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Topic: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

Hi, I am a new Pianoteq 5 Stage owner (very happy!), and I use Cubase 9 with some plug-ins, one of which is Greg Wells' PianoCentric.

I was wondering if anyone could please give any suggestions for how to get as close as possible to Adele's beautiful rich and full solo piano sound in "Someone Like You" using PT5 Stage. Is that kind of possible? I thought perhaps PianoCentric would be a big help (since Greg Wells worked with Adele), but though I do like what it can do to help a piano cut through in a busy mix, this is sort of the opposite situation (being a solo piano), so it's not helping me a lot there.

I did look through about 5 pages of posts, and the search function (only 1 post mentions Adele, in a Sara Vaughn discussion), and the FXP corner before posting, but didn't see anything - sorry if I missed it.

Thank you for any suggestions!

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

Hello!
I also purchased Pianoteq Stage recently, and I love it. I'm not really qualified to help you, but it would be nice to the people who can if you specified the piano you would like to use (D4, K2, Grotrian, etc.)
Personally, I prefer the Steinway D4.

Last edited by LeCarl (22-12-2016 20:17)

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

You won't really have a lot of tweaking options to get the sound you want with Stage. You need at least Standard to get to more tweaking options...

Hard work and guts!

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

Hi LeCarl and EvilDragon -

Thank you for your replies!

Good point LeCarl - I should tell people I have the D4, and the K2, sorry!

EvilDragon - just to clarify, are you speaking in general that I need Standard to get more tweaking options, or more specifically - that you have gotten that Adele "Someone Like You" piano sound with specific Standard version tweaks?

I really am OK trying to get as close as possible with the Stage version, just looking to see if anyone has any pointers for going in that direction. Here is a link to the sound, it's through the youtube distorter of course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLQl3WQQoQ0

So, if anyone has any hints (along the lines of "Take the D4 Jazz A/B patch, try this setting on Delay, this on Reverb, run through DAW EQ with cut/boost"  ... or really any hint at all would be helpful!), I'd be grateful for anything!

If I find that I'm closer, but not close enough, I would definitely consider moving up to the Standard version ...

Thank you!

Last edited by SmilingKeys (29-12-2016 00:40)

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

SmilingKeys wrote:

EvilDragon - just to clarify, are you speaking in general that I need Standard to get more tweaking options, or more specifically - that you have gotten that Adele "Someone Like You" piano sound with specific Standard version tweaks?

Former.

Hard work and guts!

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

I'm hearing the piano in the above video as greatly compressed. There is very little variation in the amplitude of the notes. I would limit the dynamic range on the main interface, however, before using the compressor. Compression might not be needed at all if the Dynamics is limited and the overall volume and the velocity response are adjusted to taste. Very little or no reverb.  Very little or no delay. Limiters may have been applied to reduce or cut the softest and loudest amplitudes, helping to create that dry, present sound. There are no limiters in Pianoteq, so they would have to be applied to the piano track in the sequencer--Cubase or whichever you choose. But I'm not sure that limiters are needed. Using Pianoteq's compressor, after getting the Dynamics and Velocity settings right, may be all that you need.

Last edited by Jake Johnson (30-12-2016 21:35)

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

I concur with Jake's assessment about the audio being highly compressed.  When I "tap" the rhythm along with the piano accompaniment, it becomes obvious this was a MIDI file that was "step-entered," because there is essentially zero variation in tempo, and the keynote on velocities seem static (all the same for the notes), except where the artist programmed in a crescendo, only to return to the previous note-on velocity values (i.e., all 64).  Even the Octaves played in the left hand seem to have the same note-on velocity per each note.

To my ears, the piano does not get brighter or duller in the vast majority of the song ... this is further proof that the notes were step-entered, probably with a mouse instead of a keyboard (or otherwise there would have be a normal variation in brightness due to variable note-on velocities).

Regarding panning, the notes seem to be centered on Middle C -- notes lower than Middle C are heard from the left headphone earpiece, and notes higher than Middle C come from the right side of the field.  Adele's voice is also panned dead center.   Her voice is "slammed" (heavily compressed) even heavier than the piano, so as to be audible over the dead-center panned piano.

Regarding dynamic range, there is not much one can do by way of compression or limiting the dynamic range ... if the notes are step entered via MIDI/ mouse and have no variation to their note-on velocities.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Joe

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

Nice sound, and I actually do hear dynamics, and it doesn't sound like it was step entered to me.  It just sounds like a closely mic'd, nice piano to me. smile

Btw, I think Pianoteq does actually have a basic limiter - when the volume nears 100% it was my understanding that it implements some kind of soft clipping, which is effect "limiting", but I'm not sure.
EDIT: Yes, it does have a limiter - there's a little "L" at the right of the volume bar graph, and it can be clicked to enable & disable the limiter. Extract from the manual:

A volume VU meter, equipped with a limiter than can be turned on/off by a
simple click. By reducing high amplitudes, the limiter is intended to avoid cracks
that may appear when the amplitude is too high (in such a case, the clipping led
to the right of the vu-meter shows up).

I don't think limiting has much to do with the sound in Adele's recording though.

Greg.

Last edited by skip (31-12-2016 06:46)

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

Hi
Interesting. To me it sounds like a good keyboard piano (maybe Yamaha, I guess). I think we can do almost anything we set out to accomplish with Ptq if we try enough. Almost. But referring to
”Any hint at all would be helpful”, i say, use speakers when working, because you probably  play the result for other people at home. Few of us, maybe, have been thinking of, that headphones gives left sound channel sound only to left ear, (unlike speakers which give left sound channel sound to both ears) and right sound channel sound only to right ear(unlike speakers which give right sound channel sound to both ears). Speakers sounds different in different rooms of course, but headphones also sounds different in different ear canals, earflaps, and the size and shape of the head have effect on how headphones reproduce the sound(also interesting, in Ptq binaural mode you can increase the the size of the head). Headphone stereo impression is generated in the head, and therefore I use speakers when trying to replicate a pianosound with Pianoteq. Just some thoughts.

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

I think I should chime in here as well.

We had a support request a few years ago regarding this particular piano sequence.

The customer tried to reproduce it with Pianoteq 4, but all notes were sequenced and it sounded dull and static. I then sent him a new example.

Comparison of before vs. after editing:
http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/uploads.p … arison.mp3

Please note that the above recording is version 4 of Pianoteq, D4.

The way the sequence is played is of importance since there is a need of some variation. I edited the velocity on many notes in his midi file. The hammer hardness needed an adjustment to achieve a smoother legato. I added a third mic just at the piano and set the compensation level to off. Finally, I adjusted the velocity curve. This should be regarded as a starting point, more adjustments for further improvement were surely possible. Reducing some of the reverb here might be a good idea.

Regards,
Niclas

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

skip wrote:

Nice sound, and I actually do hear dynamics, and it doesn't sound like it was step entered to me.  It just sounds like a closely mic'd, nice piano to me. smile

Btw, I think Pianoteq does actually have a basic limiter - when the volume nears 100% it was my understanding that it implements some kind of soft clipping, which is effect "limiting", but I'm not sure.
EDIT: Yes, it does have a limiter - there's a little "L" at the right of the volume bar graph, and it can be clicked to enable & disable the limiter. Extract from the manual:

A volume VU meter, equipped with a limiter than can be turned on/off by a
simple click. By reducing high amplitudes, the limiter is intended to avoid cracks
that may appear when the amplitude is too high (in such a case, the clipping led
to the right of the vu-meter shows up).

I don't think limiting has much to do with the sound in Adele's recording though.

Greg.

Ah! I had forgotten about that little L! My thought was partly about having a limiter for the lowest volumes--something that would reduce the resonances and rattle to help to create the sound in the video. The second half of Niclas' file sounds very good, and to me, more like a real piano, partly because of those resonances, but I don't hear them much in the video's piano. I would choose the piano sound that Niclas created over the sound in the video, and for that matter had I created the video, I would have used it instead of the one that was used.

Last edited by Jake Johnson (31-12-2016 16:13)

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

Niclas Fogwall wrote:

I think I should chime in here as well.

We had a support request a few years ago regarding this particular piano sequence.

The customer tried to reproduce it with Pianoteq 4, but all notes were sequenced and it sounded dull and static. I then sent him a new example.

Comparison of before vs. after editing:
http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/uploads.p … arison.mp3

Please note that the above recording is version 4 of Pianoteq, D4.

The way the sequence is played is of importance since there is a need of some variation. I edited the velocity on many notes in his midi file. The hammer hardness needed an adjustment to achieve a smoother legato. I added a third mic just at the piano and set the compensation level to off. Finally, I adjusted the velocity curve. This should be regarded as a starting point, more adjustments for further improvement were surely possible. Reducing some of the reverb here might be a good idea.

Regards,
Niclas

That's a great sound that you've created with the edits revealed in the last half of your mp3. The video's piano seems to kill all of the resonances we hear on a real piano, so that it sounds more like a Yamaha stage piano to me. I do like the Yamaha stage piano sound--each note stands out--but it doesn't sound like a real piano mic'ed in a real room. Yours sounds more like the real thing.

Last edited by Jake Johnson (31-12-2016 16:12)

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

---

The Grotrian Cabaret preset with the treble boosted in the main equalizer (not the effects equalizer) sounds pretty good to me--

http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/uploads.p … o-riff.mp3

---

Pianoteq Pro - Linux Mint - Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio interface - Sennheiser HD600 headphones

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Re: Adele Piano - Someone Like You ... I have PT5 Stage, any hints please?

Thank you so much folks for your wonderful comments!

I have listened to all the  samples you have kindly uploaded. They are great goals for me to aim for as I try to nail that "Someone Like You" Piano sound.

Two things I notice with my attempts (D4 Blues, PianoTeq Stage, for now), and to a lesser extent with yours:
1) The Adelle version is much "wider" - it seems as though the piano is taking up more of the stereo field than on mine and your examples.
2) Not as important, because I think it can be fixed with EQ - the bass notes seem much more present, though not necessarily that much louder, in the Adelle version.

Do you folks agree with either of those? If indeed I wanted to widen the stereo field of the PTQ, would that be something I did in my DAW I suppose?

I did do the comparing on both speakers (budget) and headphones (Beyer DT 880s). I had never noticed the "binaural" option before (thanks Pianotqenthusiast). I tried listening to that option (on speakers as well as cans), and somehow it seemed to a) widen it out nicely, and b) increase the bass notes somehow. I didn't quite like what it did to the right hand notes though, but it got me wondering ... have any of you ever printed Pianoteq using the binaural option?

Thanks again for taking the time to give all those answers!