Nils Frahm's Piano Sound

Discussion in 'Acoustic Keyboards' started by Kaan, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Kaan

    Kaan Active Member

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    I would like to get an idea as to how is it possible to get a piano sound such as Nils'?

    A good example would be his lovely piece called Re:

    As you can hear it's a very deep recorded sound with mechanical artifacts. But at the same time has a real warm quality to it. Warm side probably comes from post-production and tape simulation/tape recording. But what is your experience says in getting this kind of sound out of a piano.

    P.S: Really didn't know where to create this thread. You can move it if you'd like.
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    It sounds like there is a wool cloth over a microphone (or an electric piano for that matter). I suppose you could get a similar effect from a LPF and compression. The piano hammers are a bit heavy to me so I'm thinking if you are going for that sound, some compression would also help get this.

    Possibly recording the piano with ribbon microphone and a lot of sound treatment would help as well. But I am assuming you are looking for mixing tips apposed to tracking.
     
  3. Kaan

    Kaan Active Member

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    For the sake of referencing I should share this one too:

    You can see the inside of studio starting with the time I've shared.

    I knew there were some cloothing but didn't had any clue so thanks for that!

    Having a digital piano, mixing side is more valuable to me right now but I'm a piano guy and will continue on being one so any tip would be greatly appreciated!
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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  5. Kaan

    Kaan Active Member

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    Thanks. I'll check it out.

    Seeing how i Fup the board with sharing youtube media I should probably use your link approach.
     
  6. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    I havnen't listened to it in the studio yet (your example) only on my laptop. Nor do I know who that artist is. It's beautiful though. Also, I have never owned or played a real piano. I have only ever had a keyboard.My last disclaimer, I have never mic'd a piano in a studio either. So take all of this fwiw (practically zero lol).

    But when I hear that sound, the first thing that comes to mind is a VST. Komplete has a ton of piano sounds, tone controls, saturations, compressors, distortion etc all built into the VST. So you can build whatever piano sound you want.

    At least from my laptop (I'll listen in the room later) that's what it sounds like to me. That doesn't sound like a real piano to me. Unless he seriously messed with it after recording. And maybe he did. The other guys here are the "recording with mics" experts.

    And bc of my lack of experience with pedals, I'm not sure what that mechanical sound is. But again, at first listen (and on my laptop) it sounds like a different track to me. That mechanical noise sounds like it repeats perfectly. It sounds like it either get's chopped, slowed, doubled etc.

    So, maybe it's the pedals or something from the natural recording. But I am not like the rest of the members here (unfortunately for me). I'm not a good musician. But it sounds like either that clicking is a natural phenomenon from him mic'ing something on the piano that makes a noise....or, he took a page from a DJ's book and just added those accents when he wanted them.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he was mic'ing it like I suggested because that mechanical noise is small, and the noise in the track is large. Maybe he mic'ed something unusual on the piano just to add that interest. Anything on a piano or an older piano that could make that sound?

    The way I would do it is a VST, and simply add an artifact in a second track....but I do everything electronically for space and cost reasons. He also may have taken his original piano track, and added an exciter or distortion, and then a bandpass filter and eq, and then chop out most of it out, only keeping accent parts.

    I dunno. I'm just tossing out ideas in case it helps you. If you figure it out, I'd be very curious to know. It's a really beautiful track. No matter how he did it, he has a great touch.
     
  7. Kaan

    Kaan Active Member

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    In the second video I've shared you can see them recording a real piano and the sound is pretty similar to what Re sounds like. So it might not be a VSTi used in Re. You can check Una Corda of Native Instruments where they tried to replicate this kind of sounds. But I don't find the results to be satisfactory and a not-so-good imitation.
     
  8. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Sorry, I didn't even notice the second one. I listened to the first one and replied.
     
  9. Kaan

    Kaan Active Member

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    No problem it all goes to show how every chain is important to the end output including the engineer using them. As Kurt Foster shared, Nils has worked, still does, as mastering engineer for other artist so a generally well versed guy with good friends who has mechanical means to help him. I think it's not so easy as to getting a VST piano sound and getting the same flavor with some FX and layering on it. But I wanted to know how to get close to it anyway, so we're good.
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Check out Bricasti> Stereo room emulation processing that gets everything closer to real.
     
  11. Kaan

    Kaan Active Member

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  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I feel the pain as well.
    However, knowing and understanding how people get certain sounds is what this forum and my contribution here is all about.
    Even though many of us cannot afford the best of the best, quality knowledge regardless of knowing who is reading or who can and can't afford the tools to better ( optional ways ) still gets posted.

    On that regards then,
    This option and some basic understanding about room emulation techniques is far far cheaper to the investment of large building with great room acoustics :)

    To some this room simulator is really expensive and to others its a bargain saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction costs.
     
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    he uses acoustic piano with a pick up. i don't know if he mics it too.

    with any reverb you can't expect great results in any space unless you are using vst's / synths exclusively. you would still spend thousands (at least) to build and treat room dead enough without comb filtering artifacts to be able to record with microphones and then exploit any space emulations. live costs no more than dead.

    with that in mind, why not just build a space that sounds good in the first place? with a decent live room, you can re amp synths and vst's and exploit micing techniques. this is where the talent comes into play. perhaps the real savings is in building a room that will last forever rather than investing in the newest digital door stop? real is always better imo.
     
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Well, tell that to the thousands of great people already into this, Kurt. Which includes anyone with a small or large studio, musicians recording in hotels rooms, basements or full size studios as you dream of. They are mind blowing and not replacing studios; that has already happened. Bricasti technology is about spacial technology and taking room acoustics beyond the capabilities of all studios.

    As hard as you try and avoid it all, or call it a door stop in 5 years, I suspect most of the recording world today is using some sort of VSTi along with their acoustic workflow, and in that case a room simulator is nice to have, especially something like a Bricasti M7. The next arrival of Bricasti M7 adds the M200 delay. This is coming this next year.:)
    Even the very best studios you would call pro, Kurt, use or should use these beautiful stereo processors.
    They add beautiful spacial character to all sound. Its common knowledge in the recording world to use a Bricasti M7 now. They are dynamic stereo processors for all acoustic music.
    I just love them on acoustic guitars, drums, overheads, pianos, strings, vocals etc. They actually are ideal for all acoustic music more so than VSTi. But who's comparing between it all anyway. Once you have one you never want to let it go. They are special.
     
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    @audiokid

    i'm connected to the media through pubs like tape op and commercial tv so i guess i'm seeing different things and hearing different things then you are Chris because honestly sometimes i just don't get what you are saying at all. no offense intended.


    .... and i'm not hearing anything that new in modern recordings to lead me to think there's something new out there that's that revolutionary. everything still sounds pretty much the same.

    i'm not saying these box's aren't great and i will be clear about it i have never used one so i really don't know what they can do and i do know a lot of people are using them but i just don't go with the concept of them being an end all replacement for real spaces and that that is how everyone is doing things these days because from what i am hearing and reading that's not the case. and now i see there's a second generation of a "gotta have it box" out. i thought the first one was the best thing since sliced bread. ??? now we need a new and better version? it's marketing i tell ya. so the door stop theory is in play. someday, these box's will be worth as much as a say an Eventide 3000 is today (try to sell one and see what happens) . ​
     
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    The original Bricasti M7 added some improvements to how people wanted to use the algorithm so they gave a chip to everyone for free That was version one. Same box and guts. . Then they added another update that sweetened up a few more things and offered this update once again (same box). They are doing this, yet again where you keep your same box. But, in the last decade from when the first M7 started, they are now moving into delays. The delay unit will be analog inspired , no ADDA in it. Thus cheaper.

    From your example of that video, I'm not surprised. Its sounds like a bad case of the early 80's.

    I know.
     
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    they definitely aren't a keyboard centric one person production but they are current and on the radar. not all current music is R&B based midi production. they play and sing live in the same room when they record. there's an article on them and the studio they recorded at in the latest issue of TapeOp. (it's free to subscribe!).

    SPRING-2017-TOUR-POSTER1.jpg
     
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Now to address your confusion with heart felt intentions.

    @Kurt Foster
    No disrespect but since you are calling me out here is how I hear it.

    Your world and what you seem to be into is really different from a lot of people I know in the business today. Which is just fine, but its not where I see ALL future generations running to, Kurt.

    The old days, tape and consoles, some of that gear is long gone imho. Some things you talk about, I just shake my head so I guess we are both far from a center line of sharing secrets. Big hug just the same.

    What I do know is I am still in business and you are not, and I use the gear I talk about. If you ask me about something, I will either say I use it or not. I will not voice an opinion on something I know nothing about. Like a Bricasti.
    You seem to have all sorts of opinions on things you've never used. How is that possible? No need to answer.
    If you did, your entire responses toward me and others would be different.

    I feel you but I keep learning regardless.

    You dropped out just when digital audio and a new generation of conversion, and way of recording was getting better, or changing. Musicians way of recording became personalized and solo artists started growing. By the time you jumped ship, I had already being well versed with computers professionally for 20 years.

    Back to my world.

    People can record a lot of beautiful music in a small studio or home for a fraction of the cost old school ways today. I do believe there is a need for studios that can hold full bands but those cost big bucks, money that I don't have so I choose to find ways to get pro results on a budget.

    Those who track don't all need the kind of studio you think is essential, Kurt. We can record music in a living room and it sounds just fine. Hell, people are making hit recordings all the time from their home studios. This is why big studios are dead dead dead.

    I just (hated to have to do it) sold one of my Bricastis' to a vary famous Producer. He is doing most of his work in his home now, too. He does not need a big studio. He may go into a larger studio to do some extra things but the core of what he does, can be professionally done on a laptop and a few analog devices for his front end.
    Top Converters, preamp, mic and a bricasti goes a long way today. Thats like 10 grand. How much is a building, Kurt?

    You go ahead and read Tapeop all you want. So far it doesn't sound like you are reading the stuff that has anything to do with my world, that is for sure.

    I know people who have recorded awesome music in their loft, had someone mix and master it for a fraction of the cost of building a studio.

    Not everyone today is walking into a studio with a band and recording like the 60's. Many of us track and produce music as solo artists. We have our vocal / guitar chain and a DAW of choice. We are talented people, no less because we aren't using a band or some tape deck.

    What you don't grasp... I know hundreds of people whom collaborate the same way as what I share in bits, here day after day. The tools and processes I use can help this all come together for those who are into this as fun or a serious business too. More personalized homes studios can collaborate within a community of artists doing it the same.. I suppose its why Pro Tools is still alive as well.

    The video of those girls is cool, but they sound like ass. Which has nothing to do with their success, talent or a Bricasti. If that is your benchmark of what you are comparing music to today, no wonder you are still thinking converters all sound the same, or most of what I talk about is all nonsense. You are living in a very small circle is all I have to say.

    I love all sorts of music but I also know I can't produce all I like either. So I have found my niche, just as you and the next guy here.
    You talk all the time about the old days, I talk about my days. For some reason you don't like what I have to say, which is okay. I am not offended at all.
     
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    you might say they sound like ass but you're missing that they have a record deal, they tour, they have a following and they are selling records. i would say they are raw but to me that's part of the charm. they're not my favorites but i wanted to use something the kids are listening to as an example. hard to find new stuff that's really good. at least there's some emotion and heart not just a load of fake sounds pitch corrected, spectulmally energized & analyzed to death. i see things opposite as you do and i like different things than you do and neither of us is alone in how we feel.

    and i would still be recording if there was anything to record but no one will pay and i won't work for free. that's the real bottom line for me. if there were bands and people who would pay for it i would find a way get helpers whatever to work. i stay in touch with what's going on in the industry and i still have good enough gear to do a gig if i wanted.i would love however to hear some of the work you have been doing . i've never seen you post anything other than mixing contests and your kids choirs. maybe i missed it? got any bands?

    more and more, artists and bands are returning to the pro run studios and almost everything that i see regarding recording on tv or the net is being done in studios with live rooms and consoles. you said even your friend goes to a big room when he needs it. i agree a lot of overdubs and mastering is happening in home studios but i believe that there will always be a few large studios left to facilitate the work that producers can't do at home and emulations will always be emulations. how can anything be better than real? more convenient? more accessible? yes but better? nope.
     
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I agree with all you said.

    I like the charm of raw band kicking out music as well. I am a musician, Kurt. I actually made a living playing in bands just like those girls. I've played in 50 rock and roll, 70's classic Rock, blues, even lounge muzak . But I also know there is other area's of the music industry too, that are fun and very interesting. So I talk about it too.
    I actually own a beautiful microphone ( Royer SF24V that sounds great just on its own, in front of a band.
    I worked 18 years hard to get that microphone in my hands last year. So I get it. But I also get other area's in recording as well. I'm not sure why you despise me and dislike my discussion on digital audio, emulation, sound replacement and gear I love to use, excited to share this love with others? I suspect because it has to do with your tastes in sound. Plain and simple.

    Edit) My world is more about music collaboration and finding ways to connect us all together, with the least amount of money wasted, yielding the best sound quality possible. Learning year after year how to do that.

    I am very interested in both analog and virtual technology and what our DAW systems offer. Its why I started RO in the first place.
     

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