Author Topic: PSR-EW400 Sound  (Read 1861 times)

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Offline JanTheMan

PSR-EW400 Sound
« on: May 10, 2017, 02:53:14 PM »
I purchased a PSR-EW400 and I am pleased except that the Grand Piano sound seems somewhat "harsh" to me (twangy, buzzy, percussion). Setting the Reverb (#36) to "Room 2" helps but I still cannot get a "sweet" piano sound. Is there anything I can set in Main Pan, Reverb, Chorus, Attack, Release, Cutoff, or Reso. (#s 13-19) that will lessen the harshness of the sound? With 758 voices it seems crazy not to be able to get a sweet piano sound. Thanks!
JanTheMan
PSR-EW400; PSR-172
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: PSR-EW400 Sound
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2017, 02:23:59 AM »
You could try turning down the Main Cutoff setting. If the cutoff frequency is cranked up, it could contribute to making the voice sound "harsh" because of higher harmonics being allowed through.

You could try turning down the Main Resonance setting. If the resonance is cranked up, it could contribute to making the voice sound "twangy" because of the harmonics around the cutoff frequency being emphasized, especially if the harmonics of the voice naturally decrease as the note decays, since the natural change in harmonic intensity will be emphasized by the resonance.

You could try turning down (or off) the Main Chorus setting. If the chorus is cranked up, it could contribute to making the voice sound "buzzy" because of the way the keyboard tries to make the voice sound like multiple instruments playing in unison.

You could try turning down the Main Attack setting a little bit to help reduce the "percussive" sharpness or edge of the notes.

And you could try changing the Master EQ setting to see which one gives the kind of sound you're looking for.
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443
 

Offline JanTheMan

Re: PSR-EW400 Sound
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2017, 05:57:16 PM »
Michael,

Thanks so much!!!! It appears that the default for these parameters is 64 (halfway between 1 & 127). With all set at 64, I get the twangy, buzzy, percussive sound. I will work on lowering each of these (realizing that for Attack, e.g., a higher value gives a slower attack). The PSR-EW400 owners Manual gives a one line technical description of each of these parameters. Do you know of any description of each of these parameters in terms of the actual sound to the ear?

Thanks again,

JanTheMan
JanTheMan
PSR-EW400; PSR-172
 

Offline JanTheMan

Re: PSR-EW400 Sound
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2017, 06:05:04 PM »
tnicoson,

Thanks for the suggestion. I listened to the Sergio Gonzales video several times before I purchased the PSR-EW400. On your suggestion I went back and listened again and I agree the Live! Grand Piano voice on the video is amazing. It is also different from what I am getting. I'll keep working on it and let you know.

JanTheMan
JanTheMan
PSR-EW400; PSR-172
 

Offline JanTheMan

Re: PSR-EW400 Sound
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 07:14:40 PM »
Michael,

You hit it first time!!! When the Main Cutoff is set to 48, instead of the default 64, the EW400 sounds much smoother (and set at 0, the sound is so smooth it's almost gone). I am very interested it the effects of these parameters on the actual sound to the ear. I'm experimenting, but with 128 values for many parameters and very odd effects at the extremes of zero and 127, it's difficult. It would be valuable to see something written or on video. Any suggestions?

Your help saved a newbie many hours of frustration.
JanTheMan
PSR-EW400; PSR-172
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: PSR-EW400 Sound
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 08:14:38 PM »
The "Main Cutoff" setting controls the cutoff frequency of the low-pass filter. Every instrument's sound or timbre is made up of the frequency of the note being played-- such as 440 Hertz for Concert A (or A above Middle C)-- which is called the fundamental, plus various amounts of higher frequencies which are harmonics of the fundamental. The low-pass filter is used to let the lower frequencies through but block the higher frequencies. The cutoff frequency determines which frequencies are allowed to pass through the filter and which frequencies are filtered out-- frequencies which are lower than the cutoff frequency can pass through, but frequencies which are higher than the cutoff are filtered out. If the cutoff is turned up to its max then (more or less) all frequencies are let through. But as the cutoff is turned down, more and more of the higher frequencies are blocked, making the timbre or voice sound darker, like turning down the treble on a stereo. So if the voice sounds too shrill for your tastes, as if the higher frequencies are accentuated more than you'd prefer, you can adjust it by turning down the cutoff level.

On the other hand, the resonance function is like an amplifier that emphasizes or turns up the volume of the harmonic frequencies around the cutoff frequency, so it's sort of like turning the bass down and cranking up the treble. If you don't want to lower the cutoff frequency too much, you can try lowering the resonance instead, so the higher frequencies will still get through the filter but won't be amplified or exaggerated too much.
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443
 

Offline SciNote

Re: PSR-EW400 Sound
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2017, 12:23:45 AM »
Michael's descriptions of the filter controls are quite accurate, but I would add a couple things...

With cutoff, the frequencies are not abruptly silenced above a certain point, but rather fade down gradually above that point -- and that point is what you control with the cutoff control.  In technical terms, you may see references to a "12db per octave" or "24db per octave" slope or something similar.  For example, 12db per octave means that the volume of the frequencies is lowered by 12dB each octave above the cutoff point.  So, 1 octave above the cutoff point, the sound is 12db less than at the cutoff point.  2 octaves above the cutoff point, the sound is 24db less than at the cutoff point, and so on.  I do not know what the "db per octave" rating of the PSR-E series filters is.

In non-technical terms, the lower the cutoff point, the more mellow and muffled the sound is.

With resonance, it is an emphasis or boost of the sound at the frequencies at the point selected by the cutoff control.  But I would not describe it as cranking up the treble while turning down the bass, because the low-pass filter is still letting the bass through.  It's more like keeping the bass up, lowering the midrange frequencies, and then also cranking the treble.  Boosting resonance can give a twangy, almost nasal quality to the sound.  If you're using drawbar-type organ sounds, manipulating the cutoff and resonance can go a long way toward simulating the adjustment of different drawbars on a Hammond organ.

Keep in mind that the E453 and EW400 also have a high-pass filter in the DSP effects.  That IS more like boosting the treble while cutting the bass, but in reality, you're keeping the treble the same, but reducing the bass.  It keeps the high frequencies at full volume and reduces the low frequencies, resulting in an intentionally thinner sound.

Other sound/synthesizer effects on these keyboards...

Attack -- when you play a note on the keyboard, the attack controls how the sound of the note begins.  Little or no attack (with the control turned all the way down) results in a percussive sound, like plucking a guitar, hitting a drum, or playing a harpsichord.  A piano generally has a similar quality, but if you feel the piano sound is too percussive, then slightly turning up the attack can smooth it a bit.  Turning up the attack more leads to a slower rise in the volume at the beginning of the note, more like a violin.

Release -- when you are playing a note on the keyboard and then let go of the key -- or release the key -- the release function determines how long it takes the sound to fade out after you let go of the key.  A low release time means the note stops sounding right away when you take your finger off of the key, like a standard organ sound.  A little bit of release gives you a smoother end of the sound, like a piano.  And longer release times let the sounds of your notes keep ringing on well after you let go of the keys, like bells, or like playing a piano with your foot on the sustain pedal

Attack and release are part of what is called an envelope generator -- the envelope being the shape or contour of the sound when its volume is graphed over time from the beginning of the sound of note to the end of it.  More advanced envelope generators not found on the PSR-E series also control other parts of the sound, and can control filter/harmonic effects as well.  The PSR-E series keyboards do not have these types of envelope generators at our direct control, but many of the keyboards' sounds have these types of envelope generator effects built in.

Chorus -- this gives the sound fullness and animation.  Think of an organ sound.  With no chorusing, it's just kind of a flat, steady tone.  Sometimes, this is desired, such as with jazz-organ settings.  But when you add chorus, you get a more lush, fuller sound similar to a Leslie speaker turned on and set to a low speed -- great for church organ sounds or orchestral effects.

Flanger -- this is one of the chorus settings on the PSR-E series, but is really its own effect.  It gives a sort of swirling effect that can be compared to the way the sound changes as an airplane (either propeller or jet) passes overhead.

The E453 and EW400 also have a Phaser effect in the DSP effects, which is like the flanger but taken to an even higher level.  Listen to the song "Come Sail Away" by Styx -- in the middle, where the keyboard solo is, the phaser effect is essentially what you hear in the background chords.

Reverb -- this gives the sound a slight echo-type effect that you would naturally hear when music is played in a large room, a concert hall, or even a stadium.  The more reverb, the bigger the playing venue sounds.  The PSR-E keyboards allow you to select the type of reverb you want to help more accurately recreate the type of venue you want to simulate, but you still want to increase the reverb for larger venues and decrease it for smaller venues.  With no reverb, the music sounds like its being played right in front of you in a room with carpeted floors and padded walls to absorb any sound reflections.

Equalizer -- this allows you to emphasize certain frequencies while reducing others.  On a higher-end stereo system, this is usually done with a series of slider controls, with each control setting the volume or level of a certain frequency range.  This can be used to compensate for less-than-ideal listening environments to help boost frequencies that are being "absorbed" by the environment and cut frequencies that are being over-enhanced by the environment.  On the PSR-E keyboards, the equalizer (EQ) is done by way of several available presets, with each preset emphasizing a certain set of frequencies while cutting others based on what sound that preset is trying to achieve.

For the price of the PSR-E series keyboards, the ability to control these aspects of the sound is quite phenomenal!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 12:33:03 AM by SciNote »
Bob
Yamaha PSR-E433
Yamaha PSR-520
 
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Offline JanTheMan

Re: PSR-EW400 Sound
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2017, 02:28:15 PM »
Bob & Michael,

Your detailed responses are tremendous!!!! Are you sound engineers as well as musicians? It seems like we should put this info into some kind of Unofficial Yamaha PSR Manual. I could not find anything anywhere on the internet which is as informative as your responses. Thanks for your time and expertise.

Now can you improve my Boogie-Wookie tempo?
JanTheMan
PSR-EW400; PSR-172