Piano transitions 4


By choosing software instruments there remains the need to mess with MIDI of course – and to convert digital to analog with the highest quality (definitely not relying on the computer’s internal D-A converter via the headphone socket!). For our old installation, we already upgraded in 2004 to MOTU equipment for both MIDI (the Express XT 8-port) and AUDIO (the 838MkII-firewire).

Fortunately MOTU provides current OS drivers for both models. With our now reduced MIDI demands, we actually don’t need the sophistication of the 8-port Express, so the 838’s single port MIDI In/Out is completely adequate.

The 838 is certainly over-kill in audio functionality, but provides pristine quality from the VST pianos and Cubase output.


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 runs 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.

The ear cups of our Marshall headphones literally crumbled and fell apart, so while listening to keyboards at a local music store, we took “advice” and was sold Yamaha – we asked for open back and received closed back – we asked for a headset to be able to compare keyboard sounds with confidence, those do not give that confidence. Needless to say we will not spend more time nor money in that shop. In short, we are now convinced more than ever that open back is the way to go, and that we cannot cut corners on our choice.
Currently we are looking at Sennheiser 650 and some AKG models: more news soon.

Follow our thoughts and actions – progress on this conversion . . (0) — (1) — (2) — (3) — (4)