Making Piano Sound REAL and NATURAL
This pedal has been a great addition to my home studio, although, when recording MIDI.. you really have to be careful to let go of the pedal at the right time ;). (More on that below!).
This pedal is by M-Audio and is called the SP-2.
If you’re looking for a sustain pedal to make your piano parts more natural, this is a route you should look into!
The product itself is not too big, being only about 10″ long, and plugs into the back of your keyboard/MIDI Controller by a TS cable that is attached to the product (see images).
This pedal is extremely affordable, and works exceptionally well. (Which is so hard to find these days with products!).
What are the benefits of a pedal?
A pedal will help you create more “natural sounding piano pieces”. This is done by taking advantage of the sustain.
When you hold down the pedal, the note will continue to play for a very long time until you take your foot off the pedal, giving it a more “gentle” release of the sound, rather than a sharp abrupt stop of the sound.
Many times when it comes to piano in beats, it can sound very robotic, and fake. Ways to fix this is by adding some extra reverb to your piano, or even a little bit of delay. Those 2 alone can add huge amounts of fill to your piano!
The reason for the “robotic” and “fake” sounding piano is because if you quantize your piano loop, what happens is everything gets snapped into place, making your piano loop literally start and stop at perfect timing. No one can play the piano on perfect timing, so when you quantize, this is what happens! — So a good way to fix it, as mentioned above is add some reverb/delay so it drags each note a bit longer than where your note stops, making it sound more natural.
You can also take advantage of the ADSR most VSTs provide you with, using the release knob to act as an extra long held down note!
A pedal also fixes this short abrupt stop of the sound as well, making everything flow together and not allow the music to stop.
How to use a Piano Pedal:
Now to use a real pedal, you are supposed to take your foot off the pedal when playing, but hold down the pedal right before you switch chords, then again, take your foot off the pedal while playing.
The reason for this is otherwise your piano will get all muddy sounding and not very clean! (Although it can sound very epic! haha). Playing like this on a real piano for fun is not a big deal because you’re not recording yourself! But I’ll let you know right now, even though it may sound good, holding down the pedal the whole time is a very bad habit to get into.
Why Holding Down a Piano Sustain Pedal is a Bad Habit,
I’m warning you right now, try to break the habit! When you go to record yourself with MIDI, this is what happens. All the notes become one big blog (see picture).
Now imagine going back in and editing this. It’s definitely a big headache, no spaces or anything in between notes.
So if you can break the habit now, you will not only come out with a more natural sounding piano piece by taking advantage of the sustain feature, it will now be 100x easier to edit!
M-Audio SP-2 Sustain Pedal — Overall Thoughts,
This thing works exceptionally well. For about $25 the M-Audio SP-2 Pedal allows you to create more natural piano pieces.
There’s not really anything else to say but good for this product. It’s super affordable and does the job just like you want it to.
It also has a feature on the bottom to change the polarity if it’s working backwards! (See pictures at top of post).
Awesome job M-Audio for keeping the price reasonable and NOT GIVING A CHEAP PRODUCT!