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#1443884 - 05/26/10 08:53 AM What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos?
Konovich Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/24/10
Posts: 3
Loc: GER
Hello,

I'm wondering what your take on that plugin is?

A friend of mine is a classically trained pianist from Russia, it was one or two years ago, where he desperately tried to convince me not to buy Ivory and instead go for East West Pianos.

He said go to both websites make sure the sound examples are at the same volume level and JUST LISTEN, CONCENTRATE AND LISTEN!!!

So I did, and in fact I could hear a difference, I found the QL Pianos a bit more clean and high quality, while Ivory was a bit more low quality and gritty.

Recently I fell in love with Alicia's Keys piano plugin and I'm not even using QL Pianos anymore.

I love how versatile I can play on Alicia's Keys plugin, I can go real dark and aggressive, I can go very soft and playful, the sound is beautiful. I'm not sure "how real" it sounds, but it just sounds good to me and I love playing it, and that is what matters to me in the first place (though I know that some single samples here and there a little bit messed up, but it doesn't bother me that much, I think they'll sort that out in the future).

NOW, when I compare it to QL Pianos, then I do notice, that QL Pianos does sound a little bit blurry, sometimes it feels like it's a bit under water, and spongy. While Alicia's Keys is pretty tight and defined. The blurry sound of QL Pianos feels like it is tiring out my ears sometimes, and it also makes it difficult to be expressive with the piano, not just from dark/aggressive to bright and playful, but also it's hard to play quiet parts with QL Pianos because of the velocity levels.

Notice that I mostly did play the Steinway in QL Pianos, the Yamaha did not sound good to me at all, it almost sounded like playing on metal or steel.

So after all, even though QL was better than its competitors it wasn't THE best either.

For me it's Alicia's Keys all the way, it's one of the best and most amazing piano plugins that I've heard, and did I say that I love playing it? Which man wouldn't love playing with Alicia Keys, huh?

Well on the contrary though I've also heard some of my friends say the "plugin is not all that", so yeah those human beings exist as well. lol

For that small price tag and the relatively small 15 GB's of space you can't really beat that, but you can tap that (pun intended LOL).


I've listened to the plugins through Yamaha HS80M monitors and a quality audio interface.
The monitors are placed correctly (far from the walls and corners), so there's no huge deformation of the sound.


I hope to hear your opinion on this.

I don't think I'm going to sell QL pianos, I still can use it in the future, even if it's just for composing purposes.


Have a gooood day, I'm going drink something. laugh


Edited by Konovich (05/26/10 08:55 AM)

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#1445541 - 05/28/10 04:38 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Konovich]
Marthart Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/28/10
Posts: 14
Hello Konovich,

I have Alcia's Keys. The sound is very, very good but I'm still struggling with the velocity settings ...there is absolutely no power especially in the bass whenever I want to play using high velocities... absolutely nothing. I don't know whether this was intended or not. I can use this plugin for quiet and calm pieces but for pieces (e.g. by Rachmaninov) which require you to get agressive, it won't work.

If this could be fixed, this library would be great !

I also love the grands by Acoustic Samples and Imperfect Samples...you can never have enough of these libraries.

EWQL imho so far have the best sounding demo samples on their website but I have never played any of their grands. My local keyboard dealer let me test several libraries in his store but whenever I loaded the EWQL the computer would crash, lol.

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#1445552 - 05/28/10 04:58 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Marthart]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4272
Loc: Northern NJ
EWQL has velocity switching issues, IIRC one of the guys who performed some of their demos admitted to editing the MIDI velocity to avoid them.

They have basic issues with the samples too, I'd recommend you avoid them.
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#1445626 - 05/28/10 07:07 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Marthart]
hpeterh Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 824
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Marthart
Hello Konovich,

I have Alcia's Keys. The sound is very, very good but I'm still struggling with the velocity settings ...there is absolutely no power especially in the bass whenever I want to play using high velocities... absolutely nothing.


Do you know about the output section of Kontakt (Player)?
Look below the title bar at the left side and klick it.
There are a lot of effects and filters available. Especially a 3 band parametric and graphic EQ.

This is probably not explained in the user manual. At least it was not explained in the galaxy user manual... and I always ignored this not knowing what I missed.

Once you have discovered it, it should be pretty selfexplaining.
_________________________
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#1445954 - 05/29/10 10:44 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: dewster]
edt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 210
explain "velocity switching issues"

does the sound seem to jump in steps? Or are the velocities recorded out of tune? What is the exact problem with east west ql?

It's supposed to be very good on par with synthogy.

btw, I also love alicia's keys & imperfect samples.

I dont think there is a perfect piano sample anymore than there is a perfect acoustic piano, or perfect guitar. They all have their own character and quirks.


Edited by edt (05/29/10 10:45 AM)

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#1445973 - 05/29/10 11:07 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: edt]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4272
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: edt
explain "velocity switching issues"

does the sound seem to jump in steps?

Yes, if you play a single note with increasing velocity you can easily hear the different recordings they used. On EWQL these steps are quite noticeable and therefore are a problem.

Originally Posted By: edt
It's supposed to be very good on par with synthogy.

Those reviews are too kind IMO.

Originally Posted By: edt
I dont think there is a perfect piano sample anymore than there is a perfect acoustic piano, or perfect guitar. They all have their own character and quirks.

Well, there are sample sets with their own character and quirks, and then there is EWQL.
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#1446046 - 05/29/10 12:40 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: hpeterh]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California

Quote:
Do you know about the output section of Kontakt (Player)?
Look below the title bar at the left side and klick it.
There are a lot of effects and filters available. Especially a 3 band parametric and graphic EQ.


This is one of the main difference between buying a sample set and a self contained virtual instrument. The sample set is played by a "sampler" and at least if you are not using the free demo sampler you have a huge set of tweaks available. You can do "anying" to the samples, move the loop points, change the way velocity switching works apply filters. Samples are very complex software. You are pretty much just working with raw data and a complex program. A real sample set is just a collection of WAV files.

That said, it is a lot of work and maybe not worth trying unless you like messing with technical stuff.

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#1446104 - 05/29/10 02:43 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: ChrisA]
hpeterh Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 824
Loc: Germany
No. all this cannot be done to the piano sounds in galaxy because the samples and the scripts are encrypted.
If you had the full version of Kontakt you could not do it either. This stuff is copy protected and not acessible.

Galaxy is a virtual instrument consisting out of samples and scripts and this virtual instrument needs the kontakt player to run.

The output effect section is very straightforward. There are all insert effects that you can find for example in a CVP Clavinova or in a synth workstation and more, because for example the filters and equalizers show the frequency response graphically.

To get all these effects in a piano you had to buy an very expensive high end Clavinova. For example the lower end CVPs dont have compressors and here you can insert many of them.

It is clear that an equalizer cannot transform a Yamaha into a Boesendorfer, but if all you want is some stronger bass or to compensate weaknesses of the speakers, this is the right tool.


Edited by hpeterh (05/29/10 02:50 PM)
_________________________
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#1446150 - 05/29/10 03:59 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Konovich]
Melodialworks Music Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 1309
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Konovich

I'm wondering what your take on that plugin is?


I'll let you know! (I have it on order).

It's interesting that for her live work she uses an acoustic grand (not her studio instrument) with MIDI + the Alicia's Keys samples. The house engineer apparently decides on the mix between the two sources.

The Keyboard Magazine article this month makes it clear that this piano is not going to work for all styles. Still, the examples at Native Instruments and on the album she released using the samples should give an indication - post processing aside.
_________________________
Melodialworks Music
Yamaha C3X
Yamaha CP300 + Omnisphere
Yamaha NU1 + Production Grand

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#1446212 - 05/29/10 05:57 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Marthart]
Konovich Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/24/10
Posts: 3
Loc: GER
Originally Posted By: Marthart

I have Alcia's Keys. The sound is very, very good but I'm still struggling with the velocity settings ...there is absolutely no power especially in the bass whenever I want to play using high velocities... absolutely nothing. I don't know whether this was intended or not. I can use this plugin for quiet and calm pieces but for pieces (e.g. by Rachmaninov) which require you to get agressive, it won't work.


This is surprising for me, because it's the opposite for me, I'm able to play aggressive with this plugin more than with any other plugin I've tried (EWQL included).

Though I believe you mean those extra loud parts which Rachmaninoff plays. I'm able to play aggressive ala Chopin not 'extra' loud, but still intense and dark, I never tried the Rachmaninoff style, so I can't comment on that directly.

But I can say that what type of monitoring system (audio interface (+drivers), speakers) + room positioning of the monitors can play a big role how the sound will sound. It's really not that much different on how you place a real piano in different places in a closed environment and at every different position the piano will sound more or less slightly different. (4 times the word 'different' in one sentence, haha)

I have Yamaha HS80M monitors (they used to cost 1000 USD or something like that), these are not really 'listening' speakers for enjoyment of music, but rather give an even and 'true' sound picture, meaning the sound should be how it's really is and not 'changed', though I can use them easily for listening purposes as well.
I've also placed them away from the walls in the middle of the room in a correct position, to get the most accurate sound possible.

Here's an article for more info: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar02/articles/monitors.asp


Other than that you could try doing a sound example, and I'll see how it sounds over my system, for getting a better picture.


p.s. Has anyone latency issues? I've heard people having latency issues, interestingly I had the correct buffer settings from the beginning on, so I never experienced them. But there is a workaround/fix for this problem, that you can do inside Kontakt.

You can for example ADD a 2 ms latency CUT by doing the following in Kontakt:


click EDIT All groups
Click on SOURCE - MOD flag.
Look at midi CC 110
Move slider so it displays 59,8%


I haven't tried it myself since I don't have the latency issue, but for people who tried it it did work, please use this on your own risk.

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#1446485 - 05/30/10 06:37 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: hpeterh]
Marthart Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/28/10
Posts: 14
Originally Posted By: hpeterh
Originally Posted By: Marthart
Hello Konovich,

I have Alcia's Keys. The sound is very, very good but I'm still struggling with the velocity settings ...there is absolutely no power especially in the bass whenever I want to play using high velocities... absolutely nothing.


Do you know about the output section of Kontakt (Player)?
Look below the title bar at the left side and klick it.
There are a lot of effects and filters available. Especially a 3 band parametric and graphic EQ.

This is probably not explained in the user manual. At least it was not explained in the galaxy user manual... and I always ignored this not knowing what I missed.

Once you have discovered it, it should be pretty selfexplaining.



Hello Konovich and Peter ,

I have to admit I'm pretty lost with all the possibilities and settings of Kontakt Player. I'm familiar with the output section though ( reverb, convolution etc.)...I'm not sure what the effects of the filters are, I don't notice any differences when using them.

I will try to post a sound example.

I guess Alicia's Keys was not designed with the needs of a player of classical music in mind. Scarbee should sample more pianos in the future, he really knows what he's doing.


To exemplify what I mean by strong bass with bite check out the Kawai EX !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E_TSkkWxBs&feature=channel


Edited by Marthart (05/30/10 06:50 AM)

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#1446488 - 05/30/10 06:56 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Marthart]
Melodialworks Music Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 1309
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Marthart

I guess Alicia's Keys was not designed with the needs of a player of classical music in mind.


I would certainly agree with this statement.
_________________________
Melodialworks Music
Yamaha C3X
Yamaha CP300 + Omnisphere
Yamaha NU1 + Production Grand

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#1446509 - 05/30/10 08:23 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Melodialworks Music]
CyberGene Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
All sample based pianos lack repedalling feature (with the exception of Ivory which has dedicated engine supporting repedalling and other piano features). That makes them unplayable for me including East West QL Pianos.
_________________________
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Current DP: Kawai ES7
Previous DP-s: Kawai MP6, Kawai CA63, Roland RD-700SX, Roland FP-5, Yamaha P90, Korg SP-200, Casio CDP-100

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#1446527 - 05/30/10 09:20 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Marthart]
hpeterh Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 824
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Marthart

I have to admit I'm pretty lost with all the possibilities and settings of Kontakt Player. I'm familiar with the output section though ( reverb, convolution etc.)...I'm not sure what the effects of the filters are, I don't notice any differences when using them.


Now I dont pretend to be an expert and initially I used Kontaktplayer II and no manual for this was available.
I found most things simply by trying, but it was hard.
Now I have Kontaktplayer 4.05 and the manual is accessible in the help section.
Yes it is still confusing for newbies because most stuff refers to Kontakt users and is not needed ;-) So the biggest problem is to sort out what is /not/ needed ;-)

The effect is dramatic.

You must use an output section that is connected to the output of the piano.
Simply try the volume sliders in the output section.
Also the output used can be seen and adjusted at the left side of the "Multi rack", that is the box where the pianos Name is visible.

It is also possible to add "Aux" outputs to the piano and insert effects to them. Klick the buttons named "aux" to see what they do.

It is possible to add output channels to the output section.
Press the "config" button to ensure that the section used is connected to your physical sound output.

It is possible to load the piano multiply into kontakt. This doesnt increase memory usage, because the samples are shared.

Each instance of the piano can have an individual velocity curve and sound adjustment and output section. Now, when these pianos are mixed, it will not sound like a mix, because it is one and the same piano....

So if a simple equalizer will not do what you want, you could load two pianos, and apply a low pass or a equalizer setting with enhanced bass to the second piano and choose a different velocity curve for this...

The possibilitys are infinite...

If you have made such a configuration you must save it as "multi", not as an instrument. Otherwise the adjustments made in the output section would be lost.

Well, if you really want a typical classical piano with strong bass like the Kawai EX, you could buy lancemy's samples, but for those the full version of Kontakt is required. This will be expensive.

Another possiblity would be to buy the Galaxy Boesendorfer.
Galaxy has annonced that they will soon offer the individual instruments from the Galaxy II piano collection as single full featured instruments.

BTW, I dont want to hijack this thread that originally had another topic. Maybe another thread would be required.

Peter


Edited by hpeterh (05/30/10 09:49 AM)
_________________________
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#1446550 - 05/30/10 10:19 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: CyberGene]
hpeterh Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 824
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: CyberGene
All sample based pianos lack repedalling feature (with the exception of Ivory which has dedicated engine supporting repedalling and other piano features). That makes them unplayable for me including East West QL Pianos.


Galaxy pianos support repedalling.
I am not advanced player and dont use this feature and so I cannot judge about the quality of their implementation, but the feature is definitely there and can be switched on and off.

Galaxy also has support for silent keypress and freeform velocity curve. I wonder why most other expensive libraries dont have these features that are relatively cheap to implement.....
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#1446573 - 05/30/10 11:51 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Konovich]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California

Quote:
But I can say that what type of monitoring system (audio interface (+drivers), speakers) + room positioning of the monitors can play a big role how the sound will sound. It's really not that much different on how you place a real piano in different places in a closed environment and at every different position the piano will sound more or less slightly different. (4 times the word 'different' in one sentence, haha)

I have Yamaha HS80M monitors (they used to cost 1000 USD or something like that), these are not really 'listening' speakers for enjoyment of music, but rather give an even and 'true' sound picture, meaning the sound should be how it's really is and not 'changed', though I can use them easily for listening purposes as well.


I don't know how they sampled Alicias' Keys. Velocity layers to not need to be evenly spaced from 1 to 127. They say it was designed for her style of playing which, from what I've heard is not loud or forceful. They may have designed it so you can get many variations of tone in the ppp to mp range and then included one "f" sample.

I've found that "listening speakers" really do work best for digital piano. The reason is that we are NOT re-producing music but producing music and 100% accurate reproduction is not needed, or I think even wanted.

Having played electric guitar some, I think of the speakers as part of the instrument, not something you connect to the instrument. Think this way and you will then start looking to shape, or craft your sound by selecting speakers. Many DP players think that the DP should mimic an accustic piano perfectly so they think they want accurate studio monitors. But that is wrong even if the goal is to exactly minic the acoustic sound because with acoustic pianos the sound does not come from little speakers, it comes from a huge soundboard, case, strings and lid ad is mostly reflected off or conducted through some surface before it reaches your ears. What I've found is that you want physically large speakers, the bigger the better. Floor standing types are best. Then get an aplifier that has enough headroon so you get good dynamcs. This might mean 100 (real) watts per channel.

You might think "100W is loud" no, not if you don't turn it up. What you want is the different between ppp and fff to be large and for the bass to be strong and un-muddy. For that you need a lot of reserve power or "head room" in the amp. Buy one that you can leave the volume set to "3".

Bottom line: (1) physically large speakers that go down to 40Hz and (2) and amp with considerable headroom. You do not need to spend a lot of money. You can find this kind of stuff in thrift shops if you are on a budget.

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#1446655 - 05/30/10 03:00 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: dewster]
edt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 210
Originally Posted By: dewster


Originally Posted By: edt
It's supposed to be very good on par with synthogy.

Those reviews are too kind IMO.



im surprised you have such a low opinion off it.

Can you possibly give your opinion of alicia's keys? This is my favorite piano right now and I'm curious to see if you pan this one too.

Lots of people have this piano now so if you need samples at certain MIDI velocities, etc. just ask.

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#1446706 - 05/30/10 04:32 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: edt]
Marthart Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/28/10
Posts: 14
@hpeterh:

Ok, I've just discovered how to change the equalizer values...interesting !

But still...the problem remains. There are no noticeable differences in the f to fff range, that's whats bothering me. Of course, I could just make the bass part louder but that doesn't fully solve the problem.

So, one can say that Alicia's Keys fills a niche but it isn't as versatile as your standard sampled grand. I really wonder whether Alicia's acoustic Yamaha grand has these limitations as well or whether the people of Scarbee have just decided to sample the ppp-mf range with great detail ( at which they did a great job, imho) at the expense of the upper dynamic range.

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#1446719 - 05/30/10 04:55 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Marthart]
hpeterh Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 824
Loc: Germany
If you invoke the onscreen keyboard you can check i out.
When the keys are clicked at the front, they produce max velocity.
When the other end is clicked, min velocity.
I dont know if the gradient is linear, but I think so.
Edit:
I connected MIDI IN and OUT with a cable and loaded MIDI-OX to check this:
The gradient is not linear. It is approximately quadratic. When the end of the key is 0% and the front is 100% then Velocity 64 is approximately at 25% :-(

You should then also be able to test the effect of dynamics and velocity curve.
But I must say I never tried it this way.
When I had a Yamaha CVP, I could it set to fixed velocity and use the data wheel for velocity adjustment.
My new Kawai unfortunately doesnt support that.
BTW, I have read another posting (in german language) where somebody claimed just the opposit: He said, he could not play ppp-mf. At the lightest keystroke the piano was loud. (He said so, but he was not able to analyze it)
Probably it would be good to use MIDI-OX and see wich velocity values the keyboard produces.

You might also want to check or modify Kontakts velocity adjustment for the instrument. Klick the two gear wheels to get the instrument options. Set the velocity range to 1-127 if not already set this way.
Edit:
Possibly the default velocity adjustment is optimized for Native Instruments own masterkeyboards. This are nonweighted or halfweighted keyboards.

It is also possible, because this is a POP-piano that the default velocity and dynamics are adjusted to get compressed dynamics. I dont know how effective these adjustments are and how far this can be modified. For classic probably 75% or 100% dynamics where appropriate, and /after/ this the velocity curve must be chosen. Be shure the inbuilt adjustable compressor is set to off.

I am interested in this because I possibly want to get the alicia keys piano myself....


Peter


Edited by hpeterh (05/30/10 05:54 PM)
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#1446722 - 05/30/10 04:56 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Marthart]
CyberGene Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
I am wondering if the whole process of choosing pop singer's piano for sampling and her name is something you have considered smile I would never consider a piano named after Alicia Keys. If it was the Yamaha of Glenn Gould - that's another story smile Their intention and demos show that they were after recreating more of a pop-oriented sound instead of realistic dynamics.


Edited by CyberGene (05/30/10 04:57 PM)
_________________________
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#1446931 - 05/30/10 09:20 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: CyberGene]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89
Originally Posted By: CyberGene
I am wondering if the whole process of choosing pop singer's piano for sampling and her name is something you have considered smile I would never consider a piano named after Alicia Keys. If it was the Yamaha of Glenn Gould - that's another story smile Their intention and demos show that they were after recreating more of a pop-oriented sound instead of realistic dynamics.


That's just classical pianist snobbery smile
Hahahahaha!

I do see your point though...
I'm looking for the Stevie Wonder Yammy myself!

That being said, Alicia and every other NI piano LACKS BALLS....... That's great for Alicia, but bad for her piano.

Slam the low end and the tone does not change. In fact it gets more compressed sounding. Same for the NY Grands or whatever it's called, Akoustic piano etc.

Do the same with Ivory and you can hear the strings snap as the tone and dynamics change.

I find your comments about demos interesting!

From what I see the companies offer dry and stale classical demos or totally off the wall conceptual ie:weird, jazz demos.

There seems to be little pop or standards/jazz type demos out there.

They also make certain to avoid or minimize the "bad notes" and every piano has a few, even acoustic ones.

I like the Alicia Keys piano, but the latency problems and the lack of balls at the low end kind of kills it for me.
In all fairness though, that piano is not known for it's ballsy low end so in that respect the samples are accurate to the original.

One last comment, with the awful latency, I really do wonder if Alicia really used that software on her recordings.
If she did, either they patched it, or she is so bad a pianist she did not notice it.
Any pianist with even the most rudimentary timing ability will notice the latency.
It's a bug in the software and can mostly be resolved with settings.
Still, it makes me wonder how this escaped into the wild with a bug like that.

Just my 2 cents.

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#1447078 - 05/31/10 02:40 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: SteveO42]
hpeterh Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 824
Loc: Germany
The latency problem is a bug and discussed in Native Instruments Forums. Maybe there is already an upgrade available.
There are temporary solutions for it.
Users that have the full Kontakt version can work around it by changing some of the settings.
_________________________
1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6


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#1447296 - 05/31/10 12:44 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: hpeterh]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89
Originally Posted By: hpeterh
The latency problem is a bug and discussed in Native Instruments Forums. Maybe there is already an upgrade available.
There are temporary solutions for it.
Users that have the full Kontakt version can work around it by changing some of the settings.


Correct. There is also a long thread on Gearslutz about it.
I see you are using Galaxy, have you tried the Vintage D and if so how do you like it?
Any opinions on how it compares to Ivory?

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#1447333 - 05/31/10 01:31 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: SteveO42]
hpeterh Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/10
Posts: 824
Loc: Germany
From Synthogy, I have the italian grand only.
Yes, I I have the Vintage D and hope to get the upgraded Galaxy II soon.

While it is impossible to compare the Synthogy Fazioli and the Galaxy Steinway Vintage D I must say that I like the Vintage D more.

I found it always easier to adjust dynamics and velocity for the galaxy piano.

I think the sound of the Vintage D is much more lively than the older Galaxys and the Italy Grand. I believe that is an effect of the sympathetic resonance (SSR), it adds more variation to the sound. The older Galaxys had SSR too but the implementation was not perfect. At low levels it was not audible and at higher levels it had strange effects. So far I found SSR is only implemented for the strings between one octave below and one octave above the key, but that seems to do the trick, because the implementation is good.

I like the sound very much. It is clear and brillant but not not too thin or hard. Can sound soft powerful and brillant with lot bass and warmth all at the same time. I love that.
It is also possible to change the sound character according to own taste. Much better than with synthogy.
I added a little bit "Brillance" and SSR and use the plate reverb, because this sounds metallic, very similar to the metallic resonance that a piano body has. Sometimes I believe I have a real Steinway standing directly beneath my nose ;-)

I want to hear the Boesendorfer and the Baby Grand with this new engine. Possibly I would then prefer the Boesendorfer, dont know.
(The Baby grand is a another type it cannot be compared)

There are performance Problems with the underlying Kontakt Player 4.05. I hope an Update to 4.1 will solve this. Because the samples are losslessly compressed the 4 pianos will all fit onto my 32GB SSD and leave enough room for Alicia Key's piano. ;-)

Possibly I will not upgrade the Italian Grand, I am waiting for the demos. Or I upgrade it and then sell it. That should be easy with Synthogys Dongle-Copy protection, because it is not bound to my Computer.

Peter.


Edited by hpeterh (05/31/10 01:36 PM)
_________________________
1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6


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#1447384 - 05/31/10 02:38 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: hpeterh]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89
Hi Peter!
Thank you so much for your detailed and helpful reply! I have both the Ivory original and the Italian Grand and out of the original the only piano that I like is the C8/C7 variations. The Bose sounds "wooly" or 'hollow' to me and the Steinway isn't that convincing but it does play well.
I'm talking of the stock sounds without tweaking. Just using the defaults.
The Italian grand is the best of the bunch though, overall. It does have a dark character to it, but can be tweaked to go bright as well. I find Ivory's best point is that they are very playable pianos. Notes don't cut off or jump out at you and the dynamics from soft to loud are very well done.
I am looking forward to the soon to be released updates.

I'm going to spring for the Galaxy Vintage D because from what I had read and heard, it sounds like a good compliment to the darker Ivory pianos.

Thank you once again!

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#1447392 - 05/31/10 02:55 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: edt]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 563
Originally Posted By: edt
explain "velocity switching issues"

does the sound seem to jump in steps? Or are the velocities recorded out of tune? What is the exact problem with east west ql?

It's supposed to be very good on par with synthogy.

btw, I also love alicia's keys & imperfect samples.

I dont think there is a perfect piano sample anymore than there is a perfect acoustic piano, or perfect guitar. They all have their own character and quirks.
The EWQL Pianos have changes in timbre between keys played at the same velocity, and between adjacent velocities played on one key, and the product has been sold for some time. What really irks me, is that according to one of the pianists that recorded demos for their website, they doctored the demos to remove these problems from the demos. So the demos are not representative of what you get when you play the product live.

That said, you can manually re-map notes (at specific velocities) by renaming individual samples. But that is a very time consuming process (which is what you already paid for them to do). I spent many hours working on their Steinway. They have advertised that a new Play Pro engine will be sold later this year that will at least make it easier to manually remap the samples. But they will charge you additional money for Play Pro to give you that privilege. The least they could do is give Play Pro to people that have complained about inconsistencies in their piano samples. But I'm worried about how well Play Pro will work since I still see memory management problems (on a Mac) with the current Play version (2.0.9).


Edited by Macy (05/31/10 03:08 PM)
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, Ravenscroft 275, True Keys American D, Garritan Authorized Steinway, Alicia's Keys, EWQL Pianos, MainStage, iPad/forScore/PageFlip Cicada, Custom Mac MIDI/Audio Software Design, Macs Everywhere

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#1448211 - 06/01/10 05:24 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: Macy]
blueston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 271
Loc: MA, USA
To answer the original question, I have had QLP for about 6 months now and can give you my thoughts. Sorry, it's long, but you asked and you shall receive.

I find your adjectives "blurry" and "underwater" very good descriptions. I've always said the sound is "hiding" somewhat, definitely not an "in-your-face" kind of sound. Almost as if your are hearing it thru the soundboard or with the lid closed. It has 3 mic positions yet I find this "sense of distance" to remain true even with the close mic. It just sounds like it's how you hear a piano performing in stage from an audience position, or a recording of such.

At first I considered this to be a good thing, as it added beauty, depth, complexity to the tone. And it contrasted well with way too many competitors that lack that depth, sound a little sterile and too pingy/hammerish. Then that "in your face" sound prevents the ability to play nice and mellow and soft without that PING sound. But QLP sounds great played softly.

I picked QLP after months of careful listening to demos with earphones, I decided QLP had the most beautiful, and deep, or complex tone for the above reasons. Alas, listening to demos is one thing. Reality is quite another.

The Yamaha sounds like a toy and is unusable. The Bosendorfer and Bechstein are ok, but I really only cared for the Steinway for most applications. I still to this day don't have a touch curve I am happy with. I wish you could do a free form curve. I have to set my KB touch to the lightest to be able to get it to respond in the right ballpark yet it still doesn't feel right to me and the brightness sound when you play hard is getting to be annoying, as there is no strong decay to keep up with it.

Someone said it lacks a strong Bass. This is also definitely true, not sure if it's due to my graded action on my KB or if you could EQ it up to compensate.

Also, be prepared for glitches if you don't have a super expensive computer. There were sudden abrupt dropouts driving me absolutely crazy all over the place until Greg Sullivan (a fellow PW member) helped me with a discovery he made that hard drives act like they take mini-sleeps (presumably if you pull a few samples from ram/cache for too long) and that you need some kind of program to keep the Hard Drive "awake". You can try an IoMeter configuration that pings the drive with a read request every couple seconds, or buy a Drive Power Manager utility and select "max" for the performance setting ("min" for power savings). This definitely noticeably reduced most of these dropouts. THANKS GREG! Latency is another issue I won't bother going into here...

I finally listened to a lot of the major Demos again but using my PA Speakers instead and came away with a much different opinion. Ivory Grand or Upright sounded the best and most realistic (before I had thought they sounded thin and nasally compared to QLP). The Italian Grand, Art Vista, QLP, and a couple others all sounded harsh with something over-resonating in the midrange somewhere. My advice is to not just use headphones but also try amps/speakers to compare the sounds. I thought I would like Art Vista as it has perhaps the strongest decays I've heard approaching the sense that the piano is in the same small room with you, just a few feet away.

Art Vista was a contender until I tried this test. I really liked their decays and the fact they have a bunch of built in touch curves for several of the most common Keyboard Models out there so it would hopefully specifically work properly with your own keyboards action.

I think I am going to buy Ivory someday.

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#1449127 - 06/02/10 10:34 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: blueston]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Blueston,
re: the drive power management, I see that this issue is now documented in the Play manual. smile I'm glad this helped you - thanks for the feedback.

Note that my system is running very well, and I do NOT have a very fast and expensive system. I do not get any glitches whatsoever. I can't even remember the last time I experienced a normal dropout due to polyphony.

Greg.

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#1449434 - 06/03/10 11:33 AM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: sullivang]
blueston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 271
Loc: MA, USA
Hi Greg! No glitches at all Eh? I wish I could say the same.

Do you only use 1 mic position?

I tend to use 2 mics and will still occasionally get a soft dropout. Not a horribly abrupt or full one, but either just 1 mic sample or key or two will drop off. Maybe it's just a polyphony drop but I still don't quite understand their polyphony/voices setting. Anyway, it's not very noticeable and I guess I can live with it for now because it's a huge improvement over what I had before.

For latency though I've been unable to get a setup I can live with. If I start to reduce the Latency even a little (128 buffer) i begin to hear crackles/pops. In a couple cases all of a sudden I've received a loud full-on noise burst lasting a few seconds that almost ruined my hearing and gave me a heart attack. I am using the built in IDT audio with free ASIO drivers which I know probably isn't the best. I have been thinking about upgrading to an external Audio adapter with a better included ASIO driver but not sure if it will completely solve this and not sure I want to drop another $hundred to find out. But Latency makes a huge difference in your perception of whether you like the instrument and feel you are in control of it.

The 3rd issue is the touch. I may need to invest some time mapping or scaling the velocity levels individually to get the right feel as some others have mentioned they've done in this forum. I'm also trying to get my hands on a Roland FP-4 which may have a better/lighter touch and action that may work better with QLP.

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#1449832 - 06/03/10 11:05 PM Re: What It Is Your Take on East West QL Pianos? [Re: blueston]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
It would be good if you could somehow try an interface with native ASIO. I use 128 samples and the latency is very good with no glitches. As I've said before, the interface has a special "high performance" mode which a) reduces the size of the "safety buffer" and b) allows for the ASIO buffer to be reduced to 64 samples, however this mode does not function properly on my laptop. (something to do with the USB interface hardware in the laptop I think).

I usually use a single mic but sometimes I use two. I'll do some more testing with 2 mics and report back.

EWQLP seems to have no intelligence in the way it steals voices at all - I think that's something they should improve. For example, if you hold the sustain pedal down and then keep playing the same note, it consumes a new voice every time you play a note, AND, if you had held down ANOTHER note at the same time, it will be terminated when the polyphony is exceeded. This is ridiculous - the note that had been held should have priority, with the oldest voice from the "repeat group" being terminated instead.

Greg.

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