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#2029256 - 02/08/13 11:27 AM Software piano's
StefaanBelgium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/12
Posts: 53
Loc: Belgium
In the 'Digital Pianos' part of the forum, I sometimes run into posts that talk about software piano's. I'm intrigued by that.
How is the general consensus? Excellent thing or just another gadget ?
I looked at the website from one developer, and it was a hefty price ( around $ 250 ) ...
Also, are there excellent software piano's for Ipad's ?
So what's your opinion and experience with them?
I have a Kawai CA65 and I like the standard 'Concert Grand' a lot, but that's about it. The other piano samples are not to my taste... Especially not when listening through headphones.
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#2029265 - 02/08/13 11:42 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
kurtie Offline
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Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 207
Some of us use exclusively software pianos and don't the sounds stuffed into the digital piano. I think that it is safe to say that software pianos are ahead of what digital pianos offer, and some people even think that the industry should improve the quality of the samples found on digital pianos. They are improving... but very slowly.

Take a software piano like Vintage D... it sounds gorgeous. If I recall correctly it has a size of something like 4 o 5 GB. Is out there any digital piano with something comparable in it? That is for sampled pianos. For modelled pianos, let's take Pianoteq. Here the situation is more tricky because the Roland V-Piano is something comparable to Pianoteq (I don't dare to say which one is better)... but the V-Piano is outrageously expensive (compared to the cost of Pianoteq).

Because of that I think that Kawai will have success with its new VPC1, because has realized that some users don't really are going to use the sounds inside the digital piano and they don't want to pay for them. Of course, software pianos are too risky for a gig situation (you don't want to experience a freeze on the computer on stage), but in a studio or at home... for me software pianos win hands down over the sounds inside digital pianos.


Regards,
Kurt.-

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#2029311 - 02/08/13 01:28 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: kurtie]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3150
Originally Posted By: kurtie
Take a software piano like Vintage D... it sounds gorgeous. If I recall correctly it has a size of something like 4 o 5 GB. Is out there any digital piano with something comparable in it?

Korg Kronos (and a somewhat scaled down version in Korg Krome). Though not everyone agrees that they are the best sounding self-contained pianos. For example, some people prefer some of the Nord piano sounds, even though they are much smaller. So size isn't everything. But overall, I'd say your post is generally correct.

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#2029331 - 02/08/13 01:58 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
For the most part software pianos stand head-and-shoulders above their hardware equivalents, especially in terms of sound detail and realism (on the sampled side).

They have a few downsides:

  • They are another thing to set up and configure
  • Their velocity curve isn't always just right for your piano and finding a better curve by trial-and-error can be a hassle for some people (the Kawai VPC1 apparently addresses this for the most common software pianos)
  • They are only as reliable as the computer they are in (with the audio interface, if present), which is way less reliable than a hardware piano
  • Even at their best they have more latency than the hardware piano, though for most configurations and players their latency is fine


I only use software pianos. Can't bear listening to the imperfections on hardware pianos any more.


Edited by gvfarns (02/08/13 01:59 PM)

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#2029333 - 02/08/13 02:04 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3785
Loc: North Carolina
I hear you, gv. I sometimes re-engage the piano's internal sounds ... and I cringe. What was I thinking when I bought this thing? It's piano software or nothing.

I think the velocity curve is easy to set up on some software pianos ... but, unfortunately, not on my favorite ones (the Galaxy Vintage D and Vienna Grand). If only they would use Pianoteq's poke-the-dots method!

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#2029336 - 02/08/13 02:08 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yeah, you've pointed out something I find generally to be true: PianoTeq's interface is always the best and most convenient. I'm not a particular PianoTeq fan but I do think they are more considerate in designing their UI and built-in functionality than other software piano designers tend to be.

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#2029337 - 02/08/13 02:09 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: gvfarns]
Michael H Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/05
Posts: 98
Loc: Long Island, NY
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Can't bear listening to the imperfections on hardware pianos any more.


+1 on that. The lack of detail and especially resonance ruins solo playing for me on digital pianos. In a band context I'm not so picky.
_________________________
2012 Solo Piano CD of original pieces, entitled 'Journeys'. You can listen to samples at:
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#2029687 - 02/09/13 06:50 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
StefaanBelgium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/12
Posts: 53
Loc: Belgium
What's the view on the IGrand software? High quality samples or not ?


http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/igrandipad/
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#2029701 - 02/09/13 07:33 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1776
Loc: Pennsylvania
Well, if you go by the demos on their website, they sound terrific. They actually have me thinking of purchasing an Ipad just so I can try the IGrand product.

The only thing restraining me is my previous experience with demos. What I hear on demos is not always (EVER) what I get on my system.

I will just have to wait for further confirmation on this one.
_________________________
Don

My current system: Kawai ES7 + Focal CMS40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Mackie ProFX8 Mixer, Ravenscroft275, True Keys American Grand, Ivory II American Concert D, Steinway Basic, Galaxy Vintage D, True Pianos, Pianoteq, Alicia's Keys

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#2029707 - 02/09/13 07:53 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5218
Loc: Europe
About the IGrand. It doesn't really sound THAT amazing. I mean given that it's for an iPad, it's an app, and it costs 9$ it can't be THAT amazing. Some demos sound good, others sound quite poor, to be honest... So...

Now, on the topic at hand. One thing that's not mentioned about software pianos is that they can be used in studios: The digital piano will produce audio files eventually (even if you rig it to midi and fix it, etc... Eventually you'll have to bounce it in your computer as audio). The software pianos will remain midi until the last minute, which means further tweaking and toying with the pedal and any wrong note you may have done... It's all in the game!

And, yes, software pianos are simply much better than their hardware equivelant, in terms of sound.

The rest has already been mentioned.
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#2029738 - 02/09/13 08:36 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
chickenlump Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 54
Loc: Canada
iGrand doesn't mention if it emulates other piano noises, particularly sympathetic resonance...

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#2029798 - 02/09/13 10:13 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: gvfarns]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
For the most part software pianos stand head-and-shoulders above their hardware equivalents, especially in terms of sound detail and realism (on the sampled side).

They have a few downsides:

  • They are another thing to set up and configure
  • Their velocity curve isn't always just right for your piano and finding a better curve by trial-and-error can be a hassle for some people (the Kawai VPC1 apparently addresses this for the most common software pianos)
  • They are only as reliable as the computer they are in (with the audio interface, if present), which is way less reliable than a hardware piano
  • Even at their best they have more latency than the hardware piano, though for most configurations and players their latency is fine


I only use software pianos. Can't bear listening to the imperfections on hardware pianos any more.


Other disadvantage is that DP's cooperate with damper pedal better in a technical way. For example, half pedalling.

Or other thing - in my Roland FP-4, you can catch the sound of a note even 0,5 second after you released it, using damper pedal. That's quite realistic compared to real grand. I recorded in studio using some beautifully sounding VST (sound man choose it) and it didn't tolerate using damper pedal even 0,0001 second after releasing a note, which resulted in some aborted chords. Very artificial phenomenon and unpleasant feeling. Even if it did have that feature, it should support half pedalling to take full advantage of it. This is quite surprising for someone like me who plays DPs, and will be even much more surprising for someone used to playing acoustic pianos daily.

But sound quality, sound selection and timbre are great at software pianos. Add other sounds, and potential effects you may find. I consider buying laptop instead of new DP, even for gigging. Just compare price/sound quality ratio...
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#2029806 - 02/09/13 10:36 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Luckily for everyone, for the most part your comments are out of date. All the good, current software pianos implement half pedalling and repedalling well.

Software pianos that don't do that stuff (or don't do it right) are either outdated or are cheap, "entry level" software pianos. They sound just as good as the current generation, but don't play well.


Edited by gvfarns (02/09/13 10:38 AM)

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#2030022 - 02/09/13 07:03 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: gvfarns]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Luckily for everyone, for the most part your comments are out of date. All the good, current software pianos implement half pedalling and repedalling well.

Software pianos that don't do that stuff (or don't do it right) are either outdated or are cheap, "entry level" software pianos. They sound just as good as the current generation, but don't play well.


That's great to hear smile I examined it and your'e right, some better software do it in right way, like Galaxy Vintage D, Alicia's Keys or - of course - Pianoteq. But these don't respond to half pedalling:
- LIMEX Vienna Grand Piano Expansion
- Garritan Steinway Professional
- EastWest Quantum Leap
- Ivory Bosendorfer Imperial 10
- Vienna Symphonic Library

... and I suppose a few others.
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#2030114 - 02/09/13 09:52 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
I was pretty sure Garritan did, actually--it doesn't seem to be for sale any more, though. But yeah, the lack of partial pedal is one major things that makes those others unpopular in this forum (I'm thinking mainly of VSL and EWQL here). There are other forums where people like them better.

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#2030176 - 02/09/13 11:55 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: gvfarns]
dbudde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 30
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
...the lack of partial pedal is one major things that makes those others unpopular in this forum (I'm thinking mainly of VSL and EWQL here). There are other forums where people like them better.


I'm fairly new here, but have read through many of the threads. Can someone explain to me why half pedal feature seems to be the whipping boy for the high end soft pianos? This one feature seems to have an inordinately heavy weight when comparing libraries. Some of you just dismiss a given library if this one particular feature is missing, in spite of that library having many other features that other libraries don't.

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#2030199 - 02/10/13 01:10 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: dbudde]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1776
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: dbudde
I'm fairly new here, but have read through many of the threads. Can someone explain to me why half pedal feature seems to be the whipping boy for the high end soft pianos? This one feature seems to have an inordinately heavy weight when comparing libraries. Some of you just dismiss a given library if this one particular feature is missing, in spite of that library having many other features that other libraries don't.


Well, as near as I can tell, for those that feel that way ...

It is similar to how you might feel if piano was just perfect in everyway except that a particular key on the keyboard didn't work properly.

If you never use that particular key you might wonder why that matters so much. But, if you do use that key, you can't live with that issue.
_________________________
Don

My current system: Kawai ES7 + Focal CMS40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Mackie ProFX8 Mixer, Ravenscroft275, True Keys American Grand, Ivory II American Concert D, Steinway Basic, Galaxy Vintage D, True Pianos, Pianoteq, Alicia's Keys

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#2030259 - 02/10/13 04:29 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: kiedysktos.]
Macy Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 602
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
I examined it and your'e right, some better software do it in right way, like Galaxy Vintage D, Alicia's Keys or - of course - Pianoteq. But these don't respond to half pedalling:
- LIMEX Vienna Grand Piano Expansion
- Garritan Steinway Professional
- EastWest Quantum Leap
- Ivory Bosendorfer Imperial 10
- Vienna Symphonic Library

... and I suppose a few others.

The Ivory II Bösendorfer 290 Imperial Grand certainly does have half-pedaling, as do all Ivory II pianos. I guess you are thinking of the old, and discontinued Ivory I pianos.
_________________________
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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#2030277 - 02/10/13 05:50 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: Macy]
Macy Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 602
I would add that the Ivory II and Vintage D also have re-pedaling, which is MUCH more important than half-pedaling to me.
_________________________
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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#2030486 - 02/10/13 01:08 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: dbudde]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3150
Originally Posted By: dbudde
I'm fairly new here, but have read through many of the threads. Can someone explain to me why half pedal feature seems to be the whipping boy for the high end soft pianos? This one feature seems to have an inordinately heavy weight when comparing libraries.

You can get some more perspective (from both sides) in the recent thread, "Entry level digital piano with continuous sustain"

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#2030503 - 02/10/13 01:26 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: dbudde]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3480
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: dbudde
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
...the lack of partial pedal is one major things that makes those others unpopular in this forum (I'm thinking mainly of VSL and EWQL here). There are other forums where people like them better.


I'm fairly new here, but have read through many of the threads. Can someone explain to me why half pedal feature seems to be the whipping boy for the high end soft pianos? This one feature seems to have an inordinately heavy weight when comparing libraries. Some of you just dismiss a given library if this one particular feature is missing, in spite of that library having many other features that other libraries don't.


A software pianos isn't all that complicated a beast. Basically a bunch of recordings that are triggered by various MIDI signals. Add a nice convolution reverb and you are pretty much done. That is basically what the first generation software pianos were.

But the first generation of software pianos earned a poor reputation because they weren't very "playable." In order to make the instrument respond in a somewhat realistic way you add 1) sympathetic resonance 2) partial pedal 3) repedalling. Once you get there things behave fairly realistically. To omit one or more of these is a grievous error in a current-generation piano. Their omission makes a big difference in how naturally the piano performs in my experience. There aren't really that many features like this, so they shouldn't be neglected.

I've oversimplified things here, but you get the idea. There's no point in adding other features if you miss the basic ones. That would be like adding leather, warmed seats to a car that doesn't have the ability to steer (or something else really fundamental). We don't see a lot of difference between pianos with 10 sample layers and 128. We don't see millions of different types of release samples making a difference. We don't even see layer blending making that much of a difference. I'm not sure what other features you may be thinking of.

At the end of the day the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Basic features I've class as "playability" items are important for a piano to respond naturally. More important than what's offered by other expensive but nonetheless first-generation pianos. The latter sometimes sound very good when processed or recorded, but often don't respond the way you expect them to while playing live. If you only care about sound, you can get a SW piano from 10 years ago and it will sound great. Sound quality and detail are not really areas of growth for software pianos.

With programs like Kontakt almost any yahoo with a mic can make a "software piano" but it won't behave like the ones discriminating digital piano players pay for. That's why lack of implementation of playability features is sufficient to disqualify a new software piano.


Edited by gvfarns (02/10/13 02:19 PM)

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#2030509 - 02/10/13 01:30 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: anotherscott]
dbudde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 30
Originally Posted By: anotherscott

You can get some more perspective (from both sides) in the recent thread, "Entry level digital piano with continuous sustain"


Yeah. I've read that thread before. I understand the issues involved. What I'm having a hard time understanding is the totally dismissive perspective that if this one feature is not supported then the library is no good.

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#2030579 - 02/10/13 03:03 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: dbudde]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: dbudde
What I'm having a hard time understanding is the totally dismissive perspective that if this one feature is not supported then the library is no good.

Certainly there are people who use and rightfully desire a feature.

That said, a percentage of a point of view is based on hear-say. Some people repeat what appears to be common opinion. The same is true of a reaction.

People follow the crowd especially when going against it suggests you know less or are less skilled.

There is an element of implied knowledge and skill-level if you demand a certain feature in a product.........even when you do not use it........often or at all.

This parroting is common on internet forums where there is relatively little accountability.

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#2030585 - 02/10/13 03:14 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5218
Loc: Europe
Almost all sample based pianos are aimed to computer production musicians. Media composers, computer game composers, and the such. Those who are interested in getting the final result (the recording) out from their own studio...

In that sense half pedalling is hardly a problem for a lot. The sound, however, is. So having tons of velocity layers, and RR triggers and the such are much more important than having half pedalling options, which either way will get burried underneath enough reverb and orchestration.

Personally I find that the Garritan Steinway has a lovely sound (for classical stuff), but as far as playability is concerned (which is more the focus in PianoWorld) it's pianoteq hands down for me...
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#2030629 - 02/10/13 04:21 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
Thanks guys for corrections, I just quickly looked at DPBSD at could overlook something.

I don't use half pedalling in it's common understanding for 99,9% of my playing, BUT sometimes you may push damper pedal slightly too less - and in acoustic grand piano you have many levels of damper pedal. If a certain piano doesn't support half pedalling, the sound will be aborted. It will ignore any pushing pedal less deeper than let's say 50%. When you play fast piece with a lot of pedal changing and chords, half pedalling will forgive you some laziness or inaccuracy. But of course accepting pedal a few milliseconds after striking a chord is also very important in this case.

I think there are many cases when people use partial pedalling on acoustic piano, and don't even know it, because it is done automatically, connected with feeling of a moment.
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#2030656 - 02/10/13 04:58 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
Bane Offline
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Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 91
Loc: USA
EWQL doesn't have half pedal cause it's an older piano. Neither did Ivory I, NI Acoustiks, Grand 3, or the other pianos popular a few years ago.
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#2030710 - 02/10/13 06:19 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
Fscotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 35
I've only played piano for 8 months but I bought a Yamaha CLP340 new, so I started off with a good piano.

I can't believe that I am now actually considering the Vienna Imperial VST for $600+. It's either that one or the Ivory II American Concert D. Both of them are gorgeous even hearing them on the Try-Sound website.

They are the only one's I've been impressed with.

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#2030724 - 02/10/13 06:42 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
I also think the Vienna Imperial is one of the best sounding. The Ivory pianos occupy a different area of the universe. I have not been impressed with their tone. Have you ever seen this video? There are several that sound good enough to look into.


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#2030844 - 02/10/13 11:32 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: Fscotte]
Macy Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 602
Originally Posted By: Fscotte
I've only played piano for 8 months but I bought a Yamaha CLP340 new, so I started off with a good piano.

I can't believe that I am now actually considering the Vienna Imperial VST for $600+. It's either that one or the Ivory II American Concert D. Both of them are gorgeous even hearing them on the Try-Sound website.

They are the only one's I've been impressed with.


Don't make the mistake of picking a software piano for LIVE playing by listening to demos. I learned that the hard way after buying expensive software pianos. Most importantly, the demos tell you nothing about how the pianos will play. Try to find an acoustic piano that doesn't partial pedal (called half-pedal in this thread) or more importantly re-pedal. Of course they don't exist. So playing a software piano without those features will never feel like playing an acoustic piano. It will simply feel (and sound) unnatural to you while playing. That's why 2nd generation software pianos replaced 1st generation software pianos, not because of sound improvements in the samples themselves.

Demo's don't really tell you how the piano will sound (rather than feel) while playing either. 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.

Plus, (in my opinion), we listen very differently to a demo recording than we do while playing. The demo is simply recorded music (a final result) that we listen to and like or dislike as an audience member in a hall, or as we would sitting in our hi-fi room. Aside from our physical perspective (which matters - the piano doesn't sound the same sitting at the keyboard vs sitting in a room or an audience), we aren't involved in playing the music. 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. Playing the software piano allows you to hear how the piano timbre and dynamic range changes as you actually vary your attack and velocity on the keys, play repetitions, vary your pedaling, and so forth. You get none of that information listening to a demo. Plus inconsistencies between notes and non-monotonicity in volume or timbre will stick out while playing a software piano.

And the sound of demos doesn't tell you much because they can be doctored in so many ways. A sample set with major note-to-note inconsistencies in volume or timbre can easily be fixed after the fact in demos. Try that while playing in real time. For example, check out this note from Joe Felice, who did demos for EWQL :

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. As a countermeasure, I kept finding myself having to record my live performance into midi, using midi as a pseudo tape recorder -- zero quantization and zero click tracks, and then subsequently edit individual velocities to correct for note velocities that fired the wrong velocity-based sample set for a given note.

The above trouble occurred when I made a live recording of "Rhapsody in Blue" using the Boesendorfer piano in the demo recording that appears in EWQL Pianos' website. 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. This is not to badmouth EWQL, because they do have a very fine library. It's just that sampled libraries often require that a live performance get note velocities edited here and there, in order to produce a polished-sounding performance. ...

All of my six demos that currently reside in the EWQLP website were, in fact, performed "live" by Yours Truly. I hasten to add that these live performances were recorded live into Digital Performer with zero quantization and with zero metronome usage, but velocities of a few of the noisier sounding samples were altered (by me -- almost always reduced in velocity rather than increased in velocity) to bring them inline;


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. That simply does not work. 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. So what was optimum for the original piano may be not be optimum, or it may even be very poor, for another piano. Secondly, when we play we adjust our playing to the piano being played. I wouldn't play the same piece of music the same on the Vintage D as I would on the Ivory II American D for instance. So playing the same MIDI file on both can't be optimum for both. Finally, there is so much customization available on software pianos that an Ivory II (or Vintage D, or whatever) audio recording from a MIDI file is simply one of thousands (or millions) of very different audio recordings that could have been made from Ivory II (or Vintage D, or whatever) using the same MIDI file. So picking one tells you nothing about whether you would have preferred one of the thousands (or millions) of others you could have created using the same software piano.

So 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. Ignore people that aren't playing LIVE. They are interested in entirely different issues. You will find there is a general consensus about several pianos being "the best" for LIVE playing.
_________________________
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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#2030891 - 02/11/13 01:18 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
o0Ampy0o Offline
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Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Listening to a recording made with a software piano plug-in can be a viable starting point along with recommendations or reading expressed comments and reviews. 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? I havn't notice anyone suggesting people ought to base their decision on any one source of information. Unfortunately it will take some luck with your research to find something you like the first time you make a purchase. You will probably end up making an investment to chalk up as a learning experience before you are satisfied with something.

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. If there is any conversion to audience acceptable tones something is bound to be lost in the translation like working with a single MIDI file and multiple software piano plug-ins. If you are going to use software piano plug-ins you have to accept it is a different experience on multiple levels and adjust to it. 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?

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#2030948 - 02/11/13 06:07 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
MacMacMac Offline
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Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3785
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
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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 Online   content
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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 Online   content
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Posts: 602
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
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3150
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
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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 Online   content
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5218
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
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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
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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
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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
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Registered: 11/18/12
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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
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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
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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 Online   content
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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
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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
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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
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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 Online   content
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5218
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 Online   content
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Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 602
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.
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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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#2031409 - 02/11/13 06:11 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: o0Ampy0o]
Macy Online   content
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Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 602
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
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Registered: 09/24/09
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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
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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
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3150
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
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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
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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
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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 Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5218
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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#2032880 - 02/14/13 07:05 AM Re: Software piano's [Re: StefaanBelgium]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Well, I understand your points about other instruments. I have played around in some demos also with adding orchestral parts and playing them via keyboard, and of course it's fair to say that most people won't hear the difference...

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#2033021 - 02/14/13 12:28 PM Re: Software piano's [Re: EO3]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5218
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: EO3
Well, I understand your points about other instruments. I have played around in some demos also with adding orchestral parts and playing them via keyboard, and of course it's fair to say that most people won't hear the difference...
Thanks... Glad to know that you understand what I'm saying...
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