Original topic post is from Need GarageBand help improving my digital piano recording
Thank you, Joe! It's really kind of you to share your knowledge with me--I really appreciate it!
I started out studying classical piano, and my ideal of the perfect piano would be a top drawer Steinway concert grand, the piano sound that you hear in most classical piano recordings. Though some Yamaha concert grands can be great pianos as well. But if I were rich, a top quality Hamburg Steinway concert grand would probably be my one-piano-for-all-music choice. I like to play ragtime and also lots of jazz renderings of songs from "the great American songbook."
I once played a Shigeru Kawai grand piano in a Kawai piano shop, and it was a gorgeous piano--it was so hard to leave that piano! And it even had a better action than most Kawai pianos I've tried--which tend to have a heavy touch.
I tried a Bosendorfer once in a piano shop in Chicago many years ago, and although I loved the midrange and bass, I found the treble range was a bit weak. I actually preferred the Yamaha concert grand that was right next to it for a more satisfying overall sound.
But since I'm not likely to become rich, (sigh) I guess I'll be trying to do the best I can with my Kawai digital piano. I will try experimenting with the reverb as you suggested. Though when I tried it before it seemed to produce a fake electronic sort of sound that didn't sound realistic. My basic problem is that I feel the recorded sound I'm getting sounds overly electronic instead of like a real piano. I hate that, but I realize I'm recording a digital piano, so maybe there's not much I can do. But I have yet to try using MIDI, and I think I need to give that a go. I've read various comments online that "bash" the GarageBand piano sounds, but earlier I did test the GB Steinway piano sound, and I liked it a lot more than the sound I get from recording the Kawai digital piano! For me, at least, that sound would be a big improvement over what I've been getting. My (cheap--what I could afford!) Behringer interface doesn't have MIDI connections, so I'd need to get a MIDI interface cable to hook up to my Mac. Speaking of 3rd-party piano plug-ins, my older brother uses Pianoteq and loves it. The most realistic and satisfying MIDI piano sound I've heard so far is the setup used by Corte Swearingen in his American Piano Music videos. I'll quote his description of his setup here:
The piano you hear in my video recordings is the legendary 1951 New York Steinway D Concert Grand that was hand-picked by Steinway & Sons for artist promotion and concert hall duties. This massive 9-ft instrument was signed by Glenn Gould, Rudolf Serkin, and other legendary pianists and has an exceedingly pure tone, clarity, and extraordinary dynamic range. It's been described by numerous concert artists as among the finest they've played.
So how am I able to play and record on this 1951 Steinway grand? I'm playing the piano virtually - through the use of sampled technology. This Steinway piano was meticulously sampled by Synthogy and recorded in the Françoys-Bernier Concert Hall at Le Domaine Forget in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. Through the use of a virtual piano keyboard controller (The Kawai MP11SE), I am able to bring you performances of these American composers as voiced by this iconic Steinway. I hope you enjoy the sounds of these incredible American composers as played on this amazing American instrument!
So I might ultimately try to copy his setup--get that Synthogy sampled Steinway software. I presume I wouldn't have to have the Kawai MP11SE controller in order to get the same sound. Or would I? I don't have the budget for buying a new digital keyboard. Anyway, I'm curious to know what you think of the sound he gets! Thanks again so much for taking the time to share your suggestions with me. My basic problem is just that I'd rather be practicing the piano than messing around with the technology of recording--but I guess there's no way around it. I have one very basic question for you about GarageBand: Should I use compression and/or the equalizer at all? I read somewhere that you shouldn't use the compressor when recording digital piano. For the last half dozen or so of my recording efforts, I turned off both the compressor and the equalizer. I don't even know--in my ignorance--if that's a bad or a good thing. Anyway, thanks again very much for your tips!