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#1320554 - 12/07/09 05:58 PM Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
My wife teaches private piano at home and has a Yamaha P-120, mainly to encourage the little ones to play the same thing over and over in different voices, and to practice her church service stuff which is often organ based (on an incredibly lame church keyboard unfortunately, a toy really). She plays her Young Chang 6.1' Grand otherwise, which has a nice bright sound and a light action.

I (an EE with a very strong interest in electronic music - but I play guitar, not keys) usually scour the web for info regarding recommended keyboards for her students. I put together a one-page deal over the last couple of days based on our trying things at Guitar Center and looking at PDF manuals on-line. The only keyboard in the list (complete list: Casio CDP-100, Yamaha P-85, and Yamaha P-155) that we couldn't see & try was the Yamaha P-155.

To me, what makes a piano truly magical is the sound of single, sustained notes with the pedal down. Looping (totally stone-age compression technology) kills this, as does the lack of sympathetic resonance modeling. Although I've never played with one, I think the GEM piano modules garnered rave reviews simply due to their sympathetic resonance feature.

Anyway, my questions are regarding the P-155 general sampling, sympathetic resonance sampling, and key-off sampling: Is there obvious looping (like nearly all digital pianos have - a total peeve of mine)? Is the sympathetic resonance obvious? Obnoxious? Real-sounding? Desirable? How about the key-off sampling? Could someone who owns one please comment on this? Also, could someone who owns one please post a sample at the Digital Piano Shootout at Purgatory Creek? Thanks!


Edited by dewster (12/07/09 06:01 PM)

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#1320599 - 12/07/09 07:27 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: dewster

Anyway, my questions are regarding the P-155 general sampling, sympathetic resonance sampling, and key-off sampling: Is there obvious looping (like nearly all digital pianos have - a total peeve of mine)? Is the sympathetic resonance obvious? Obnoxious? Real-sounding? Desirable? How about the key-off sampling?


The effects, resonance, key-off and so on are adjustable. You can turn them up or down. Look in the user manual where it talks about the "functions". I think the Yamaha has a clean sound not muddied up with over done resonance.

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#1320750 - 12/07/09 11:14 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: ChrisA]
dewster Offline
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Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Thanks for the response ChrisA!

Is the resonance effect realistic in your opinion? Does it add significantly to the piano experience? Also, if you adjust it, does the adjustment "stick" through a power cycle? The P-120 forgets everything with a power cycle...

I'm really interested in looping artifacts too - do you hear it on single sustained notes? I can clearly here it on our P-120, and every other digital piano I've messed with (lots).
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#1320766 - 12/07/09 11:56 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
OK, I looked more closely at both the P-120 and P-155 manuals. It looks like you can set what things are remembered through a power cycle per category in both keyboards. The P-120 forgets it after a week or so, the P-155 appears to remember it until you change it or do a factory reset.

I really don't like some of the voices being relegated to that hokey "strings/others" key. On the P-120 each voice has it's own key. This is a clear step backward IMO. In fact, it's almost a deal killer in terms of how my wife and students use a keyboard.

I'm still rabidly interested in hearing what owners of the P-155 think of the sympathetic resonance effect, and if looping is audible. From the press releases this keyboard has 4 samples per note, but does that mean they sampled every key, or is there the possibility they are still stretching samples over multiple keys? From the P-155 brochure:

"Using Yamaha's Dynamic Stereo Sampling (DSS) technology,
the incredibly natural 4-level piano sample is a breakthrough
achievement for digital pianos. It means that, depending on
how hard you strike a note, you will hear one of four piano
recordings on each and every key for an unprecedented level
of dynamic range and tonal expression"

Blah, blah, blah (translation: we're only 10 years behind PC-based samplers.) The key phrase "on each and every key" leads me to believe they are sampling every key, but who knows? I wish manufacturers would come out and say what their product do in unambiguous terms. Should I even care what "pure CF sampling" means?

A P-155 sample uploaded to Purgatory Creek would be vastly appreciated! I'm on my hands and knees here people...


Edited by dewster (12/07/09 11:58 PM)
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#1320836 - 12/08/09 02:22 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: dewster

A P-155 sample uploaded to Purgatory Creek would be vastly appreciated! I'm on my hands and knees here people...


I just unpacked a P155. It will be January before I'm set up to record it.

BTW mine, unpacked just now, is a low serial number indicating that there are well under 2,000 thousand "in the wild" They are still new. They are made in Japan. I was surprised

I can't hear a loop on long sustains. But that does not mean it's not there. Maybe I just don't know what to listen for. But to my ears, no loop.

From your comments it sounds to me like what you really want is a Roland FP7 or RD700. These are hybrid sampler/modelers and have access to a dozen or so piano voices (plus hundreds of others) and have better key action. The cost is about double or triple. But you do get a nicer LCD screen and direct access to many different sounds via Roland's "scroll wheel" you get a steel case, no plastic or particle board. But did I say the price is double or triple?

I got the P155 because I'm mostly going to be playing the "piano 1" sound in headphones. It is the best DP in it's price point for that.


Edited by ChrisA (12/08/09 02:44 AM)

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#1320860 - 12/08/09 04:04 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: ChrisA]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8877
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
dewster, I don't believe Yamaha sample all 88 keys separately.

However, this is not necessarily a negative point, as it could potentially allow more memory to be allocated to the keys that are sampled, thus longer samples (and less noticeable looping).

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1320997 - 12/08/09 11:18 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Kawai James]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
ChrisA: Turn off the reverb, and perhaps the resonance too, then play and hold an individual note for 10 seconds or so. You might have to try different notes until you find one where the looping is really obvious. The sound will go from a rich, realistic, three strings slowly beating thing (the sample) to something more static and fake sounding (the loop). It may be more obvious in headphones. I hate looping!

Interesting about the low serial number.

Regarding the FP7: We briefly played one at Guitar Center but didn't like the feel of the keys, they bottomed out hard. Also didn't like the look or feel of the buttons. From the FP7 manual Roland says "Every note of an 88-key grand piano has been sampled..." and at Purgatory Creek it lists the two piano sounds as "Each Note Sampled: Yes" but there seem to be no resonance samples, which is what I'm really interested in. I also listened to the samples at Purgatory Creek and Grand Piano 1 struck me as overly metallic; GP2 was better, but somewhat phasey in my AKG K271 headphones, the notes seemed to be coming from multiple random directions.


Edited by dewster (12/08/09 11:34 AM)
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#1321006 - 12/08/09 11:30 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
KAWAI James: It appears you work in the industry (I'm jealous!) so my question to you is this: I can buy a 4 GB flash drive for ~$10, so why are keyboard manufacturers still treating sample storage memory like gold? Why does every keyboard still use stone-age compression i.e. looping? I really just do not understand why keyboards, and digital pianos in particular, are so far behind the technology curve. Are we all just sitting around waiting for the last old-school designer to retire / die? I'm completely baffled...


Edited by dewster (12/08/09 11:31 AM)
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#1321063 - 12/08/09 12:34 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
UPDATE:

Just got the following vague reply from Yamaha tech support regarding samples on the P-155:


The notes are individually sampled.
Thank you,
R.R.
Pro Audio & Combo Support
Yamaha Corp. of America
(714)522-9950

Application/Technical Support
Is every note sampled on the P-155 digital piano? Or are samples stretched over multiple keys? Why isn't this basic and important information included in the sales brochure or user's manual?
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#1321074 - 12/08/09 12:50 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
munkeegutz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 63
Loc: Orlando, FL
I wanna know the same thing: if you can get a 500gig hard drive for $55 and 1gig of ram for $23 there should be no problems getting a 800MB piano sample (or 40) on there. heck! you could fill up the entire midi standard with 1gig samples and still have plenty of space for your 300gb of rhythm data wink

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#1321090 - 12/08/09 01:22 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: dewster
KAWAI James: It appears you work in the industry (I'm jealous!) so my question to you is this: I can buy a 4 GB flash drive for ~$10, so why are keyboard manufacturers still treating sample storage memory like gold? Why does every keyboard still use stone-age compression i.e. looping? I really just do not understand why keyboards, and digital pianos in particular, are so far behind the technology curve. Are we all just sitting around waiting for the last old-school designer to retire / die? I'm completely baffled...


I doubt that they can use cheap flash RAM in a DP. The controller can never predict which note will be played so it would have to keep the entire sample set in fast dynamic RAM. Flash is to slow. The processor needs sub-millisecond random access to the sample set. (think about 128 note polyphony with latency under 1ms. If the samples are all 44.1K 16-bit they have a fairly healthy memory bandwidth requirement. This means they can't be using iPod style flash RAM.

I spend an entire afternoon in the DP section of a guitar center and could not help to notice the other customers. Every one of them, and there were lots seems concerned about a $20 difference in price between two models. None seemed to care much about the sounds. I was the only customer out of 100 that even thought to bring in his own headphones. Most would play the keys only for a few seconds then move on. I did meet only a couple other customers who were listening carefully.

So my opinion, at least as it applies to under $1K keyboards is that people care a lot about price and little about sound. So Yamaha, casio and the like give the customer what he wants.

But this does not explain the over $1K DPs.


Edited by ChrisA (12/08/09 01:37 PM)

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#1321100 - 12/08/09 01:50 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: ChrisA]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 448
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
Originally Posted By: ChrisA

I spend an entire afternoon in the DP section of a guitar center and could not help to notice the other customers. Every one of them, and there were lots seems concerned about a $20 difference in price between two models. None seemed to care much about the sounds.


At this time of year, they are probably buying DPs as presents for their children, not for themselves, so it makes sense they would be more concerned about price. And to non-players, the DPs from various brands probably don't sound all that different anyway.
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#1321174 - 12/08/09 03:26 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Martin C. Doege]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Martin C. Doege
Originally Posted By: ChrisA

I spend an entire afternoon in the DP section of a guitar center and could not help to notice the other customers. Every one of them, and there were lots seems concerned about a $20 difference in price between two models. None seemed to care much about the sounds.


At this time of year, they are probably buying DPs as presents for their children, not for themselves, so it makes sense they would be more concerned about price. And to non-players, the DPs from various brands probably don't sound all that different anyway.


I agree with Martin - and would add that this applies to any musical instrument being bought by relatively clueless parents. It's rather tragic, actually.

I think there are many on this forum and elsewhere that can appreciate better instruments, and are striving to find them through the open exchange of information (unlike the manufacturers).

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#1321188 - 12/08/09 03:48 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 448
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
Originally Posted By: dewster

I agree with Martin - and would add that this applies to any musical instrument being bought by relatively clueless parents. It's rather tragic, actually.

I think there are many on this forum and elsewhere that can appreciate better instruments, and are striving to find them through the open exchange of information (unlike the manufacturers).


Or perhaps the "clueless parents" are right in this case: Compared to a bad acoustic, the typical Casio or Yamaha entry-level digital sounds pretty great, and the differences in touch are not that huge. So they mainly buy based on price, what the sales guy says, and whether the DP color fits with the other living room furniture. Hopefully the second instrument will then be bought with their children having a say...
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#1321213 - 12/08/09 04:28 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: ChrisA]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
I doubt that they can use cheap flash RAM in a DP. The controller can never predict which note will be played so it would have to keep the entire sample set in fast dynamic RAM. Flash is to slow. The processor needs sub-millisecond random access to the sample set. (think about 128 note polyphony with latency under 1ms. If the samples are all 44.1K 16-bit they have a fairly healthy memory bandwidth requirement. This means they can't be using iPod style flash RAM.


I've got 10 years of embedded logic design (FPGAs) under my belt, so I think I can comment on this :-).

There are much larger and somewhat faster parts out there, but let's take a relatively slow commodity part like the ST Microelectronics M29DW323DT Parallel NOR Flash which is a 4MB part (4Mb x8 or 2Mb x16) with an access time of 70ns. For a 44.1kHz sample rate, we need a sample every 1/(44100Hz) = 22676ns. 22676ns / 70ns = 324 samples per sample period. We could double this by doubling the width of the flash, thus retrieving two samples per memory access, which gives 648 samples per sample period.

648 polyphony!

Of course, this is just to a first order and there will be a need for interpolation between samples, amplitude adjustments (multiplications), filtering (multiply & accumulate), etc. But even relatively lame flash has a port bandwidth that is entirely capable of massive sample playback, and buffering the entire sample set in faster RAM is not necessary.

Having said all that, where the hell is my fully sampled, non-looped, 16 layer (8 pedal up, 8 pedal down), $1000 digital piano? There is no excuse (other than laziness) for this product not to exist at this point. The first manufacturer to build it will blow everyone else out of the water!


Edited by dewster (12/08/09 04:40 PM)
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#1321295 - 12/08/09 06:49 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
KeVan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 60
Innovation comes from research and research costs money. Manufacturers are MOSTLY in it for the profits. I know I shouldn't really bring in economics, and such into this thread, but hey, who doesn't like their money. And maximizing their profits is what humans do best (or some at least).

Side note, you ever tried the V-piano? If you did, what do you think of it?

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#1321334 - 12/08/09 07:48 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8877
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
dewster, I'm afraid I do not have the technical knowledge to provide a satisfactory answer to your question.

However, while the sound of most consumer digital pianos is certainly no match for dedicated software-based sample pianos such as Ivory or Garritan Steinway, I do believe that the technology employed has progressed considerably in recent years. Furthermore, with innovative new products such as the V-Piano and Avant Grand raising the bar, it is surely only a matter of time before your prayers are answered.

ChrisA makes an excellent point about consumer expectations. I do not believe the majority of individuals who purchase a digital piano are terribly interested in how many layers have been sampled, the resolution and bit depth of the voices, or the maximum polyphony of model X versus model Y. Most consumers simply expect an instrument to feel and sound like an acoustic piano - provided it fulfils these expectations I believe they will be quite satisfied.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1321399 - 12/08/09 09:59 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3788
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
I doubt that they can use cheap flash RAM in a DP. The controller can never predict which note will be played so it would have to keep the entire sample set in fast dynamic RAM. Flash is to slow. The processor needs sub-millisecond random access to the sample set. (think about 128 note polyphony with latency under 1ms. If the samples are all 44.1K 16-bit they have a fairly healthy memory bandwidth requirement. This means they can't be using iPod style flash RAM.
There are much larger and somewhat faster parts out there, but let's take a relatively slow commodity part like the ST Microelectronics M29DW323DT Parallel NOR Flash which is a 4MB part (4Mb x8 or 2Mb x16) with an access time of 70ns. For a 44.1kHz sample rate, we need a sample every 1/(44100Hz) = 22676ns. 22676ns / 70ns = 324 samples per sample period. We could double this by doubling the width of the flash, thus retrieving two samples per memory access, which gives 648 samples per sample period.

648 polyphony!
...

Having said all that, where the hell is my fully sampled, non-looped, 16 layer (8 pedal up, 8 pedal down), $1000 digital piano? There is no excuse (other than laziness) for this product not to exist at this point. The first manufacturer to build it will blow everyone else out of the water!

You can have all of that ... but not for $1000. Could it be made and sold for that price? Maybe. But put yourselves in the manufacturer's position. Why do it? People are willing to by $6000 (?) for the V Piano, or $20,000 for the Avant Grand. So why give it all away for $1000?

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#1321436 - 12/08/09 11:06 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: MacMacMac]
Triryche Offline
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Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1451
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
FYI..

I do not own one, but I'm pretty sure the P-155 does not have sympathetic resonance, which is different than damper/sustain resonance.

But really, in the grand scheme of things, at the price point of ~ $1000 USD, it is a respectable board.

Just curious why you are only looking at the above listed boards? Is it a price thing? If not, and you are looking for the best sound in a DP, you should also consider the major players' flagship models.
Without getting into the console DP units, these are definately worth looking into @ ~ $2k
The Yamaha CP300 or S90es/xs
Roland RD700sx/gx
Kawai MP8 or MP8II

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#1321466 - 12/08/09 11:46 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: KeVan]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: KeVan
Innovation comes from research and research costs money. Manufacturers are MOSTLY in it for the profits. I know I shouldn't really bring in economics, and such into this thread, but hey, who doesn't like their money. And maximizing their profits is what humans do best (or some at least).

Side note, you ever tried the V-piano? If you did, what do you think of it?


I've tried the Pianoteq a fair amount and like it very much. I also have the Vintaudio Yamaha C7 samples and like the close-mic sample a lot. There's no reason on Earth why you couldn't buy either of these in a rack-mount or keyboard for way, way less than the V-piano. Pianoteq even has a Linux port now. Get some of the younger coders on it if the oldsters can't handle it. That's what they do in the US anyway (our corporate masters would gladly throw them under the bus for a little more corporate jet fuel $).
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#1321478 - 12/08/09 11:58 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: MacMacMac]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac

You can have all of that ... but not for $1000. Could it be made and sold for that price? Maybe. But put yourselves in the manufacturer's position. Why do it? People are willing to by $6000 (?) for the V Piano, or $20,000 for the Avant Grand. So why give it all away for $1000?


I'd buy it, that's why, and you would too. What are we talking here? 1GB of flash, 1GHz processor, a bit of ram, almost nothing these days. You can put it together yourself at newegg. I'm so tired of the table scraps they've been peddling. They're so used to know-nothing parents looking for a deal on a first keyboard they don't know how to make anything real anymore. Sometimes I wonder if they are colluding in keeping our expectations low and their prices artificially high...
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#1321490 - 12/09/09 12:13 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Triryche]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Triryche
I do not own one, but I'm pretty sure the P-155 does not have sympathetic resonance, which is different than damper/sustain resonance.

The P155 manual says it has "Sustain Samples". You are correct, this isn't the same as pedal down velocity layers (if that is what you meant). But that is better than nothing, particularly when compared to other digital pianos (which isn't saying a lot).

Originally Posted By: Triryche
But really, in the grand scheme of things, at the price point of ~ $1000 USD, it is a respectable board.

Yes, but only when compared to other digital pianos (which isn't saying a lot).

Originally Posted By: Triryche
Just curious why you are only looking at the above listed boards? Is it a price thing? If not, and you are looking for the best sound in a DP, you should also consider the major players' flagship models.
Without getting into the console DP units, these are definately worth looking into @ ~ $2k
The Yamaha CP300 or S90es/xs
Roland RD700sx/gx
Kawai MP8 or MP8II

CP300, RD700sx/gx, MP8 all have looping (so says Purgatory Creek). No way in hell am I laying serious bucks down for inferior technology. PC samplers had it all over these guys like 5+ years ago, who are they kidding? Not me.
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#1321493 - 12/09/09 12:14 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Triryche]
mezzo-poor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 47
You can check if your DP handles "sympathetic resonance"(some manufacturers call it "string resonance") or not.

Without pressing the sustain pedal, press C4(center C) with ppp and then press F3(F which is lower closest to C4) with staccato with strong accent. If you hear the sound of C5(one octave upper than C4) your DP handles sympathetic resonance.

This happens because the 3rd harmonic of F3 is close to the 2nd harmonic of C4.

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#1321506 - 12/09/09 12:31 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Kawai James]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
However, while the sound of most consumer digital pianos is certainly no match for dedicated software-based sample pianos such as Ivory or Garritan Steinway, I do believe that the technology employed has progressed considerably in recent years.
It hasn't progressed nearly as fast as the PC sampler / emulator market. No disrespect, but what do the engineers DO all day at Kawai? Sit around designing the next micro-incremental advance in digital pianos by adding/removing a button here and there? Look at ancient PC samplers and say "we could do that"?

Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
Furthermore, with innovative new products such as the V-Piano and Avant Grand raising the bar, it is surely only a matter of time before your prayers are answered.
My prayers were answered years ago with PC samplers / emulators. I just want someone to put it in a rackmount / keyboard. Is that seriously too much to ask?

Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
ChrisA makes an excellent point about consumer expectations. I do not believe the majority of individuals who purchase a digital piano are terribly interested in how many layers have been sampled, the resolution and bit depth of the voices, or the maximum polyphony of model X versus model Y. Most consumers simply expect an instrument to feel and sound like an acoustic piano - provided it fulfils these expectations I believe they will be quite satisfied.
This board is full of people who are quite interested in these details, otherwise it probably would not exist. Also, leaders lead, they don't sit around following blind consumers and their idiot expectations, they are busy dreaming up and implementing the next big thing.

Please excuse my rudeness, my hair would be on fire 24/7 if I were able to work at Kawai (or Yamaha, Roland, Korg, etc.).
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#1321511 - 12/09/09 12:34 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: munkeegutz]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: munkeegutz
I wanna know the same thing: if you can get a 500gig hard drive for $55 and 1gig of ram for $23 there should be no problems getting a 800MB piano sample (or 40) on there. heck! you could fill up the entire midi standard with 1gig samples and still have plenty of space for your 300gb of rhythm data wink


It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...
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#1321513 - 12/09/09 12:38 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Martin C. Doege]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: Martin C. Doege

Or perhaps the "clueless parents" are right in this case: Compared to a bad acoustic, the typical Casio or Yamaha entry-level digital sounds pretty great, and the differences in touch are not that huge. So they mainly buy based on price, what the sales guy says, and whether the DP color fits with the other living room furniture. Hopefully the second instrument will then be bought with their children having a say...
I learned guitar on a very lame Harmony that had rather serious intonation problems - there was really no way to tune it correctly. It was a serious impediment to my musical education and enjoyment. The first instrument can make or break an interest in a whole area of interest of one's life.

[edit] If you're talking Casio CDP-100 as as low a one should go, I'd agree. But many of my wife's students play on crap toys, and it is often impossible to get their parents to upgrade once they have made the initial investment (however small). Everyone suffers as a result.


Edited by dewster (12/09/09 01:46 AM)
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#1321524 - 12/09/09 12:54 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
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I've been thinking lately, I'm a computer engineering student so how hard would it be to design something like this on an FPGA? We could keep it simple at first, and just use a single piano sample, off some flash. it looks like the memory involved would be pretty cheap. I have quite a few ideas about simplifying the system, especially if I can give myself some ridiculous polyphony (704 polyphony, or 8*88, would make me happy).

I have concerns with hardware costs and how much processing power I'd need, i'm especially doubtful that a cheap FPGA could pull it off. nonetheless, I like it!

I think I have a senior design idea.....


Edited by munkeegutz (12/09/09 12:55 AM)

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#1321538 - 12/09/09 01:17 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: munkeegutz]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: munkeegutz
I've been thinking lately, I'm a computer engineering student so how hard would it be to design something like this on an FPGA? We could keep it simple at first, and just use a single piano sample, off some flash. it looks like the memory involved would be pretty cheap. I have quite a few ideas about simplifying the system, especially if I can give myself some ridiculous polyphony (704 polyphony, or 8*88, would make me happy).

I have concerns with hardware costs and how much processing power I'd need, i'm especially doubtful that a cheap FPGA could pull it off. nonetheless, I like it!

I think I have a senior design idea.....


I learned on VHDL but switched to Verilog for a big project a couple of years ago - I highly recommend Verilog (less verbose, etc.). Do your project on a Xilinx Spartan3 demo board (can be had for <$200, has flash, DRAM, LCD, AD/DA, RS232, VGA, etc.). I use the simulator in Altera's Quartus tool (very nice). Not sure if FPGAs are the way to go for a full-blown commercial synth, but the smaller ones are showing up in all kinds of things lately. Most now have hardware multipliers / DSP sections associated with 1/2 or more of the block RAMs.

I really love digital design, it is much more creative than I ever thought it would be (I was an analog hobbyist in my youth)! Look at www.opencores.org & anywhere else you can find ideas.

For this kind of thing you will probably end up needing to understand DRAM interfaces (complex) and the DSP blocks.

You can really differentiate yourself from the other EE coders by making FPGAs your thing, it is a niche job that requires a special skill set. It is true digital design. I enjoy working with both the board guys and the C coders, and I never really have to get my hands too dirty or worry about external deadlines too much.


Edited by dewster (12/09/09 01:23 AM)
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#1321552 - 12/09/09 01:55 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
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If I were an EE in the synth / digital piano department of Korg, Yamaha, Roland, KAWAI, whatever (drool, drool) I don't know if I'd be able to get out of bed in the morning and hold my head up after having my ass repeatedly kicked by cheap PC software / hardware for the last decade or so. Don't those guys have any self-respect? How do they show up for work every day and manage turn on their PC, knowing that it pwned almost their entire product line years ago?
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#1321556 - 12/09/09 02:02 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Triryche Offline
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Originally Posted By: dewster

The P155 manual says it has "Sustain Samples". You are correct, this isn't the same as pedal down velocity layers (if that is what you meant).

Sympathetic (or string) resonance is the simulation (be it sampled or modeled) of undamped strings being excited by other strings, due to harmonics as mezzo-poor points out.

Originally Posted By: dewster

CP300, RD700sx/gx, MP8 all have looping (so says Purgatory Creek). No way in hell am I laying serious bucks down for inferior technology. PC samplers had it all over these guys like 5+ years ago, who are they kidding? Not me.

confused I guess I am a bit confused. I (mistakenly?) thought the intent of your post was to gather opinions on the realism of DP's for recommendations for students. Perhaps it's more of a discussion on the state of the art and/or price and demand.
PC ROMplers are a far cry from a quality stand alone final product which offers musicians a viable alternative to an acoustic piano.
Inferior technology?? Hardly!!

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#1321579 - 12/09/09 04:21 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Martin C. Doege Offline
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Originally Posted By: dewster
If I were an EE in the synth / digital piano department of Korg, Yamaha, Roland, KAWAI, whatever (drool, drool) I don't know if I'd be able to get out of bed in the morning and hold my head up after having my ass repeatedly kicked by cheap PC software / hardware for the last decade or so. Don't those guys have any self-respect? How do they show up for work every day and manage turn on their PC, knowing that it pwned almost their entire product line years ago?


Well, that's monopoly (or duopoly) capitalism for you. Yamaha brings out a DP with 3 layers, Casio follows suit. Yamaha upgrades to 4 layers (P-155), Casio will follow suit. Etc. There aren't many improvements to the hardware per se, so instead they play the incremental update game. This may also be due to manufacturers considering DPs a more or less finished product, so the R&D budgets are probably not that big anymore, except for developments like the V-Piano or AvantGrand.

If you created a startup company and developed something much, much better, Yamaha and Casio would probably buy you out. Ideally they would integrate the technology into their own DPs (that's how half of Apple's products seem to have begun), or perhaps they would simply bury it (more likely).

Originally Posted By: dewster
If you're talking Casio CDP-100 as as low a one should go, I'd agree. But many of my wife's students play on crap toys, and it is often impossible to get their parents to upgrade once they have made the initial investment (however small). Everyone suffers as a result.


I was mainly referring to people buying some random weighted Casio or Yamaha, and how they can't really go completely wrong with that (for a beginner). Of course there are also quite a bit of no-name trash keyboards...
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#1321705 - 12/09/09 11:28 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Triryche]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: Triryche
I guess I am a bit confused. I (mistakenly?) thought the intent of your post was to gather opinions on the realism of DP's for recommendations for students. Perhaps it's more of a discussion on the state of the art and/or price and demand.
Sorry, I got worked up and hijacked my own thread!

Originally Posted By: Triryche
PC ROMplers are a far cry from a quality stand alone final product which offers musicians a viable alternative to an acoustic piano.
Inferior technology?? Hardly!!
Well, digital pianos are not nearly state-of-the-art when it comes to the electronic guts. Treating sample memory like it is some kind of precious commodity is so 1980's. And fairly snappy processors are a dime a dozen these days. You throw out what could be the brains of a very good digital piano every time you upgrade your cell phone.

I think DP manufacturers are playing the same game PC "manufacturers" like Dell, HP, etc. are playing. Any feature not immediately obvious to the average Joe consumer is designed out. This is why I build my own PCs.
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#1321814 - 12/09/09 01:35 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Triryche Offline
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Originally Posted By: dewster
Sorry, I got worked up and hijacked my own thread!

LOL!! Hopefully you didn't offend the OP!!

Originally Posted By: dewster
Well, digital pianos are not nearly state-of-the-art when it comes to the electronic guts. Treating sample memory like it is some kind of precious commodity is so 1980's.
Yeah, it's definitely the marketing smoke and mirrors game aimed at the not so electronically savvy musician or parent.

We are definitely stuck with either being spoon fed, or forking out ridiculous $$. (or starting your own business).

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#1321833 - 12/09/09 01:51 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Martin C. Doege]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: Martin C. Doege
Of course there are also quite a bit of no-name trash keyboards...


As well as a bunch of name-brand trash keyboards - my wife has to play on an older ~$500 "toy" Yamaha at church, poor thing. I installed their PA, and every chance I get I tell them they really need something better, but it seems they already crossed that bridge and don't really want to discuss it further.

Same thing with most of the parents of her students, can't get them to upgrade from a terribly insufficient toy to save their lives, even if it is obviously holding the student back. They spend so much on lessons, the price of a decent (as they go) DP is nothing in comparison. Sometimes I fantasize going the "cold, dead hands" route :-).
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#1321872 - 12/09/09 02:48 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Triryche]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: Triryche
We are definitely stuck with either being spoon fed, or forking out ridiculous $$. (or starting your own business).


Or not buying for a while until things catch up, that's the route I'm taking. Meanwhile, my wife needs recommendations from the current lame crop of DPs, and I have to hold my nose while perusing the stone knives and bearskins that pass for such.

I had an email exchange with someone at Pianoteq a year or more ago. In the process of begging for a teacher's discount (which they offer BTW) I begged the guy to put something like it in a box or board, but he said they weren't interested. Now that they have a Linux port I wonder if rolling your own box wouldn't be so difficult.
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#1321973 - 12/09/09 04:46 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
dewster Offline
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UPDATE:

I sent another email to Yamaha asking several questions about the sampling on the P-155. Got a call on the answering machine a couple of minutes ago from a guy named "Lewis" who proceeded to hem and haw his way through not answering any of them - and then he was cut off by our machine.

Lewis claimed that the engineers don't divulge how they do the sampling on the P-155 (lord, like sampling is some huge trade secret) but he did say that he didn't think all the keys were sampled (i.e. there is some stretching of samples across multiple keys) which is pretty much the opposite of what my first email from Yamaha seems to state.

The feeling I get about this is that Yamaha doesn't want to go on record with any technical info not in the brochure or user's manual (which is pretty slim pickens IMO). They make a big deal about the number of multi-samples, but they won't discuss looping or stretching, issues which are arguably as important. I guess I'll just have to find one in a store and check out the looping / stretching myself <sigh>.

Anyone from Yamaha out there that could comment on this? I want to know, definitively, the following:
1. Is every key individually sampled (i.e. no sample stretching)?
2. How many velocity layers (I assume 4)?
3. Are there pedal up and pedal down velocity layers, or what?
4. Is looping employed?
5. Is the sympathetic resonance a single sample? If not, what is it?

Is this too much to ask? This kind of info is readily available for any PC sample set as it is critical to judging the sample set quality. I don't see DPs as any different.
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#1322013 - 12/09/09 05:41 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
signa Offline
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1. i don't think that every key is sampled on current Yamaha DPs, low or high end (except perhaps n2/n3). i remember some people talked about it a while ago on this forum.
2. P155 has 4 level dynamic sampling, i.e. velocity layers.

5. no idea. but P155 definitely doesn't have it, while CP300/P250/PF500/CLP380 all have it.

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#1322051 - 12/09/09 06:30 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: signa]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: signa
1. i don't think that every key is sampled on current Yamaha DPs, low or high end (except perhaps n2/n3). i remember some people talked about it a while ago on this forum.


OK, that right there tells me I'm not interested in the P-155 as a replacement for our P-120. I'll just keep waiting I guess <sigh>.

Thanks!
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#1322069 - 12/09/09 07:02 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Martin C. Doege Offline
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Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: signa
1. i don't think that every key is sampled on current Yamaha DPs, low or high end (except perhaps n2/n3). i remember some people talked about it a while ago on this forum.


OK, that right there tells me I'm not interested in the P-155 as a replacement for our P-120. I'll just keep waiting I guess <sigh>.

Thanks!


I believe Yamaha samples about every third piano key, while Roland actually does sample every single key. It might be that the higher-end Clavinovas are also sampled key-for-key.

However, I still prefer the sound of a Yamaha over a Roland for some reason. It's also about the quality, not just quantity of samples used. Fewer sampled keys means a longer time before looping sets in (if one assumes the same memory footprint), which is presumably why Yamaha still does sample stretching.
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#1322074 - 12/09/09 07:16 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Martin C. Doege]
dewster Offline
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I think all DP manufacturers have put a lot of time and money into making the samples for their keyboards, and they are reluctant to just dump them in these days of $1 GB ROM.

Sucks to be them - I'm tired of their ancient crap and refuse to buy any more of it until it is less than a decade behind current technology.
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#1322079 - 12/09/09 07:23 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Martin C. Doege]
Guoguodi Offline
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As others have already stated, there is no sympathetic string resonance on the P155. Hell, even Synthogy Ivory doesn't have resonance, which sucks from a playing point of view, but in terms of recording and playback isn't such a big issue to me personally. This is an area in which Pianoteq obviously shines.

On the P155 there is no looping as far as I can tell. However, I'd agree that the sampling is interpolated (not every key sampled). There are some quality issues with the tenor range on the P155, in my opinion -- it just doesn't sound very clear at all. Something noticeably "wrong" with the sound if you listen carefully. It is even more apparent when you use the sustain pedal; all the clarity is reduced to mush. Compare with Synthogy Ivory's sampled Steinway which actually has a reputation for being unrealistically flat and clean.

I'd have to agree with dewster that PC based software is still ahead of 90% of DPs out there.

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#1322095 - 12/09/09 07:46 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Guoguodi]
ChrisA Offline
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Originally Posted By: Guoguodi

I'd have to agree with dewster that PC based software is still ahead of 90% of DPs out there.


I think this will remain the case as long as Computers have much more powerful processors inside of them. This is what makes the the software instruments better, they simply have more CPU cycles available and can run more detailed models.

When you ask for a better DP, rather then specifying the technology to be used it would be better to specify the result. What we need is a way to specify the quality of the sound. We need a vocabulary for talking about the sound.

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#1322305 - 12/09/09 11:50 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Guoguodi]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: Guoguodi
As others have already stated, there is no sympathetic string resonance on the P155. Hell, even Synthogy Ivory doesn't have resonance, which sucks from a playing point of view, but in terms of recording and playback isn't such a big issue to me personally. This is an area in which Pianoteq obviously shines.

On the P155 there is no looping as far as I can tell. However, I'd agree that the sampling is interpolated (not every key sampled). There are some quality issues with the tenor range on the P155, in my opinion -- it just doesn't sound very clear at all. Something noticeably "wrong" with the sound if you listen carefully. It is even more apparent when you use the sustain pedal; all the clarity is reduced to mush. Compare with Synthogy Ivory's sampled Steinway which actually has a reputation for being unrealistically flat and clean.


Thanks very much for your impression of the P-155, it helps me very much! If you can tell there is note stretching then I know I definitely am not interested in it. Do you know of a similarly priced DP that has better sound?

Originally Posted By: Guoguodi
I'd have to agree with dewster that PC based software is still ahead of 90% of DPs out there.


Are you saying that 10% of DPs out there that can compete with PC based stuff? Which ones are they (not counting the V-Piano)?
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#1322311 - 12/09/09 11:58 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: ChrisA]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: ChrisA
I think this will remain the case as long as Computers have much more powerful processors inside of them. This is what makes the the software instruments better, they simply have more CPU cycles available and can run more detailed models.


Yes, but they are also running a non-real-time bloated operating system. Get Windows (or OS-X) out of the way and you can get by with a ~$10 ARM or similar (this will happen with netbooks soon). A small FPGA would probably help as well.

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
When you ask for a better DP, rather then specifying the technology to be used it would be better to specify the result. What we need is a way to specify the quality of the sound. We need a vocabulary for talking about the sound.


Well, part of the vocabulary is:
1. Is every key individually sampled?
2. How many velocity layers?
3. Are there pedal up and pedal down velocity layers, or what?
4. Is looping employed?
5. Is the sympathetic resonance modeled?

But Yamaha evidently considers this proprietary information, not to be disclosed to anyone on penalty of death. So much for your vocabulary.

DP manufacturers have met the enemy, and they are the consumer.
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#1322340 - 12/10/09 12:47 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Guoguodi Offline
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Originally Posted By: dewster
Do you know of a similarly priced DP that has better sound?


Well, I know that the Kawai ES6 does simulate sympathetic resonance to an extent; what they call "Harmonic Imaging" or something. It falls into the same price range as the P155. However personally I found the overall tone of the P155 preferable to the ES6's. One very strong point of the ES6, acknowledged by everyone I know who's played one, is its fantastic bass sound. Yamaha pianos (in general) do not have the nicest bass tone for classical music.

A good sample library like Synthogy Ivory sounds vastly superior to the P155. Although at one time I was satisfied with the P155, now having used Ivory I can't go back! Depending on your needs, you might find the software route superior in terms of sound -- beware though that it isn't exactly easy to set up, and it definitely isn't hassle-free in getting everything working nicely.

Can someone outline again why DP manufacturers can't, or won't, rely on modern, cheap consumer grade hardware to achieve superior sound? Why does $300 worth of piano samples surpass a $3000 DP's sound? If Synthogy Ivory "only" requires about 50GB, why not put it on a cheap but reliable 10,000RPM embedded hard drive? Throw in 2GB of RAM and tweak the embedded operating system to work with this new hardware and the larger sample library. Latency wouldn't be an issue at this scale, there's basically just the read latency off the hard drive which is minimal.

DP design has remained unchanged since the 1980s; manufacturers and consumers are content to work with "state of the art" that's decades old. I understand there's a strong disincentive for manufacturers to not rock the boat and change the status quo -- after all, it works "good enough" for most DP consumers out there. One of the bigger reasons must be the small size of the enthusiast market. The market's tiny, and hence innovation is at a snail's pace compared to other computing/electronic technologies.

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#1322423 - 12/10/09 05:26 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Guoguodi]
Martin C. Doege Offline
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It's like with calculators: They are basically rugged designs with relatively slow CPUs that are outclassed by e.g. the iPhone. I mean, the TI-89 is still available after a decade or so with minimal changes, so low-end DP progress has not stalled as much as calculator progress.

OTOH, if you put a hard drive in a DP, it might become less reliable and more prone to electronics failures. If dewster's dream instrument will ever get built, it would need to be treated with more care than a "normal" DP.

How does a Tyros store its samples by the way? Aren't they using hard disks in there already?
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#1322519 - 12/10/09 10:03 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Guoguodi]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: Guoguodi
A good sample library like Synthogy Ivory sounds vastly superior to the P155. Although at one time I was satisfied with the P155, now having used Ivory I can't go back! Depending on your needs, you might find the software route superior in terms of sound -- beware though that it isn't exactly easy to set up, and it definitely isn't hassle-free in getting everything working nicely.


Yes, I own a nice C7 sample from VintAudio that I use from time to time for rendering MIDI. I have played around quite a bit with the Pianoteq demo and plan to purchase it some day as it is much simpler to render MIDI with, sounds very realistic, isn't a resource hog, and is a fascinatingly tweakable product otherwise.

Originally Posted By: Guoguodi
Can someone outline again why DP manufacturers can't, or won't, rely on modern, cheap consumer grade hardware to achieve superior sound? Why does $300 worth of piano samples surpass a $3000 DP's sound? If Synthogy Ivory "only" requires about 50GB, why not put it on a cheap but reliable 10,000RPM embedded hard drive? Throw in 2GB of RAM and tweak the embedded operating system to work with this new hardware and the larger sample library. Latency wouldn't be an issue at this scale, there's basically just the read latency off the hard drive which is minimal.


It is a mystery. My theory is they are just lazy and overly dependent on clueless consumers. And I for one am not going to take it any more. Someone wake me up when the DP manufacturers get their collective crap together.

Originally Posted By: Guoguodi
DP design has remained unchanged since the 1980s; manufacturers and consumers are content to work with "state of the art" that's decades old. I understand there's a strong disincentive for manufacturers to not rock the boat and change the status quo -- after all, it works "good enough" for most DP consumers out there. One of the bigger reasons must be the small size of the enthusiast market. The market's tiny, and hence innovation is at a snail's pace compared to other computing/electronic technologies.


Well, they scraped up enough R&D cash to make the V-Piano, and they continue to crank out strange things like the Avant Grand. My feeling is the market isn't all that tiny. The DP room down at Guitar center is just as big as the acoustic guitar room (if that is any indication of sales / profits).
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#1322534 - 12/10/09 10:23 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Kawai James Online   content
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[quote=dewster]...and they continue to crank out strange things like the Avant Grand.

Why is the Avant Grant strange?

Cheers,
James
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#1322538 - 12/10/09 10:26 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Martin C. Doege]
dewster Offline
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Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Martin C. Doege
OTOH, if you put a hard drive in a DP, it might become less reliable and more prone to electronics failures. If dewster's dream instrument will ever get built, it would need to be treated with more care than a "normal" DP.


A quick check at newegg shows a bunch 64 GB solid state (Flash-based) hard drives for ~$150. Ultra durable (can withstand 150,000g shock or something crazy like that) and super-duper read bandwidth (a big plus if you go the rompler route, and also gives you a really fast boot-up).

That's normal retail price, they go on sale for quite a bit less every now and then.
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#1322555 - 12/10/09 10:49 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Kawai James]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
Why is the Avant Grant strange?


Well, strange to me. The whole thing screams "LOOK AT OUR LATEST GIMMICK"!

Vibrational feedback is interesting, as is the multi-dimensional sampling (if they indeed do that), but it probably has looping.

People who consider a piano to be first and foremost a piece of furniture will probably like it however. And the brochure for it is probably pretty. It's hard for me to work up any enthusiasm for this sort of thing, I just can't take it seriously.
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#1322560 - 12/10/09 10:52 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8877
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
dewster, to be perfectly honest, I do not believe you are in a position to pass judgement until you actually play the instrument.

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

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#1322601 - 12/10/09 11:50 AM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Kawai James]
dewster Offline
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Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
dewster, to be perfectly honest, I do not believe you are in a position to pass judgement until you actually play the instrument.


That's like me going to the dealer to buy a commuter car, and the dealer telling me I need to test drive a pickup first. There's no point! I already know what I want and it ain't a pickup.

The Avant grand seems to be an attempt to recreate the piano playing EXPERIENCE (and make a piece of furniture).

I, however, am interested in a portable DP (or box, or rackmount) that faithfully reproduces the SOUND of a real piano.

If they had the SOUND nailed, and were then moving on to nailing the EXPERIENCE, I (or, more properly, my wife and her students) might be more interested, but without the SOUND nailed I am not interested at all.
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#1322615 - 12/10/09 12:08 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
EmmaElise Offline
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Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 37
Loc: N. California
Dewster, I think what James is trying to say is that you are bagging on the Avant Grand without even having played it. Give it a test run before saying the sound hasn't been nailed. Or, perhaps I missed that you've actually experienced it. Maybe you can clarify- thanks.
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#1322619 - 12/10/09 12:16 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: EmmaElise]
dewster Offline
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Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: EmmaElise
Dewster, I think what James is trying to say is that you are bagging on the Avant Grand without even having played it. Give it a test run before saying the sound hasn't been nailed. Or, perhaps I missed that you've actually experienced it. Maybe you can clarify- thanks.


There's no point in demoing it.

If it doesn't have Pianoteq (or similar modeling) or at least 2 GB of samples under the hood, then by very definition the sound hasn't been nailed.

Also the N3 weighs 438lbs, which is about 400lbs more than I am willing to schlep around.
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#1322634 - 12/10/09 12:45 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
EmmaElise Offline
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Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 37
Loc: N. California
Dewster, I understand that the Avant Grand doesn't fit within your parameters for DP needs BUT why NOT try it out? I wouldn't mind trying out a Cadillac for fun even though I'm looking for towing rig, if given the opportunity. Trying out DPs is way simpler than test driving cars. Conversation regarding actual models is far more interesting with first hand experience descriptions. It can confirm your previous notions OR maybe it will surprise you! It would be fun to hear your actual observations even though you're not looking to buy one. I would try one if I had access to one. Just my thoughts.
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#1322668 - 12/10/09 01:26 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: EmmaElise]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: EmmaElise
Dewster, I understand that the Avant Grand doesn't fit within your parameters for DP needs BUT why NOT try it out? I wouldn't mind trying out a Cadillac for fun even though I'm looking for towing rig, if given the opportunity. Trying out DPs is way simpler than test driving cars. Conversation regarding actual models is far more interesting with first hand experience descriptions. It can confirm your previous notions OR maybe it will surprise you! It would be fun to hear your actual observations even though you're not looking to buy one. I would try one if I had access to one. Just my thoughts.


Oh, if it were just sitting there in the DP demo room at GC I'd probably tickle the ivories. I'm not completely incurious, just rather burned out from seeing slight, almost inconsequential, variations on the same DP stuff year after year after year.

But I'd never for a minute consider buying one, knowing (from an EE standpoint) the sounds cannot be up to the standards I'm looking for in a DP. We already have a real piano, I'm not interested in something that approximates the weight of it while delivering inferior (from a real piano standpoint) sound.
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#1326139 - 12/15/09 06:54 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
-UPDATE-

I spent some time down at the local Sam Ash store yesterday. Played mainly with:

- Yamaha P-155 (see below)
- Yamaha P-85 (not bad for single layer, though I could clearly hear 3 note stretching)
- Casio PX-330 (hated it)

The P-155 was hanging on the wall at an unplayable angle and dead, had to get someone to find the AC adapter & put it on a real stand. Spent an hour or so barking my shins against the double 'X' stand and playing with the controls.

First off, I have no clue why, with all the buttons on this thing, they bury some voices under an "others" button, which relies on cryptic codes on a three digit 7-segment LED display to tell you what you've selected. Are a few more buttons or a one-line LCD too much to ask at this price-point? In a performance situation you need to be sure what voice you will be playing BEFORE you start playing. Yeesh...

Anyway, I could clearly hear looping, but there are a few seconds of solid, real sample before that, with a smooth transition into the looping phase. If you can tolerate looping, the here looping is fairly well done.

I wandered without a guide into primitive Yamaha 7-segment function land and managed to alter the "Sustain Sample Depth" as well as the "Damper Resonance Effect Depth". I couldn't hear the sound of felt dampers working on the strings, but maybe that was due to the Buddy Rich solo going on an aisle over, even though I had sealed headphones on. When I turned them both up to maximum I noticed a horrible beating sound when I played the middle D key. Turning it down, it sounded more like a pseudo-reverb and not so much like sympathetic resonance. Yamaha, if you're listening, this really needs work. At this point in it's development (making the huge assumption that they actually try to improve anything in DP land) it's so lame I'm not sure I'd even advertise it as I wouldn't want to call attention to it.

Otherwise, the P-155 was incredibly similar, some would say TOO similar, to our P-120. Pretty much the same sample set, implemented pretty much the same way. Except with fewer voice buttons. And probably a couple of more watts going to the speakers. But that's it. If anyone is looking at the P-155 but has the opportunity to snag a P-120 for somewhat less, I'd say go with the P-120.

I think it's rather sad that an old 2001 out-of-production Yamaha is nearly kicking the ass of the unit (P-155) built to replace the unit (P-140) that replaced it (P-120).


Edited by dewster (12/15/09 07:39 PM)
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#1326153 - 12/15/09 07:20 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: dewster]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8877
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
dewster, I expect the main differences between the P-120 and P-155 are the improved piano sounds on the newer model.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1326164 - 12/15/09 07:36 PM Re: Yamaha P-155 sympathetic resonance [Re: Kawai James]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
dewster, I expect the main differences between the P-120 and P-155 are the improved piano sounds on the newer model.

Kind regards,
James
x


We may be buying one for the local church my wife plays for. If I hear any significant differences in the piano sample I'll post it here.

Auditory memory is notoriously unreliable, so this demands a true head-to-head comparison.

I'll try to put a sample at Purgatory Creek as well (if we get it).
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