Not satisfied with acoustic piano sounds

With respect to EQ in general, one thing I’ve found is that being overly aggressive in making changes and then backing off by mixing in the un-EQ’d signal (aka parallel processing) often gives me a better result than finding the best EQ at 100% wet. Plus it makes future tweaks simpler since wet/dry serves as a sort of “flat-hyped” or “dark-bright” knob. Maybe this approach also works in live context?

Which reminds me, I think a wet/dry knob for plugin frame similar to how Reaper has would be a great addition to C4 at some point. Many plugins don’t have their own wet/dry.


Doesn’t Wet/Dry control already exist?
Check this link and scroll down to Wet/Dry:

I’m referring to the plugin frame itself, such as used in wiring view.

Interesting approach - you could actually put a binding on Cantabile’s plugin wet/dry control. I’ll have to play with that :wink:

BTW: if anyone is interested in getting Addictive Keys - the package is currently on sale:

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I have also tried a few things in the last few years. In the end, almost all high-end pianos have been thrown out. What remained is the Ravenscroft if it should be a little more substantial.

For more assertive sounds it is then once the XLN Audio Electric Grand, if it is more about CP80 and then the good old house piano from the M1.

But what was still missing was a really bright “cutting through” Grand and after a long search I stuck with my good old Yamaha Motif ES7 Grand. The part has only a few dynamic levels, but amazingly always comes through excellently. In order not to have to rely on a heavy keyboard again, I sampled the sound with Sample Robot.

Interestingly, it made a difference whether I used just plain samples or round robins (although I’m pretty sure the ES7 doesn’t use round robins).

Anyway, this thing has been my go to piano for quite some time.

Greetings, Volker

I once had a square grand piano with the action removed. I strapped a subwoofer to the bottom and put speakersv inside, facing up at the soundboard. Then put a nice controller in place of the original action. It was amazing… Probably not the suggestion your looking for.

I see a wide variety of solutions in this thread. After significant experimentation, my personal solution is a combination of Keyscape (which would be go-to in a solo/studio situation) and Pianoteq (to provide some extra body to be heard in a live mix). In both plugins, I modified a preset to match my needs. This is a little heavy on the CPU, but it’s what works for me.

I encourage people to experiment with whatever plugins you own in whatever situations you need a piano sound. It took me 6-9 months (as we don’t play live very often) to get the tone I was after.

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Curse you, Torsten! Just when I thought I had my GAS under control, you dangle the Addictive Keys sale and POOF there goes $120 US… :wink:


I used to use the Addictive Keys upright extensively. Another interesting one is Arturia piano. Again, it’s kind of a crap piano for solo classical or jazz work, but it makes fabulous character pianos; uprights for alternative music and bright hard pianos for pop and gospel.

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I used that exact setup (Keyscape and Panioteq) for a recent gospel track. Maybe I’ll post it in the pointless thread, B3X played a big role too and I’m proud of it!


Another EQ approach that seems to work well on acoustic piano is using a tilt EQ. I found this zero latency/extremely low CPU freebie made with Juce that is hardly feature rich, but it does the one thing very well imo: SeeSaw (lol, as opposed to Hee-Haw?)

I also found several other nice tilt EQs for free but they have significant latency.

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I’ve been using Native The Grandeur live with good results, I just added some high frequencies. From my experience, you need a bright piano sound to play live with a band. Also, many features like resonance, crazy reverb, damper noises, etc, only get in the way. Sometimes simpler is better for live music. In addition to that, I think it is a great idea to mix the pianos in mono, through a speaker, because it may sound “too good” using headphones.

And most importantly, a great Audio Interface.

Hi Alan, welcome to the forum.

In order to understand, can you give an example of a great interface?
A mono mix on a hi-end interface is a bit bizarre idea.

Anyway, You’re right about resonance, pedal noise and all those useless (in live) features.

First thing I try is to get the best sound from the plugin itself (in this case Pianoteq). Then I only have to use some low shelf/low cut if necessary.
I also altered the microfon positions and did some per note editings and I think now I have some nice pianos/e-pianos for live playing and recording - and they all are mono compatible.

Absolutely! I have a tilt-EQ set up in FabFilter Pro-Q3 as a separate plugin instance after my main piano EQ, with the tilt-shift gain mapped to a slider on my master keyboard. Makes it really easy to adjust the broad characteristics of my piano sound without too much fiddling.

Not really - I keep all my live sounds in mono. It just works better in a band context - unless you produce fancy ambient or prog soundscapes that absolutely need the keyboard sound to be all over the stage… For my simple requirements, it is good for the keyboards to come roughly from the place where I actually stand on-stage, so mono it is. And I do use pretty high quality interfaces - but that’s independent of mono or stereo.

Just my 0.02 EUR…



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Got your point. A mono mix is easier to manage, I admit.
I play mainly prog and pink floyd, so I need big keyboard soundscapes.
So, the P.A. mix is stereo, as well my personal monitor is.

When I play pop, everything is different. Mono mix is ok there.

Speaking of mono piano, Spitfire’s “Jangle Box” (stupid name imo) is one of Abby Road Studio’s famous uprights and this library includes a “vintage” mono setting that nails the sound heard on countless albums. (It’s not the “Mrs. Mills” piano which has lacquered hammers and is detuned for chorus effect) This one is a 8 GB library that has both felt hammer and tack hammer (actually not tacks but brass strips) samples. Worth a listen imo for anyone looking for a good upright and/or tack style sound.

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