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Featuring the Piano Realism Pack


The Story:

It started with an S90ES and a curiosity. The stretch-tuned S700 "Natural S" piano voice in that synthesizer sounds fantastic on a recording, even with no additional EQ. Yamaha has a way of sampling their pianos that produces a very full tone that works well for recording. But, could that piano be improved? Seemed hardly possible. The day came, the music played, the headphones were on, and the focus changed. It was a recording of a real piano that had obviously been captured with a close microphone and produced a realism beyond that of an S90ES. The "swish" sounds from the dampers, thumps from the pedal, clicks from the hammers, and twangs from the strings gave more dimension to the sound. The overall tone of the piano was rich, similar to the S700. So a search began, reading articles and forums to understand more about an S90ES, only to discover that it couldn't produce as much as a Key-off sound because it only has four "elements" to it's sound. That might have been the end of the story, but curiosity remained--after all, it is a synthesizer.
 
Using a true grand piano to achieve the desired realism is expensive and would consume valuable studio space. So, with a firm commitment to an S90ES, a careful study of the manual, and the adjustment of many parameters, eventually a small breakthrough was made: a convincingly real Key-off sound. The four-element limit was overcome, and using Performance- and MULTI- modes of the synthesizer gave additional control. After success with Key-off, attempts to synthesize the sounds of dampers, hammers, and pedals were met with similar success. There was one nagging limitation: getting a sustain pedal to trigger the damper sounds when it went up and down--the synthesizer has no built-in way to do that. Basic MIDI Translation came to the rescue--partially. Achieving true velocity-sensitive sustain pedal action required the development of complementary products: The Piano Realism Accessory Cable and Virtual Pedal software. The damper and pedal effects are probably the most dramatic of all the effects in the Piano Realism Pack. Putting all the pieces together, along with some included piano tone variations, the complete piano simulation sounded more realistic, like the piano on that recording--not just a little, but a lot.
 
The voice library was expanded to work with the CFIII, S6, CFIIIS, "CP1 Piano", and "S700 for XS" pianos and Piano Realism Pack products were created for S90XS, MOTIF XS, MOTIF XF, and MOXF. Although those synthesizers do include Key-off and Hammer-off sounds, the Piano Realism Pack adds variation, control, and enhancements not found on the stock pianos. The final touch on the new MOTIFs was to stretch-tune the "S700 for XS" voice. All of the Piano Realism Pack products made for their respective synthesizers were carefully tuned to the unit, and contain 16 pre-mixed piano variations for each base piano waveform--set in both Performances and MULTIs/Song Mixes. The library includes more than 100 different pieces (voices) that can be combined to customize the piano for a particular type of music.

If you'd like to hear (a piece of) that real piano, which inspired the development of the Piano Realism Pack, please click the following link:

    You Encourage Them” by Stephen Elkins. ©Wonder Workshop, Mt Juliet, TN.  Used by permission.

Here's what a copy of that music sounds like on the stock S90ES "Natural S" piano (S700) voice **:

    You Encourage Them - Stock S90ES Natural S

And here's how it sounds on an S90ES with one of the sixteen S700-based pianos in the Piano Realism Pack™ **:

    You Encourage Them - S90ES with NatS0-X

For reference, here's the same music on a non-Yamaha product, a software-based piano called "American Concert D":

   
You Encourage Them - Third Party American Concert D

Please visit the Products page, listen to more demos, and decide for yourself.  You may find that with the Piano Realism Pack, there's no going back.

Digital Studio Designs

** Levels were matched with a compressor/limiter as the only recording effect.