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#2018179 - 01/21/13 06:14 AM Why all pianos are sampled not modeled?
kapelli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 407
Loc: Poland
I mean, almost all.

Let's look at top Kawai, Yaham and Roland Pianos.
Kawai - no sampling in DP, Yamaha - CP series
and some grands (even AG has samples sounds as I know).
Roland - V-piano (horribly ugly) and V-piano grand only.

Excluding these few horribly expensive pianos (except the CP series which offers modeled piano in price rage about 3000$ in Europe, the CA95 costs about 4-4,5k$ and HP-507 5k $ to have some price comparison) there is nothing to buy with modeling.

I always wonder, why there is no piano on the market that:
- would be in full DP cabinet
- have top action like PHAIII or RG from KAWAI
- have MODELED piano sound, not samplet
- and some few other software features.

The situation is even worst, because I can buy some so higly developed instruments like Clavia for much less than CA-95 or other piano of this class, but it looks awful and the keybord would be some Fatar, not good piano-inspired action.

However, each of the manufacturers have in their companies some kind of VST instrument, there are many companies that do it as independent like Pianoteq.

And, I cannot understand why even the TOP low range (HP507 etc) pianos are and most probably will be in a long time available with sampled pianos, not modeled. For people like me, and also many of us - who plays on acoustic, the sampled piano isn't tha same quality as modeled.

Resonance plates, and other magic stuff - why just not put the good sampled piano soft instead of some strange marketing tools?
Each loudspeaker manufacturer know, that resonance is one of the worst thing, while piano manufacturers are trying something elase to us.
Where is the sense?
The think that piano lovers are deaf and will don't see the difference?

KawaiJames,
Maybe you are able to speak about this in company smile
Can you imagine the CA-95 with modeling instead of sampling?
It would be total all-pianos killer, with some marketing of coruse, becase there still some countries in which all people are saying "buy yamaha" and "casio is good in clock not in pianos". And price between HP507 and NU1.

And - each person who has money and mainly - space and condition to have acoustic, will always choose acoustic,
so there is nothing to be afraid for acoustic piano sales.

Waiting for your opinions smile

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#2018182 - 01/21/13 06:31 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Kos Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 77
In my opinion, modeling is just not there yet. Even the atrociously priced V-Piano sounds somewhat unnatural and synthetic. IMO, the best thing in modeling world right now is Pianoteq's Blüthner, and even it is miles away from the high-end sampled libraries.
_________________________
"There is nothing to piano playing besides producing the appropriate velocities on the appropriate keys at the appropriate time" (c) qvfarns

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#2018192 - 01/21/13 07:16 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3899
Loc: North Carolina
I agree, modeling still comes up a bit short. But then, so does the sampled sound in digital pianos.

So, kapelli, my answer starts with a question: For Yamaha or Kawai, what would be the point of replacing mediocre sampled sounds with mediocre modeled sounds? There would be a tremendous cost to convert. But how would a manufacturer recoup the costs, given that the buying public hasn't exactly been clamoring for the $6000 Roland V piano (modeled)? (To be fair, the modeled sound in the V is pretty good.)

I think modeling must improve before it can become widely accepted. After that manufacturers might consider changing.

But this digital piano market changes VERY slowly. I wouldn't expect wonders to come cascading down upon us at the next NAMM show.

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#2018209 - 01/21/13 07:59 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
zapper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 77
Quote:
Why all pianos are sampled not modeled?


false statement.

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#2018214 - 01/21/13 08:07 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: zapper]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2426
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: zapper
Quote:
Why all pianos are sampled not modeled?


false statement.


Yes. OP is wrong in his/her original statement. V-Piano is fully modelled. Roland's other products using their Supernatural sound engine have some association with modelled technology although it is unclear what exactly. The electric piano presets on the RD series stage pianos are fully modelled.

The RD-1000 from 1986 was fully modelled and that technology continued as Roland's staple sound engine across all their DPs for some years.

The Yamaha CP series (1, 5 and 50) claim to use some sort of modelled elements. I think again the electric pianos are modelled on the CP1, 5 and 50.

The Viscount Physis Piano is another fully modelled piano with acoustic, electric and other keyboard instrument sounds, all apparently fully modelled.

Modelling is the future but there are sonic flaws intrinsic to the technology at the moment, but they will be overcome I have no doubt.
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#2018225 - 01/21/13 08:37 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3484
Loc: Pennsylvania
Most pianos are sampled for the same reason that when you call a company and get an automated service it's a recording of a human, rather than a synthesized human voice: It's cheaper, easier, and sounds more natural.

Synthesized piano sound has the same problem as synthesized human voice: it's a complex problem and the solutions we have tend to hang around in the uncanny valley. Recordings are obviously limited but they are cheap and easy, and they sound pretty much right.


Edited by gvfarns (01/21/13 08:40 AM)

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#2018229 - 01/21/13 08:47 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3442
Originally Posted By: kapelli
I cannot understand why even the TOP low range (HP507 etc) pianos are and most probably will be in a long time available with sampled pianos, not modeled. For people like me, and also many of us - who plays on acoustic, the sampled piano isn't tha same quality as modeled.

First, not every company has the ability to do a quality modeled piano. Companies have their own unique skills and technologies. Second, not everyone agrees with your premise that modeling, at least in its current level of development, is better than sampling. I am among those who think today's fully modeled pianos (Pianoteq, Roland V) are inferior to many sampled pianos. They have certain advantages, but overall, I prefer numerous sampled pianos.

Originally Posted By: kapelli
Resonance plates, and other magic stuff - why just not put the good sampled piano soft instead of some strange marketing tools?
Each loudspeaker manufacturer know, that resonance is one of the worst thing, while piano manufacturers are trying something elase to us.

I'm not sure what you're saying here, but it sounds like you're equating the replication of natural piano resonances with undesirable speaker resonances, which is not the case at all. On an acoustic piano, the resonances are part of what makes it sounds as good as it does, and so a lot of effort is often put into trying to recreate those phenomena in an electronic recreation. In fact, one of the first "modeled" pianos, from GEM, used samples for the main piano tones, and used modeling to recreate additional aspects of the sounds, including the resonances.

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#2018256 - 01/21/13 09:49 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
Modeling of sounds is a complex problem and computationally very expensive to do right.

That's because you'd have to model all of the strings plus all of the interactions between all of the strings, plus all of the interactions of the strings with the resonator (the wood and corpus of the piano or grand piano).

You'd also have to do it for the complete harmonic series of each string/each tone at least until you get to some arbitrary volume/loudness cut-off (if a harmonic is x db below don't model it)

This requires lots of processing power to do "right" (if you can actually do it right with current hardware and synthesis algorithms) which might be prohibitively expensive (just think about what the V-Piano or similar systems cost even though the sound is not that great IMHO).

Current digital pianos already pack a lot of punch with regards to DSP (digital signal processing) power just to integrate basic modelling features (like sympathetic resonance of strings or whatever is super natural in Rolands Supernatural sound engines).

After a certain price point you'll have to ask yourself if the benefit is worth the cost and effort, i.e does the modelled piano sound SIGNIFICANTLY better than a sampled one. If not why bother when a sampled solution is both cheaper and less complex (and it is). If it does sound significantly better then are enough people willing to spend the additional money on that.

You also have to consider space (has to fit inside of the digital instrument), power (should probably work on 120V/240V and without a fan) and complexity of the solution (SW footprint, testability, shouldn't crash).

Right now most of the instruments with modelling are sold at a price point where I could either buy a real piano (granted not a very good one though), a device with significantly more features (e.g. Kronos X, Nord Stage etc.) or a sampled piano that sounds comparable (or even better YMMV) than a modelled one at a significantly lower price (I could buy 2 1/2 Kawai MP10 for one V-Piano)

I also could buy nearly all of the DAW software out there and a good 88 key weighted action keyboard.

With large unlooped samples the sound is "good enough" for the majority of people and modelling doesn't seem to be "there yet" as far as sound and price is concerned. Also most people looking for the "real deal" tend do buy a real piano eventually.

So to make a long story short. You compete against much cheaper sample based systems on the lower end, you compete against real pianos on the higher end and modelled systems don't seem to be "there yet" with regards to both price and "sound experience".

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#2018260 - 01/21/13 09:54 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
btw. when instrument manufacturers talk about resonance they don't mean undesired resonances due to resonace frequencies of certain parts or due to "resonance cascades".

They talk about intended resonances of for example the strings with the resonator or instrument corpus (which offers for example amplification of the sound) or of the strings with strings that vibrate at one of the harmonics of the basic tone (sympathetic resonance).

Both are processes that would need to be modelled/replicated in order for the instrument to "sound right", since it's what the real instrument also does.

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#2018264 - 01/21/13 09:57 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
So to reference another thread, if I'd have the choice between a V-Piano and a controller with a great piano action plus a SW solution with modelled or sampled pianos I'd probably go for the controller plus SW.

Or I'd go for "everything but the kitchen sink" boards like the Nord Stage or the Kronos X.

All those solutions would still be less expensive.

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#2018349 - 01/21/13 11:45 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 765
I'm not too into modeling cause I can't warm up to the sounds. But you'd think someone would build a modeling monster just to show that it can be done. Kind of like the first Moog synths. It appears no one has ever demonstrated it's possible?
_________________________
AG N2, CP4, GK MK & MP

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#2018386 - 01/21/13 12:42 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
krzyzowski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/10
Posts: 108
It is important to separate modeling from sampling. Sampling is always going to sound and play better than a modeled instrument, for the fact that the samples are picked from well known top flite instruments. So, the impression is that you are emulating your dream concert grand.
After playing awhile, you start pushing the "this and that piano" buttons, hoping to get "todays'" sound, but oh well, the same sound comes out of those paper speakers.
Modeled pianos, have parameters that can continually evolve with your playing style. I have noticed new users initially dislike the metallic sound of some instruments, so they complain. With the knowlege that the user has control over many characteristics of each key, the sound becomes subjective and the ear hears music.

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#2018391 - 01/21/13 12:48 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Modeling is to sampling what playing is to listening to a recording.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2018395 - 01/21/13 01:01 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
That statement is both bold and wrong

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#2018405 - 01/21/13 01:15 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
There is simply no "world formula" that completely and entirely describes the sound of a piano and that can be calculated by a computer.

If you want something that is as close as makes no difference to the real thing you'll unfortunately have to buy a real grand piano.

The fact that both modelling and sampling are handled by a digital computer with finite resolutions is enough that neither approach will ever sound 100% identical to a real piano.

Modelling and sampling are simply different ways of approximating the sound of a real piano both with their own strengths and weaknesses and focused on different tradeoffs.

So to go with the classic physics motto "All models are wrong yet some models are useful" the question is which approach is (more) useful to approximate the sound of a real grand.

Right now the jury hasn't given its verdict yet. Sampling "wins" due to cost and as of today usually "better" sound.

This might change at any time in the future however.

Nothing will change the fact though that modelling no matter how great it might become will always be an aproximation as will sampling.

If bandwidth, computing power and storage space is no object then one will be able to design a piano sound with modelling or sampling that will sound identical to each other.

So it's entirely up to which system is the better approach given the state of the art and the constraints of the technology. (and the willingness of the intended audience to part with their money)

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#2018419 - 01/21/13 01:33 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: Nigeth
That statement is both bold and wrong


On the contrary, you totally misunderstand my simile.

A modeled DP generates sound when you press the key, just like an acoustic piano. The quality of the sound is not pre-determined from a previous recording, just as an acoustic piano doesn't have its own finite 'store' of sounds to trot out when the pianist plays.

A sampled DP has prerecorded samples, the number of which is finite and therefore limited, no matter how much processing occurs afterwards to produce the eventual sound.

As for which sounds better, well, that's totally subjective.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2018425 - 01/21/13 01:42 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 453
Loc: Europe
Isn´t it the way, that for instance Roland put together in their SN piano sounds the best of both worlds? The difficult to model, but nice to sample attack phase of the tone is coming from a sample, and the difficult to sample, but nice to model sustain and resonance effects are added by modelling? Isn´t this the reason, why the V-piano hasn´t seen a successor for a long time, because its full modelling is not as effective as the combination of both worlds?

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#2018432 - 01/21/13 01:56 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Marco M]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: Marco M
Isn´t it the way, that for instance Roland put together in their SN piano sounds the best of both worlds? The difficult to model, but nice to sample attack phase of the tone is coming from a sample, and the difficult to sample, but nice to model sustain and resonance effects are added by modelling? Isn´t this the reason, why the V-piano hasn´t seen a successor for a long time, because its full modelling is not as effective as the combination of both worlds?


Oddly, it's the attack phase of the tone that for me separates full modeling from sampling plus modeling, which is why, for me, the V-Piano is so amazing in its sound generation and the way it emulates an acoustic piano. It gives you precisely what you want in terms of attack, from a gentle stroke of the key to a sharp accent to staccato to staccatissimo, and everything in between - all entirely dependent on, and only on, the way you strike the key.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2018475 - 01/21/13 03:27 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: bennevis]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3484
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: bennevis
A modeled DP generates sound when you press the key, just like an acoustic piano. The quality of the sound is not pre-determined from a previous recording, just as an acoustic piano doesn't have its own finite 'store' of sounds to trot out when the pianist plays.

A sampled DP has prerecorded samples, the number of which is finite and therefore limited, no matter how much processing occurs afterwards to produce the eventual sound.


This isn't a meaningful distinction, though. There is no difference between 5 and the sum of 2 and 3. One required you to compute it on the fly while I provided you with the other.

For both modeled and sampled pianos, for a given configuration and input velocity, the resulting sound will be exactly the same every time. In other words we could record the sounds produced by PianoTeq's computations (or the V) and make a sampled piano out of them. If we do the decent Kontakt scripting that the good sampled pianos have, we would have an instrument that I don't think people could tell is not PianoTeq (or the V).

The advantage I see (and that you implicitly point out) to computing the sound on the fly rather than having it already stored up is superior tweakability of the sound. Modeled pianos unquestionably are more tweakable, but that only matters if we agree that a major problem of sampled pianos is that they are not sufficiently tweakable. The latter is a statement I, at least, do not agree with.

Certain interactions and resonances can be easily added to modeled pianos, which is nice. That was one of the primary original arguments for modeled pianos. But we have observed these interactions being added to sampled pianos, so sampled technology does not inherently preclude them.

In either case, the differences in the technology are nothing like the difference between playing and listening. The computer is thinking on the fly, but its calculations are completely deterministic, so they may as well be pre-computed or sampled.


Edited by gvfarns (01/21/13 03:30 PM)

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#2018481 - 01/21/13 03:33 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
offnote Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/10
Posts: 258
Loc: Banned
I'd take roland's V-piano over any sampled piano today without any hesitation

Sampled pianos are sooner or later will be replaced completely by modeled ones that's why they're offering so many of them right now because companies want to get rid off what they have in warehouse.

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#2018487 - 01/21/13 03:46 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: offnote]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3442
Originally Posted By: offnote
I'd take roland's V-piano over any sampled piano today without any hesitation

Some people love them, some don't, that's what makes the world go 'round...

Originally Posted By: offnote
Sampled pianos are sooner or later will be replaced completely by modeled ones

Could happen, as modeling gets better...

Originally Posted By: offnote
that's why they're offering so many of them right now because companies want to get rid off what they have in warehouse.

Nonsense.

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#2018504 - 01/21/13 04:25 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: gvfarns]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Originally Posted By: bennevis
A modeled DP generates sound when you press the key, just like an acoustic piano. The quality of the sound is not pre-determined from a previous recording, just as an acoustic piano doesn't have its own finite 'store' of sounds to trot out when the pianist plays.

A sampled DP has prerecorded samples, the number of which is finite and therefore limited, no matter how much processing occurs afterwards to produce the eventual sound.


This isn't a meaningful distinction, though. There is no difference between 5 and the sum of 2 and 3. One required you to compute it on the fly while I provided you with the other.

For both modeled and sampled pianos, for a given configuration and input velocity, the resulting sound will be exactly the same every time. In other words we could record the sounds produced by PianoTeq's computations (or the V) and make a sampled piano out of them. If we do the decent Kontakt scripting that the good sampled pianos have, we would have an instrument that I don't think people could tell is not PianoTeq (or the V).



I think there is a flaw in your logic, if I understand what you're saying. I'm not familiar with computer language, so I'll have to explain using my own simple terms.

It's the difference between stepped and stepless sound. The sampled DP has a set number of pre-stored sounds from which all its sounds are based i.e. processed to get the in-between sounds that are required between the pre-recorded 'steps'. It's like the difference between stepped auto-focusing for early autofocus point-and-shoot cameras (assuming you are old enough to have used them), and the stepless auto-focusing as used in SLR cameras of that time, and of course, universal today, where the lens has no pre-determined step but focuses exactly on the object you're pointing its sensor at. For those point-and-shoots, the more steps the better, but the focusing was never totally precise, because there was a finite number of steps. (My first such camera had just three steps - close-up, 'portrait distance' and infinity/landscape, and relied on depth-of-field to give acceptable sharpness.)

OK, in the sampled DP, the computer helps by processing the nearest 'step' to get an approximation of the sound required by the particular key strike, but it's still a processed step, and it shows in its response, which doesn't quite ring true, and therefore reminds you you're playing on an electronic instrument. Or, to put it another way, you play a key a certain way to get a sound of 5.347, but there are only 10 samples recorded for that note (i.e. 1 to 10). So the computer chooses the nearest, 5, and processes the sound to get maybe 5.3 which is close but not exactly what you're looking for. And you 'detect' that the extra 0.3 isn't quite from source, but added to it.

When you play one note on a sampled DP and repeat it several times exactly (as far as humanly possible) without pedal, you hear exactly the same sound. It's quite uncanny, and you just don't get this from an acoustic, because other factors come into play - the very slight differences between each keystrike get magnified by the resonances that are generated. And this is also what you get from the V-Piano because it too is able to pick up on the very slight differences, which subsequently get magnified by the random resonances. It is (or rather, you are) a human playing after all, not a machine, and the 'butterfly effect' takes over.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2018521 - 01/21/13 05:14 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3484
Loc: Pennsylvania
The first part of your description essentially criticizes the fact that there aren't many layers in a sampled piano. American D, for example, has only 20 or so. MIDI allows 128, so that is what you get with PianoTeq or (afaik) the V. Whether the difference between 20 timbres and 128 is meaningful could be debated. Of course, with layer blending, you essentially have 128 distinct timbres with a sampled piano as well (Ivory uses some kind of layer morphing/blending according to their marketing). Of course, there are also sampled pianos with a full 128 layers (Imperfect Samples Fazioli extreme) for example. In that case you have precisely the same number of timbres as a modeled piano. You don't see people dropping Ivory in favor of Imperfect Samples wholesale, though. In part that's because the extra granularity in layers doesn't make much difference. Of course, if you are comparing the V to a P155 with 4 layers, the difference in granularity is much larger.

I can't really argue with your point about the timbre of a note changing with repeats. That's probably right. I would classify it as one of those things that sampled pianos to date have not yet implemented as far as we have seen. Historically we have seen sampled pianos improve as quickly as modeled pianos (or some might say more quickly) so I suspect these types of nuances will appear in sampled pianos before modeled pianos satisfy really picky people.

But you are right, some people are more sensitive to limitations of sampled pianos and others, modeled. Thankfully it appears that both technologies are improving. Personally, I'd love to own a V. It would make a great controller for Galaxy. smile


Edited by gvfarns (01/21/13 05:15 PM)

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#2018527 - 01/21/13 05:29 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: anotherscott]
offnote Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/10
Posts: 258
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: offnote
I'd take roland's V-piano over any sampled piano today without any hesitation

Some people love them, some don't, that's what makes the world go 'round...



So are you saying the world goes round???

Originally Posted By: anotherscott

Originally Posted By: offnote
that's why they're offering so many of them right now because companies want to get rid off what they have in warehouse.

Nonsense.


Of course.

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#2018528 - 01/21/13 05:34 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
Except that a computer algorithm that 'models' a piano isn't 'stepless' either.

That a modeled piano is 'stepless' is your assumption, one that has no technical merit unfortunately. You see for an algorithm or model to be truly 'stepless' it would require a system of infinite resolution - a truly 'analogue' system.

Unfortunately we're squarely in the realm of digital systems, that take and process discrete, quantifiable values. These values have a finite resolution and there is an upper bound on the amount of data that can be stored and processed and also on the number of individual different values (resolution) a single datum can have.

8 bit = 256 individual values. 16 bit = 65535 individual values etc.

The Sensors that measure the amount of force you excert on a key are digital, the modeling algorithms and sound processing are digital so both have a fixed upper bound on the resolution or 'number of steps' that they can discern. The digital to analog converter (that converts the numbers into sound waves) also is digital.

Since your whole system deals with digital values and has technically 'lost' information due to the discretisation (conversion of a continuous signal of 'infinite' resolution into quantifiable digital values) of an analogue signal and the digital processing the digital to analog conversion cannot magically add the parts of the signal lost or never recorded/created.

Therefore a modeled piano also only has a finite number of individual sounds it can create. To overcome that one would have to build a truly analogue model of a grand piano - the grand piano itself.

Given that the number of individual samples is enough to match the number of individual steps the modeling algorithm can create then there would be no discernable difference between both approaches and you wouldn't be able to tell which is which.

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#2018536 - 01/21/13 05:54 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
gvfarns Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
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Of course, the 128-step resolution of MIDI kicks in way before those other factors, I'm guessing.

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#2018546 - 01/21/13 06:09 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
dewster Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Since your whole system deals with digital values and has technically 'lost' information due to the discretisation (conversion of a continuous signal of 'infinite' resolution into quantifiable digital values) of an analogue signal and the digital processing the digital to analog conversion cannot magically add the parts of the signal lost or never recorded/created.

Not nearly as limiting as you describe. For instance, audio quantized in both time and instantaneous level can be perfectly reconstructed in the bandwidth limited continuous domains with the only result of the quatization being some residual SNR. Done correctly it won't cause a perceptual loss of any kind.

Many oversampled converters modulate a single bit!
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#2018548 - 01/21/13 06:12 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: dewster]
bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Since your whole system deals with digital values and has technically 'lost' information due to the discretisation (conversion of a continuous signal of 'infinite' resolution into quantifiable digital values) of an analogue signal and the digital processing the digital to analog conversion cannot magically add the parts of the signal lost or never recorded/created.

Not nearly as limiting as you describe. For instance, audio quantized in both time and instantaneous level can be perfectly reconstructed in the bandwidth limited continuous domains with the only result of the quatization being some residual SNR. Done correctly it won't cause a perceptual loss of any kind.

Many oversampled converters modulate a single bit!


You lot have completely lost me there.....my V beckons, methinks. grin
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#2018552 - 01/21/13 06:28 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: dewster]
Nigeth Offline
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Originally Posted By: dewster

Not nearly as limiting as you describe. For instance, audio quantized in both time and instantaneous level can be perfectly reconstructed in the bandwidth limited continuous domains with the only result of the quatization being some residual SNR. Done correctly it won't cause a perceptual loss of any kind.


That's just arguing semantics. We could quarrel about the exact definition of 'residual SNR' or '(no) perceptual loss of quality' all day, technically you lose information since you essentially cut off everything above a certain arbitrarily defined frequency threshold. That's why I used the term 'technically'.

We could argue if the loss of information is significant or noticeable but since we're debating the supposed superiority of modeling vs. sampling on the basis of better recreation of sound that would be a slippery slope.

Quote:
Many oversampled converters modulate a single bit!


Yeah, that's why they use oversampling the number of bits doesn't really have any significance here since the sampling technique is different.

But we're getting off topic here

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#2018554 - 01/21/13 06:35 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: dewster]
pv88 Offline
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Minus all the technical jargon, if a digital doesn't sound good (or, authentic) to your ears, then don't f*****g buy it!

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#2018557 - 01/21/13 06:41 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
zapper Offline
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Nigeth, you're wrong - there is no loss of information in modeled piano because "information" is created on the fly as needed not recreated as in sampled one. Same pointless discussion as with digital camera versus analogue...and analogue cameras are pretty much gone by now aren't they?

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#2018558 - 01/21/13 06:43 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
MacMacMac Offline
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Yes, off topic. The perfect digital piano (if there were such a thing) need NOT exactly reproduce an acoustic one. If the two sound the same, then they are the same. Instrumentation might be able to distinguish them. But in the end only the ear and mind matter. If those are satisfied, the digital is as perfect as it needs to be.

So if the arbitrary cutoff frequency is above the threshold of hearing, instrumentation would know. But the ear would not. Similar arguments can be made for any parameter.

But the point is moot, for now. The ear CAN tell the difference between a digital and an acoustic. The question becomes: In what ways does the digital fall short? If someone knows the answer, then the question becomes: Will anyone do anything about those shortcomings?

Is quantization the problem? I doubt it.

Is the limited number of sample levels the problem? I think we're at (or near) the point where that ceases to be the problem.

In digital pianos, the short samples and looping of the native samples ARE a problem. But these are largely eliminated by the better samplers, and become irrelevant with the modelers.

So what's left? Does anyone know what the problems are? (I don't. Do the researchers know??)
And will something be done to make things better? (I can't. Can the developers??)

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#2018560 - 01/21/13 06:51 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: MacMacMac]
pv88 Offline
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Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
So what's left? Does anyone know what the problems are? (I don't. Do the researchers know??)
And will something be done to make things better? (I can't. Can the developers??)


There are no answers... since digital technology has not been able to properly emulate acoustic phenomenon.*

*This includes every aspect of the way real acoustic piano strings interact with the soundboard, the case, harmonic resonance, etc.

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#2018570 - 01/21/13 07:12 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: pv88]
anotherscott Offline
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Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
If the two sound the same, then they are the same. Instrumentation might be able to distinguish them. But in the end only the ear and mind matter. If those are satisfied, the digital is as perfect as it needs to be.

Though there can also be instances where some people can hear a difference and others cannot.

Originally Posted By: pv88
There are no answers... since digital technology has not been able to properly emulate acoustic phenomenon.*

*This includes every aspect of the way real acoustic piano strings interact with the soundboard, the case, harmonic resonance, etc.

I think the "acoustic space" may be the trickiest part. As I alluded to in another thread... you can record someone playing a piece on a spectacular acoustic piano with the best microphones, play it back through the finest speaker (or pair of speakers) you can get your hands on... and it still probably won't sound like there's a real acoustic piano in the room. And people expect digital pianos to sound indistinguishable from the real thing, through a couple of relatively inexpensive speakers yet. That's part of the cleverness of things like the Avant Grand, which use speakers to throw different aspects of the sound out of the cabinet in different ways. But you can't capture that effect on a recording, or in live performance through a PA. Maybe a binaural headphone system could come close.

But I think this means that, at least as far as a "slab" piano goes, playing it through regular speakers, there's really little hope of getting it to sound indistinguishable from a real piano... I think the more realistic goal is to try to get it to sound as if a real piano were being mic'd and played through speakers, which is not the same thing. But for a home console kind of application, a more sophisticated use of speakers could be more impressive than that.

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#2018579 - 01/21/13 07:27 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
MacMacMac Offline
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I stopped short of saying that the speakers are the weak spot. But since you've raised that point ... I have to agree.

The list of problems must surely include other things. But the substitution of speakers for a soundboard acted upon by strings must be among the biggest of the shortcomings.

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#2018580 - 01/21/13 07:28 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: bennevis]
Nigeth Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
[quote=dewster]
You lot have completely lost me there.....my V beckons, methinks. grin


I'm sorry if we have confused you. So let me try to explain. Any sound, speech, music, noise is really a combination of sound waves.

A wave has two properties, amplitude i.e the power or volume of the wave and frequency i.e how 'fast' or how often the wave vibrates or changes from highest amplitude to lowest amplitude in a defined amount of time.

Both of those values, amplitude and frequency, can technically be arbitrarily large or small and the wave is a continuous thing (meaning that you won't find any pauses or gaps when you record it).

Both scales, amplitude and frequency, are of infinite resolution i.e you'd only be able to measure one or the other perfectly if you had a measuring instrument with infinite resolution (why exactly that is would lead us to far off the basic explanation).

A computer or digital system can only store a finite amount of information though, so it is only able to store a representation of your sound that 'kind of' resembles the original.

The computer can only assign a finite number of levels for the representation of the amplitude and it can only assign a finite number of levels for the representation of frequency.

That's true about all kinds of data a computer processes by the way.

Luckily there is a physical principle at work that a guy named Shannon discovered.

He discovered that one can 'perfectly' recreate a wave from its digital representation (both amplitude and frequency) if you measure it more than twice per period. If you do it more than twice per period then the exact time of your measurement doesn't even matter you can always recreate the waveform from the data.

So if I wanted to recreate a waveform with the frequency of 1 Hz (1 period per second) I'd have to measure the amplitude of the wave at least twice per second. If I wanted to measure a signal of 20,000 Hz or less I'd have to measure 40,000 times per second and so on.

That process is called discretization.

That's why CD's are mastered with a sampling frequency of 44,100 Hz for example so that you can store and recreate sounds up to about 20,000 Hz which is the limit most people can hear.

Turning that data back into sound is basically the same process in reverse.

You also have to measure the amplitude of the wave (loudness, volume, power) and you also only have a finite amount of space for that. Therefore the amplitude is also 'discretized'.

This process is 'lossy' though. If your amplitude is between two digital levels (and it can be since it has 'infinite' resolution in amplitude) you have to 'map' it to the nearest lower or higher digital level. So your measured amplitude is slightly lower or slightly higher than the original.

If you recreate sound from the digital value you'll get some additional noise that stems from that mismatch.

Consumer electronics often uses 44,1 kHz at 16 bit which means that every wave up to an upper limit of about 20 kHz is sampled and there are 16 bit or 65535 (2 to the 16th) different values available to store amplitude information.

There's an additional catch though. In order for that process to work at all you'll have to 'cut off' all of the frequencies above the maximum sample frequency. Otherwise you'll get a very unfortunate effect called aliasing.

Basically, since the converter only measures with say 20 Hz (20 times per second) he won't be able to discern a signal that has a frequency of 10 Hz for example from one that has twice/three times/four times/ the frequency.

It doesn't measure quickly enough and so all of the harmonics over the sampling threshold of 10 Hz (remember measure twice per period) look like waves below the sampling threshold. This can have some very unintended results if you play it back later.

To prevent this you'll have to prevent all of the frequencies above the sampling threshold from even entering the ad-converter.

If you have analog to digital to analog conversion (you record something digitally and then play it back later) this is achieved by using a low pass filter (a filter through which only waves up to a certain frequency can pass through) that is inserted before the analog to digital converter so that the AD-converter only 'sees' frequencies up to a certain value.

So now you have a signal that uses a finite number of levels to store the amplitude and which can only store signals up to an arbitrary frequency threshold.

Everything else is basically 'lost'.

Even if you don't work with an analog input signal but instead create the signal in a computer (for example with some sort of modeling) the basic principle stays the same. You only have a finite (e.g 16 bit) resolution for the amplitude and only a finite (say up to 20 kHz) resolution for the frequency information.

For it to be different would require a computer with infinite storage and the capability to handle an infinite amount of data in a finite amount of time.

Therefore there is a finite number of 'outputs' or steps you can create on a digital system.

There is a lively debate at which point the amount of useful information that is lost is small enough so that people won't notice it. Some say you'll always notice, it some say it's at 24 bit/96 kHz, some say even the invasive 'lossy' encoding of mp3 isn't really noticeable.

There are additional technical limitations in current systems for example midi only offers 7 bit (128 levels) in the standard implementation.

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#2018590 - 01/21/13 07:40 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: zapper]
Nigeth Offline
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Originally Posted By: zapper
Nigeth, you're wrong - there is no loss of information in modeled piano because "information" is created on the fly as needed not recreated as in sampled one. Same pointless discussion as with digital camera versus analogue...and analogue cameras are pretty much gone by now aren't they?


A modeling algorithm 'recreates' the sound of an acoustic within the limits of the digital system and the fidelity of the digital to analog conversion.

This recreation is an approximation that leaves out 'information' the real instrument would provide but the digital one cannot due to technical limits. So there certainly is a loss of information.

The only real argument is whether or not that approximation is close enough to the original so that a human would be unable to notice said difference.

20 years of the record vs. CD argument have told me that people will never agree on what constitutes "unnoticeable' or 'good enough' so good luck with that.

I'd argue that if the real criterion is 'you can't notice the difference' then you can't really argue that modeling is better than sampling or vice versa, At some point both technologies will cross into the realm of 'can't notice the difference' at which point the whole argument ceases to matter.

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#2018594 - 01/21/13 07:54 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: MacMacMac]
Nigeth Offline
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Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Yes, off topic. The perfect digital piano (if there were such a thing) need NOT exactly reproduce an acoustic one. If the two sound the same, then they are the same. Instrumentation might be able to distinguish them. But in the end only the ear and mind matter. If those are satisfied, the digital is as perfect as it needs to be.

So if the arbitrary cutoff frequency is above the threshold of hearing, instrumentation would know. But the ear would not. Similar arguments can be made for any parameter.


Which is my point because if the quality threshold is 'you won't notice the difference' then there can be no preference of modeling or sampling since both technologies have the potential to achieve said goal.

Quote:
But the point is moot, for now. The ear CAN tell the difference between a digital and an acoustic. The question becomes: In what ways does the digital fall short? If someone knows the answer, then the question becomes: Will anyone do anything about those shortcomings?


For modeling the answer is most probably that the algorithms are much simpler than they'd need to be in order to stay below a certain threshold with regards to computational power and price.

Modeling the complex interactions of all of the parts of an acoustic is a very hard and computationally expensive math problem. I'd guess that certain relationships and interactions between the different parts aren't even entirely understood yet and can't therefore be modeled at all.

So I'd guess there is still some research required and enough processing power to do all of the differential equation and fourier analysis work.

For sampling the biggest issue is storage space ( a single sample set for one acoustic grand can now use up to 12 gigabytes of disk space) and bandwidth to store an even greater number of samples for different velocity levels.

And one problem I can't really put a finger on but someone else in this thread posited also.

Somehow even the best sampled piano reproduced over the best sound equipment somehow doesn't feel like the 'real deal'. There is probably a sensory element that is not reproduced by the recording.

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#2018610 - 01/21/13 08:24 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
bennevis Offline
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Nigeth,
You haven't quite explained why you think that modeled DP sound is no different from sampled DP sound, when the latter is derived from so few samples per note, whereas the former is generated from keystrike, with no preset number. Unless you're saying that the modeled sound also originates from no more than the same number of different possible sounds per note, only that it's computer-generated rather than from a recording, which I don't think is what you mean.

Any pianist worth his salt can produce more variations of dynamics - each with its own degree of overtones generated - than the number of actual sampled notes as recorded. And that's just for one note. When notes are combined, generating various resonances with different weighting for each individual note within say, an eight note chord (which any pianist worth his salt can do), a modeled DP runs rings over any sampled DP which just sounds like 8 notes all distinct from each other, rather than intermingling and producing different timbres depending on how the pianist voiced (in the classical sense) that chord, and what preceded it, like the decaying notes of another chord. In other words, the modeled sound produces a pretty convincing analog-like representation of an acoustic piano with all the blurring and clashing sounds and overtones; the sampled sound is sterile, and quite unlike what happens in the real thing. Even if, according to you (if I understand right), the modeled sounds have no more different sounds available than sampled sounds.

A CD obviously doesn't give the complete original sound recording, being a digital representation, just like a digital photo compared to a slide film, which I presume is your analogy above; but the information loss on CD (but not MP3) is to all intents and purposes undetectable by the human ear (though I'm sure most people can tell the difference between a digital photo and the smoother slide film photo, even if the former has lots of pixels), but the difference between modeled and sampled DP sound is easily detectable (even from just one struck note, even disregarding the looping that occurs with sampled DPs).
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#2018612 - 01/21/13 08:26 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
offnote Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Originally Posted By: zapper
Nigeth, you're wrong - there is no loss of information in modeled piano because "information" is created on the fly as needed not recreated as in sampled one. Same pointless discussion as with digital camera versus analogue...and analogue cameras are pretty much gone by now aren't they?


A modeling algorithm 'recreates' the sound of an acoustic within the limits of the digital system and the fidelity of the digital to analog conversion.

This recreation is an approximation that leaves out 'information' the real instrument would provide but the digital one cannot due to technical limits. So there certainly is a loss of information.



In that sense even real acoustic instruments are experiencing loss of information in real world due to weather, temperature, humidity and a distance from the listener....

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#2018807 - 01/22/13 05:02 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: bennevis]
Nigeth Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Nigeth,
You haven't quite explained why you think that modeled DP sound is no different from sampled DP sound, when the latter is derived from so few samples per note, whereas the former is generated from keystrike, with no preset number. Unless you're saying that the modeled sound also originates from no more than the same number of different possible sounds per note, only that it's computer-generated rather than from a recording, which I don't think is what you mean.


That's EXACTLY what I mean.

Quote:
Any pianist worth his salt can produce more variations of dynamics - each with its own degree of overtones generated - than the number of actual sampled notes as recorded. And that's just for one note. When notes are combined, generating various resonances with different weighting for each individual note within say, an eight note chord (which any pianist worth his salt can do), a modeled DP runs rings over any sampled DP which just sounds like 8 notes all distinct from each other, rather than intermingling and producing different timbres depending on how the pianist voiced (in the classical sense) that chord


This would be entirely and undeniably true if we'd be talking about the real instrument.

I won't even disagree that modeling might sound better under certain circumstances.

I just sense some sort of confusion here about how digital instruments (regardless if they are modeled or sampled) actually work and instead I hear a lot of conjecture about how they're supposed to work.

High quality sampling doesn't simply "just sound like 8 notes all distinct from each other" there is some modeling and synthesis going on.

Most companies model sympathetic resonance for example or improve the sampling with synthesis and modeling to blend samples for different velocities together etc.

So high quality sampling that is helped by modeling and synthesis sounds better than you give it credit for.

While a pianist might be able to "produce more variations of dynamics" than there are samples, the digital piano with modeling will not be able to reproduce all of them.

It simply can't.

You play on a simulated key action. The sensors that measure the key travel and velocity convert that information into digital numbers of finite length and resolution (say 16 bit or 24 bit) so right there your theoretical limitless number of "variations of dynamics" is converted into no more than 65535 different levels (for 16 bit) per keystroke.

After that process the modeling algorithms use that digital information to calculate how a real piano would sound like. The quality of that process is determined by several factors.

- Is the modeling realistic and complete enough to recreate the sound of the real instrument within a quality threshold that makes the difference unnoticeable.

- Could my hardware even run such a model if it exists.

- is the fidelity and resolution of my digital system good enough to actually reproduce all I want it to reproduce.

What I object to quite simply is the notion by many people in this thread that modeling is inherently 'better' because only modeling is able to really recreate the sound of an acustic piano because they attribute some sort of magical properties to it that supposedly sampling won't ever be able to match.

Both methods are 'digital representations' that lose information.

One or the other might sound better or more real to you depending on the current state of the art of the competing technologies. I won't even argue about that.

If you factor out business decisions, feasibility and processing power however as some people seem to do to make their case for modeling then there is no inherent reason why one has to be better than the other. After both are good enough so that the human ear won't notice the difference then it's a matter of preference and not quality.

If you live in the real world and have to consider things like price, technical feasibility and your target audience however then there are differences.

So to get back to the question of the OP.

Most instruments today are sampled because it's cheaper, sampling is less taxing on the CPU and hardware so you can offer more features in a smaller package and the technology is more mature.

It's also much cheaper to simply spend the effort to record a piano instead of spending a huge budget on R&D for a good modeling algorithm especially when you can improve sampling with synthesis and modelling parts of the instruments.

Thirdly for most use cases (band context) the supposed higher fidelity is wasted due to environmental factors (fidelity limits of PA, amplifiers, sound reproduction properties of the hall you play in etc.)

And last but not least in contexts where that matters (concert halls) people most probably would use a real acustic.

So it's entirely a business decision by the companies.

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#2018812 - 01/22/13 05:15 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: offnote]
Nigeth Offline
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Originally Posted By: offnote

In that sense even real acoustic instruments are experiencing loss of information in real world due to weather, temperature, humidity and a distance from the listener....


For all practical intents and purposes: Yes.

In Theory: No.

The harmonic series of overtones of a base tone goes on to infinity, so in theory the n-th overtone of say a c' is still part of the sound for arbitrary n even if n -> infinity.

Since the sound of a piano is the complex combination of all sounds including all of their harmonics plus the interaction with the sound board, corpus and resonating elements, the number of different combinations is truly 'infinite'.

We simply agreed though, that after a certain point the additional 'information' is below the capabilities of our sensory organs to notice and becomes 'unnoticeable' by human ears so it doesn't mater if it is left out.

The lively debate about digital vs. anaolog shows however that those limits might be a little too arbitrarily defined

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#2018867 - 01/22/13 08:49 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
slipperykeys Offline
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You could spend a fortune on a acoustic concert grand and get a piano you don't like, so why do many people pretend that acoustic always equals perfection, in the same way they pretend sampling is always inferior to modelling?

It very often isn't. The vast majority of digital pianos are perfectly passable replicas of acoustics.





Edited by slipperykeys (01/22/13 08:51 AM)

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#2018915 - 01/22/13 10:16 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: slipperykeys]
MacMacMac Offline
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I cannot agree with this:
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
The vast majority of digital pianos are perfectly passable replicas of acoustics.

I think most digital pianos sound piano-ish, but are not perfectly passable replica. Not even close.

I'll go as far as saying that they're usable. But I want something MUCH better.

Piano sampling software is a big step toward improving that, and I'm satisfied. Some of them are perfectly passable.

But I can't say that about the modelers (Pianoteq). Their Bluthner is something of a breakthrough. If they can take one more step up, I might find it perfectly passable. (Not perfect. But passable.)

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#2018917 - 01/22/13 10:18 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: slipperykeys]
ando Online   content
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Originally Posted By: slipperykeys

The vast majority of digital pianos are perfectly passable replicas of acoustics.


No. The vast majority of digital pianos are somewhat close to an acoustic piano in terms of sound and action so as to make for a somewhat satisfying pianistic experience. Calling DPs replicas of acoustics is a massive overstatement.

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#2019030 - 01/22/13 01:17 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: ando]
ClsscLib Offline

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Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys

The vast majority of digital pianos are perfectly passable replicas of acoustics.


No. The vast majority of digital pianos are somewhat close to an acoustic piano in terms of sound and action so as to make for a somewhat satisfying pianistic experience. Calling DPs replicas of acoustics is a massive overstatement.


I own both an acoustic piano and several digital pianos and am glad to have and use them all for different purposes. I'm not on either side of the "debate," since for me there is no debate.

I do think, though, that we'll be able to say convincingly that a digital piano is a passable replica of an acoustic piano when we're able to run blind listening tests in which experienced pianists cannot distinguish between the sound of a digital and that of an acoustic.

With the qualification that I'm largely innocent of software virtual pianos (so far), I'm not sure we've reached that point yet.
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#2019085 - 01/22/13 02:26 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: ClsscLib]
ando Online   content
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Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys

The vast majority of digital pianos are perfectly passable replicas of acoustics.


No. The vast majority of digital pianos are somewhat close to an acoustic piano in terms of sound and action so as to make for a somewhat satisfying pianistic experience. Calling DPs replicas of acoustics is a massive overstatement.


I do think, though, that we'll be able to say convincingly that a digital piano is a passable replica of an acoustic piano when we're able to run blind listening tests in which experienced pianists cannot distinguish between the sound of a digital and that of an acoustic.


Well, that hasn't happened yet though, has it? All current DPs fall short in the sound department - some are better than others. Decays are short, resonance is below par. That's just as a listener, but it's when you play on one you realise how lacking in life DPs are. There is a certain sterility and deadness to the sound. The tone colour isn't there either. I find it amusing when people can't tell the difference between a real piano and a DP - it calls into question their level of musicianship more than proving the DPs are "perfectly passable replicas" of acoustic pianos. There's a fair way to go before that can legitimately be said.

DPs do certain jobs well, but they haven't cracked the magic of a real piano yet - there's considerable work to be done first. I'd imagine the new Kawai VPC Or AG + a top software piano would be the closest thing we have so far.

Why is it so forbidden to criticise DPs anyway? Why shouldn't we have high standards? Are we not allowed to be discriminating when it comes to music?

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#2019174 - 01/22/13 05:15 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
offnote Offline
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My girlfriend use to say digital piano is like a dildo compared to real thing,
If you get her drift... It's actually pretty good analogy. Easy in use, portable and you can use headphones but other then that... smokin

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#2019187 - 01/22/13 05:36 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
MacMacMac Offline
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That comment is just RIPE for follow-up.
Wait ... too easy. Skip it.

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#2019394 - 01/22/13 11:51 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: offnote]
ando Online   content
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Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: offnote
My girlfriend use to say digital piano is like a dildo compared to real thing,
If you get her drift... It's actually pretty good analogy. Easy in use, portable and you can use headphones but other then that... smokin


Haha, gold! (Love the smoking icon at the end too)

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#2019488 - 01/23/13 07:38 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: bennevis]
Carlos-CR Offline
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Registered: 04/05/12
Posts: 64
Loc: Madrid, Spain
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Nigeth,
...
Any pianist worth his salt can produce more variations of dynamics - each with its own degree of overtones generated - than the number of actual sampled notes as recorded. And that's just for one note.
...


With 128 levels limit imposed by MIDI I don't think this is a factor at all.

Originally Posted By: bennevis

When notes are combined, generating various resonances with different weighting for each individual note within say, an eight note chord (which any pianist worth his salt can do), a modeled DP runs rings over any sampled DP which just sounds like 8 notes all distinct from each other, rather than intermingling and producing different timbres depending on how the pianist voiced (in the classical sense) that chord, and what preceded it, like the decaying notes of another chord. In other words, the modeled sound produces a pretty convincing analog-like representation of an acoustic piano with all the blurring and clashing sounds and overtones; the sampled sound is sterile, and quite unlike what happens in the real thing. Even if, according to you (if I understand right), the modeled sounds have no more different sounds available than sampled sounds.


Well said. If there as to be an advantage between modeled and sampled is that one: interactions between notes. You can sample 88 notes at 128 levels, but if the sound of a previous note alters in any significant way the attack of a new one (and I think it probably does), then it will be really difficult and expensive to sample all the possibilities. And let's not even talk about the damper pedal at every possible level.

So, forget everything you said about steep and steeples because IMO the difference is not there when you just play a single note.

Carlos

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#2019501 - 01/23/13 08:21 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Carlos-CR]
bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted By: Carlos-CR
If there as to be an advantage between modeled and sampled is that one: interactions between notes. You can sample 88 notes at 128 levels, but if the sound of a previous note alters in any significant way the attack of a new one (and I think it probably does), then it will be really difficult and expensive to sample all the possibilities. And let's not even talk about the damper pedal at every possible level.

So, forget everything you said about steep and steeples because IMO the difference is not there when you just play a single note.

Carlos


Sampling and modeling are so diametrically different in concept to each other that they seem to appeal to different people, who may be looking for different things in a DP. Regardless of what or how 'similar' they really are after you take away the initial source of their sounds (as implied by previous posts), the fact remains that they do respond and behave differently when you actually play them. And dewster's tests in his DPBSD project also show up the marked differences between sampled and modeled DPs.

All my classical pianist friends, when they try out my V-Piano, say things along the lines of 'it's the only digital that feels and responds like a real piano'; and that if they had to exchange their acoustics for a digital, it's the only one they would consider. On the other hand, my two pop and jazz-playing acquaintances weren't at all impressed (and they are the ones who play regularly on DPs, and own several themselves) - partly because, as someone here once said, 'it's a one-trick pony', and it's 'poor value for money'.

Well, you pays your money and you makes your choice......
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2019502 - 01/23/13 08:24 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Carlos-CR]
anotherscott Offline
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3442
Originally Posted By: Carlos-CR
You can sample 88 notes at 128 levels, but if the sound of a previous note alters in any significant way the attack of a new one (and I think it probably does), then it will be really difficult and expensive to sample all the possibilities
...
So, forget everything you said about steep and steeples because IMO the difference is not there when you just play a single note.

I agree. Within the 126 levels supported by MIDI (0 = silence, 1 would be key down and no sound, for proper piano behavior implementation), I don't see any inherent advantage to modeling over sampling for duplicating the piano sound from a given point in space, short of being able to do it with less memory. You could model different mic placements for different variations, rather than having to sample each of those mic placements, or different lid heights, or how perfectly in tune each of the 200+ strings are, or how worn the hammers and felts are, etc.... but these things give you more piano sounds, not necessarily any single better one.

And contrary to what someone said, modeling has no inherent benefit in creating longer decays. It can arguably create a longer, more natural decay if you're working on a system with less memory, but that's due to a limitation of hardware, not a limitation of sampling.

And you really don't have to sample more than 126 levels even for this theoretical perfectly sampled piano. The dynamic range of an acoustic piano (the difference between its quietest note and loudest) is probably under 63 decibels, so sampling at 126 levels would permit the samples at different velocities to be within a half decibel of each other, which is just about the limit of the smallest difference anyone could perceive. (Though getting the velocity response right is another issue, and I think this might be where being able to generate more than 127 values and map them accordingly could be valuable.)

Of course, whether you have electronics/amplification/speakers that can produce the entire 63 dB range of an acoustic piano at real-life levels and without adding distortion of its own is another problem altogether.

Anyway, it seems to me, in terms of a single accurate piano sound, the advantage of modeling only comes into play when replicating the probably infinite possible interactions between multiple notes. The sound of striking and holding middle C by itself could be captured in 126 30-second (or whatever) samples. But without the damper pedal, the sound of that strike will vary with whether you are holding down 1, 2, 3, or more other notes when you strike it, and specifically which notes they are, and possible how loudly those previous notes had been struck in the first place; and if the pedal is down, it might change depending on how loudly each other string is sounding, which would be affected by the sequence and velocity of each and every other note you had struck since depressing the pedal. That is, the "resonances" which the OP implied were unimportant are, in a sense, the only real inherent sonic benefit to modeling in the first place, as I see it.

Which is not to say that anyone has successfully modeled all those string interactions. Just that I could see modeling being a better solution there than infinite sampling!

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#2019522 - 01/23/13 09:02 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
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Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
Infinity is Infinity. Piano is an 'analog' instrument so it doesn't matter how you replicate it digitally. The closer you try to get to the real instrument the more you have to do.

This approaches infinity for both techniques modeling and sampling

Modeling all of the interactions between the string requires you to calculate all of the interactions between all of the strings that are involved in the sound.

This is the complex cross product of all interactions which is a mathematical problem whose complexity increases exponentially with the number of strings.

Each string you add has an influence on all of the other elements already present in the sound so each string you have to model adds a number of calculations to the model.

One for itself, one for the effect each of the other elements have on this string and one for the effect this string has on each of the other ones.

Modeling vs. sampling is essentially just a trade off between memory consumption vs. computational complexity (CPU consumption)

You either spend lots of memory for samples so that you don't need a powerful CPU or you use a powerful CPU so that you don't need a lot of memory with modeling.

A good computational model might be easier to tweak though but sampled pianos also do some modeling to let you customize the sound or to add effects that are difficult to reproduce with samples alone (string resonance for example)

So we'll probably see more hybrid approaches in the furture that use quality sample sets as base and modeling to make it more life-like.

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#2019526 - 01/23/13 09:06 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
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Right now fast storage and RAM is so much cheaper than CPU power that it's easier to simply throw gigabyte after gigabyte of samples at the propblem and supplement it with modeling than to implement a realistic model of a certain complexity

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#2019578 - 01/23/13 10:35 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
zapper Offline
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Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 77
what are we talking about here? probably 99% of all music is being listened to on and through electronic/ digital media so whether it comes from acoustic or digital instrument it doesn't really matter because it'll be converted to digital signal anyway and nobody can tell what was the original source. So why bother?

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#2019584 - 01/23/13 10:51 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
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Posts: 108
It's not about recording it's about playing.

A lot of people would gladly own a real upright or grand piano for practice and playing. Alas for many people owning a piano is not practical or feasible.

You need the money to buy and maintain one, you need the space for the instrument, you might not be able to practice at certain times because of the noise. It's heavy and you can't move it to gigs/recitals.

So people go digital. That doesn't mean however that just because you bought a digital piano you don't want something that sounds and feels like a real piano.

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#2019599 - 01/23/13 11:33 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: zapper]
ando Online   content
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Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3697
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: zapper
what are we talking about here? probably 99% of all music is being listened to on and through electronic/ digital media so whether it comes from acoustic or digital instrument it doesn't really matter because it'll be converted to digital signal anyway and nobody can tell what was the original source. So why bother?


Anybody who's played a real piano at a reasonable level can hear the difference. And sitting down playing it, it's a no brainer. Unless you are talking about pianos sitting in a band mix.

I think sampling is not going anywhere fast, but the resonance modelling needs a lot more work. It also seems to me that by the time they are able to model resonance well enough to cope with all the vast complexity of dozens of strings interacting with each other with the pedal down, that will be the time when they are probably also good enough to model all the notes too. Until then, samplers still sound decent, even though the resonance is a bit disappointing. I do think full modelling will eventually take over, but perhaps not for quite a while.

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#2019610 - 01/23/13 12:00 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: ando]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: ando
I do think full modelling will eventually take over, but perhaps not for quite a while.


And not when there's still a complete monopoly even now, 4 years after the V-Piano was introduced, and the biggest and most successful DP manufacturer (Yamaha) still content to rest on its laurels, just tinkering around the edges....... grin
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2019636 - 01/23/13 12:32 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: bennevis]
anotherscott Offline
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3442
Originally Posted By: bennevis
And not when there's still a complete monopoly even now, 4 years after the V-Piano was introduced

Progress is slow, this is not trivial stuff. Pianoteq is the main software based modeling piano, and they're not worlds ahead of where they were four years ago either, and unlike Roland, they don't have the overhead of having to design a whole hardware system to go with it. (And I think some people still prefer the Roland even today.) So many people here seem to think that, if they can conceive of it, an engineer should easily be able to do it!

Originally Posted By: bennevis
(Yamaha) still content to rest on its laurels, just tinkering around the edges....... grin

Yamaha's SCM does add modeling to their samples (CP1, CP5, CP50). I wonder if we'll see anything new at NAMM.

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#2019729 - 01/23/13 04:07 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: anotherscott]
dewster Offline
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Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Yamaha's SCM does add modeling to their samples (CP1, CP5, CP50). I wonder if we'll see anything new at NAMM.

But the CP1/5/50 AP voices test just like garden variety sampling (looping, stretching, etc.). They either aren't using modeling for the AP voices or it doesn't amount to much if anything in the way of audible difference.

I don't know, but it could be that they use elements of what we think of as real modeling for the EP voices, and people incorrectly assume they also do so for the AP voices (wouldn't be the first time their press materials led people astray and in their favor).

Or, if the AP voices really do use some modeling elements, it is perhaps more a way to further reduce sample storage rather than a way to audibly improve the voices. "Modeling" doesn't always mean an improvement in sound.
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#2019813 - 01/23/13 05:51 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: dewster]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Yamaha's SCM does add modeling to their samples (CP1, CP5, CP50). I wonder if we'll see anything new at NAMM.

But the CP1/5/50 AP voices test just like garden variety sampling (looping, stretching, etc.). They either aren't using modeling for the AP voices or it doesn't amount to much if anything in the way of audible difference.

I don't know, but it could be that they use elements of what we think of as real modeling for the EP voices, and people incorrectly assume they also do so for the AP voices (wouldn't be the first time their press materials led people astray and in their favor).


People might have forgotten the excitement generated in this forum by Yamaha's blurb on their Real Grand Expression CLP series, that they were the first to be sampled from the new CFX concert grand (or not.......): this is a quote from the Yamaha brochure, viz,
"The grand piano Voices of a Clavinova were obtained by recording the sounds of a Yamaha concert grand piano that led to the creation of the CFX, the piano selected for a performance by the 2010 winner of the famed International Frederyk Chopin Piano Competition."

Only to discover that the samples were identical to those used in previous CLPs, i.e. sampled from the ancient CF-IIIS.....
Deliberately misleading or not?
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2019819 - 01/23/13 06:04 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: bennevis]
pv88 Offline
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Posts: 2718
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Only to discover that the samples were identical to those used in previous CLPs, i.e. sampled from the ancient CF-IIIS.....


Extra note:

Just to compare (in a slightly different way) that is the reason I prefer the lowly (and far less expensive) Kawai EP3 over the Kawai CA95, as from the standpoint of projecting the sounds via built-in speakers it's simply the best.

The clarity of the sounds throughout the entire range of the keyboard in the EP3 is quite convincing and authentic to my ears, as I prefer the original "Harmonic Imaging" samples to the newer ones in the CA95.

Newer sounds are not necessarily "better" than the original ones. And, the EP3 has outstanding reverb effects, adding spaciousness and realism.

The EP3 is far too underrated by those who want only the latest stuff as it is still a best seller online, since 2008.

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#2019839 - 01/23/13 06:33 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
Macy Offline
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Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 619
Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Right now fast storage and RAM is so much cheaper than CPU power that it's easier to simply throw gigabyte after gigabyte of samples at the propblem and supplement it with modeling than to implement a realistic model of a certain complexity

The problem with modeling isn't CPU power (today's modeled pianos don't come close to using the CPU power available in today's most powerful computers.) It's constructing realistic models. I've never heard a modeled piano that could fool a listener into thinking it was a Steinway (or Yamaha, or whatever piano you choose to model) even playing a simple scale. That is easy with sampling (which is basically a recording of the piano you chose to emulate). So modeling starts with an inferior base to build upon. It is easier to emulate some complex behaviors (not all) of an acoustic piano by modeling rather than additional samples. Hence, sampled pianos also use modeled signal processing for emulating some acoustic piano behavior. In some instances it's easier to model complex playing effects than to recreate those effects with samples, which theoretically gives modeling an advantage in those areas. But the basic limitation with modeling, and the reason that progress is so slow in those pianos, is developing more realistic, implementable models. If it were simple, it would be well known by now and everyone would do it.
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#2019840 - 01/23/13 06:33 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: dewster]
pv88 Offline
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Originally Posted By: dewster
"Modeling" doesn't always mean an improvement in sound.


And, with the V-Piano, it's a step backwards with trying to reincarnate a "Bosendorfer" Imperial concert grand.*

Looks like they failed with the Vintage II presets.

*And, no... it's not a "Bluthner," either.

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#2019861 - 01/23/13 07:16 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Macy]
Nigeth Offline
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Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
Originally Posted By: Macy

The problem with modeling isn't CPU power (today's modeled pianos don't come close to using the CPU power available in today's most powerful computers.) It's constructing realistic models.


As someone who has some background in audio processing I disagree with your assessment.

I'll quote the pianoteq 4 system requirements: "PIANOTEQ is CPU intensive software for it computes the sound in real time. However, most modern computers already offer a fully sufficient CPU. We recommend a CPU with dual or multiple cores, such as the Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD X2. By restricting polyphony or the internal sample rate in the Options menu, you can work with less powerful CPU's."

As to my argument about the trade off between storage/memory vs. cpu. pianoteq only requires 256 MB of RAM.

Sounds like pretty CPU intensive stuff to me.

synthogy by comparison requires a less powerful CPU but needs at least 2 Gigabyte of RAM and a whopping 77 Gigabyte of disc space. It also requires at least a 7200 rpm hard disc (SSD recommended).

The reason most models sound 'nothing like a real piano' is because the mikrocontroller and dsp platforms in modern DPs don't even offer a fraction of the system performance of a core2duo or quadcore desktop cpu.

The CPU in the Kronos X, one of the most powerful workstations on the market right now, is an Intel Atom 1.8 Ghz with access to 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of SSD storage. The atom offers maybe 10% of the performance of a Core i3 or i5.

More than enough for the 10 GB austrian grand sample set. Won't run anything approaching the complexity of pianoteqs modeling though.


Edited by Nigeth (01/23/13 07:16 PM)

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#2019882 - 01/23/13 07:36 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: pv88]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: pv88
Originally Posted By: dewster
"Modeling" doesn't always mean an improvement in sound.


And, with the V-Piano, it's a step backwards with trying to reincarnate a "Bosendorfer" Imperial concert grand.*

Looks like they failed with the Vintage II presets.

*And, no... it's not a "Bluthner," either.


You are right, pv88, as always.

Roland never claimed that V2 was Bösendorfer. Nor Blüthner either. I've read their websites and their brochures, and nowhere did they mention any brand of acoustic piano. (Unlike some other DP manufacturers who mention specific models, seemingly to mislead.)

They leave it to others to make assumptions.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2020110 - 01/24/13 05:09 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Hookxs Offline
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Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 251
Loc: Czech Republic
I didn't read the whole thread but it seems to me that some people believe that only modeling can capture the infinite possibilities of sound creation in acoustic piano. No, it can't.
Realistic piano modeling is very similar to photorealistic picture synthesis from scene models, where you need to account for ligth sources and all possible light bounces in the scene. Much much more money and effort is invested in this than piano modeling, because there is much more money to be made (think of Avatar and the like). Still, many simplifications need to be made (I know for sure, it's close to what I do) and rendering of a single frame on high-end CPUs takes several hours. Yes, the result looks good, but is still easily distinguishable from reality. So imagine how many corners need to be cut and simplifications made to "realistically" model piano sound in real-time.
I don't believe we are going to see realistic (as in "indistinguishable from the real thing") modeled piano in the near future, my bet is that sampling will ~always~ be ahead.

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#2020116 - 01/24/13 05:32 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: ando]
slipperykeys Offline
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Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 382
Loc: Dorset, England
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys

The vast majority of digital pianos are perfectly passable replicas of acoustics.


No. The vast majority of digital pianos are somewhat close to an acoustic piano in terms of sound and action so as to make for a somewhat satisfying pianistic experience. Calling DPs replicas of acoustics is a massive overstatement.


You are entitled to your opinion, just as I am entitled to mine, so....

Yes, a digital piano is a perfectly passable replica of an acoustic piano.(I take it we disagree on this matter)

To be honest most digital pianos are better than acoustics which are often poor quality, old, worn and out of tune.

Many people on this forum seem to be keener on computers than actually playing the piano.

Personally, despite the claims made by some, I actually believe most would probably find it difficult to tell an acoustic from a top of the range digital.

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#2020120 - 01/24/13 05:44 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: bennevis]
EssBrace Offline
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Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2426
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: pv88
Originally Posted By: dewster
"Modeling" doesn't always mean an improvement in sound.


And, with the V-Piano, it's a step backwards with trying to reincarnate a "Bosendorfer" Imperial concert grand.*

Looks like they failed with the Vintage II presets.

*And, no... it's not a "Bluthner," either.


You are right, pv88, as always.

Roland never claimed that V2 was Bosendorfer. Nor Bluthner either. I've read their websites and their brochures, and nowhere did they mention any brand of acoustic piano. (Unlike some other DP manufacturers who mention specific models, seemingly to mislead.)

They leave it to others to make assumptions.


Wrong. Roland's leading product demonstrator Scott Tibbs states clearly that Vintage 2 is supposed to be a Bosendorfer. They don't mention specific piano makes in written material, probably for marketing or legal reasons but they certainly state explicitly what makes they have modelled during product demos. Vintage 1 is supposed to be a New York Steinway and Vintage 2 is a Bosendorfer.
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#2020130 - 01/24/13 06:26 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: EssBrace]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: pv88
Originally Posted By: dewster
"Modeling" doesn't always mean an improvement in sound.


And, with the V-Piano, it's a step backwards with trying to reincarnate a "Bosendorfer" Imperial concert grand.*

Looks like they failed with the Vintage II presets.

*And, no... it's not a "Bluthner," either.


You are right, pv88, as always.

Roland never claimed that V2 was Bosendorfer. Nor Bluthner either. I've read their websites and their brochures, and nowhere did they mention any brand of acoustic piano. (Unlike some other DP manufacturers who mention specific models, seemingly to mislead.)

They leave it to others to make assumptions.


Wrong. Roland's leading product demonstrator Scott Tibbs states clearly that Vintage 2 is supposed to be a Bosendorfer. They don't mention specific piano makes in written material, probably for marketing or legal reasons but they certainly state explicitly what makes they have modelled during product demos. Vintage 1 is supposed to be a New York Steinway and Vintage 2 is a Bosendorfer.


You are wrong, wrong, wrong.
Have you got a hot line to Roland, perhaps?
And just who is Scott Tibbs?
Some guy demonstrating on Youtube somewhere in USA? And you think Youtube videos are the be-all and end-all?

I saw a (British) Roland representative demonstrating the V-Piano Grand in London - were you there? At no time did he mention any piano brands. When I chatted to him later, he just said what Roland's brochure, website and manual said - V1 is a standard piano, V2 is a 'tranquil-sounding piano with a European atmosphere', and refused to get drawn into naming brands: in fact, he just said that Roland wanted two distinctively different kinds of piano sounds for the Vintage presets to suit different kinds of music.

You need to learn to distinguish what a few product demonstrators might say - with or without the approval of people in their marketing department in their country - from what is the truth, which lies somewhere in Japan. The official line is what is on their websites and brochures.

I have heard Yamaha reps say all sorts of things which are patently wrong to customers, like that AGs have identical key actions to Yamaha concert grands. But apparently many people believe it.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2020135 - 01/24/13 06:32 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: bennevis]
EssBrace Offline
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Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2426
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: bennevis
You are wrong, wrong, wrong.
Have you got a hot line to Roland, perhaps?
And just who is Scott Tibbs?
Some guy demonstrating on Youtube somewhere in USA? And you think Youtube videos are the be-all and end-all?


He is a full time employee of Roland and is involved not only in the demonstration of Roland products but their development too. Get your facts straight. And of course your retort slags off Yamaha and the Avant Grand - which is not even being discussed and is irrelevant. How predictable.


Edited by EssBrace (01/24/13 06:34 AM)
_________________________
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#2020138 - 01/24/13 06:37 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: EssBrace]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Originally Posted By: bennevis
You are wrong, wrong, wrong.
Have you got a hot line to Roland, perhaps?
And just who is Scott Tibbs?
Some guy demonstrating on Youtube somewhere in USA? And you think Youtube videos are the be-all and end-all?


He is a full time employee of Roland and is involved not only in the demonstration of Roland products but their development too. Get your facts straight. And of course your retort slags off Yamaha and the Avant Grand - which is not even being discussed and is irrelevant. How predictable.


Ah....the old Essbrace is back!!!
How predictable - still stalking me, eh? grin wink
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2020141 - 01/24/13 06:40 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
EssBrace Offline
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Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2426
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
How about responding to the FACTS? Scott Tibbs is a Roland employee and participated in the V-Piano's development...he calls Vintage 2 a Bosendorfer. And your response is?
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#2020158 - 01/24/13 07:19 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: EssBrace]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
How about responding to the FACTS? Scott Tibbs is a Roland employee and participated in the V-Piano's development...he calls Vintage 2 a Bosendorfer. And your response is?


Calm down, dear (as the late Michael Winner would say) grin.
Actually, that could be my new catchphrase every time you come to 'correct' me in your usual grumpy manner in this forum - or maybe we could meet over in Pianists Corner, for a change of venue? grin I frequent there rather more, er, frequently.

I'll tell Scott Tibbs when I see him in the USA. I've got a trip there planned in a few months' time, doing adventurous stuff like swimming with friendly sharks, sky-diving over the desert near Las Vegas, playing baseball with friendly grizzlies in Yellowstone etc (- but you know that anyway wink .....don't you?)
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#2020162 - 01/24/13 07:26 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
EssBrace Offline
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So you don't actually have any meaningful response then about Scott Tibbs?
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#2020165 - 01/24/13 07:38 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
MacMacMac Offline
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frown Here we go again. Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay are in the ring again.

So, I'll just go ahead and say it:

HITLER.

Thread closed.

smile

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#2020185 - 01/24/13 08:18 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: MacMacMac]
36251 Online   content
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Registered: 11/12/10
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guys - (I love the passion.) just remember to take your heart meds.
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#2020196 - 01/24/13 08:43 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
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Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
Could you please relocate your little petty discussion to PMs?

Oh and Mac just because you used smileys doesn't mean your reply wasn't as inappropriate as those of the previous two.

We had a lively, interesting and technical discussion about modeling v. sampling before you three came along and I'd rather it stayed that way.

I'd fancy reporting you all to the mods...


Edited by Nigeth (01/24/13 08:43 AM)

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#2020212 - 01/24/13 09:13 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
toddy Online   content
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Nothing wrong with a side show from time to time. It's like the Falstaff scenes in Henry the Fourth part One. Or Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, perhaps.
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#2020220 - 01/24/13 09:31 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
MacMacMac Offline
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You call for an end to a petty discussion (as did I). Then you try start a new one with a "report to the mods" threat?? Amusing. (Perhaps that was your intent? Or perhaps you don't know Godwin's Law?)

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#2020256 - 01/24/13 10:47 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
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Posts: 108
Don't try to move the discussion away from the issue by accusing me of 'taking part'. If you were really concerned about it you would have messaged me instead of posting. (Ironically I'm now forced to do the same)

Reminding people about being apropriate is not the same as partaking in the offense so don't try and make it about that.

Also Godwin's law is an observation about what will eventually happen in a lively discussion about a contested topic not something you can invoke on purpose.

So once again, please try to stay on topic and please don't try to derail the thread and please use PMs to direct any additional concerns about that to me.

Thanks

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#2020264 - 01/24/13 10:59 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
36251 Online   content
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PM is no fun. It's just like FaceBook - having private conversations in public is where we are in today's society. Since this is a public blog and no rules are being broken, I say let the steel cage match continue.

No offense but it appears that this thread is now about bravado and rehashing.

My opinion on sample vs. modeling is that it appears a hybrid will be the best compromise for many years.
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#2020266 - 01/24/13 11:08 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
toddy Online   content
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....or the Mrs Gamp episodes in Martin Chuzzlewit. Or even the part where Krook explodes in the middle of Bleak House.


ps - really agree with everything 36251 has just said. And this has, for me, been a very enlightening thread on modelling design & development.


Edited by toddy (01/24/13 11:09 AM)
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#2020275 - 01/24/13 11:26 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
slipperykeys Offline
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As a Roland fan myself, I must admit I have also seen the (IIRC, official) Roland video of Scott Tibbs claiming a Bosendorfer as an attempted voice on the V piano.
Thinking about it they are not very likely to use a Yamaha, I suppose.

But even so, there is actually no definitive sound of a piano. Every Bosendorfer will sound different and as they age the differences will magnify.

Therefore, (again, in my opinion), there is not, nor ever will there be a definitive, end of story, ultimate, finished and forever piano tone from any manufacturer of acoustic pianos that will be the sample/model for all time.
Due to the analogue nature of acoustic pianos, even if there were, every subsequant article produced will be slightly different anyway.

For this simple reason an accurate emulation is sufficient to be considered passable, hence, Roland, Yamaha, Kawai, Korg, Nord, Casio... etc, etc, etc, all produce a passable voice for a piano tone.

Not only that, but (theoretically) that tone will never change.

This has an upside and a downside.... one, it will never improve with age, (you could take an arguably legitimate veiw that software upgrades could in fact improve the tone, contrary to my statement) two, they will never detiorate with age (you could take an arguably legitimate view that electronics components do age and deteriorate over time so my statement is not accurate).

Either way, the majority of top range digital pianos have reached a stage where they are acceptable, pretty obvious really, if they hadn't no one would buy them.

I am certainly not saying there will never be an improvment, but how many people really do not buy an electric piano because it sounds so different to an acoustic?

There must be some but my view is that they are the losers, as I believe accuracy of touch is more important than the tone produced anyway.
The greatest advantage of a digital piano is that when you discover something in the tone you don't like, you can switch the voice. You can't do that with an acoustic, although I did once put drawing pins in the hammers to try and make it sound like a harpsichord!

I have owned acoustics from 1971 to the present day, I owned a Roland RD 300s from 1991 to the present and have had a Roland RD 700NX for about 19 months.

The consistancy of the Rolands makes them far more enjoyable than the acoustics and the quality of feel and touch is vastly superior.

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#2020332 - 01/24/13 12:53 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
ClsscLib Offline

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Registered: 03/14/08
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I have an RD 700NX too, and it's great for what it is.

But I will NEVER, meaning NEVER, willingly play it in preference to my acoustic. I'm glad to have the RD for when I need silent practice or to play whizbang games with electronics, but when I want the best piano playing experience available (which is almost always what I want), I play the acoustic.


Edited by ClsscLib (01/24/13 12:54 PM)
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#2020345 - 01/24/13 01:13 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: slipperykeys]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5527
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
But even so, there is actually no definitive sound of a piano. Every Bosendorfer will sound different and as they age the differences will magnify.

For this simple reason an accurate emulation is sufficient to be considered passable, hence, Roland, Yamaha, Kawai, Korg, Nord, Casio... etc, etc, etc, all produce a passable voice for a piano tone.

Not only that, but (theoretically) that tone will never change.

This has an upside and a downside.... one, it will never improve with age, (you could take an arguably legitimate veiw that software upgrades could in fact improve the tone, contrary to my statement) two, they will never detiorate with age (you could take an arguably legitimate view that electronics components do age and deteriorate over time so my statement is not accurate).

There must be some but my view is that they are the losers, as I believe accuracy of touch is more important than the tone produced anyway.
The greatest advantage of a digital piano is that when you discover something in the tone you don't like, you can switch the voice. You can't do that with an acoustic, although I did once put drawing pins in the hammers to try and make it sound like a harpsichord!





I often get the impression that many DP users have only ever played one or two acoustic pianos (if at all) and base their idea of 'piano sound' (and 'piano action') around that, or maybe from one or two favorite Youtube videos. Bösendorfers can sound anything from mellow to strident, even within the same model, and the same goes for almost all other brands, except maybe for Blüthner, which I've never encountered a strident-sounding one. The age of the pianos play a part too, as well as how they've been voiced. Yamaha and Kawai tend to be more consistent.
And the acoustics of the room where you play the piano/DP (if not using headphones) play a big part too, which is partly why I always base my assessment of DPs using my own headphones - the other reason being the inadequacy of the amplification and speaker system in many DPs.

A DP that doesn't feel and respond anything like the real thing is, to me, pointless - no matter how good its inherent sound, or how 'authentic' its action. As many people have discovered, it's all too easy to get bored with a new DP after just a short period of time, and I believe this is partly to do with its predictable sound picture. Which is where a modeled DP has the advantage: it can give you an ugly sound or a beautiful sound depending on how you want it, and how you play it. Whether the sound is infinitely variable or not (according to some posters here, apparently it's no more variable than sampled DPs), it feels like it is, and I've never got tired of playing and practising on my V-Piano, because it responds to my touch - good or bad - just like an acoustic.

Last weekend, I made some recordings on a Yamaha CF6 grand for a piano showroom website (and possibly a magazine too). Even though it wasn't a CFX, it sounded very powerful and loud in that showroom, in fact, louder than the CFX I played a few weeks ago (in a much bigger hall). I had to do a few takes before I adjusted to it. It was all to do with its voicing and the acoustics.
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#2020554 - 01/24/13 04:35 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
Macy Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Originally Posted By: Macy

The problem with modeling isn't CPU power (today's modeled pianos don't come close to using the CPU power available in today's most powerful computers.) It's constructing realistic models.


As someone who has some background in audio processing I disagree with your assessment.

I'll quote the pianoteq 4 system requirements: "PIANOTEQ is CPU intensive software for it computes the sound in real time. However, most modern computers already offer a fully sufficient CPU. We recommend a CPU with dual or multiple cores, such as the Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD X2. By restricting polyphony or the internal sample rate in the Options menu, you can work with less powerful CPU's."


You are making my point for me. Pianoteq works fine on a Core 2 Duo, and doesn't come close to exhausting the computing power of standard state-of-the-art 12-core desktop computers, let alone take advantage of custom hardware implementations with DSP processors and FPGAs that could be used in standalone DPs. My experience is with implementing 3-dimensional spatio-temporal video signal processing, software algorithm design, and custom DSP hardware design using FPGAs.

Pianoteq is in no way restricted by the computing power of today's desktop computers, and built-to-purpose standalone DP's in the V-Piano grand price range could have many, many times more DSP horsepower for computing far more complex DE models and algorithms than desktop computers. Computational power is in no way a limitation for producing better modeling performance when today's "best" implementations can run on Core 2 Duo processors. What is needed is more realistic modeling.
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#2020611 - 01/24/13 05:45 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
MacMacMac Offline
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I think the term compute-intensive, applied to a program, is meant to say that it mostly performs computation, and that I/O is a lesser factor.

It need not mean that the program stretches the capability of any typical computer.

I run Pianoteq (or rather, I used to) on a beater laptop, a dual-core CPU from 2006, 1.7 GHz. Pianoteq ran with no problem at all. Today you'd be hard-pressed to find a computer that lame (except maybe for the low-end netbooks). Pianoteq may be compute-intensive, but that's only in comparison its I/O-paucity. Unlike samplers, it does not spend its time reading digital audio files.

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#2020617 - 01/24/13 05:50 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
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Posts: 108
Doing a custom DSP and FPGA Setup would require a much higher volume production run than you'd get for DPs

In sub 20,000k runs even a standard analog devices blackfin DSP is $20 and most silicon manufacturers won't even talk to you (call us when you want a million +) a capable sharc or tigersharc will be above $50 or even $100.

Thats for a single DSP core.

a capable xilinx FPGA core would also cost you roughly $50 to $100

This doesn't include any of the parts that actually make up the PCB of the piano and it probably still wouldn't get you anywhere near the performance of the i5.

Such a custom made board would probably be around $500 for the complete bill of materials or twice that if you want anything close to PC specs.

So you'd have to retail the finished PCB alone for three times that to come up with even a slight profit margin.

Then you'd still have no knobs and buttons, no enclosure, no action, no display and no software.

So you end up with a device that may be close to the performance necessary to run a pianoteq model at about the price of a V-grand

DSP setups are not about max performance it's about comparable performance for less, less heat, less money, less overhead less pcb space.

It can be cheaper if we're talking about decent economies of scale but you'd still only be able to match the core2duo's performance for a higher price but less complexity and less power consumption, smaller form factor. But also less memory bandwidth and less overall memory.

Also diffentials are hard even for floating point DSPs and might even be more taxing than video filtering/analysis and en-/ decoding. DCTs and FFTs are usually builtins, complex differentual equations are less common though so not that readily supported. (I assume your algorithm does encoding and video analysis/processing in the frequency and time/ spacial dimensions)

For me a current quad core as recommended platform falls under 'computationally expensive' especially when the result is so underwhelming. To match the power of your state of the art 12 core would be prohibitively expensive to do with a custom DSP setup. Look at abject failures like the alpha that will sell for a MSRP of $30000 if it ever gets made.

this also assumes that the modelling algorithms are as easily parallelizable as picture/video analysis/processing algos and can use all of the cores.

It's not only about what's available it's also about cost. Nobody will build a DP that could run current state of the art models if the price would be too high, that's because nobody would buy it.

Even devices like the V-Grand are enthusiast instruments for a very small demo.

That doesn't mean it also could be about the quality of the models.

The $1000 question is though, are the models the way they are because of their lack of maturity (possible and probable) or are the models that way because it's the best you can do on current hardware?

Recomending a decent quadcore but only 256 megs of ram smells like the CPU is the bottleneck here ( I'd guess it's an NP hard problem or at least exponential time)

My opinion is that it's both column A and column B.

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#2020634 - 01/24/13 06:16 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
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Posts: 108
Just for reference: Your state of the art 12 core would be a 2010 amd opteron at 2.5 GHz per Core and a MSRP of 1200 dollars.

Buying a computer at retil prices ith tht kind of performance will be in the 5000 to 10000 dollar ballpark.

A similar setup with two Core I7 6 core would set you back 4000 dollars just for the CPUs. The whole system also consumes about 400 to 500 watts of power.

Scaling a custom DSP system to that performance would probably be similarly expensive and would require probably more than 12 DSP cores. (more power per MHz but taps out at 400 MHz instead of 3 GHz) You'd also probably require a fan setup and a huge PSU

When you look at the kind of hardware that's used in current DPs and workstations I don't think that this would be in any way feasible.

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#2020781 - 01/24/13 10:18 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
Macy Offline
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Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 619
Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Just for reference: Your state of the art 12 core would be a 2010 amd opteron at 2.5 GHz per Core and a MSRP of 1200 dollars.

Buying a computer at retil prices ith tht kind of performance will be in the 5000 to 10000 dollar ballpark.

A similar setup with two Core I7 6 core would set you back 4000 dollars just for the CPUs. The whole system also consumes about 400 to 500 watts of power.

Scaling a custom DSP system to that performance would probably be similarly expensive and would require probably more than 12 DSP cores. (more power per MHz but taps out at 400 MHz instead of 3 GHz) You'd also probably require a fan setup and a huge PSU

When you look at the kind of hardware that's used in current DPs and workstations I don't think that this would be in any way feasible.


The kind of computing hardware used in current standalone DPs is archaic, but that is besides the point.

I said that "today's modeled pianos don't come close to using the CPU power available in today's most powerful computers". That is a simple fact. Pianoteq runs on a Core 2 Duo. That isn't even close to the computing power available in today's 12-core standard desktop computers. So Pianoteq doesn't come close to using the CPU power available in today's most powerful computers. Hence, my point is proven.

Your comments about price and power of desktop computers is totally irrelevant to my point.



Edited by Macy (01/24/13 11:42 PM)
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CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, True Keys American D, Ravenscroft 275, 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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#2020796 - 01/24/13 10:52 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
Macy Offline
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Registered: 03/09/10
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Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Doing a custom DSP and FPGA Setup would require a much higher volume production run than you'd get for DPs


FPGA's are ideal for small volume production (I use them for products that sell a few hundred units lifetime), so I don't know what in the world you are talking about. The cost of custom silicon is prohibitive for small volume, which is why we use FPGA's for small volume. That and the ability to upgrade algorithms and performance in the field. But this is not a debate about manufacturing a DP at a particular price point, or with a particular margin. It is not a debate about whether a desktop computer costs $4K, $6K, or $10K.

You are hung up on cost and that is simply irrelevant to my point that the state-of-the-art in modeling is limited by algorithms, not computing power. Show me an implementation that produces much better sound quality that ONLY runs on a super computer. That would make your claim that much better algorithms are limited by computing power. I haven't heard of any such implementation. On the other hand, today's current algorithms (Pianoteq and V-Piano) run on computing solutions far inferior to what is available in off the shelf desktop computing, or that could be implemented using custom computing solutions.
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#2020884 - 01/25/13 03:53 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
sullivang Offline
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FWIW, I do clearly recall a Pianoteq person saying that they wouldn't know what to do with extra CPU power, which does support what Macy is saying. It was in the Pianoteq forum on their web site. (sorry no link at the moment)

Greg.

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#2020904 - 01/25/13 04:36 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: 36251]
pv88 Offline
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Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2718
Originally Posted By: 36251
But you'd think someone would build a modeling monster just to show that it can be done.


Yes, a first prototype that truly is authentic in regards to the real sounds of a concert grand, with no reservations in cost so that R&D can perfect it. Someone would need to make a substantial donation so that the work could be undertaken.

Just one sound needs to be "perfected" with modeling (perhaps a Steinway D, or, Kawai EX) so that the other modeled parameters would complement the sounds. Also, a purely modeled instrument needs the best projection of its sounds with a revolutionary speaker system equal to the task.

Questions:

1) So, the question is, how much money would realistically be needed to complete the project?

2) Exactly what would this prototype look like... as for cabinet, speakers, key action, etc?

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#2020908 - 01/25/13 04:41 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
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Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
FPGAs are a sensible choice if you need custom silicon but can't afford to order an ASIC and you don't have to concern yourself too much with PCB size and power dissipation.

It's an alternative if a custom ASIC would not be financially feasible, it's more expensive though than the custom IC would be at volume and its also more expensive than a component off the shelf would be if you don't need the custom hardware.

Low-volume production at the gross margins of the instrument makers will probably use as many off the shelf components as possible.

Look we can argue all day about technology when all you do is focus on a single aspect of the product.

I'm 'hung up on cost' because in the real world people have to buy stuff with money they have to earn first.

If all I focus on is performance I could build a killer rig with the processing power of a small super computer that probably wouldn't be able to be exported from the US due to its classification as military hardware. It would also cost a lot of dough.

Then you end up with something like the Alpha piano at $30,000 or a V-Grand or Avant-Grand at $10,000 to $20,000 that still don't sound great.

At that price I could simply go and buy a real baby grand instead.

If we're talking about DPs here then there are additional concerns.

It should fit into an enclosure roughly the size of current DPs
It should be able to work without a fan or at least with minimal additional noise
It should be able to do at least the same things competing products do
It shouldn't break the bank.

The reason for that is that even in a small volume business sector that's largely populated by enthusiasts, instruments in the $4000 and above category are considered to be too expensive and somewhat aspirational (if I win the lotery...).

Kawai probably ships a great deal more $600 Clavinovas than MP10 in a business where even enthusiasts consider a Nord Stage 2 or Kronos X to be a luxury item.

The Kronos by the way uses a dual core Intel Atom 1.8 that isn't supplemented by any custom DSP hardware as its processor supplemented by 2 Gigs of Ram and 64 Gig of SSD storage which would cost you probably less than $300 retail yet it's still $3999.

The newly announced Prophet 12 uses 6 Analog Devices Sharc DSPs 'just' for the analog modelling of the synth (> $400 gross prices at 1000k) at the low price of $2999 and the forum buzz is along the lines of 'I would buy one if I could afford it'.

So cost and performance per dollar spent is an issue: Not from a technical standpoint but to make it a viable business case.

That doesn't mean that you're wrong though.

I just wonder if modeling is still as much in its infant stages as you claim or if they are simply limited by what they can do with their hardware.

If you look at computer graphics, rendering and CGI or video processing, tasks that are probably similarly power hungry then they are all severely limited by the available hardware or budget or my business sector where companies spend insane amounts of money just for a little more performance to do physics modelling with FEM a little better.

I'd be great to get some of the pianoteq foks to talk about their take in this issue.

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#2020930 - 01/25/13 06:08 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: EssBrace]
pv88 Offline
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Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2718
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Modelling is the future but there are sonic flaws intrinsic to the technology at the moment, but they will be overcome I have no doubt.


Need to see modeling implemented so that a digital really sounds like the acoustic pianos that are being mentioned.

Roland's examples for "Steinway D" and "Bosendorfer" in the V-Piano are still well off the mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ewq6NgYpxA

Does anyone hear a "Bosendorfer" in any of the "Vintage II" presets?

As I currently own a V-Piano ... me thinks not.

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#2020941 - 01/25/13 06:32 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: pv88]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 619
Originally Posted By: pv88
Originally Posted By: 36251
But you'd think someone would build a modeling monster just to show that it can be done.


Yes, a first prototype that truly is authentic in regards to the real sounds of a concert grand, with no reservations in cost so that R&D can perfect it. Someone would need to make a substantial donation so that the work could be undertaken.

Just one sound needs to be "perfected" with modeling (perhaps a Steinway D, or, Kawai EX) so that the other modeled parameters would complement the sounds. Also, a purely modeled instrument needs the best projection of its sounds with a revolutionary speaker system equal to the task.

Questions:

1) So, the question is, how much money would realistically be needed to complete the project?

2) Exactly what would this prototype look like... as for cabinet, speakers, key action, etc?


These type of projects are commonly done by university researchers. I've read a few papers on acoustic piano modeling written by university researchers, but I don't claim to really be knowledgeable on the subject. (I simply made the obvious observation that today's implementations don't take advantage of today's state-of-the-art computing power, off-the-shelf or custom. I don't know why that created such enthusiastic arguments when it is so obvious.) Anyway, universities and PHD students are a great place for this type of work to be done. Prototypes don't have to be in practical form factors - this type of research rarely ends up in commercial form at the university level, the point is modeling and algorithm development. Then private companies can take the results and commercialize it in practical, cost effective form factors.

I've been developing state-of-the-art products for about 40 years. In my current field of expertise (about the last 15 years or so) research (university and private) has always been far ahead of what could be commercially implemented - and still remains so today. We are compute bound and have always been, i.e. our most advanced algorithms can simply not be implemented in real time with the most advanced technologies available. However, we have continuously implemented ever increasing complexity algorithms over the last 15-20 years, implemented first with exotic custom hardware for cost-no-object defense markets, or cost-nearly-no-object professional markets, and then eventually implemented at more practical price points for broader markets.

What I haven't seen in piano modeling are similar research demonstrations that show that truly realistic piano models are known, or that subsequent algorithm requirements, if such models exist, are compute bound. i.e. before we can blame computer resources show that a solution exists, and then we can work on the computing issues. There are only a few commercial piano modeling implementations in existence and they are executed on what is very basic consumer computing platforms that don't require state-of-the-art processors, DSP's, or custom hardware development. That suggests that better (probably more complex) modeling solutions haven't been developed yet (else we would have demonstrations or products requiring state-of-the-art hardware) and the focus is still on developing modeling solutions, not beating computing limitations.
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, True Keys American D, Ravenscroft 275, 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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#2020946 - 01/25/13 06:42 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Phymau Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/24/13
Posts: 2
Loc: Italy
Since design digital piano (sampled and modeled) from a long time, I have read with a lot of interest this Forum.
Many aspects of the topic have been discussed and some of them quite deeply. I would like to replay at many of them, but I prefer to give my answer, based on my personal experience, to the initial question.
First of all, not all the piano are sampled, since on the market there are the modeled V-piano and Pianoteq, while starting from the next month, also the our Physis Piano will be available.
So: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled?
My answer is because :
• The sampling technology is cheaper than physical modeling. For example for the Physis Piano we use six DSP, while, typically, only one is necessary for sampled pianos.
• The sampling is a mature and widely diffused technology that is quite easy to understand and to implement, while the Physical modeling is really complex to comprehend and calculate. Just to give an idea a I shortly tell my experience: I started to study the piano physical modeling 20 years ago. At that time the advancement on the research and the computational power was not enough to reach an acceptable result to design a good modeled piano, that was why I abandoned the project. In any case this first effort was not useless since those studies were useful for us to “discover” and apply the string resonance to a digital sampled piano. Seven year ago, in cooperation, with 3 universities and the extraordinary team of my company, we started again to design a modeled piano. It has been a real extraordinary effort, but this time I think we got a good result.
• So on the basis of my experience I think that, right now, almost all the digital pianos use sampling because it is too hard and expensive to make a modeled piano.
In order to answer to the original question in some post there was a discussion on what it’s better : a real acoustic piano, or digital sampled piano, or a digital modeled piano ?
The answer is: it depends.
All digital pianos (sampled or modeled) are an imitation of “the real acoustic piano”, therefore they approximate, in some way, the reality. If we strictly interpret this sentence we could say that the reality is always better of whatever reconstruction, but, if we detail the answer we could say that:
• We have not to consider the “real acoustic piano”, but complete panorama of the acoustic pianos, starting from the worse vertical Chinese to the best grand Steinway. In this case it is easy to find that many digitals are better than some acoustics under several points of view.
• Digitals pianos have well known additional features that acoustic don’t have : tuning not needed, headphone play, more sounds, sequencing and so on.
• Digitals pianos are cheaper than acoustics.
In synthesis there many reason to prefer a digital piano to an acoustic.
But if you prefer a digital piano what it is better: the sampled or the modeled ?
The answer is still : it depends.
• If you want cheaper piano: sampled.
• If you want adjust the piano sound at your taste or your played music: modeled.
• If you want a sound very close to the real piano: sampled, seem to be the right answer, since a recording is supposed to be always more accurate representation of the reality in comparison to a complex reconstruction, even if this is based on a very accurate modeling. This answer could be right (it depends also how you make the recording and reproduction) if you consider just a single note played at specific key velocity, but it is wrong if you consider many notes played at different velocity, i.e. if you play a piano. In fact in this case the interactions between notes, i.e. the sympathetic resonance (known also as string or damper resonance) become a very important phenomena that make the whole sound really true. In the modeled piano this effect is accurately reproduced, while on some the sampled piano it is not reproduced, or, in some others, is reproduced in a rough way. Moreover all the sampled pianos suffer of sample granularity, i.e. they use the same sample inside a note and velocity interval. These intervals, depending on the avilable memory, are wide in cheap pianos, while are small in a computer pianos, but always exit! In the modeled piano this problem do not exit at all, since is the modeled piano is practically continuous. There are other advantages on modeled piano that allow you to truly reproduce the note rebound or release. http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/images/icons/default/lightbulb.gif
_________________________
http://www.physispiano.com/

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#2020948 - 01/25/13 06:46 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3442
Originally Posted By: Nigeth
At that price I could simply go and buy a real baby grand instead..

Tough to gig with, though. ;-) Really, there are a whole lot of reasons people buy digital pianos, it's not always because they're cheaper than the real thing.

Originally Posted By: Nigeth
I just wonder if modeling is still as much in its infant stages as you claim or if they are simply limited by what they can do with their hardware.

I suspect the former. Especially since there is no available piano modeling software that requires even the best hardware that is commonly available today. Though who knows what prototype next gen V Piano Roland may have in the labs, waiting for the required hardware to get more affordable before they can make a product out of it.

Originally Posted By: Nigeth
If you look at computer graphics, rendering and CGI or video processing, tasks that are probably similarly power hungry then they are all severely limited by the available hardware or budget or my business sector where companies spend insane amounts of money just for a little more performance to do physics modelling with FEM a little better.

One difference between acoustic modeling for piano and CGI is that CGI can take as long as it needs to render a frame, and eventually, you get something useful out of whatever your code was capable of. The piano model is absolutely useless if it can't work in real time. So right from the start, whereas there was a reason to develop CGI that would do what you needed practically no matter how long it took (i.e. it would still give you a marketable product), there is no reason to develop a piano model that is too far beyond what current technology can do in real time.

PIxar started as a hardware company, and they almost went out of business. Creative content saved them. With the potential benefits of CGI clear, it was worth the ungodly amount of money that has been poured into CGI over the last 25 years or so (despite which, it's still not capable of creating everything in a way that is indistinguishable from the real thing). The amount of money to be made by modeling the sound of a piano is rather limited by comparison. For any company to invest tons of money into developing new technology, there has to be a sense of how they think they will be able to make their money back.

(edit: though Macy makes good points about university research as well.)


Edited by anotherscott (01/25/13 06:54 AM)

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#2020949 - 01/25/13 06:55 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
My expertise is mostly audio processing and numerical simulation of physical processes.

A business that is similarly compute bound, companies in my sector spend millions and employ entire R&D departments devoted to improving the existing finite element method simulations.

Quote:
There are only a few commercial piano modeling implementations in existence and they are executed on what is very basic consumer computing platforms that don't require state-of-the-art processors, DSP's, or custom hardware development. That suggests that better (probably more complex) modeling solutions haven't been developed yet


It might also suggest that better or probably more complex models are not feasible on the type of HW that is budgeted for a DP or that a consumer can afford.

I approached the topic from the same frame of reference as the one I quoted from you.

I've looked into a few papers, and theses on the subject and according to the (granted limited research) a numerical simulation of a real piano should be computationally hard. The number of differentiations required (especially when you treat the Model Hammer/Strings/Soundboard as multidimensional) is quite substantial even for a single string and the computationally more efficient approach loses a lot of the detail the numerical solution could theoretically produce.

At least if you model all of the interactions and the physical properties of the strings.

So either they use an entirely different approach to modeling the physical properties of the piano then I'd be interested in the trade offs involved or they use a less complex model.

We seem to agree though that there is a lot of room for improvement in the quality of the modeling and we both seem to wonder why the progress seems to be only limited.

We just seem to come to different conclusions or theories at to why.

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#2020951 - 01/25/13 07:06 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Phymau]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3442
Interesting and thorough post, Phymau!

Originally Posted By: Phymau
But if you prefer a digital piano what it is better: the sampled or the modeled ?
The answer is still : it depends.
...
• If you want adjust the piano sound at your taste or your played music: modeled.
• If you want a sound very close to the real piano: sampled, seem to be the right answer, since a recording is supposed to be always more accurate representation of the reality in comparison to a complex reconstruction

Getting back to the CGI analogy, film of reality still looks more real than CGI constructions, but CGI lets you do things you can't do with real people. Similar.

Originally Posted By: Phymau
This answer could be right...if you consider just a single note played at specific key velocity, but it is wrong if you consider many notes played at different velocity, i.e. if you play a piano. In fact in this case the interactions between notes, i.e. the sympathetic resonance [etc.]

Yes, this is what I was saying earlier, modeling's acoustic advantage isn't in the reproduction of the notes, but rather in the simulation of all the resonances. It's nice to hear that again from the perspective of someone who is in the industry.

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#2020983 - 01/25/13 08:41 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
Going back to a previous question: Is there a potential for a hybrid solution?

If I may borrow the bullet points of Phymau for a moment:

1. If you want cheaper piano: sampled.
2. If you want adjust the piano sound at your taste or your played music: modeled.
3. If you want a sound very close to the real piano: sampled,

Could you supplement high quality samples with modeling to move 1 and 3 closer to 2? Maybe by using a different kind of sampling technique?

Since pure modeling seems to be complex and right now not doesn't aproach the quality of 3. as far as reproduction is concerned but is clearly better for people who want more of 2. a hybrid approach might be advantageuous if it is technically feasible.

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#2021007 - 01/25/13 09:26 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3442
Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Going back to a previous question: Is there a potential for a hybrid solution?

The Roland SuperNaturals in the non-V models are hybrids. (As is Yamaha's SCM, though Dewster says it doesn't seem to make much difference there... I haven't heard those, myself.)

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#2021084 - 01/25/13 11:54 AM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Nigeth]
Phymau Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/24/13
Posts: 2
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Going back to a previous question: Is there a potential for a hybrid solution?

If I may borrow the bullet points of Phymau for a moment:

1. If you want cheaper piano: sampled.
2. If you want adjust the piano sound at your taste or your played music: modeled.
3. If you want a sound very close to the real piano: sampled,


Maybe my point 3 was not clear. Here I meant that a modeled piano is better than a sampled one.

Originally Posted By: Nigeth
Could you supplement high quality samples with modeling to move 1 and 3 closer to 2? Maybe by using a different kind of sampling technique?

Since pure modeling seems to be complex and right now not doesn't aproach the quality of 3. as far as reproduction is concerned but is clearly better for people who want more of 2. a hybrid approach might be advantageuous if it is technically feasible.


The kind of the modification you can do on sample are really limited in comparison to one you can do in a model.
Making a parallel with Graphic world, there is the difference of editing flexibility that you can have when you edit a bit map image or vector based image.
So don’t believe that hybrid approach is feasible, moreover would not be advantageous for us considering that our piano model is quite accurate and very close to the correspondent real sound, having also all the advantages of the model that have been described in my previous post.
_________________________
http://www.physispiano.com/

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#2021297 - 01/25/13 06:03 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: Phymau]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 619
Originally Posted By: Phymau

The kind of the modification you can do on sample are really limited in comparison to one you can do in a model.

For now, that is primarily only an advantage to the piano designer, not the user.

The modifications that I as a user can do to the timbre of the Vintage D are similar and sufficient to what can be done (much more slowly) when voicing an acoustic piano. I find them quite realistic in that respect. But I can't make the Steinway samples sound like a Yamaha acoustic, and that is just fine because I can use a different sample set to produce the Yamaha acoustic piano sound.

The modifications available with a modeled piano go far beyond what could be achieved by voicing an acoustic piano. They essentially allow one to design a different piano. The problem is that in current modeled pianos there are no set of parameters that result in the piano sounding sufficiently like a Steinway or Yamaha or any other particular piano that one wishes to emulate (IMO). So from this users point of view the additional flexibility simply results in more pianos that I don't like, rather than more voicing's of a single sampled piano that I do like.

I love the idea of piano modeling. It technically and aesthetically appeals to me as an engineer and product designer much more than the laborious task of recording thousands of samples of an actual piano and making them "play" together properly (the more interesting part of the design problem - and an area in which modeling has theoretical advantages). And if the objective were to produce new kinds of musical keyboard instruments with great versatility, then I would say modeling has already succeeded. But if the objective is to emulate acoustic pianos (and more difficult, specific brands of acoustic pianos) I believe there is still much work to be done on modeling.

The question for me remains this. Do sophisticated enough models exist today, independent of computing limitations, to fool a listener into believing they are listening to a recording of an actual Steinway (or Yamaha, or acoustic piano X)? Is modeling sophisticated enough now to accomplish this task? I haven't heard anyone demonstrate that it is.

I would suggest the following practical challenge. Although actual product implementations have to be executed in real-time, that is not necessary to prove that sufficiently sophisticated models exist. So let the piano model designers program their best model into the computing hardware of their choice (the most powerful desktop computer or custom DSP system) and feed it a 1 minute MIDI piano recording. Let the computer crank away for 7 days (10,080 minutes) to render a 1 minute audio recording. i.e. that effectively provides the model with a 10,000 times more powerful computing platform than currently available. Now test that 7-day rendered audio recording against a Vintage D or Ivory II realtime rendered recording. If listeners still have no trouble picking the sampled recording as much more realistic, than the limitations of the modeling approach are with the models themselves, and are not going to be solved by more powerful computing platforms for many years. (Incidentally, this is essentially how we verify sophisticated video processing algorithms that can't be executed in real-time yet.)

So let the challenge begin ...
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, True Keys American D, Ravenscroft 275, 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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#2021326 - 01/25/13 07:00 PM Re: Why all pianos are sampled not modeled? [Re: kapelli]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2231
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Good challenge.

Btw, a very interesting (software) sampled piano was released some time ago - they said that the samples were actually the result of some kind of modelling - i.e - they were pre-computed samples. The demo recordings were absolutely dreadful though! (at least, in terms of authenticity - maybe they weren't trying to be authentic - I don't know) I can't remember the name of this product.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/25/13 10:11 PM)

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