Old 10-18-2019, 01:20 PM   #1
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Default Found perfect Piano Comp/Limit

The solution for all pianos is the CLA-3A. I assume any LA-3A would do. My last few mixes have had piano prominently featured. I've been struggling to get the sound right.

I've been using Analog Lab 4 with the Piano V presets. They're okay, but awfully bright. The high end is shrill with these presets. Any attempt to roll off highs drops the track out of the mix. So compression/limiting is essential to keep it from clipping and holding it steady in the mix.

I've tried all versions of MJUC (vari-mu), CLA-76, V-Comp (diode-bridge), S.LA.X, etc. Pretty much tried everything. Nothing really sounded right to me, somehow. They weren't what I was looking for, tonally. A piano is a huge sound and is the most difficult instrument to fit in a mix, for me. It may be different if you track it, but virtual pianos are like wet clay. One false move and it collapses.

Anyway, the CLA-3A came on sale the last couple of weeks, so I gave it a good solid try. It worked immediately. Now, I still clip the track and sometimes the buss, but it's holding well in the mix and is what I want to hear (all things considered).

I'm very happy with the compressor, which shouldn't be a surprise, but it's not one of those items with a ton of caché. My point is, if you don't have one, do yourself a favour and head over to Waves and pick up yours while the sale is on.

I do have have a promo code from my purchase, so if you do decide to buy, PM me for the code.
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:21 AM   #2
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Lots of hot peaks and bright eh?

Piano is tricky to capture sometimes. More so when there's bangin' drums and bass next to it! How did you mic it up? A pair of condensers over the strings by themselves can get bright and peaky. I find a bottom mic very important. Those holes in the metal top plate on the side when you walk up to the open lid side? Put a 57 over the 2nd from the left. You'll get some midrange meat fairly free of bleed to help cheat. Room miking can be a thing if the piano is recorded by itself.

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Old 10-20-2019, 03:54 AM   #3
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Lots of hot peaks and bright eh?

Piano is tricky to capture sometimes. More so when there's bangin' drums and bass next to it! How did you mic it up? A pair of condensers over the strings by themselves can get bright and peaky. I find a bottom mic very important. Those holes in the metal top plate on the side when you walk up to the open lid side? Put a 57 over the 2nd from the left. You'll get some midrange meat fairly free of bleed to help cheat. Room miking can be a thing if the piano is recorded by itself.
He didn't mic it up, it's a modelled Arturia piano.
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Old 10-20-2019, 08:45 AM   #4
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He didn't mic it up, it's a modelled Arturia piano.
Haha. Well, that doesn't speak too highly of the modelling if you need to "fix" it by smashing peaks with limiting compression! If it sounds right though then it must be, so carry on.

Now I'm curious if some of these sampled or modeling instrument plugins give you separate outputs for separate elements of the piano as captured/modeled? Strings vs body top vs body btm vs room for example. Or if they all just give you a stereo submix. Maybe that's the problem?
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:58 AM   #5
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I like TDR Kotelnikov sometimes for piano
https://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-kotelnikov/
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Old 10-20-2019, 02:05 PM   #6
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Haha. Well, that doesn't speak too highly of the modelling if you need to "fix" it by smashing peaks with limiting compression! If it sounds right though then it must be, so carry on.

Now I'm curious if some of these sampled or modeling instrument plugins give you separate outputs for separate elements of the piano as captured/modeled? Strings vs body top vs body btm vs room for example. Or if they all just give you a stereo submix. Maybe that's the problem?
Yeah, the Analog Lab version is like a "lite" version of their modelled piano. I've not used that much, I generally use Pianoteq. You can move mics around quite a lot, but you can't put them underneath, as far as I know.

I've not tried mic'ing underneath myself, only recorded solo piano with a natural distance to get the room, but I got the Addictive Keys upright for free a while back (Focusrite deal because I had one of their interfaces), and the floor mic sampled in that did add a really nice dimension to the sound.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:04 AM   #7
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I read a gearslutz thread where Michael Brauer discussed his method for rock/pop piano.

"Remember the early Elton John records? Remember how his piano shimmered? At mediasound we loved that sound so a lot of us were always playing around with getting different versions of it. No lacquered hammers, no Dolby A off, just a combination of compression and EQ.

I only recorded Luther's voice, may he rest in peace, on that song along with "searching" and then mixed both. Luther was on a whole other level of singers. He walked into that session and listened to the song in the control room once, then he walked out into the studio with the lyric sheet in his hand. What you hear on"Glow of Love" and "searching" is his first fun down reading the lyrics from a yellow pad. No punches.

The piano sound you’re referring to is probably the same one that I did for Vandross on the “Never too much” song.

Ok, this is how you do it. First insert an LA3A or LA2A (depending on the version of sound you’re going after) across the stereo piano tracks. Bang those meters and out of the compressor go into a couple of pultecs and push up..way up the 3 or 5 k on the low end and the 8 or 10 k on the high end. Don’t be safe. Now go to the desk EQ and start clearing out some of the muddiness and EQ up the remaining mids so that it just shimmers like a baby. When it’s done right, you can hear the harmonics riding up during each sustain. The LA2A is good if the song is slow and the chords are quarter notes. The LA3A is good if the chords are faster with a harder attack like in “never too much”. I remember hearing that song on the radio and man that piano was making me feel good all over. Sounds pretty simple when you know how to do it right?”

This method works. It's the one sure mixing rule I know, next to 360hz on the 1073 midband. (That's another must-have. I can cut that frequency on just about everything and get a better/clearer sound. In fact, I always look for that frequency on any eq. If it doesn't have it, I won't buy it.)

It's true. Arturia is incredibly bright. I don't know why. I suppose if I had the option of moving mics around or closing the lid, I'd have an easier time of it.

I always print the MIDI to audio. Mainly because Analog Lab uses a lot of CPU.

I wonder if I shouldn't be printing at 48k, rather than 44.1? That's the one thing I haven't tried. Maybe I'd hear less crunchy, stringy trebles at a higher resolution?
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:10 PM   #8
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I wonder if I shouldn't be printing at 48k, rather than 44.1? That's the one thing I haven't tried. Maybe I'd hear less crunchy, stringy trebles at a higher resolution?
Give it a go, but I very much doubt it.

More likely that the presets are designed to be ear-grabbing.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:06 PM   #9
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Give it a go, but I very much doubt it.

More likely that the presets are designed to be ear-grabbing.
Ah, I see. I honestly cannot hear the difference with digital audio resolution, except maybe between 16bit and 24bit. The noise floor is considerably higher at 16bit.

The rest is mix choices. I've heard "Dark Side of the Moon" at all sorts of resolutions and the only version that was more engaging was the quad Alan Parsons mix. That's only because the separation increased with the two extra speakers. The quality remained the same to my ears. The change dropping in the bowl in "Money" feels like its jangling directly into my frontal lobe.

*FYI: the results of this thread will be audible when I've finished the project I'm presently mixing. I'll post in the Music Discussion forum.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:19 PM   #10
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If you suspect your DA converters run cleaner at HD vs SD sample rates...
That doesn't sound like a high end eq boost or anything glaring at SD. It's more of a subtle 'smooth highs with less fatigue' kind of thing at HD. If there's a problem at SD, it's more like a fatiguing saturation than like a high end boost. ("Saturation" is too strong of a term too.) Oh, and 48k is still SD. You'd need to go to 88.2k or 96k.

Too much high end in the piano is probably too much high end in the piano.

Pop music piano and even some jazz with a bangin' rhythm section will mix a piano to be kind of strident to cut through. Those samples are probably aiming at that. If they don't give you the rest of the meat of the piano sound... you'll need a different sampler. Or smash it with a limiter I guess!

It COULD be an aliasing artifact if the sampler plugin was made to operate at HD sample rates. This can happen and it can be much more pronounced than artifacts from SD sample rates or stuff like reducing 24 bit to 16 bit.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:23 PM   #11
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No you have perfect advertisement here.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:54 PM   #12
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It COULD be an aliasing artifact if the sampler plugin was made to operate at HD sample rates. This can happen and it can be much more pronounced than artifacts from SD sample rates or stuff like reducing 24 bit to 16 bit.
It's modelled, not sampled.

It's essentially all of Arturia's modelled synths and keys in a single plugin - if you own the full versions you can tweak the presets, but if you don't you can't.
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Old 10-21-2019, 04:29 PM   #13
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I've heard "Dark Side of the Moon" at all sorts of resolutions and the only version that was more engaging was the quad Alan Parsons mix. That's only because the separation increased with the two extra speakers. The quality remained the same to my ears.
FYI That's an entirely different mix. Different engineer even. (Surround mixes are always unique mixes. The good ones anyway.)

Which just helps point out that the mix itself carries the most weight as long as the recording formats used are reasonable and used correctly.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:05 AM   #14
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FYI That's an entirely different mix. Different engineer even. (Surround mixes are always unique mixes. The good ones anyway.)

Which just helps point out that the mix itself carries the most weight as long as the recording formats used are reasonable and used correctly.
Hate to be a contrarian, but Alan Parsons did engineer the original stereo DSOTM.

But, yes, this is my point. A really good mix wins out over sample rate.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:33 AM   #15
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Hate to be a contrarian, but Alan Parsons did engineer the original stereo DSOTM.
Yep, and I prefer that between the stereo mixes. But they released the stereo remix by Chris Thomas. I very strongly prefer the surround mix over either stereo mix. The stereo mixes both feel like reductions or afterthoughts for this album. They really were the de facto surround sound band. Much of the quad panning arrangements come from the live show. (Performed for a year before recording in the studio.)

I also much prefer the moog solo in Great Gig In The Sky as performed live in 1972! But I must admit that vocal improv that changed it up in the studio is still pretty special.

Then there's the James Guthrie 5.1 remix done many years later. This actually downplays the surround elements, giving it more the feel of the stereo mix but with some of the surround elements. Great mix work and fidelity but lost all the mojo of the original quad surround mix.

Sorry, this isn't the Pink Floyd forum...
You were talking about limiting your virtual piano I think!

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Old 10-22-2019, 10:16 AM   #16
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Yep, and I prefer that between the stereo mixes. But they released the stereo remix by Chris Thomas. I very strongly prefer the surround mix over either stereo mix. The stereo mixes both feel like reductions or afterthoughts for this album. They really were the de facto surround sound band. Much of the quad panning arrangements come from the live show. (Performed for a year before recording in the studio.)

I also much prefer the moog solo in Great Gig In The Sky as performed live in 1972! But I must admit that vocal improv that changed it up in the studio is still pretty special.

Then there's the James Guthrie 5.1 remix done many years later. This actually downplays the surround elements, giving it more the feel of the stereo mix but with some of the surround elements. Great mix work and fidelity but lost all the mojo of the original quad surround mix.

Sorry, this isn't the Pink Floyd forum...
You were talking about limiting your virtual piano I think!
I see what you're saying. It is easy to go down a Pink Floyd rabbit trail. They're brilliant.



In any case, I thought I'd share the piece I'm working on to give some context. (Also I'm starting to really like the mix, so I need an excuse to share it.)

DISCLAIMER: Work in progress. We're discussing the piano sound, remember. (Another thread might be a discussion of pitch on the original album and whether playing it at concert pitch changes the emotional impact. But again, for another time.)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/iiqa6wvckb...%2021.wav?dl=0
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:33 AM   #17
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I can hear the compressor pumping a fair bit, plus the piano sound is really poky and I don't mean the EQ. Is that all velocity 127 (especially at the beginning)? I think compression at this point is "putting the cart before the horse". try dialing back the velocity first to give it a more natural velocity range.

Anyway I'm curious exactly what sound you're after. Do you have a link for a song where the piano stands out? (Or does this song you're covering contain the kind of sound you're after.)
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:56 AM   #18
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I can hear the compressor pumping a fair bit, plus the piano sound is really poky and I don't mean the EQ. Is that all velocity 127 (especially at the beginning)? I think compression at this point is "putting the cart before the horse". try dialing back the velocity first to give it a more natural velocity range.

Anyway I'm curious exactly what sound you're after. Do you have a link for a song where the piano stands out? (Or does this song you're covering contain the kind of sound you're after.)
Thanks for your notes! Very helpful. Sincerely.

I'm going for the latter sound. It's a thick, full, percussive sound. I did humanize the velocity, but it does sound robotic doesn't it? It's meant to hit hard, but I can't deny it's verging on "pounding" at the moment. "Poky" is a good descriptor. I know exactly to what you're referring.

I'm a bit backward on velocities. What range would you say is natural?
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:11 PM   #19
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I'm a bit backward on velocities. What range would you say is natural?
Totally depends on the plugin. You have to play it by ear.

Humanizing won't cut it - people don't play piano with random force. I mean, a little touch of humanizing once you've programmed it will help it not sound like a loop, but you have to think about the rhythm of the chords and accents.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:19 PM   #20
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(It seems Judders replied before I got to hit reply lol...I'll post this anyway since I elaborated a bit.)

I don't know what velocity range would sound natural for that instrument, since it depends on the instrument and how its samples are mapped. Just scale it down so that you barely hear the hardest hits, and then you can work with it some more from there.

Humanizing it probably isn't enough. It need to be approached as a piano player would think about playing the part. Hitting a bit harder for accents on the beats (or off the beats for syncopation etc.) and playing softer off the beats makes sense in general, but also you want to think of the melody/chord parts you want to emphazize (and you want to work with the rest of the instruments too, not just competing with them). The intro of that conjured an image in my mind of someone smashing his fists down on the piano. So it is probably going to take more than "humanizing" it. Humanizing seems to seldom take the piece's intent into account; usually it just kind of spreads out velocity within a range and if you're lucky it might make some of the peaks be on the beat (if the humanizing thingy is even aware of the time signature).

Listen to the original piece and think of how the piano player played it; really pay attention. Sing/hum along with it and see how your voice's strength varies. There's a fair bit of variation in the velocity used for that part and it doesn't change randomly. The piano is a very dynamic instrument, and a percussion instrument at that even though we sometimes forget. That feel is more a part of the sound than any compressor or EQ, really.

If you get it sounding right for the feel/velocity, to thicken it up can be done in various ways. But keeping the velocity cranked for the notes then slamming it through multiple compressors isn't the way to go. I'm sure I'd be able to use ReaComp easily enough for what needs to be done; there's no special compressor required.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:29 PM   #21
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Also, to add to James' excellent post; you can do yourself even bigger favours with midi that might be painstaking or impossible with a recording of a real piano - you can use velocity to bring out some notes over others. Selective emphasising of notes can be great for reinforcing the function of the chords in relation to the melody.

This is the kind of leg work mixers do with backing vocals - riding parts to get the best harmonic balance for the song.

The rhythm is the most important bit to get right with velocity first though.

I use humanisation a lot, but only tiny amounts once I've programmed the part. Simply to add pretty much unnoticeable variation throughout a part so that it doesn't sound like it's looped.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:44 PM   #22
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Great points all! Will attempt.

I started on piano, so expression has been internalized. It's strange to have to consciously think about it.
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:05 AM   #23
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I'm going for the latter sound. It's a thick, full, percussive sound.
When you think about a recorded real piano performance, you can't move up the velocity afterwards to get it 'more percussive'. You will have to process the audio instead of the 'played notes'. You will get much better results with a lower velocity part that you then process 'as if played that way' and see how you can get to your preferred sound without messing with the recorded notes (in this case the midi).

To get a piano sounding more aggressive you might look into transient designers and aural exciters.
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Old 10-23-2019, 07:18 AM   #24
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When you think about a recorded real piano performance, you can't move up the velocity afterwards to get it 'more percussive'. You will have to process the audio instead of the 'played notes'. You will get much better results with a lower velocity part that you then process 'as if played that way' and see how you can get to your preferred sound without messing with the recorded notes (in this case the midi).

To get a piano sounding more aggressive you might look into transient designers and aural exciters.
I follow.

I actually went in last evening and had a look at the MIDI. It was indeed maxing out at 127 in many places. So I lowered everything to about 108 at the top end. So things are sitting between the 80s and 90s, which means it's fortissimo as opposed to Don Music slamming his forehead into the keys. (Killer reference for 80s kids there.)

The file itself did have a natural velocity pattern, with bass notes lower than trebles. The triads were set up as if physical fingers played them. So that's good.

It was just too damn high. I did go in and make micro-adjustments for movement/groove. So, it definitely was the velocity maxing out. That sounds awful, not unlike digital clipping.
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Old 10-24-2019, 07:39 AM   #25
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Okay,

I think this in an improvement, at least in the aspects we've been discussing.

The piano sounds much more natural, I think, while still being bright and percussive. Open to constructive tips here. Please be kind. (Not accusing, but it's always surprising to me just how emotionally invested I get with mixes.)

The balance has shifted considerably, which should be expected. But I will say I'm hearing/feeling things I was unable to before. So that's good.


https://www.dropbox.com/s/ctxmqunvv6...%2023.wav?dl=0
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:30 AM   #26
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It's better but the compression is really obvious whereas the original's is a lot more subtle/transparent. Also it still sounds like fairly forceful playing. Since it's a cover, I'm not going to say "it's wrong" but if you're trying to nail the original's vibe: the softer parts should be significantly softer, and some of the higher parts should be more "medium" parts. I'm not sure how that instrument behaves for its dynamics (if it works well for softer parts) so maybe that's not really good advice, but I'd still try it anyway. Then use compression so that the strongest hits are attenuated more transparently. That'll allow you to have more dynamic range for the piano for its character, and bring the volume of the part under control later (while letting the softer parts ring out more). Discard any ideas about using certain compressors anyone else famous used. It's more about the settings, how it works for you and your source material.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:35 AM   #27
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It's better but the compression is really obvious whereas the original's is a lot more subtle/transparent. Also it still sounds like fairly forceful playing. Since it's a cover, I'm not going to say "it's wrong" but if you're trying to nail the original's vibe: the softer parts should be significantly softer, and some of the higher parts should be more "medium" parts. I'm not sure how that instrument behaves for its dynamics (if it works well for softer parts) so maybe that's not really good advice, but I'd still try it anyway. Then use compression so that the strongest hits are attenuated more transparently. That'll allow you to have more dynamic range for the piano for its character, and bring the volume of the part under control later (while letting the softer parts ring out more). Discard any ideas about using certain compressors anyone else famous used. It's more about the settings, how it works for you and your source material.
Thanks! Really good notes again.

The instrument has lots of velocity. I think I should use the "pop piano" presets, as it'll stay brighter the lower the velocity.
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Old 10-29-2019, 08:06 AM   #28
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So here's what I'm dealing with. I followed advice and brought the velocity way back.

As I suspected, the piano sat back in the mix, rather than being as forward as I'd like it.

"Well, just pull the guitars back."

If only it were that simple. Oy. To get the piano where it is, I had to use some serious parallel compression. I don't like that. It's audible.

In any case, I'm working away on re-adjusting the velocity to increase the movement of the piano part.

I just thought I'd share this in case the process is instructive to anyone else.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ctxmqunvv6...%2023.wav?dl=0
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:04 AM   #29
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I didn't mean to say you should just bring the velocity way down for the whole part. For the parts intended to be played softly, definitely yes. There are plenty of spots that need to "poke out" though. But even some of those are a bit too strong.

In your latest file, the parts meant to be played more softly still aren't being played softly. It sounds relatively consistent for dynamics, plus I can still hear the compressor digging in.

Listen to the original song closely (mostly that solo piano part) and pay attention to how maybe 2/3 the "hits" on the piano are strong (to varying degrees) and the rest are sort of meant to be laid back. It's going to be a fairly big difference in velocity, and you'll have to edit the part very specifically to match that dynamic. There's no quick way of doing this, no MIDI script/plugin cheat that'll make it sound like that performance. It will take analysis of the original performance and changing velocity for notes/chords.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:18 AM   #30
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I didn't mean to say you should just bring the velocity way down for the whole part. For the parts intended to be played softly, definitely yes. There are plenty of spots that need to "poke out" though. But even some of those are a bit too strong.

In your latest file, the parts meant to be played more softly still aren't being played softly. It sounds relatively consistent for dynamics, plus I can still hear the compressor digging in.

Listen to the original song closely (mostly that solo piano part) and pay attention to how maybe 2/3 the "hits" on the piano are strong (to varying degrees) and the rest are sort of meant to be laid back. It's going to be a fairly big difference in velocity, and you'll have to edit the part very specifically to match that dynamic. There's no quick way of doing this, no MIDI script/plugin cheat that'll make it sound like that performance. It will take analysis of the original performance and changing velocity for notes/chords.
That's pretty much the conclusion I came to. We're on the same page now. I did a fair amount of work on it last night, which isn't what you're hearing here. It's much more dynamic now. It could stand to be even more so.

The original is "4 hand," meaning there's a main take played by Jim Gordon and a more dynamic overdub by Bobby Whitlock. They must've bounced to one stereo track because it's very difficult to hear two piano tracks. I've listened enough that I can sorta hear two pianos, but they're very tightly packed.

I do have two separate MIDI parts. The main "tune," played straight and a second to emphasize the "ones." The second also doubles the acoustic guitar.

It was just starting to undulate a little better between the 1 and 2/3s, when I left it. You're right, though, the difference between the two are pretty wide. The ones are in red (80-99), where the 2/3s are in green(40-70). I'm getting there, but not enough to trick the ear yet.
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Old 10-30-2019, 09:54 AM   #31
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Here's another question: I've heard a lot about folding the bass frequencies to mono. Generally this is in the context of mastering or mix buss eq, but I do find most of these modeled pianos are very wide, but shallow. Is this a m/s eq thing? Or should I just bounce the stereo file to mono?

In either case, the trick is to make the piano sit in the centre where the vocals usually live.
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Old 10-30-2019, 11:59 AM   #32
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I'd leave the stereo image as is, and EQ it mid/side, if you're concerned about the bass content that's in the sides.

You can split to mid/side using JS plugins (mid/side encoder, mid/side decoder) then set up EQ between the two plugins. If you're confused about the routing, click on the "2 in/2 out" pin connector of the encoder and decoder and you'll get the idea (on the encoder: left in becomes mid out, right in becomes side out, etc.) So you end up with a series of plugins in the bin to do this.

Alternately you can use plugins already set up for mid/side operation. If you're strictly EQing on the sides, here are some plugins that can do this:

GMonoBass from this package works nicely. Lowest CPU % of these 3 plugins.

RBJ Stereo Image Filter (JS plugin) included with Reaper can do this (filename is "rbjstereofilter12db"). Use "S filter amount" and "S HP" (high pass) parameters. A bit more CPU % needed but it's still rather low, and this plugin has other features that make it neat.

ReEQ is a fully-featured EQ plugin that allows mid/side/stereo/left/right (pick one) operation for any of its bands, including low cut (aka high pass). It takes the most CPU of these plugins but in "eco" mode it's reasonable especially considering how much the plugin does. A plugin like this will be useful especially the more you learn about EQing your mix, since it's so convenient for various EQ tasks, so I recommend you get this even if not for this specific task.

As for mid/side multiband compression: I haven't really done that, but it's a matter of setting up mid/side encoding/decoding and putting a multi-band comp between them (with the pins set up the right way of course). For this kind of situation I wouldn't multi-band compress though; if anything I'd EQ the sides differently from the mids.

Speaking of which: while cutting lows of the piano in the sides (keeping the center more low-heavy), maybe you'll want to EQ the highs on the sides to give more "air", and/or dip the mids in the center to allow more room for the guitar solo or vocals (and even automate that band based on how much guitar or vocals there are in the mix). ReEQ (that JS plugin I mentioned) works very nicely for this. The task can be done with mid/side encoding/decoding + Reaper's ReaEQ with some lower CPU %, but it means setting up that chain. I like the convenience of the ReEQ plugin.

Kenny shows use of mid/side encoding/decoding in Reaper, and he splits the encoding/decoding to multiple tracks so he can balance the sound with the track faders. Here's that video. You can do this in a single track using those encoder/decoder plugins but you have to change the pin routing of the plugins between the encoder/decoder.
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Old 10-30-2019, 12:30 PM   #33
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Good advice again, James.

If I do go m/s eq, I can use TDR Nova or RS56. (The latter is a horrible CPU hog. Like it crashes Reaper. It's one of the most disappointing plugins I've ever bought because of that. It's nearly unusable. I would almost say it's broken, except I've always had an underpowered PC, so who knows?)

I'm not as up on multiband compression as I should be either. This is a perfect opportunity.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:06 PM   #34
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I'm not as up on multiband compression as I should be either. This is a perfect opportunity.
Well don't feel alone my friend, I never use it. Not because I don't necessarily know how to use it, although that could be true, but I've never found a good reason to use it.

I've got friends that use it all the time, but I don't think it's because they need to use it, it's just become ingrained into their thinking. I might add they are seldom happy with what they get.

I really doubt there's any plugin that can fix a piano sound that's not all that great, because getting a good piano sound can be a little tricky.

If you'd like, go ahead and PM me, I might be able to help.
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Old 10-31-2019, 07:21 AM   #35
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Well don't feel alone my friend, I never use it. Not because I don't necessarily know how to use it, although that could be true, but I've never found a good reason to use it.

I've got friends that use it all the time, but I don't think it's because they need to use it, it's just become ingrained into their thinking. I might add they are seldom happy with what they get.

I really doubt there's any plugin that can fix a piano sound that's not all that great, because getting a good piano sound can be a little tricky.

If you'd like, go ahead and PM me, I might be able to help.
Thanks Tod! That's good to hear. I never liked the results either. Even dynamic eq (à la Nova) doesn't really sound right to me.

James has given me some fine encouragement about spending time getting the velocity right. I still have a bit more work to do there, but I'm 90% closer than before.

M/S eq in the Waves RS56 definitely helps. Being the preset junkie I am, this plug has a few piano presets that really help. I wanted to just tuck the sides in a bit and bring the sum/mid a bit more forward. This did help.

I'm already happier with the way everything sits in the track. That record is very distorted as well, so I suspect they hit the tape machines super hard. I'm experimenting with IronOxide5 on various busses to see what works best without crushing the thing entirely.

(The GUI on that plugin is the most crashy thing I have ever used. I would use it more, if it wasn't so laggy. Is it worth updating to v11? Does anyone know if they've fixed the issues?)
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Old 10-31-2019, 08:56 AM   #36
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When you want to "cheat" by having the ability to put a compressor on just part of the frequency range of a source instead of the whole thing, that's what a multiband compressor lets you do.

If you don't want to do such a thing, you shouldn't use a multiband comp anymore than you should use a hammer on a screw. It is NOT the kind of tool for "mojo" or "vibe" and it SURE doesn't have any presets! (I'm sure you'll find one that has some "presets". Some people try to make presets for everything weather or not it applies. This tool certainly gets abused in "mastering". That's "mastering" with quotes. Not to be confused with mastering work. There's probably a preset for CD edition style ear bleeding treble, for example.)

A dynamic eq is more or less a single band of a multiband comp.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:13 AM   #37
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A dynamic eq is more or less a single band of a multiband comp.
But without the crossover filtering, so I always reach for dynamic EQ over multi band compressors.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:28 AM   #38
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But without the crossover filtering, so I always reach for dynamic EQ over multi band compressors.
Or... with the crossover or whatever style of filtering you wish.

Some multiband comps have infinite control over the bands, number of bands, and filtering thereof. Some dynamic eq's have control over the side-chain signal filtering vs the program filtering.

Two instances of ReaEQ (one for the side-chain signal prep/triggering, one for the actual processing) with parameter modulation tricks turn you into a god.

Again though, you need to hear in your head a subsection of the audio band you want to compress/expand before you reach for one of these tools.

I'd be hesitant to try fixing a sampler instrument plugin sound in post with audio restoration tools and techniques to begin with as well. Fix it at the source of the instrument if possible. Find a way to work the virtual instrument just like you'd find a way to work a physical instrument.

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Old 10-31-2019, 10:39 AM   #39
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I'm trying to keep this project as close to a 1970-era production as possible. M/S eq is cheating also, but I don't have the advantage of placing mics inside a grand piano, closing the lid, and encasing it in moving blankets and duct tape (which is how they did it during the Layla sessions).

I just downloaded PSP's updated PianoVerb, which has some interesting parameters for controlling damping and such. I'm looking forward to experimenting with it.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:49 AM   #40
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UPDATE:

Getting closer. Not quite ready to share anything yet.

I'm certain I'm shooting myself in the foot. Sometimes I'll be cutting the mud (300-500hz) and the "cojones" drop out. Then I'll think, "That's not right," and do it all over again.

I have to be wearing my ears out doing this. Anyway, that's where I'm at.

Should probably change the title of this thread to "Wait...no...just..."
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