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Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
dewster, thank you for removing the incorrect statements from your MP10 DPBSD review.
As noted yesterday evening, the DPBSD MIDI file does not contain the MP10's setup Sys-Ex header used to select the desired sound and parameters. Therefore, the instrument's currently selected panel voice will always be used for playback.
On the MP10, changing the panel voice after a MIDI file has been loaded into memory will not change the voice used for playback. This is by design, and allows the player to change the panel (keyboard) voice freely without affecting MIDI playback (e.g. using a MIDI backing track in a live performance).
When tinybox prepared the MP3s of the MP10's Concert1, Pop1, and Jazz1 sounds, it appears that he did not reload the DPBSD MIDI file after selecting each patch. This meant that the Concert1 sound was still used for MIDI playback and the subsequent MP3s produced.
Now, it should have been reasonably obvious when listening to the MIDI playback that the sound was not actually changing. However, in fairness to tinybox, the current DPBSD SMF is over six minutes long (and not terribly harmonious at that...), so I can perhaps understand why he didn't check the recordings before sending them for analysis.
Fortunately, tinybox has since re-recorded the Pop1 and Jazz1 MP3s (this time correctly reloading the MIDI file after selecting each sound), which can now be downloaded in dewster's corrected MP10 review above. I believe anyone who listens to these MP3s should be able to hear the distinct tonal differences between the three sound categories. This is because they each utilise separate sample data recorded using different mics and micing configurations.
Well, I hope this clears up any remaining confusion regarding the MP10's acoustic piano sounds. Perhaps the moral of this story is to be more trusting of your ears - if three MP3s all sound exactly the same, it's mostly likely because they in fact are.
The MP10 post is now corrected - much thanks again to tinybox for the samples, and to James for pointing out the issue with the MP3s! For those who downloaded the Jazz and Pop MP3s I encourage you to do it again and give them another listen (the new files have a "_v2.mp3" on the end).
There is much interest here in Kawai's latest models and so I wanted to get the review out as soon as I could, though obviously a bit more due diligence on my part was called for. This was totally my oversight and I hope it hasn't caused too much confusion.
There is always some ambiguity associated with measuring these things at the highest and lowest ends. Taking that into account the match is very good.
Figure 1. Spectral pan view of stretch test, mid notes, CA63 on left, MP10 on right. No significant differences.
Figure 2. Spectral phase view, left to right: CA63 note C2, MP10 note C2, CA63 note C5, MP10 note C5. No significant differences.
I can't comment on how the incidental sound effect noises (key up & pedal down) match up between the two DPs because they aren't present in the CA63 DPBSD MP3 file (though they are present in the MP10 file).
It seems the sound source is same, thank you for the analysis! I hope they bring the resonances with MIDI on CA63 the same way as it is working with MP10. I doubt the firmware is much different in regards to that functionality. Hopefully James will be our agent
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
I hope they bring the resonances with MIDI on CA63 the same way as it is working with MP10. I doubt the firmware is much different in regards to that functionality.
The MP models have always offered this functionality, however the console instruments (CN/CA/CL...except CN4x) unfortunately do not support the playback of resonance etc. via MIDI. There are obviously major differences between the stage piano and console piano firmwares, thus it may not be possible to implement with a simple update.
Loc: Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: CyberGene
I hope they bring the resonances with MIDI on CA63 the same way as it is working with MP10. I doubt the firmware is much different in regards to that functionality.
I just checked the Midi implementation charts of both the CA93/CA63 and MP10: supporting only a few more control change Midi messages is all that's needed to get useful CA93/CA63 MIDI in/out functionality for PC MIDI-recording, editing and playback (but I have no programmer's insight/access to the firmware).
_________________________ K A W A I ..... R O L A N D ......... E - M U C A - 9 3 ......... A X - 7 ...... X B O A R D - 4 9
I just checked the Midi implementation charts of both the CA93/CA63 and MP10: supporting only a few more control change Midi messages is all that's needed to get useful CA93/CA63 Midi in/out functionality for PC Midi-recording, editing and playback (but I have no programmer's insight/access to the firmware).
I don't believe the issue is MIDI implementation per se - it is more about effects and incidental sounds that are present when you play the CA63 normally via the keys, but missing when you play it via the MIDI in port. Pedal & key sympathetic resonance and key up "clunk" sounds are missing, and there may be others. The CN33 has the same issue.
Rolands with the SN piano engine have much the same problem, though many report success in either partially or fully re-enabling these sounds for MIDI playback via MIDI SYSEX commands.
Just in time for the New Year, the DPBSD thread has reached the quarter million views mark - thanks everyone for the interest! Big thanks to Pianoworld for hosting this forum, and for bringing such great people together!
Huge, huge thanks to those individuals who went way out of their way to provide DPBSD MP3 files of the various DPs reviewed!*
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Oh god...they will be American Kit Kats you have there. Vile. What is it with American chocolate? It's all the more cruel for a Brit...you go on holiday to the States and...what's this?...wow, they have Kit Kats!...you devour a bit of Kit Kat and spend the rest of the day vomiting. Cruel American trick!
Congrats Dewster on your amazing success with the DPBSD thread. Hope RD-700NX ownership is working out for you, your wife and her students!
Roland RD-1000 | Yamaha CP1 | Physis H1
A fourth DPBSD MP3 submission from anotherscott, this time for the Yamaha Piaggero Series NP-V80 - outstanding! The MP3 is of the default voice "Live! Grand Piano". As a bonus, anotherscott also recorded the third voice "Grand Piano" which I have also uploaded to the share point:
I listened to the third voice once through and decided not to review it as it is inferior to the main patch. In particular the note decay is faster, the attack and loop samples are shorter, and it is more stretched than the main voice. The reason anotherscott provided it is because odds are it is identical to the main piano voice in the NP-V60 (though that hasn't been confirmed by Yamaha) so anyone interested in that DP might want to give it a listen. If that turns out to indeed be the case I'll probably give it a full review.
Since the NP-V80 is lumped together with the also very portable NP-30, it shares the same "NP" product prefix, and also because it is a newer DP, I was pretty much expecting the piano voice to be better that of the NP-30 (which I recently reviewed) but instead it's something of a mixed bag. They are similar in that they both pass the quick partial damping test, both support half pedaling, both fail the pedal and key sympathetic resonance tests, and both have fairly comparable (though not identical) attack sample lengths. Where they differ is the NP-30 passes the silent replay test, whereas the newer NP-V80 fails this test, which is weird. The NP-V80 has longer decay samples than the NP-30, which makes it sound somewhat more natural to me, but the decay times themselves seem shorter, which sounds more unnatural, so that's something of a tossup. Both are fairly stretched though the newer NP-V80 is actually stretched more than the older NP-30, and I think the stretch group transitions on the NP-V80 are easier to hear as the timbre matching between the groups is not very well done - and seemingly less well done compared to the NP-30. There are two huge stretch groups on the NP-V80 located at either end of the note range, with the lowest one responsible for imparting a fairly fake sound to the very lowest notes. Though I suppose, since the lowest note on the NP-V80 keyboard is an E, most won't notice this unless they heavily transpose it or run a MIDI file through it.
I assume this is a layered sample set with the layers smoothly blended, but since Yamaha doesn't come out and say this, and also since the NP-30 is purportedly a single layered instrument (or at least most of us here are assuming so - anyone got a link to confirm this?) this may not be the case. I couldn't see or hear anything in the way of layer steps, and the timbre gradually brightens with increasing velocity, though the change is limited more to the lower and middle velocities. I think the timber change with velocity in general is better implemented on the NP-V80 than on the NP-30.
The case design of this DP makes no sense to me. I understand chopping keys off for portability, but why fill those spaces back in with other stuff and needlessly re-lengthen it? On the NP-30, Yamaha idiotically placed the speakers on the ends. On the NP-V80 they positioned the speakers rationally above the key bed, put then stuck a pitch bend wheel to the left and a USB slot to the right of the keys.
Anyway, if you were considering the NP-V80 or NP-30 for their piano voices, I'd say give them a very close listen to see which one suits you the best as there surprisingly is no clear winner here. You might also want to consider the other features and voices in the NP-V80 if you find yourself on the fence.
I've spent much of this review comparing it to the the NP-V80 to the NP-30, but perhaps my expectation of it being an "improved" NP-30 is a naive assumption. Someone at Yamaha told anotherscott that NP-V80 wasn't created as an updated NP-30, it was created as an updated YPG-235 (which is also why it has no MIDI ports, just USB).
Much thanks to anotherscott for submitting the test samples for this highly portable DP!
Some analysis pix and text review:
Figure 1. Spectral pan view of the pedal sympathetic resonance test, stimulus removed, normalized to -1dB to increase clarity, pedal down @ left, pedal up @ right. No visible or audible pedal sympathetic resonance.
Figure 2. Spectral frequency view of the key sympathetic resonance test. No visible or audible key sympathetic resonance.
Figure 3. Waveform view of the entire looping test, vertical zoom applied to see the noise floor. The decay rate is pretty fast.
Figure 4. Spectral pan view of the note C3, normalized to -1dB to increase clarity, cursor at attack / loop transition. Attack and loop sample lengths are rather short.
Figure 5. Spectral phase view of the stretch test, low end of the notes, normalized to -1dB to increase clarity. Low end is very stretched which makes the lowest notes sound somewhat fake. Stretch group transitions are quite audible over most of the range.
Figure 6. Spectral frequency view of the layer test. Timber variation with velocity is smooth, but there isn't much timbre change in the upper ~1/4 range (where you would generally expect the most change).
Figure 7. Spectral phase view of the layer test, compressed 20:1. Smooth timbre variation with no visible or audible layer switching.
----------------- - Yamaha NP-V80 - ----------------- FILE & SETUP: - dpbsd_v1.9_yamaha_np-v80.mp3 - This is the first patch: "Live! Grand Piano". - Setup: Headphone out, Mbox interface @ 24-bit, Mac with ProTools LE, MP3 via Quicktime Pro. - Recorded by "anotherscott". PROS: - Passes the quick partial damping test. - Passes the half pedaling test. - Note damping sounds rather "buzzy" and realistic. - I believe this is a very smoothly blended multi-layer sample set. CONS: - Fails the pedal sympathetic resonance. - Fails the key sympathetic resonance test. - Fails the silent replay test (damps @ pedal up). - Note decay times are very short. - Obviously looped, both visibly and audibly over the lows and mids. - Audibly abrupt volume change at the attack/loop transition for note C1. - Loop sample lengths are fairly short and audible over the lows and mids. - Attack sample lengths are (C1:C8): 2.2,1.8,1.3,1.6,1.3,1.4,0.6,? seconds. - Loop sample lengths are (C1:C8): 1.3,0.85,1.1,1.2,1.0,0.8(?),?,? seconds. - Very stretched, visible and audible over the entire range. - Poor timbre and stereo pan matching between stretch groups. - Stretch distances: 8,4(x3),3,3,4(x8),3,3,7,5,12 = 19 groups. - Not a lot of timber variation with velocity in the upper ~1/4 range. - No obvious pedal up/down or key up "clunk" samples. OTHER: - Dynamic range 47dB (vel=1:127). - Notes played @ vel=1 produce no sound. - MP3 levels: peak @ -1.2dB, noise floor @ -57dB. - Date reviewed: 2011-01-16
A new DPBSD entry from Pianoworld forum member "Qbert" - thanks! - and the third GEM instrument reviewed in this thread.
The GEM Promega3 test much like the RP-X and pRP-800 that I reviewed previously (pRP-800RP-X) so you might want to check those out as well. By comparing phase signatures, I believe the main piano in the Promega3 and the pRP-800 Steinway voices were derived from the same sampling session, though with different processing applied to them.
GEM DPs generally have long attack samples, but this one has the longest attack sample lengths I've encountered in a hardware digital piano, with a whopping 8.5 seconds of attack and crossfade on the note C1. These long attacks are unfortunately coupled to very short loops that sound fairly artificial on the lower notes, and further subjected to the standard amount of GEM stretching (stretch groups in the mid 40s) which is also audible from the lower end through the mids. To a large extent the long attack samples mask the very short loops as the loops then happen way out in the decay where they are lower in amplitude, but somewhat longer loops would have been very welcome (as would no stretching).
Both the pedal and key resonance that GEM incorporates in their instruments sound pleasant, and half pedaled notes sound realistically buzzy. Decay times for the low and mid notes are nice and long. There are no obvious layer switches as GEM reports only a single layer is employed, and most timbre change is in the upper 2/3 velocity range where it probably should be. Like the other GEM DPs it fails the silent replay test @ pedal up. I couldn't detect any obvious pedal up/down or key up sound effects, and the dynamic range is rather narrow which makes softly played notes sound somewhat too loud.
Qbert has this to say about the Promega3:
Originally Posted By: Qbert
I'm very enthusiastic of my Promega. Consider that I come from a real upright piano that I used for study when I was young, several keyboards in the years, and a Roland FP7, that I sold recently because of I didn't like the action so much. I like Promega action far more. It's strange for an old instruments, I know, but it's so. It looks ... very "consistente" in Italian. I figured out that Promega 3 keybed (only for 3) is a special keybed that Fatar made under GEM requirements. It's different from Roland PHA and from Kawai RH series, it's difficult to describe... it feels pianistic, I like it, but I think PHAIII with escapement is better.
Sound is not perfect with preset. But you have several parameters and eq (8 bands!) to deal with. You can add separated effects and reverbs, with own parameters too.
Interface is a real a strong point. Everything is immediately reachable... layer voices (4), with dedicated volume and effects and octaves shifting. Equalizer and presets. It wins 10 to 1 compared with FP7!
One word to describe my Promega3: inspiring! I didn't feel inspired with FP7. You can really build new own instruments, almost as a synth!
Looking through the Promega3 manual it appears to have a very functionally driven user interface, much like the Kawai MP10. It can be a challenge to make a simple interface that presents the most commonly used functions in a direct and intuitive manner, and also allows for deeper editing without becoming too cryptic.
MP3 and all analysis pix located at the share point:
Much thanks to Qbert for this interesting DPBSD sample!
Some analysis pix and text review:
Figure 1. Spectral pan view of the first two seconds of the note C4, normalized to -1 dB to bring out detail, Promega3 (left), pRP-800 Steinway(right). Phase signatures are close enough to assume these two DP voices are derived from the same source sample set.
Figure 2. Spectral phase view of the pedal sympathetic resonance test, stimulus removed, normalized to -1 dB to bring out detail, pedal down (left), pedal up (right). The effect sounds subtle and pleasant to my ears, and most audible after the notes have decayed some.
Figure 3. Spectral phase view of the key sympathetic resonance test. First "blob" is the C3 & C4 stimulus plus resonance, two seconds later C1 & C2 are lifted, one second later (at cursor) C5 & C6 are lifted. The effect is audibly subtle (as it is on a real piano).
Figure 4. Waveform view of the looping test with vertical zoom applied. Decay times for the low and mid notes are nice and long.
Figure 5. Waveform view of the note C2 with vertical zoom applied, cursor at end of attack sample. Attack & loop samples are quite clearly seen here, attack is nice and long, loop is very short and static sounding.
Figure 6. Spectral pan view of the stretch test, normalized to -1 dB to bring out detail, mid notes. 44 samples cover 88 notes. Stretch group transitions are audible over the lows and mids.
Figure 7. Spectral frequency view of the layer test. Timber variation is smooth over approximately the upper 2/3 to of the velocity range.
---------------- - GEM Promega3 - ---------------- FILE & SETUP: - dpbsd_v1.9_gem_promega3.mp3 - Default A1 patch "ST.GRAND1" / "Concert 9' Grand". - OS updated to the latest available: 1.07 - Sequenced and recorded via Cubase, Behringer UCA222 sound card, Cool Edit for MP3 conversion. - Recorded by "Qbert". PROS: - Passes the pedal sympathetic resonance test, the effect is pleasant sounding. - Passes the key sympathetic resonance test, strings both lower and higher subtly respond. - Passes the quick damping test. - Passes the half pedaling test, the effect is realistically somewhat buzzy. - Attack samples lengths are very long compared to most other digital pianos. - No obvious layer switches, most timbre change is in the upper 2/3 velocity range. CONS: - Fails the silent replay test @ pedal up. - Decay times are long for lower notes, a bit short for the highest notes. - Obviously looped, both visually and audibly, though the long attack samples hide this to some degree. - Loops are quite short and sound highly processed, could really benefit from longer decay loops. - Attack sample lengths are (C1:C8): 8.5,8.2,7.3,7.1,4.7,?,?,? seconds. - Loop sample lengths are (C1:C8): 0.25,0.5,?,?,?,?,?,? seconds. - Stretching is visible over the entire range, audible over the low end. - Stretch distances: 1,4,3,2(x4),1,2,1,2,3,3,1(x3),2,3(x3),2,1,2,1,3,1,2,2,2,3,2(x3),3,2,2,1,2,1,2,1,2,2,3 = 44 groups. - No obvious pedal up/down or key up samples. - Softly played notes sound somewhat too loud. OTHER: - Notes played @ vel=1 produce no sound. - Dynamic range 24.5dB (vel=1:127). - MP3 levels: peak @ -11dB, noise floor @ -75dB. - Date reviewed: 2011-01-23.
New tests have been added. There is a new first phase to the pedal sympathetic resonance test, the old last phase of which has been edited as well. This should better reveal pedal as well as other sympathetic resonance. There is a new "Late pedal partial damping test" that tests brief partial damping related to key-off pedal-down timing, and so is more focused on playability. I also added an "Undampered transition test" to see where the dampered / undampered transition is (more for informational purposes than anything else).
The readme file has been changed to reflect these differences, and I added a new section on voice selection / confirmation, as well as some other edits.
Please use this new MIDI file (located in the root directory of the DPBSD share point) instead of all previous versions.
==================== = Revision History = ==================== v2.0 - 2011-02-02: Readme file edits: - Added the "Voice Selection / Confirmation" section. - Edited to reflect MIDI file changes. MIDI file edits: - Added additional first phase to the pedal sympathetic resonance test. - Modified last phase of the pedal sympathetic resonance test to have pedal down @ start and pedal up ~1/2 way thru. - Changed the name of "Pedal sympathetic resonance test" to "Pedal and other sympathetic resonance test". - Added "Late pedal partial damping test". - Added "Undampered transition test". - Tests in the order they appear in the MIDI file: - 0. Max recording level - 1. Pedal and other sympathetic resonance test - 2. Key sympathetic resonance test - 3. Silent replay test - 4. Quick partial damping test - 5. Late pedal partial damping test - 6. Half pedaling test - 7. Sample looping test - 8. Sample stretching test - 9. Sample layer switching test - 10. Undampered transition test
I also made a MIDI file which plays a note quickly 8x at increasing velocity so you can hear the timbre variation, and then plays it again at velocity=79 so you can hear the decay detail. All 88 notes are covered - it's a bit monotonous, but if you are interested in this DP you'll get a good idea of what individual notes sound like. The MIDI file is located here:
This morning I listened closely to the Concert Grand Attack/Decays MP3. I think the note decays in MIDI octave 5 are probably too static sounding. Decays overall sound slightly fake - there is enough random wobble in most of them but they seem a bit too clean or sparse somehow. It's hard to tell how I'll ultimately feel about this after I've become more familiar with the sound, but as of right now I'll take this over the vast majority (probably all) of the looping I've heard while doing this project.
The attacks of the three base pianos (Concert, Studio, Brilliant) look different enough in the phase views to make me believe they are most likely obtained from different pianos.
The pedal-down "loom of strings" sound effect responds to pedal velocity - it's more pronounced the faster you stomp the pedal. What's interesting is that it also responds to half-pedaling - the higher you lift the pedal after stomping it the faster the effect is muted. Too bad you can't hear it via MIDI.
Figure 1. Spectral pan view of the pedal sympathetic resonance test, stimulus removed, normalized to -1 dB to bring out detail, pedal down (left), pedal up (right). The effect sounds fairly realistic and pleasant to me, though it sounds pretty reverby when turned up.
Figure 2. Spectral frequency view of the key sympathetic resonance test. First "blob" is the C3 & C4 stimulus plus resonance, two seconds later C1 & C2 are lifted (at cursor), one second later C5 & C6 are lifted. The effect is audibly subtle, with both lower and higher notes responding.
Figure 3. Waveform view of the looping test with vertical zoom applied. Decay times are nice and long.
Figure 4. Spectral pan view of the note C2, normalized to -1 dB to bring out detail. Decay is more complex than a simple loop, but less complex looking and perhaps sounding than the real thing.
Figure 5. Spectral pan view of the stretch test, normalized to -1 dB to bring out detail, mid notes. Notes look random, no visible or audible stretching.
Figure 6. Spectral frequency view of the layer test. Timber variation is smooth, with most of the variation happening in the upper 1/2 of the velocity range (as it probably should). The very highest velocities could perhaps use a bit more timbre change.
------------------- - Roland RD-700NX - ------------------- FILE & SETUP: - dpbsd_v2.0_roland_rd-700nx_concert_grand.mp3 - Sonar, Echo MIA MIDI out, DP TRS out, ground isolation box, Echo MIA TRS in, Audition. - 32 bit WAV => peak normalized to -1dB => MP3. - Sequenced and recorded by "dewster". PROS: - Passes the pedal sympathetic resonance test, the resonance is pleasant sounding. - Passes the key sympathetic resonance test, strings both lower and higher subtly respond. - Passes the silent replay test, pedal sympathetic resonance can be heard during it. - Passes the quick partial damping test. - Passes the late pedal partial damping test, note decay is caught even after 0.5 seconds. - Passes the half pedaling test - damping isn't too "buzzy" but sounds real enough. - Long, fairly natural-sounding note decay (decay times on the order of Pianoteq). - No visible or audible stretching, notes look random in the wave and phase views. - No visible or audible layer switches, most timbre change is in the upper 1/2 velocity range. - Audible duplex scale sympathetic resonance. - Pedal-down "loom of strings" sound effect responds to pedal velocity & half-pedaling. - Probably good enough to realistically record solo. CONS: - No pedal-down "loom of strings" sound effect via MIDI. - Duplex scale sympathetic resonance sounds kind of "springy/buzzy" and not very pleasant. - Pedal sympathetic resonance sounds "reverby" when turned up too high. - No detectable key-up or pedal-up sound effects. OTHER: - Notes played @ vel=1 produce no sound. - Dynamic range 47.7dB (vel=1:127). - Dampered | undampered transition: F#6 | G6 - MP3 levels: peak @ -1dB, noise floor @ -84dB. - Date reviewed: 2011-02-04.
-------------- - 2011-02-11 - --------------
I assume anyone who is seriously interested in the NX has seen this video, which demonstrates a note cutout issue with the SN pianos during MP3 playback on the NX:
I can get the note cut-off thing to happen with only three notes and no pedal when playing back an MP3. I have to play all three notes simultaneously and lift them simultaneously, and I have to do this repeatedly and very quickly. It seems to take 5 notes to produce it when playing back a WAV file.
It's more of a decay stealing thing than a note stealing thing, notes stop abruptly rather than have the damping sound tacked onto the end. Is it serious? Possibly if you play like a demon with MP3 backing a lot. I probably wouldn't have encountered it if I hadn't seen the video. Which doesn't make it right - I'm not a Roland apologist - but I don't think most people will encounter it.
I'm more concerned with damper noise not playing via MIDI. And if I could choose between Roland fixing this decay stealing or them putting in a rudimentary MIDI recorder with MIDI=>WAV rendering capability, I'd pick the latter in a NY minute.
[EDIT:2011-04-03] - Both the decay stealing and the layered string stealing issues have been very much improved with firmware v1.03. You can still get decay stealing to happen when playing a backing track however. - Analysis pics zip file & hash location have been changed due to the addition of more pics.
Dewster, thank you for your new test "5. Late pedal partial damping test"! When I made my suggestions for new tests in This Post earlier on page 54, I suggested you two tests. You agreed then and implemented my second suggestion as "4. Quick partial damping test". I am glad to see that my first suggestion goes now into this new "5. Late pedal partial damping test" Thank you again.
May I remind you of yet another suggestion I made in This Post on page 64 which concerns pressing the damper pedal after keys have been pressed and held in which case you should hear the resonance sound engaging. Most pianos and software libraries activate resonance samples only when notes have been played after the damper pedal have been pressed but not the reverse. Thank you in advance and sorry if you already have that test (I checked through you technical descriptions but wasn't able to recognize it).
I can sometimes hear this effect at the beginning of the silent replay test, where the C2 note is played at velocity 100 and held, and the damper pedal is pressed one second later.
Indeed! Very good, so we can only re-review the existing tests to see if they support that "damper resonance reengaging" or whatever we can call it best. In fact, I remember that was heavily advertised first by Steinberg The Grand, referred by Steinberg to as "repedaling" but I think most pianists are using the term repedaling differently (referring rather to "5. Late pedal partial damping test" I suppose).
Ohh, and don't worry about the fact you've missed my suggestion. I know the thread is really huge. Also, test 4 is covering to some degree the main functionality.
Also, I may have argued with you sometimes regarding the DPBSD test but it's not the test itself that have bothered me since the scientist in me (if a computer programmer can be considered scientist) really loves the scientific, exact and thorough approach. If I have had any objections in regards to DPBSD, that has been mostly to the conclusions drawn by the results and not the test itself. I hope I haven't offended you with such arguments. Anyway, I would be glad to contribute to the test evolution and improvement
Indeed! Very good, so we can only re-review the existing tests to see if they support that "damper resonance reengaging" or whatever we can call it best.
I obliquely noted this in today's addition to the NX review above:
- Passes the silent replay test, pedal sympathetic resonance can be heard during it.
The NX is pretty remarkable in terms of replicating AP key/pedal behavior.
Originally Posted By: CyberGene
...I think most pianists are using the term repedaling differently (referring rather to "5. Late pedal partial damping test" I suppose).
I've struggled with terminology throughout this project, and finally reached the point where I decided to call things what I though would be clearest, even if it wasn't the "accepted" norm. For instance, too many things are called "resonance" IMO.
Originally Posted By: CyberGene
If I have had any objections in regards to DPBSD, that has been mostly to the conclusions drawn by the results and not the test itself. I hope I haven't offended you with such arguments. Anyway, I would be glad to contribute to the test evolution and improvement
I've also struggled with the objective / subjective thing and you (and others here) should definitely feel free to object if you disagree with anything I write - I have learned an enormous amount from the very knowledgeable members here at PW. With all of this unintentional ear training, I've perhaps become too comfortable with including a fair amount of subjective content in my reviews.
I'll entertain any and all suggestions to improve the DPBSD. Thank you very much for yours CyberGene, I'm sorry I forgot and therefore neglected to credit you as the origin of these latest test additions.
This post is devoted to getting the most out of the RD-700NX SN piano voices when playing them via MIDI rather than via the built-in keyboard.
Some here are painfully aware that most (all?) Roland SN DPs have issues with incidental piano effects and sounds (sympathetic resonance, pedal down "loom of strings", etc.) going missing when playing a MIDI file. Often these can be turned back via MIDI SYSEX commands, but it can be a tough nut to crack. For instance, here is a web page made by another PW forum member which is explains how to turn things back on in the HP-307 (before any MIDI implementation doc from Roland):
What's weird about the NX, compared to the GX/F, is that Roland yanked the pedal sympathetic resonance in-line effect from the generic MFX pool. In the GX/F I presume it can be freely used as an effect with any voice (though in the first MFX slot only) whereas in the NX pedal sympathetic resonance is seemingly more tightly bound and only available to the SN acoustic pianos. After this change of course Roland neglects to tell us where the sympathetic resonance effect exists in MIDI SYSEX address space, so those of us who want to manipulate its parameters via MIDI are SOL unless we stumble upon them either by accident or through experimentation or until Roland tells us in an updated document.
Anyway, here are my experiences with the NX with MIDI playback so far:
1. I unplugged the NX and schlepped all of its daggone 25kg / 55lbs downstairs to my PC.
2. To clear the air, I performed a factory reset on the NX ( Menu | Utility | Factory Reset All ).
3. I found that if I played the DPBSD MIDI file (which targets MIDI channel 1 with no bank or program changes) via Sonar 6 I got what sounds like a non-SN piano, probably from the GM bank, which is looped, has a relatively short note decay time, is heavily stretched, and has a fairly jarring layer switch. It seemed no amount of fiddling with the front panel controls would switch the MIDI voice or alter it in any way.
4. I changed the "System Part" mode ( Menu | System ) from "16PART+PERF" to "16PART" and performed a write. Now I found I could change the voice (piano, clav, guitar, etc.) via the front panel and the MIDI playback would follow that. Next I tried changing the various SN piano settings, and I found most were clearly present during MIDI playback while a couple of others weren't:
Editable / Present: - Base Voice selection - Stereo Width - Nuance (subtle stereo phase tweak) - Lid (how open the virtual lid is) - Duplex Scale (resonant strings / bars in some pianos) - String Resonance (key sympathetic resonance) - Key Off Resonance (string damp buzz) - Hammer Noise ("knock") - Tone Character (changes basic sound, roughly dark to bright, but more complex than that) - Sound Lift (MIDI velocity shift & scale) - Micro Tune Edit (menu, individual offset tuning per note) - Sym.Resonance (menu, pedal sympathetic resonance) - Equalizer (menu, 4 band equalizer)
Not Editable / Present: - Damper Noise ("loom of strings") - Key Touch Edit (MIDI velocity shift & scale)
I guess I don't care all that much if the Key Touch Edit doesn't alter anything during MIDI playback, though it would have been nice - I can edit the MIDI itself to accomplish this I suppose. But the fact that the "loom of strings" pedal down sound is missing is kind of strange. Why, of all things, did they leave that out? Is it because the loudness of the effect is based on pedal velocity, and they were afraid the default level would sound too loud if people ran random MIDI files through it that had only pedal on/off (0, 127)? Even if that's the case, turning the damper noise off for MIDI means MIDI recorded and played back on the NX won't sound the same as playing it via the built-in keyboard, which seems like a worse thing to me. Who knows.
I found that running the DPBSD file would put a '*' next to the selected voice name to indicate that it had been edited. This is most likely due to the fact that the DPBSD zeros out the reverb send level at the beginning of the file.
SYSEX TEST 1 - I was able to send the NX a MIDI SYSEX "identity request" message and receive a response. I did this in Sonar 6 by making SYSEX bank 0 defined as the ID request below. In a MIDI track I insterted a SYSEX bank 0 send event. I then made another MIDI track and recorded it while playing the first track. Kind of round about, but it seems to do the trick. I got exactly what the manual said I would as a response.
TX decoded: F0 - SYSEX start 7E - universal non-realtime indicator 10 - target device ID (Roland says use 10 thru 1F) 06 - general info category 01 - ID request F7 - SYSEX end
RX decoded: F0 - SYSEX start 7E - universal non-realtime indicator 10 - target device ID 06 - general info category 02 - ID rply 41 - ID # indicating this is a Roland 50 02 - device family code for RD-700NX 00 00 - device family number code for RD-700NX 00 01 00 00 - software revision F7 - SYSEX end
SYSEX TEST 2 - Next I sent example 1 in the "How to calculate the checksum" section of the NX MIDI implementation manual, which is a SYSEX data set command:
TX: F0 41 10 00 00 50 12 10 00 04 00 02 6A F7
And I saw the front panel CHORUS/DELAY LEDs switch from CHORUS to DELAY. Note that there is an error in the manual here, they left out one of the "00" groups in the "Model ID" field at the end of the example.
Next I sent a command to switchg CHORUS/DELAY back to CHORUS:
TX: F0 41 10 00 00 50 12 10 00 04 00 01 6B F7
And I saw the LEDs switch back to CHORUS. I calculated the checksum with a nice little program I found on the web called "Roland Checksum Calculator" which is a small Windows executible made and distributed by some kind soul.
SYSEX TEST 3 - Next I sent example 2 in the "How to calculate the checksum" section of the NX MIDI implementation manual, which is a SYSEX data request command:
I checked the checksum and 5B appears to be correct, so I don't know what the heck's going on here.
SYSEX TEST 4 - Next I tried setting the "Damper Noise Level" @ address 0x10020005 to the max of 0x7F:
TX: F0 41 10 00 00 50 12 10 02 00 05 7F 6A F7
And when I was in the "TONE EDIT" screen for the first SN piano I saw the "Damper Noise Level" number jump from 29 to 127. Success it would seem. But I still don't hear the damper pedal down noise in the DPBSD so I won a minor battle but am still losing the war.
SYSEX TEST 5 - Next I tried reading the "Damper Noise Level" @ address 0x10020005:
I'm clueless as to why data requests don't produce a response. I guess I should put an LED on the MIDI port to see if it's trying to tell me anything that might be being filtered out somehow by Sonar.
-------------- - 2011-02-11 - -------------- Here's my email to Roland support, with the title "Damper noise missing during MIDI playback":
Originally Posted By: dewster
I changed the "System Part" mode ( Menu | System ) from "16PART+PERF" to "16PART" and performed a write. Now I can change the voice (piano, clav, guitar, etc.) via the front panel and the MIDI playback follows that, which is good.
When I change the various SN piano settings I find that most are present during MIDI playback, but the damper noise is clearly missing. I tried changing the damper noise level via MIDI SYSEX but I still don't hear it.
Could you help me with this issue?
-------------- - 2011-04-02 - --------------
The latest NX software load from Roland (v 1.03) pretty much fixed the note decay chopping and the layered string dropping issues - yay! Roland also mentions something about it fixing MIDI SYSEX data requests as well:
Originally Posted By: Roland
Version 1.03 of the RD-700NX operating system is now available. This free update resolves an issue regarding data requests and MIDI System Exclusive. This update improves the performance of layered sounds using piano and strings. Other minor improvements are also included.
So today I thought I'd give SYSEX another try.
First I tried the SYSEX "identity request" message as I did previously and I again received a response:
Tons of data in multiple SYSEX messages came back so this is fixed by v1.03 as well! This data is the current status of the "Live Set (temporary)" area, which seems to represent the current settings of / edits to the currently selected patch. Switching the patch via the front panel button will make any edits disappear, so you need to explicitly save them if you want them to stick.
Next, while thumbing through the "Live Set (temporary)" section of the MIDI implementation manual, I stumbled upon something called "Live Set Resonance" and wondered if this was referring to "pedal down sympathetic resonance". I was complaining above that this in-line effect was yanked from the MFX pool and that I couldn't find it in the implementation guide. Anyway, I made a quick SYSEX MIDI file to test this by turning it off:
TX: F0 41 10 00 00 50 12 10 00 20 00 00 50 F7
I went into the "TONE EDIT" menu, arrowed over and down to enter the "Sym.Resonance" menu, and watched the "Sw:" entry while I sent the above SYSEX. The entry went from "ON" to "OFF" - so I found the sympathetic resonance in SYSEX space (where no one can hear you scream)!
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
I think you're at the stage now where you should contact Roland technical support (assuming you haven't already) requesting detailed information on how to implement all of the SN features using MIDI.
Given the great efforts that individuals such as yourself are going to to harness the instrument's sounds, I wouldn't be surprised if you receive a response from one of the Roland engineers directly. I know that if I received such a request from a Kawai customer I'd certainly pass it along to the engineering team and encourage them to respond.
A fifth DPBSD MP3 submission from anotherscott, this time for a re-review of the Casio Privia series PX-330 - much thanks for the continued support of this project! The first DPBSD MP3 for this DP was v1.3 from pesk, and since several new tests have been introduced in the interim it's really great to have the opportunity to revisit this DP for a more in-depth analysis.
As usual for the DPBSD test, the MP3 is of the default voice "Grand Piano Modern". But as a bonus anotherscott also recorded the seventh voice "Grand Piano Classic" which I have also uploaded to the share point:
Listening to the seventh patch, it sounds highly similar to, but somewhat mellower than, the first main patch. Analysis shows that they indeed share the same sample set, but with what I believe likely is some non-linear velocity scaling and EQ going on with the seventh patch. Here are anotherscott's comments about these two piano voices:
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
I find the alternate main piano patch for the PX-330 - the first piano under the "classic piano" button (as opposed to the "modern piano" button) - better, though I'm still not thrilled with the PX-330 pianos... too percussive... low notes are "buzzy" when hit hard, like they're looping a piece that's too early in the decay---real piano notes never stay that bright that long. (It's more noticeable in the first piano sound, which seems to hit the max velocity sample sooner.) I think the excess high frequency content and the percussiveness are why some people say they find them "harpsichordy." And all those high harmonics can actually mess up chords to my ears, they can make you think you're hearing notes that aren't being played.
The PX-330 is first and foremost a "value" piano available at many popular retail outlets, so tons of these units are undoubtedly sold. It helps that it checks a lot of the boxes often found only on more expensive DPs: weighted graded hammer action triple sensor keys, built-in speakers, music rest, pitchbend wheel, dedicated control buttons, DIN MIDI in/out, 1/4" line in/out, USB, LCD display, two headphone jacks, SD card slot, rhythms, GM sound set, 16 track recorder, light weight (25lbs), etc. From a purely price/feature-set perspective it's quite amazing.
From a sound technology perspective, the piano note decays are surprisingly long. But it is audibly looped, with fairly short attack samples and very short loop samples. The lower loops sound "wobbly" to me, which I think I prefer over more static sounding loops, though it would certainly benefit greatly from somewhat longer sample lengths. It is also highly stretched, with the 27 stretch group transitions fairly audible over the low and mid notes. I can see evidence of three velocity layers (Casio reports 4) though timbre change with velocity is very smooth with no audible switching or timbre steps.
I believe it has some kind of pedal sympathetic resonance, but the effect is so subtle I really can't hear it. There is no key sympathetic resonance that I can detect. A lot of what gives a real piano that rich sound IMO is sympathetic resonance, so to have these features weak & absent is rather unfortunate, though perhaps that's asking too much from a DP this inexpensive.
In terms of key / pedal interaction, it supports partial quick damping and half pedaling, but it fails the silent replay test with the test note damping at pedal up. Other than string damping, I can't hear any obvious pedal up/down or key up sound effects.
I run across the PX-330 all the time and so get many opportunities to give it a spin. The keys don't feel too bad and the piano sound is really pretty OK, particularly when price (and other features) are factored in. But the other voices in there are by-and-large pretty lame.
Again, much thanks to anotherscott for the two up-to-date test samples of this highly popular DP!
Some analysis pix and text review:
Figure 1. Spectral pan view of the pedal sympathetic resonance test, stimulus removed, normalized to -1dB to increase clarity, pedal down @ left, pedal up @ right. Something appears to be going on, but I unfortunately can't hear it.
Figure 2. Spectral frequency view of the key sympathetic resonance test. No visible or audible key sympathetic resonance.
Figure 3. Waveform view of the entire looping test, vertical zoom applied to see the noise floor. Note decay is nice and long.
Figure 4. Spectral phase view of the note C4, normalized to -1dB to increase clarity, cursor at attack / loop transition. Attack and loop sample lengths are rather short.
Figure 5. Spectral phase view of the stretch test, mid notes, normalized to -1dB to increase clarity. This DP is highly stretched, with fairly uniform stretch group size (mostly 3), and transitions are audible over the low and mid note ranges.
Figure 6. Spectral frequency view of the layer test. Timber variation with velocity is uniform and smooth.
Figure 7. Spectral pan view of the layer test, compressed 20:1. Two visible layer switches, the transitions of which are not audible to me (Casio claims 4 layers).
----------------------- - Casio Privia PX-330 - ----------------------- FILE & SETUP: - dpbsd_v1.9_casio_px330.mp3 - Sequenced and recorded on Mac with ProTools LE, Mbox interface @ 24-bit, MP3 via Quicktime Pro. - This is the first patch: "Grand Piano Modern". - Recorded by "anotherscott". PROS: - Something visibly going on with pedal sympathetic resonance. - Passes the quick partial damping test. - Passes the half pedaling test. - Note decays are nice and long. - This is a smoothly blended multi-velocity layer sample set (Casio reports 4 layers, three are visible). - Timbre change with velocity is nicely spread out with no audible timbre steps. CONS: - Pedal sympathetic resonance is so subtle I almost can't hear it. - Partially damped notes don't sound "buzzy". - No visible or audible key sympathetic resonance. - Fails the silent replay test - note damps @ pedal up. - Obviously looped, the loops sound "wobbly" rather than static. - Attack sample lengths are (C1:C8): 1.8,1.5,1.4,1.4,1.4,1.3,1.0,1.0,? seconds. - Loop sample lengths are (C1:C8): 1.6,1.1,1.0,0.8,1.0,1.0,0.9,?,? seconds - Stretching is visible over the entire range, audible over the low and mid notes. - Stretch distances: 3,2,3(x16),4,2,3(x5),4,5,5 = 28 groups. - No obvious pedal up/down or key up sound effects. OTHER: - Notes played @ vel=1 produce no sound. - Dynamic range ~49dB (vel=1:127). - MP3 levels: peak @ -1.0dB, noise floor @ -81dB. - Recorded with L & R swapped. - Almost certainly identical to the first patch "Grand Piano 1" in the PX-3. - Date reviewed: 2011-01-28