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#2390249 - 02/24/15 07:10 AM "Real Enough"? | Part 4
Philip_Johnston Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 49
New demo in the ongoing "real enough" series, where the aim is to shatter preconceptions about the limitations of digital instruments. As ever, no real pianos were used in the video.



Details of the all-digital setup are in the original thread

Previous demos are listed below:

Real Enough 1
Real Enough 2
Real Enough 3

Comments welcome from believers and skeptics alike...but the real test would be to show the video to someone who has no idea that the instrument might be digital, and therefore isn't actively listening for it. Could they tell?

More to come.

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#2390251 - 02/24/15 07:30 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Kumi_27 Online   content
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Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 56
Loc: TG, Poland
"No real pianos were harmed in the making of this video" smile

I can't tell the difference.
Maybe my ears aren't the same as they used to be but it's real enough for me.

On the other hand, I can tell that my own two digitals are not that good.
They start to sound artificial to me...
_________________________
Michael / GEM RP90 / SX-P50

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#2390254 - 02/24/15 07:49 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4675
Loc: Northern NJ
Very nice performance, bravo!

Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
Comments welcome from believers and skeptics alike...

I'm not quite sure what you mean here, belief that a sampled piano played solo can fool a person? I'm 100% certain that I can be fooled and that I indeed have been with various recordings. Samplers are just too convenient in the studio.

I suppose that's why I'm so adamant about DP sound quality, I want my DP to completely fool me, and not exist in some uncanny valley just because the manufacturer is too lazy / cheap to do the playback right.

Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
...but the real test would be to show the video to someone who has no idea that the instrument might be digital, and therefore isn't actively listening for it. Could they tell?

I think the real test for the entire package is to take an experienced pianist and sit them down at a variety of things that may be either DPs or APs via double blind and see how well they score. Kind of a Touring Test for DPs.
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THE RD-700NX Thread!
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#2390258 - 02/24/15 08:01 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Grigou Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 19
Loc: Lyon, France
How can we compare a recorded perforance, even if we have a very good amp and speakers (or headphones)?

IMHO it doesn't make sense.

A real test would be to listen directly the player and the pianos in real conditions.
I don't even try to listen theses demos, they couldn't be significant frown



Edited by Grigou (02/24/15 08:04 AM)

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#2390259 - 02/24/15 08:01 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Philip_Johnston Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 49
Now that's a test I'd want front row seats for—great idea smile (The Turing test idea for pianists)


Edited by Philip_Johnston (02/24/15 08:02 AM)

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#2390261 - 02/24/15 08:10 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
dire tonic Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 2384
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
...but the real test would be to show the video to someone who has no idea that the instrument might be digital, and therefore isn't actively listening for it. Could they tell?

No. More very fine playing and a lovely countermelody singing through from 1:55 (would you be tempted to do any post-editing in MIDI or can you invariably come up with what sounds to me like a note-perfect performance?).

I'm still fairly sure it's easier for a sample to convince with these big two-handed chordy compositions than when there's less going on. I expect to confirm those suspicions when I offer up a couple of relatively simple but shaky turns in the upcoming Schumann recital which I've no doubt will neither sound (nor look!) anything like as 'real' as yours.

Still enjoying the Garritan though...

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#2390263 - 02/24/15 08:12 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
peterws Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 4461
Loc: Northern England.
OK Phil - you`ve convinced us. We need a few days to sort out that music you`re playing, and then bring our offerings to the Alter of Hysterics to appease the God of Eternal Laughter . . . grin
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

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#2390265 - 02/24/15 08:14 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
johan d Online   content
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Registered: 02/20/14
Posts: 467
Loc: Belgium
i have this quote from the original thread.
Originally Posted By jazzyprof
The question I have for you is how does it feel to play this...

Not how it sounds, but how it feels when playing as i think that is the real difference betweenn an acoustic an a digital.
_________________________
Jazz is not an intellectual process. You use your intellect to take apart the materials and learn to understand them and learn to work with them, but actually it takes years and years of playing to develop the facility so that you can forget all of that and just relax and just play. Bill Evans

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#2390266 - 02/24/15 08:15 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Grigou]
dire tonic Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 2384
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By Grigou
How can we compare a recorded perforance, even if we have a very good amp and speakers (or headphones)?

IMHO it doesn't make sense.

A real test would be to listen directly the player and the pianos in real conditions.
I don't even try to listen theses demos, they couldn't be significant frown


I think the whole idea is that we're judging this against other youtube recordings.

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#2390272 - 02/24/15 08:27 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Philip_Johnston Online   content
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Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 49
Yes - benchmark is other YouTube performances. The setup I'm using is not designed for live performance.

As to note perfect or otherwise...I'm not owning up to how many takes were needed for all this smile Part of the joy of a digital setup in my own studio is that I can record as many takes whenever I like. This particular Rachmaninoff is notoriously tough to play cleanly, and the blooper reel is every bit as ugly as you might imagine.

peterws, I've read your comment a few times, can't figure out what you mean?

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#2390277 - 02/24/15 08:35 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
dire tonic Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 2384
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
As to note perfect or otherwise...I'm not owning up to how many takes were needed for all this smile Part of the joy of a digital setup in my own studio is that I can record as many takes whenever I like. This particular Rachmaninoff is notoriously tough to play cleanly, and the blooper reel is every bit as ugly as you might imagine.

I sympathise. I usually end up splicing. At least I feel it's still 'me'...up to a point. Double cameras are a good idea. You're fortunate in having something worth showing from more than one angle

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#2390278 - 02/24/15 08:41 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Philip_Johnston Online   content
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Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 49
Double camera is essential - every performance would have to be a single take otherwise.

Second camera is actually just an iPhone.

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#2390280 - 02/24/15 08:43 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4675
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
peterws, I've read your comment a few times, can't figure out what you mean?

I believe he's being snide, but I'm not 100% sure.
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THE RD-700NX Thread!
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#2390285 - 02/24/15 08:53 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
dire tonic Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 2384
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
Double camera is essential - every performance would have to be a single take otherwise.

Second camera is actually just an iPhone.

It works well. I've seen some youtube videos where the second camera is so sub-par - well below iphone quality - it comes across as quite a strong effect, almost like the fly on the wall.

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#2390289 - 02/24/15 09:07 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: dewster]
toddy Offline
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Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 2299
Loc: Portugal
Originally Posted By dewster
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
peterws, I've read your comment a few times, can't figure out what you mean?

I believe he's being snide, but I'm not 100% sure.


Don't think he's being snide. I think he's being complimentary but using a method of which only he himself is privy (but, of course, I could be completely mistaken).


Edited by toddy (02/24/15 09:08 AM)
_________________________
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Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
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#2390292 - 02/24/15 09:16 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
CyberGene Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 830
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
As always, very nice playing! I admire your pianism and must admit I am envy of you smile

On the other hand I am not sure what the exact purpose of your threads is. I am pretty convinced that if we are listening to recorded demos of almost any GB-sized library, we would be fooled into thinking it is a recording of real acoustic piano for the simple reason it is an arranged set of tiny bits that are in fact recordings of a real acoustic piano. I suspect you are rather showing off smile Which isn't neccesserily a bad thing and many great musicians should be proud of their achievements and seeking to broaden their audience. However I am not really sure this is the best sub-forum to do so. In any case I think what you have achieved is nothing short of spectacular, so congratulations, it's really a good job!

Now, I must agree with Dewster. Here we are mostly (if not solely) players' rather than listeners' forum. In this sense, we should be convinced that a digital solution is good by testing it ourselves, sitting at the piano blindfolded and comparing it with the real thing side by side, rather than just listening to a recording.


Edited by CyberGene (02/24/15 09:29 AM)
_________________________
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Current DP: Kawai ES7
Previous DP-s: Kawai MP6, Kawai CA63, Roland RD-700SX, Roland FP-5, Yamaha P90, Korg SP-200, Casio CDP-100

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#2390293 - 02/24/15 09:21 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Grigou Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 19
Loc: Lyon, France
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
Yes - benchmark is other YouTube performances. The setup I'm using is not designed for live performance.



Thank you Philip.

So I understand that it can make sense for videos or audio listeners, but not from the point of view hear of a piano player wink

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#2390306 - 02/24/15 09:55 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Brahms88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/15
Posts: 83
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
"Real Enough"?


This definitely exceeds the "real enough" standard, and, indeed, approaches the "better than acoustic" threshold.

A performance this authentic-sounding would have been utterly unthinkable ten years ago.

I'm a believer!
_________________________
Casio PX-5S

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#2390308 - 02/24/15 10:09 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: CyberGene]
ElmerJFudd Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 687
Originally Posted By CyberGene
...I am not sure what the exact purpose of your threads is.


Philip is being quite savvy sharing with us... what better place to develop an audience for his youtube channel than "Piano World ® Home of the World Famous Piano Forums!".

Similarly, Piano-man Chuck knows where his audience hangs out.

Keep sharing, guys. We all enjoy some good piano playing, and the fact it's on a digital piano with a digital library makes it all the more interesting - at least for this crowd.

--- the Garritan sounds particularly good on this piece. And I like where you've set the reverb on this recording - if you've changed it at all, it suits it well. You know what I would love to hear... you have all the hardware you need. Could you get your hand on Pianoteq 5 and maybe Ravenscroft 275. I know that would get you a few more repeat plays on the YouTube for sure!


Edited by ElmerJFudd (02/24/15 10:18 AM)

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#2390425 - 02/24/15 03:00 PM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: ElmerJFudd]
dire tonic Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 2384
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By ElmerJFudd
Could you get your hand on Pianoteq 5 and maybe Ravenscroft 275. I know that would get you a few more repeat plays on the YouTube for sure!

I have both Garritan and Ravenscroft. These libraries aren't too far apart to my ears, a margin that narrows as the material gets bigger, busier and chordier; both are richly harmonic.

I know Philip mentioned having used Ivory II American - that would be a comparison more worth making, I think. That and pianoteq.

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#2390429 - 02/24/15 03:08 PM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: toddy]
peterws Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 4461
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By toddy
Originally Posted By dewster
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
peterws, I've read your comment a few times, can't figure out what you mean?

I believe he's being snide, but I'm not 100% sure.


Don't think he's being snide. I think he's being complimentary but using a method of which only he himself is privy (but, of course, I could be completely mistaken).


I thought I was being a bit poetic.

The thought of all of us here wrestling with that piece o` music after no more than a couple o` days practice . . .the performance results would be hilarious . . . .

Might be good to try something like this . . .who knows what might happen? Like being thrown in the deep end. Sink or swim . . .
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2390463 - 02/24/15 04:17 PM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: peterws]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4675
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By peterws
I thought I was being a bit poetic.

The thought of all of us here wrestling with that piece o` music after no more than a couple o` days practice . . .the performance results would be hilarious . . . .

Might be good to try something like this . . .who knows what might happen? Like being thrown in the deep end. Sink or swim . . .

Very sorry peterws, that makes sense now and I certainly didn't mean to think the worst there. While you're at it, could you explicate this comment of yours from another thread?

Originally Posted By peterws
Ian, most of the folk here will extol not the digital, but the acoustic. This is a constant source of amazement to me and a sad reflection on the fragile mental state of our modern society, where "Black" is of course, the new "white". I cannot say the Acoustic Piano forum adherents suffer from the same paradoxical delusions . . .In fact I know they don`t!

They just throw verbal brickbats at any digital protagonist who comes within range . . .

I'm probably taking that one wrong too.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)
!IMO!

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#2390613 - 02/24/15 10:51 PM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Grigou]
Philip_Johnston Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 49
Originally Posted By Grigou
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston
Yes - benchmark is other YouTube performances. The setup I'm using is not designed for live performance.



Thank you Philip.

So I understand that it can make sense for videos or audio listeners, but not from the point of view hear of a piano player wink


Ah - but in an age of YouTube, if you're a pianist who is not making videos at some point, you better have a heck of a plan B smile

Given that, the point of these videos is to demonstrate that for pianists contemplating making their own videos, there is no way an acoustic setup could come close now to what's possible with digital instruments at an even remotely affordable price point. (There is no way I could afford a 9-foot concert instrument, a technician on standby, and all the requisite acoustic acoustic recording equipment to make Rachmaninoff recordings whenever I like.)

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#2390736 - 02/25/15 09:24 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: dewster]
peterws Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 4461
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By dewster
Originally Posted By peterws
I thought I was being a bit poetic.

The thought of all of us here wrestling with that piece o` music after no more than a couple o` days practice . . .the performance results would be hilarious . . . .

Might be good to try something like this . . .who knows what might happen? Like being thrown in the deep end. Sink or swim . . .

Very sorry peterws, that makes sense now and I certainly didn't mean to think the worst there. While you're at it, could you explicate this comment of yours from another thread?

Originally Posted By peterws
Ian, most of the folk here will extol not the digital, but the acoustic. This is a constant source of amazement to me and a sad reflection on the fragile mental state of our modern society, where "Black" is of course, the new "white". I cannot say the Acoustic Piano forum adherents suffer from the same paradoxical delusions . . .In fact I know they don`t!

They just throw verbal brickbats at any digital protagonist who comes within range . . .

I'm probably taking that one wrong too.


I will explicate in order to eradicate confusion (which I am rather good at causing)and hopefully illuminate something of what goes on in my head.

Quite simply, on the Piano Forum they talk such utter banal nonsense about the technicalities of their instruments of choice. This is a constant source of amazement to me and a sad reflection on the fragile mental state of our modern society, where "Black" is of course, the new "white". . . .

I have been drinking, officer . . .
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2393266 - 03/03/15 11:20 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Fscotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 54
Philip would you mind posting a short clip of the Garritan as dry and close as possible? Everything I've heard so far has had some type of reverb or room sound. I'd like to hear just the dry fundamental tone of the VST. Which would then make a more reliable comparison with Ravenscroft which has a dry "close" setting.

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#2393585 - 03/04/15 05:00 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Cmin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 260
Loc: Swabia
Standing ovation! Great job.
But if you really want to hear our opinions:
I feel that the sound is almost too clean. I do not hear the imperfections a real piano would produce: the pedal noise, the note-offs, hammer noises, the slight detuned impurities that make up a 'real' piano.

I guess it's time to make the digital sounds a bit grindier again.

I would love to hear you play Pianoteq.
_________________________
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Lenny

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#2450547 - 08/14/15 12:29 PM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
Mazeppa79 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/14/15
Posts: 1
Loc: Spain
Originally Posted By Philip_Johnston

Given that, the point of these videos is to demonstrate that for pianists contemplating making their own videos, there is no way an acoustic setup could come close now to what's possible with digital instruments at an even remotely affordable price point. (There is no way I could afford a 9-foot concert instrument, a technician on standby, and all the requisite acoustic acoustic recording equipment to make Rachmaninoff recordings whenever I like.)


That's exactly the problem I have as a pianist. Recording a piano is really difficult even with a good piano, good room, good microphones and good audio engineers. It is expensive and you only have 1 or 2 recording sessions to achive your best performance (an small mistake in a live performance doesn't matters, but in a recording that mistake becomes more evident as you listen to it again and again).

Two years ago I started looking for a virtual piano for recording. I have "True Keys American Grand" and despite its "nice color" it is not suitable for classical music. I have tested others VP's and listened lots and lots of demos (official demos and user's demos). I found nothing suitable for solo piano and I thought that I would never find it... until I watched your videos.

"Is this real enough?" Yes, from my point of view it is more than enough. There are a lot of VP's with nice sound (darker, brighter, etc.) but they only sound. Your Garritan CFX sings. For the first time I can hear the music itself and not only the sound in a virtual piano recording. When you play your Garritan I can hear changes in color, I can follow polyphony (Rach's music is quite polyphonic), I can enjoy your phrasing... sometimes when you play "piano" (soft) it sounds "cantabile" and sometimes it sounds intimate. In parts with low basses played "forte" and big chords the sound of the piano is open and wide and it "roars", as we would expect in a real piano. So, for me it is real enough because I can listen to your interpretation and the music itself.

I showed your videos to 2 pianists friends of mine. I told them that it is a virtual piano. What do you think we talked about? We didn't talk at all about the piano. Instead we talked about your interpretation, phrasing, technique, general sonority... about the influence of Rachmaninov in your own music...

I showed your videos to non-musician friends and my family too. But this time I didn't tell them that you play a VP. Again we talked about the music and your performance (but not from a technical point of view, of course). They said things like "hey, he plays louder than you", "I like the rhythm" (about Rachmaninov Op. 33, 4)... and my favourite from my mother about your first Overture: "I didn't know that music but it is very nice" (she only knows the piano music I play).

In conclusion: this piano has a sound enough attractive and enough expressivity to enjoy music.

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#2451000 - 08/15/15 11:21 PM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
piaudio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/15
Posts: 6
To reach real level, you need to emulate the recorded with analog or vintage tools to give a bit of mix to crystal clear sampling. This will definitely fool anyone.

The problem with all piano virtual instruments is using stereo sampling rather than mono and simulate in virtual environments. The strings itself is mono, why would we need to hear stereo as the dual microphones intend?


Edited by piaudio (08/15/15 11:26 PM)

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#2451007 - 08/16/15 12:17 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: Philip_Johnston]
ElmerJFudd Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 687
Because you have two ears. One on either side of your head that can discern wether a sound source is more left or right of you, above, beneath, how far away, and if it contains pure tones, complex ones, and what area of the audio spectrum it generates.

For a sample library of a 9 foot acoustic grand piano. Heck, if they'd like to record it in 7.1 I'd be down with that. Just make sure to provide me with the necessary amp and speakers to enjoy the work that went into recording.

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#2451043 - 08/16/15 06:27 AM Re: "Real Enough"? | Part 4 [Re: ElmerJFudd]
Pete14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 445
Originally Posted By ElmerJFudd
Because you have two ears. One on either side of your head that can discern wether a sound source is more left or right of you, above, beneath, how far away, and if it contains pure tones, complex ones, and what area of the audio spectrum it generates.

For a sample library of a 9 foot acoustic grand piano. Heck, if they'd like to record it in 7.1 I'd be down with that. Just make sure to provide me with the necessary amp and speakers to enjoy the work that went into recording.


+1

Just checked: I also seem to have two ears; however, one is smaller than the other. cry

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