Tips on making a Piano VSTi sound more natural?


#1

Hey there!

A tad earlier one of my submissions got rejected. The reviewer was kind enough to give me a couple of reasons as to why:

  1. Too many themes; good for specific use but not for general broad usage.
    (I can see this and definitely agree)

  2. The piano sounds very mechanical and couldn’t be approved for a professional market.

Now, I definitely don’t deny the reviewer as being right, but I don’t hear it. And this is my problem. I’m not a piano player and I’m afraid that my ear isn’t trained enough to distinguish a natural piano from a piano that stands out as mechanical/badly mixed.

Could anyone give me a few pointers on how to make a piano more believable and natural, aside from using an in-DAW Humanization feature (Did that).

Here’s the song in question.
I’m using Native Instruments The Giant as the piano in it.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/63563864/Come%20Dawn%20Your%20Fears%20Shall%20Fade.mp3

Piano’s there throughout the song, but a few standout moments are
0:30, 0:54 and 1:13.

I’d really appreciate any feedback, tips, suggestions, etc.
Thanks a lot!


#2

Hey LunyAlex,

great track, pity that it wasn’t accepted!

The only part in which I’ve noticed a unnatural piano sound is this fast melody at about 0:30. It seems that the melody tones are played all with the same (unnatural strong) velocity. If you vary those velocities I think it will be much more natural. The other parts sound very good in my opinion.

Cheers, Mario


#3

Pretty much the only way to get that “real” piano sound is to play it as best you can and not quantize everything, and to also have a killer library. Hell, I play piano and have gotten the “piano sounds too tight” critique before.

In this particular case, I think he’s probably talking about the bit towards the end with the chords; could just be your library, but the piano does sound a bit artificial there.

and yeah, those fast runs.


#4

The fast part would be very hard to play, though not impossible. I agree volumes should vary to sound like a pianist played it. The last held chord does sound like a poor choice of VST instruments, you might fade it faster and be able to hide that more. Nice tune, with a little work it could be Great!


#5

Generally lower the velocities and vary those. I would put a slightly bigger velocity on the accentuated beats (1 and 3, a bit more on 1) and less on the rest, also, follow the phrase, usually when go to a note from the chord you make a slightly crescendo. I use as a simple rule also following the heights, when melody goes up you make a crescendo, when melody goes down you make a diminuendo.

I also put higher notes in a chord a bit later that the lower notes, this is how the hand actually falls on the piano, thumb first :wink:


#6

Sometimes I don’t think you necessarily need to go into it with the idea of making it natural, but making it more playable and expressive. Sometimes reducing the attack a little can make a big difference. It will make your expressiveness more deliberate (because you have to make more deliberate decisions in order to get to sound how you want it), and it also tends to make it sound more natural as well.


#7
Erick_McNerney said

Sometimes I don’t think you necessarily need to go into it with the idea of making it natural, but making it more playable and expressive. Sometimes reducing the attack a little can make a big difference. It will make your expressiveness more deliberate (because you have to make more deliberate decisions in order to get to sound how you want it), and it also tends to make it sound more natural as well.

Sorry, I think what I am referring to is the velocity curve. Try having it have a more gradual climb. In your recording it sounds like it is pretty loud all of the time.


#8

Hi LunyAlex,
I’ve heard your track. I really like the percussions patterns, also the overall sound is well balanced and mixed. But the piano is really too much mechanical and no dinamics as well. The track contains many themes very different: you should isolate them and create a structure that can last to create a track, My advice is the ideas are good, just develop them more :slight_smile:


#9
LunyAlex said

Hey there!

A tad earlier one of my submissions got rejected. The reviewer was kind enough to give me a couple of reasons as to why:

  1. Too many themes; good for specific use but not for general broad usage.
    (I can see this and definitely agree)

  2. The piano sounds very mechanical and couldn’t be approved for a professional market.

Now, I definitely don’t deny the reviewer as being right, but I don’t hear it. And this is my problem. I’m not a piano player and I’m afraid that my ear isn’t trained enough to distinguish a natural piano from a piano that stands out as mechanical/badly mixed.

Could anyone give me a few pointers on how to make a piano more believable and natural, aside from using an in-DAW Humanization feature (Did that).

Here’s the song in question.
I’m using Native Instruments The Giant as the piano in it.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/63563864/Come%20Dawn%20Your%20Fears%20Shall%20Fade.mp3

Piano’s there throughout the song, but a few standout moments are
0:30, 0:54 and 1:13.

I’d really appreciate any feedback, tips, suggestions, etc.
Thanks a lot!

Great Track bro, to bad it got rejected,
i see your mechanical problems can be reduced by lower the piano velocities or increase the noise profile level,(i have NI Giant Too) at 0:30 - 0:50 and layered it with a pluck/xylopones like sound to increase presence, And piano chords part in the last passage at 1:32 - 2:01 sound to mechanical i guest, try moving note slighly off tempo so the note will not hit at the same time,also randomize the chord velocity,
Example :frowning: the lowest note at 100 with hit to tempo, the second at 78 slighly off tempo, the third 89 more or can be the same tempo )
i hope this helps your problems, i do this when use giant


#10

Thanks for all the awesome tips and advice, everyone! They are all dully noted. I’ll definitely pay more attention to this sort of thing in the future.

Thanks again!