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#2320307 - 08/26/14 06:25 PM Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11
William Schryver Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/01/14
Posts: 15
First of all, I have done several searches on the forum for threads/posts that discuss the issues that I am about to raise, and although I found a number of threads/posts that touch upon Synthogy's Ivory II product, I couldn't find a thread that answered all the questions I have ... hence this thread. If, indeed, there have been past threads that will answer my questions, I apologize for starting this new one, and will simply request that someone provide me with links to those prior threads. I know how annoying it can be for someone to appear on a forum and commence to re-plow old ground.

Anyway, I purchased a Kawai MP11 back in the spring of this year and have been playing it 2 - 3 hours a day since then. I love its action, and the overall touch/feel of its keyboard. That said, I (like many others) have not been all that favorably impressed with the preset piano sounds, nor with the capacity of the MP11's Virtual Technician to custom-modify those sounds in order to craft a grand piano sound that suits my preferences. Consequently, I am on the verge of purchasing the Synthogy Ivory II Grand Pianos product to use with my MP11.

My first question regarding Ivory II concerns the "system requirements." My current (4-years-old) laptop easily meets all of the specified system requirements except for one: it does not have a 7200rpm hard drive, but rather an older 5400rpm one. Although I will shortly be in the market for a newer laptop, I want to know whether or not any of you out there who use Ivory II have been able to do so successfully despite not having a computer with a 7200rpm HDD (or an SSD)?

If my current laptop, with its slower HDD, is simply not going to be able to "do the job" in terms of running Ivory II, then I think I will probably delay purchase of the software until such time as I have acquired a new laptop.

Thanks in advance for your answers to this question and to any others I will pose in this thread.

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#2320313 - 08/26/14 06:55 PM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: William Schryver]
William Schryver Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/01/14
Posts: 15
As follow-up questions: My old laptop also lacks firewire (IEE-1394) and USB 3.0. Will Ivory II work fine with only USB 2.0?

Also, I understand it is recommended to NOT install Ivory II on the same drive (or partition, I assume) as the operating system. Have current users of Ivory II found this to be the case? And, if so, have any of you been able to successfully run Ivory II on an external HDD connected via USB 2.0? In other words, is USB 2.0 going to be a bottleneck regardless of the speed of my HDD and whether or not I load Ivory II to the OS drive?

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#2320328 - 08/26/14 07:39 PM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: William Schryver]
Beakybird Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 14
I asked this to Synthogy, and they told me that USB 2.0 is less than ideal. They made it sound like it might work, but they cannot guarantee results.

I would wait until you can get another laptop.

I have Synthogy and Pianoteq 5, and I like Pianoteq more. I don't even use Synthogy anymore. Pianoteq will almost certainly work with your old laptop. You can try it for free in demo mode. I am sure that there are Synthogy fans who will think I'm daft.

Best of luck!

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#2320337 - 08/26/14 08:26 PM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: Beakybird]
William Schryver Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/01/14
Posts: 15
Beakybird:

I appreciate your reply, and I wonder if you could perhaps elaborate on why you prefer Pianoteq over Synthogy? Thanks ...

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#2320430 - Yesterday at 12:10 AM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: William Schryver]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 611
Ivory II American D is very dependent on drive speed (and random access time). The other Ivory II pianos are slightly less demanding. Personally, I wouldn't try either with a 5400 rpm drive for maximum performance. I actually had to replace a 7200 rpm drive (Firewire 800) with an SSD (firewire 800) to get all of the performance (about 100 voices) that I wanted.

Why don't try the Vintage D instead? It needs about half the drive transfer rate of Ivory II in my tests. Plus I like it even better than the Ivory II American D.
_________________________
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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#2320472 - Yesterday at 03:25 AM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: William Schryver]
pmh Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/12/14
Posts: 15
Loc: South Coast UK
Hi William,

You can try Pianoteq 5 for free by downloading the trial version. If you download the standard trial version I believe you can also download user presets constructed by other PT5 devotee's via FXP corner on their website. The author rjpianst and her FXP's for the D4 has an enthusiastic following. She also has a very interesting blog on digital vs acoustic here.

http://fundamentalkeys.com/blog/

From the Piano World threads PT5 seems to score highly on expressive play and is well regarded by some professional musicians. See here for an inspiring introduction.

https://www.pianoteq.com/videos

While PT5 is uniquely configurable, its overall tone is not for everyone. For example Macy above strongly favours the luxury end of the piano sample market over PT5. In fact in my opinion the Galaxy Vintage D is a fine example of sampled piano software at its best with a deep resonant tone that is very beguiling. There is a useful comparison below. Although the playing is not particularly subtle you can get a good sense of the difference in tone between the two piano's especially if you listen with good headphones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlTSyF38XJ8

The other comparative route is by visiting the galaxy website and listening to Vintage D snapshot recordings and comparing them Pianoteq's. The problem here is the different presets used which changes the sound of the pianos. It's also frustrating that none of the pieces are the same for each piano which makes direct comparison tricky. However, sticking to the PT5 D4 piano, I found comparing Schumann symphonic etudes with the Vintage D Schumann Almost too serious to be most helpful....well, sort of. There is a lot to take in. I'm less familiar with Ivory II but that too gets very high marks in most reviews with the exception of its PC hungry footprint. Anyway, good luck and I hope some of this guides you in your search.

Paul H






Edited by pmh (Yesterday at 03:39 AM)
Edit Reason: Clarity

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#2320497 - Yesterday at 05:49 AM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: William Schryver]
Digitalguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/14
Posts: 423
Loc: Switzerland
You will be able to run Ivory II with factory settings without problems, both on a 5400rpm disk and on USB 2. Problem is factory settings are pretty low: only 24 voices and no sympathetic resonance. How much you can increase this depends on your CPU and on how fragmented is you disk. 7200 don't make a big difference (and they are often almost the same price as 5400rpm disks in my experience). What really makes a difference are SSD (which are much more expensive). With an ssd you can install without problem in the same disk of you OS and push the specs pretty high.
However please note the following:
according to my tests Ivory II manages voices really well. While in some keyboards with low polyphony you will hit a key with no sound if you keep the pedal pressed and press many keys, this doesn't happen with Ivory (the notes the drops are probably the older ones). For instance in a test with 24 voices I played a lot with the pedal constantly down and I didn't lose any new notes. I was constantly at 24. Same test at 150, similar results. I was at 150 most of the time...
If I were you I would buy the American and then decide whether to upgrade later if you are not satisfied.
However, if you are on a pc, I suggest you buy a small USB audio interface for best results.
_________________________
Roland FP-4F, Korg Kross 61, iRig Keys Pro, Focal Spirit Pro, Shure SRH240A, RME Babyface, M-Track Plus, Roland DuoCapture, iPad Air, iLoud, Ivory II ACD, Galaxy Vintage D, Galaxy Steinway, TrueKeys American, VILabs Ravenscroft, Kawai-Ex Pro, The Grand 2, SampleTekk Black, Addictive Keys, Ezkeys

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#2320636 - Yesterday at 12:08 PM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: William Schryver]
NormB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/02/12
Posts: 41
Loc: Vancouver, BC
If you have any technical ability I'd suggest replacing the HD in your laptop with an SSD in any case, as the effect usually is quite transformative. SSDs are quite cheap now, and folk like Crucial sell them with an effective cloning kit that really works. With my similarly vintage laptop and a 500 GB HD the process was clean and quick.

But I nevertheless use my big desktop for Ivory II....

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#2320705 - Yesterday at 02:26 PM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: Beakybird]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2204
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: Beakybird
I asked this to Synthogy, and they told me that USB 2.0 is less than ideal. They made it sound like it might work, but they cannot guarantee results.


Just to be clear - I assume this advice was regarding using an external USB drive. If it's just for the audio interface, USB 2 should be fine.

Greg.

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#2320768 - Yesterday at 05:55 PM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: William Schryver]
Beakybird Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 14
Originally Posted By: William Schryver
Beakybird:

I appreciate your reply, and I wonder if you could perhaps elaborate on why you prefer Pianoteq over Synthogy? Thanks ...


Music is very subjective, and even though I was an English major, I might be at a loss of words.

The two qualities I prefer with Pianoteq are 1) the piano sounds more alive and soulful like I'm playing a breathing instrument and not a recording. It's not quite a piano because the sound is coming from two speakers instead of from a wood cabinet, and you don't feel the vibration beneath your fingers. And 2) I feel more woodiness in the bass notes.

Two things that aren't perfect about Pianoteq are 1) sometimes the voices are a little too metalic. This can be edited, of course, but I have the stand alone version. 2) I sometimes hear a bit of an unnatural phase shift when notes are played together.

It's hard to explain, but maybe it's this. Synthogy is more realistic when the notes are played individually, and Pianoteq more realistically captures what happens within a piano when notes are played together.

BTW, those are the only two quality soft pianos that I've played with, so an expert I am not.

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#2320821 - Yesterday at 08:19 PM Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: Beakybird]
Kawai James Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9051
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: Beakybird
It's hard to explain, but maybe it's this. Synthogy is more realistic when the notes are played individually, and Pianoteq more realistically captures what happens within a piano when notes are played together.


That's an excellent summary!
_________________________
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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#2321000 - 1 minute 18 seconds ago Re: Synthogy Ivory II -- Kawai MP11 [Re: Beakybird]
doremi Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 1733
Originally Posted By: Beakybird
It's hard to explain, but maybe it's this. Synthogy is more realistic when the notes are played individually, and Pianoteq more realistically captures what happens within a piano when notes are played together.

Did you try layering the two pianos?
_________________________
I am 'doremi' because I play scales smile
Had I progressed to playing chords,
I would be 'domisol' shocked

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