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#2042926 - 03/04/13 03:52 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pv88]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
I agree that Physical modeling is hard to catch in a few handy parameters that the user can control. Back at school and many years ago , some students and teachers we're playing with models for string / pipe and other mechanical objects and it was always too easy to have your sound going haywire , just by offsetting a single parameter just a tiny bit. It wasn't so much the models itself , but mostly the consumable package they had to pushed into that gave these people the biggest headaches. One of the first commercial boards that we're flown in was the Yamaha VL1. You could easily grasp that the Yamaha engineers we're having the same troubles of stuffing all their nice theoretical models in a product that could still be 'played' by conventional means and the ignorant musician. So yes, in this case "less is more" is very true I think. Otherwise you may end up with an uncontrollable sound that is more like the roar of a departing jumbo jet than a nice piano sound. Interesting board so far ; what about the keybed ;-)

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#2042927 - 03/04/13 03:53 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pv88]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1744
Loc: Portugal
More than suspicion, there is real positive interest in modelling technology here. Quite a few already use Roland V or PianoTech anyway. And the consensus seems to be that modelling would be much preferred in principle because its potential is greater and the concept purer.

But people also need some good evidence to be convinced that the technology is indeed up to scratch. Physis has been somewhat elusive. But real competition to the existing hardware DPs would be welcome, I'm sure.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

"Only a fool is fooled" pv88, All Fools' Day 2014.

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#2042961 - 03/04/13 05:25 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pianoxcape]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: pianoxcape

Unfortunately, the FAQ page offers very brief responses to common questions - it does not get into the high level detail of how the technology works. I'm sure the folks at Stanford and the Italian Universities could write thick volumes on these topics! However, one of the guiding principles of the Physis piano is to try and make "physical modeling" easy to use. This is no easy task. I'm pretty sure the FAQ you mentioned was talking about Micro TUNING only - not necessarily the parameters of the physical models...so, I'll try to explain more below.

Physical modeling is extremely complex. So, the Physis uses a "Macro" parameter adjustment that modifies characteristics of the physical parameters globally - however, this is not just a broad "wave of a brush" - the algorithms of each parameter are adjusted for EVERY single note individually! So as you modify one parameter of the physical model in "Macro", the level for each parameter AND each key is different - way over my head for how it actually achieves this, but if there weren't this "macro" feature, it would become completely unusable by almost any user.

The Physis also uses a "Micro" parameter adjustment where you can modify up to 20 individual physical model parameters. For these Micro settings, you can pull out just ONE characteristic (for example "Hammer Hardness") and modify as you want.



Yes, I understand that the user can control parameters such as the hammer hardness. I was just pointing out that these micro controls appear to be universal. They may be scaled so that the parameter change affects each key differently, but the FAQ page states that there is no way to change a parameter for a single key.

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#2042983 - 03/04/13 06:21 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: Jake Jackson]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3287
Do you really think many users would want to individually adjust the hammer hardness separately for all 88 notes? And all the other parameters as well?

Though I guess if the piano is so good that one of its biggest shortcomings is that you can't alter the hammer hardness per key, that would be pretty impressive!

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#2042988 - 03/04/13 06:27 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: anotherscott]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3612
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Do you really think many users would want to individually adjust the hammer hardness separately for all 88 notes? And all the other parameters as well?


I think the only parameter somebody might want individual key control over is the tuning - and even then that's really only for those few people who are attracted to honky tonk sounds and Maple Leaf rags. Personally, that would be the last thing on my list of things to look for in a DP. I would assume it's possible to load any number of tuning temperaments though - along with adjustable stretch.

Perhaps they didn't cater for individual note tuning because it would upset their resonance algorithms.

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#2043008 - 03/04/13 07:38 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: ando]
R_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 506
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Do you really think many users would want to individually adjust the hammer hardness separately for all 88 notes? And all the other parameters as well?


I think the only parameter somebody might want individual key control over is the tuning - and even then that's really only for those few people who are attracted to honky tonk sounds and Maple Leaf rags. Personally, that would be the last thing on my list of things to look for in a DP. I would assume it's possible to load any number of tuning temperaments though - along with adjustable stretch.

Perhaps they didn't cater for individual note tuning because it would upset their resonance algorithms.


It would SEEM from the pianoteq forum that a lot of (pianoteq owners) DO want to do this.
SOME "mess withable" parameters are included in the standard product - MORE "mess withables" are available in the Pro version.
The "more must be better" philosophy justifies (to some) the higher price.

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#2043014 - 03/04/13 08:15 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: R_B]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: R_B
It would SEEM from the pianoteq forum that a lot of (pianoteq owners) DO want to do this.
SOME "mess withable" parameters are included in the standard product - MORE "mess withables" are available in the Pro version.
The "more must be better" philosophy justifies (to some) the higher price.

Which is why I was content to purchase the Stage version of Pianoteq. There's enough tweaking and probing required with most modern technology to make me want things as simple and straightforward as possible.

Lord knows, if they've got the Physis sounding right (and of course that's yet to be established), don't give me any more reasons not to just get on and play it!
_________________________
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http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2043031 - 03/04/13 08:51 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: voxpops]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1894
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: voxpops
Originally Posted By: R_B
It would SEEM from the pianoteq forum that a lot of (pianoteq owners) DO want to do this.
SOME "mess withable" parameters are included in the standard product - MORE "mess withables" are available in the Pro version.
The "more must be better" philosophy justifies (to some) the higher price.

Which is why I was content to purchase the Stage version of Pianoteq. There's enough tweaking and probing required with most modern technology to make me want things as simple and straightforward as possible.

Lord knows, if they've got the Physis sounding right (and of course that's yet to be established), don't give me any more reasons not to just get on and play it!


I agree completely.

I have the pro-version and I rarely fuss with much of it anymore. At first it was "neat" to be able to modify all sorts of things to "improve" the sound with the promise that you could get it to perfection.

Well, that turns out to be pretty much of a pipe dream.

What really matters is the sound the product gives you right out of the box. Then, if that is a piano sound that you like, a little tweak here and there might be desirable but not 100 options ... give me a break. I don't want to spend my time tweaking. I want to play the piano.

In fairness, I must say that the Version 4 of Pianoteq is quite good. I am not sure I would want a steady diet of their sound but it gives me options for blending with my dp sound and it works for that.


Edited by dmd (03/04/13 08:54 PM)
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2043067 - 03/04/13 10:04 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: anotherscott]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Do you really think many users would want to individually adjust the hammer hardness separately for all 88 notes? And all the other parameters as well?


I don't mean to dwell on this subject, but...the situation that would arise would be that you might want to adjust the hammers on a few notes or an octave where you wanted a different sound. Then there are the unisons, the hammer mass, and the other parameters. Piano techs make changes on a few notes all of the time.

I do like the demos I've heard of the Physis, however. I'm looking forward to hearing more.

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#2043119 - 03/05/13 12:41 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pv88]
Clayman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
At any rate, this may finally push the "Holy Trinity" to start exploring the concept of physical sound modeling more intensely and maybe feature that in their consumer products.
_________________________
-- Zbynek N.

Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown

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#2043261 - 03/05/13 09:14 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pv88]
bfb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 540
Loc: Atlanta GA USA
i just had a chance to listen to the audio demos for the physis

since i already own a v-piano and have never been happy with the purchase (although its been a great controller for my sofware pianos, albeit a tad expensive for that purpose!)I somewhat cringed when i saw this thread as i foresee another flock of sucker sheep being lined up for a fleecing.

But- and its a big but because listening to demos isnt always an accurate portrayal of life with a particular digital piano - i have to admit i'm highly impressed with the array of different sounding acoustic pianos this board possesses. This accomplishes something that the V failed to do- it gives you very different sounding pianos- and some of them were really pleasant and to my ears authentic to listen to. some sounded familiarly digital to me, but a couple sounded very real and believable.

It also impresses me that this goes beyond the acoustic to a full slate of keyboards/organs etc. which would at least give the owner some practical reasons to ow it.

what is the price point for this again? around $5000-6000? obviously not cheap, and because of my previous experience i would want a very long list of owners to testify how much they adore this piano before i'd consider taking the plunge. But very promising for a modelled piano and perhaps moving this technology to the realm of authenticity.

in defense of the v-piano- its built like a tank and has a great action and i like the feel of the keys a lot. i wonder if that will be the shortcoming for the physis
_________________________

Steinway M; Roland V-Piano; Yamaha P250; Roland FP 5
Ivory II Grands, Italian, American D; Galaxy Vintage D; Alicia's Keys; Garritan Steinway; Galaxy Pianos; The Grand 3

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#2043402 - 03/05/13 02:19 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pv88]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Having just listened to the demos, I think that the positives are quite compelling. The different characters of the modeled pianos are quite striking, perhaps only matched by Pianoteq in software modeling, and Nord in hardware sampling. Whether they are convincing replicas is a moot point; personally, I agree with bfb that some work better than others in that regard.

However, maybe it's time to put aside the comparisons and evaluate the Physis on its capabilities as a musical instrument in its own right. If (and of course it's a big "if") you can express yourself on it without feeling either disconnected in some way or jarred by inappropriate sounds, then maybe it has succeeded. For me, at that price, it would really have to check all the boxes, and then some...

It's certainly a bold venture. What concerns me a little is that physical modeling is still in its toddler stage. Advances are continuing, and are bound to keep coming for years yet. Modeling is also likely to trickle down into more mainstream (i.e. cheaper) products as it becomes viable - already Yamaha uses it for EPs and Roland for decay synthesis in mid-range products. To pay circa $5,000 for it "pre-maturity," you'd really have to be convinced that it will help you make music considerably better than an existing circa $2,000 board, and that you're prepared to take a (potentially massive) hit on resale when the "new improved" version comes along. For me, Pianoteq allows me to dabble inexpensively in modeling as it progresses. The downside is that I don't like it too much as a solo instrument (and I don't like using a computer to make music - period). I think some of these Physis models sound better than Pianoteq, and I like the concept of the board.

Beyond that, I have no idea about the economics involved - maybe it cost a fortune over many years of R&D to produce a production model. BUT, another (maybe closely related) Italian company blazed a trail in modeling, and failed to establish a secure niche when up against the might of the Japanese musical behemoths. Can another relatively small Italian brand with a limited track record (in most people's minds) convince enough piano players to part with large sums for an innovative, but untested product? If it were my product, I'd have priced it to compete directly with the Roland FP/RD models, thus giving people a direct choice between two competing technologies. But I will confess that sales and marketing has never been my strong suit.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2043456 - 03/05/13 04:19 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: voxpops]
bfb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 540
Loc: Atlanta GA USA
Originally Posted By: voxpops
For me, Pianoteq allows me to dabble inexpensively in modeling as it progresses. The downside is that I don't like it too much as a solo instrument (and I don't like using a computer to make music - period). I think some of these Physis models sound better than Pianoteq, and I like the concept of the board.


agreed. to me the smartest play is to keep the modelling outside the hardware and sell it as a software program to be used with a controller. Its just stupid to pay up for more hardware like this when you have midi controller function boards stacked up like firewood in your music room. I absolutely like Pianoteq's approach to this- i've said before - Pianoteq is almost like a "subscription"- you know you can upgrade to their next version every couple years and grow with their mastering the technology- its not always this discrete purchase of another 40-80 lbs of plastic, metal, and electronics. I thought artists were "green".....?

Originally Posted By: voxpops
Beyond that, I have no idea about the economics involved - maybe it cost a fortune over many years of R&D to produce a production model. BUT, another (maybe closely related) Italian company blazed a trail in modeling, and failed to establish a secure niche when up against the might of the Japanese musical behemoths. Can another relatively small Italian brand with a limited track record (in most people's minds) convince enough piano players to part with large sums for an innovative, but untested product? If it were my product, I'd have priced it to compete directly with the Roland FP/RD models, thus giving people a direct choice between two competing technologies. But I will confess that sales and marketing has never been my strong suit.


Yeah- its like making a bet in the 1980's that the Delorean would get enough market share to eventually build minivans. there is room for niche players in this business, but its frightening because these things have bugs and breakdowns and quality issues and you start really looking for some kind of a corporate "infrastructure" to cling to when things go wrong. and all i hear from posters is that niche guys like Studiologic are constantly on lunch hour when you try to fix a problem. who needs that?
_________________________

Steinway M; Roland V-Piano; Yamaha P250; Roland FP 5
Ivory II Grands, Italian, American D; Galaxy Vintage D; Alicia's Keys; Garritan Steinway; Galaxy Pianos; The Grand 3

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#2043496 - 03/05/13 05:52 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: bfb]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3287
Originally Posted By: bfb
agreed. to me the smartest play is to keep the modelling outside the hardware and sell it as a software program to be used with a controller. Its just stupid to pay up for more hardware like this when you have midi controller function boards stacked up like firewood in your music room.

It's funny... Half the people here seem to be wishing that you could get VST-quality pianos in a self-contained instrument; and here you're wishing they wouldn't bother, and just put their piano software in a computer and let you trigger it with what you have. You can't please everyone! Though my understanding is that they have custom electronics in the Physis... it is possible that their modeling can be better implemented on custom hardware than as software for commodity PCs.

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#2043563 - 03/05/13 08:26 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: anotherscott]
bfb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 540
Loc: Atlanta GA USA
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: bfb
agreed. to me the smartest play is to keep the modelling outside the hardware and sell it as a software program to be used with a controller. Its just stupid to pay up for more hardware like this when you have midi controller function boards stacked up like firewood in your music room.

It's funny... Half the people here seem to be wishing that you could get VST-quality pianos in a self-contained instrument; and here you're wishing they wouldn't bother, and just put their piano software in a computer and let you trigger it with what you have. You can't please everyone! Though my understanding is that they have custom electronics in the Physis... it is possible that their modeling can be better implemented on custom hardware than as software for commodity PCs.


i buy what you are saying- firing up the PC is a pain and its nice just to push a button and be done with it, although i think the DP hardware guys are metal benders at heart and don't tend to use the best electronics available. if they did why are we oohing and ahhing over 500 mb's of memory for the Nord piano. anyway that's been debated before so no reason to bring it up again.

no, i honestly do appreciate the idea of a nice piece of hardware with good action and a sense of integrity between the keys and the sounds. But you buy one and you sort of make a commitment, and then a year later you are faced with something more intriguing. and i guess i'm just too lazy to set myself up on ebay to sell the used board to change to something else.

I stand by my statement on Pianoteq's "model" being something to emulate, but i also readily admit the physis on first listen sounds much better, so maybe the entire package does incrementally contribute to its character.

anyway, i've reached a point where Ivory 2 controlled by a good piece of hardware is tough to beat. AS A STUDIO KEYBOARD. having something to put in a gig bag and take out of the home to play is another issue entirely, and here it would be great 5-10 years from now to have a 30-40 lb Physis- type modeled portable digital piano for that purpose.
_________________________

Steinway M; Roland V-Piano; Yamaha P250; Roland FP 5
Ivory II Grands, Italian, American D; Galaxy Vintage D; Alicia's Keys; Garritan Steinway; Galaxy Pianos; The Grand 3

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#2043564 - 03/05/13 08:26 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: anotherscott]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1894
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: anotherscott

It's funny... Half the people here seem to be wishing that you could get VST-quality pianos in a self-contained instrument; and here you're wishing they wouldn't bother, and just put their piano software in a computer and let you trigger it with what you have.


Can I assume EVERYONE would like all DPs to be like the PHYSIS piano (in concept anyway) with the exception that you could update the software for the sound engine as newer versions and/or competing versions get created. This would be similar to buying a computer, it comes loaded with an operating system which you are free to replace or upgrade as you see fit.

Would that be so difficult ? No.

They don't do it because we keep buying what they are selling.

What if we would buy a computer and would be stuck with the operating system it came with unless we wanted to buy another computer. Wouldn't that seem silly ?

Somehow it has become the norm with Digital pianos.




Edited by dmd (03/05/13 08:28 PM)
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2043577 - 03/05/13 08:45 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: dmd]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3287
Originally Posted By: dmd
Can I assume EVERYONE would like all DPs to be like the PHYSIS piano (in concept anyway) with the exception that you could update the software for the sound engine as newer versions and/or competing versions get created. This would be similar to buying a computer, it comes loaded with an operating system which you are free to replace or upgrade as you see fit.

Would that be so difficult ? No.

An updatable system would be more expensive than a non-updatable one. So it makes sense to do it if that's part of the company's strategy, and they are committed to coming out with updates (a la Nord). But if a company (Viscount or anyone else) isn't sure they are going to ever having a significantly better system capable of running on the same hardware, building in that upgradability could mean creating a more expensive system for no purpose.

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#2043578 - 03/05/13 08:45 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pv88]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9352
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
dmd, buy a Nord?
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2043587 - 03/05/13 08:59 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pv88]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5272
The question is, if this Physis DP gives you a choice of piano sounds from the major acoustic brands, with perfect simulation of the acoustics' behavior such that you couldn't tell that you weren't playing the real thing - would you be finally satisfied and not keep looking for the next upgrade next year?

Or is it just GAS that noone seems to be satisfied with whatever they currently have, unless it can be upgraded ad nauseam and ad infinitum? (But even that doesn't satisfy......).

In which case, how can any DP ever satisfy anyone with this attitude (that there's always going to be something better coming along eventually)?

When all's said and done, it's the pianist who makes the music, not the DP.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2043605 - 03/05/13 09:32 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: bennevis]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2635
Originally Posted By: bennevis
When all's said and done, it's the pianist who makes the music, not the DP.


Very well said, as this is the simple bare bones truth.

Doesn't matter if you own a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar Bosendorfer Imperial concert grand.

Same is true for any digital.

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#2043619 - 03/05/13 10:10 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: Jake Jackson]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3612
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Jake Jackson
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Do you really think many users would want to individually adjust the hammer hardness separately for all 88 notes? And all the other parameters as well?


I don't mean to dwell on this subject, but...the situation that would arise would be that you might want to adjust the hammers on a few notes or an octave where you wanted a different sound. Then there are the unisons, the hammer mass, and the other parameters. Piano techs make changes on a few notes all of the time.



Piano techs do work on individual notes to bring them into line with surrounding notes - note to bring custom effects onto specific notes. If the Physis piano has got the basic character right across the board, it's unlikely that somebody is going to want to specifically play with individual hammer characteristics on specific notes. With that in mind, I'm not surprised that they haven't provided a means to do this. With the incredible number of parameters at play in an acoustic piano model, there is a very real reason to limit the user's access to most of them. Otherwise it runs the risk of becoming a real mess just from user input. I think any company making a modelled piano will necessarily draw a line somewhere in terms of what parameters the user can modify - if only to make sure the piano remains a functional piano.

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#2043641 - 03/05/13 10:57 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: ando]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3287
Originally Posted By: ando
I think any company making a modelled piano will necessarily draw a line somewhere in terms of what parameters the user can modify - if only to make sure the piano remains a functional piano.

Or perhaps they could come out with a special John Cage model.

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#2043653 - 03/05/13 11:28 PM Re: Physis Piano [Re: bennevis]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: bennevis
The question is, if this Physis DP gives you a choice of piano sounds from the major acoustic brands, with perfect simulation of the acoustics' behavior such that you couldn't tell that you weren't playing the real thing - would you be finally satisfied and not keep looking for the next upgrade next year?

Yes, but from what I've heard, that isn't quite the case here - with the caveat that online, compressed audio samples may be somewhat deceiving. If we've already reached the apex with regard to modeling technology, and Physis is at the pinnacle of that, then your argument would certainly be valid.

Quote:
Or is it just GAS that noone seems to be satisfied with whatever they currently have, unless it can be upgraded ad nauseam and ad infinitum? (But even that doesn't satisfy......).

Well, that's what the manufacturers rely on, which is why progress is so slow, and the best technologies are watered down - to keep us dissatisfied. KJ said as much recently when he stated that if a particular model is selling well, there is little incentive for the manufacturer to improve it. On the consumer side, GAS is definitely a major driver. I suffer from it regularly. But that is partly because I need lightweight instruments, which until very recently meant reduced specifications, so that you were always having to play on second-class instruments. And also I have a fascination with the technology, and love to try out the new developments and see what effect that has on my playing style and creativity.

Quote:
When all's said and done, it's the pianist who makes the music, not the DP.

Up to a point! While virtuosos can make almost any instrument sound good, they also seek out the best, so that they can adequately express what is inside of them. If that were not the case, a Stradivarius would not be the sought-after classic it has become. And because, up to now, no DP has reached the status of being a true substitute for a concert grand, players of all abilities will continue to search for a better representation of an almost infinitely complex sound generator.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#2043685 - 03/06/13 12:42 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: voxpops]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3287
Originally Posted By: voxpops
that's what the manufacturers rely on, which is why progress is so slow, and the best technologies are watered down - to keep us dissatisfied. KJ said as much recently when he stated that if a particular model is selling well, there is little incentive for the manufacturer to improve it.

I don't think there is any intent to keep us dissatisfied. I think companies do try to come out with the most competitive unit they can, for an intended market and at a certain price point, within the technological and economic constraints of the time. Sure, once it's designed, they try to get as much mileage out of it as they can, but that's not the same as saying they want to keep us dissatisfied.

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#2043756 - 03/06/13 04:18 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: anotherscott]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: voxpops
that's what the manufacturers rely on, which is why progress is so slow, and the best technologies are watered down - to keep us dissatisfied. KJ said as much recently when he stated that if a particular model is selling well, there is little incentive for the manufacturer to improve it.

I don't think there is any intent to keep us dissatisfied. I think companies do try to come out with the most competitive unit they can, for an intended market and at a certain price point, within the technological and economic constraints of the time. Sure, once it's designed, they try to get as much mileage out of it as they can, but that's not the same as saying they want to keep us dissatisfied.

Yes, not very well put - what I should have said is that they will do the minimum necessary to meet the acceptability quotient of the broadest number of people within the intended market sector. To do more would be to increase costs, and no company with shareholders (and most without) would risk that. Progress only comes about when driven by a competitor's innovation, or when new technology allows more to be done more cheaply than before.

At the moment, progress is being driven by competition from the burgeoning music software industry. Clavia Nord has been one of the few hardware companies to meet the challenge with a kind of hybrid model that seems to have been very successful. You pay a premium price for your instrument but can download freely from a vast library of software. If that was the end of it, there would be little incentive to upgrade to the next model, and Clavia would be reliant on finding new customers all the time. The "dissatisfaction" factor is still there, however, and Clavia knows how to play this very well! The included memory, for example, is always too small for the library. Memory is expensive, but I don't believe that when you're prepared to pay $3k-$4k for an instrument, an extra couple of hundred bucks for adequate memory storage would put many purchasers off - it could actually garner more sales; and note that it's never even offered as an option - at least not until a new model is released. The second "gotcha" is that every few years, the file formats are changed so that earlier models are no longer compatible. You want that new piano sample? That'll be an additional $4k for the new model, thank you!

That's what I mean by needing to keep us dissatisfied. Sure, you give the customer a good product - but not too good or they won't come back. It's a delicate balancing act that occasionally goes wrong. Smaller companies often take more risks, and larger companies, who prefer to play it safe, frequently promote mediocrity, as long as the marketing department can make us think we're getting something new and fresh. Corporations are not producing stuff for the benefit of you or me; they are there to make money. If you stick around one industry long enough, you can witness the gradual changeover from young, idealistic startup, producing fascinating products for the sheer joy of it, to accounts-driven corporation. It's a fact of life.

How this affects the Physis, I'm not sure. It may prove to be the holy grail of DPs, but from listening to the demos, I kind of doubt it. (I have to agree about the acoustic bass model though - amazing!). It is, however, a step along the way, and a welcome one. I would love to see modeling take off as a viable alternative to sampling as it allows for more nuanced expression. But V-Piano killer or not, in the corporate world brand recognition is king.


Edited by voxpops (03/06/13 04:30 AM)
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#2043796 - 03/06/13 07:44 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: voxpops]
bfb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/11
Posts: 540
Loc: Atlanta GA USA
Originally Posted By: voxpops

Quote:
Or is it just GAS that noone seems to be satisfied with whatever they currently have, unless it can be upgraded ad nauseam and ad infinitum? (But even that doesn't satisfy......).

Well, that's what the manufacturers rely on, which is why progress is so slow, and the best technologies are watered down - to keep us dissatisfied. KJ said as much recently when he stated that if a particular model is selling well, there is little incentive for the manufacturer to improve it. On the consumer side, GAS is definitely a major driver. I suffer from it regularly. But that is partly because I need lightweight instruments, which until very recently meant reduced specifications, so that you were always having to play on second-class instruments. And also I have a fascination with the technology, and love to try out the new developments and see what effect that has on my playing style and creativity.


thank you- well expressed. lighter weight instruments and evolving technology seem to be a recurring theme for a lot of us posting here. I know personally that i'm not so much in love with my own playing that i don't continue to appreciate how a very playable and fine sounding instrument gives me the inspiration to continue to practice and improve my playing skills. for me, this will always be a journey, never a destination.
_________________________

Steinway M; Roland V-Piano; Yamaha P250; Roland FP 5
Ivory II Grands, Italian, American D; Galaxy Vintage D; Alicia's Keys; Garritan Steinway; Galaxy Pianos; The Grand 3

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#2043867 - 03/06/13 10:55 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: Kawai James]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1894
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
dmd, buy a Nord?


Well, that certainly is on my radar screen.

However, it is my understanding that the keybed is not the best. I am not sure where I got that idea but it is in my head.

Also, no furniture stand. That doesn't help with the aesthetics of it in the home.

And, of course, they haven't quite reached the pinnacle of "swap-ability" with the sound generator (i.e. allowing competing products to be inserted).

And, lastly ..... I never use anything except slight variations of acoustic piano sounds. The Nord seems to thrive on providing zillions of different bells and whistles.

But it definitely is an option for my GAS.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2043870 - 03/06/13 10:59 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: voxpops]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3287
Originally Posted By: voxpops
Progress only comes about when driven by a competitor's innovation, or when new technology allows more to be done more cheaply than before.
(emphasis mine)

Or if they feel that they simply can come up with a new product that will make them more money than if they don't come out with it. I think it really all comes down to something that simple. I mean, I think that's true overall, even if there has been no particular competitive innovation to prompt it, and even if the technology isn't merely allowing them to do more cheaply something they have done before, even though those are sub-categories of "products that could make us more money than we'd make otherwise." For example, I think that boards like the Jupiter 80, Korg Oasys (or Microstation, for that matter), and Yamaha Tyros were designs that were not responses to a competitor, nor were they cost-saving maneuvers... they were attempts to do something new, with a hope that there would be a market for them (or at least that they would be able to derive additional such products from the technology). Even if you want to stick with pianos alone... looking at the Roland V-Piano, the Yamaha Avant Grande (or on the other end, even the NP-30), and even, I think, the Kronos ability to stream pianos off SSD (a function not in the Oasys from which the Kronos is basically derived), I would say that none of that was really designed specifically as an answer to competitor's innovations, nor were they merely a cheaper way to offer what they had done before. But as said before, I do think that, once a company develops something, they try to get as much mileage out of it as they can, but that's a different issue.

Originally Posted By: voxpops
Clavia Nord has been one of the few hardware companies to meet the challenge with a kind of hybrid model that seems to have been very successful. You pay a premium price for your instrument but can download freely from a vast library of software. If that was the end of it, there would be little incentive to upgrade to the next model, and Clavia would be reliant on finding new customers all the time. The "dissatisfaction" factor is still there, however, and Clavia knows how to play this very well! The included memory, for example, is always too small for the library. Memory is expensive, but I don't believe that when you're prepared to pay $3k-$4k for an instrument, an extra couple of hundred bucks for adequate memory storage would put many purchasers off - it could actually garner more sales; and note that it's never even offered as an option - at least not until a new model is released.

Again giving companies a bit more benefit than you do, I don't think Nord "cripples" a machine to assure that you can't go too long without buying another board (which, of course, would not necessarily have to be a Nord). I think they offer what they think is the best balance of price and functionality they can offer at the time.

It's true that Nord memory has seemed increasingly constrained lately, as the rate of new additions to the libraries over the last couple of years has outpaced the increases in memory. That's kind of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" problem for them. They still offer more memory than many of their competitors, though. The memory can fill up more quickly because they also provide more and larger pianos than most of their competitors, which is part of why they can sound as good as they do, but again, it's a double-edged sword. Still, as expensive as the Nord Piano 2 is, for example, Krome aside, I don't think there's any other $3k weighted action board that gives you 500 mb of piano samples (or 628 mb of samples overall). If they added "a couple of hundred" to the price to double that memory (that's probably about right), people would complain that much more about the already-expensive piano being too expensive, while others would say that even that much more memory wasn't enough. These are not easy lines to draw, there's no magic threshold that makes everyone happy, and I think this is simply the "best guess" they came up with (at least based on the circumstances in the year that they created the design), rather than a decision to "limit" the NP2 memory to make a forthcoming NP3 an easier sell to the same people.

I do wish Nord's flash memory was upgradeable, doing what Yamaha did for the Motif XF. But I also see where it may be problematic for them. There is no standard commodity form factor for this kind of flash (i.e. x-pin SIMM or DIMM). Yamaha designed their own expansion boards. In order to offer a custom add-on board, you have to be able to amortize its design and manufacturing over some number of anticipated sold units. Yamaha's Motif sales are probably greater than Nord's, so it's probably less of a gamble for them. Though I hope that, for the next generation of Nord, they can move off flash completely and go to SSD streaming like Kronos, so the entire library can be available at once. But that could mean an entirely different architecture underneath, I don't know how feasible that is, if it means basically redesigning the instruments from scratch. I think Yamaha may be able to make that transition more easily, perhaps in the next Motif, as it is already Linux based at its core. (But who knows, maybe Nord is as well?)

As for the Krome, that's a breakthrough in piano-memory-per-dollar, and not something that was around when the current Nord platform was designed. It bodes well for where things may go. But again showing how you can't boil these things down to specs, by many accounts, the Nord still sounds better, and that's the bottom line. (And a Nord with double the memory wouldn't sound any better, unless they made even bigger samples for it, in which case people would again complain that there was not enough memory for everything!)

Originally Posted By: voxpops
The second "gotcha" is that every few years, the file formats are changed so that earlier models are no longer compatible. You want that new piano sample? That'll be an additional $4k for the new model, thank you!


I also think that change in file formats is necessitated by changes in technology. I do kind of agree with you to the extent that there have been cases where I think, if they had been sufficiently motivated, there might have been a way to offer something more to owners of older boards stuck in older formats. (Specifically, if they had come out with some "sample library" sounds in "piano library" format, the Stage Classic and EX could have had at least some access to those sounds.) But when it comes to pianos, I don't think what you said there accurately reflects the situation. Every piano in the piano library works (to some extent) in every Stage, every Piano, and every Electro starting with the 3. It's true, original Electro owners are left out in the cold, but really, I'd say the file format isn't the issue. The old Electros had a tiny amount of memory compared to new ones (32 mb, I think?), so few if any of the new piano samples would fit even if the file format was the same. So it's not like there's even any motivation there to keep the file format the same, and it's not actually the lack of file format compatibility that is pushing people into a new model.

Originally Posted By: voxpops
That's what I mean by needing to keep us dissatisfied. Sure, you give the customer a good product - but not too good or they won't come back.

I guess maybe the bottom line to all of this is that I am less cynical than you. ;-)

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#2043878 - 03/06/13 11:21 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: pv88]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
@dmd

The verdict is stil out on the keybed. Let's give it the benefit of the doubt for now until more user reports trickle in . It's a new Fatar with three sensors , so we'll see...

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#2043889 - 03/06/13 11:41 AM Re: Physis Piano [Re: anotherscott]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: voxpops
Progress only comes about when driven by a competitor's innovation, or when new technology allows more to be done more cheaply than before.
(emphasis mine)

Or if they feel that they simply can come up with a new product that will make them more money than if they don't come out with it.

I agree with you. (Sloppy thinking due to insomnia!). That is of course another reason to innovate.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: voxpops
That's what I mean by needing to keep us dissatisfied. Sure, you give the customer a good product - but not too good or they won't come back.

I guess maybe the bottom line to all of this is that I am less cynical than you. ;-)

I think that's true! Unfortunately, I haven't lived in the States long enough to absorb sufficient of the boundless optimism and positivity that drives that country. wink

Trouble is, in my past, I used to attend many corporate presentations, including those of one of the major banks at the center of the shenanigans in the financial crisis. There, I became dismayed at the self-deluding rhetoric, where "customer service" became a euphemistic mantra chanted loud and long to inure the attendees to the unethical behavior, greed and lack of professionalism that was required of them. On the other hand, those functions I attended in the manufacturing world were usually just thinly veiled excuses for an expenses-paid, self-congratulatory booze-up. I preferred the latter - I didn't feel so dirty afterwards!

So, cynical yes, but not without reason. Maybe the more nascent bean counters learn to play piano, the brighter the industry's future.
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Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
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