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#1997268 - 12/10/12 08:11 AM Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...)
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Hi everyone,

I know that this have been debated before many times (including by myself), but I just want to bring this up again, because I'm in the important process of deciding how to proceed with my solo piano recording...

Firstly, let's estabilish that with "ideal" conditions - studio access 24/h, tuned acoustic piano, nobody bothering you, etc. it's no brainer to choose acoustic. However, that's unrealistic from budget point of view, to get like at least 5 days in studio to create-re-create-etc.

I'm just back from trying out recording acoustic in studio, and one thing I have to say that it takes time to adapt and feel comfortable. Then there's question about piano sound quality, mic placement ,etc. subjective factor of engineers. But it seems to me from some talks today, that in professional space acoustic is still the way to go.

But , what would you say? Have software become powerful enough and what is more crucial - environmental aspect (recording in home whenever you like) or natural sound? Tough , philosophical questions...


Edited by EO3 (12/10/12 08:12 AM)

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#1997729 - 12/11/12 04:26 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Just listening to what some of the best sampled piano software vendors use for demos is a testimony to what can be done without all of the baggage of an acoustic piano in a recording studio. Check out Imperfect Samples and 8dio 1928 legacy Grand samples. WIth the recording of the piano taken care of the rest is all coming from the musician and choice of material. These pianos shine right out of the box and you have all of the conveniences of working at home on your own terms.

These are simply gorgeous sound bites:

Imperfect Samples Fazioli Ebony Grand



Imperfect Samples Walnut Steinway Grand





8dio 1928 Legacy Grand


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#1997737 - 12/11/12 04:56 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
Can't beat a good recording of a good acoustic. That said, it's often not feasible for obvious reasons. So the second best thing is go with a VST. But for a serious, say, classical solo piano recording, I doubt you could get satisfactory results with it. At least the discerning listener will notice that it sounds too sterile and unconnected. There's also the issue of dynamic range. You can play an acoustic basically as loud as you want and only be limited by how fast you can hit the keys. On a DP or VST you'll always be limited to a certain maximum velocity.

Imperfect Samples solves little of these issues. They mask all the shortcomings with "imperfect" samples that are supposed to sound more natural. Personally I don't find it achieves anything more than giving it a warm, woody and somewhat sympathetic character. But did you ever hear a real piano recording that sounded this way?

Edit: in this recent thread we were discussing a Rach piece:
Rach piece

Listen to these performances and you can probably hear what I mean, even if some might be a little old.


Edited by Gigantoad (12/11/12 05:18 AM)

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#1997746 - 12/11/12 06:26 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
Problem with most software recordings (oh sorry: sampled piano's ;-) is precisely that they sound like a recording. This is not how you actually experience a piano when playing it yourself from the players perspective . Nice if a piano sounds like a very well recorded grand of a famous brand, but in that case I'd rather listen to a CD of a grandmaster playing the piano. When you play yourself, different parameters are becoming important and those variables are most often not fully captured or represented in a sampled piano. And that is apart from hall effects etc that are often way overdone (your not sitting in the back of the hall , but right in front of the instrument).

In short my problem is that these piano's sound very well to the (virtual) listener in the hall , but don't give the player the same experience as sitting behind the keys of a grand piano. And that doesn't even include tactile feedback , keybed simulation and other factors that play an important role. I think a sampled piano that is very specifically aimed at giving the player the best representation from the players perspective of the instrument will sound very weird in a 'normal' piano recording. So the demo's won't sell the piano in that case - which may be one of the reasons why this doesn't happen ?

A physical modeled piano gives you more control over how you perceive the generated sounds , but unfortunately they still have a way to go to get the same authenticity in the attack phase of the sound as a real- , or well sampled piano.

Anyway - things get gradually better and better with each new hardware and software release, so maybe in five or ten years a DP that is indistinguishable from the real thing will be a common product. IMHO the fact that most sound comes from speakers - apart from some soundboard experiments here and there - is one of the main bottlenecks. There's no full resonating, completely diffuse sound emitting body involved. Let's see what soundboards and perhaps other solutions will do in the future...

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#1997757 - 12/11/12 07:21 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
That is true JFP, but the OP is specifically talking about recording.

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#1997799 - 12/11/12 09:36 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
kurtie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 207
Hi,

I am not a professional but my two cents as an aficionado: for playing I always would choose a good acoustic piano over any sampled / modelled one... but for recording, that's another story.

What level of quality are you aiming for and how many resources you have? If you want state-of-the-art, top-notch solo piano recording, then get access to an expensive grand piano (pay for a studio) perfectly tuned (pay for a tuner), microphone it with good microphones, beware of phases, delays, stereo imaging... you will have to be an audio engineer yourself or have one working for you, and it will be a fantastic record... but expensive.

But if you want the best bang for the buck recording, software piano is so much easier, so much cheaper and so much quicker.

My main complain with software pianos are first, that they sound as recordings of the real thing and I like more a live piano sound over any recording, but when listening to a recording, that is not a problem anymore. At the contrary, that makes recording straightforward and easy because with a software piano you are already working with a sound in digital form. Some software pianos even let you simulate the placement of the microphones around the piano!

My second complain on software pianos is that they don't play the same as the real thing (close, but don't behave the same). But that is only noticed by the player.

The software piano route is perfect for low-budget recordings. The acoustic piano route is the way to go for high quality recordings. What if you have a moderate amount of resources? Then you will have to think carefully about it... but personally I would choose the acoustic route every time except when the budget was so tight that it would not be possible even recording a decent upright... because it's a solo piano. For a piano in a mix... probably would choose software pianos everytime.

Regards,
Kurt.-

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#1997891 - 12/11/12 01:22 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Thanks for all the comments, keep them coming, will go through them. smile

To answer to some points - my plan is really to get it done with limited budget.Basically I have resources to buy a few virtual pianos and that's it. So, realisticaly, it's either acoustic recording but without tuner available and limited time (I could afford some more 2hour sessions that way) or virtual piano rec.

At the moment I'm also thinking to possibly combine some of the recordings I already did in studio , and some with virtual piano (and probably even from 2 or 3 virtual pianos). Listening to my acoustic recordings from studio, but I wouldn't say it sounds very "professional" compared to other piano records I have listened to (I did mine with Steinway D, perhaps upright is more suited for my music in some cases), however, it did sound more alive and dynamic compared to recordings done with Roland FP7F inbuilt sound.

Sound guys also were for the acoustic, but that's what you would expect from studio engineers, I guess. Eh, in this aspect it's so easy for the writers - written word is written and the same, no matter in what situation, hehe. smile

The aspect of sound is important, but at the end of the day, I suppose very few could tell the difference, if it's the sampled piano (a bit different with modeled ones).

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#1997968 - 12/11/12 04:11 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: Gigantoad]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Gigantoad
...Imperfect Samples solves little of these issues. They mask all the shortcomings with "imperfect" samples that are supposed to sound more natural. Personally I don't find it achieves anything more than giving it a warm, woody and somewhat sympathetic character. But did you ever hear a real piano recording that sounded this way?

Edit: in this recent thread we were discussing a Rach piece:
Rach piece

Listen to these performances and you can probably hear what I mean, even if some might be a little old.

Is this a stated fact that you read or is it just a consequence of the natural imperfections captured in the samples? IOW, you appear to be saying that IS has deliberately used certain characteristics of imperfection to mask other flaws inherent in software sample pianos. I am wondering if it is just coincidence or intentional. As I understand it, IS is depicting the source piano's character without correcting its imperfections. That is, they sought out an imperfect piano and tried to be true to its condition.

In two of the Rachmaninov Elégie videos (not the live perfomance by Gavrilov) the recorded pianos remind me more of either 8dio's 1928 Legacy Grand or IS Steinway Walnut pianos.

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#1997983 - 12/11/12 04:56 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: kurtie]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
Hi, Kurtie,
Originally Posted By: kurtie
My main complain with software pianos are first, that they sound as recordings of the real thing and I like more a live piano sound over any recording, but when listening to a recording, that is not a problem anymore. At the contrary, that makes recording straightforward and easy because with a software piano you are already working with a sound in digital form. Some software pianos even let you simulate the placement of the microphones around the piano!
Was just my point too: Mic perpective is inherently present with all miced piano samples. Acoutic imaging has a strong vehicle: sound phase is a very audible effect (in contrast to visual perception). This narrowing down cannot be completely eliminated by after-processing with sampled instruments.
Listening through boxes is an added second distorting effect, albeit headphones (with appropriate binaural compensation!) should eliminated this .
These are principial limitations, cannot be overcome only to some extent.
_________________________
Acoustic: own clavichord!, Burger&Jacoby,Biel (nice vintage vertical)
Digital: CA65; Pianoteq; Sampled:Galaxy VintageD+Vienna(Bösendorfer)
Sampletekk Black,PMI, etc...
Harpsi: Beurmann Dutch+Sampletekk, Clavichord:PMI+Wavelore+organs

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#1998112 - 12/11/12 11:34 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: kurtie]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
If the response, feel and touch matched up reasonably well with an acoustic piano could you play just as well without a representation of the player's audio perspective?

Is it just something lacking from your association with playing an acoustic piano or is this something that enables you to hear more of what you are doing with the keys.....as in receiving immediate feedback?

I am not a piano player. I am a piano noodler. I am a guitar player though.

With an electric guitar there are countless tonal variations available but you tend to change what you do in accordance with the tone. You do not necessarily play the same way when the tone is clean as you do when it is overdriven. The guitar also responds differently depending on the tone. You have to work harder at getting certain sounds out of one tone or another. Likewise, some things go easier or you gravitate to certain things using a tone with another character to it.

When it comes to software amp simulation response, feel and touch are missing the mark in many programs. Without the appropriate response, playing the guitar can feel like your fingers are pressing on the edge of a knife. The inhibited response will get in the way of all of the nuances that are involved in sculpting a tone as you play.

So, if the response of the keys was on par with an acoustic piano could you live without the player's perspective? Or, is it so much a part of the playing experience that you simply cannot play as well without it?

An idea, "The Player's Piano" where everything is intended to produce an authentic experience for the player as opposed to producing audio for listeners. After you could convert the file to a mic perspective typically useful in a music mix. This way you would have the player's experience while playing then have the ability to work with the performance from other perspectives.

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#1998213 - 12/12/12 07:06 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: o0Ampy0o]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o

Is this a stated fact that you read or is it just a consequence of the natural imperfections captured in the samples? IOW, you appear to be saying that IS has deliberately used certain characteristics of imperfection to mask other flaws inherent in software sample pianos. I am wondering if it is just coincidence or intentional. As I understand it, IS is depicting the source piano's character without correcting its imperfections. That is, they sought out an imperfect piano and tried to be true to its condition.

In two of the Rachmaninov Elégie videos (not the live perfomance by Gavrilov) the recorded pianos remind me more of either 8dio's 1928 Legacy Grand or IS Steinway Walnut pianos.


It's just my observation (and opinion obviously). I believe what makes a real piano recording sound great doesn't have much to do with imperfections and more with the resonances of the instrument in conjunction with the room. A sampled piano records keys separately and then tries to add resonances through modelling. This just ends up sounding different than recording a performance with the sound as a whole interacting with the rooms acoustics.

What I've heard from Imperfect Samples so far (and again this just my opinion) doesn't sound like any real recording. It sounds interesting, sure, and I like it in a way, but it doesn't have much to do with "realistic" for me. It sounds more like the creators just tried to sound as different as possible to other VST's to have a better position in the flooded market of piano libraries. It's very dark, mellow, extremely woody (for lack of a better term). Other noises are exaggerated in a way that no sound engineer would likely allow in their piano recording.

Or to put it on other words: you can hear that Imperfect Samples is playing from a mile away. If it sounded like a real piano recording, then you wouldn't notice. You'd simply assume that it's a random piano recording.

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#1998258 - 12/12/12 09:48 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: o0Ampy0o]
kurtie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 207
Hi,

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o

So, if the response of the keys was on par with an acoustic piano could you live without the player's perspective? Or, is it so much a part of the playing experience that you simply cannot play as well without it?


I think I didn't explained myself well enough. I think I still have some limitations when expressing in english.

As I see it 'the player's perpective' is not needed to perform well on the instrument (at least at my level). It is good for enjoying the instrument. Let's say that I have to do my daily practice and I have access to a digital and an acoustic: I will choose the acoustic (if it is in a reasonably good condition and it is convenient to make noise at that moment) because I will enjoy it more than the digital. But that's for playing, because for recording a track, player's perspective is not going to be preserved in the recording and it would be not important for me in that situation.

Then there is the 'if the response of the keys was on par with an acoustic piano' part. That's a tricky part smile and much have been discussed on the matter on this forum. As for the action, some digitals have one that is identical to the action found in acoustics (and even better depending to what acoustic we are comparing it), so the action I think is not the problem, and in general, I find digital pianos to have very good action these days. I think that how the acction is 'connected' to the sound generated is what can be problematic.

For instance: a sampled piano usually has layers for each note: the same note is sampled at different velocities. Let's say that each note is sampled at 11 different velocities. Usually layers are blended for blurring timbre changes between one layer and the next. Maybe it's me, but I find that in most of the sampled pianos I've tried I can notice, at least ocasionally, that the timbre I get does not correspond to how I am pressing the key... something is not right.

You could say that I need to edit the velocity curve of the keyboard, but I think that is not only that, because I've tried, and while it improves things, I am not able to get it fully right. In that department, modelled pianos do a very good job and the playability is on par with acoustics (at least for me... I cannot speak for more experienced players), but at the expenses of a less gorgeous sound. Luckily they are improving at good pace.

Originally Posted By: Gigantoad

It's just my observation (and opinion obviously). I believe what makes a real piano recording sound great doesn't have much to do with imperfections and more with the resonances of the instrument in conjunction with the room. A sampled piano records keys separately and then tries to add resonances through modelling. This just ends up sounding different than recording a performance with the sound as a whole interacting with the rooms acoustics.


Yes, I agree with you with that. Resonances on sampled pianos are good, but they are not as rich and complex than in an acoustic yet... modeled are performing better than sampled here in my oppinion.

As for the reflections with the room, when playing it makes a difference. The sound surrounding you in any direction is great grin ... for recording a track I found it to be less important because convolution reverbs do a very good job and from a dry sampled piano you can simulate different spaces quite convincingly.

Regards,
Kurt.-

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#1998279 - 12/12/12 10:43 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Hmm, this all is interesting stuff. I played only acoustic (both upright and grand) when was in music school and then tried at that time very poor digital and it was terrible. But then years after music school got fp7f and of course it's great and now for more than a year have played only digital (not counting a few times when trying out pianos at places for a few minutes).

And the thing I noticed when I was in recording studio playing acoustic grand for 2 hours - acoustic (at least this specific model) was harded to control. Dynamic range seemed to be larger, but also a bit strange at the same time, however, keys felt somehow "used" or too light.

On a side note - does anybody know any professional level players/musicians/composers, who have used digital/software piano for their solo piano recordings?

The fact that such recordings nowdays are used everywhere for non-solo recordings is clear to me. But I wonder about solo.



Edited by EO3 (12/12/12 10:45 AM)

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#1998287 - 12/12/12 10:59 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: kurtie]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
Originally Posted By: kurtie

As for the reflections with the room, when playing it makes a difference. The sound surrounding you in any direction is great grin ... for recording a track I found it to be less important because convolution reverbs do a very good job and from a dry sampled piano you can simulate different spaces quite convincingly.


Yeah, it is certainly something that can be simulated with reverbs to a degree. Let's also not forget that most recordings of acoustics that we listen to were played by some virtuosos while demos for VST's might not have had that luxury. We can't be sure how much of the sound was actually achieved by the player. Would surely be interesting to hear Argerich or somesuch playing a VST.

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#1998362 - 12/12/12 01:02 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: EO3
On a side note - does anybody know any professional level players/musicians/composers, who have used digital/software piano for their solo piano recordings?


I believe Melodialworks_Music here (Lawrence Lougheed) in the forum is a pro musician (correct me if I'm wrong, Lawrence). He certainly has lots of recordings on his website that seem to be from VST's. Probably there are several more. I get the impression that lots of new age music is recorded using VST's. And just about all pop music is done with VST's.

I don't know of any classical solo recordings done by a pro. It might be that way for a while.


Edited by gvfarns (12/12/12 01:03 PM)

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#1998479 - 12/12/12 04:55 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: Gigantoad]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Gigantoad
It's just my observation (and opinion obviously). I believe what makes a real piano recording sound great doesn't have much to do with imperfections and more with the resonances of the instrument in conjunction with the room. A sampled piano records keys separately and then tries to add resonances through modelling. This just ends up sounding different than recording a performance with the sound as a whole interacting with the rooms acoustics.

What I've heard from Imperfect Samples so far (and again this just my opinion) doesn't sound like any real recording. It sounds interesting, sure, and I like it in a way, but it doesn't have much to do with "realistic" for me. It sounds more like the creators just tried to sound as different as possible to other VST's to have a better position in the flooded market of piano libraries. It's very dark, mellow, extremely woody (for lack of a better term). Other noises are exaggerated in a way that no sound engineer would likely allow in their piano recording.

Or to put it on other words: you can hear that Imperfect Samples is playing from a mile away. If it sounded like a real piano recording, then you wouldn't notice. You'd simply assume that it's a random piano recording.

Not sure about Imperfect Samples but the mechanical noises can be turned off and also dialed back (volume reduced) on most sampled piano software (i.e. 8dio's, The Giant and I think Vintage D as well). Some people missed it in digital pianos so software vendors have included it. I have thought that IS samples "imperfections" were often a bit too extreme but I have heard some demos that caught my interest.

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#1998482 - 12/12/12 04:59 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: EO3
On a side note - does anybody know any professional level players/musicians/composers, who have used digital/software piano for their solo piano recordings?

The fact that such recordings nowdays are used everywhere for non-solo recordings is clear to me. But I wonder about solo.


I think they may be used in commercials, soundtracks or cinematic backing tracks to film and maybe in gaming more than in general music you would hear on the radio. At least that seems to be the targeted market on many vendor's websites.

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#1998504 - 12/12/12 05:36 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: kurtie]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
Quote:
Maybe it's me, but I find that in most of the sampled pianos I've tried I can notice, at least ocasionally, that the timbre I get does not correspond to how I am pressing the key... something is not right.


Hi Kurtie, I found an - at least for myself - satisfactory explanatation for inherent sampling shortcomings - embedded stone-cut microphone perspective, as mentioned above and on this thread.
HERE

I didnt got too much reponse to that, so am very curios, if my explanation was unclear or just this is cannot be the most significant issue with sampled instruments for some relevant reason?
_________________________
Acoustic: own clavichord!, Burger&Jacoby,Biel (nice vintage vertical)
Digital: CA65; Pianoteq; Sampled:Galaxy VintageD+Vienna(Bösendorfer)
Sampletekk Black,PMI, etc...
Harpsi: Beurmann Dutch+Sampletekk, Clavichord:PMI+Wavelore+organs

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#1998835 - 12/13/12 09:49 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: Temperament]
kurtie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 207
Hi,

Originally Posted By: Temperament

Hi Kurtie, I found an - at least for myself - satisfactory explanatation for inherent sampling shortcomings - embedded stone-cut microphone perspective, as mentioned above and on this thread.
HERE

I didnt got too much reponse to that, so am very curios, if my explanation was unclear or just this is cannot be the most significant issue with sampled instruments for some relevant reason?


Interesting thread and interesting stuff, I had missed it. I agree with you with most of what you said in the first message. The only thing I am not so sure about is the relevance of player's perspective in the perception of sound in software pianos.

I mean, even if a piano was sampled in the way you described in that thread (as you said: "Make a sphere with 2 mics on the left and right side of it modelling the head and ears of the performer...". I think Pianoteq has a binaural output that is exactly that) I think that the experience for the player still would be inherently different than playing the real piano. Theoretically, the phases of the sound would be more or less coherent in the sampled piano respect to the acoustic one, but...

...with a headphones you only get the sound on your ears. When you play a real piano, the piano itself vibrates, and the sound waves sourround you. Not only your ears, but your entire body is exposed to the audio vibrations. I don't know if that is relevant enough... maybe someone here knows more about psychoacoustics than me could throw some light on the matter.

Regards,
Kurt.-

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#1998849 - 12/13/12 10:13 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
Smaug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 34
Loc: Zurich
Choose the method that enables you to give your best performance. Ultimately it's not the subtleties of the sound recording that govern the success, but how well you played.

If you perform better with a bit of time pressure and a small audience then go for the studio.

If you play better with no time pressure in your own home then go virtual.

I know that when I'm listening to recordings of myself I'm not worrying about whether the hammer noises are just the right volume.

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#1999051 - 12/13/12 04:43 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: Smaug]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: Smaug
Choose the method that enables you to give your best performance. Ultimately it's not the subtleties of the sound recording that govern the success, but how well you played.


I agree on that point, but one of the sound guys even said "then you might as well switch these midi buttons with your computer". smile Of course, I think that even the best tech/music expert would have terrible hard time to replicate the stuff you get with playing digital piano keyboard to midi switching with computer, but theoreticaly it's possible, or isn't it ? smile

At the moment I'll go through recorded stuff from studio and edit some, if there's something good will use it on the album, and the rest will come from software, because ,I mean, when I was in studio, especially in winter time, it takes a while till you manage to get your fingers into good condition to be able to play the best of your ability. And it's all time-consuming. One of the things that I like about recording at home is that you can do it when you want. on 5am in the morning, 18:00 afternoon or at midnight if wish so.

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#1999548 - 12/14/12 07:21 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
To add: Just tried out Pianoteq trial version and it doesn't sound too good to me so far. But it might be something to do with velocity (key levels). I use Roland FP7F as a MIDI controler and of course it offers very broad range on how to change keys from super light to super heavy.

Usually so far when played / recorded via FP7F inbuilt, I have used Medium setting from +5 to +7, but it might not work so well in this situation when using FP7F just as MIDI controller.

Does anybody have advice in this regard also? What's the optimal setting to get the most natural and objective key touch when using FP7F as MIDI controller? Thanks again.

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#1999558 - 12/14/12 08:09 PM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: EO3
To add: Just tried out Pianoteq trial version and it doesn't sound too good to me so far.


Yeah, that's a common first experience, unfortunately. PianoTeq is a work in progress...

Originally Posted By: EO3
Does anybody have advice in this regard also? What's the optimal setting to get the most natural and objective key touch when using FP7F as MIDI controller? Thanks again.


Getting a good velocity curve can be a tricky and slightly controversial endeavor. I've seen a lot of differently shaped curves for the same pianos and software. As a pianist, it's pretty easy to adjust to different curves, which makes it hard to determine whether we like one curve better than another. Playing with a particular curve you get used to it and then you start to prefer it.

Personally, I just go with nice smooth curves. Basically I bow the curve outward or inward. That's it. I've seen a number of curves that are kind of S-shaped. I never cared for them, personally. At least, not with my piano.


Edited by gvfarns (12/14/12 08:10 PM)

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#2000627 - 12/17/12 09:26 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: gvfarns]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Originally Posted By: EO3
To add: Just tried out Pianoteq trial version and it doesn't sound too good to me so far.


Yeah, that's a common first experience, unfortunately. PianoTeq is a work in progress...

Getting a good velocity curve can be a tricky and slightly controversial endeavor. I've seen a lot of differently shaped curves for the same pianos and software. As a pianist, it's pretty easy to adjust to different curves, which makes it hard to determine whether we like one curve better than another. Playing with a particular curve you get used to it and then you start to prefer it.

Personally, I just go with nice smooth curves. Basically I bow the curve outward or inward. That's it. I've seen a number of curves that are kind of S-shaped. I never cared for them, personally. At least, not with my piano.


Well, at the moment I change the velocity in FP7F manual where it is available to go from fixed, easy, medium and heavy setting (from easy to heavy it's from -10 to +10).

I don't know about velocity curves. Can I change that in FP7F or in Pianoteq / other software?

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#2000634 - 12/17/12 09:59 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Digital pianos typically have coarse velocity curves like you just described (hard/medium/light, etc.). VST's like PianoTeq typically have finer grained control. That is, they have a function in them that maps from the velocity your piano sends to the velocity you want triggered. You can pretty much map it however you want.

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#2001090 - 12/18/12 10:29 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: gvfarns]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Digital pianos typically have coarse velocity curves like you just described (hard/medium/light, etc.). VST's like PianoTeq typically have finer grained control. That is, they have a function in them that maps from the velocity your piano sends to the velocity you want triggered. You can pretty much map it however you want.


Hmm, does it mean that I can , for example, configure my velocity on the keyboard how I feel the best and then change the actual sound velocity in VST so that in result I have key touch as I like and also the sound I like?

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#2001113 - 12/18/12 11:07 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: EO3]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: EO3
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Digital pianos typically have coarse velocity curves like you just described (hard/medium/light, etc.). VST's like PianoTeq typically have finer grained control. That is, they have a function in them that maps from the velocity your piano sends to the velocity you want triggered. You can pretty much map it however you want.


Hmm, does it mean that I can , for example, configure my velocity on the keyboard how I feel the best and then change the actual sound velocity in VST so that in result I have key touch as I like and also the sound I like?


Not sure exactly what you are getting at. The velocity curve on the piano controls the relationship between the speed at which the key is pressed and the velocity sent to the software. The velocity curve in the software remaps the incoming velocities to different velocities if you want. In addition to the velocity curve, there's a dial in Vintage D (and probably other VST's) called "dynamic" that I assume stretches or compresses the mapping from incoming velocity to used velocity.

It almost sounds like you want to configure the velocities and therefore volume on your hardware (or software) and then additionally remap the timbre so it starts to get bite at a different velocity. A couple of VST's have some rough controls to do this. For example, in Vintage D there is a dial called "tone" where you can set the color from soft to hard. What this does is remap the velocity at which each timbre layer is played without changing the corresponding volume. It's kind of like revoicing the piano. Between the velocity curve and tone dial you can pretty much get the response you want if you put a little effort into it.

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#2001615 - 12/19/12 09:11 AM Re: Acoustic vs digi (software) solo recording debate (again...) [Re: gvfarns]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: gvfarns


Not sure exactly what you are getting at. The velocity curve on the piano controls the relationship between the speed at which the key is pressed and the velocity sent to the software. The velocity curve in the software remaps the incoming velocities to different velocities if you want.


Hmm, well, yeah, but changing key touch (velocity) doesn't just change the keys from lighter to harder, it also changes sound - when you go to harder, it get's more muddy than ,for instance, light touch which is too sparkling, then the medium might be the middle ground, but in key-wise at least in FP7F it's a bit too light at medium 0 setting.
The thing is that I'm not too keen on tweaking around the settings, I would like to not over complicate and get the optimal result without too much tech-savy things to do... So , my main point is if there's some sort of objective way to tell more or less if your setting is like acoustic piano, because I wouldn't also want to end up with too messed up settings. Thanks for help so far! And I'll check out velocity curve on Pianoteq demo.

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