Ugly distortion when playing MDA Piano plug in

Hello friends can you help me eliminate some ugly distortion from this plug in. It is like the sound of a torn speaker. I could not eliminate it from my main project, so in hope of isolating the problem I created a new test project, and added only two tracks: a MIDI drums track and a MIDI piano track, using MDA Piano plugin. The problem persists here too.

Master levels are going not going above zero. Noise is always in right channel and persists if I change headphones. Problem can be ameliorated by rolling the velocity down to roughly 120 or lower, or transposing the recorded notes to keys/notes lower than A4 but these aren’t practical solutions.

I’m running Ardour 5.12 (Ubuntu Studio 20.04). The version info I can find in the plugjn UI - it just says MDA Piano by David Robillard.


forwarded reply from Mike in

I had a similar thing […], which was resolved when removing doubled notes
it was specifically with MDA Piano, but happened to a smaller amount also with other instruments

It is not unheard of that some synths can clip (or produce levels above 0dBFS) when played poly-phonically. If the synth is pre-fader (default) then just pull the fader down.

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If the problem is as you describe, would it be evident in e.g. my master channel’s meter? Mike’s problem sounds very much like mine, but I just want to be sure I’m not doing something else wrong. I’m reproducing the problem now by looping the problematic A minor chord. The piano track level is set at -30, the master level is set at -15. Not shown in my screenshot, but I just reset the little gadget that captures the current max level and right now (again, with the problem looping) the max going no higher than -30.

Thank you

Do you actually hear a clipped signal?

As for the meter levels: Note that the master-bus uses a K-20 meter (see – that indicates loudness (as perceived by humans). This is useful when mixing/mastering.

While the channel-meters show digital-peak (to avoid clipping inputs).

Robin, I guess clipping was your best guess as a theory for my problem. What I can say only is that my problem of ugly distortion is evident in the scenario described in my previous message.

Anyway – given Mike’s comment above I feel it likely that this plugin is the source of my problem. Can anyone recommend an alternative acoustic piano plug in?

Thank you

Try sfizz + Maestro Concert Grand.


Thank you @Michael_Willis - so far I am quite impressed with sfizz & Maestro Concert Grand: very good sound, and not terribly complicated to download install & use.

I’m glad that you like the Maestro Concert Grand, it’s been a favorite of mine for years.

Another good one to try is Slender Salamander Grand Piano. There are a number of variations of this one available for download in different places, I’ve settled on Slender Salamander as the one I use.

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