Piano Transitions

RECAP: (of previous post)
Transitioning from VST piano hosted by CuBase and powered by a 1990’s Dell tower PC
— to either a new keyboard with good piano sound built-in
— or a new software stand-alone piano (no host) powered by a Macbook,
— and possibly keeping the RD-600 key base with its weighted keys and decent feel.

FIRST STEPS:
– Upgraded to the Steinberg ‘Grand 3’ – OS compatible and stand-alone (since 2009).
– Say goodbye to Native Instruments B4 which was designed for PC and Mac but get the message, “power PC applications are no longer supported”.

ALTERNATIVE PIANOS: (sampled as well as modeled)
– On-line listening with Synthogy  – has to be among the top, listen!
– Downloaded Arturia, Piano V2 — Three classic grand pianos plus uprights and fun experimental pianos. The graphic implementation is good too:

– Downloaded two modeled pianos from from Pianoteq – Our 1990’s MIDI file demonstrates the “K2” and two of the Steinway models:

MIDI:
By choosing these software products there remains the need to mess with MIDI of course, and fortunately we found an OS driver for the MOTU midi express XT 8-port which works well; but definitely an overkill for this application, one port is quite sufficient and could be USB-powered as well.

AUDIO INTERFACE and Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) – trying hard to not go there – however: Connections made for MOTU 828 MkII firewire audio (400) to firewire 800 and then to Thunderbolt in the MacBook. Next to verify if the 828MkII will work with Motu audio drivers recently downloaded. If so, then maybe this is the answer for operating with a DAW. Have attempted download of ProTools but because of missing a point in the email address, even though corrected, unable to get it out of a rejection loop – and of course no way to contact anyone at ProTools! So frustrating.

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Physically, our keyboard space is changing:
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KEYBOARD:
Yes there are better-feeling keyboard actions out there, but it becomes clear that the RD-600 remains good and better than many, so we keep it. MIDI control capability is also fine for software pianos and other external instruments.

MONITORS:
The piano sound is becoming good – near-field studio monitors are useful for precise set-ups and realistic comparisons. On temporary bar stool stands (photo above) are a pair of Neumann KH 120 A‘s. Quiklok monitor stands have arrived from England so the bar stools can  return to the bar! All of the 1990’s PC installation is now removed (so many cables!) MacBook now hosts the software pianos. The house stereo system is fed with selected orchestral sounds from the Alesis while the Neumann’s provide the piano player perspective.