How To Simulate Natural Instruments (piano)

Hi (hope this is the correct section of the forum),
I want try to use Renoise to make classical music.
For this I use Steinberg The Grand 2 Piano but when I try to copy a piano sheet music and make Renoise play it, I get a bad/mechanical sound.
Can you give me some tips/tricks about how to make the sound more natural/human?
What are the parameter I need to change? (volume/delay/velocity ecc)

You can make a multiple sample instruments. Two or three samples per octave, then piano would sound more natural. For example…

If we want sample fourth octave (c4 - b4) and interpolate this by one sample (it’s only an example for better understanding) don’t sample at c4 and interpolate this to whole octave, but sample f#4 then b4 sounds more natural, than sampled in c4. The range from sampled note to c4 and b4 should be the same (+/-semitone…).
If I want interpolate octave by 2 samples, I sample “e” and “g#” then I map this to range C-f#, and g-b.

For velocity… I render a long samples with full release, and use command 9xx for different velocity, and humanize volume and DELAY. (see tutorial “Delay column (humanize)”)

An interesting topic, one that I’ve struggled with for years. I might have a tip or two for you, I’m mostly focusing on the sound itself here - keeping in mind it’s vital the actual music is played or programmed just the way you want it etc.

Most of the acoustic instrument emulators out there sound poor indeed, not having the air you’d get when actually recording a real instrument. Not to mention how each note of a real piano or a guitar etc, are always resonating even when playing a single note - while of course every single acoustic element of the room plays a part in the sound etc. The approach of companies making virtual instruments is to make the sound as neutral, dry and transparent as possible. This is a great starting point, but it leaves quite a bit of work left to be done if you want to achieve a sound that even remotely resembles the real thing. I don’t really like Steinbergs The Grand myself, which is of course also a matter of taste: others prefer cleaner piano sounds and they are always easier to fit in a mix as well. I guess the one I’ve personally found most enjoyable so far is the upright piano of Native Instruments Akoustik Piano, but it’s all a matter of what works for your music, so my advice propably isn’t for everyone. Anyway, I think there are ways to end up with good results.

Generally, two tips I’d suggest is either try running your vsti-piano through tape or miking/recording from a speaker of some kind - or both. I guarantee you’ll be surprised by the results. What I often do is first treat the sound gently with plugins, aiming to remove some of the plastic/digital character of it by hand and then run it through tape if needed - heck, even a c-cassette player/recorder from your local flea market could do just fine in this case. And if you really want some roomy ambience, record it using some speaker. Try different ones. I prefer my nice 70’s stereo for this task, creating this gentle yet powerful character compared to the plastic and shallow original. But again, this isn’t always the ideal approach for some ‘accurate’ classical music etc, so just experiment with different things. I hope there’s something here that helped. :slight_smile:

some general rules:

  • variate on dynamics (note velocity)
  • use pedals (I don’t know if The Grand has them, but I really hope so)
  • on solo parts, slightly variate on BPM and apply some small note delays here and there

Personally, I prefer to use Modartt Pianoteq, which is more based on phsical model rather than samples.

to have a better idea of what exactly your problem is, it would be good to look at a pattern of yours. I don’t own The Grand, but I think I can still have a good sketch of the problems

Oh wow… I just listened to the demos of this… it’s bloody amazing!

… That being said… HUMANIZE!!! … altering velocities will help you a lot… as will adding somewhat random values in the delay column. What will help most though, is playing live with a touch sensitive midi keyboard.

Im probably shooting myself in the foot here, but if i understand you correctly you are loading a .mid into renoise (“piano sheet music”) right? and if so are you reassigning the default midi instrument to your vst?

Start saving for some good mics and preamps. In the meantime, practice practice practice.

often a friend of mine with an old upright piano gets drunk and passes out in the living room, leaving his home unsecured. so on a few occasions i have gone over there and sampled every single note on his piano, holding each note until a second or so after the sound “disappears.”(you’ll probably notice it’s sustaining much longer than you could hear after its volume is boosted)
assuming you’re not tapping 1 note over and over in your track, this usually provides plenty of variation. you’ll also have unique mallet / mechanical noises for each note, which may or may not be a plus.

also, when i took the front panel off the piano, above the pedals, i noticed some cool spring(?) reverb from the huge strings down there.