shooting skills and like to help out where I can.
Posted by: Wess. Chr. K.

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/04/13 06:18 AM

At volume on "3 o'clock" (AG N1) I feel the instrument very convenient – loud enough to be heard as a real sounding piano.
The same settings remain when I connect the AG to my Macbook pro or Mac Pro from headphone jacks.
Today I did more precise test and must correct my last post. Not at 50-70% volume output form the Mac(s) but ca. 85%.

Thus I compared at almost the same loudness, playing Beethoven's Sonate F-dur Op.10, nr.2 (known as the 6-th Sonate) and Chopin Prelude Op 24 nr.4 e-moll.
Both have contrasts as a dynamic.
The "pp and ppp" range of Ivory II (American Concert D) in is even larger than AG.
As for as "fff" – they are quite equal.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/04/13 09:26 AM

Very interesting. As I said, the guy in the shop reckoned their two N1s were also outputing at 2/3rds of the volume of connecting the headphones direct - so either the Macs output is hotter or your N1 has a higher output for some reason.

I've spoken to Yamaha about it too and they are going to do some tests of their own.
Posted by: Wess. Chr. K.

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/04/13 10:24 AM

I don't think that my N1 is different. Not at all.
Probably the Mac's output phone-jack has a bit more gain.
Both macs (Macbook pro 17" C2D 2.8GHz and Mac Pro 2.66GHz Nehalem) are models 2009.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/04/13 11:11 AM

How about with headphones? - listening to the Mac with headphones attached to the Avantgrand then listening to the Mac directly with the headphones without changing the volume.

If it's quieter through the piano the Mac has a hotter output. If its quieter through the Mac, your piano has a greater output than mine.
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/04/13 11:18 AM

Albatrosse,

Perhaps you could adjust the touch controls on the piano to make it a bit softer when you want to play along. From what Wess.Chr.K. is reporting, flying in an external sound is a bit of a balancing act, but it can be accomplished successfully.
His statement about FFF being the same and dynamic levels below that being actually a little quieter fall in line with how an instrument with more dynamic range than the internal piano sound would behave.
Posted by: Wess. Chr. K.

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/04/13 12:31 PM

Sorry, colleagues,
I did not mention something very, really very important about Ivory II Am.C.D being played on AG – the velocity curve:
because AG has been limited to 124 (upper register) and at most 116 -lowest one (but normally 96-106) you need to limit the velocity curve inside Am.C.D to 116 but not to leave it on 127 or instead, you might use a host (for instance Cubase 7) to enable the midi modifiers to expansion set to 17:20 (or it was an opposite??? – I can not check right now, however that were the values.)
This issue repeats exactly the same way with East West QL Pianos.
After this make-up it sounds perfectly for me, but it is a weakest spot on AG.

My conclusion is that AG is good for playing, but as a master keyboard must be treated with care and those tricks I mentioned above are absolutely necessary to get the profit of VST Pianos.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/04/13 02:14 PM

Cheers for this. On mine the fff is definitely quieter than on board so it's not a dynamics problem.

I also have ivory set up to send its highest velocities at around 100 and with the 'power' curve - so it's not that either.

Ps - also asked yamaha about the more limited midi range so ill report back if they say anything ( though I personally think its a limitation of using the acoustic action and/or of the sensors ability to register the speed).
Posted by: Wess. Chr. K.

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/05/13 02:19 AM

Originally Posted By: Albatrossone

Ps - also asked yamaha about the more limited midi range so ill report back if they say anything ( though I personally think its a limitation of using the acoustic action and/or of the sensors ability to register the speed).


Absolutely! That is the only logical explanation about velocity curve, but somewhere in this forum was report about the same issues with CLP?
Why then?
And also, one important fact – at "vel. 0" the MIDI sends "Aftertouch at 127" control which spoils pianos like East WestQL.
It took me a lot of effort to find it monitoring all my MIDI devices.
I had to disable "Aft.touch" on software MIDI filter to use AG as a MIDI controller when playing EWQL Pianos.

The piano (AG) is good, but not the best because it has a number of details that have not been decided to make the piano working also as an external MIDI keyboard controller.

For retail EU price ca. €6450 this instrument had to offer more versatile control over the signal input/output, adequate but not sounding cheep reverb, MIDI key. vel.-curves and so on, to support USB audio AIFF or WAV or MP3 (play/import/export) format and many other options, that are found on such instruments as Kawai and Rolland, even that they sound compressed and emitting unrealistically tang sound (pop or rock alike) at high velocity.

As many of us that picked up AG, I chose it mainly for the keyboard action and sound (for composing and teaching my 6 y.o. son).
In addition about its own (AG N1) sound system: when I compare the sound to the same signal going to studio monitors (in my case Genelec) – N1 sounds nice, piano like and of course "woody", in positive sense.
However, playing much louder than normal piano does, there are specific resonant zones between 350-800 Hz due to the body on AG N1, which over exaggerates "piano acoustic".

Talking from my short (only 2 months) experience, this AG N1 sounds better when internal speakers and external Genelec monitors are switched together in parallel (at "12 o'clock" or on 50% volume control knob AG N1 to more than 50%-60% Genelec).
It fils the studio very nice with added reverb form Altiverb ("Shubert hall").

For sake of that treat, as many other colleagues, I also would suggest you to take one external sound card and to control the output of your laptop.
Mac or PC – it does not really matter, because the sound is being reproduced by the external device.

Just as an budget example:

http://www.musicstore.de:80/de_DE/EUR/Focusrite-Saffire-PRO-24-Firewire-Audio-Interface/art-PCM0009017-000

In EU is about € 250 and one of the most important option on it is the build in MIDI interface.
Thus you will not need to struggle with pulse noise, high "Pegel", full of issues "MIDI to USB" interfaces such as "M-audio MIDI spot" or ~3 times more expensive (ca. €63) but working very well "Yamaha UX16 MIDI Interface".

Just a pare of (DIN) MIDI cables – they are much cheeper than both mentioned above.
IMHO, on the ground of more than 6000 (EUR/USD) man pay for AG N1 it is as a kind of "must have" accessory.

I wish you success finding the best solution for you.
Posted by: Albatrossone

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/10/13 08:55 AM

So Yamaha have done some testing and found that the signal gets attenuated going through the N1 too. So definitely a widespread issue. They are going to look into it further,

In the meantime would a headphone amp do the trick to boost the line level before it goes into the piano? Just trying to think of something more unobtrusive than a mixer...
Posted by: Allan W.

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/10/13 10:27 AM

Headphone amp is a good idea.
Posted by: emenelton

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/10/13 11:58 AM

behringer makes some nice Xenyx model mixers that are small
Posted by: Marko in Boston

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/10/13 12:51 PM

Check out the Peavey headphone amp. Not expensive and should do the trick:

http://www.amazon.com/Peavey-03001320-HB2/dp/B004PYTDK0

http://www.peavey.com/products/index.cfm/item/875/118215/HB2HeadPhoneAmplifier
Posted by: Wess. Chr. K.

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/10/13 05:52 PM

Do you play "Ivory II" via host (Cuabase, Logic, Pro tools) or as a standalone app.?

As we know, the host applications have many advantages, but two of of the most important for playing "live" are the "output level control" and "reverb".
Personally I prefer – "Altiverb".
Before start playing on AG N1 (talking about "Ivory II") is necessary to adjust the velocity curve to your manner of playing.
More than 4 days after I picked up the AG N1 I experimented and find the most relevant set up for me.

With those changes (look at the screenshots) my colleagues and I feel the keyboard very comfortable and enjoy Ivory II American concert D.
Thus "ppp-fff" are absolutely possible.

In the "yellow" boxes are highlighted all values.
The lowest dynamic I get (after SONNOX "inflator") was -45.7 db (left pedal noise). When played A1-440 Hz with left pedal: ca. -39db.
After the insert on master output the highest value was -0.3db.

You can try it and I would be happy to discus this subject here.
I stay opened and would be thankful for any suggestions and positive ideas of yours.

Best regards,
Wess







Cubase 7 set up view:

Posted by: electone2007

Re: Ivory II through Avantgrand (N1) Speakers - 04/10/13 06:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Albatrossone
Hello

Has anyone had any success doing this? I have tried however I simply can't get the volume. This is outputing from a laptop headphone jack. I can get plenty of volume hooking the laptop to a cheap low power 2.1 system.

I have also hooked up a PC with a decent audio interface to the Avantgrand line ins and I can get a reasonable volume if I use pro level signals (+4dBU) but still not great and that's at full volume.

It may be an issue with the Avantgrand line inputs - on paper at least it seems like there is a reasonable amount of amplifier power in there!

Is there something else I can do to up the power? If not I am either stuck with getting an external interface for the laptop and hoping it gives me enough volume, or getting a decent 2.1 setup. I know that both together would probably be the best of both worlds but I'm trying to keep everything uncluttered, hence the reason for using the internal speakers in the first place.

Any suggestions very welcome! - including 2.1 options if you think that's the way to go (budget is probably £100 - £200).

Cheers
Nick

PS - despite listening very closely to the decay, I am unable to perceive the noise gate issue mentioned elsewhere.


Feed your laptop signal through a mixer and send mixer output to line in of AG. That way you can adjust gain to your heart's content. A cheap 2 to 4 channel mixer will do.

I had a Clavinova CLP and it had the same issue. I was so happy after I bought a small Behringer Xenyx mixer.