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Topic: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

  1. #1

    Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    Has anyone tried listening to the Gigapiano in mono? (by panning both channels to centre)
    It sounds downright weird to me. Can that effect really be created solely by microphone placement? If so, I didn\'t realise microphone placement was *that* important!


  2. #2

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    Hmmm. I\'ve now tried using only the left channel, only the right channel, summing, subtracting - *nothing* sounds good. The only way I can listen to the Gigapiano
    is in stereo. I\'m mainly auditioning
    the middle of the range, say, a few octaves
    around middle C.

    It sounds like a phasing problem to me. It\'s as if the samples have been passed through some kind of matrix filter thing, to enhance the stereo seperation, or something like that. But I would have thought that there would be some way to create a usable mono sound. Perhaps I have to now experiment with delaying one channel with respect to the other, and then summing them etc etc.


  3. #3

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono


    [This message has been edited by Greg Sullivan (edited 04-28-2001).]

  4. #4

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    If mic choice and placement weren\'t important, more people would record off axis into cheap microphones, but nobody does that. 8^)

    First of all, I think no stereo piano will sound good when summed to mono, and you won\'t change that by changing the phase or timing of one side; with a rich overtone series, all that will do is change which frequencies are cancelled or when they\'re cancelled.

    Your best hope is just to pick a side, since that\'s a \'valid\' mono perspective. But the Gigapiano was mic\'ed with AT 4033\'s, which are cardioid vocal mics and IMO not a great choice for piano recording.

    The typical placement for stereo sampling with cardiod mics is to put the mic axis 90 degrees apart, so the right mic picks up the signals from the side that the other rejects (ie those signals are moving side to side across the diaphram) and your mind sums them as a cohesive whole since each is very directional and missing a lot of time critical frequencies that the other carries.

    But anyway, the gigapiano in stereo is no thing of beauty and suffers from the 4033\'s promity effect and its hyped vocal response. I sometimes get great results from my 4033\'s but I would never choose it to sample a piano. I suspect there\'s not going to be a lot you can do to make this one sound natural in mono.

    You may have better luck with one side of a better sounding sample, but since most stereo piano samples aren\'t necessarily set up to have a channel sound natural on its own, you may not. That\'s just not necessarily the most important trait of a stereo sample, and in fact it can be hard to accomplish and may even compromise the stereo image.

    A long time ago there was a fellow in Europe who made available a free or public domain gig from his mono samples of a Steinway C. Sorry I don\'t remember where it came from, maybe someone here does. The file is about 35 megs and I think the fellow might have been Swiss. Anyway, it\'s not as good as the best stereo pianos, but it\'s still a very good piano, and it is mono. In fact it is one of the best mono pianos I\'ve heard.

  5. #5

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    And since someone\'s bound to ask, the fellow is Soeren Bovbjerg, try here:

    I\'m playing it now, it\'s quite good. I\'ve made some of my own patches with it, it can be made even better with some velocity sensitive filtering if you\'re a programmer, and it also opens up nicely with a stereo reverb.

  6. #6

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    OK, just for kicks, I recorded a quickie demo of this sample. It\'s here:

    I don\'t think you\'ll find a better freebie!

    BTW, I\'m a self trained adult player, and I\'m working on this piece right now. I\'m struggling mightily with it, very fun to play though.

  7. #7

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    Firstly, I do actually think the Gigapiano is a thing of beauty when listened to in stereo. It\'s *wonderful*!

    But I can\'t help think that this phasing problem is more than just mic placement. It seems WAY to pronounced for that. I have a sample CD of grand pianos (Prosonus), and generally those samples can quite easily be summed - they sound fine in mono. (it\'s been years since I tinkered with that CD, though,
    and I was using Csound to play the results back in non real-time

    Thanks for the pointer to those free mono samples. I haven\'t listened to your demo or tried the samples yet - will do so though.


  8. #8

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    I forgot to mention that I actually think the Gigapiano sounds quite a lot better when played stereo through headphones than it does when played through loudspeakers. This *might* be something to do with this phasing issue. (it may just be the acoustics of my room too, of course - I think my listening environment is pretty lousy). On the other hand, though, my digital piano sounds great either through the headphones or the speakers. (it\'s a stereo sound, but it\'s not as ambient as the Gigapiano. I imagine that they go to great lengths to ensure that digital pianos sound ok either mono or stereo)

    It\'s actually this apparent loss of fidelity I hear when playing the Gigapiano through loudspeakers that has prompted me to try and improve my listening environment - the first step I have taken is to abandon my large hi-fi speakers and use relatively cheap multimedia speakers, which I can place much closer to me.(they come with a subwoofer which I place in the corner of the room) It\'s a *big* improvement, but the Gigapiano still doesn\'t sound *all* that crash hot through the speakers.

    p.s I briefly considered getting studio monitors but I decided it would be overkill.

    [This message has been edited by Greg Sullivan (edited 04-29-2001).]

  9. #9

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    Sam, for what it\'s worth, I\'ve listened to your demo - it sounds great. No phasing problems there, and a very sonorous sound.
    The URL for the sample author doesn\'t seem to be working for me though.


  10. #10

    Re: Gigapiano sounds weird in mono

    Well, this morning the Gigapiano doesn\'t sound *too* bad in mono. The F and F# above middle C sound pretty awful, but overall it doesn\'t sound as bad as it seemed to originally. I don\'t know why I suddenly think it\'s better. Sigh.
    Perhaps I\'m just doing too much testing.


    [This message has been edited by Greg Sullivan (edited 04-29-2001).]

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