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Topic: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

Hi,

so I am stuck and I don't know what to do!
I have a Kawai VPC 1 and use it with Pianoteq 6 which sounds beautiful on my $60 Sennheiser HD 202 Headphone.
I bought a pair of JBL LSR 308 Studio Monitors to play sometimes for family etc. So the monitors came, I connected them to my Macbook and the sound is HORRIBLE. Super flat like not rich at all, sounds like a bad quality mp3 when I play with Pianoteq. I connected my cheap $29 Logitech 2.1 speaker system and it sounds beautiful again (for that cheap system).
So when I play a high quality iTunes song through the JBL LSR 308 it sounds very very good, so much power and wow what a clean sound.
But pianoteq library, you cannot believe, horrible! I also own Native Instruments Alicia Keys and Galaxy Vintage D and it's exactly the same. The piano sound is sooooo bad on those monitors.

Now I don't know what it can be? Is it because I have connected the monitors directly with a cable to my Macbooks headphone output? I don't use an audio interface. Never needed it since I have no sound problems with piano libraries and also no latency problems (around 3ms). Can the sound of the piano libraries be so bad because of that?

Please help I don't know what to do, sound via iTunes perfect, sound via Pianoteq or Kontakt libraries really bad, low, no power whatsoever and not clear and crips at all :S

Thank you for your comments!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

Yes, using a headphone output with such speakers can result in things you're hearing. Headphone output is NOT a proper line level output that JBLs inputs expect. Use a proper audio interface!

Last edited by EvilDragon (13-11-2017 10:46)
Hard work and guts!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

Mr. Dragon is correct... an interface will bring them to life.

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

I'll third that. An external interface is needed. And it's best to get a good, modern one that registers 24\96 or better.

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

Thanks for your replies! I “guessed” that it could be that! Only I don’t understand why I can play my mp3s which sound incredible on the JBLs?! Can somebody explain to me why those sound amazing and the piano libraries don’t?

Lastly, I’m debating between a Scarlett solo or a Steinberg UR22. Which one are you recommending? My only purpose is that my studio monitors come to life for playing piano, I never want to record or connect external instruments!
Also will any of those audio interfaces increase my latency? Right now my MacBook is managing without pops and clicks a solid 2.9 ms and about 3.5ms in Kontakt!

Thanks again so much!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

EvilDragon wrote:

Yes, using a headphone output with such speakers can result in things you're hearing. Headphone output is NOT a proper line level output that JBLs inputs expect. Use a proper audio interface!

^This^

I use these exact monitors and they sound incredible with Pianoteq!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

How? You just have connected it to your Macbook output?
Why does my sound is so crappy? totally robotic, not rich, just sounds so bad sad

Analyst wrote:
EvilDragon wrote:

Yes, using a headphone output with such speakers can result in things you're hearing. Headphone output is NOT a proper line level output that JBLs inputs expect. Use a proper audio interface!

^This^

I use these exact monitors and they sound incredible with Pianoteq!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

lovelovemale wrote:

How? You just have connected it to your Macbook output?
Why does my sound is so crappy? totally robotic, not rich, just sounds so bad sad

Analyst wrote:
EvilDragon wrote:

Yes, using a headphone output with such speakers can result in things you're hearing. Headphone output is NOT a proper line level output that JBLs inputs expect. Use a proper audio interface!

^This^

I use these exact monitors and they sound incredible with Pianoteq!

I'm using balanced trs cables out from the usb audio interface.

Last edited by Analyst (13-11-2017 19:25)

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

So you’re also using an audio interface and not the MacBook output jack directly right?
Which audio interface?

Can anybody comment if I should get the Scarlett or the Steinberg?

Thx!!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

Either of those two audio interfaces should do just fine.

Hard work and guts!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

lovelovemale wrote:

So you’re also using an audio interface and not the MacBook output jack directly right?
Which audio interface?

Can anybody comment if I should get the Scarlett or the Steinberg?

Thx!!

I'm just using a cheap PreSonus interface and it's worked great for me.

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

Ok I'm gonna try them with an interface then. Just so weird that regular MP3s work :S

Also I hope my latency doesn't get worse with an actual interface. I assume 2.7ms is pretty good for the real piano playing feel.

Thank you for your help so far!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

For the VPC1 do not forget to use the VPCEditor ( http://www.kawaivpc.com/en/downloads/ ), where you need to select the "Pianoteq" speed curve. And in Pianoteq itself, do not forget to include the Note-OFF curve. And check in Pianoteq whether you use the full range of dynamics when playing. From PP to FFF. On the green stripes on the left below. If the records you sound good, and the synthesized game is not very, then maybe this will help you a little.
2.7ms is very fine)

Last edited by scherbakov.al (14-11-2017 00:21)

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

thanks, it's not a velocity problem. That works actually very very nice on the VPC1.
Struggling with the speakers. Youtube also sounds bad on them, however MP3s dont. Pianoteq is just a disaster soundwise... but the playability is great. But whats great play with bad sound :S :S
I'll try to see if an interface will solve my problem ... Thanks!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

This is just the difference with "live" music (= Pianoteq) and "recorded" music = mastered, EQ'ed, comp'ed, heavily processed to make it sound good on any system, even a very poor one.

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

I understand, thanks!
But Pianoteq sounds actually pretty amazing playing live on a Sennheiser HD 202 Headphone or a cheap 2.1 Speaker system ($30).
How come it sound so good live with cheap speakers and headphones and so bad with the studio monitors?
Also I have to turn up the Studio Monitors to level 8-9 to have a good volume, around 3-4 almost no sound comes out :S
Thanks!

Luc Henrion wrote:

This is just the difference with "live" music (= Pianoteq) and "recorded" music = mastered, EQ'ed, comp'ed, heavily processed to make it sound good on any system, even a very poor one.

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

lovelovemale wrote:

Also I have to turn up the Studio Monitors to level 8-9 to have a good volume, around 3-4 almost no sound comes out :S

Headphone output is NOT line level, which is what speakers expect. This is why you need to bump up the volume so much. With an audio interface, you won't need to.

Again, headphone output can drive (obviously) headphones, and some smaller computer speaker sets (like those 2.1 systems), but NOT professional studio monitors like those JBLs. You're doing yourself a disservice by not using a proper audio interface.


And yes, good audio interfaces usually don't have a problem with latency - it's what they're actually used for, to bring down the latency even more.

Hard work and guts!

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Re: Studio Monitors sound horrible with Pianoteq

Probably a problem of impedance matching. Just a guess.