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Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: feeble] #1364837
02/03/10 01:30 PM
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Quote
However, just about all new PCs (Macs included, ChrisA will correct me if I'm wrong) are 64-bit capable and are available with 64-bit Windows.


Actually not. Most PCs sold today are at the very low end. The sub $400 market segment accounts for most of the unit sales. Some of these are even using Intel's Atom CPU.
These PCs would be a poor choice for music production.

But any PC with an Intel Dual Core or better CPU should be OK. And as said, there are no low-spec'd Macs so even the $599 Mac Mini would work fine.

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Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: ChrisA] #1364895
02/03/10 02:46 PM
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Cashley, a 64bit version of Windows XP does exist.

When Vista was introduced, there were posts on the Northern Sounds forum re problems when using Vista with music applications. I don't know the situation with Windows 7, but if I were considering a software piano which works best/only with a 64bit operating system (OS) and the OS were Windows, I'd be strongly inclined to start a new thread re that.

Also, there are some professional sound producers and a fair number of wannabees who post on Northern Sounds.

(I can't help on this one; still using Win XP Pro 32bit;-))



Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: FogVilleLad] #1364903
02/03/10 02:58 PM
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We use Win XP 64-bit at work on many of our workstations (typing on it right now). If you decide to go with this OS, make sure drivers are available for all of your hardware. 64 bit didn't start to get well supported until Vista, IME.

Last edited by feeble; 02/03/10 03:01 PM.

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Studiologic SL-990xp | Ivory II Grands | Pianoteq | Alicia's Keys
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: hv] #1365319
02/04/10 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by hv
Glenn NK indicated Pianoteq might do this with 88 virtual equalizers, each centered on the harmonics of each string. The tough part being figuring out how to set all those sliders. I suppose a piano tech might measure each string with the real-time analyzer (rta) used for tuning, noting the harmonics levels for each string. Don't know if that would really work... measuring and setting just the harmonic levels might not be enough. There's lots of other frequencies between the harmonics.


Jake Johnson (on the Pianoteq forum) came up with a Steinway emulation. He spent some considerable time, but it is one of the "pianos" I use in Pianoteq.

Glenn

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Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Glenn NK] #1365401
02/04/10 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Glenn NK

Jake Johnson (on the Pianoteq forum) came up with a Steinway emulation. He spent some considerable time, but it is one of the "pianos" I use in Pianoteq.

Glenn


Glenn, I wanted to try it out but couldn't figure out which one was the "finished" version. Lots of revisions to choose from.

Thanks!


Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi

Studiologic SL-990xp | Ivory II Grands | Pianoteq | Alicia's Keys
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: feeble] #1365500
02/04/10 10:57 AM
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Once again, many thanks to ChrisA, FogVilleLad and Feeble for widening my horizon.

I did some window shopping just now, armed with my limited computer knowledge.

There were 3 brands: ASUS, ACER and HP.

I set my perimeters as follows:

CPU - 2.5 GHz or above
Windows - 64 bit
Hard Disk speed - 7200 rpm
RAM - 4 GB

I had Garritan at the back of my mind when setting the perimeters. Then a salesman posed a question to me. According to him, a software designed for 32-bit Windows will not be able to run on 64-bit Windows.

That is to say, if I get a 64-bit Windows and if I manage to get Garritan up and going, I may not be able to run other VSTs that are designed to run on 32-bit Windows.

Another issue is cost. Alden Skinner in his book suggested a HDD speed of 7200 rpm. But most of these are costly. If I could 'downgrade' to 5400 rpm, there would be significant savings.

I had Pianoteq in mind when setting 7200 rpm because according to Alden Skinner's book, Pianoteq is a real-time software and I would need fast processor and hard disk speed.

I'm trying to find a compromise somewhere.



Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1365508
02/04/10 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Cashley

I had Pianoteq in mind when setting 7200 rpm because according to Alden Skinner's book, Pianoteq is a real-time software and I would need fast processor and hard disk speed.

I'm trying to find a compromise somewhere.


What is your budget for the entire system hardware and software?

I don't think Pianoteq needs a fast disk. But we don't have to guess I can measure the rate at which data are moving from the disk as I run different software. Same for RAM and CPU usage. All this can be measured.

Again, what is the most you want to spend on the complete package.

Last edited by ChrisA; 02/04/10 11:11 AM.
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: feeble] #1365514
02/04/10 11:16 AM
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Been running XP64 for more than 5 years now. It's the XP Professional build of Win2003 x64 Server. At first, very few hardware devices had 64-bit drivers available. Tascam and RME were among the 1st for audio. But that's becoming less of an issue as more folks lay their hands on 64-bit Vista and Win7. Most all 32-bit application software seems to run on 64-bit Windows. The few exceptions I've run into are GigaStudio 3, Canon Console 2, and Borland BDE.

Originally Posted by Cashley

Does anyone know what is meant by '64 bit Windows only' ?


That's a quote from the Garritan site. I think he's trying to say his software runs on both 32-bit Macs and PCs, 64-bit Windows, but not under 64-bit MacOS's. You can double check with Gary himself on the Northern Sounds site but I can confirm that I've run his stuff on 32-bit windows laptops without any problems... I use his JABB package allot for brass mockups.

Howard

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: ChrisA] #1365524
02/04/10 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisA


I don't think Pianoteq needs a fast disk.


Agreed. I'm running it on a fairly slow (but silent) 1st gen SSD. As small as the program is (compared to a sample based piano), the entire thing fits in RAM.



Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi

Studiologic SL-990xp | Ivory II Grands | Pianoteq | Alicia's Keys
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: ChrisA] #1365526
02/04/10 11:29 AM
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Thank you, ChrisA.

I wouldn't set a budget for software as they're variables, and as I become more skilled in the application part, I'll increase my collection. But Garritan is a top priority because it's 'authorized' Steinway. I wouldn't want to get into any copyrights disputes with the local Steinway & Sons acoustic piano dealers for promoting or selling their 'timbre'.

As for hardware, just the PC alone I'm targeting somewhere in the range of US$900. I've to consider my prospective audience as well; otherwise I would have gone straight for a Mac Pro.

As for the controller, you may have guessed from my participation in other threads. I'm secretly admiring Korg SP170, as it's sleek looking.


Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: hv] #1365527
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Cashley,

Don't get too wrapped up in the 32-bit vs 64-bit with regards to th Garritan Steinway. Like hv just said, the piano runs fine on a 32-bit system. I've been using the Pro version for some time now and my computer is anything but cutting-edge technology (AMD Athlon 64 3200+ with 2 GIG RAM). The piano runs great on my system but mostly because I stream the actual piano sample files off of a separate hard drive.

Here's another version of the Garritan Steinway specs taken from the Garritan Wiki:

MAC OS X 10.4; Windows XP/Vista (both 32 and 64 bits)
2.8 Ghz CPU Pentium 4 or better (PC)
2.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo or better (Mac)
2 GB RAM Recommended
DVD ROM drive required for installation
Hard drive speed of at least 7200 RPM
Professional Edition: 45GB of free hard drive space for 16 bit; 67GB for 24 bit
Standard Edition: 16 GB of free hard drive space
Monitor with 1,024x768 resolution or better
A sound card compatible with ASIO (PC) or Core Audio (Mac)
A MIDI interface if you are using a MIDI keyboard (88-key full-sized MIDI keyboard recommended). Some keyboards use USB.
High quality speakers and amplifier, or high quality headphones

Here's the direct link:
http://www.garritan.info/index.php/Authorized_Steinway_Virtual_Concert_Grand_System_Requirements


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Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1365529
02/04/10 11:34 AM
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Cashley: If you don't mind me asking (I may have missed this somewhere), what are you doing? In some ways it sounds like you are building something for yourself, in others, it sounds like you might be building something to sell to others.

Just curious.

Thanks!

Last edited by feeble; 02/04/10 11:35 AM.

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Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1365542
02/04/10 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Cashley
Thank you, ChrisA.

I wouldn't set a budget for software as they're variables, and as I become more skilled in the application part, I'll increase my collection. But Garritan is a top priority because it's 'authorized' Steinway. I wouldn't want to get into any copyrights disputes with the local Steinway & Sons acoustic piano dealers for promoting or selling their 'timbre'.

As for hardware, just the PC alone I'm targeting somewhere in the range of US$900. I've to consider my prospective audience as well; otherwise I would have gone straight for a Mac Pro.

As for the controller, you may have guessed from my participation in other threads. I'm secretly admiring Korg SP170, as it's sleek looking.



Don't worry about that "authorized". It is complete bunk. Could you imagine how it would be if Steinway or Yamaha could prohibit you from using their sound in a recording? There are some things you simply can't copyright, like the alphabet or the shape of a brick. There are dozens of examples of sampled Steinway on the market.

I still don't understand what it is you are doing. For $900 the obvious solution would be a Mac Mini and you'd have $300 left over. But you want to assemble a PC just to prove to your "audience" that a PC can work.

Is this for a lecture or classroom demo a training video?

An interesting market statistic just came out. I'd say "astonishing". If you look at number of computers sold and divide them into two groups (1) under $1K and (2) over $1K. Apple has a 90% market share in the second group. They basically "own" the high end. But at the same time they only sell just under 10% of the computers. What this means here is that your $900 custom built PC will appear as an "Exotic" speciality computer to most PC buyers. Those numbers tell us that the vast bulk of PCs are "way cheap" sub $500 units sold at Walmart or Best Buy.

A $900 custom built music PC will have the same effect as using a Mac. In the eyes of many people both are an exotic and expensive machine that are out of reach to the average person. To make a "statement" (that anyone can do this) you would have to go to Walmart and buy a $395 eMachine.

Last edited by ChrisA; 02/04/10 12:23 PM.
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: setchman] #1365554
02/04/10 12:44 PM
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Thanks, setchman.

If I may ask, how fast is your hard disk speed ?

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: feeble] #1365561
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It's kind of both. I want to learn how to fiddle with VSTs; it's something that interests me even without any prospect of income. But at the same time, I hope to spread this culture among piano players. I'm one of those who feel that acoustic uprights are a waste of money, and that DPs deserve more respect than they ever received.

Last edited by Cashley; 02/04/10 01:01 PM.
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: ChrisA] #1365570
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Thanks, ChrisA.

You are very correct. If I'm going to spend $900 on a PC, it's going to be some PC that is beyond the budget of most PC users.

I do have an iMac, though it's kind of difficult to carry it around. But if I'm going to carry my stuff around for demo purposes, there isn't really much of a difference between a laptop and a desktop. I would still need to carry a keyboard.

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1365587
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Originally Posted by Cashley
I would still need to carry a keyboard.



Sure would be nice if someone would build a mini-itx PC or Mac-Mini (just for you ChrisA!) into a nice (however you want to define that) keyboard.



Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi

Studiologic SL-990xp | Ivory II Grands | Pianoteq | Alicia's Keys
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1365589
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The drives that I have all of my samples installed on are dual 7200RPM SATA drives that I have set up as a RAID drive.

The whole idea behind this setup started when I first purchased Ivory, shortly after it was first released. I was not able to get the performance I wanted by installing it on my primary hard drive so I just followed the advice on Synthogy's website. It applies to any virtual instrument that is disk-intensive, i.e. large, sampled instruments like pianos.

http://synthogy.com/support/tips.html#disk

For my system, having a fast hard drive has really compensated a lot for the fact that I don't have a powerful CPU with a lot of RAM. The trade-off, which really doesn't apply for our discussion here, is that I can't load a bunch of instruments simultaneously and then add a bunch of effects. My computer just can't process too much at once, but for a single instrument or maybe a few tracks with just a few effects loaded, I can run most of the sampled piano out there.

I'm not sure that a RAID setup would be necessary with the improvements in CPU and RAM speed. As long as your samples are loaded on a separate 7200RPM hard drive you should be able to get Garritan Steinway to work well.


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Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1365662
02/04/10 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Cashley
But Garritan is a top priority because it's 'authorized' Steinway. I wouldn't want to get into any copyrights disputes with the local Steinway & Sons acoustic piano dealers for promoting or selling their 'timbre'.
If you're thinking about constructing your own software piano, that's a difficult job. Sampling is its own skill. For some sound producers, Steinway's engineer, who had long experience with recording piano performances but no experience with sampling, didn't get it right. Too much ambient hiss.

BTW Garritan is currently doing a Steinway B. That piano is being sampled in the exceptionally quiet recording studio at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. (proaudiovault's company-authorized Bluthner Model One was sampled there.) One of the techs who posts on PW is the tech for that project. Can't think of his name at the moment.

The "authorized" can be finessed. If you want the timbre which is so familiar, you could do what Roland does: construct an amalgam which, tho unique, has a strong Steinway component. But again, this is its own skill and there's a lot of tough competition.



Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: FogVilleLad] #1365728
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Don't have the Garritan Steinway myself but used East/West's for years. It has a very nice upper end. My fav however is Sampletekk's Black Grand which is a sampled Hamburg Steinway D.

http://www.sampletekk.com/bgresource.php

... but I think you need to download the free Kontakt-4 player from NI to play this library; I don't think they supply it with a built-in player like Garritan does.

Howard

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: hv] #1365792
02/04/10 06:59 PM
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The full version of Kontakt is required to play the Black Grand. This issue was discussed recently in the Northern Sounds forum here: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69693

Greg.



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Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: sullivang] #1365809
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Originally Posted by sullivang
The full version of Kontakt is required to play the Black Grand.


Sampletekk needs to put this notice on their web site. Actually I would never buy a library in any encrypted format.

But they do offer "Black Grand" and all their work in format other than NI's Kontakt. The "Giga" format is well supported (or it will be as Garritan has bought Giga)
and Sampletekk offers samples in EXS24 too so that should cover everyone.

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: FogVilleLad] #1366025
02/05/10 12:15 AM
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Thanks, FogVilleLad. Maybe I wasn't very clear when I spoke. No, there is not a chance that I'm going to construct my own software piano. These things are best left to the experts. I would be happy enough if I could fiddle with available software. wink

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1366054
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Ok, understood.

Re the fiddling, hv's posts re convolution are tough slugging for technoignoramuses. I've heard that aspect of sampling in action but still can't completely understand what he's saying. Since you seem to be willing to continue to expand your knowledge, I'm going to suggest a way to *experience* that aspect. (This is how I have to do it;-))

One of the developers of proaudiovault's company authorized Bluthner Model One is an expert in this area. One of the distinctive characteristics of this piano is that it is actually intended to be used with convolution. To experience convolution, click on the DEMOS button on proaudiovault's site. In the left pane, click on "Classical." Scroll down to "Here is the BDMO out of the box with no processing" and click on the link. This piano was exceptionally close miq'd in an exceptionally quiet recording studio. The tone will be exceptionally percussive.

Now scroll down to the para immediately below. "The aria but with Custom TI no. 6. (custom section). The BDMO timbre has been adjusted so it sounds like an 1863 Blüthner owned by Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. (Los Angeles). Serge Kasimoff is at the piano." and click the "Play demo" link. What you're hearing is the same raw samples you just listened to, but with timbre and tones transformed by impulses. (That "TI" which I bolded stands for Timbrel Impulse.)

If this whets your appetite, scroll up and click on "Jazz." Under Demos - Jazz, scroll down to the last para, "The song Skylark with a larger dynamic range 65% dynamic range patch,* reverb impulse number 13 at -5db and sustain impulse number 6 with the original Blüthner piano sound (no Ti used) and click 'Plan [sic.] demo.'" This is how the Bluthner Model One might sound when played at home. Again, same samples as the Aria, but modified differently.

The developers include examples of modifications which can transform the Model One's basic timbre and make it sound like other makes of piano. To my ears these impulses are much less successful. Your ears may very well vary.

* Another way to express the "65% dynamic range" is to say that these samples use 35% compression. Compression makes the samples sound more full, but reduces dynamic, i.e., volume, range. Forty-five percent would probably be used in a mix.








Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: FogVilleLad] #1366238
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I have an old full Kontakt2 that I play Sampletekk libs with. I see they've beat up on the K4 player over on vi too:
http://vi-control.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14627
Probably best to clarify directly with Sampletekk.

Sorry about going so far out on the IR/convolution thing. Suffice it to say its exciting stuff that seems to combine elements of sampling and physical modeling to emulate just about anything. Be it whole pianos or their materials or parts. Even different microphones, other gear, and physical spaces. I mentioned Altiverb software earlier but my fav on the PC is Pristine Spaces... if you want to get into VST effects and processing, you should check out their web site (Voxengo); they have a large number of free plug-ins there.

Howard

Last edited by hv; 02/05/10 12:40 PM.
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: hv] #1366428
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Howard, your presentation was fine. The problem is that some of us are not sufficiently technically oriented. So we - I at least - have to back into understanding technical subjects by starting with the finished product. That's not saying anything bad about either perspective, it's just a matter of acknowledging that different people will have different skills.

In a way, this is no different than the conversations which piano techs have with their clients. On the acoustic forum you can sometimes see posts from techs re the necessity of their learning what their clients' words actually mean. For example, one person's "mellow" may be another's "dull." This is just an example of technical and non-techinical people having to learn to communicate with each other.

No biggie, and certainly not a reason to not present material from the point of view of someone who actually understands it;-)

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: FogVilleLad] #1368316
02/07/10 11:42 PM
02/07/10 11:42 PM
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Cashley Offline OP
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Cashley  Offline OP
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Thanks, FogVilleLad. It's a tad too technical for me at the moment. I really need to gain mileage on getting my hands on the few VSTs first.

The lapse in reply is because I was up in the air. Just arrived in Bangkok 2 days ago, and the Internet was down.

I managed to do some shopping in Bangkok, and the 13" Macbook caught my eyes. Going at 37K baht, which is about USD1,120. The speed of the processor is about 2.2 GHz, but the speed of HDD is 5400. Maybe ChrisA can advise on this? Must the speed of HDD really be at 7200 as suggested by Alden Skinner ?

As for my current iMac, which remains in Bangkok (and I will have to try means to get it on board a plane), the specs are as follows:

Model Name: iMac
Model Identifier: iMac7,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 4 MB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 800 MHz
Boot ROM Version: IM71.007A.B03
SMC Version (system): 1.20f4

Nothing mentioned about the HDD speed though.

Last edited by Cashley; 02/08/10 12:10 AM.
Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1368371
02/08/10 01:26 AM
02/08/10 01:26 AM
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Redondo Beach, California
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ChrisA Offline
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ChrisA  Offline
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Apple's everyday list price here in the US is $999 for the 13" macbook or $1199 for the13" Macbook Pro. Which one can you get for $1120?

The MBP has some extras that might be worth the extra $200
Max RAM goes to 8GB rather than 4GB
Firewire 800 port
Optical audio input and output. rather than just output only
Aluminum "unibody" construction.


The RPM on the disk is a compromise for battery life, heat and acoustic noise. I think the new drives have the bits packed very dense. What determines the data rate is the arial bits density times the tangental velocity of the disk platter. Bit densities have become very high making even a 5400 rpm drive fast. If you get the MBP it has a FW800 port which allows you to connect a very fast desktop class external disk.

For audio recording the data rates are very low. For video editing, get the external FW800 disk.

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: ChrisA] #1368382
02/08/10 02:43 AM
02/08/10 02:43 AM
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Cashley Offline OP
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Cashley  Offline OP
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Thanks, ChrisA.

$1,120 is the price of 13" Mac Book, not the Pro model. Pro is going at 50K baht, which is $1,515.

What is the purpose of optical input, if I may ask ?

Re: Steinway-like Digital Pianos ? [Re: Cashley] #1368595
02/08/10 12:05 PM
02/08/10 12:05 PM
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ChrisA Offline
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ChrisA  Offline
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Originally Posted by Cashley
Thanks, ChrisA.

$1,120 is the price of 13" Mac Book, not the Pro model. Pro is going at 50K baht, which is $1,515.

What is the purpose of optical input, if I may ask ?


Maybe you'd like to record something that has an optical output. I think the Roland v-paino has an optical out. Many CD players and digital tape recorders have optical outputs. As do most flat panel TV sets.

Optical fiber output is more important because people use that to drive a 5.1 surround sound speaker system.

I guess the price of the MB must include some kind of local tax. Apple's list price is $999.


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