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#2364639 - 12/22/14 04:21 PM Is this now real enough?
Philip_Johnston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 34
The question is not whether the sound is real on the video below - it's whether it would fool 99.5% of the population:

YouTube Video of performance

What you're listening to is Garritan CFX sample library running on an iMac, using a Yamaha Avant Grand N3 as the midi controller. (That's the "piano" you can see in the shot). The combination of the the AG's excellent grand piano action and Garritan's astonishing sample library makes for a heck of a recording instrument...albeit a very expensive one.

I sold my Yamaha 6 foot acoustic grand to get this setup. Thoughts? Was I crazy?

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#2364653 - 12/22/14 05:09 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3993
Loc: North Carolina
Hard to tell ... not much pedal, and so not much resonance. But it sounds quite good.

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#2364657 - 12/22/14 05:14 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
jazzyprof Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2674
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted By: Philip_Johnston
The question is not whether the sound is real on the video below - it's whether it would fool 99.5% of the population:

YouTube Video of performance

Count me among the 99.5%. Sure had me fooled! It sounds amazing and your playing is awesome...as one would expect from the guy who launched the Practice Revolution. smile

The question I have for you is how does it feel to play this...like a 9ft grand?
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#2364658 - 12/22/14 05:16 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
LFYM Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/25/14
Posts: 17
Impressive quality, Philip.

How are you liking the Garritan CFX so far? Up to your expectations?

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#2364659 - 12/22/14 05:20 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
pmh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/14
Posts: 25
Loc: South Coast UK
Hello Phillip, it sounds stunning to me. Superb playing. I was going green with envy. Wish I could play like that and afford that combination. Congratulations,

Paul H

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#2364660 - 12/22/14 05:24 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Thomas B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 51
Hi Philip,

really great shot and impressive playing :-)

I think recordings done by a good player with one of the top notch libraries will fool at least the 99.5% of listeners that you stated or even more. In general, the weaknesses (e.g. limited dynamics, limited complexity in the resonance) of the current libraries could be attributed to the player, recording, post-processing or are really hard to spot while listening to a normal piece of music...

Now, when it comes to playing it's totally different to me. While I enjoy playing my virtual piano through headphones using my upright as a controller, it does not come close to the tonal live experience of the real thing. Therefore, I totally understand that you sold the Yamaha grand, but you must have a F308, 290 Imperial or at least some baby grand that you kept, right ;-)?

Thomas

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#2364661 - 12/22/14 05:31 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Pete14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 367
Phenomenal.

How does the Garritan CFX sound (fidelity wise) over the on-board speakers?

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#2364662 - 12/22/14 05:32 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
PianoManChuck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Los Angeles, California
What MacMacMac said (not much pedal, so not much resonance). I would like to have heard more pedal, especially since the CFX virtual piano seems to be lacking in half-pedal capability. Other than that, yes, this will definitely fool the majority of listeners!

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#2364668 - 12/22/14 05:47 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2282
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Definitely fools me, but I still don't find the CFX sound to be exciting - but I can say the same for many many real piano recordings. I don't know, and don't care, whether this RD800 demo sounds more authentic than the CFX, but it just sounds sexy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPTLR2zr7rk (just listen for a few seconds starting at 1:11).

Greg.
_________________________
Middle-aged Top Gear acolyte

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#2364674 - 12/22/14 06:00 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1745
Loc: uk south
Count me amongst the dazzled.

I think it's easier to be fooled by good performances of virtuoso pieces than by moody, romantic examples with longer notes and broader dynamic scope but I'd certainly have been taken in by your recording. But now I'm wondering if that's because I don't know the piece (I'll never have the technique to play it!).

Out of sheer curiosity and to get an idea of how else it might sound I landed randomly on this . Immediately what stands out are the melodies which are voiced so clearly, e.g. at 40 secs there's an Eb minor climb which I hadn't picked out in your recording. So my immediate concern with the CFX is how well its dynamic range responds? Are you having to fight to hide some voices in order to let others sing out?

I wonder how other libraries would fare?

But to answer your specific question - yes I think it might fool 99.5%.

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#2364694 - 12/22/14 06:54 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10083
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Very impressive performance and tonal realism.

Congratulations!
_________________________
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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#2364696 - 12/22/14 07:07 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Philip_Johnston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 34
Many thanks for replies so far. Just answering some of the questions:

*****"The question I have for you is how does it feel to play this...like a 9ft grand?"

The combination of the Garritan CFX samples streaming through headphones, with the grand-piano action and key vibrations of the N3, I genuinely do forget that I'm not playing an acoustic 9 foot grand. There's no way my old Yamaha acoustic grand ever sounded this good.

*****"How does the Garritan CFX sound (fidelity wise) over the on-board speakers?"

Not great. Those speakers really seem to be designed for the Avant Grand's own inbuilt sample library (which is vastly inferior to the Garritan). You can't see them in the shot, but I'm using stage monitor speakers to listen to the CFX samples.

There's no substitute though for headphones - the only reason I don't use them is because they look odd in videos, and visually destroy the illusion of an acoustic piano recording. I may yet end up working with them though for future videos.

*****" I would like to have heard more pedal, especially since the CFX virtual piano seems to be lacking in half-pedal capability. "

Stay tuned - I'm planning on releasing a lot of videos, will include some Chopin Nocturnes or Debussy (Ravel's Ondine?) to showcase what's possible with pedalling. The absence of half-pedalling is a glaring omission in Garritan (seriously! Why would they do that?), but there are workarounds.

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#2364697 - 12/22/14 07:14 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Thomas B]
Philip_Johnston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 34
Actually no...I've made the leap, and there are no acoustic pianos in my studio any more.

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#2364706 - 12/22/14 07:36 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Pete14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 367
@Philip Johnston, thanks for the response.

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#2364780 - 12/23/14 01:39 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
peterws Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 4092
Loc: Northern England.
Its obviously a performers dream but still sounds like a digital. Its too clinical, where do you ever have a real piano, even a concert grand, in this state of tune? It just doesn't happen.
Bit more resonance called for, a pedal sound or two, key let off isn't audible. . . all these things add up to the Real Deal. I'm sure you could add them if you thought necessary.
I'd be most interested to see you play that on a lesser keyboard, like, whether it'd be possible. . .
Most excellent playing.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2364793 - 12/23/14 02:38 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1745
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Philip_Johnston
There's no way my old Yamaha acoustic grand ever sounded this good.

- that should give the sample bashers something to think about!

Quote:
I'm planning on releasing a lot of videos, will include some Chopin Nocturnes or Debussy (Ravel's Ondine?) to showcase what's possible with pedalling.

- also looking forward to hearing some dulcet pp.

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#2364821 - 12/23/14 06:22 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
stamkorg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 79
It souds wonderfull, but it would be great to hear something slow... a Satie's Gymnopedie for example, just to have a taste of the resonnances

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#2364864 - 12/23/14 10:00 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: peterws]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2455
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: peterws
Its obviously a performers dream but still sounds like a digital. Its too clinical, where do you ever have a real piano, even a concert grand, in this state of tune? It just doesn't happen.


Of course it does. An acoustic is tuned before a concert performance and similarly it is tuned before it is sampled, as in this case. Find me a top line, decent recording of a known concert pianist playing an out-of-tune piano. THAT just doesn't happen.

I think Philip's recording is fantastic. As is the playing. Yes, I would like to hear something slower and I would observe that if you don't want the AG's sound at all and the N3's onboard speakers don't work with your sample library, why buy an N3!? N1 would have been a more sensible buy.
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#2364878 - 12/23/14 10:43 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: EssBrace]
CountSmith Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/01/13
Posts: 22
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Originally Posted By: peterws
Its obviously a performers dream but still sounds like a digital. Its too clinical, where do you ever have a real piano, even a concert grand, in this state of tune? It just doesn't happen.


Of course it does. An acoustic is tuned before a concert performance and similarly it is tuned before it is sampled, as in this case. Find me a top line, decent recording of a known concert pianist playing an out-of-tune piano. THAT just doesn't happen.

I think Philip's recording is fantastic. As is the playing. Yes, I would like to hear something slower and I would observe that if you don't want the AG's sound at all and the N3's onboard speakers don't work with your sample library, why buy an N3!? N1 would have been a more sensible buy.


Here is an example. It's not the best recording but still interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waXMhyQtLyM


Edited by CountSmith (12/23/14 10:49 AM)

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#2364883 - 12/23/14 11:10 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Pete14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 367
That's an impromptu performance; EssBrace is referring to a professional (studio) recording.

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#2364901 - 12/23/14 11:51 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12393
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
This sounds beautiful!

I think a true test of realistic would be in person, rather than a recording. I think DPs and software pianos have come a long way and have made professional sounding recordings very possible. The one thing that DPs haven't quite (as far as I know) been able to accomplish is the feel of playing an acoustic instrument that comes from the sound vibrating through the entire instrument rather than speakers.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11


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#2364905 - 12/23/14 11:58 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
DazedAndConfused Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 209
Loc: Greenwich, London, United King...
Originally Posted By: Philip_Johnston
The question is not whether the sound is real on the video below - it's whether it would fool 99.5% of the population:

YouTube Video of performance


It would 'fool' 100% of the population, but there were digital pianos and sample libraries that could do that 20 years ago.

Your playing is flawless and amazing but the end result is clinical and boring IMO. It isn't your fault. All of the attack portions of every note sound the same in that performance. It was like being assaulted by a musical typewriter. To me that is the flaw with all sampled pianos, the inability to alter the attack portion of a note according to how much the string is already vibrating.

Quote:
I sold my Yamaha 6 foot acoustic grand to get this setup. Thoughts? Was I crazy?


Only you know the answer to that question but I would much rather hear you play it again on one of these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7RkwjNplaE

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#2364912 - 12/23/14 12:20 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
CarloPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 177
@Philip, bravo for your playing. Terrific in every sense. Also your experiences gave me a lot to think about. But regarding the question of if this kind of recording could "foul" a listener, in my opinion it's difficult to tell, at least at first, knowing in advance how was it made and, without comparing with a quality acoustic recording. A blind test would be a better way.

But the second time I listened to it (with great pleasure, I'd must add), I did it without looking at the video. There were then a few details that, at least for me, revealed some digital artifacts on the samples, specially on the treble. And also there's something missing on every library. I don't know how to express it but it's something like the notes lack cohesion as they were sampled separately, I miss ambiance and whatever... I don't know exactly what it is. By listening only to your recoding one may be fooled but listening immediately after that a quality acoustic recording, I think the enchantment or illusion was broken. That IMHO has nothing to do with the quality of the performances as I think that yours is very good. And the sound take is magnificent, surprisingly good, but there's still something missing, at least in my very humble opinion.

What I can tell, from my experience, is that the acoustic home recordings I do for myself are far superior to those I made with my digital Roland plus Vintage-D software (or the like); even given the fact I own a regular grand, not a concert one and my record equipment is not too bad but is still a home one. But I tell this to add my experience to the thread because of if someone were interested in listening another opinion.

Congratulations again as I enjoyed a lot your playing and the recording.

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#2364925 - 12/23/14 12:44 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Pete14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 367
The dynamic control is superb. At about 1:16 it really shines; in terms of the subtle/gradual augmentation and timbre variation of the sound. Of course, a lot has to do with the player, but the grand piano action and virtual instrument (CFX) set up allow for a more intimate and immediate connection.

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#2364932 - 12/23/14 01:01 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: CountSmith]
peterws Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 4092
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By: CountSmith
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Originally Posted By: peterws
Its obviously a performers dream but still sounds like a digital. Its too clinical, where do you ever have a real piano, even a concert grand, in this state of tune? It just doesn't happen.


Of course it does. An acoustic is tuned before a concert performance and similarly it is tuned before it is sampled, as in this case. Find me a top line, decent recording of a known concert pianist playing an out-of-tune piano. THAT just doesn't happen. . .


Here is an example. It's not the best recording but still interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waXMhyQtLyM


That`s a bit extreme! I didn`t quite mean that . .but if a concert piano is tuned before every performance, it would indicate that , the longer the music goes on for, the more out of tune it becomes! Now, some of you pitch perfect guys would notice this, but you`re enjoying the resonances too much to care . . .
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2364934 - 12/23/14 01:05 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Morodiene]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1745
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

The one thing that DPs haven't quite (as far as I know) been able to accomplish is the feel of playing an acoustic instrument that comes from the sound vibrating through the entire instrument rather than speakers.


Originally Posted By: Philip Johnstone

The combination of the Garritan CFX samples streaming through headphones, with the grand-piano action and key vibrations of the N3, I genuinely do forget that I'm not playing an acoustic 9 foot grand. There's no way my old Yamaha acoustic grand ever sounded this good.

...and that's just on headphones, not even speakers.

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#2364935 - 12/23/14 01:07 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: DazedAndConfused]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1745
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: DazedAndConfused
To me that is the flaw with all sampled pianos, the inability to alter the attack portion of a note according to how much the string is already vibrating.

I'd agree that what happens in the attack portion of a note is critically important and is quite possibly (though not certainly) what is diminishing the realism of this performance.

However, I don't think there's any useful scientific insight relating to the 'already vibrating string/new hammer strike' interplay that you could possibly draw upon.

In any case it would only apply to repeated notes. Are they in abundance in this piece?


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#2364940 - 12/23/14 01:19 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: peterws]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5849
Originally Posted By: peterws
Originally Posted By: CountSmith
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Originally Posted By: peterws
Its obviously a performers dream but still sounds like a digital. Its too clinical, where do you ever have a real piano, even a concert grand, in this state of tune? It just doesn't happen.


Of course it does. An acoustic is tuned before a concert performance and similarly it is tuned before it is sampled, as in this case. Find me a top line, decent recording of a known concert pianist playing an out-of-tune piano. THAT just doesn't happen. . .


Here is an example. It's not the best recording but still interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waXMhyQtLyM


That`s a bit extreme! I didn`t quite mean that . .but if a concert piano is tuned before every performance, it would indicate that , the longer the music goes on for, the more out of tune it becomes! Now, some of you pitch perfect guys would notice this, but you`re enjoying the resonances too much to care . . .

In many classical piano concerts, the technician comes on during the interval to retune the piano. Especially if Liszt, Prokofiev or Rachmaninov was on the programme in the first half.....

(Actually, I can't remember the last time I didn't see the tech tuning the piano during the interval of a piano recital, at London's South Bank).
_________________________
"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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#2364952 - 12/23/14 01:43 PM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: dire tonic]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2282
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: dire tonic


However, I don't think there's any useful scientific insight relating to the 'already vibrating string/new hammer strike' interplay that you could possibly draw upon.

In any case it would only apply to repeated notes. Are they in abundance in this piece?



Most if not all sampled pianos actually do produce a changing timbre for repeating notes with the sustain pedal, because of the phasing interactions of multiple voices (i.e, samples for the same pitch) overlapping - the previously invoked voices are allowed to ring for a while (sometimes a very long time) - they are not simply cut off immediately every time a new strike occurs, even on the same note.

Greg.
_________________________
Middle-aged Top Gear acolyte

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#2365237 - 12/24/14 10:01 AM Re: Is this now real enough? [Re: Philip_Johnston]
mike2014 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/20/14
Posts: 13
I have looked at the specs. This thing needs a lot of power.
What spec Imac are you using to run this.
Rach fan by the way......keep the demos coming....seriously impressive.

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