Need a piano for recording and gigging

Posted by: Annice

Need a piano for recording and gigging - 12/09/09 10:45 AM

I have been borrowing our drummer's electric piano for the past couple of years to do recording and limited gigging. Our band has recently entered some of our songs on garageband.com and I've gotten some criticism for the piano's sound. We are close to ready to buy a good electric piano but I'm not sure what to get. I read a post on this forum about accoustic pianos and I'm wondering if I will need an accoustic to get a good recording. Our current recordings can be heard at myspace.com/pyrrhicvictory. I am particularly worried about the thinness of the sound on "Flowers for Charlie" and "Pascal's Wager" because there are parts where the piano has to stand alone. I need a sound that will fill that space on the recording and, if possible, be light enough to take to shows. Thank you so much for your help!
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: Need a piano for recording and gigging - 12/09/09 11:15 AM

You are ust going to have to go into the store (Guitar Center or Sam Ash or the like) and bring your headphones with you. Spend an hour at least in the store.

I'd head right over to the Roland RD700GX and if give that a try. See if any of the dozen or so piano sounds work for you. If not then you can ignore the entire Roland product line. In the Yamahas tend not to have so many piano sounds inside. My P155 has only two. Try the CP300 and 33 stage pianos.


One good option for recording is to use software virtual instruments. You'd record on a midi controllers then later you ca decide on the exact piano sound you want. I think this i the best. but you may not like to use computers on stage.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Need a piano for recording and gigging - 12/09/09 11:28 AM

Recording acoustic pianos is very tough and requires expensive equipment. Unless you already have the equipment, I would stick to digital piano for your needs. I'm currently looking into virtual pianos for the purpose of recording, and you can get surprisingly nice sound from it (much better than that sounds that come with the DP).

So I would plan on testing out as many digital pianos as you can and go for the one that "feels" the best (rather than the sound alone) and budget for a software piano purchase as well.
Posted by: dewster

Re: Need a piano for recording and gigging - 12/09/09 11:43 AM

There are tons of digital pianos that are just fine for stage work (I would recommend Yamaha) but almost none (with the exception of the Roland V-piano) have high enough sample quality for recording. Sadly, I don't think you can find a product today that will solve both of your needs. Get something with a keyboard that feels right to you and has decent piano sound for the stage, then use it as a MIDI controller for recording.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend a PC based sampler solution for recording, as they are resource hogs and are often difficult to make non-glitchy, particularly if you play a lot of notes at once (use the damper pedal) / have other software running. Also, PC samplers put you on the quest to find the perfect sampler and sample set, something you can throw lots of time an money at before you are satisfied.

I've used Pianoteq in the past for recording, it is quite nice. It isn't sample-based so it doesn't use many resources, and can "render" MIDI in non-realtime, which can be quite handy on older machines. There are tons of stock sounds, and if you don't like any of them you can tweak away. Updates are free once you buy it. Play with their free demo, I think you'll like it.
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: Need a piano for recording and gigging - 12/09/09 12:03 PM

Originally Posted By: dewster

I wouldn't necessarily recommend a PC based sampler solution for recording, as they are resource hogs and are often difficult to make non-glitchy, particularly if you play a lot of notes at once


First off it would be good to tell everyone here what you are currently using. For example if it's a Yamaha P140 that you don't like then I'd not recomend any other Yamaha

Yes he's right. You'd be nuts to use a PC. Macs have none of those problems. I can run multiple copies of software instruments in real time with zero latency issues. Stability and crashes are just an absolute non-issue. Well, that assumes you are not trying to run on 10 year old equipment.

If computers really were such a hassle then you'd be in a world of hurt in any modern studio. What is it that records all 24 of those tracks but a computer. There are not many analog studios left. Almost every one is using ProTools or maybe Logic.

The way a software instrument is used in a studio is in post production. You'd assign one to a MIDI track and give it a listen. Then likey tweek the parameters and EQ and so on or try another sample set until you get the sound "right".

However you can record from a DP directly. I'd image that the primary use for a Roland V-Piano would be in the studio. It's ability to adjust the piano sound would be exactly what a music producer would need. Also the v-piano has digital "S/PDIF" output so you avoid an analog link, perfect for recording.
Posted by: dewster

Re: Need a piano for recording and gigging - 12/09/09 12:58 PM

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
First off it would be good to tell everyone here what you are currently using. For example if it's a Yamaha P140 that you don't like then I'd not recomend any other Yamaha


I agree.

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Yes he's right. You'd be nuts to use a PC. Macs have none of those problems. I can run multiple copies of software instruments in real time with zero latency issues. Stability and crashes are just an absolute non-issue. Well, that assumes you are not trying to run on 10 year old equipment.


*GRUNTING* Must...not...start...PC-vs-MAC...flamewar...

:-)