5. Sound

When purchasing an instrument, no matter what kind, it is always important to know what kind of sound you're aiming for. As we've seen, there is a direct relationship between sound quality and price with digital pianos. Today though it can be assumed that the minimum standard will be good enough for any beginner or casual hobbyist.

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a digital piano is the ''piano sound'' it emulates. Different manufacturers use different methods to produce an authentic acoustic sound.

The most common method is the sample, ie the recording of each key when it is struck on a grand piano. Every sound has its own overtones in addition to the resonances of the strings, etc. In high-quality models, these background noises and resonances are separately recorded to better convey the character of a piano. Another possibility is to combine / modify this sampling technique with sound synthesis. This is done by predicting the physical changes of an instrument, by means of a mathematical model - know as physical modeling.

Selection of different sounds

In addition to a high-quality simulation of a piano there are often several other 'sounds' or technical options available. Sounds like organ, harpsichord, vibraphone or strings now come as standard on most models.

Effects:

Some digital pianos have built-in electronic effects such as echo, reverb or chorus. Instruments with electronic organ sounds sometimes include and effect for the rotating Leslie speakers (Leslie effect). With all these effects, you have to take into account the quality of the original sounds as it may be compromised by including them (less processing power to go around). You may not require effects at all and a professional will certainly use their own, separate, effects processor, which generally leads to significantly better results. On the other hand, built-in effects can enhance the sound characteristics by allowing different tone colors/nuances. There are many ways to use sound effects but most important is the sound you are going for, so you don't have to have them.

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