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#692933 - 07/23/08 11:58 AM Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
I have created some renders using the popular Purgatory Creek MIDI file benchmark test, with Garritan Authorised Steinway Professional Edition (24 bit samples) and Best Service Galaxy II piano library.

These were recorded from the plug-in's direct output at 32 bit 44.1kHz captured in realtime (not offline mode) to expose any glitches which occur in typical live use. The 32 bit wav file was then encoded to 320kbps MP3. The idea is to compare how each piano sounds when played "live."

First point to mention is about inconsistent output volumes - which are bound to vary slightly with different pianos and sample libraries. The five different perspectives of the Garritan Steinway are similar in subjective volume, except for Player perspective, which sounds quieter than the rest. I've double checked this to confirm, then decided to amplify the digital gain to 150% for the Player Perspective render so it matched the other renders in subjective volume.

Likewise with Best Service Galaxy II plug-in, the Bosendorfer and the Bluthner multisamples (both recorded at Hansahaus Studios in Germany) are relatively similar in subjective volume, but the Hamburg Steinway D (recorded at Galaxy Studios in Belgium) sounds quieter in the plug-in's audio output on the same settings, so I've boosted the level of the 32 bit render so they all match consistently, and volume isn't a factor in the sound quality judgement.

The second point is matching the Purgatory Creek MIDI file (and the velocity curve from the original keyboard performance) to the velocity curve of the plug-in's multisample. It is obvious on the Galaxy II Steinway that the piano's output is rendered far too loud and bright using the default factory settings.

By correcting for these velocity curves and offsets, and also fine-tuning the plug-in's tone parameters, it makes a huge difference and obviously sounds more correct. I've included two MP3 files to show both the over-bright factory defaults and the user-adjusted correct version. It's reasonable to assume that anyone who owned this plug-in would also take the time and trouble to set things correctly, for serious use, matching their own keyboard, playing style and personal tastes.

The Garritan Steinway plug-in didn't seem to over-react so much to the Purgatory Creek file dynamics, and it has much more limited choices for velocity curve or tone parameters, so I used the factory presets, with sustain resonance and string resonance turned on to their default values of 19 and 48 respectively, and no reverb, and no mechanical noise - although indeed, several noises of this kind seem to be actually audible in the raw samples, and are regularly heard in the output, even though the mechanical noise parameter was definitely set to zero. The release sample volume was reduced slightly from default, using an updated patch.

The various perspectives of the Garritan Steinway are interesting to compare with the Galaxy II Steinway, although obviously the Bosendorfer and Bluthner instruments are quite different anyway. Enjoy...


PURGATORY CREEK demos ( test MIDI file )

Best Service Galaxy II - Steinway - factory defaults.mp3

Best Service Galaxy II - Steinway - user adjusted.mp3

Best Service Galaxy II - Bosendorfer Vienna Grand.mp3

Best Service Galaxy II - Bluthner 1929 Baby Grand.mp3

Garritan Authorised Steinway Pro - Under Lid perspective.mp3

Garritan Authorised Steinway Pro - Player perspective.mp3

Garritan Authorised Steinway Pro - Close perspective.mp3

Garritan Authorised Steinway Pro - Classic perspective.mp3

Garritan Authorised Steinway Pro - Side Stage perspective.mp3

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#692934 - 07/23/08 04:22 PM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
Thanks for taking the time to post the results. It would be interesting to see how Garritan compares with Ivory.

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#692935 - 07/24/08 01:10 PM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by Eternal:
It would be interesting to see how Garritan compares with Ivory. [/b]
Yes indeed! - and that's the whole point of using the widely popular Purgatory Creek benchmark MIDI file to create those demos.

The famous Purgatory Creek website's Digital Piano Shootout already includes nearly 300 comparision demos of different digital pianos and soft synths with MP3 files rendered using this same benchmark MIDI file. Chack it out...

Click here for Puragtory Creek - the famous piano comparison website!

You'll find it already includes MP3 demos for Synthogy Ivory - Steinway, Bosendorfer and Yamaha grands, plus the Italian Grand Fazioli (although the Ivory Uprights haven't been tested there yet.)

Synthogy Ivory Bosendorfer.mp3

Synthogy Ivory Steinway.mp3

Synthogy Ivory Yamaha.mp3

Synthogy Ivory Italian Grand Fazioli.mp3

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#692936 - 07/24/08 08:43 PM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
My first thought is how much fuller and warmer the Galaxy Steinway sounds after your tweaks. Those of us who are sitting in back of the tech class might not be able to make those tweaks;-)

I'm wondering how authentic is the Bluthner. Listening to Bach's Aria from his Goldberg Variations played on proaudiovault's company-authorized Bluthner Model One - lots of exposed notes - it just seems that there's more of a difference from the Steinway's tone. It's not fair to compare babies to concerts, but proaudiovault's Bluthner really does have a distinctive tone.

Steinway's tech did a super job voicing that New York D. The fuzziness of the New York's bass is gone. (There's a good A/B of Hamburg and New York D's in this video. )

Will have to spend more time on the perspectives.

Sorry your northernsouds thread was deleted.

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#692937 - 07/25/08 08:40 AM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:
My first thought is how much fuller and warmer the Galaxy Steinway sounds after your tweaks. Those of us who are sitting in back of the tech class might not be able to make those tweaks.
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. Feel free to copy my homework...

The velocity curve is the only thing that really does depend on the individual keyboard and personal preferences, so I can't give any preffered settings. I use my Kawai MP8 with its own USER touch curve anyway, and then just use the default linear curve for Galaxy II, and that works fine.

 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:
I'm wondering how authentic is the Bluthner. It's not fair to compare babies to concerts, but proaudiovault's Bluthner Digital Model One really does have a distinctive tone.
Yes, the Galaxy II Blutner is intentionally a 1929 vintage instrument, and sounds very realistic - you can feel it's age, like a tired old piano in a second hand shop. The BDMO is meant to sound like a brand new concert grand in a pristine recording studio.

I've seen that film clip about the Hamburg vs New York Steinways before. Living in England myself, most of the Steinways I've actually played are Hamburg models.

 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:
Sorry your northernsouds thread was deleted.
Yeah, me too - and I didn't delete it.
I think NorthernSounds is mostly an amatuer forum, and is probably paid for by companies like Garritan who advertise there. I only found it because it was the "official" user forum for the Garritan Steinway, but obviously they don't like strong critical opinions and mathematical proof of their product's deficiencies.

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#692938 - 07/25/08 07:10 PM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
Interesting re the Galaxy's choice of Bluthner. IMO if you're gonna go for distinctive, Go For Distinctive. If I were looking for a tired old one, I'd rather have the Steingraber vertical in Akoustic Piano.

I'm pressing the distinctiveness point because the BDMO will probably be the next buy. According to proaudio Timbral Impulse 50 boosts the mids. That TI is featured on the Glenn Gould-like demo in the Classic category. I'm hoping that this TI will produce a more pleasing balance between bass and tenor. (My current piano is ArtVista's Virtual Grand.)

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#692939 - 07/27/08 11:25 AM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
Interesting… I’m not so sure that boosting the midrange “globally” with the Timbral Impulse is going to change the true nature of the piano tone that much. It’s just EQ after all, but applied using convolution DSP processing, which is a convenient way to store and reapply a certain “sound” without having to calculate the actual EQ filter curves. You could easily create an impulse file like that yourself by EQ’ing a single sample spike, and use basic convolution to apply it to any existing sound – piano or otherwise, in the same way. The trouble is, at the end of the day, it’s just basic EQ and just gives you an EQ’d copy of the piano tone you already have, not an improvement to the piano’s underlying timbre or voicing.
After all, each string yields a complex mixture of partials (overtones) which depends on the thickness and stiffness of the copper windings, hardness of felt, strike location, the size, shape and construction of the instrument, iron, wood, glue, varnish, etc. all contribute to piano tone, making some partials stronger or weaker on each and every string (main and duplex scales) giving fantastic complex formula (which Pianoteq has failed to crack with only 8 global harmonic sliders, by the way!) and the bass notes and tenor notes react and behave very differently. In fact you hear a unique mixture of strong and weak partials for every single note, and this gives different pianos their distinctive timbre and character, be it a strident midrange twang, or mellow, tubby bass notes, soft or hard attack, roundness, hollowness, boomy bass or bright zingy Yamaha treble or whatever, and it will always change up and down the keyboard.
So if you want to re-voice the piano’s overall tone balance you need to re-voice individually with respect to all 88 keys, and the only way BDMO could really achieve this is with 88 separate convolution impulses as a group being applied, but that’s not what they’re doing, I think it’s just a global convolution impulse, otherwise it would require massive DSP power to run in realtime!!!
I thing ProAudioVault have gathered milestone piano recordings from 1957 rock ‘n’ roll up to present day, and taken a FFT fingerprint of the spectrograph to clone the EQ sound along with some reverb into a “Timbral Impulse” which they can apply to their Bluthner multisample to approximately mimic the tone of these recordings.
The Glenn Glould tone you mention – I suspect any strong midrange flavour is likely to be the mics / recording setup, rather than a very strongly coloured piano.
Obviously, it’s down to personal taste what you enjoy listening to, but I think the BDMO will have a certain timbre character that can’t really be changed, anymore than you can change an orange to taste like a strawberry. Anyway, BDMO is certainly an excellent quality product, I’d quite like to buy it myself, one day.

 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:[/b]
Interesting re the Galaxy's choice of Bluthner. IMO if you're gonna go for distinctive, Go For Distinctive. If I were looking for a tired old one, I'd rather have the Steingraber vertical in Akoustic Piano.
The Galaxy II Bluthner is a 5 foot baby grand made in 1929, and it honestly feels just like the real thing. If you’ve played something like that in a second hand shop or old music school practise room – worn out, covered in dust and cobwebs but still musical, you’ll recognise and appreciate the character of it – I think it’s almost more life-like sounding than either the Bosendorfer or the Steinway among Galaxy II’s pianos. They’re all good, but I can really visualize that baby grand right in front of me when I play it, and it is nice for intimate classical piano, eg. Mozart sonatas.

The Steingraber upright was for me, the best thing about Akoustik, as I didn’t really care much for its other piano sounds when I played it some years ago. I don’t own it myself. An upright piano is obviously such a different thing to a big concert grand sound, or even a baby grand, so yes – it is a very distinctive choice that suits some music.
Personally, I’ve got that covered anyway, because I multisampled my own Kemble upright piano over ten years ago, and I’ve never really found any commercial upright sample (including Ivory’s latest) that I prefer to my own custom sample – though I might be biased… I think it still sounds fairly realistic, even though it’s only a 64 MB sample (to fit the RAM of my old rack sampler) and playing old fashioned jazz stride, it has that nostalgic feel. Have a listen…

Propianist\'s own custom multisample - Kemble upright piano.mp3

The only problem is, it obviously can’t compare to a big majestic Bosendorfer or Steinway concert grand sound, which I much prefer anyway, especially in direct comparison if I render the Purgatory Creek test file with it...

Purgatory Creek test - Kemble upright piano.mp3

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#692940 - 07/27/08 11:06 PM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
I'm listening now to the Purgatory Creek test of your Kemble. Getting the feeling that this is what the piano would sound like if I were actually playing it. Nice job.

Re the BDMO's mids, I wouldn't want to change the basic timbre. I'm strangely attracted to it. I'd just like to change the volume balance between bass and mids. The Gould sample doesn't really feature the lowest notes. If you listen to "Skylark" in the JAZZ demos section, there are a couple of times when very low notes are struck hard. The result is too much to my ears.

Bluthners have a broad dynamic range, but their overall volume is a little lower than that of a Steinway. What I'm thinking is that I could could use the T.I. to give the mids a little more oomph, then turn the volume down just a little, to simulate that instrument's lesser power. Of course, since I'm a technoignoramus this may be just a teenage fantasy.

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#692941 - 07/29/08 07:46 AM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
Teenage fantasies make the world go round, dude!

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#692942 - 07/29/08 03:08 PM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco

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#692943 - 07/31/08 01:38 AM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
Listened again - and with less stressed ears - to the demos in your post.

The Galaxy II is hardly worth listening to until your tweaks are applied.

The Garritan's perspectives are not as different as they should be. There's certainly less attack in the Classic than in the Under The Hood, but not nearly as much as there should be. Classic should be c.40 rows back, Under Hood should have an attack that can find loose fillings.

I don't - and can't - do sound production, but do wish that Steinway's engineer had chosen perhaps one set of mics for all perspectives.

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#692944 - 07/31/08 05:53 AM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
I just wish the engineer had chosen mics that were far quieter, period!

 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:[/b]
...Classic mic should be c.40 rows back...
Given the poor noise floors they've achieved (or should that be underachieved!?) with the local stage mics, a mic 40 rows back would be just too hissy to use!
In fact, they did actually record a sixth Steinway mic perspective - this extra one was called DISTANT, but they never released its samples in the final product. I wonder why...?!

Brian C. Peters, chosen by Steinway, was the sound engineer (not the Garritan team) and he chose the mics. Their inherent noise and sensitivity spec is probably the biggest factor in the overall analogue noise floor of each recording. Two identical models of each microphone were being used as a stereo pair from each different listening perspective, for various miking techniques.

UNDER LID[/b] = Schoeps MK4 cardioid = 15dBA noise and 13mV/Pa output

CLOSE[/b] = Microtech Gefell M930 cardioid = 7dBA noise and 21mV/Pa output

SIDE STAGE[/b] = Schoeps MK5 omni = 14dBA noise and 10mV/Pa output

CLASSIC[/b] = Neumann TLM170 wide cardioid = 14dBA noise and 8mV/Pa output

PLAYER[/b] = B&K 4006 omni = 15dBA noise and 35mV/Pa output

DISTANT (not released yet)[/b] = Schoeps MK21 wide cardioid = 14dBA noise and 13mV/Pa output

The mics chosen for the Garritan Steinway are a very importing factor in how it sounds. I want to write more about the true facts on that subject, but maybe I'm going off-topic here, and I should start a new thread just about the microphones / noise issues in the Garritan Steinway.

I see we're also discussing similar topics on THIS forum thread.
Other readers might be interested in that too.

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#692945 - 10/16/08 08:11 PM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
Hi folks,
If you've been reading this current thread with interest so far, then it's definitely worthwhile having a look at this...





Rondo Alla Turca__eighteen pianos__propianist - watch on YouTube [/b]


Click the above link to watch this movie right now, or just search for "propianist" on YouTube and you should find it.

There is already another dedicated Piano World forum thread discussion about this eighteen piano comparison , where you can download this movie in high quality .mpg format , plus many more uncompressed WAV files, and other movie clips, MIDI files, screensaver, read the various comments and opinions, technical descriptions and learn much more! So please go there for the most updated details, but to explain briefly...


A while ago I recorded myself playing “Rondo Alla Turca” by Mozart, with a video camera closeup...



I also simultaneously recorded the MIDI output to make a Standard MIDI File, so I could try rendering that performance with all the many different hardware and software piano sounds I’ve got, for a huge side by side comparison...

Here's my actual live MIDI file...


Rondo Alla Turca_propianist.mid [/b]


I then rendered it eighteen times over with eighteen different piano sources, and burned them all to CDR for lots of listening, and then I decided to assemble a side by side comparison, using the Mozart, split naturally into its 29 repetitive eight bar sections (that's the beauty of it!) for instant comparison, without interrupting the musical flow.




After a few sleepless nights of audio and video editing, here’s what I’ve come up with!

Here's the rendered audio track...


Rondo Alla Turca__eighteen pianos__propianist__16bit 44kHz.wav [/b]


And here's the full quality video / audio version, with animated graphics to tell you which piano you're hearing, in the industry standard MPEG-2 format (ie. the same thing as everyday DVD video) for popular compatibility with majority of software media players, or DVD authoring / playback software. (Video size is standard UK PAL resolution 720 x 576 pixels at 25 frames / second.)
It’s quite a big 97.5 MB download, but I promise it’s worth watching – if you like software pianos, you’ll love this !!!


Rondo Alla Turca__eighteen pianos__propianist__movie.mpg [/b]


(above direct download weblink should work okay) or otherwise download from host webpage


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#692946 - 11/03/08 01:25 AM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Simply amazing. Thank you for that.
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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#1647583 - 03/25/11 02:53 AM Re: Purgatory Creek MP3 demos - Galaxy II & Garritan Steinway [Re: propianist]
James Pun Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 113
Hi propianist, your demo is excellent! I am puzzled why the thread did not continue until today!

I am actively looking for a new DP these days and on the verge to getting a NP88. I use a lot of sample libraries in production, in my opinion, Ivory, Galaxy II, Vintage D and are the best (though I haven't tried Ivory II yet).
_________________________
Nord Piano | Yamaha S90ES | Yamaha MOX 8 | Neumann U87 | Metric Halo 2882

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