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#2030948 - 02/11/13 06:07 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3788
Loc: North Carolina
Macy:
I agree with this ...
1. "Don't make the mistake of picking a software piano for LIVE playing by listening to demos."
A demo will not reveal the feel of a piano. A demo will not reveal the true sound, given the variability of auditioning equipment, especially the speakers.

... and this (at least in principle) ...
2. "And the sound of demos doesn't tell you much because they can be doctored in so many ways."
We seldom have a way to know whether any editing has been done.

You wrote this as an example of item 2, above. But it's really points out the inability to use a demo to judge playability. You quote Joe Felice ...
"I kept finding myself having to record my live performance into midi ... and then edit velocities to correct for notes that fired the wrong velocity-based sample set for a given note."'

This is also true ...
3. "A MIDI recorded with one piano will not be optimum for another. The velocity curves for different pianos are not the same. What was optimum for the original piano may be not be optimum, or it may even be very poor, for another."

Among all of your points, this is the heavy-hitter ...
4. "There is so much customization available on software pianos that an audio recording from a MIDI file is simply one of thousands (or millions) of very different audio recordings that could have been made using the same MIDI file. Picking one tells you nothing about whether you would have preferred one of the others you could have created using the same software piano."
But keep in mind that a Bosie or Steinway sample will still sound Bosie-ish/Steinway-ish after extensive configuration tweaks. Only grotesque and un-musical tweaks would mask their essential character ... and I this would be obvious in the demo. I would discard any such demo.

This makes sense ...
5. "How do you pick the best software piano for LIVE playing? Listen to the people on this
forum (or other forums that have people playing LIVE) that have used a lot of them. Listen
to what they like and don't like about their playability, their sound, etc. ... You will find
there is a general consensus about several pianos being "the best" for LIVE playing."

But listening to other people is no substitute for playing and listening to other pianos. Peoples' opinions come with unstated, hidden subtexts, difficult to discern in direct conversation and more difficult online.

Do you have any opinion about the "Piano Software Plug-in Sound Survey" thread. I'm guessing you don't approve? But I see great value in it. It highlights the enormous differences in the piano sounds that Ampy has offered there, enough to help me eliminate some poor-sounding pianos and choose a short-list of preferences. It helps narrow the field, which is valuable given the high-cost alternative: buying a series of pianos only to keep some and discard others. (We're still waiting for him to reveal the identities of the demos.)

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#2030968 - 02/11/13 07:39 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
Aeons Holle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 55
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
I think Macy's last post is worth its weight in gold. Great advice there regarding sound alone (as in a demo) vs. playability (the response and feedback to one's own playing).

I also agree with MacMacMac on the point that no tweaking can mask the essential character of a piano sample library. At least I haven't been able to do it. I have however been able to substantially improve my playing experience (most notably of the Ivory II American D) by tweaking it to suit my preferences. So I did not tweak it to make it sound different than a Steinway D, but to make it sound like a Steinway D that fits my expectations in sound and, most of all, response.
In light of this, the demos of the American D certainly helped me to judge its worth compared to the previous Ivory II libraries which I already did own before.

Now I'd like to go even further on the point of inherent character:
Even the most advanced piano sample library is a recreation of a real acoustic piano. The better it is, the better it portrays the character and playability of the original (as well as its flaws!).
Even amongst real acoustics you will find pianos you like and pianos you don't like.
This ultimately means: You can buy the most detailed, perfectly crafted, super playable, true-to-original piano sample library that is recommended all over the internet by live players... but you still won't be all to happy with it if you happen not to like the acoustic piano that was sampled to create the library.

And from my experience - the better the libraries get, the more important this point gets.
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#2030969 - 02/11/13 07:40 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: o0Ampy0o]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 604
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
If you don't like how something sounds in a recording what is the point when you are essentially playing recorded notes of a piano when using software piano plug-ins?

Because you may not like the sound of the demo because of too much reverb, or not enough reverb, or too much sympathetic resonance, or not enough sympathetic resonance, or too much sustain resonance or not enough sustain resonance, or too much EQ or not enough EQ, or too much key release or not enough key release, or too much of dozens of other variable parameters or not enough of dozens of other variable parameters, --- were used to make the demo. i.e. You are not simply playing recorded notes, you are playing recorded samples that are then processed with hundreds/thousands of parameter variations/combinations that are included with the software piano program. So why reject the program because you didn't like one of those thousands of choices?

You simply don't have enough information about the range of possibilities from a few demos to make a choice between good programs. If a demo sounds totally hideous, then of course you will probably reject that piano. But in most cases the demos aren't that bad. My point is that making a piano choice between several decent sounding demos doesn't make sense even when one seems to be substantially better than others. I did that with my first purchases and there was no correlation between the demos and what sounded better in actual use after optimally configuring the pianos for my LIVE playing.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
I don't understand the argument that the piano's sound while you are playing is more important than the sound of the recorded plug-in when it is what you will be working with if using software piano plug-ins. The idea seems to be that you must have the sound of playing at an acoustic piano. If you get a sound to match sitting at an acoustic piano chances are it will be alien to an audience and no one but the player will appreciate it. It might work if all you are looking for is a good playing experience and you are not interested in what anyone else hears.

I said over and over that I was only talking about LIVE playing, and I was responding to Fscotte, who purchased a CLP340, which is not something that you carry around for gigging. And he has only played for about 8 months, so I don't believe he is using it for making professional recordings. I assumed that he was interested in playing his piano LIVE as a substitute for an acoustic piano, as I do. Hence, the objective is for the piano to sound, and feel, as much as possible the same as when sitting at and playing an acoustic piano in one's home. Unless one has 20 foot long arms, while playing you probably don't hear your piano as someone else would sitting across a room.

Nevertheless, within a reasonable approximation, if your piano speakers are located in close proximity to the physical location of the keyboard you are playing, and the sound at your seated position is a good replica to what you would hear seated at an acoustic piano in the same room, then the sound across the room will also be a reasonable approximation of what would be heard from an acoustic piano in the same room. Which is to say, within a reasonable approximation, the spatial convolution properties of the room will apply to both an acoustic piano and your software piano speakers. Of course, it is only approximate because the dispersive frequency response directionality of an acoustic piano sound emissions and the speakers are not the same. Yet with some care in speaker selection and positioning, one can satisfy their own selfish desires to optimize the sonic emulation seated at the keyboard without driving your "audience" out of the room complaining that your software piano sounds more like a Rhodes than a Steinway. (In my own case, the speakers are located in a grand piano like-case which may assist in this acoustical charade, or it may just be a placebo effect). Nevertheless, the bottom line is that I'm the one seated at the piano playing for hours on end, so I get priority since I don't sell tickets to sit on my couch to listen. And if you must imagine yourself on a stage in a much bigger hall, we can always dial in a little additional convolution magic without placing yourself in the audience.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
It is impossible to recreate the experience of playing at an acoustic piano using an electronic device. It will never sound or feel the same with current technology...........who knows what could happen in the future?


Well, whether it is impossible or not depends on the criteria you use to judge what is close enough vs whatever tradeoffs you perceive to have with an acoustic piano. What is close enough for me, and what is close enough for a concert pianist are obviously two very different things. I will spare you the stories about the acoustic grands I didn't buy because I decided to maintain my current setup for now (and price wasn't a significant decision factor).
_________________________
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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#2030973 - 02/11/13 07:52 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: MacMacMac]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 604
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Macy:
I agree with this ...

And I agree with everything you agree with me about. (OK that is suppose to be a joke.)

Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Do you have any opinion about the "Piano Software Plug-in Sound Survey" thread. I'm guessing you don't approve? But I see great value in it. It highlights the enormous differences in the piano sounds that Ampy has offered there, enough to help me eliminate some poor-sounding pianos and choose a short-list of preferences. It helps narrow the field, which is valuable given the high-cost alternative: buying a series of pianos only to keep some and discard others. (We're still waiting for him to reveal the identities of the demos.)

I think they are great fun. I've participated in them in the past and even supplied some recordings, etc. But, IMO, they are no way to pick between one quality piano vs another quality piano for the reasons I stated. But I don't think that was the purpose of that thread (didn't it say something like that?). The only reason I haven't participated in that one was because I haven't had time. I'm writing this at nearly 5 am and I haven't been to bed yet tonight. Us retired people keep very busy working when other people plead that we just do one more little thing for them ...
_________________________
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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#2031036 - 02/11/13 09:52 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: Macy]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3154
A lot of good points, Macy, A few I'd like to comment on...

Originally Posted By: Macy
Are you listening to the demo with the same speakers you will use to play the piano? Very likely you will listen to the demo over poor speakers attached to your PC. Or maybe over very good speakers in a high-end hi-fi system? Neither will sound much like the speakers typically used for playing live instruments.

It is true that the playback system for live performance will affect the sound of the piano, generally in a negative way. However, a playback system will tend to effect all sounds equally. That is, if the playback system has an unfortunate peak or dip at a certain frequency, that will manifest itself regardless of which piano source you use... and unless it happens to be at a frequency near where the source piano itself has some unnatural response, it is not likely to be significantly worse on one piano than another. Also, the playback system itself will sound different in different rooms, and in many cases, you may even be playing through different systems in different rooms (i.e house systems, or system provided by different sound companies). So I would say that you're still better off finding out what piano sound you like best with a good set of headphones, or whatever i.e. start with the best source you can, and proceed on the basis that whatever you select will degrade roughly equally through whatever you end up playing through. (Except that you do want to take care that whatever you choose will sound good in mono.)


Originally Posted By: Macy
While playing we hear the nuances in our playing as the piano responds to small changes in our touch. We receive feedback from the sound while playing and adjust our playing accordingly in real time.

...

Quote:
From: http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/viewtopic.php?id=1429

My live performances with sampled libraries often had notes that "stuck out" in various unintended places. For example, if a note sounded fine between velocities 88 and 94, if I happened to play with 95 velocity, the note stuck out like a sore thumb.
...
I had to go back and edit, by hand, numerous velocities that had "tripped" the next highest velocity layer ... in a piano library that sported 18 separate velocity levels.
...
libraries often require that a live performance get note velocities edited here and there, in order to produce a polished-sounding performance. ...


I agree with your premise quoted above, but it's interesting that it, in a sense, almost contradicts that quote from your next section (which you quoted to illustrate a different point, that demos can be doctored). That is, I agree, you would tend to alter your playing based on audible feedback as you play, yet it sounds like, at least with that software in that example, the player was unable to sufficiently do so to create a natural result, that he still found himself needing to edit the results despite getting feedback as he played! This also points out an issue with velocity layers... the more there are (and especially if they are not blended in some way), the more points there are of potential abrupt transition, so it can be a trade-off.


Originally Posted By: Macy
I would say the 2nd worse way to pick a software piano is to listen to the same MIDI recording played by different software pianos...A MIDI recording that was recorded with one software piano will not be optimum for another software piano. The first problem is that velocity curves for different software pianos are not the same...Secondly, when we play we adjust our playing to the piano being played.

I agree about those two problems, and would add that, to a large extent, they may be the same problem. That said, I don't think it is useless to compare pianos based on hearing the same MIDI file played through them, either. I would agree that it is not a good way to evaluate their dynamic response, as you probably would alter your touch as you played if you were hearing the actual piano sound as you were playing. But for the overall tone of the pianos, the decay envelopes, the overall realism (including the resonance effects and such), I think you can still tell a good deal even when hearing a sample generated while the player was listening to some other piano sound. Or put differently, a real piano, played badly, still sounds like a real piano... and so I think the fact that you may be hearing a sample where the player was unable to alter his touch in response to the sound would tend to result more in something that sounds like a poor performance rather than a poor piano. That's still doesn't give you enough information to know for sure that a piano will sound and play well to you when you get your fingers on it, but I think it can help rule out ones where you can be pretty sure you won't be happy with their sound, as long as you keep in mind that you should not give too much credence to things that sound like unnatural velocity response.

(Though as you also point out, in those cases where a piano has many possible adjustments, you might not want to unfairly rule something out, either... you may just not like the settings in use when the recording was done.)


Edited by anotherscott (02/11/13 10:05 AM)

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#2031339 - 02/11/13 04:55 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Macy]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Macy
I was only talking about LIVE playing

As opposed to what? You can't get much use out of piano software unless you hit notes on a keyboard. As you have also stated yourself, the samples are recorded notes of a piano. They are not going to sound like an acoustic piano. They are going to sound like a recording of an acoustic piano. Having the software playing into speakers connected directly to your digital piano or computer isn't going to change that.

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#2031345 - 02/11/13 04:57 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: o0Ampy0o]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5221
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Originally Posted By: Macy
I was only talking about LIVE playing

As opposed to what? You can't get much use out of piano software unless you hit notes on a keyboard. As you have also stated yourself, the samples are recorded notes of a piano. They are not going to sound like an acoustic piano. They are going to sound like a recording of an acoustic piano. Having the software playing into speakers connected directly to your digital piano or computer isn't going to change that.
Hem... You can certainly trigger the notes through midi software, so you don't actually need a keyboard to "play" a VST piano.

And of course if you think about it, what you're listening to your mp3 player, or to youtube, or to anywhere IS a recording and not an actual acoustic piano, right? wink
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#2031351 - 02/11/13 05:02 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Nikolas]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Hem... You can certainly trigger the notes through midi software, so you don't actually need a keyboard to "play" a VST piano.

A virtual keyboard is still no different in this regard than using a keyboard to trigger something in the moment. One is physical and the other is an illusion triggered by a computer mouse/keyboard/pad/dial/slider/whatever.

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#2031355 - 02/11/13 05:05 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Nikolas]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
And of course if you think about it, what you're listening to your mp3 player, or to youtube, or to anywhere IS a recording and not an actual acoustic piano, right? wink

Not sure what you are differentiating here.

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#2031362 - 02/11/13 05:08 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
No need to get caught up in semantics. It's perfectly true that tons of VST use is done by people who aren't primarily pianists and are doing all sorts of things to the MIDI besides playing it live (post-processing it, tweaking the MIDI values, mixing it in with other instruments, etc.) and are less interested in whether it responds naturally in real time than whether (with the use of tools besides a keyboard) they can make it sound a particular way. That's what Macy and Nikolas are talking about, I believe.

Just as you can I can't tell by listening to a demo whether the piano responds nicely, neither can that group's audience. Therefore they don't care about some of those types of details.


Edited by gvfarns (02/11/13 05:11 PM)

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#2031365 - 02/11/13 05:11 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: gvfarns]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
No need to get caught up in semantics.

This isn't a question of semantics.

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#2031368 - 02/11/13 05:13 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
You are questioning these guys' definition of "live" and getting caught up in the details of whether entering MIDI values through something besides a keyboard counts. Total semantics. It's just argument for argument's sake at this point and ignoring the point they are making: there is a group of people that is not too concerned with playability, but for the most part, they are not in this forum.

Seriously, must you fight with everyone, all the time?


Edited by gvfarns (02/11/13 05:16 PM)

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#2031375 - 02/11/13 05:17 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: gvfarns]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
You are questioning these guys' definition of "live"

I asked Macy to define what he means. He has yet to see the post and provide a response. That is not questioning his use of the term. He has not provided a definition to question.

If I knew his definition and did not agree with it that might be questioning his use of the term.

No one has done that.

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#2031376 - 02/11/13 05:18 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5221
Loc: Europe
Ampy: What I'm talking about is that if I grab my mouse, load up cubase and a VST piano, then I could program in a Chopin Etude (if I had tons of time and patience anyhow)... I could fake my way into the pedal, etc... And nothing would be in real time, so the LIVE feeling is irrelevant here. And I've already mentioned that this is PW and people are thinking about piano in different terms than a media composer does.

As for my second part:

You said

Quote:
They are not going to sound like an acoustic piano. They are going to sound like a recording of an acoustic piano. Having the software playing into speakers connected directly to your digital piano or computer isn't going to change that.
And I'm saying that if you think about it whatever it is you're listening from your speakers, whether a CD, or an mp3 file, or youtube, or from cloud services, from streaming services, or whatever else digital is, again a recording and nothing more. It doesn't sound like an acoustic piano cause it's not: It's a 'photograph' (audiograph? an instant capture of the audio?) of somebody playing an acoustic piano. NOT a real acoustic piano.

A real acoustic piano is what you get in your house when you're playing with you acoustic instrument, or in the concert hall, etc...
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#2031382 - 02/11/13 05:20 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: gvfarns]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
must you fight with everyone, all the time?

Don't start your antagonistic games again gvfarns....you of all people ask this?

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#2031384 - 02/11/13 05:23 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: o0Ampy0o]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
must you fight with everyone, all the time?

Don't start your antagonistic games again gvfarns....you of all people ask this?


I only ever fight with you. You are the common link that I see, not me.

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#2031387 - 02/11/13 05:27 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Nikolas]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Ampy: What I'm talking about is that if I grab my mouse, load up cubase and a VST piano, then I could program in a Chopin Etude (if I had tons of time and patience anyhow)... I could fake my way into the pedal, etc... And nothing would be in real time, so the LIVE feeling is irrelevant here. And I've already mentioned that this is PW and people are thinking about piano in different terms than a media composer does.

Yes I thought of that but who really would do this? It is the exception that someone might approach a composition (meaning create music not write a song). It was a given that the OP was wanting to play their piano rather than use buttons and MIDI dashes in a DAW to make a melody.

That LIVE playing concept makes me think more of gigging. If it is just playing piano the "LIVE" is not necessary.

Originally Posted By: Nikolas

As for my second part:

You said

Quote:
They are not going to sound like an acoustic piano. They are going to sound like a recording of an acoustic piano. Having the software playing into speakers connected directly to your digital piano or computer isn't going to change that.
And I'm saying that if you think about it whatever it is you're listening from your speakers, whether a CD, or an mp3 file, or youtube, or from cloud services, from streaming services, or whatever else digital is, again a recording and nothing more. It doesn't sound like an acoustic piano cause it's not: It's a 'photograph' (audiograph? an instant capture of the audio?) of somebody playing an acoustic piano. NOT a real acoustic piano.

A real acoustic piano is what you get in your house when you're playing with you acoustic instrument, or in the concert hall, etc...

Then we are saying the same thing here. I said something similar and I did not see what you intended by saying it. It was a similar point I had made but you did not say you were agreeing or disagreeing so I wasn't sure what you meant..

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#2031388 - 02/11/13 05:28 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: gvfarns]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
must you fight with everyone, all the time?

Don't start your antagonistic games again gvfarns....you of all people ask this?


I only ever fight with you. You are the common link that I see, not me.

Funny, you don't see yourself.

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#2031394 - 02/11/13 05:34 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: o0Ampy0o]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5221
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Ampy: What I'm talking about is that if I grab my mouse, load up cubase and a VST piano, then I could program in a Chopin Etude (if I had tons of time and patience anyhow)... I could fake my way into the pedal, etc... And nothing would be in real time, so the LIVE feeling is irrelevant here. And I've already mentioned that this is PW and people are thinking about piano in different terms than a media composer does.

Yes I thought of that but who really would do this? It is the exception that someone might approach a composition (meaning create music not write a song). It was a given that the OP was wanting to play their piano rather than use buttons and MIDI dashes in a DAW to make a melody.

That LIVE playing concept makes me think more of gigging. If it is just playing piano the "LIVE" is not necessary.
No it's not the exception. I repeat you are in pianoworld, where people mainly care about the live playing of the piano.

If you visit other places (I can provide plenty of links, since I work as a composer for computer games, amongst other things) you'll see that what you consider the exception is very much NOT the exception over there...

Originally Posted By: Nikolas

As for my second part:

You said

Quote:
They are not going to sound like an acoustic piano. They are going to sound like a recording of an acoustic piano. Having the software playing into speakers connected directly to your digital piano or computer isn't going to change that.
And I'm saying that if you think about it whatever it is you're listening from your speakers, whether a CD, or an mp3 file, or youtube, or from cloud services, from streaming services, or whatever else digital is, again a recording and nothing more. It doesn't sound like an acoustic piano cause it's not: It's a 'photograph' (audiograph? an instant capture of the audio?) of somebody playing an acoustic piano. NOT a real acoustic piano.

A real acoustic piano is what you get in your house when you're playing with you acoustic instrument, or in the concert hall, etc...

Then we are saying the same thing here. I said something similar and I did not see what you intended by saying it. It was a similar point I had made but you did not say you were agreeing or disagreeing so I wasn't sure what you meant.. [/quote]Ok
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#2031397 - 02/11/13 05:40 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Nikolas]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
No it's not the exception.........you are in pianoworld, where people mainly care about the live playing of the piano.

It is the exception here yes.

The OP is interested in software for playing their piano.

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#2031399 - 02/11/13 05:46 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: anotherscott]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 604
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
... That is, I agree, you would tend to alter your playing based on audible feedback as you play, yet it sounds like, at least with that software in that example, the player was unable to sufficiently do so to create a natural result, that he still found himself needing to edit the results despite getting feedback as he played!

I think the difference is that it is pretty difficult to alter your playing in real time to "fix" single notes that are noticeably wrong at specific (and different) velocities. If you play the piece once it's impossible unless you keep an 88-note x 127 velocity correction matrix in your head for the piano and can apply it in real-time as you play. I suspect that is impossible for even the best player. I wrote software that does exactly that and automatically (not in real time) pre-calculates the correction matrix from digital audio measurements of any software piano. (I should point out that is not the same thing as pre-mapping samples at one velocity with different timbre to replace samples at other velocity levels that have significant timbre inconsistencies. I did some of that manually with the EWQL Steinway piano.) On the other hand if you play a piece enough times, you can learn the "bad" notes (at specific velocities) and try to remember to alter them as you play. I'm sure the best players can be more successful at that than I am.

But trying to correct in real time for bad notes that stick out abruptly is quite different than what I meant by altering your playing from feedback as you play different pianos. I was really referring to what you do playing different acoustic pianos, as you change your playing to best fit the unique timbre (and volume) changes vs velocity characteristics of those pianos. In digital piano terms, you create a new velocity curve shape (vs altering specific notes) for each piano based on feedback as you play, and it is really multiple velocity curves that are different in different sections of the keyboard and for different pieces of music. That sounds complicated but it's really what we do rather intuitively as we play different pianos.

Originally Posted By: anotherscott
This also points out an issue with velocity layers... the more there are (and especially if they are not blended in some way), the more points there are of potential abrupt transition, so it can be a trade-off.

True. It is easier for a software/digital piano designer to make 4 layers of samples monotonic in volume and (even more importantly in my measurements) consistent in smooth timbre variation than 20 layers. I have lots of measured data that shows some pretty poor results. But it can also be done well with effort. And the tradeoff with too few layers is obviously less timbre range, which equates to an unrealistic piano. The Ivory II pianos illustrate that point very well since they allow you to choose samples sets with 4 to 20 layers for the same piano.
_________________________
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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#2031409 - 02/11/13 06:11 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: o0Ampy0o]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 604
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Originally Posted By: Macy
I was only talking about LIVE playing

As opposed to what? You can't get much use out of piano software unless you hit notes on a keyboard...

By LIVE playing I'm talking about sitting at a piano keyboard and playing the piano in real time just as I would play an acoustic piano. I wish it to sound to me just as though I'm sitting at an acoustic piano while playing, not like it sounds sitting across the room listening to someone else play, or a recording of me playing, which has a different purpose. Perhaps you don't play much solo piano, else I think the difference would be quite clear to you.

I'm not talking about making a recording of a piano, which can be post-processed to correct or add notes, add EQ, reverb, change levels or compression in a mix with other instruments, etc., or composing music via entering scores which are converted to MIDI, or any other non-real-time creation or modification of piano sound.

So I answered your question, which already seemed quite clear to others that have commented in this thread. Your main purpose here seems to be to create argument rather than foster thoughtful discussion, so I'll try to avoid further conflict with you.
_________________________
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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#2031432 - 02/11/13 06:55 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3788
Loc: North Carolina
The fuse is lit. Expect more fireworks.

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#2031582 - 02/12/13 12:41 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Macy
So I answered your question, which already seemed quite clear to others that have commented in this thread. Your main purpose here seems to be to create argument rather than foster thoughtful discussion, so I'll try to avoid further conflict with you.

Quite hypocritical of you to throw all of this in.

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#2031748 - 02/12/13 10:28 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Like I said, the common link.

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#2031765 - 02/12/13 10:50 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: Macy]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3154
Originally Posted By: Macy
I think the difference is that it is pretty difficult to alter your playing in real time to "fix" single notes that are noticeably wrong at specific (and different) velocities. If you play the piece once it's impossible unless you keep an 88-note x 127 velocity correction matrix in your head for the piano and can apply it in real-time as you play.

I see your point, and agree that it is not a realistic solution to get around an unnatural jump in the sampled piano's response. But I consider that unnatural jump to be a flaw in the sampled piano. I was actually thinking about pianos that are not inherently flawed like that, but just require a player who is paying attention... that is, more along the lines of your other point, "I was really referring to what you do playing different acoustic pianos, as you change your playing to best fit the unique timbre (and volume) changes vs velocity characteristics of those pianos." Yes, if you start playing a particular software piano from a particular keybed, and it seems to get, for example, too aggressive sounding too easily, you will probably automatically adjust your playing to pull back a bit in response... and if instead you send that soft piano a MIDI file generated from some other keybed/sound-source combination, so that we are hearing the piano without the benefit of it having been triggered by a player who was "paying attention," we're not likely to hear its dynamic response at its best.

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#2031806 - 02/12/13 12:26 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Macy]
Fscotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 35
Originally Posted By: Macy
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Originally Posted By: Macy
I was only talking about LIVE playing

As opposed to what? You can't get much use out of piano software unless you hit notes on a keyboard...

By LIVE playing I'm talking about sitting at a piano keyboard and playing the piano in real time just as I would play an acoustic piano. I wish it to sound to me just as though I'm sitting at an acoustic piano while playing, not like it sounds sitting across the room listening to someone else play, or a recording of me playing, which has a different purpose. Perhaps you don't play much solo piano, else I think the difference would be quite clear to you.

I'm not talking about making a recording of a piano, which can be post-processed to correct or add notes, add EQ, reverb, change levels or compression in a mix with other instruments, etc., or composing music via entering scores which are converted to MIDI, or any other non-real-time creation or modification of piano sound.

So I answered your question, which already seemed quite clear to others that have commented in this thread. Your main purpose here seems to be to create argument rather than foster thoughtful discussion, so I'll try to avoid further conflict with you.





That's what I would imply also by live playing. I want my piano to sound like a real piano in my living room, not a piano through a set of speakers.

Difficult expectation seeing that all digital piano's come through a speaker, but in my limited experience so far, I was really impressed by the demo of Vienna Imperial, which seems to convey the power and resonance of a real live piano moreso than the others.

One thing I like about my Yamaha CLP340 is that the lower registers conveys a real resonance and fullness, like a real piano. It seems so far that VST's can't do that and I don't know why, cause isn't that what the Yamaha is anyway - just a VST?


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#2031828 - 02/12/13 12:48 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Fscotte]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Fscotte
One thing I like about my Yamaha CLP340 is that the lower registers conveys a real resonance and fullness, like a real piano. It seems so far that VST's can't do that and I don't know why, cause isn't that what the Yamaha is anyway - just a VST?


That's interesting. Are you evaluating the VST's and CLP in the same way (with the same headphones and audio interface)? Just wondering. I have always found the lows on good sampled software pianos to be pretty satisfying. But one's impressions of this can easily be affected by the speakers/headphones used.

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#2031936 - 02/12/13 03:43 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Nikolas]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Ampy: What I'm talking about is that if I grab my mouse, load up cubase and a VST piano, then I could program in a Chopin Etude (if I had tons of time and patience anyhow)... I could fake my way into the pedal, etc...


Well, the same way you can in theory also "fake" real acoustic piano. I mean, program a computer that behaves in a certain way (robotic movements for keys, pedals, etc. ), put it in fron of an acoustic piano and here you go. So, this seems to be getting to a point of a bit of nonsense to me.
If you use the method as you describe, it's impossible to achieve the result of playing the keyboard, just the same as that computer would never achieve real performance on acoustic. smile

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#2032560 - 02/13/13 04:18 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: EO3]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5221
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: EO3
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Ampy: What I'm talking about is that if I grab my mouse, load up cubase and a VST piano, then I could program in a Chopin Etude (if I had tons of time and patience anyhow)... I could fake my way into the pedal, etc...


Well, the same way you can in theory also "fake" real acoustic piano. I mean, program a computer that behaves in a certain way (robotic movements for keys, pedals, etc. ), put it in fron of an acoustic piano and here you go. So, this seems to be getting to a point of a bit of nonsense to me.
If you use the method as you describe, it's impossible to achieve the result of playing the keyboard, just the same as that computer would never achieve real performance on acoustic. smile
Look...

I work as a composer in the computer games industry. As such I'm required to produce the end product (recording) in my own studio.

I can tell you very well that almost all media composers (and believe me there are TONS of them out there), will have to fake their way into inputing data with the keyboard, or mouse, or other means... The minute you start mocking up an orchestral work, you're done with: There's no midi violin, or if there is the person behind it does't ALSO have a midi piano, AND a midi wind instrument and midi drums. So evidently you're forced to input parts with your mouse, or keyboard or other means... :-/

Like it or not, it's been done extensively...

Oh heck... I'll just post some examples: http://www.vsl.co.at/en/67/702/703/413.htm Just get here and listen to the "rite of spring". It's perfect? Heck no, but the point is that Stravinsky's rite of spring was PROGRAMMED one way or another. NOT played with live instruments or midi instruments or anything.

Or try this then: http://www.nikolas-sideris.com/ags/Harris_office1.mp3 (that's mine, obviously inspired by a certain prelude! grin).

I'm not saying they are perfect, but I reckon that if my clients and audience are happy and not hugely nitpicking, then it's fine... (If you want I can change the feeling of the 'Harris Office' track to be much more rubato... But not tonight)...

____________________

guys, honestly.

Exactly because it's impossible for a single person to have valid experience in all the instruments, but also this very person IS required to come up with complete orchestral settings, the idea of inputing data with a mouse, keyboard, whatever method is very much here! It's not nonsense. It's what you hear in the TV every day!
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