Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#665536 - 09/20/08 02:14 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
Strat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 580
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by 7notemode:
For what its worth, I have found the Ivory Steinway to be very dynamically expressive, (...). The Ivory Steinway brightens considerably between velocity layers, and I personally find it very expressive.[/b]
I agree wholeheartedly. The Yamaha & Bosendorfer aren't like this, though. But the Steinway sings.
_________________________
Started playing in mid-June 2007. Self-taught... for now. :p

Top
(ads) Sweetwater / Roland
Your Next Keyboard is at Sweetwater

Click Here


#665537 - 09/24/08 06:29 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by 7notemode:[/b]
I just bought and installed Galaxy II yesterday. It is very promising. The Galaxy Steinway is closer mic'd than the Ivory Steinway, but there is a lot of timbral movement between velocity layers, which makes it very expressive. I am playing around w/propianist's settings.
Propianist, if you have other Steinway settings or Bosendorfer settings to try in Kontact 2, it would be much appreciated ;-)
Hi 7notemode,

Now you have Galaxy II installed, you could download this update patch from the manufacturer\'s website to get the new continuously variable Sympathetic String Resonance control knob, otherwise it's just an ON/OFF button. It adds some other new features as well. I kept the original patches and copied the updated patches into the Galaxy II preset folders as well, so I've got both sets still available, but I always load the new updated patches...

I basically started with the factory presets and tweaked them to taste while listening. I have no magic formula for this and my settings are in a state of constant flux anyway as I keep fiddling with them!

On headphones, I prefer the slightly reduced stereo width, as I find extreme stereo width sounds unnatural for realistic piano, but when rendering the track, I would keep the full 100% default stereo width, to give me the best channel separation which is useful for later mix production and mastering. (eg. Adding quality true stereo reverb needs discrete L/R source channels, rather than a mono or narrow source! Thus I can generate the wet reverb using the full L/R width piano render, and can easily just pan the dry piano tracks a bit narrower in the mix if I want to, balanced with other instruments and voices, keeping my options open.)

The most important setting to get right is the velocity curve from your keyboard, otherwise all the settings will be miscalibrated. Anyway, just for you, here's what I'm using these days for Best Service Galaxy II...







Top
#665538 - 09/24/08 07:32 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by ere:[/b]
Propianist,
Does it mean there is something wrong with my setup? Lets say I wanted to play 4 pianissimo cords, but each ever so slightly different from another (eg pp, ppp, pppp, ppp). On Pianoteq its is easy and natural, on Ivory I get 4 identical chords - not just in texture, but in volume! So frustrating:(
Also the key makes a sound even at the very lightest, slowest press (that doesn't make a sound in other programs)...
I've followed your (brilliant) Ivory setup guide to the letter, but do I get different results to what I should?
Have a look 'ere....

Comparisons of ppp samples in Ivory vs BDMO showing that Ivory sounds too bright at ppp

There's some other interesting mp3 comparison demos on that website, but overall I don't like the "barking" tone of the BDMO that much either...

I think you could try making an experimental MIDI file with velocities step-edit programmed to be 000, 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, etc... and render it through Ivory to double check how exactly it does behave. Then fiddle with Ivory's Velocity Curves and Timbre controls (lid closed about -33 / lid open about +50. Default +99 is rather bright anyway!), if it's just too loud, try increasing the dynamic range (40dB is about right) to soften the softs even further.
Listen at an appropriate SPL volume, otherwise Fletcher-Munson effects mess up your perception of how it sounds anyway.

Try playing your keyboard and record the MIDI output and analyse what is actually coming out of your keyboard, or look at Pianoteq's excellent realtime velocity graph with the red lines that pop up for each note. Maybe your keyboard velocity curve needs tweaking a bit.

Try loading Ivory Level II Keyset samples (supposed to be more expressive for softer dynamics) and make sure you load the max 10 layer multisamples. (Obviously not the 8, 6 or 4 layer ones, since they'll sound worse!)

Top
#665539 - 09/24/08 05:17 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
 Quote:
Originally posted by propianist:
I think you could try making an experimental MIDI file with velocities step-edit programmed to be 000, 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, etc... and render it through Ivory to double check how exactly it does behave.
This is actually a great idea.

Top
#665540 - 09/24/08 05:39 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
7notemode Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/07
Posts: 105
Loc: Raleigh/Durham NC
Thanks Propianist. I will try out your patches this weekend. I tweaked your previously posted steinway setting to fit my playback system (using external monitors). I found your settings to be a much better starting point than the factory presets. I look forward to trying the Bose and Bluthner.

Recording dry tracks at max stereo separation is a helpful point, as I will need to get some tracks mastered in the near future, and I wasn't sure the best way to present them. Dry and max stereo separation sounds like a good place to start.

The velocity curve has been fairly easy to tweak. It is very flexible.

Thanks again for sharing.
_________________________
www.youtube.com/7notemode

Top
#665541 - 09/25/08 12:17 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by 7notemode:[/b]
Recording dry tracks at max stereo separation is a helpful point, as I will need to get some tracks mastered in the near future, and I wasn't sure the best way to present them. Dry and max stereo separation sounds like a good place to start.
Beware on Galaxy II, the default 100% normal stereo position is 0 (Zero) in the middle, and the control goes from -99 (mono) through to +99 (pseudo 3D wide stereo effect) which you definitely wouldn't want...!

So the normal operation range is start at zero and reduce a little bit into the negative area to maybe -20 or -30 to narrow the stereo L/R pan a bit to suit your tastes, and the appropriate playback loudspeakers, headphones or PA system, etc.

Top
#665542 - 09/29/08 10:58 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
ere Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 109
Loc: UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by propianist:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ere:[/b]
Propianist,
Does it mean there is something wrong with my setup? Lets say I wanted to play 4 pianissimo cords, but each ever so slightly different from another (eg pp, ppp, pppp, ppp). On Pianoteq its is easy and natural, on Ivory I get 4 identical chords - not just in texture, but in volume! So frustrating:(
Also the key makes a sound even at the very lightest, slowest press (that doesn't make a sound in other programs)...
I've followed your (brilliant) Ivory setup guide to the letter, but do I get different results to what I should?
Have a look 'ere....

Comparisons of ppp samples in Ivory vs BDMO showing that Ivory sounds too bright at ppp

There's some other interesting mp3 comparison demos on that website, but overall I don't like the "barking" tone of the BDMO that much either...

I think you could try making an experimental MIDI file with velocities step-edit programmed to be 000, 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, etc... and render it through Ivory to double check how exactly it does behave. Then fiddle with Ivory's Velocity Curves and Timbre controls (lid closed about -33 / lid open about +50. Default +99 is rather bright anyway!), if it's just too loud, try increasing the dynamic range (40dB is about right) to soften the softs even further.
Listen at an appropriate SPL volume, otherwise Fletcher-Munson effects mess up your perception of how it sounds anyway.

Try playing your keyboard and record the MIDI output and analyse what is actually coming out of your keyboard, or look at Pianoteq's excellent realtime velocity graph with the red lines that pop up for each note. Maybe your keyboard velocity curve needs tweaking a bit.

Try loading Ivory Level II Keyset samples (supposed to be more expressive for softer dynamics) and make sure you load the max 10 layer multisamples. (Obviously not the 8, 6 or 4 layer ones, since they'll sound worse!) [/b]
Propianist,
I have followed your advice, but still got pianoteq to be vastly superior to Ivory. Could you have a look in my deemed to be politically incorrect "one soft piano to rule them all" thread (page 2)? I posted two short clips of a single MIDI file being rendered by pianotq and ivory- the difference is as clear as it is massive.
_________________________
My gear: Roland FP4 digi-piano, M-audio A192 sound card , Sennheiser HD580 phones , Synthogy Ivory+ Italian Grand , soft-piano Pianoteq (highly recommended)

Top
#665543 - 09/30/08 07:17 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
I actually have been reading that thread , but just haven't posted any comment myself.

I already got into a long discussion about Pianoteq on this thread a short while back.

I haven't bought Pianoteq, but I have downloaded demo versions of it, including the latest v2.3 demo and played the Erard preset that you're talking about. However, I find it's timbre rather too metallic and clangy in the midrange and treble. The Erard's bass notes sound okay, but IMHO as a complete instrument (despite Pianoteq's otherwise impressive playability factor and realistic resonance simulations) the overall raw tone is not up to scratch for me.

You are correct to conclude that Pianoteq can render ppp levels with more subtle dynamic variations than Ivory, but quite frankly, if I was submitting some showcase demo tracks of my playing to a professional booking agent, I'd rather use Ivory (for example) than Pianoteq, because it just sounds far more like a recording of the real thing, and makes a better first impression with most listener's expectations.
(Although of course, I would obviously always try to use a live or studio recording of myself playing a real piano, in preference, before resorting to any software alternatives!)

The most interesting part of that thread is your assertion that a pianist's hands-on experience is the real litmus test for software piano quality, and that alone puts Pianoteq Erard (in your opinion) at the top ranking of available choices. Other software pianos that don't "feel" or "react" as well are less highly ranked by you, and you regard the third party listener's experience as maybe only second priority, and therefore less influential in your ranking. You say the piano (Erard) is meant to be played rather than listened to. I know what you mean - like a car that is a joy to drive even though it can't compete on paper with a different model. I know there is more to your philosophy than just this summary (I have read all you wrote on that thread and I understand it entirely, plus the negative arguements of others too) but basically, you're saying Pianoteq Erard "rules them all" because you get back from it the musical intentions that you put into it, and it acomplishes this feat better than Ivory or others you've tried in comparison.

Now, here's my thoughts on this approach...

I've been down this slippery road myself, becoming glued to a certain piano patch for specific reasons (areas where I felt it had winning advantages), and I was therefore reluctant to accept its shortcomings in other (sonic) areas. It's easy to get blinkered, and to turn a blind eye to the tone if you're enjoying the way that tone responds, but when you stack your favourite piano up against a LOT of others, eventually you realise some other pianos do sound way better (in different areas) - enough to make you realise you haven't got the best piano sound you could have, even though it is very strong in some areas.

It's a bit like "X Factor" or "American Idol" - people go on to sing and they're crap, but in their own mind they can't hear that because they are so used to their own voice, but Simon Cowell (and TV audience) hears it easily because he is objective due to not being biased or blinkered by hearing one voice all the time.

The more you play one favourite piano (all the time) the more you blank out regular comparisons with other pianos, and even blank out minor faults which should be quite obvious! To stay on your toes and never lose your objectivity, you must always compare pianos and constantly re-asses your bias and your prejudice towards those favourite opinions you hold dear.
If Pianoteq Erard satisfies your need for ppp levels and playability, that's great, but the search is not over. What you have found is not the best ultimate piano, per se, but the best new reference yardstick for assessing ppp levels and playability amongst other software pianos.
Treat Pianoteq as your benchmark for playability, and Ivory as your benchmark for sample quality, and carefully compare them both if you ever try Galaxy II (very good) or Garritan Steinway (disappointing) or EWQL or BDMO or Akoustik or Pianoid or VSL Bosendorfer or Sampleteq Black Grand or various others....! You can't say one piano "rules them all" unless you've actually tried them all, and eventually you'll no doubt discover something else, like Galaxy II Steinway, can offer you maybe 90 percent of the ppp level refinement of Pianoteq, with 80% of the SSR and pedal resonance behaviour, but with 300% of the concert grand authenticity and 400% of the positive reactions from people who listen to your recordings!
You then might be glady willing to trade off a little playability for a lot more tone quality, and you might come to see the Erard tone in a different light once you have.

Top
#665544 - 10/02/08 04:25 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
ere Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 109
Loc: UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by propianist:
I actually have been reading that thread , but just haven't posted any comment myself.

I already got into a long discussion about Pianoteq on this thread a short while back.

I haven't bought Pianoteq, but I have downloaded demo versions of it, including the latest v2.3 demo and played the Erard preset that you're talking about. However, I find it's timbre rather too metallic and clangy in the midrange and treble. The Erard's bass notes sound okay, but IMHO as a complete instrument (despite Pianoteq's otherwise impressive playability factor and realistic resonance simulations) the overall raw tone is not up to scratch for me.

You are correct to conclude that Pianoteq can render ppp levels with more subtle dynamic variations than Ivory, but quite frankly, if I was submitting some showcase demo tracks of my playing to a professional booking agent, I'd rather use Ivory (for example) than Pianoteq, because it just sounds far more like a recording of the real thing, and makes a better first impression with most listener's expectations.
(Although of course, I would obviously always try to use a live or studio recording of myself playing a real piano, in preference, before resorting to any software alternatives!)

The most interesting part of that thread is your assertion that a pianist's hands-on experience is the real litmus test for software piano quality, and that alone puts Pianoteq Erard (in your opinion) at the top ranking of available choices. Other software pianos that don't "feel" or "react" as well are less highly ranked by you, and you regard the third party listener's experience as maybe only second priority, and therefore less influential in your ranking. You say the piano (Erard) is meant to be played rather than listened to. I know what you mean - like a car that is a joy to drive even though it can't compete on paper with a different model. I know there is more to your philosophy than just this summary (I have read all you wrote on that thread and I understand it entirely, plus the negative arguements of others too) but basically, you're saying Pianoteq Erard "rules them all" because you get back from it the musical intentions that you put into it, and it acomplishes this feat better than Ivory or others you've tried in comparison.

Now, here's my thoughts on this approach...

I've been down this slippery road myself, becoming glued to a certain piano patch for specific reasons (areas where I felt it had winning advantages), and I was therefore reluctant to accept its shortcomings in other (sonic) areas. It's easy to get blinkered, and to turn a blind eye to the tone if you're enjoying the way that tone responds, but when you stack your favourite piano up against a LOT of others, eventually you realise some other pianos do sound way better (in different areas) - enough to make you realise you haven't got the best piano sound you could have, even though it is very strong in some areas.

It's a bit like "X Factor" or "American Idol" - people go on to sing and they're crap, but in their own mind they can't hear that because they are so used to their own voice, but Simon Cowell (and TV audience) hears it easily because he is objective due to not being biased or blinkered by hearing one voice all the time.

The more you play one favourite piano (all the time) the more you blank out regular comparisons with other pianos, and even blank out minor faults which should be quite obvious! To stay on your toes and never lose your objectivity, you must always compare pianos and constantly re-asses your bias and your prejudice towards those favourite opinions you hold dear.
If Pianoteq Erard satisfies your need for ppp levels and playability, that's great, but the search is not over. What you have found is not the best ultimate piano, per se, but the best new reference yardstick for assessing ppp levels and playability amongst other software pianos.
Treat Pianoteq as your benchmark for playability, and Ivory as your benchmark for sample quality, and carefully compare them both if you ever try Galaxy II (very good) or Garritan Steinway (disappointing) or EWQL or BDMO or Akoustik or Pianoid or VSL Bosendorfer or Sampleteq Black Grand or various others....! You can't say one piano "rules them all" unless you've actually tried them all, and eventually you'll no doubt discover something else, like Galaxy II Steinway, can offer you maybe 90 percent of the ppp level refinement of Pianoteq, with 80% of the SSR and pedal resonance behaviour, but with 300% of the concert grand authenticity and 400% of the positive reactions from people who listen to your recordings!
You then might be glady willing to trade off a little playability for a lot more tone quality, and you might come to see the Erard tone in a different light once you have. [/b]
Propianist,
Many thanks for your detailed reply! Great stuff!

I will try Galaxy 2 as soon as possible, maybe borrow it from a friend who I know has it. I'm intrigued to say the least, thank you for your well reasoned and detailed recommendation.

Why did i name ptq as "one to rule them all"?.. I did expect a little bit of controversy, but I hate to take a position of a "on the one hand, on the other hand; everything's relative, etc", I much prefer to argue for one point, one outcome:) Based on the balance of things.

As for the "all" word justification - I have heard from various sources that Ivory Italian grand is "as good as it gets for sample libraries right now", I certainly felt that it was representative of the best sample library approach has to offer. Now, that I have read your opinion on Galaxy2, I am a bit more reserved about it:) (I will HAVE to try it).

I have never asked you, and never saw your post where you'd say what piano you play for yourself at home? (Acoustic i presume). I dont think you'd be the kind of person who would argue in favour of playing a hypothetical very much Steinway-like sounding digital (say with ivory's shortcomings)instead of playing a "no name" upright with ok'eish action. How does no name upright compare to steinway in terms of sound? I'm sure its midrange could well be "too metallic and clangy" ;\) , BUT! - it is (like steinway) a PIANO, proper piano, an artistic instrument.

I dont feel that ivory lacks in rendering ppp, I think it lacks in responding to artistic touch in ALL dynamic spectrums. Four repeated chords at ppp, or at mf, or forte - I feel that it doesn't react to small variations in touch , and thus does not give small variations in sound - and these nuances (I feel) make or brake musical interpretation, make or brake MUSIC.

Pianoteq, maybe like a "no name" upright (although I've certainly played several uprights that were sounding MUCH worse) does not come even close in approaching the rich amazing sound of an acoustic Steinway concert grand (or a Yamaha acoustic upright even;)... BUT, like a no name acoustic upright, it- pianoteq- is TOO a piano!!

What is Ivory? A glorified, elaborate typing machine. Where one types music.

Booking agents? I'm sure music connoisseurs MUST be more impressed if one played four chords at the end of a Chopin's nocturne with a well thought out and executed smorzando (even if it was a no name acoustic recording), then with someone who hammers out four identical chords on a rich sounding grand.

And even if I was comparing just the sound... Yes, pianoteq can sound artificial. But, yes, Ivory's sustain resonance sounds like some stupid echo. I'd take occasional artificiality (for the most part ptq sounds like a pretty real no name upright) over constant unrealistic resonance...

SO:) I guess, "rule them ALL" maybe an overstatement (hey, there was a winking smiley at the title), but ... maybe it wasn't \:\) We'll see with galaxy.

PS When deciding on the best to buy, we consider the value for money too. Sample libraries= finished product that will only grate on ones ears more with time. Ptq has come leaps and bounds in the past 2 years to arrive at v 2.3 Erard. What will it be in another 2 years of free upgrades? Im looking forward to galaxy, but Pianoteq has a strong case to be under the heading of my thread.

PPS Sorry if I overlooked some of your other arguments, I'm not feeling too well (flu) and having trouble concentrating.
_________________________
My gear: Roland FP4 digi-piano, M-audio A192 sound card , Sennheiser HD580 phones , Synthogy Ivory+ Italian Grand , soft-piano Pianoteq (highly recommended)

Top
#665545 - 10/11/08 12:31 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
SoftFloor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 72
Propianist, you mention "various hardware digital piano sources".

Had you a chance to compare all those software/hardware pianos with GEM Drake (Promega 3 / PRP 800/ RP-X etc.) Steinway and Fazioli (pianos 1 and 2)?

Even though this GEM sound is several years old now, it may well be that still nothing comes close to its beauty, realism, expressiveness and playability. And, of course, it has sympathetic string resonance, and it does not have distinctive velocity layers - any intermediate velocity is generated from the two extremes, not just mixing them, but using some complicated way to model the sound, each main harmonic generated separately, etc.

I have a much older GEM instrument, and even it has string resonance, sounds great over the phones, and is such a relief after trying Ivory, or EWQL (and I tried), not to mention Pianoteq.
TruePianos sounds much better than Pianoteq, it is almost usable, but, unfortunately, also does not have string resonance, even though there is a checkbox to switch it on, perhaps for future versions?
Galaxy II might be interesting, though - it sounds great on youtube, but, on the other hand, everything sounds great what 7notemode puts there \:\) .

Anyway, I have finally ordered the GEM RP-X piano module (a 2.5 kg box) directly from Italy.
It costs 450 euros there, so more than Garritan Steinway. I hope I will not be disappointed.

My old GEM RPStudio is still probably my favorite non-acustic piano, but I would like more dynamic range, and its sound, although very nice, is a bit generic, both ends are so beautiful but the midrange is somewhat plain, and the lower midrange has some unpleasant harsh overtones at the highest velocities. But it sounds so natural over the phones, when conneected directly to it.
I cannot produce anything even close over the phones from any of the software pianos, no matter what reverbs or stereo width, etc. RPStudio has a perfect player's perspective over the phones. As if there were no phones at all, just a real instrument in front of you.

I hope for something similar from RP-X as well, I had no chance to test it, but feedback from people who have it is usually the same: it is everything I hoped for and more ...

Top
#665546 - 10/14/08 10:22 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by SoftFloor:[/b]
Propianist, you mention "various hardware digital piano sources".
Had you a chance to compare all those software/hardware pianos with GEM Drake (Promega 3 / PRP 800/ RP-X etc.) Steinway and Fazioli (pianos 1 and 2)
Yes, I bought the original GEM RealPiano Expander back in 1997 and loved it at the time. I also breifly had a GEM Pro 2 keyboard 88 note version, and I've also played the ProMega 3 a few times in London shops. I haven't found any shops (in England) with the new GEM RP-X piano module in stock, where I could go and try playing it for mylself (I'd be interested to hear if it's much better than the original) but I certainly listened to the mp3 demos on the manufacturer's website .

I like the convenience of small portable piano modules like that, and there aren't many left on the market these days. However, having used original GEM piano module for many years, I know it's quite problematic with 12 Volt power adaptor, and often placing it down at floor level beside you and bending over to adjust it from seated position during a gig! The built-in control panel and sounds of my Kawai MP8 are much better really, and the sympathetic string resonance is also user adjustable. I always felt it was set too quiet on the original GEM, although the GEM can run circles round it for playablitity on headphones - you're right - it is a sweet little box, and I used it from 1997 until 2006 (when I got Kawai MP8) and hadn't found anything better for taking to gigs during those years.

The GEM piano sound is supposedly a hybrid FFT merge of samples from Steinway / Yamaha / Bosendorfer / Fazioli, but more recently they've added the new 10 foot Fazioli and 9 foot Steinway D patches, both of which are a bit extreme one way or the other in character. The GEM Steinway is very hard midrange clasical sound and the GEM Fazioli is very bass & treble heavy I think. I have Ivory Italian Grand Fazioli anyway, and 8 different Steinway D multisamples as well. I think the software pianos are better if you want the best audiophile results. The GEM module can hiss quite a lot, and it only has unbalanced jack outputs. It does still sound good, even after all these years though, and further comes alive if you put it through a valve preamp as well!

Anyway, I'm glad we mentioned the GEM because I've been using it again recently, and it features in my massive piano comparison demo that I'm gonna post here some day soon...!

Top
#665547 - 10/14/08 11:40 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
7notemode Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/07
Posts: 105
Loc: Raleigh/Durham NC
Thanks for the kind words, SoftFloor.

I have been tempted to buy a used RPX on Ebay to try. There are no local dealers, so no other way to try it out.
_________________________
www.youtube.com/7notemode

Top
#665548 - 10/15/08 12:59 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
Yes, we've all gone into shops asking for a demo and got frustrated... We've also all probably got fed up with manufacturer's MP3 demos that sound nothing like how the real product plays...
The only guaranteed way to test things out properly is to buy it yourself!

If only someone :rolleyes: would buy lots and lots of products, test them all out consistently (without bias) and post a huge comparison demo on the forum here with high quality audio (not MP3) and the MIDI files too.

Top
#665549 - 10/15/08 01:01 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by propianist:[/b]
I'm gonna post some comparison demos on here soon, with all these interesting pianos side by side.
...and here it is, folks!





Okay, it’s 4am in the morning, so I won’t write a lot now, but you have to check this out!!!


A while ago I recorded myself playing “Rondo Alla Turca” by Mozart, with a video camera closeup...



I also simultaneously recorded the MIDI output to make a Standard MIDI File, so I could try rendering that performance with all the many different hardware and software piano sounds I’ve got, for a huge side by side comparison...

Here's my actual live MIDI file...


Rondo Alla Turca_propianist.mid [/b]


I then rendered it eighteen times over with eighteen different piano sources, and burned them all to CDR for lots of listening, and then I decided to assemble a side by side comparison, using the Mozart, split naturally into its 29 repetitive eight bar sections (that's the beauty of it!) for instant comparison, without interrupting the musical flow.




After a few sleepless nights of audio and video editing, here’s what I’ve come up with!

Here's the rendered audio track...


Rondo Alla Turca__eighteen pianos__propianist__16bit 44kHz.wav [/b]


And here's the full DVD quality video / audio version, with animated graphics to tell you which piano you're hearing. It’s quite a big download, but I promise it’s worth watching – if you like software pianos, you’ll love this !!!


Rondo Alla Turca__eighteen pianos__propianist__movie.mpg [/b]


(above direct download weblink should work okay) or otherwise download from host webpage


Rondo Alla Turca__eighteen pianos__propianist - watch on YouTube [/b]


Click the above YouTube link to watch this movie right now, or just search for "propianist" on YouTube and you'll find it.





Additionally...
In case you can't easily download the big 100MB full resolution DVD quality version (or you're having problems playing it! - some machines have different codecs installed?! It certainly works for me in Windows Media Player, or the excellent Media Player Classic , or VLC or any normal DVD movie playback software, since it's fully UK PAL DVD compatible. (720x576 pixels 25fps MPEG2, so you could author and burn it straight to DVD-Video without re-encoding anything.)

...anyway, if you just want a small low res version (similar to YouTube) and don't mind the very compressed picture quality, then here's a reduced Bink Video version, with embedded player host and codec, that runs as a simple standalone application, and will ALWAYS work okay on any Windows computer without issues - just click to play it!


Rondo Alla Turca__eighteen pianos__propianist__reduced Bink video.exe [/b]


...and finally, a similar low res screensaver version of this movie, (which stops if you nudge the mouse or press any key) that also should instantly playback in fullscreen with stereo sound, on any Windows machine.

Rondo Alla Turca__eighteen pianos__propianist__screensaver.scr [/b]


FYI, both these small 9.5 MB compressed films are 360 x 288 pixels, and have been reduced from the original 720 x 576 pixels, from 25 frames per second, down to just 9 frames per sec, so the motion looks a little bit choppy and skipping lots of frames, but you get a fair idea of the content.
The big DVD quality version however, plays completely fluidly at 25fps, and with quadruple the number of pixels has far more legible text in the software screenshots, etc. plus you can fully control its playback options, and switch between nineteen different 16 bit linear WAV piano soundtracks, as I'll explain later...!

I have now started a new forum thread [/b] about this eighteen piano comparison movie.
I've copied all this stuff across, and should soon be updating it with more technical details, including the entire set of eighteen piano solo tracks (plus the main comparison mix track) downloadable as complete full length uncompressed WAV files.
So please have a look at that main discussion thread...

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/6/5432.html [/b]

Top
#665550 - 10/15/08 04:35 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
SoftFloor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 72
GEM RP-X is the next generation thing (although quite old already), it has nothing in common with GEM RealPiano Expander.
My RP Studio has the same piano as RealPiano, I think - well, of course, RP in RPStudio stands for RealPiano.
The name is confusing, though.
RP-X is not RealPiano-eXpander.
RP-X is the same thing as Promega 2/3, with DRAKE chips.

There is a difference in the number of voices and in some other instruments but the main two pianos, Steinway and Fazioli, they are the same, as I understand. Both Promega 3 and RP-X use DRAKE chips, but a different number of them.
Progema 3 has more voices and uses more DRAKE chips. But RP-X's 72 voices are quite enought for piano.

So I bought RP-X without trying, just on the strength of feedback from people who also bought it (in most cases - also without trying ).

To be exact, I paid for it on Friday, now it is already Wednesday in Europe, I am still waiting for the tracking ID, so it was not shipped yet.
I chose to buy from Italy because it is much cheaper there, 375 euros compared to 500 euros in Germany, for example. With Italian VAT included, it is 450 euros.

Here, if somebody is interested, I orderd it from here:
http://www.cherubini.com/en/product/4164/Gem-RP-X.asp

But better wait until it is actually shipped to me, just in case \:\)

UPDATE: turns out, RP-X was shipped yesterday,
I got the tracking code. All the deliveries outside Italy are made by TNT.

If you live outside EU, the Italian 20% VAT should be deducted from the 450 euro price, so you have to pay 375 euros + the shipping costs, however, check if it is automatically deducted for your country, if not, you may have to remind (or even to convince?) the Italian store about it, and you may have to pay your local VAT + customs duty. I live in EU so I did not have to deal with those problems. However, when buying something from USA, I need to do some convincing (come on, it is for my personal usage, etc.) to avoid payng the local VAT and/or customs duties.


Speaking about the comparison table,
I rather like RealPianos, not included here, it seems (you can download demo version).
RealPianos sounds very realisticly compared to Pianoteq, I actually find myself using it quite frequently, it starts quickly, does not need to load instruments, does not use any resources to speak of, and sounds better than most sampled software pianos.
I have a demo version with one module only, I will wait for RP-X, and then will see if I want to buy RealPianos as well, it is pretty cheap, and the other three pianos it has do not appear anywhere on the internet to try, at least not working versions.

I now also installed and tried Galaxy II.
I did not like Boesendorfer and Bluethner because they both sounded like from a grave, any brightness only appear at the very highest velocities.
The Steinway really can sing, though.


But now I see that Galaxy II also does not support fully the string resonance even when SSR is in ON position. The same is with TruePianos, so perhaps I expect too much from it - for example, the ability to play flageolets (harmonics) like on guitar.
If you keep some key or keys pressed and then play staccato on another key or keys, an octave or a 5th up or down, such as two Cs or a C and a G, the sound should continue from the key which stays pressed.

My old GEM RPStudio can play flageolets, and Pianoteq can too. But not Galaxy II, or TruePianos, and not Ivory, of course - I tried on all of them.

Also, the repedal option is not working on Galaxy II either, even when set to ON.
It is working on my old RP Studio and with Pianoteq.


UPDATE:
Sorry, now I see that SSR was actually implemted in Galaxy II update 1.1.01
After installing update 1.1.01, SSR is working, however, something is very wrong with it, some high pitch harmonic sounds occasionally jump up where they shouldn't. For example, if we keep one key pressed and then press very very softly another key, it correctly stays silent (main tone), however it emits a loud harmonic, which is crazy.
If you increase the SSR level to a degree where normal flageolets begin to be heard (up to the middle or so), the wrong ones are much louder already, perhaps because they are not hidden behind the main sound, however short.
Just press the middle C, keep it pressed (you may have Silent Key On, by the way, and then, while keeping the middle C pressed, press very very softly (so that no sound at all should be heard) keys A,G,F,E below it - you will hear pure - and loud - flageolet sounds. It happets for all the octaves down the keyboard and for all the keys up the keyboard, until not damped upper keys are reached - for those flageolets are not playing, which is funny, actually.
So, the volume of the SSR heard is constant, it does not depend at all on how hard or soft you hit the key which causes the strings of the other key to vibrate in resonance. That seems to be the main problem. And why the upper undamped strings do not vibrate in resonance, I don't know either, these keys are all as if they were kept pressed, strings are open and should catch the vibrations.


Another thing about Galaxy II Steinway - the resonance sound when pedal is down is missing for some keys, some keys have it, others - do not.
The same problem was before the update, but the update did not fix it.
Just crank the volume of the resonance samples all the way up, keep the pedal pressed, and hit the keys one-by-one, you will see that occasionally there are groups of keys that do not trigger resonance samples while others do.
In fact, keys from A to D trigger samples, but from D# to G# - do not, that is repeated from octave to octave.

Top
#665551 - 10/15/08 04:53 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
Copilot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 262
Loc: Belgium, Europe
error
_________________________
I love my dark rosewood Yamaha CLP-240. She's as honest with me as a loyal dog but she sounds better.

Top
#665552 - 10/15/08 05:22 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
SoftFloor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 72
Exactly, Copilot, that's why I ordered it blindly.
According to reviews, it makes people week in the knees and to drool and salivate continuously.

Even people who manage to detect some bad things, still like it more than anything, it seems.

I read about a bad note looping that can be heard, and I was also aware of the review above, about supposedly incorrect tuning of Fazioli.
As nobody else mentioned this, perhaps this guy hears too much. Still, it would be nice if stretch tuning could be controlled as in some software pianos. Or maybe it can? I don't know what exactly can be edited when RP-X is connected to a PC, but a lot.

UPDATE: I already got the RPX,
Fazioli and Steinway have quite different overtone content, so I can see that it is possible to think that they are differently tuned, but probably they are not, and, perhaps they should be.
Actually, with all the reverbs and chorus removed I can hear that Fazioli C7 sounds a couple of cents flat compared to C6, and C8 as well, so it only proves that stretch tuning could be advised.

Anyway, when connected to PC, you can tune RP-X as you like, there are 4 predefined stretch tunings and 8 additional temperaments, but you can also create your own tunings, you can tune either each note of an octave or each note of the whole piano and save to your own tuning files, for example, you may create 12 key-specific tunings based on just intervals, etc. I can confirm that it really works, as I already created a just intonation tuning.
Ok, now I tried a ready-made Steinway D stretch tuning on Fazioli - yes, the issue seems to be gone, although it does not work as well with Steinway D itself (it is possible to have one piano to use a custom tuning, and the other - not, but it is not possible to use two different custom tunings simultaneously, the custom tuning is saved only once in RP-X, not for each instrument (but is switched on/off for each instrument), and not for each performance, unfortunately, so it is not possible to make a number of performances with the same instrument but differently tuned (for example 12 key-specific tunings) and switch between them quickly, you need a connection to your PC to change the tuning and it takes at least 3 mouse clicks to do, so several seconds at least)
There is no ready-made Fazioli f308 stretch tuning file provided, though. So you can take this as a basis and try to improve on it, perhaps.

You can also read all the reviews about Promega 2/3 and about RP700/800/910, pRP700/800, GRP800,
they all have the same DRAKE Steinway and Fazioli piano sounds, so everything written about them also applies to RP-X as long as you are not interested too much in all the other instruments it has.
I actually found a pRP800 in a store in a city 100 km away, but I was too lazy to go there to test.
I did not want to buy the whole pRP800 because its keyboard action is not necessarily the best, although it is a graded hammer action and some people say that you can play on it for hours without getting tired. But RP-X has more piano and vintage sounds than pRP800.


NOTE: just to clear things, the above mentioned reference by Copilot to a review disappeared, it became replaced by "Bump" and later by "error",
not sure if it will re-appear again or not


OK, so I have gone definitely off-topic, sorry.
Unless RP-X can be considered a software piano, perhaps it can.

Top
#665553 - 11/08/08 12:58 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
propianist, what's your favorite software piano now? Please discuss in terms or tone character and response.
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

Top
#665554 - 11/08/08 02:29 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
propianist,[/b] I've tried three times to install the Galaxy update. I *think*, based on a replies by the forum moderator and Klaus that I should be loading the update's files into the respective instrument folders, but don't know why it's not working.

There are only two files in, for example, the update's Steinway folder, but Klaus's post in my "Help with installing update" thread - here - seems to indicate that more than two files should be copied into the current Steinway folder. Did you copy the .DS_Store file - it's a loose one that's on the same level as the Instrument folders.

Please advise, if possible. I like the Galaxy Steinway very much, but would really like to have that continuous controller for sustain.

PS, on northernsounds someone complained about intolerable levels of hiss when boosting the treble.

Top
#665555 - 11/08/08 10:09 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
Hi Jazz+,
My favourite commercial software piano products are Galaxy II (Bosendorfer especially) and Ivory (Steinway and Fazioli especially) depending on the particular music I'm doing. I also tend to use my own Kemble Upright multisample quite a lot, and occasionally my 96kHz Steinway D multisample. I'm always playing around with all of them though (including Garritan Steinway) and don't stick to any one formula all the time...


Hi FogVilleLad,

Let's assume we're talking about installing the full boxed version Galaxy II v1.0 on Windows XP first, and then downloading v1.1 update zip file from their website? This is how I did it.

After successfully installing the original v1.0 Galaxy II by following the instructions when you put the five DVDs into your machine, and getting it authorised via Native Service Centre challenge / response file.



In "C:\Program Files\Best Service\Galaxy II" you will find all the 30GB files you've installed.
Once you've downloaded and unzipped the v1.1 file, you're ready to update your old patches by replacing them with the new ones.

The original V1.0 Galaxy II instrument NKI files have date modified 19 June 2007 and these are no longer needed, so you can discard them by dragging them into some other backup folder elsewhere on your computer. (I wouldn't completely delete them, in case you want to try V1.0 interface again in the future, without re-installing from the DVDs.)

The GALAXY_II_1.001.zip update contains replacement NKI files with date modified 16 November 2007, and these go into the same places where the old ones came from. Because they have the same exact file names, they will overwrite your originals unless you have dragged them someplace else for safety first.
Just open the "Instruments" folder and it's subfolders for the different pianos and put the new NKI files into those places, as appropriate.
My "C:\Program Files\Best Service\Galaxy II\Instruments" folder is arranged like this... (observe the dates modified, where I've made a new folder to just keep the original v1.0 "ALL" presets.)



I copied the zip's Galaxy II v1_1 readme english.pdf into the "Documentation" folder, where the original pdf manuals are also.
I don't know what the ".DS_Store" files in the zip folder are for, but I didn't use them or need them! Everything works okay! I just copied all the new NKI files (16 November 2007 ones from zip folder) into the places where I wanted to put them, and I renamed some folders / files.
I also have my own three propianist user settings for Bosendorfeer / Bluthner / Steinway which I put in there as well. These all use the new V1.1 software. I also copied these 3 user preset NKI files into "C:\Program Files\Native Instruments\Kontakt Player 2\UserPatches\Instruments" folder which is where Kontakt 2 saves them.

If you want my patches, here they are...

BOSENDORFER propianist.nki

BLUTHNER propianist.nki

STEINWAY propianist.nki
[/b]





Top
#665556 - 11/08/08 12:47 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
Michiyo-Fir Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 172
I'm comparing all the Bosendorfer samples propianist put up and in Galaxy II doesn't sound right at all. It sounds nothing like a Bosendorfer grand, at least not the one I have. It's tones are too harsh and bright, more like a mild Yamaha. Bosendorfers are more mellow and musical sounding. I think this is the worst Bosendorfer sample

Similar with the Ivory one, it sounds a bit too bright as well but I guess it can be tweaked.

Vienna Symphonic Library's sounds too tinny in the treble, but the bass is quite good. The bass sounds a little more like a Steinway I think.

Quantum Leap Pianos' sample is the closest to the real thing. It has a nice mellow touch with some warmness and it's quite nice. Captures the subtlety of the piano.

I'm actually thinking of buying the Quantum Leap software for my Yamaha CP300...but then it's quite pricey and I would also need to get a new hard-drive.

Is anyone running any kind of high quality piano sample library through a Macbook Pro? I'm not sure if it has enough Ram/CPU to do a good job.
_________________________
Bosendorfer Imperial, Yamaha U3, Yamaha P140, Yamaha CP300

Top
#665557 - 11/08/08 01:22 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
propianist, [/b]very much appreciated.

I'd tried your method, but it hadn't worked. Knowing that your method must be correct, I resorted to my Ace Move: try everything under the sun until you stumble on the correct solution;-) Turns out that the previous attempts hadn't worked, because Galaxy is installed as a VST in Cubase. In that configuration installing the update's nki files doesn't change either appearance or functionality. After deleting the Steinway Template project and creating a new one, the updates did in fact appear in the Kontakt Player interface.

Another perfect day in Baghdad by the Bay.

Top
#665558 - 11/08/08 01:38 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
wiser_guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Athens, Greece
I will not agree with you on your Galaxy Boesendorfer assessment. I think it's captured exceptionally well and it can tolerate extensive tweaking without getting tinny or noisy. To me, it's probably the best and very close to the real thing.

VSL Imperial is a little different but you have to consider that the recording method surely was different, and perhaps the instrument was differently voiced. Still, it's one of the best. Don't underestimate the Austrians, they know what a Boesendorfer sounds like.

I have already said (in another thread) that EWQL has an exceptional sound. Mind blowing. But it also has noise problems in the samples while its sound, already having an attitude (production-wise), cannot be tweaked but to a certain limited extent.

Macbook Pro? Of course you can run any current library, including the EWQL pianos. I run them on a Mac mini. But you most definitely need a fast 7200 external drive (you can connect a FW800 drive to the MacBook Pro) dedicated to the libraries. And top up the RAM, in your case 4GB.

Mind though that EWQL behave differently when run standalone that when run as a plug in. As a plug in (I can only speak for Logic 8 though) it tends to consume more RAM and more CPU without apparent reason. Perhaps PLAY, the EWQL sample engine, needs some attention there from EWQL team.

Top
#665559 - 11/08/08 04:02 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
Michiyo-Fir Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 172
Maybe my ears are being strange but the EWQL Bosendorfer sounds almost exactly like my Bosendorfer Imperial at home while the Galaxy Bosendorfer sounds quite different. Just to make sure I actually brought my laptop and speakers to my Bosendorfer and played the demo, then played the actual piano to compare.

Is it possible for you to put up a nicely tweaked Galaxy II Bosendorfer so that I can compare? It could very much be the tweaking or possibly the piano that is sampled on is not as mellow as the one I own?

I was just wondering because on the EWQL website it says recommended CPU of 2.5 GHz processor with $ GB ram and I currently have a 2.2 GHz processor with 2 GB ram. That means I have to install more ram but I can't really do anything about the processor.
_________________________
Bosendorfer Imperial, Yamaha U3, Yamaha P140, Yamaha CP300

Top
#665560 - 11/08/08 07:44 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
wiser_guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Athens, Greece
I am not sure if the comparison you did is fair. You compared a recording (sample library) with an actual piano (of this size). It would be better to compare your piano recorded in some way with the sample library.

I am currently preparing a demo piece with all these mentioned Boesendorfers plus the same piece recorded with my own, real Boesendorfer. I will put it up in another thread (contributing to propianist's original idea and work):
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/6/5432.html

I think you will be fine with your processor speed. My Mac mini is just 2.0 GHz. They raise the recommended requirements to be safe and account for additional plug-ins or other extra load a user may deploy along side their library. You certainly will need all the RAM you can get though. 4 GB are ok with EWQL pianos, with 2 GB you'll be on the edge.

Top
#665561 - 11/08/08 08:06 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
Michiyo-Fir Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 172
I guess that is true, but the whole point of a good sample library is to sound like the real thing right? And I believe a recorded version of my actual piano sounds similar because I just went on youtube to find a few people using Bosendorfer pianos and even a simple camera mic recording sounds pleasant, most has a relatively similar mellow tone to mine. I just find it strange that the Galaxy II recording has a very harsh, bright, tinny sound.

I believe you have to hit the keys extremely hard on a Bosendorfer to get the metallic sound. It's very difficult to have that during normal play unless the song is FFF or something.

I'm waiting for your post to change my mind about Galaxy II!
_________________________
Bosendorfer Imperial, Yamaha U3, Yamaha P140, Yamaha CP300

Top
#665562 - 11/08/08 10:41 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by Michiyo-Fir:[/b]
I'm comparing all the Bosendorfer samples propianist put up (in the Rondo Alla Turca comparison test) and Galaxy II doesn't sound right at all. It sounds nothing like a Bosendorfer grand, at least not the one I have. Its tones are too harsh and bright, more like a mild Yamaha. Bosendorfers are more mellow and musical sounding. I think this is the worst Bosendorfer sample.
Similar with the Ivory one, it sounds a bit too bright as well but I guess it can be tweaked.
Vienna Symphonic Library's sounds too tinny in the treble, but the bass is quite good. The bass sounds a little more like a Steinway I think.
Quantum Leap Pianos' sample is the closest to the real thing. It has a nice mellow touch with some warmness and it's quite nice.
The EWQL Bosendorfer sounds almost exactly like my Bosendorfer Imperial at home while the Galaxy Bosendorfer sounds quite different. Just to make sure I actually brought my laptop and speakers to my Bosendorfer and played the demo, then played the actual piano to compare.
First you criticise Galaxy II Bosendorfer, recorded at the award-winning Hansahaus Studios in Germany using world-famous reference quality DPA microphones. You say it’s too harsh and bright.

Then you criticise Ivory (widely regarded as the best industry standard software piano) saying it’s too bright as well.

Then you criticise Vienna Symphonic Library Bosendorfer sample (which is officially authorised and endorsed by Bosendorfer themselves) saying that’s too bright (tinny in the treble) as well.

The only one you like is EWQL Bosendorfer (which in actual fact has a very dark sound - almost sounds like the mic was behind a curtain! The player perspective is about 6 feet away and the sound is quite coloured, with a lot of bass rumble in the 30Hz range.)

It seems very much to me like your monitoring speakers are too bright, and this is giving you the wrong impression maybe. I’m guessing that you’re using small nearfields (maybe Genelecs with metal dome tweeters?) that are quite bright and harsh themselves. When you said you brought your laptop and speakers to the piano, it sounds like they were quite small and easily portable. You didn’t mention a power amplifier or reference D/A converter – so I presume they are active two-way nearfields driven from your laptop soundcard?

I could not easily move my 4-way custom Dynaudio floorstanding speakers as they weigh over 70kg each and are about the size of a fridge! They have got deep bass extension to below 20Hz and they don’t sound harsh or bright when I listen to Ivory or Galaxy II, the sound is full and very realistic, but EWQL is definitely dark and coloured with a boomy rumble in the low LF range. Ivory and Galaxy don’t sound too bright over my various different headphones either.

 Quote:
Is it possible for you to put up a nicely tweaked Galaxy II Bosendorfer so that I can compare?
I thought I did put up a nicely tweaked patch?!
Well, you’re the lucky one who owns a real Bosendorfer Imperial (!) and has the laptop right next to it – why don’t you make a patch yourself?! - You probably have a much better chance to match the sound exactly than me, because I do not have any Bosendorfer at home to compare against. I have to trust my intuition, judgement and previous experience. Wiser_guy does however own a Bosendorfer, and I believe he’s told me he also thinks Galaxy II is the best of the current Bosendorfer samples he’s tried (including PMI which is also very good, but not including Ivory Bosendorfer which he doesn’t own yet.)

The further thought occurs, if you have a real one you’ll never, ever, ever be satisfied with the sound from a sample library played back through medium / small nearfields.
The EWQL library is also susceptible to various audible glitches in the audio output I have discovered, but I will write about that somewhere else.
If your 97 key 9 foot Bosendorfer Imperial concert grand is really very mellow sounding, that surprises me. How old is the piano? Is the lid fully up? Is the room heavily carpeted and soft-furnished? Do the felt hammers need resurfacing?

I’m not in any way disagreeing with what you hear and the conclusions you’ve drawn, nor your personal taste, etc. You are probably quite right, and you do have the real thing to compare it with. I notice you also own a Yamaha CP300 (and you call Galaxy “bright” !!!) which I have tried myself and thought was far too bright and zingy for my taste because Yamaha only sampled it at mf, f and ff, and have no p or pp samples at all! My Kawai MP8 is better voiced, but still not perfect either. Tweaking the velocity curve would be the easiest way to make my Galaxy II patches sound less bright, but I'm assuming people have already got their curves setup correctly from their controller keyboard - as it varies so much between different models. (If you need to audition different settings on Galaxy II but don't own it, you can try playing it online with realtime streaming audio at www.try-sound.com website.)

 Quote:
I'm waiting for your post to change my mind about Galaxy II!
You'll be waiting a while... because I have no other settings to post - I'll tweak any parameters occasionaly as and when I need, as I suspect everyone else would. If my favourite optimum settings sound too bright through your speakers to you, what do I gain by uploading anything different?
I'm not in any way connected to Best Service - if you don't purchase their product it makes no difference to me.
It doesn't matter to me whether you actually like Galaxy II or not.
I've just created critical comparison tests for my own edification and uploaded the files here because I feel there is legitimate widespread interest in this work, because so many pianists use MIDI keyboards and are always seeking the cutting edge technology for producing ever more realistic piano sounds.

Top
#665563 - 11/08/08 11:40 PM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
Michiyo-Fir Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 172
When I listened to it the first time I used my earphones which are Shure SE210 in-ear headphones. They're well known to be quite good you can check some reviews online if you'd like. It wasn't any cheap computer speakers. It gave me the opinion that the Bosendorfer sounds more similar to a Yamaha grand.

I brought my laptop over to my piano, I wanted to compare without earphones since my earphones are sound isolating so if I was wearing them, I can't actually hear my piano. I used a set of Bose speakers the Bose 901 speaker system. In my opinion they are good speakers for normal use (not professional use like amps) but very good for listening to music. But my results with my earphones and my speakers gave me a similar impression. But you're correct in that I used my laptop's soundcard. Maybe my ears are giving me a wrong impression since I've been playing with a very mellow setting on my CP300 for 3 or 4 hrs before listening to those recordings.

I can't really make a patch because I haven't bought the software yet. I'm trying to determine which software I think is the most realistic and I will purchase it, then I can do the tweaking. But I will mostly use the Steinway patch since I don't need the Bosendorfer. You're probably right that I most likely won't be satisfied with samples, I am probably being too critical.

My piano is not that old, only about 5 yearsish? during normal use for me and my family at least, it's quite mellow but I have a player piano installed and if I crank the volume setting to the max, it can make the piano sound a tad bright. And my room is not carpeted, I have wooden floorboards. The lid is open when I tested it as well. I assure you there's nothing wrong with my piano since I just had it tuned and maintained about 2 months ago.

When I say Galaxy is bright, I was comparing to the Bosendorfer I own, not the CP300 because that one is incredibly bright. But it's normal for a Yamaha. I like its harsh, metallic tones for some jazz and new age/pop songs. I almost never play classical on it because it sounds horrible.

I understand, but I just thought I would be more impressed with Galaxy II since there are so many good reviews and great comments about it. I almost don't want to believe what I hear so I was hoping someone could change my mind. I am in no way criticizing your settings either because you obviously use what sounds the most realistic to you. And thanks for posting all those demos, I really appreciate it. Since wiser_guy will put up some other demos I'll compare as well. It could possibly be that I have a extra mellow Bosendorfer? I remember there are one or two brighter ones when I was buying this piano.
_________________________
Bosendorfer Imperial, Yamaha U3, Yamaha P140, Yamaha CP300

Top
#665564 - 11/10/08 10:12 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
wiser_guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Athens, Greece
I don't know how your Boesendorfer sounds but I don't think it sounds a lot different than mine (3-years old). You may say that they voice their veneered instruments slightly different that the black ones but usually Boesendorfer are very consistent in tone.
Nevertheless, pianists may sometimes request a brighter or warmer voicing for their private piano or perhaps an instrument has deviated from factory settings due to weather, age etc.
You know how your piano sounds better than anyone and surely you know the kind of sound you are after when checking available piano libraries.

I would stand by propianist's suggestion to test piano libraries using high-quality headphones or monitors. Maybe you should consider a headphone amplifier too, to get similar SPL and feel with that of a real piano not just a recording.

Piano libraries, as I see it, target a certain group of people or a certain set of needs no matter what their creator's say. They can't make a piano. They just make a recording and as such, it can't be used for anything and let everyone be happy. There will always be people very satisfied with and people who dislike a specific library. And interestingly, the satisfied group is close to the library's concealed target.

For example, VSL Boesendorfer is obviously a great match for and pairs extremely well with VSL orchestral libraries. Obviously the instrument was voiced for big, concert things. You may not like this library and you may have not liked even the real instrument used for it, but if you need a large stage Boesendorfer for your orchestral projects, then this might be the one.

Galaxy on the other hand, clearly aimed at solo playing and studio work. The instrument sounds beautifully on its own but they have also provided controls to shape the sound for production purposes. In your case, the 'Warm' control (BTW it's a rather clever sample rearrange, not a low pass filter) may be able to give you the mellow tone you like.

EWQL Boesendorfer clearly has a Hollywood film score attitude. If you like it then go for it. I didn't buy EWQL for the Boesendorfer though. I liked it but the main great attraction and temptation was the Bechstein. Coloured maybe but a true Bechstein.

Lastly, don't underestimate the importance of playability. I mean, ok you got your new library which sounded exciting in demos and got great reviews. But can you play it? Does it feel right to you? Unfortunately there is no way to test playability. That's why creators accent the role of sound more which they can demonstrate well and tempt you with. You are left with the bitter disappointment after you find out that this highly praised virtual piano is good in demos only. I have been there several times.

Top
#665565 - 11/10/08 10:27 AM Re: EWQL Pianos vs. Galaxy II vs. Authorized Steinway
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 131
Loc: England
Hi Michiyo-Fir,

I've been thinking about this a bit more. You could double-check the way everything sounds by comparing it directly with your own Yamaha CP300 stage piano keyboard, because that instrument is also included in the “Rondo Alla Turca” comparison tests.

eg. Download the Rondo Alla Turca__ Yamaha CP300 GrandPiano1 .wav [/b] test track and compare the sound playing this WAV file through your Bose loudspeakers against the actual “live” sound produced by your Yamaha CP300, to ascertain whether your Bose speakers are giving you a faithful reproduction of the original source in the test tracks. Try and match the playback volumes to a realistic “piano” level. Too quiet and it will sound thin! (lacking bass), and too loud and it will sound over-bright and harsh / strident! You could even route the audio into the Yamaha’s AUX inputs to hear the test tracks played through the Yamaha’s built-in 30W stereo loudspeakers, which if your signal volume levels are uniform, should almost exactly recreate the experience of playing back Rondo Alla Turca__propianist.mid [/b] original MIDI file "live" via your own Yamaha CP300.
This can establish a trusted point of reference for you, using your equipment, so you can really believe if what you hear from the WAV test track is calibrated correctly (at least with the CP300 file) then it's equally well calibrated to represent the timbres of other pianos in this test.
Although the fidelity of Yamaha’s built-in speakers isn’t exactly perfect, the direct comparison between “live source” (MIDI file playing your keyboard) and WAV file playback through the instrument’s same built-in loudspeakers at matching volume, should give you very consistent listening conditions to hear the immediate differences between piano tones when you play files for Galaxy II, Ivory, EWQL, etc. In fact, hearing them through your CP300 speakers might give you a fair impression how it would feel if you were playing. Does this make sense?

I have also made a brand new special render today, using Galaxy II Bosendorfer with mellow soft settings, that I’ve adjusted to by softening the velocity curve, slightly reducing dynamic range (to avoid loudest fff notes), narrowed stereo width a little, reduced the “Colour” knob to bias towards the softer samples and switched from “Open” lid setting to “Half-closed” lid. (I tried “Closed” as well but that was very muffled, and I don’t think you would have liked it either.) The other parameters (string resonances / mechanical noises, etc.) are basically my personal user settings as before. I have added this WAV file into the Rondo Alla Turca WAV download list on this thread [/b] too.

Rondo Alla Turca__ Galaxy II Bosendorfer - mellow soft settings .wav
[/b]

Of course, Galaxy II can be adjusted to become even softer than this, or very much brighter as well.
(However, I don’t think it sounds realistic at these extremes!)

Top
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  Piano World 
What's Hot!!
8 Live Ragtime Piano Players on the Cape!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Help with my DGX-650
by Jtreimer
15 minutes 34 seconds ago
Piano tuning career prospects 2014
by Morrisos
40 minutes 49 seconds ago
Ack! My piano is diseased!
by TwoSnowflakes
Today at 06:34 PM
Painting Piano Keys
by imustlearn
Today at 06:00 PM
Kawai MP7: Damper controller - bug or feature?
by Banshee
Today at 05:37 PM
Who's Online
137 registered (accordeur, alfredo capurso, ahrensjt, 36251, 41 invisible), 1458 Guests and 13 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76599 Members
42 Forums
158390 Topics
2325806 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission