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Topic: Anyone using a subbass to listen to their piano libraries?

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  1. #1

    Anyone using a subbass to listen to their piano libraries?

    I'm considering getting a subbass to see if it would increase the realism of piano samples. Anyone here have experiences in that direction?

    Are some piano libraries improved more than others by a subbase?

    Are any developers recording their samples with a subbase in mind--in other words, mastering the samples while including a subbass in their monitor set up? (Particularly with 24 bit samples, I can imagine this making a huge difference at the lower end of the keyboard.)

  2. #2

    Re: Anyone using a subbass to listen to their piano libraries?

    Subwoofers shouldn't distort the sound in any way, they should only help make it easier for speakers to deliver the full spectrum. Sample developers should be hearing exactly what their libraries sound like, whether they use subwoofers or speakers with enough bass extension to reveal that.

    And the bit depth has nothing to do with hearing bass frequencies, it has to do with hearing low-level detail.

    In other words, your question is slightly off-kilter.

  3. #3

    Re: Anyone using a subbass to listen to their piano libraries?

    (I only meant that the sound through the subwoofer would be particularlyly well defined with 24 bit samples.)

  4. #4

    Re: Anyone using a subbass to listen to their piano libraries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Johnson
    (I only meant that the sound through the subwoofer would be particularlyly well defined with 24 bit samples.)
    I hear what you're saying but I think Nick is right- the goal is simply accurate sound. That *could* be acheived through the use os a subwoofer, but it is often acheived without it. I don't tend to think of a piano as an instrument that shakes the house with its mighty kick-@ss bass. But, if at the end of the day your monitors lack low end and the libs coming through them don't sound right, sure, a sub might be a good fix. What are you currently using??

  5. #5

    Re: Anyone using a subbass to listen to their piano libraries?

    Jake,

    The 8" speakers on my digital baby grand work just fine for the lowest bass, so most monitors should handle them.

    DavidH

  6. #6
    Right now, I'm using stereo speakers with 12 inch bass cones in towers with separate tweeters. (Can't afford studio monitors with big enough cones for a piano.) The sound is actually good for playing: they sit on the floor on each side of my computer, so the location of the sound is much better than when I did have shelf monitors, and all the sound was coming from ear level.

    I was wondering about the use of a subwoofer because I recently retried a piano I had thought was terrible some time ago--the piano in Edirol Orchestral--using these 12" cones. Earlier, I had only heard the piano through headphones and monitors with 8" cones. It sounded thin and plinkish. Amazing difference with the bigger cones: must more resonant notes, much fuller sound. Not, I should say,a piano I will often use, since it seems to be only 2 layers, but still, it sounds much better with the added speaker size.

    Which led me to wonder if I was missing sounds in my other libraries that I might hear better if I had a monitor devoted to the bass, ie the subwoofer.

    I'm not just interested in getting a thundering bass. I want to find out if there are transients and lower harmonics that a subwoofer might register better than my speakers.

    Yes, I need to invest in good, flat effect monitors. But I wonder if even good monitors might benefit from a subwoofer for rendering with greater accuracy.

  7. #7

    Re: Anyone using a subbass to listen to their piano libraries?

    Well, the answer is yes - if you're monitoring on speakers that don't have much below 60Hz (which is most NFMs), then you're...missing what's going on below 60Hz. A good piano should still sound good on NFMs, but pianos have a lot going on at all frequencies.

    I've heard any number of piano recordings - even on CDs - with horrible hammer thud problems. The reason seems obvious: the engineer was listening only on NS-10s or something that doesn't reveal them. Same with vocal pops - hook up a sub to your NS-10s and you can be in for a shock.

    I don't know where you live, but believe it or not the $89 powered subwoofer they sell at Costco actually sounds very good! (After you remove the price tag, of course.)

    A friend of mine -a seriously accomplished engineer- has one he uses with his NS-10s, and it's positively shocking how good it sounds. NS-10s themselves are a separate argument; the point is that everything below about 80Hz sounds pretty rumbly anyway, so it's just a matter of some air moving around down there.

  8. #8

    Re: Anyone using a subbass to listen to their piano libraries?

    Jake,

    I think that the detail question has more to do with the kind of speakers. Your 12"ers ought to be able to reproduce a piano's lowest frequencies. If you don't hear the details, is a quality/type issue.

    DavidH

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