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#2269120 - 04/30/14 01:33 PM Digital pianos samples sound memory size  
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kapelli Offline
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Does an of you know, and is able to share, how big are samples in modern digital pianos? Both the cheap ones and the expensive ones. The memory is incredibly cheap since few good years, but were they able to give th better sound?

And - why we have to play on independent piano sound suppliers, if we are buying piano for 3000. $, but still the sampled one for 150 bucks sounds like a milion dollars better?
Or even in the pianos for 1500... The sound... Especially highs... And then basses... Really often sound cheap... So why the product is made worse on purpose?
Just to show that they are still far from real thing?

But the main topic is memory size, of course for the main piano sound, as the rest for us is second consideration, especially given cheap pianos and console pianos.

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#2269152 - 04/30/14 03:00 PM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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Digitalguy Offline
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I know for my Kross, 112MB, never managed to know for the Supernatural of my Roland. I also know for my 20 year old workstation (GEM WX2): 6MB (amazing how all those sounds, some very good can fit in 6MB, only 32 notes polyphony though...). And if you take the Krome 61 (999 vs 666 for the Kross), it has 3.8GB I think.
So clearly there is not direct relationship between cost of hardware and sample size in DPs. You could probably put the top of the line sample in the entry level DPs in many cases, but that would not make economic sense for some companies. So when you buy a better hardware they will generally put in a better sample as well.... However, just for piano, Roland sells Supernatural Concert Grand in F-20 (or RD64) and in HP508 (or at least very similar versions of SN) and, for instance, the main grand piano in the Krome is identical to that of the (much more expensive) Kronos (but without all the sound editing options...). So, at least for acoustic piano (and not considering speakers and editing options) you can find very good piano sounds in relatively cheap models.


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#2269492 - 05/01/14 07:25 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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Kawai CA93 has 128 MB of wave flash ROM, spread over 80 voices. The latest HI-XL claims to have attack samples extended by "up to 120%", so I would guess the CA95 and MP11 have 256 MB but I don't know.

Roland's SuperNatural probably isn't very big because the sustain is modelled. The PianoTeq download is 26 MB including all code, graphics etc, because it is entirely modelled and doesn't have any samples at all.

I agree though, they should contain more memory, and allow custom pianos to be uploaded. 32 GB flash memory (on microSD, 250 times that of the CA93) is currently £11.49 on Amazon UK, and that's plenty to contain several high quality software pianos.

Hardware manufacturers should provide specifications and allow 3rd parties to prepare sample sets that can be uploaded into their ROM. I will give huge kudos to the first home piano maker to provide this facility. It might even incentivise me to upgrade. smile I guess the reason they don't is because it will show up the relative poor quality of their own sounds.


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#2269522 - 05/01/14 08:20 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: lolatu]  
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kapelli Offline
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Originally Posted by lolatu
Kawai CA93 has 128 MB of wave flash ROM, spread over 80 voices. The latest HI-XL claims to have attack samples extended by "up to 120%", so I would guess the CA95 and MP11 have 256 MB but I don't know.

Roland's SuperNatural probably isn't very big because the sustain is modelled. The PianoTeq download is 26 MB including all code, graphics etc, because it is entirely modelled and doesn't have any samples at all.

I agree though, they should contain more memory, and allow custom pianos to be uploaded. 32 GB flash memory (on microSD, 250 times that of the CA93) is currently £11.49 on Amazon UK, and that's plenty to contain several high quality software pianos.

Hardware manufacturers should provide specifications and allow 3rd parties to prepare sample sets that can be uploaded into their ROM. I will give huge kudos to the first home piano maker to provide this facility. It might even incentivise me to upgrade. smile I guess the reason they don't is because it will show up the relative poor quality of their own sounds.


WHAT???
128MB in CA93 for all voices???
256 in CA95??
It's a pure shame.
The spend dozens of hours to do the samples, milions on marketing, and, then, in the state-of-the art piano (in it's range) all you get is a compressed MP3 of doubted quaility...

And, this is the answear why the pianos are lacking so much of reality. The first thing - very low highs. Sorry, the sopranos needs to take much of memory to sound good, but I've never heard a DP (played everything up to CA95 price) which sounded not briliant, but just acceptably good.

The one exception here is Roland, where they can have a bit less memory, due to the SN modelling engine.

Sorry, I am spechless. ANd I was wondering why the highs on CA95 sound like coverd by a blanket...
In all Yamahas pianos they are just so damaged, that they are unacceptable to hear.

Kawai James, can you confirm this?
This is making idiots of us, the clients.
You know, what is the point of spending hours making perfect samples, and then, destroy by using one knob on computer and tell the clients, that this is new level of sound reality, while some 20$ ipad piano app sounds much better...
(It's not personal James, but I am very unhappy because of this and there is no one from Kawai to whom I can address it, but you can push it higher)

Sorry, why if I have to play on really good sounding piano, I have to buy or the external supplier thing, or each day me sad, because of the fact that I was ***** in my ass, be people, who thinks, that people dont hear the difference between 10GB sounds and 128MB.
OK, you dont need in piano the 10 mic sets, but, even though, anything like 256MB for a total sounds... you know... its a lough directly in the customers face.

I want to buy a good piano, and the only one in the market, are the top sample libraries and a bit of metallic and sometimess dull Roland, but, still, Roland is far beyond Kawai and Yamaha.

Ehh..
why if you want to have a good piano in a cabinet stile, you cannot have, but you will have easy, by uploding external software.

Mike Martin,
you at the Casio have the power to change the DP market. Please,invent a new piano series, put there some wooden or plastic keyboard, which feels like those ones from Kawai, sign the agreement with VIlabs or any other external piano producer and put their piano samples in your piano. Put in some good speakers, Daytons or Hi-Vi, or base paper Seas speakers, or some good car-audio set, and, I am the first to buy it for 3000$ USD. But, please, do the cabinet in style of modern Kawais and new Yamahas CLP, you current control panel really looks cheap (sorry to say). Oh, and the ivory on the Kawai is much more pleasant than on Casio, but I find Yamaha the same quaility as Casios, just personal prefrence, others may vary.

When you invent it, send me a welcome letter to make this thing sound INCREDIBLE. I will do for you the margin analysis and we will try to keep costs&price at reasonable level, improving your production processes (don't worry, that's all my daily job) We will skip 500 tones, including rare birds from Amazonia forests, which are in the all top pianos. People buy top pianos to have top piano experience, not top Amazonian forest bird experience, or whatever strange and completely useless sound you put there.

Kawai has something to lost by making a perfecr DP for 3000$, Yamaha also. Roland... not to much... Casio.. completely nothing. So, go smile

Last edited by kapelli; 05/01/14 08:23 AM.
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#2269536 - 05/01/14 09:01 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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#2269537 - 05/01/14 09:06 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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Unfortunately, this is one of those situations in which all manufacturers will eventually "loose", including the one that makes the first move and benefits in the short term.

This is precisely because dramatically increasing the amount of memory available in hardware pianos (and hence audio quality) can be done easily and inexpensively, and once a company does it, all others would be forced (but able) to do it as well, in order to stay competitive.

In the other hand, by spoonfeeding us with incremental improvements in sound quality (their current business model), they are able to easily (and cheaply) incentivize purchases from those of us that are willing to buy yet another DP in order to gain those incremental benefits.




#2269543 - 05/01/14 09:15 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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That was so well said, kapelli. If Mike, James, and Jay don't act upon this this wakeup call by rocking the boats of their respective employers, after reading this, they never will.

Although I disagree in only one point, I don't mind if my piano's interface looks cheap, if it sounds great.

On the other hand, I've wondered if the software pianos are all that better. I linked to this comparison test a few days ago, but didn't get any responses. I was surprised, because it's an interesting comparison. Maybe it's because few people are still followint the Ravnescroft thread, but here it is anyway, again.

http://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/topic/5797-an-interesting-comparison/

Last edited by TheodorN; 05/01/14 09:18 AM.

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#2269548 - 05/01/14 09:24 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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Except that the people who are critical of source sound quality can very easily connect a VSTi to their piano. Problem solved. But this is not the only problem - in fact, probably not the biggest problem with digital pianos today.

1. Do we actually need hundreds of gigabytes to store a high quality piano sample set? I doubt it.

2. The DP probably suffers more in the analogue sound section: the amplifier and speakers. Good speakers are still expensive, despite technological innovation. Hence lots of people customarily use headphones. As with VSTi, it's a relatively cheap way of circumventing a problem.

Digital piano makers could begin to provide more high quality piano sounds, I suppose, and incorporate advanced modelling techniques into their sound engines. Roland have already done this to an extent with their SN pianos and the range of period instruments incorporated into their standard piano set (since HP505 etc).......though strangely, I've don't remember anyone giving much feedback on them, either positive or negative.


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#2269551 - 05/01/14 09:29 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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MacMacMac Offline
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This topic has been discussed here time and again.

Act 1:
Yes, the pianos could be better. Much better! smile
And no, the manufacturers have found no reason to make them so. frown

Act 2:
PW member to (absent) manufacturer: Please sir, may I have some more?
Absent manufacturer: whole-note rest.

Epilog:
I think we'll have replaced aircraft with molecular transporters long before these pianos get much better.

#2269555 - 05/01/14 09:38 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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#2269557 - 05/01/14 09:45 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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Digitalguy Offline
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I think the size should be relativized. You can see this in software pianos. it's not that a piano sample that is 10 times (or even 100 times) bigger, will be 10 (or 100) times better. Sometimes it can even be worse if it's poorly recorded (take the mastodontic QL pianos as an example). Even the perfectly recorded Ivory 2 ACD I have with it's 45GB is not 40 times better than say the decent Addictive Keys (only 1GB). As someone said some time ago, after a certain level, it's a war of inches, you may need something 50 times bigger or more expensive to get a few % better sound.
And if you take the Krome I mentioned, out of 3.8 GB, 2.9 is for the Kronos grand piano so just the piano is 30 to 50 bigger than the one in the Kross (which is a reduced version of the same piano). Is it 30 times worse? Far from it, sure Krome is better, longer sustain, no loop etc. but let some people hear them side by side (especially if not musicians) and they’ll say it’s just somewhat better. Put it in a mix and people won’t even notice the difference...
And if, as I mentioned earlier, a whole General Midi suite of instrument can fit in 6MB (sure the piano is not very good but all the rest is quite decent), you can see how relative things are...

Last edited by Digitalguy; 05/01/14 09:54 AM. Reason: typo

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#2269567 - 05/01/14 10:01 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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IMO, DP manufacturers don't sell enough pianos and need to keep costs down to stay in business. I'd say it would take one company to take a risk and offer more bang for the buck. This would make other co's to have to follow suit. Nord has an interesting marketing strategy. They are hand made and they offer the ability to update all internal sounds. I think this allows them to charge more money.

I think the next co. that takes the Nord plan but allows 3rd party to offer samples and expands memory will be the next big thing.

Software co's have less overhead, I presume, and are not constrained by ROM or hardware and can offer full sampled instruments.


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#2269577 - 05/01/14 10:20 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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Although cost is always a factor, that is certainly not a big driver here. Memory is dirt cheap nowadays with memory sticks costing around one US$ per gigabyte.

Volume of sales is a much bigger factor, and hence my previous remarks regarding the current business model of spoonfeeding us with incremental upgrades in sound quality, that are just big enough to drive our hardware upgrading purchases.

Why "give it all at once" (i.e offering a step-change in sound quality), when incremental changes are doing the job in the current market?

#2269583 - 05/01/14 10:25 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: 36251]  
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Originally Posted by 36251

I think the next co. that takes the Nord plan but allows 3rd party to offer samples and expands memory will be the next big thing.



The problem with the Nord is limited memory, and especially action.
I think the really big move could be made by Kawai, with a VPC2 integrating the equivalent of a PC (running Windows for instance) with 8GB RAM, a 256GB or even 512 SSD, a DVD reader, a couple of USB ports (also for iLok and so on), a good audio card and a good display. If the screen is large enough (and can be put forward like in the Tyros) you could use it to load and read pdf scores.... You could switch easily between all your virtual pianos and no need for connecting any external device, except headphones and speakers (and they could even make a console version with speakers). This would probably cost no more than a Kronos but would be a life investment that could always be upgraded with virtual pianos. This could kill a lot of competition, including the current VPC1, but I doubt they will go so far...


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#2269584 - 05/01/14 10:29 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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What we're asking for, has already been done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS76QaeIZSg


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#2269586 - 05/01/14 10:34 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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"This could kill a lot of competition, including the current VPC1, but I doubt they will go so far..."

As I said before, the benefits will be short lived since others would be able to do something similar (if not better) rather quickly.

Clearly, manufacturers of digital pianos are not at all interested in selling us "once in a lifetime instruments" ... especially after we have spoiled them for so long with our "every two year purchases".

#2269589 - 05/01/14 10:39 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: TheodorN]  
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Originally Posted by TheodorN
What we're asking for, has already been done.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS76QaeIZSg


very partially....


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#2269590 - 05/01/14 10:43 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: MiguelAngel07]  
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Originally Posted by MiguelAngel07
"This could kill a lot of competition, including the current VPC1, but I doubt they will go so far..."

As I said before, the benefits will be short lived since others would be able to easily do something similar (if not better) rather quickly.

Clearly, manufacturers of digital pianos are not at all interested in selling us "once in a lifetime instruments" ... especially after we have spoiled them for so long with "every two year purchases".


Sure, that's why I said I don't think they'll (ever) do it...


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#2269592 - 05/01/14 10:44 AM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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The samples are indeed small, up to 300 MB each, but the idea is there. Just needs to be done on a larger scale. Isn't the Motif quite an old piano?


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#2269624 - 05/01/14 12:26 PM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: kapelli]  
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Originally Posted by kapelli
Does an of you know, and is able to share, how big are samples in modern digital pianos? Both the cheap ones and the expensive ones. The memory is incredibly cheap since few good years, but were they able to give th better sound?

And - why we have to play on independent piano sound suppliers, if we are buying piano for 3000. $, but still the sampled one for 150 bucks sounds like a milion dollars better?
Or even in the pianos for 1500... The sound... Especially highs... And then basses... Really often sound cheap... So why the product is made worse on purpose?
Just to show that they are still far from real thing?

But the main topic is memory size, of course for the main piano sound, as the rest for us is second consideration, especially given cheap pianos and console pianos.

As MacMacMac said, this has been discussed extensively before. See

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1975606/all

And as DigitalGuy said, larger samples sets don't always sound better.

And that $150 sampled piano, which may or may not sound better than a $3000 (or $1500) dedicated DP, can't actually be bought for $150. You need to add the price of a computer, a keyboard, and probably an interface... and it still may lag the DP in some ways (for example: latency, rock-solid stability, instantaneous program changes, the ergonomics of a dedicated platform).


#2269637 - 05/01/14 01:02 PM Re: Digital pianos samples sound memory size [Re: anotherscott]  
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Originally Posted by anotherscott

And that $150 sampled piano, which may or may not sound better than a $3000 (or $1500) dedicated DP, can't actually be bought for $150. You need to add the price of a computer, a keyboard, and probably an interface... and it still may lag the DP in some ways (for example: latency, rock-solid stability, instantaneous program changes, the ergonomics of a dedicated platform).

Not if you have a desktop/laptop/smart computer anyway.

My guess is, that if there is a market for a digital piano with tens of gigabytes of memory, and a top of the line piano sample inside, even more than one, someone will find out and build and market such a piano.

Another thing, how about other sounds, found in most keyboards and digital pianos, like organs, guitars, strings and so on? Shouldn't they be sampled as well, that is, the same way the pianos are, note for note, with no stretching or looping? That might add to the production cost.


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