How to setup background after piano to fill the space?


Can somebody explain how to get a sound behind piano as in this composition?

I put reverb but it is not enough to fill the space:

Any suggestions to make a softer piano and reverb to be longer and not muddy?

Thank you!

In the examples, a reverb could have been used that filters the reverb tail according to the incoming notes and thereby prevents muddling.
The Adaptiverb from Zynaptic has such a mode (“Harmonic Filter Mode”)
zynaptiq: ADAPTIVERB

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Thank you PAT for a quick answer.
I wonder in the original example - is it only a reverb that goes after the piano (sometimes 2-3 sec long to fill the space) or there is some kind of pad as well.
I am a beginner and can not tell a difference. Also, can you help where I should start to learn about using these kinds of reverbs?
Anyway ADAPTIVERB sounds amazing!

Of course, I can’t say how the sound in the video examples was actually created.
With a rather dark piano sound and the Adaptiverb one could achieve something similar.
In addition to the algorithmically generated reverb, Adaptiverb can generate a kind of pad sound from the incoming signal.
The best thing to do is to download the trial version, then you can test the plugin for 30 days free of charge. Sometimes Adaptiverb can be bought in a sale, I got it for half the price some time ago.

If you are looking for a suitable piano sound, this one is available for free:
1928 Vintage Grand Steinway – Soundpaint

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You could also use a soft pad in the background…many VST instruments like Halion, Xpand, Falcon and so many others have very mild pads. You could process the pads with reverbs from inside the vst instrument as well, to get out of the way of the piano tail/reverb. Also using EQ you could shape the pad to stay off the way. There are so many ways to go around this, depends on what you are comfortable with. Alternatively, decay times of the piano itself and the reverb on it, could help you achieve this too. The Early reflections, late reflections, and the decay times is what you should be looking at.

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Thank you, this is fantastic advise.
I actually never put reverb on a pad as I read online that it would make sound too muddy.
Can you explain what you mean "process the pads with reverbs from inside the vst instrument as well, to get out of the way of the piano tail/reverb. "
Do you mean to cut the end of the pad tail in reverb before the measure is finished?
I saw a video where I have to do calculations on how to finish the reverb before the measure is up? But it sounds quite complicated.
I have Ozone 9, can that help with this issue?
Anyway I bought a bunch of courses to learn, but this is just a general question for somebody far experienced to tell me where to go from here. I tried to learn everything at once, but it did go nowhere :slight_smile:

Thank you again, cheers!

Yes, I saw it was on sale a month ago :frowning:
I will wait for the next one, in the meantime I have a lot to learn.
I have Pianoteq professional version, but what I actually wanted to ask is how to get piano to sound even as in this example and other you tube creators.
It is puzzling for me as even the most sophisticated (or expensive) vst piano has some keys louder than others while they are sampled.

In this kind of music (for sleep) all piano strokes should be equally loud.
But some frequencies the ear hears louder than others.

I tried to adjust the every note manually, than to put some compressor. But it just distorts the sound. If I put less compressor that it do nothing. Than, I EQ the note but if it is too little it does not any difference, and too much it distorts the sound of a piano.

I can not think of anything else, you can hear in my sound it is very disturbing sound for sleeping. An I spend endless hours to manually correct each note in velocity. Even if I put velocity at lowest like 30-40 it is too quiet and when. I add GGain plugin but the sound is all over the place with velocities…
I can not find anyone to answer how to fix that, I even asked on Feverr professional sound designers… they have no clue.


I use Pianoteq Pro and have worked on many projects like this. Here are some basics to start with to create that exact piano sound in the first video.

Part I - The general rule
For getting the clearest most predictable sound from your VST instrument, through the signal chain, is to do as much sound processing in the VST as possible. In short, get the tone, timbre, reverb (wet/dry) and compression, and EQ right in the VST Instrument first.

Part II - In Pianoteq
1 - Use the NY Steinway D Prelude
2 - Select Action, and turn off the bottom three (Mute, Key release noise, Sustain pedal noise)
3 - Leave all other settings default

Part III
1 - Find a nice Synth Pad sound. Being that I have Arturia’s Analog Lab V, I would might use preset Blade of Canada.


2 - Play around with the attack and reverb tail in the instrument. In this case, I would mainly adjust this in the DX7 (remember, do as much processing as possible first in the VST)
3 - At this point, you will have both the Pianoteq instrument track, and your Synth Pad track set to the same midi controller source, or you could first record your midi on the Pianoteq track and copy it to the Synth Pad track.

Part IV - Laying down midi
1 - IMO, this is the most important part to getting that sweet reverb/sustain tail.
2 - This will require a bit of keyboard and pedaling talent/skill, otherwise you will find yourself endlessly adjusting velocities due to uneven sound.
3 - If you listen to the video, the artist is playing at a natural musical tempo, not a linear one. So, set the time base on your instrument track to “Musical”, so it ignores the project tempo. This will use the natural tempo from how you play. Musical tempo is derived from a combination of velocity, scale, duration of notes, and sustain.
4 - Assuming nothing here, checkout this video on good pedaling technique:

Part - V
1 - Getting that piano behind the sounds is accomplished by doing some stereo widening/enhancing, not necessarily with reverb or delay alone (outside of the VST):

2 - I use the iZotope Pro suite of tools on every project. Even with all that power available to you, all you really need is to insert Nuetron Pro (Ozone if you don’t have Nuetron), and balance out the sound with proper shaping and EQ. Stay away from compression and exciters on these particular VSTs, otherwise you will be stepping on the sound adjustments that were made at the instrument level in the VST.
3 - Lastly, getting that elusive sweet reverb tail would best be handle at the VST instrument level, using a combination of good playin/pedaling and some effects in the VST instrument plugin itself, and not outside the track as an insert (side-chained or otherwise).

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Hello ClendeningSound,
Thank you so much for this detailed answer, you have clarified a lot.
Now I know from where to go and save so much time experimenting.
Luckily, I am a professional pianist so playing is an easy part :slight_smile:
Also, I have Pianoteq Pro as you and Ozone9, but I will look to buy Anturia’s Lab as a Christmas treat.

Good that you told me not to use compressors and side-chained inserts, as with my perfect pitch and can clearly hear that my version sounds awful ha,ha!

A question - do you split tracks into left and right hand? I noticed in the examples, left hand is softer (a bit quiter) or it is just a playing.

And most important - on the ambient music course the guy said for ambient music we have to put velocity at like 20-30, 40 at most to get a soft timbre.
But if I put that low, the sound is nice but I have to put GGain plugin on max in the inserts to make sound louder - not enough to reach 0. Other sound engineers said the sound should be around 0 in the mixer. Please see the screenshot.
I am most perplexed what to do than, so I put the track in Audacity to normalize to -3, to sound loud enough on You Tube compared to other composers. This could be the reason why velocities in my tracks are all over the place.
I even asked the teacher of the course how to solve this problem, but he never answered…

Thank you so much again, wish you Happy Holidays from Canada!

To better answer the questions around velocity and normalizing loudness - what is the ultimate destination for the music, online streaming (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.)?

Here’s a quick screenshot of a piano piece I’m working on in Nuendo (Dolby Atmos mix). I will be happy to share the exported stereo mix down .wav in a PM for reference. While this particular song doesn’t have a Synth Pad in it, you can get an idea of how I manage multiple piano parts in a mix.

Btw, I highly recommend looking into working in Nuendo and start mixing in Dolby Atmos!

Don’t get to distracted with the reverb sends in there. It’s necessary when sound designing a mix in Dolby Atmos.

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Yes, I would like to hear the sample :slight_smile:

Up in the question I’ve put my track from You Tube (Beautiful Cats).
There is my NMT Delightful Music YouTube Channel:

This is only the beginning with composing of solo piano tracks.
I will go to choirs and other instruments for sleep music.
Still have to learn to mix though!
Thank you,

I’ll post some additional details later on about my personal workflow for:
1 - Establishing normal monitoring level with pink noise (used for gain staging).
2 - Loudness metering, which requires knowledge of gain staging.
3 - Using Neutron Pro for balancing at the track level and mains
4 - Thoughts/considerations on mixing and mastering for streaming music distribution (audio/video)
5 - Scoring for export into Dorico and then out to engraving. Free sheet music makes for an excellent marketing tool.

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WOW, this are all excellent points.
I watched videos with pink noise as starting point for loudness measurement.
Looking forward to read about your workflow…
Good point also to give free sheet music, especially for me as a piano teacher.
Looking forward hearing from you!


What I mean is that VST instruments have inbuilt effects such as reverbs, delay, compression etc…right inside those instruments. They sound more natural to the pad, piano or any sound at all when applied inside the vst, than using insert or send effects in the DAW. I hope you get what I mean. Halion has reverbs inside of it…so use that and process the pad…its basically sound design.


It looks like you got some excellent help here but…

Since you’re familiar with iZotope products, go to the site right now while it’s still on sale and spend $9.99 for R4. This is an IR reverb that offers complete, in depth control of the reverb tail.


WOW, I can not believe it is so affordable.
I bought it, thank you so much mr.roos.

Happy Holidays!

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Thank you, I am going to experiment.
Happy Holidays,

Nice find! While I do not need another reverb, I can’t pass this deal up, thanks again @mr.roos


I just bought Analog Lab V, it is on sale now.
I will follow your advice and see where is it going.
Thank you again for your help,

All the best,