Digital Piano Reproduction: Polyphonic Interference

This is another in a series of posts about why digital pianos often sound bad in live performance, and what can be done about it.

Sometimes when I play a chord on my digital piano (DP) the tone sounds suddenly and unexpectedly thin. Striking the same chord again might sound better, or sometimes worse… or just different. This effect is most audible on sustained chords. I find that it’s much worse with live sound, especially in mono. Stereo usually sounds better, especially in headphones where I hardly ever notice it.

This inconsistency of tone is very distracting. It feels like all the body drains out of my tone at random, making me cringe and back off of certain chords. Such haphazard tonal quality can make my playing timid and uninspired, and has made a lot of gigs not fun at all.

Update: based on my investigations here and elsewhere, I’ve designed a new loudspeaker system to deal with the challenges of turning piano samples into naturalistic live piano sound. Visit to purchase or get more info.
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