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  1. Darryl
  2. Sherlock Holmes The Voice
  3. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  4. Saturday, 23 March 2019
So after playing different sounds and starting to learn this beast, the Sony GTK-XB5 speakers I had bought sound completely awesome for everything, except 'Pianos'!
It's almost like they go into the twilight zones with pianos, but not with any other sound.

With the exception of the CFX Concert, all other piano sounds don't quite sound right. My Roland earphones sound so much better for playing those piano sounds.
So to anyone out there who 'MUST' have speakers that make their pianos sound as realistic as possible (including VST pianos), what speakers do you have or have tried that (a) make pianos sound awesome & as realistic as possible, and (b) that make pianos sound horrible or not quite right (so that I can steer away from them)?

I don't need these speakers to be good for recording/mixing or care whether they make all the other sounds horrible or not...as long as they make the pianos sound awesome & realistic, that is what I am looking for!
Responses (30)
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
In general, you get what you pay for with speakers. A good pair of Studio Monitors are recommended for critical listening. Designed to be balanced and reproduce sounds accurately, you don’t have to be using them for recording you simply have to use them properly. Studio Monitors are “near-field” speakers — this means they are optimized for the listening ‘sweetspot’: which basically is you seated in an equilateral triangle with the speakers (3 to 5 feet from each).

Head to your local music store and give a listen to a pair of Studio Monitors. They come in various sizes featuring 5”, 7”, 8” and 10” woofer sizes. With 5” Monitors you might want to get a sub woofer, however, the larger sizes (7”, 8” and 10) it’s really not necessary. Expect to spend money... speakers do get better... they can go up until you run out of money.

So you know: a pair of Yamaha HS8 speakers is what we asked Music stores in the US to display the MONTAGE with when it came out.

We requested the MONTAGE on a stand, connected to a pair of HS8s at ear level, and an FC3A Sustain, and FC7 for Super Knob Control, and a seat, ensuring that the customer “first contact” with the Motion Control Synthesis Engine be a positive one. So much of the clarity and power of the Pure Analog Circuit can be lost by plugging the instrument into a sound system not capable of doing the synth justice. Why Piano, in particular, is such a sonic test for a sound system is ...no instrument sound goes as high that goes as low, and no instrument sound that goes as low goes as high. Any deficiency will be pointed out.

Yamaha HS Series
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 1
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I use HS7. If you dig (google search) through this forum, you'll find at least two other threads where people bat around monitors which they use and are pleasing to them.
  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 2
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Ok, so I went to the music store after researching various speakers, including on this forum, and tried out the Yamaha HS7's & HS8's.
First I noticed they were better than the Sony GTK-XB5 speakers that I had, but they weren't awesome and didn't make the pianos sound quite as real as I hoped they would. There was definitely a honky kind of sound to them and a harshness as well. But I was testing them from a Montage 8 and found one of the frequencies that were a bit hot (2.8kHz). Taking that down a bit helped.
Then I tried speakers almost half the price that were the store's own brand (Yorkville). They actually sounded a bit better in the high & mid range, but the bass was front loaded and I couldn't seem to get it under control without making the pianos sound thin.

I was avoiding the Adam Audio A7X's because I just knew they would sound great, better than the Yamaha's & spoil me rotten. And they are definitely out of my price range (twice the price of the Yamaha's), but the guy insisted on showing the difference between the Adam's, Yorkvilles and Yamaha's.
The Adam's were unbelievably awesome and more than what I expected. All the pianos sounded like I was actually playing an acoustic CFX grand if I closed my eyes. Perfectly balanced, no harsh tones, no subtle honky frequencies, etc.

They said that if I bought the Yamaha's or Yorkville's and couldn't get them to sound right in my studio room, that I can just return them within 30 days. So I bought the Yamaha HS8's.
After about 8+ hours of finding the bad frequencies and adjusting for my room, I got the Yamaha's sounding fairly good. Here are the settings that did the trick on the master eq:
+7 / 125 Hz
-9 / 315 Hz / 6.9 Q
-1 / 2.8 kHz / 2.9 Q
-2 / 7.0 kHz / 2.8 Q

I tried these settings on all the various pianos and they vastly improved the sound of the Yamaha HS8's. So for anyone out there that has Yamaha HS series and wants to tweak their piano's, maybe try these settings. I used my Roland earphones (which sound almost as good as the Adam Audio A7X's) for reference, and was surprised that 315 Hz was so pronounced on the pianos through the Yamaha speakers, especially noticeable on the E note up from the middle C note. Through the earphones that and every other notes sounded super awesome, almost exactly as if playing an actual acoustic grand. Taking 315 up when through the Yamaha HS8's made it so much worse, so taking it down by -9 was much closer to the earphones. I was also surprised that the 2.8 kHz didn't need to come down even more than -1 because that was one of the main honky harsh frequencies that I was hearing both at the store and at home. Depending on your room of course, you may need to take it down even more or none at all...

Anyway, in the end I was definitely spoiled by hearing the Adam A7X's. I can't un-hear them and I can't forget the experience of sitting at an actual acoustic grand CFX piano with my eyes closed, only to open them and see a Montage and Adam speakers in front of me! I have boxed up the Yamaha HS8's and am returning them on Monday. If I had not heard the Adam's and if piano wasn't as important to me as it is, I would have been quite happy with the Yamaha HS8's, so I would never say they are terrible speakers. But having experienced super awesome speakers for pianos, I am going to put that $1000 aside and hopefully over the next several years, be able to save another $1000 to get the Adams.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 3
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I've seen Adams on sale for sub 1k - the local "GC" keyboardist speaks highly of them and has a pair for his rig. He attributes much of the difference to the tweeter design of the Adams. I think those are a fine choice particularly if your ears say so in spite of the price tag. I don't mean in spite of being higher - but in spite of knowing what they cost at all. After all, if a $10 garage-sale speaker sounds fabulous - then it is a great match if you can completely remove any bias that pricing may or may not give you.

Like shoes or anything else - matching monitors to your keyboard(s) is a very personal choice with lots of contributing factors. Glad you've found something that lets the instrument express everything you could have hoped for in terms of raw sound.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 4
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Interesting discussion. I had much the same problems that Darryl describes. Piano is my primary interest, too. I accept that speakers are largely to blame for shortcomings with Montage pianos, but the price of the Adams (and similar) is simply out of reach. And I have a wife, too!

If the Montage (piano) sounds are perfect only on such highly priced speakers, most of us are going to be disappointed. Thanks Darryl for your hard-won EQ settings, by the way! After much research I settled on KRK Rokit 5 G3 speakers as giving a better sound (for me) than any others in that modest price range. I do not want a flat response - I prefer the slight ambience the Rokits give - and my studio is tiny, so the 5" is enough. I still get the anomalies in the middle octaves that Darryl mentions, which I thought may be deliberately there to encourage ironing out (Montage is a synth, after all). They are still there, to a lesser degree, on my Sennheiser headphones, too. But I don't play the piano (or anything else). My interest stops at the sound itself. So trying to correct the sound across the range is an end in itself for me.

I have always considered the Montage 'single Part' sounds to be unfinished (compared to those of a Tyros 3 or later), which suits me fine - but now I'm wondering how my efforts would compare to those produced through Adams speakers ... guess I'll never know ...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 5
Bad Mister
Yamaha
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You get what you pay for with Monitor Speakers... (in general, buy the best one’s you can afford...)

sharing EQ settings is actually just sharing your own hearing deficiencies, room acoustic issues and really only works in the specific room your are EQ’ing in. Oh, it may generally get you close, on rare occasions, but it cannot possibly be correct in another situation, another room (more serendipity if it works, than not).

Monitor Speakers truly do get better and better at the higher price points. When your ears mature, you actually do want Monitor Speakers that tell you the truth (give flat response). When your mix sounds great on a pair of flat monitors, it tends to sound very good everywhere, without compensating for or removing stuff on the system you play it back on. It will “translate” better. The work you put in getting it to sound right winds up actually make it sound right!

It takes time to realize this (most are shocked into this realization first time they hear one of their mixes played back on a really good system). They start wondering why the mix is not what they expect...

Just saying: Only then can you tell that a setting of +7dB at one frequency band and -9 at the next is truly compensating for the room this was setup in or its compensating for bad hearing or speakers with a big problem in the low mid area or all of the above. A 16dB difference (in how loud) between the B1 and Eb3 is huge, huge, huge (dare I say it again), huge. It really signals a problem somewhere (in my experience).

If this fixes anything in a sound system, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a major problem.... please attempt to play a scale across the keyboard from low to high. That difference will be (should be) very, very audible. Like falling off a cliff causes a difference in your altitude. If you are +7dB up at the scale note B1 (the Note a half step below the lowest C on 61-key keyboard) and needs to be -9dB by the time you reach the Eb (just above middle C)... I would say your speakers or your room is just doing crazy things in the low midrange.

Just saying... try eliminating the room - just for comparison’s sake. Get a reasonably good set of headphones, and listen to the EQ you are using. At moderate volume spend a few minutes playing in that close up environment. Remove the Phones and listen to the speakers in the room again. Try EQ’ing again in both environments.

FYI:
A 16dB difference is a tremendous amount... as a point of reference. If you are listening to audio and the signal is reduced 9dB, the majority of people will think it is end of the music program. Say in a club you were to reduce the music 9dB from the level it was playing everyone would stop listening to the music and be listening for an announcement. In a fade out, most listeners stop listening when the program is down 9dB... in a dance club folks would sit down (it’s that drastic a change).

You have 18 different Filter types in the MONTAGE/MODX... to get a working idea of working with frequency and boosting/cutting of same... try an experiment with the 18dB per Octave type... you can hear what a drop-off that is by setting the Cutoff frequency in the low Midrange - then playing through the octave above the Cutoff frequency ... this will show you what down 18dB is... if you set the Cutoff to approximately B1 by the time you play a scale and reach B2 the signal will be 18dB softer... like driving off a cliff.

Final point of order: a Single Part MONTAGE Performance is the equivalent of a complete Motif XF Voice. The Motif XF was the most popular synth of its kind between 2010-2016, adorning the stage with the world’s top touring acts; recorded on countless recordings during that time and still on tour with many acts. You may consider them “unfinished”, but fortunately, the larger market has adopted them as part of the music of the era! Some of those “unfinished” sounds are used in some of the biggest hits of the past decade!

They form the backbone of the MONTAGE/MODX where you can play multiple Motif XFs simultaneously.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 6
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Like shoes or anything else - matching monitors to your keyboard(s) is a very personal choice with lots of contributing factors. Glad you've found something that lets the instrument express everything you could have hoped for in terms of raw sound.


I find in general that when it comes to speakers, most of the time you get what you pay for. This was definitely the case on Saturday with the Adams vs any of the speakers half their price or less.

Now I just have to win the lotto, come into some money I wasn't expecting, and save up over the next couple of years, because I could barely afford the Yamaha's at this point and the Adam's are just too far out of my budget right now. I couldn't keep the Yamaha's because I know I would never be content and would constantly be thinking about the Adams.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 7
Bad Mister
Yamaha
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I use Yamaha MSP7 (MSP is Monitor Speaker Professional) and is a step up from the HS (Home Studio) Monitors, (and a step up in price). Try to eliminate as much of the ROOM as you can - home studios are not controlled environments (and, yes, it makes a difference).

I think I mentioned the story of the CP1 introduction at an AES show in NYC... this is the top-of-the-line Physical Modeling stage piano from Yamaha (we rented a studio that had a pair of the big Lipinski Monitors that run about $5000 a side)... These things were huge, but in spite of the fact that you could not miss them - (they are as tall as a human), people would be playing the CP1 and ask - what speakers is this coming out of... it literally, sounded like you were in the room with a piano. That's how real they sounded - no one thought there were speakers involved, it sounded that good. People would constantly say, pointing to the speakers, thinking they were making a joke, "I'd like to hear it though those!!!" and we had to say, "You are!"

The truth is - they can keep getting better until you run out of money... Often for very small improvements (spec wise) the cost can go up immensely. If all the connectors inside the speaker are gold, does it make a difference (actually, yes). Is that expensive, well, actually, YES. Will you ever be able to afford the best speakers (just take your MONTAGE and write that next BIG HIT!)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 8
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Interesting discussion. I had much the same problems that Darryl describes. Piano is my primary interest, too. I accept that speakers are largely to blame for shortcomings with Montage pianos, but the price of the Adams (and similar) is simply out of reach. And I have a wife, too!

I am right with you on the out of reach and having a wife thing, otherwise I would have bought the Adams.
My best advice to you, knowing that piano is of primary interest...Do not demo or listen to the Adam A7X's, especially for pianos! I actually kept telling them that I didn't want to hear the Adams, but in the end they insisted showing me the difference since none of the other speakers sounded awesome for pianos.


If the Montage (piano) sounds are perfect only on such highly priced speakers, most of us are going to be disappointed. Thanks Darryl for your hard-won EQ settings, by the way! After much research I settled on KRK Rokit 5 G3 speakers as giving a better sound (for me) than any others in that modest price range. I do not want a flat response - I prefer the slight ambience the Rokits give - and my studio is tiny, so the 5" is enough. I still get the anomalies in the middle octaves that Darryl mentions, which I thought may be deliberately there to encourage ironing out (Montage is a synth, after all). They are still there, to a lesser degree, on my Sennheiser headphones, too. But I don't play the piano (or anything else). My interest stops at the sound itself. So trying to correct the sound across the range is an end in itself for me.

I don't think that it's just the pianos on the Montage that require high priced speakers, because I've found VST pianos to be generally the same. Unless you have the right speakers for piano sounds specifically, the pianos won't sound natural, realistic & awesome when playing them.
I think a big part of it is that many of the piano sounds on synths and VST pianos, are meant to sound as close to a live acoustic grand as possible, to give us the experience as if we were actually playing one. And I think the range of frequencies to reproduce those perfectly sampled pianos, is extremely demanding and precise for speakers to reproduce, compared with any other sound or instrument. In contrast, a piano in a song that has been eq'd in a studio & then mastered specifically for radio play, sound great in that song through regular 'coloured' home speakers or lower end studio monitors, but likely would not sound/feel realistic & natural if you played it on your synth with the same eq settings.

What is really strange is that if I listen to or play pianos from the Montage or VST's through my Roland earphones, they sound near perfect with no anomalies, yet these weren't the top of the line earphones. Fairly decent though...definitely above average and not the cheapest. What's even crazier, is that even my dollar store earbuds sound better for piano sounds than the Yamaha HS series or any of the speakers in that price range or lower...!
The Adam's are the only speakers I've heard that sound better for Montage pianos, than my Roland earphones. They sounded so realistic, truly balanced, and so natural. They didn't sound like listening to speakers. It sounded like I was playing an actual acoustic grand...that's the only way to describe my experience with them. If you are somewhat of a piano audiophile, do not listen to Adam A7X's, or you will never be as content with your Rokit's as you currently are. I wish I didn't hear them, because I would have been content with the Yamaha's after tweaking the EQ...


I have always considered the Montage 'single Part' sounds to be unfinished (compared to those of a Tyros 3 or later), which suits me fine - but now I'm wondering how my efforts would compare to those produced through Adams speakers ... guess I'll never know ...

Probably for the best ... trust me, some things are best unheard!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 9
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You get what you pay for with Monitor Speakers... (in general, buy the best one’s you can afford...)

I totally agree and that's what I was at the music store to do. I didn't want to listen to the higher end Adam speakers because I feared they might sound too good and I wouldn't be content with the Yamaha HS8's. That's exactly what happened in the end.


sharing EQ settings is actually just sharing your own hearing deficiencies, room acoustic issues and really only works in the specific room your are EQ’ing in. Oh, it may generally get you close, on rare occasions, but it cannot possibly be correct in another situation, another room (more serendipity if it works, than not).

You are definitely correct. The more I think about it, I do need to put up some carpet or other materials on the walls of my studio.
I shared the EQ'ing mainly because the 2.8 k and I suspect somewhere around the 7k area, was too hot in both the music store room as well as in my room, so it would be worth trying to dip those a bit if you have a Yamaha HS speaker, as I suspect they may possibly be universally a bit hot frequencies, especially when playing piano sounds. The 315 Hz dip was likely more the room than anything, but worth trying to dip down a bit if someone has the Yamaha's and hears a boxy/tubey kind of tone to the piano... When it comes right down to it, having heard them in two completely different rooms, I think the Yamaha's weren't telling the full truth in some of the mid to high frequencies, and the Adam's could not tell a lie! ;)
But overall the Yamaha's were far ahead of the Sony speakers that I first had for playing pianos. The Yamaha's I could have been content with, but not the Sony's. Now I can't be content with the Yamaha's because of the Adams. My gut told me not to play the Montage pianos through the Adam's and I should have insisted more firmly not to play through those speakers, but curiousity got the best of me...
I could tell the difference with the Adam's from the first note I played. It was more of an experience of what it's like to sit down & play a CFX acoustic grand, than it was listening to really great speakers.


Monitor Speakers truly do get better and better at the higher price points.

try eliminating the room - just for comparison’s sake. Get a reasonably good set of headphones, and listen to the EQ you are using. At moderate volume spend a few minutes playing in that close up environment. Remove the Phones and listen to the speakers in the room again. Try EQ’ing again in both environments.

Definitely, and yes I was switching back & forth between the speakers & headphones, at different volume levels. I did come fairly close to the earphones and likely the best I could for the room the way it currently is, but even if I had the room with perfect acoustics, I know now that the Yamaha's would not be able to make pianos sound as realistic and natural as the Adam's do. When at the store comparing all the various speakers, the Yamaha's were down lower at eye level about 5 feet apart angled in toward me. The Adam's were probably in the worst location, almost touching the ceiling and not angled in at all, yet I've never experienced piano sounds like that, except for the rare occasion where I have actually sat and played an acoustic grand piano.

My next plan is to try and save up for the Adam's over the next several years or so, but in the meantime I want to get the room acoustics better.
Is carpet a good material to put on the walls? I can probably get carpet ends for free at either a building supply store, &/or from carpet layers. What other material can do a good job with room acoustics without costing much money? Paper egg containers/crates from the grocery store? Old blankets, sweaters? Old memory foam from a bed or sponge?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 10
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Fascinating! I get so many insights on this Forum, and this discussion is way above average. BM is right, of course - better speakers give better sound, and I guess the Yamaha sound guys use the best (Adams??? :) :)) when constructing the sounds - which means most buyers will be disappointed. But it suits me with my lesser gear, because I like trying to 'put it right' using that gear. That is, put it right for me in my musicube (which is 8' x 8' x 8') - again BM is spot on.

Being curious about Darryl's EQ settings (which seemed a bit extreme to me too) I tried them yesterday. The only change I found was that the D3 (just above middle C on the Montage 7) was at the same volume level as the C and the E - at standard settings it is at a higher volume level. I find that quite a lot on the Montage, mostly the D, E and G notes in the mid-range (not all of them on the same Pf). There's a million reasons for that (I can hear BM saying!). Why do I not get the extremes that BM mentions? Scaling right across the board produces no particular anomalies at Darryl's EQ settings (using the CFX + FM EP Pf) at both ends of the superknob range.

I'll mention here that when playing a scale - any Pf, anywhere - I often get an off-key note. Go back and play it again and it's OK. I have no idea why that is?

Incidentally Darryl, my Rokits back onto corners of my musicube, and I was getting 'bass boom' to a noticeable degree. So I stuck some crinkly polystyrene ceiling tiles to the walls in the corners behind them, and the 'boom' disappeared. Maybe lucky that it suited my space, but worth a try? The ceiling is covered in the same tiles ... ! Well I never ...

I guess we're all chasing a dream. As a sound man I'd rather not get there - what would I do then?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 11
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Why do I not get the extremes that BM mentions? Scaling right across the board produces no particular anomalies at Darryl's EQ settings (using the CFX + FM EP Pf) at both ends of the superknob range.
There are scores of reasons... the Master EQ adjusts for the room acoustics in the 3 dimensional space you have your instrument. Your home studio.
The Part EQ adjusts for the combination of instrument sounds within the Synthesizer Mixing
The Element EQ adjusts for the sound of the Waveform within the instrument you are emulating with the Part

I used the Filter Cutoff (dB/oct) to just illustrate what a big dB drop like that would sound like on a flat signal output. I’m not saying that the Master EQ setting is wrong, not at all... if that’s what it takes to get the desired sound in that room, that’s what it takes. This is not a reflection on the acoustic piano sound. It reflects more on the room as a suitable listening environment.

There is no perfect setup... really great speakers in a terrible room will not sound as great as really great speakers in a really great room. And that’s a fact! They may sound better than average, but you can’t overcome completely the room and it’s contribution to what you hear. Sound uses the room you are in.

You use near-field monitors to, hopefully, eliminate as much of the entire acoustic space as possible. The more direct the travel to your ears, the better.

The acoustic piano samples in these products will reproduce better when played through a set of speakers that can reproduce all frequencies reasonably well. When you are compensating for your environment, you should be using the Master EQ, you shouldn’t blame your speakers as much as the surroundings. Definitely don’t blame the piano sound (in this instance it’s been gone over with fine-toothed comb)...
What makes a speaker great can be described. While you can to some degree read it in the specs, it’s really hearing them that counts. Reading detailed specs you can start to learn what makes a difference, but at a certain level, to improve on the sound of the speaker takes $$$ to get even minute improvements. Distortion is a very interesting subject... some people hear it long before others... and I’m not just talking level distortion.

I’ve been privileged to be a “fly on the wall” at some very high level speaker evaluations (with recording engineers that I personally idolized) ... it was fascinating and educational just to listen to them talk about sound and what to listen for...

I mentioned that I used to teach audio engineering; what I learned in that experience is just how differently people approach listening. Some of what is obvious to many remains completely hidden to others. And whether it’s because they don’t ‘look’ for certain things or they don’t hear or can’t hear them, is just speculation. But I did notice out of 16 students per class, I could pick out the musicians almost without fail, by simply asking them what instruments they heard after playing them a 3 minute recording (complete blindfold test, I told them nothing prior to playing the recording)... the musicians picked out almost all of the instrument in almost every instance. ‘Civilians’ (my pet name for non-musicians) find this extremely challenging... they all want you to play it again. They weren’t listening like that, they’d tell you.

But when we got to Effects... if the question was about what effects were used in the blindfold test recording... and in what order the effects were used, only a very few could hear the difference between whether the delay was first and reverb second, or vice versa

But when you are listening to a pair of $5000 to $10,000 monitors, you betcha, it better sound really great! Back to reality (funny, the studio we rented also had a pair of NS10M speakers... proving again, even when you have high end audiophile monitors, you might still want to compare the results with another pair of monitors (closer to earth).

Place those really expensive speakers in a room that has issues, you still may wind up adjusting the Master EQ on the instrument... if the wall to your right is a big glass mirror, or your left speaker is closer to a rugged wall than your right speaker is to that glass... you may wind up with a pretty strange looking Master EQ.

Knowing which EQ to work with is an important skill to develop. You don’t change the instrument to accommodate the room acoustics. The Master EQ is post the ‘instrument’. So what your Master EQ winds up looking like is more a compensation for your actual current ROOM. And not the virtual “room” inside the product. Hope that makes sense.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 12
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Speaking of the Adam's, when I was researching synthesizers/workstations and trying to decide between the Korg Kronos 2 and the Yamaha Montage 8, I watched/listened to this video quite a few times: Just yesterday I noticed the Adam A7X's he has sitting at his main console:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKvbYU8aapg

The only change I found was that the D3 (just above middle C on the Montage 7) was at the same volume level as the C and the E - at standard settings it is at a higher volume level. I find that quite a lot on the Montage, mostly the D, E and G notes in the mid-range (not all of them on the same Pf).

I think that is a combination of the speakers and the room.

I'll mention here that when playing a scale - any Pf, anywhere - I often get an off-key note. Go back and play it again and it's OK. I have no idea why that is?

Wow, I've noticed that also. Every now and then...Is this a known bug or something!? I thought it was just my ears going crazy so I haven't mentioned it before!

Incidentally Darryl, my Rokits back onto corners of my musicube, and I was getting 'bass boom' to a noticeable degree. So I stuck some crinkly polystyrene ceiling tiles to the walls in the corners behind them, and the 'boom' disappeared. Maybe lucky that it suited my space, but worth a try? The ceiling is covered in the same tiles ... ! Well I never ...

With the Yamaha's I didn't have that issue as much because they are rear loaded and the angle I had them at would have bounced away from centre. I my setup at the shorter 6.5 ft wall of my room (the room is 6.5 x 10 with a 7.5 ft acoustic tile ceiling). I just found some good cardboard packaging materials for the corners to trap the bass(kinda similar to cardboard egg cartons but more pronounced, and I have 30 x apple & orange cardboard cartons coming for the walls (dual colours so I can make a checkered formation).

I guess we're all chasing a dream. As a sound man I'd rather not get there - what would I do then?

I can understand that. I'm not as much a sound man, so for me the dream is to have speakers that make the pianos sound realistic and natural without any EQ'ing. If I get there and am able to buy the Adam's some day, I will just relax and enjoy playing the awesome pianos from the Montage. The dream I will chase then is tweaking performances/parts/elements/operators/effects/ect., to get the best out of the Montage, as well as watch for and purchase any great pianos or other sound libraries that become available.
Synthogy's American Grand is near the top of my list... I am eyeing the K-Sounds Epic Grand, because I want a C7 grand as close to Synthogy Ivory C7 as possible (my favorite piano). I tried the CP99 C7, but it was disappointingly not awesome or close to the Synthogy one, as I had hoped it would...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MONTAGE Series Synthesizers
  3. # 13
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The acoustic piano samples in these products will reproduce better when played through a set of speakers that can reproduce all frequencies reasonably well. When you are compensating for your environment, you should be using the Master EQ, you shouldn’t blame your speakers as much as the surroundings. Definitely don’t blame the piano sound (in this instance it’s been gone over with fine-toothed comb)...

I totally agree. The Pianos sound pretty awesome through my roland earphones and even more awesome through the Adam speakers, despite almost touching the ceiling of the music store when I demoed them...

When you get down to just the pianos without effects or EQ'ing, they are quite awesomely sampled. Yamaha did an awesome job, and because they are so realistic to an actual acoustic (without being too coloured with EQ'ing like you'd hear in a pop recording), they demand far more from speakers than the 'Pop' version. Earphones seem to be able to handle it better.
Unfortunately the Yamaha HS8's were close, but couldn't quite make the pianos sound realistic and natural to me, like the Adam's did, even after trying some EQ adjustments, but they did come quite close. I think it boils down to this. If you are a true pianist 'audiophile' that is looking for the right speakers to make pianos sound as close to a real acoustic piano as possible, you will not quite get that sound/experience in the $500/ea or less range of speakers, and will need to pay nearly double that...Basically in most cases, especially with speakers, you get what you pay for and there is a reason why some speakers are more than double the price of others!

Getting back to acoustic piano samples, the only flaw that I've noticed on the Montage CFX is the D# note above middle-C is a bit dull and doesn't have the same hammer ting to it. So as an experiment, I took the CFX Stage piano part and copied it in the same performance. Then set the range on the first PART to exclude the D# note. Then I set the second PART to only include the D# note. Then I set the pitch of PART 2 up 1 semi-tone, and detuned each of the elements down all the way using the 'fine tuning'.
Now I can play 'Faithfully' by Journey in the proper key of B, and the D# note (which is quite pivotal) sounds awesome like all the other mid-range notes in that song! I'm guessing that is just how that particular CFX piano's note sounded like when they sampled it. Would be awesome if Yamaha could fix it in the preset waveform's for that note's velocity layers...even justy the higher velocities where it's noticeable.

Other than that, it's one of the best sampled pianos I've ever played/heard.
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In general, you get what you pay for with speakers. A good pair of Studio Monitors are recommended for critical listening. Designed to be balanced and reproduce sounds accurately, you don’t have to be using them for recording you simply have to use them properly. Studio Monitors are “near-field” speakers — this means they are optimized for the listening ‘sweetspot’: which basically is you seated in an equilateral triangle with the speakers (3 to 5 feet from each).


Hey BM, I am curious as to why almost everything I read about speakers, they recommend the configuration that you mention above (equilateral triangle, etc.), yet any professional studio that I've been in or have seen in a picture or video, have the studio monitors facing straight out (or with very little noticeable angle to them)?
This video is just another example...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKvbYU8aapg
  1. more than a month ago
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Bad Mister
Yamaha
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The picture you show has the engineer’s sweet spot equal from the left and right Speakers. There are two pairs of speakers. The person playing is not (technically speaking) in the sweet spot. I see the back of an empty chair where the engineer would be seated.

Whether you turn the speakers in, at an angle, is a personal preference. Know this, high frequencies travel in a straight line... if you can’t see the tweeter, you’re not really hearing the tweeter. Angling the speakers or not angling the speakers, not as important as the distance between you and each speaker and that the distance between the two speakers be at least the distance you are from them both.
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Reassuring that you get this occasional off-key note too - I sometimes think I imagined it, but I know I didn't - and of course you can't repeat it as it plays perfectly the second time ... I thought it might just be my Montage, but now there's at least one other ... the 'triangulation' BM speaks of to get a 'sweet spot' really does work! When I bought the Rokits I had a total re-build of my musicube as I had sold my beloved old Korg M3 to pay for the Rokits, so everything needed re-arranging to suit, and I particularly placed the Rokits as recommended by BM. I was pleasantly surprised at the result! The Rokits are 6' apart, at either end of the Montage, and tilted slightly up on foam cushions to aim straight at my ears, each 4' away. Integrated stereo sound! I am unaware of the speakers doing anything - the sound is right there in my head. Give it a try. You and BM have also encouraged me to use the EQ more - I'm not only not a musician, I'm not a technician either, so my knowledge of what does what is sketchy, to be polite. I really am a total amateur, so need a bit of coaxing and coaching ...

Love to see your multi-coloured chequered studio when it's done! Way out, man ... and they're not apple and orange crates, they're anechoic sculptures ...
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The picture you show has the engineer’s sweet spot equal from the left and right Speakers. There are two pairs of speakers. The person playing is not (technically speaking) in the sweet spot. I see the back of an empty chair where the engineer would be seated.

Yes, I did realize that he's not sitting in his chair/sweet spot for those speakers. I was just observing that the speakers aren't facing inward much (if at all), and since you've been around some big studio engineers, I am curious as to what they say about angling in vs straight out!?


Whether you turn the speakers in, at an angle, is a personal preference. Know this, high frequencies travel in a straight line... if you can’t see the tweeter, you’re not really hearing the tweeter. Angling the speakers or not angling the speakers, not as important as the distance between you and each speaker and that the distance between the two speakers be at least the distance you are from them both.

That makes more sense regarding distance being more important than angling. My setup was(will be) basically an equilateral triangle between me and the tweeters(approx 5 feet apart), with the speakers' vertical angling/facing such that my eyes are between the tweeter & the woofer of each speaker ... and horizontally angled inward slightly so that they are pointing to at least 18 inches behind my head or more. I've found that on most speakers, facing the tweeters directly at me can be a pinch too much/too bright (subtly), and I think the stereo imaging is slightly better overall having them angled away from center (me), although the stereo imaging is more likely a factor of the distance/equilateral triangulation (sweet spot)...
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  3. # 18
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Since we're diving into the piano Performances here - I'll bring up something that isn't quite "realistic". Montage/MODX has no key-off velocity. With that fact - how to handle the key-off samples has to be a compromise. The programmers could have elected the key-off samples to have a fixed velocity or use the note-on velocity. The latter was chosen - but I'm not sure this leads to a more realistic compromise than just setting the key-off noise to a fixed velocity.

Turn off all of the PARTs except for key-off noise. In a preset like "CFX Concert" - you would mute PARTs 1-3. Now mash down on a cluster of notes in the lower part of your keyboard. Strike them quickly - leave the hand down for as long as you like - then gently lift up. It doesn't matter how "fast" or "gentle" you let up - results are the same. This is part of the limitation intrinsic in the hardware and I am not asking for this to change. You will notice doing this test the key off noise is "loud".

With the same PARTs muted, strike the same cluster of notes but do so slowly. Use the least velocity you can to press the same cluster of notes. After lifting off the notes - you'll see the volume of the key off noise depends only on the striking velocity.

This can get unrealistic if you strike a note with a high velocity - let it sustain for a very long time such that you're holding what was, back in time, struck with a high velocity - but now "died down" to a quiet velocity. The rest of your musical passage is now in the "pp" range - you let go of the keys you were holding down and "pop!" loud key-off noises now shoot through the mix.

The simple cure for this is to turn off the key-off noises altogether. A more complex one retaining key-off noises would be to change the velocity depth to 0, bump up the velocity offset (at PART level), then go into the element (there's only one for key-off noise) and make adjustments so the key-off noise is more balanced between the low and higher end of the keyboard as fixing velocity makes low notes "loud" and higher notes almost silent for key-off. Striking a fixed velocity that doesn't stand out in the quiet passages while still providing some added realism is a matter of personal taste and compromise - but I think some editing is necessary to prevent the key-off noise from jumping out "unexpectedly" (counter to a pianist's experience/intuition).

Regarding pitch - I haven't noticed anything that stands out pitch-wise with the pianos "like a sore thumb". Is there a particular Performance that demonstrates this more than others? A particular note range/velocity of that Performance? I just went through "CFX Concert" - maybe that's not the one you're auditioning.

Pivoting away from pianos somewhat - a Performance I do find "horrible" with pitch is the "Pedal Steel" Performance. Turning effects off so I can hear better - Element 3 goes down in pitch, element 2 wobbles up and down, element 1 also oscillates but primarily sounds like a slight ramp upwards in pitch. All 3 elements sound at the same time generally. This Performance just sounds crazy pitchy - so I do not use it. Most of the source of the weirdness is the Part-Level LFO which places a delayed vibrato on each of the elements. Setting the depth of the LFO (pitch target) to "0" helps. I know we're talking about Pianos here - but using this "Pedal Steel" Performance as an example of something that's obvious to me and that the piano Performances have not been this order of magnitude as perceptible.
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  3. # 19
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Since we're diving into the piano Performances here - I'll bring up something that isn't quite "realistic". Montage/MODX has no key-off velocity. ... - but using this "Pedal Steel" Performance as an example of something that's obvious to me and that the piano Performances have not been this order of magnitude as perceptible.

Hi Jason, I think you meant to post this in another thread..!?
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  3. # 20
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