Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Module

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Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Module

Postby gfrees » 05:09, 16 December 2012

Hi,

I am in desparate need of help. I am in a time crunch to complete a song for Christmas in the next couple of days.

I have an RD-700NX. I am very pleased with the sound of the default "Grand Piano" sound that it produces when first powered on. I am wanting to record that sound and tone qualities in Pro Tools.

In order to achieve this goal I first do a MIDI recording of my son playing the keyboard. I then tweak some missed notes, etc. by editing the MIDI in Pro Tools. I then send the MIDI out from Pro Tools back to the RD-700NX. The intent at this point is to send the analog output from the RD-700NX to Pro Tools to record on an audio track.

I am successfully recording the MIDI into Pro Tools, and I am successfully sending the MIDI back to the RD-700NX and getting it to make sound.

HOWEVER, the quality of the analog sound that is produced when I send MIDI to the RD-700NX is tonally quite different (and poor) relative to the sound that is produced if I hit the keys on the RD-700NX. It is clear that the sound module is producing a different piano sound depending on whether its input is coming from MIDI in vs. from the keybed on the unit.

I am suspecting that when one hits the "Concert" piano key on the RD-700NX that it is in fact choosing the Concert Grand Piano tone and also setting a bunch of signal processing choices like reverb, chorus, EQ, etc. etc. that are utilized/active when playing the keys on the keyboard... but that are NOT active when the RD-700NX is receiving its MIDI information via the MIDI in.

My bottom line question is this: How can I get my RD-700NX to produce the exact tonal sound of the "Concert Grand" that is the default when I power up the unit and play the keyboard... when instead of playing the keyboard I am sending the MIDI information from Pro Tools to the MIDI in on the RD-700NX?

Please help, as I'm out of my league in trying to diagnose this issue. Thanks

Best regards,
Greg
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Re: Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Modu

Postby gfrees » 06:24, 16 December 2012

Some additional information relative to my note above....

I have been able to successfully send Program Changes to the RD-700NX from Pro Tools. I can successfully choose any Live Set that I want. When Pro Tools sends the change I can see the display on the RD-700NX change to the new Live Set. And if I play the keyboard on the RD-700NX the sound that it produces is consistent with the Live Set that I've chosen. For example, if I select "Dyno Tine EP" with a Program Change from Pro Tools, the RD-700NX changes to that Live Set and I hear a nice electric piano if I play the RD-700NX keyboard.

But if I send MIDI information (notes, velocity, sustain, etc.) from Pro Tools to the RD-700NX after making the Program Change, the sound that it produces is the same poor-quality acoustic piano sound. Therefore, it is clear that the MIDI information that is going into the RD-700NX to the sound module is NOT using the Live Set that I've selected.

I am making the Program Change on MIDI Channel 16. I am sending my MIDI note, velocity, etc. information to the RD-700NX on MIDI Channel 1.

I hope this information will be helpful in prompting a helpful response.

Thanks,
Greg
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Re: Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Modu

Postby howardS » 09:16, 16 December 2012

Is your Part Mode set to 16PART or 16PART + PERF. You will see from page 69 of the manual that you can set the keyboard have 16 parts include the selected live set or 16 parts PLUS the 4 layers of the performance. I think that the RD700NX can act like a 16 change module plus the live sets or 16 channels including the live set. I this you want to set it to 16PART so that channel 1 is the same as layer 1 of the live set. If I am correct then your board would be currently set to 16PART PERF in which case you are not playing the live sets through MIDI but you are play whatever is assigned on the module portion of the keyboard and playing that on channel 1. Is this making any sense?
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Re: Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Modu

Postby torhus » 12:01, 16 December 2012

To select Concert Grand you need to send Bank Change MSB 84 and LSB 0. Then Program Change 1 (or 0, if your software is 0-based). Doesn't that work?

It's possible that you have to use a different channel than the one set in the Live Set Control Channel setting for this to work, or just disable that function. It's off by default.
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Re: Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Modu

Postby torhus » 12:03, 16 December 2012

gfrees wrote:I am making the Program Change on MIDI Channel 16. I am sending my MIDI note, velocity, etc. information to the RD-700NX on MIDI Channel 1

There's the problem. You have to use the same channel.

Note that by default, the display of the RD won't change when you send MIDI. So don't look for that. Except if you've changed the setting that Howards mentions.
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Re: Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Modu

Postby gfrees » 21:31, 16 December 2012

howardS wrote:Is your Part Mode set to 16PART or 16PART + PERF. You will see from page 69 of the manual that you can set the keyboard have 16 parts include the selected live set or 16 parts PLUS the 4 layers of the performance. I think that the RD700NX can act like a 16 change module plus the live sets or 16 channels including the live set. I this you want to set it to 16PART so that channel 1 is the same as layer 1 of the live set. If I am correct then your board would be currently set to 16PART PERF in which case you are not playing the live sets through MIDI but you are play whatever is assigned on the module portion of the keyboard and playing that on channel 1. Is this making any sense?



Thank so much Howard. Your suggestion fixed my problem. The issue is with the difference in behavior of the sound module when it is in "16PART" vs. "16PART + PERF" in the System Settings. Setting the value to "16PART" solved the problem. Now the MIDI info that I send to the RD-700NX plays the proper Grand Piano sound that is normally accessed when you first power up the unit and play its keyboard.

I wish that Roland had a document that described the MIDI topology/implementation of the RD-700NX sound module. If one exists I haven't been able to find it. The only thing that I've found is the "RD-700NX_PA[1].pdf" data list that lists the MSB, LSB, and PC values that one needs to send to the RD-700NX to make a Program Change. It doesn't describe the architecture of the sound module and how to properly use it as such.

Based on your description and my limited experience this morning with system Part Mode values of "16PART" vs. "16PART + PERF", my mental picture of the situation is that there are 16 MIDI channels that I can send MIDI information to the sound module. But when in "16PART + PERF" mode, the four layers of the Live Set are NOT accessible via any of the 16 MIDI channels... the Live Set is only accessible by playing the keybed on the RD-700NX. When the mode is set to "16PART" then the four layers of the Live Set are accessible on MIDI channels 1-4... as well as the keybed on the RD-700NX.

If you are aware of a MIDI implementation document from Roland that better describes the usage of the RD-700NX as a sound module I would very much appreciate if you could point me to it.

Again, thank you so much for your help on this. I was beyond the point of frustration last night... and that's not where I want to be on this family tradition of me and the kids recording a Christmas song each year. This is our first year with the RD-700NX, so I hadn't run into this issue before.

Best regards,
Greg
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Re: Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Modu

Postby howardS » 03:58, 17 December 2012

I think there is an MIDI implementation guide for this keyboard but it really is just a reference guide. Perhaps that is the one you were referring to. I also wish there was more available on the module portion of the RD700NX but all we can do it work with what we have and help each other out to figure out the rest. Just post any questions that you have and the members here will try and help you out.

Glad I could help, Greg. Happy holidays.
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Re: Help! Poor Piano Sound Quality when used as a Sound Modu

Postby wesleymckinney88 » 04:06, 26 February 2016

I know this is a long shot since this original thread started 4 years ago, but I'll give it a shot.

I am having a similar issue with the same software and keyboard. I have everything the OP posted figured out, I just can't figure out how to print the MIDI to an audio track. If I try to send the MIDI track elsewhere then there is nothing coming from my RD700nx.


How do you set it up so that I can take the MIDI playing through the keyboard and record it to an audio track? (other than just playing through aux cables)
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