PSR-S770 Grand Piano voice rather tame

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Lani T
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PSR-S770 Grand Piano voice rather tame

Unread post by Lani T » Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:16 am

Hi, we are new to this forum, glad to find it. I’ve read a lot of posts, many thanks for the active responses from moderators.

(This is the husband writing for Lani T, who is a performer gearing-up-to-be songwriter. I’m only her tech support.)

We are not totally happy with the Grand Piano voice of the PSR-S770. Adequate, but she loves everything else about her PSR, so hoping it’s operator error and can be improved.

Compared to horns and strings, the Grand Piano voice isn’t nearly as loud. It also seems to lack fullness, particularly at the bass end.

We customized a Grand Piano copy to run at max volume, but even still, must also pre-customize copies of the other voices she needs, to _reduce_ those volumes, in order to achieve overall parity. And still, the Grand Piano sounds a bit plinky in comparison to the richness of the other voices.

- Do you see the same behavior at your end?
- Does Yamaha provide voice updates in the same way as firmware updates?
- Any suggestions?

Kirvan (husband of Lani T)
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Re: PSR-S770 Grand Piano voice rather tame

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:11 pm

Welcome, Lani T and Kirvan! :)

I don't have any experience with the PSR-S models, just the less-expensive and less-sophisticated PSR-E models. But I'll share my own observations, as well as what I've read from people who own PSR-S, PSR-SX, Tyros, or Genos models, or even models from other manufacturers.

The parameter settings on the preset voices frequently seem inadequate for one reason or another. The relative volumes of the different preset voices is one of the more common complaints, such that it can be difficult to adjust the keyboard's Master Volume to a level where the quiet voices can be heard as desired, since that just makes the loud voices even louder; but the overall timbres of the preset voices is another complaint.

Consequently, most users tend to spend a lot of time tweaking the parameters of individual preset voices until the sound is to their satisfaction. On the PSR-S models and above, you can edit a voice's parameters and save the new settings as a user voice so you can recall the modified voice later instead of having to edit the parameters all over again next time-- something I wish were possible on the PSR-E models. You might still want to make some editing changes to your user voices when you select them for different performances, but at least you'll have a starting point that's closer to your preferences.

I think the voice-editing feature is called "Voice Set" in the manuals, so if you need more information about it, try searching for "Voice Set" in the Owner's Manual and Reference Manual.

You can also go into the "Mixer" feature to balance the different voices that have been selected for the various parts-- that is, for the Right1, Right2, and Left parts, as well as the eight parts of the Style. This includes adjusting things like the volume, panning, effects levels, and perhaps even the equalizer or treble/bass levels for each of the parts. And there's also the Master Volume and Master Equalizer for adjusting the overall level of the keyboard once you've got the individual parts to your liking. Then you can save everything as a Registration for later recall.

As far as the acoustic piano voices, there should be a few different ones to choose from, so you might try each one to see if one of them is already close to the sound your wife is hoping for. Note that the acoustic piano voices-- as well as the other specific types of voices, such as the acoustic guitar voices-- might not be all together in the list of voices, because some of them will be under the "legacy" voices, and others might be in the "XG" or "GM" voices, or whatever category names your keyboard uses. So you might need to hunt through the categories to find all of the available acoustic piano voice presets, although looking at the voice list in the Data List document should help.

It seems to me that acoustic grand piano voices are the ones that users tend to be the most critical of, although drawbar organ voices may well be tied for that honor. Really, it's whichever type of voice a given user is most interested in; for instance, I know of one user who was particularly obsessed with pan flute voices! Anyway, I think there's a reason why keyboard manufacturers typically have digital piano lines in addition to their electronic keyboard lines, because the digital piano models tend to have more detailed sound samples, as well as additional technology for better modeling the behavior of a grand piano, such as string resonance, the effects of opening the lid to different levels, etc. Those sorts of bells and whistles generally aren't included in the more generic or all-purpose electronic keyboards, although they might be included in certain synths.

So how can you tweak a voice to be more to your liking?

Obviously, you can edit the various parameters for the voice to try to get a sound that's more to your tastes-- volume, pan, reverb level, chorus level, and DSP level, but also attack time, release time, cutoff frequency, filter resonance, and so forth. Chorus can help make a "thin" voice sound "fatter"; filter resonance and cutoff frequency can accentuate certain frequencies in the sound sample to help a voice sound "brighter" or "darker" as desired; and so on.

Another possibility is to layer two voices together by assigning them to the Right1 and Right2 parts. You can even assign the same preset voice to both of the layers, then tweak each layer as desired. For instance, some of the voice presets on the PSR-E models include layered voices such as "octave piano," "octave harpsichord," or "octave guitar," where the same base voice is selected for each of the two layers but then the second layer is shifted up or down an octave from the main layer. This helps to create a sound that has richer harmonics. Besides, or perhaps instead of, setting the two layers to different octave offsets, you can set their other parameters differently-- volume and pan, reverb and chorus levels, attack and release, cutoff and resonance, etc. Or you can layer two different voices together, such as combining an electric piano with an acoustic piano, or adding a quieter but sustained strings or organ or synth pad sound to the piano voice to help make the decaying piano notes sound more interesting.

Aside from those ideas for tweaking the built-in voices to be more to your liking, Yamaha does indeed put out "Voice & Style Expansion" packs-- usually for sale through the Yamaha MusicSoft website, although sometimes Yamaha will post free downloads for selected Voice & Style Expansion packs on their main website. Of course, even if you add more voice samples to your keyboard that way, you'll most likely still want to tweak them to your liking.

Also, some of the more technologically-advanced users even like to create their own expansion voices by loading their own sound samples into the YEM or Yamaha Expansion Manager software and using them to create voices from.
Michael Rideout
Current keyboards: Yamaha YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443, PSR-EW400, MX49 BK
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Previous keyboards: Farfisa Matador 611; Casio CTK-710
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Re: PSR-S770 Grand Piano voice rather tame

Unread post by Saul » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:07 pm

Welcome to the forums Lani T and Kirvan. :)

Also massive kudos to Michael for a very detailed response ((i)) ((i)) ((i))

It's an odd thing for a manufacturer that prides itself on the quality of it's acoustic pianos to see one of the most common complaints is that the samples in their arranger and synth keyboards are not up to scratch. The term "thin sounding" crops up all the time and I have to say with good reason.

I do like Yamaha's pianos but I don't love them. They always sound a little flat to me. Yamaha's answer to that criticism is, rather than supply a piano sound that "they" like, they would rather give you the basic good quality sample and let each user tweak it to their own requirements.

There is some merit in that argument because of course a good piano sound is a very subjective thing. So by leaving it to the end user, where everyone starts at the same point it is easier to develop your own sound. :think:

I can't add anything else to what Michael has already said. It's all about tweaking until you get something close to what you want.
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