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How to reduce the Steinway D-274 harshness ?
Last post Fri, Sep 17 2021 by murphy761, 6 replies.
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Posted on Fri, Apr 09 2021 13:22
by SamFromOttawa
Joined on Fri, Apr 02 2021, Posts 4

hi everyone i'm a brand new Synchron piano user and this is my first post.

First of all i'm not a musician by any stretch of the imagination, playing Piano is just something that i enjoy doing when i have free time, and the best acoustic piano i've ever played was a public Yamaha babygrand so take everything i'm going to say with a grain of salt. (also i've never heard a Steinway in person, only through videos and audio recordings)

But that being said i've been trying the Synchron Steinway D-274 for about 2 days know and my only issue with it is the sharpness/harshness of the mid to high register, when playing softly it doesn't seem to be present but not even playing in ff just playing in f or right below that it becomes really brittle/pingy it starts having this metallic quality that is really unpleasant to my ear, i should also mention that i'm going after a player perspective so i'm using either the condenser or ribbon with a little bit of room mic for color, when soloing the mid 1 mic for example that harshness is almost completely gone so i assume it has to do with the condenser/ribbon/tube being very close to the hammers.

Now to what i tried doing to fix it, 

First thing that seem to get rid of that is reducing the midi sensitivity to -15 to -20 but the issue with that is that it's not fixing the problem but hiding it because when looking at the very useful velocity curve what it's doing is just making it harder to get to the f and ff range which get's rid of that harshness because it's like you're playing softer, and i like to be in the ff register when really digging in so the midi sensitivity isn't a solution for me

Second thing that is the Obvious solution here is EQ, now thanks to some EQ on the Condenser mic i've managed to get rid of that metallic cold harshness by adding a high shelf cut of the highs starting around 3.25k with -10db, to my ear it also gets rid of some presence which i don't like but i can live with, but i don't know if i'm going about this the absolute best way, i guess using the 4th band with a peak EQ cut on the right frequency would be better but my ear is not good enough to find that frequency, which is why i'm writing this to all the much more experienced people on this forum.

what are your methods for making the Steinway sample sound less cold and metallic when played close to the f to ff range, how do you make it more warm and mellow without sacrifing too much presence, i remember seing a video of guy that had EQued the hammer hit frequency from each key individually but i can't find that video again..

also it would be probably helpful for me to show you the kind of sound i'm working towards for your suggestions to be easier, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyBqq_Ibdvg&ab_channel=AnimenzPianoSheets

if you skip to minute 1:30  you can hear how even when he digs into the keys it never sounds cold/metallic, i'm also curious to know what mic combination would be the best to achive a similar sound.

Anyway sorry for the long post, and thank you for any suggestions you may have !

Posted on Sat, Apr 10 2021 08:31
by buz1984
Joined on Tue, Nov 26 2019, Posts 18

You might be after the delay control.  The samples are well aligned but playing everything stacked does have a certain kind of punchy/resonant character.  If you move mics apart it not only creates space but reveals aspects of the tone.  The downside of messing with delay - potential phase issues, which will manifest differently across the range of the instrument.  But if you do it carefully (you can solo mics which are close together) it seems an essential part of the process.

Also did you try Smooth Attack?  No idea what it does but it seems kind of magical around 10-20%

Posted on Sat, Apr 10 2021 14:59
by SamFromOttawa
Joined on Fri, Apr 02 2021, Posts 4

hey thanks for your input, i based my preset around the Player factory preset so it already had the delay set and i do agree that having them all stacked would be an issue but i'm only using the Condenser and Mid or Condenser and Room with the factory delays so i don't think that's an issue, i also already have Smooth Attack at 20% it's subtle but nice, although if you read the description it says that it only affects the attack for low velocities which is not where my issue lies, so far the EQ i described in my first post has gotten me 85% of the way there i just wish i could optimize it more so that i don't loose too much brightness

Posted on Fri, Apr 16 2021 03:47
by buz1984
Joined on Tue, Nov 26 2019, Posts 18

Ah sorry.  That was the main thing that helped me but sounds like you have that sorted.  

Hmm since nobody else replied, have you tried instead using a dynamic EQ on that frequency range?  A few dB seems to take the edge off and of course you don't lose as much presence.  Not a perfect solution but effective for sure.

Posted on Sun, Apr 18 2021 22:34
by SamFromOttawa
Joined on Fri, Apr 02 2021, Posts 4

I ended up messing around with the EQ for a whole day and i found one that works really well to give the Steinway some warmth and mellowness without losing too much presence, the high shelf eq i tried first cut too much presence for my liking and it made the piano sound a little muffled so after a lot of trial and error i found that a Peak eq cut at 9k is the magic number, then you can change the GAIN/Q controls to choose how mellow you want it to sound, at the moment i'm running -11.5 gain and around 0.70 to 0.90 Q, i'll try to attach screen shots of both my old and new Eq if i can figure out how to do it on this post so that people can try them. 

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Posted on Fri, Sep 17 2021 22:37
by murphy761
Joined on Fri, May 01 2015, USA, Posts 59

Originally Posted by: SamFromOttawa Go to Quoted Post

I ended up messing around with the EQ for a whole day and i found one that works really well to give the Steinway some warmth and mellowness without losing too much presence, the high shelf eq i tried first cut too much presence for my liking and it made the piano sound a little muffled so after a lot of trial and error i found that a Peak eq cut at 9k is the magic number, then you can change the GAIN/Q controls to choose how mellow you want it to sound, at the moment i'm running -11.5 gain and around 0.70 to 0.90 Q, i'll try to attach screen shots of both my old and new Eq if i can figure out how to do it on this post so that people can try them. 

 

Hi there. I'm doing something similar, EQ-wise. The middle up to ~C5 is always pretty bonky and strident. I think we're basically employing a de-esser effect. The other places these pianos need help is ~250 Hz and 700 Hz. It's all pretty manageable, including deactivating the close "condenser" mic and pulling the most distant "room" mics way down, using only the UAD Console to insert a plate reverb to keep the processing load outside of Synchron, VEP7, and the DAW.  What I can't fix is a few unisons that were out of tune when they were sampled.

murphy761
PC & Mac: Windows 10 and Mojave
Pro Tools 2021
VEP 7.x
UAD Apollo 8
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