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Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
#1556392 11/12/10 05:49 PM
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hpeterh Offline OP
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Just a short report.
Installation of all 4 DVDs needed about 1 hour.
Update for the ILOK software was necessary, that needed another 1/2 hour.

Anything ok, it runs reasonably well from my internal harddisk.
I noticed 30% CPU usage on one CPU core only, the other cores where idle. This did not increase during playing.

Unfortunately it used the same core where my USB interface also produces 90% CPU usage spikes. So I used taskmanager and disabled this core for the Cantabile player. This removed the last spurious crackles.

So far the technical part.

I was not blown away by the sound.
To my ears this sounds like recorded in a anechoic chamber.
Very clean, but sterile clean.
Maybe this can be improved with the reverbs, but I did not yet try.

I think the velocity adjustment was not improved, but optically brushed up. Still no freeform curve. No display of incoming velocity values.
There is a new feature "silent key velocity". At first look, this works at low velocities as intended, but not at higher velocities.
Set it to 30 for example. No sound until velocity 30 is sent.
But with velocity 31 it sounds like velocity 31! It should sound with velocity 1 in this case! This is a primitive implementation in my eyes. A skilled programmer needs 10 minutes to invent and to implement it this way. Nothing big, especially as it already was possible to do this better in MIDIOX or Cantabile.

The string resonances are nice, but their volume is limited. Would wish a little bit more volume.

Ok apart from this it is the old Synthogy, works flawless and sounds flawless, but a little bit sterile.

Still find the noises and the dynamics adjustment not convincing. Nothing new here. OK, I know Galaxy has some bugs here, but none of these are showstoppers for me and I prefer the sound.

Ok, this was my first experience...

peter




Last edited by hpeterh; 11/13/10 09:08 AM.

1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556574 11/12/10 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by hpeterh
..
To my ears this sounds like recorded in a sound-dead chamber.
Very clean, but sterile clean.
Maybe this can be improved with the reverbs, but I did not yet try.


I think this is a feature, not a problem. Had they not recorded it "dry" then you not be able to use one of the very good new bread of convolution reverbs.

Wiki Convolution Reverb

Here is a widely used example of one of these
Waves IR-1

But if you are running Apple's software (logic) it comes with an IR reverb that really is good. Apple's is called "space designer". It lets you define surfaces and what texture is on the walls or just use IR recordings made in real places.

Point is that of late software reverb has become very good and I think they recorded like they did so you can take advantage of this technology.


That said I'm actually collecting parts to build a copy of a 1965 vintage Fender spring reverb. It is hard to beat a real vacuum tube driven analog device with a digital simulation.



Last edited by ChrisA; 11/13/10 12:05 AM.
Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556580 11/13/10 12:14 AM
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Yes, I am repeatedly amazed at the quality of the reverbs in very old recordings. Sometimes I'm probably hearing REAL reverb, but I suspect it's often a vintage reverb of some description.

Greg.

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
sullivang #1556631 11/13/10 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by sullivang
Yes, I am repeatedly amazed at the quality of the reverbs in very old recordings. Sometimes I'm probably hearing REAL reverb, but I suspect it's often a vintage reverb of some description.


there is a reason why studios that can afford it still have plate reverbs (the real thing, with large metal plates etc.) as much as technology advances it's still not quite 100% there in this area.

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556632 11/13/10 02:31 AM
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Yes, I know that dry sound is a feature for recording engineers.
However thats too dry for me.
BTW, I did not write "sound dead chamber" to blame it. In german the word is "schalltoter Raum" and I directly translated it. "Anechoic chamber" would be better, I think.

If I want to have a piano that sounds like a grandpiano directly sitting in front of my nose (that means no concert hall sound), just like the real thing, directly in my room then I add a little bit of plate reverb to the galaxy piano.
The plate reverb has a characteristic much like a piano body.
I like it this way, Galaxy is out of the box dry enough for my purposes.

Peter


1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556685 11/13/10 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by hpeterh
If I want to have a piano that sounds like a grandpiano directly sitting in front of my nose (that means no concert hall sound), just like the real thing, directly in my room then I add a little bit of plate reverb to the galaxy piano.
I'd like to add a little player's perspective reverb to Galaxy's Bosie. What are you using for plate reverb?

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556691 11/13/10 05:59 AM
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FogVilleLad,

I use the inbuilt plate reverb in VintageD. So far I know, Vienna and the other pianos have this same reverb module.
I have set "Predelay" to 0, "Send" to 10:30 (I use a clock to remember the knob position) and "Size" to 9:30.

I use the latest update 1.1.1. This might be important to know, because the reverb levels have changed a little bit during updates.

Best,

Peter


1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556692 11/13/10 06:28 AM
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OK back to the Italian.
I tried to get a soft touched tone in Italian grand.
I was not able to get it, same as the old version.

If I press the key as slowly as I can, then I get velocity 1 from my keyboard. I know that and can see it in MIDIOX. So playing around with velocity curves cannot improve anything in this case.

Even if I choose the softest sample set, the softest touch sounds rather hard, like a keyboard that cannot produce low velocities.
Its also a bit loud at velocity 1 but that can be influenced with the dynamics adjustment. But this doesnt change the somewhat hard tonal character of the softest tone.

Last edited by hpeterh; 11/13/10 06:52 AM.

1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556697 11/13/10 07:15 AM
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Peter,
I hear some very mellow soft playing in the second official demo:
http://www.synthogy.com/demo/v2/Rolling_Thundering441.mp3

Are you achieving that kind of sound?

Greg.

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
sullivang #1556699 11/13/10 07:32 AM
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Greg,

Yes of course. My test was more of a technical nature.
Of course it can play beautiful and soft but I dont think softer than this example.
If it is played softer, the volume decreases, but the timbre color and the attack hardness remains unchanged.

I tested the softest tone that I get at velocity 1. This has of course very low volume and does rarely occur in normal music.

It does, in my Opinion, not produce this very softest tone that a Grand can produce. I think even Galaxy cannot really do it, but it does it better, and if required I could layer a soft adjustment and a hard adjustment with different curves to achieve that.

The absolute winner for this particular test would probably be the imperfect samples Fazioli. (I dont have it and dont intend to get it just for testing purposes ;-)

Peter

P.S.
Compare it to that:
http://www.thebadroom.de/galaxypianos/mp3/vintaged/vd_crs_MendelssohnRondoCapricciossoOp14.mp3

Last edited by hpeterh; 11/13/10 09:11 AM.

1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556722 11/13/10 09:02 AM
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I think the piano used for the internal sounds of the Kawai MP series was recorded in an anechoic chamber. People complain about the sterile, dry sound that this type of sample produces but it is perfect for making recordings as the engineer has total control over the final tone of the piano.

It's a fine line that library manufacturers have to walk. Most customers expect fully engineered tone right out of the box; install the software and sound like George Winston in minutes. But in doing this, they lose the flexibility of their product to be used in any type of setting.

My ONLY problem with the Synthogy libraries is the in-the-face quality of the recordings. I prefer what it typically referred to as the "close" or "stage side" perspective and Synthogy lacks this. You can't take their sound and apply studio magic (delay, reverb) to make it sound further away because all you end up with is the sound of a closely mic'd piano pushed back from the listening position. This perspective was done quite nicely in the Vienna and the Garritan libraries.

I record my performances using the "player" perspective because this is what I would hear when recording on an acoustic piano. When I do final edits and prepare the final master, I switch to the "stage side" perspective. This gives me the sound that I enjoy as a listener.

Curt

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556755 11/13/10 10:25 AM
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Yes that clean dry sound is great for engineers and artists because they can add as much or as little ambience to the sound as desired. Once it's baked in though, it's like trying to take the flour out of a freshly baked cookie.

I can get that clean dry sound in Ivory II as well, but I normally use one of the preset sounds with some ambience applied.

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556763 11/13/10 10:46 AM
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Now, the guys at Galaxy and Badroom Studios are recording professionals they do larger commercial productions.

I feel they found the right compromise between totally dry and ambience.
This MP3 that I posted above has a lot of concert hall reverb added, this is of course not in the samples.

Anyway, for me it does not matter. I dont mix singers and other instruments its a solo-home piano only for me.

It is clear on the other side, if samples for a conventional DP are recorded then these must be heavily postprocessed, splittet into components, looped and compressed. In this case only absolute dry samples are wanted.

On the other side synthogys modelling of the piano mechanism is far more perfect.
But I think their samples are too dry.

Maybe the experiences of these former Kurzweil engineers becomes audible there....

Last edited by hpeterh; 11/13/10 11:53 AM.

1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556814 11/13/10 12:16 PM
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I got Italian several days ago. I played it for about 5 minutes and gave up. I don't think I will ever play it again (and can't resell it :().

I agree with Peter's observations. The sound is very hollow and lacking character. But most importantly -- and damnit I feel like I'm a talking parrot on this point -- I simply cannot be expressive at ppp-pp range. At the lightest touch, it sounds like I am absolutely drilling the key. I can adjust the dynamics knob, but this lowers the volume of the sample at low velocities, and doesn't change the timbre.

Granted I have never played a Fazioli, but I have a hard time believing it sounds like this at the lightest possible touch (confirmed MIDI velocity 1).

Sigh.

I also recently got Galaxy Pianos Vintage D. Now this piano is much more expressive, and the sample quality is very good (as opposed to Synthogy's scratchy, dubious recording of its German D). I can actually play delicate passages, well, delicately. But the engine is flaky, and clicks and pops and notes drop out regularly for no reason (I am nowhere near pegging CPU). Galaxy's engine also lacks the interpolation trickery that Ivory does to blend the timbre between layers, so layer transitions are unfortunately noticeable.

Double sigh.

What I want is Vintage D's sound and dynamics with Synthogy's engine, which is solid and very playable.

Last edited by Tack; 11/13/10 12:28 PM.
Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
Tack #1556836 11/13/10 01:22 PM
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Tack,

I dont have any crackles with Kontakt (Galaxy) on my new PC.
I had crackles with my Laptop when the amount of used voices went over 50.

But I had even with my new PC to disable AMD's Cooln Quiet feature. This doesnt make the Computer louder but power consumption is 15 Watts more.
(Turbo Core and Turbo Boost are similar features on other computers that should be disabled)

Also a high performance power scheme must be used. This was not necessary with Synthogy.

Kontakt has less average CPU usage than Synthogy but peak usage is much higher. This is when the crackles occur.

Also Kontakt does apparently more random access on the disk. It is therefore important that the sample files are unfragmented and grouped near together om the disk surface, because at each keystroke upto 5 files can be accessed.

Kontakt(player) is not a product of Galaxy. It is a generic sampler software made by Native Instruments. The Galaxy people dont write Kontakt they only licensed the player and record samples and write scripts that drive the instrument. The scripts are compiled or interpreted by Kontakt Player.

Last edited by hpeterh; 11/13/10 01:39 PM.

1929 Galaxy Blüthner Baby Grand
acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6

Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
Tack #1556861 11/13/10 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tack
I got Italian several days ago. I played it for about 5 minutes and gave up. I don't think I will ever play it again (and can't resell it :().

I agree with Peter's observations. The sound is very hollow and lacking character. But most importantly -- and damnit I feel like I'm a talking parrot on this point -- I simply cannot be expressive at ppp-pp range. At the lightest touch, it sounds like I am absolutely drilling the key. I can adjust the dynamics knob, but this lowers the volume of the sample at low velocities, and doesn't change the timbre.

Granted I have never played a Fazioli, but I have a hard time believing it sounds like this at the lightest possible touch (confirmed MIDI velocity 1).


Tack, I own Synthogy Ivory Grand Pianos 1.5, and I've found that increasing the minimum velocity setting softens the timbre of the ppp-pp range. Then adjust other settings accordingly, like increasing dynamic range, or the touch settings on your keyboard. Maybe this tip will work for the Fazioli...





Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1556895 11/13/10 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by hpeterh
FogVilleLad,

I use the inbuilt plate reverb in VintageD. So far I know, Vienna and the other pianos have this same reverb module.
I have set "Predelay" to 0, "Send" to 10:30 (I use a clock to remember the knob position) and "Size" to 9:30.
Thanks for that info. I'll look at my settings.

DavidH


Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
hpeterh #1560595 11/19/10 07:53 AM
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Got it also and have to agree, BUT:

In fact the Fazioli (Italian Grand II) shows strange behavior at low velocity end (pp and ppp). At some quiet point the sounds of una corda and full sound sound the same and playing very quiet is still a bit dynamic. I am playing real Bösendorfer and Yamaha C7 but not Fazioli, but I can't imaging that worlds best Piano can't reproduce ppp :-)

Also I found out that the DSP engine itself behaves strange: Somethimes it works and produces a great reverb at the next moment the reverb is gone...

On the other hand the samples at ff and fff range are very rice and at all all samples are VERY clean and precise, way more as the Yamaha C7, and this IS something.

In my opinion compared to all my Galaxy II instruments, ALL Ivory II need a GOOD bit of DSP (concert hall with 10% to 15% wet intermix) to sound comparable > just my taste.

Alexander

Last edited by Galuwen; 11/19/10 07:54 AM.
Re: Got Synthogy II Italian Grand today
Tack #1560688 11/19/10 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Tack
I got Italian several days ago. I played it for about 5 minutes and gave up. I don't think I will ever play it again (and can't resell it :().

I agree with Peter's observations. The sound is very hollow and lacking character. But most importantly -- and damnit I feel like I'm a talking parrot on this point -- I simply cannot be expressive at ppp-pp range. At the lightest touch, it sounds like I am absolutely drilling the key. I can adjust the dynamics knob, but this lowers the volume of the sample at low velocities, and doesn't change the timbre.

Granted I have never played a Fazioli, but I have a hard time believing it sounds like this at the lightest possible touch (confirmed MIDI velocity 1).

Sigh.

I also recently got Galaxy Pianos Vintage D. Now this piano is much more expressive, and the sample quality is very good (as opposed to Synthogy's scratchy, dubious recording of its German D). I can actually play delicate passages, well, delicately. But the engine is flaky, and clicks and pops and notes drop out regularly for no reason (I am nowhere near pegging CPU). Galaxy's engine also lacks the interpolation trickery that Ivory does to blend the timbre between layers, so layer transitions are unfortunately noticeable.

Double sigh.

What I want is Vintage D's sound and dynamics with Synthogy's engine, which is solid and very playable.


I've got Ivory II grands (I mostly play the Bosendorfer) and was very disappointed out of the box with the ppp and pp. As another poster mentioned, start with the dynamic range. I read somewhere (Pianoteq's website maybe?) that an acoustic piano's dynamic range should be about 0 to 65. IIRC, Ivory II was set at about 30 out of the box. Once I maxed out the dynamic range, messed with the keyboard velocity and a few other settings, I am pleased with the sound. I can look tonight when I get home if you want more info.






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