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Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 #2357108 12/01/14 05:44 PM
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McBuster Offline OP
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First, A Request

What we hear, can be very subjective.

What the WaveForm displays, is not. There it is, the basis for producing the sounds that we hear. Unaltered. What we see, is delivered to an output device to produce the sound. A WaveForm that is jagged and bumpy, smaller or larger, than it's neighbors, will sound different.

I have had enough discussion of room placement, headphones, USB Files, WAV Recorders and so on.

Just let my work take you in a certain direction and judge for yourself.

+++

What I am going to present, are various WaveForms of Harmonic Imaging XL outputs.

What I want you to see, certain WaveForms will produce certain sounds. Change the WaveForm, the sound comes with it.

I have done my best to present the data. I assure you, there has been no modifications to the WaveForms, except for illustration.

My piano is a CA95, purchased new late Sept 2012. I use GoldWave, a Sound Editor for recording the sounds from Line Out and Headphones Out. I use it for all the WaveForm Jpgs. I used the built-in USB Recorder in WAV Format for the USB Out. And, a Tascom DR-05 stereo recorder for the Speakers.

The USB, Line Outs and Speakers WaveForms were produced from the same session.

I used Concert Grand for the Voice, No Reverb, No Wall Equalization. To minimize reflections, these were all made in the center of a room 18x22ft with 20ft ceilings.

All were made from F thru A above Middle C. With and Without the Sharps.

I will add links to the original Wav Files later.

+++

An Assumption

At a Dealer's, the Kawais and Steinways I played, the Tone for a 88 keys was wonderful. Even, no surprises. Nothing made me wince. Therefore, the WaveForms that produce our notes, should be very similar. ie: G should pretty much resemble its neighbors F# and G#.

I also discovered in these samples, the same note played (pp) thru (ff) was simply taller in Amplitude. The same notches and spikes were present in all.

+++

Forum Concerns

There has been some reaction on this Forum to various notes and their sounds. After reviewing the threads, I have come up with the following in question. There may be more, and I may have even made a mistake, but here is what I scribbled down.

G2
F3 . . Sustain
G#3. . Bell like Overtone
D#4
F#4. . Jarring in Tone
G4 . . Definite Twang
G#4
A5 . . Dull Muted Wavering
A#5
G#5. . Weird Decay
C6

+++

The Green is the Left Channel, Red the Right. Monaural is only a single Channel.

Wav
LnOut
Spkrs
HdPhns

2x - Stereo
1x - Monaural

Of specific interest, is G4. That WaveForm is a bit different than its neighbors.

Also, Note F#'s Right Channel, G4's Left.

+++

Listening Over Headphones

I asked a fellow who I believe, really understands all this stuff. Speakers, Headphones, Amplifiers etc.

"The internal, small-wattage amplifier that drives the headphones is not amplifying the distortion because of the higher impedance of the headphone circuit and the way the signal is being sourced from the preamplifier.

Yes they do have a problem. Your waveform signatures prove that the distortion is inherent in the signal."

+++

I tried really hard to press the keys equally. Sometimes I thought, the WaveForm generated was softer, than what it should have been.

+++

Wav_ConcertGrand_nRv_5x_2x.JPG
[Linked Image]

LnOut_ConcertGrand_nRv_5x_2x.JPG
[Linked Image]

Spkrs_ConcertGrand_nRv_5x_2x.JPG
[Linked Image]

HdPhns_ConcertGrand_nRv_5x_2x.JPG
[Linked Image]

Wav_ConcertGrand_nRv_5x_1x.JPG
[Linked Image]

LnOut_ConcertGrand_nRv_5x_1x.JPG
[Linked Image]

Spkrs_ConcertGrand_nRv_5x_1x.JPG
[Linked Image]

HdPhns_ConcertGrand_nRv_5x_1x.JPG
[Linked Image]

+++

Well, Thanks for looking ...
.






Jon ...

Kawai CA67
A Tired, Retired, Dreamer ...
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Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357167 12/01/14 07:39 PM
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Charles Cohen Offline
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If I understand it right,

. . . you hear good sound over headphones,

. . . and "distorted" sound over the speakers.

Quote

Listening Over Headphones

I asked a fellow who I believe, really understands all this stuff. Speakers, Headphones, Amplifiers etc.

"The internal, small-wattage amplifier that drives the headphones is not amplifying the distortion because of the higher impedance of the headphone circuit and the way the signal is being sourced from the preamplifier.


That statement is bafflegab. It uses technical words, but there's no logic behind it. Either there's distortion in the source signal (from the sound generator), or there isn't.

If there _is_ distortion at the sound generator output, there's no way a headphone amplifier can make it go away -- that is, not amplify the distortion, but amplify the rest of the signal.

If there _isn't_ distortion at the sound generator output, it's possible that distortion is being introduced by the power amp or loudspeakers or room resonance. Those are all testable -- but I don't think your "waveforms" can show it.

Quote

. . . Yes they do have a problem. Your waveform signatures prove that the distortion is inherent in the signal."[/b]


I'm looking at them -- they're waveform _envelopes_, not waveforms.

. . . How am I supposed to know whether or not the sound
. . . is "distorted" on any particular note, from any
. . . particular source?

Doing the stuff that Dewster did on the DPBSD tests is _hard_. He used MIDI files to achieve consistency, rather than "trying to hit every key with the same force". And he was using some rather sophisticated tools.

. Charles


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357186 12/01/14 08:23 PM
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Bafflegab? I've not heard that word before. But you're right. The description from "the fellow who I believe, really understands all this stuff" is just bonkers.

But then again, what do the red/green waveforms tell us?
That the speaker vs. headphone signals are different? Yes.
That one is distorted and the other not? No.
I don't see any value in them.

In any case, the OP's ears like one sound and not the other. So what use are the waveforms?

Something's broken. Get it fixed!

Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357192 12/01/14 08:40 PM
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McBuster, I'm afraid I don't understand the purpose of this thread.

I see a selection of screen captures that show waveforms of different notes, that you explain are captured by different recording processes. However, I don't understand what they're supposed to indicate.

I also don't understand the meaning of '+++'.

Kind regards,
James
x



Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357196 12/01/14 09:02 PM
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Well James, it's clear to me that he tried to prove with data what he hears. Too often in this forum, someone (me among them) claims he hears a strange sound and...some of you suspiciously disregard us.
I understand you're an employee and have to keep the house, our interests are different. His digital sounds bad on some places, so does mine.
It is sad, I must say, that OP had to put so much effort on proving an evidence, being this mainly a user community.
Two years ago I was already hearing this much, two ears were enough. First DP, no experience.
No matter, from now on I'll trust my hearing more than other's.
Now I know what this brand sounds like, pros and cons. Very good and, listen, BAD things too.

Ah, +++ looks just like a separation between paragraphs/different ideas.
Is japanese easier?
Come on, James. You can do better.


Last edited by mabraman; 12/01/14 09:03 PM.

Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
Kawai ES7.Kawai K-200
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357202 12/01/14 09:15 PM
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In other words, transition between attack and looping is wrong in some notes, being some of them easily audible. Others show a wrong timbre, those we call "twangy". They sound harsh, when they shouldn't. They break the balance, the flow, the enjoyment of playing.
These are mistakes. If you introduce defects on purpose in order to built an "organic" sound, and then you call them characteristics...well that's up to you. Still they are mistakes.
If I were you I'll be worried, as some units don't show them but some do, while you don't seem to know the reason.
Hint: look at G waveform. Isn't its shape totally different? It's not the place, but the sample, and it's clumsy!

Last edited by mabraman; 12/01/14 09:21 PM.

Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
Kawai ES7.Kawai K-200
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: mabraman] #2357205 12/01/14 09:56 PM
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Jake Jackson Offline
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That G4 Wave envelope may show something other than problems with the loop or distortion. It may be a slight beating in the strings--the unisons are not tuned perfectly, so the amplitude dips and then rises. It may have been a choice on the part of the recording engineer or the people who put together the multisample. A very slight amount of beating can be pleasant.

But what are you hearing, exactly? Could you post audio files on SoundCloud or another site? Being able to see and hear the notes would be good.

Last edited by Jake Jackson; 12/01/14 09:58 PM.
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357209 12/01/14 10:13 PM
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mabraman, I've tried to assist both McBuster and yourself to the best of my ability.

However, there is only so much that I can do to help customers understand that unique characteristics exist within individual notes, and that this is just part of 88-key sampling.

If McBuster has any concerns regarding his CA95, he should report them to the dealer and/or Kawai distributor, allowing the individuals responsible to assess the situation and take the necessary action. This is the correct procedure.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357214 12/01/14 10:29 PM
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I checked the WAV output on mine and it's exactly the same as yours. picture

Looking at your Line Out and Headphones waveforms, they seem to be consistent with the WAV. Of course there is some distortion going through the headphones amp (seems a bit compressed) but it looks normal.

How did you record your Speakers output? Obviously you wouldn't expect this to look exactly like the WAV waveforms because the signal goes through the power amps, the speakers, mix together in the air, bounce off the walls, and then whatever microphone you use. Your mono graphs are best to compare here, and while the amplitude of the G does seem a bit weaker compared to your mono WAV waveform, your microphone placement is pretty critical so I'd expect the output to look more like the left or right than a perfect blending of the two (as you get in your WAV combination). It's not possible to see any "twang" in a picture like this.

+++

What I would say is that the uniformity in sample volume, particularly in the Right channel, seems quite inconsistent. Look at that F! I did raise several eyebrows when I read that the samples were taken from different pianos and mixed around in order to provide variation in the tone. That is evident in the variety in the waveforms. Why can't they just find a really good piano and sample all its keys? But without comparing to such a sample, it's hard to say how much variation is normal. The only thing I have available to compare is Pianoteq (picture). That does look a lot more even (though really if you want to check stuff like this you should use a MIDI file which plays the same velocity on each note).


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: lolatu] #2357219 12/01/14 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by lolatu
I did raise several eyebrows when I read that the samples were taken from different pianos and mixed around in order to provide variation in the tone.


Hmmm...I'm not sure that's correct. Where did you read that?

I recall mentioning the other day that different microphones and microphone placements are used for different sounds. Is this what you're referring to?

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357227 12/01/14 11:22 PM
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Oh OK, looks like I misunderstood when you said the samples used are "derived from various grand pianos" in the quote below. The 88-key sampled pianos on these instruments all sound like they use the same sample set, and we've only been talking about the Concert Grand sound the whole time, so I thought you meant "various grand pianos" were used for that sound.

Originally Posted by Kawai James
The piano samples used by the CS10 and other Kawai DPs are derived from various grand pianos. Some sounds feature the same grand piano, but are recorded with different mics and pre-amps, or with different voicing characteristics in order to achieve a variety of tones.


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357247 12/02/14 01:14 AM
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My apologies for the lack of clarity.

As far as I am aware, one sound (i.e. 'patch') utilises one set of samples, all recorded from the same instrument.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: lolatu] #2357255 12/02/14 01:48 AM
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In the Age we live in, we sometimes forget.

We forget what Customer Service truly means to, and for, a Company. I have worked for those who forgot. They do not prosper very long.

Sometimes, as a part of a Giant Corporation, we forget how truly important it is to place the Customers needs first and foremost.

They may not be right, but they will always be satisfied the service they got, was Top Shelf.

One never knows who that person may influence in the future.

I have purchased three Kawai pianos. A CA63, a CA93 and a CA95. And, to date, as a Customer, I have honestly received the absolute poorest Customer Service I can ever imagine could exist.

I will exclude Alan from that statement. Once he called, we have had a great deal of ideas and things to try. I trust he will bring this to a satisfactory conclusion for Kawai, and most importantly, to me.

+++

Originally Posted by lolatu
How did you record your Speakers output?


As mentioned above,

"a Tascom DR-05 stereo recorder for the Speakers"

"To minimize reflections, these were all made in the center of a room 18x22ft with 20ft ceilings."

Carpeted floor, soft furniture. The TasCom is all I could afford.

+++

To address the amplitude and unevenness of my playing, I offer the following. C4 and G4 from soft to loud. Note, the WaveForm pattern does not really change. Just the size.

[Linked Image]

So, keeping things simple, the Notes that concern me are so out of whack, that size will not alter the patterns at all. Compare the areas next to the white lines, for example.

+++

Here is a real simple question.

Which if these should simply sound better? PianoTeq on Left, mine in the right. (Courtesy Lolatu)

If the Amplitude of G was equal to the rest, the Tone would not change, just that a bad note to start with would be a louder bad note.

And, another question. From this WaveForm pattern, why do you think one would sound better?

[Linked Image]

+++

Originally Posted by Kawai James
to help customers understand that unique characteristics exist within individual notes, and that this is just part of 88-key sampling


Nuances I can live with. However, what I hear is not a nuance, it is a mistake.

+++

Originally Posted by Kawai James
If McBuster has any concerns regarding his CA95, he should report them to the dealer and/or Kawai distributor, allowing the individuals responsible to assess the situation and take the necessary action. This is the correct procedure.


Two years ago on Dec 21st, I called my Dealer. They promptly called Kawai Service. It took 89 days for a Tech to be dispatched to look at it. He could not fix it, nor did Kawai pursue it further. Why not?

Last June 21st, I contacted Kawai Service directly. Was promised a Tech would be scheduled Asap. As nothing happened, I contacted my Dealer late July. 149 Days and only two phone calls from Kawai. Then, after I wrote the General Manager, Alan was assigned and progress is being made.

Everything that has been asked of me I have done. Beyond that, I have done anything I can think of to be of help to Kawai. Including this Thread.

So, I truly wonder in this equation, who is not following procedure?

And, why has it been necessary for any Customer, to go thru the hoops I have? And yet, at this writing, not one person has came out simply to listen to one of your premiere products.

Think about that ...

+++

Time for a drink ... Sometimes, it is all a man has got ...
.



Jon ...

Kawai CA67
A Tired, Retired, Dreamer ...
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357263 12/02/14 02:32 AM
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Maybe a switch to an acoustic piano would be the right thing to do here. Every AP is unique, you choose one you really like, then buy it. And if it goes out of tune or something is not quite right with the sound, every single string, every single hammer, every single damper of every single key can be tuned, intoned and regulated individually. Until you have the perfect result.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357288 12/02/14 04:35 AM
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Again the same reasoning!! That, being true, doesn't help at all.

1.-Digitals are NOT accoustics. They CAN'T be serviced, tuned, voiced or hardly regulated after our purchase. They are selled as perfect. So they should be.

2.-When you sell an item calling it "premier"...it is supposed to have the best you can offer, including customer service. Money we pay is never deffective.

3.-Kawai has some serious problems with regards to their products. Key assembling, reliability, sound unevenness and mistakes in the sample/sound engine, being this the main one in my opinion, as they can't fix it. (Well, they just seem to ignore they should fix it, what is even worse).
This problems seem to affect us randomly, and Kawai has never made public which serial numbers suffer some issue. Well, perhaps they still don't know the have issues. One day is the van man,then is the placement, then the recording chain...The goal is to denay any issue exists, in public.
4.-I mind balls if each brand has problems too. I want my piano (car, washer, pc, etc.) to work perfectly a certain amount of time in normal conditions.

5.-If, after some years in the market, you can't develope an item to achieve perfection (all that is possible to you)...lower the price.


Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
Kawai ES7.Kawai K-200
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357290 12/02/14 04:41 AM
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For a short period of time I was loaned a Roland FP7F, with the option to purchase it at nearly half retail price. Fantastic instrument, with great dynamics, but there were one or two notes that had a metallic whine, and I just could not get past them. Others on the forum also heard it but most did not think it was an insufferable problem.I never purchased the FP7F. I think the only solution here is to return the Kawai for full or partial refund and move on. Or use a VST.

Last edited by spanishbuddha; 12/02/14 04:43 AM.
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357295 12/02/14 05:09 AM
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mabraman Offline
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Yes, and when your VST shows some mistake, fight like a wolf to get it fixed and make it public.


Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
Kawai ES7.Kawai K-200
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357308 12/02/14 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by McBuster
I have purchased three Kawai pianos. A CA63, a CA93 and a CA95. And, to date, as a Customer, I have honestly received the absolute poorest Customer Service I can ever imagine could exist.


Jon, I am rather disappointed that you believe this to be the case.

Over the years, I have provided a considerable amount of assistance to you via this forum, answering numerous queries about your CA63, CA93, and CA95 - both publicly, and in response to your private messages. This assistance is often provided out of office hours, or over the weekend...even as an type this response, I am returning home on the train from a private engangement.

In addition, I gather that a number of my colleagues at Kawai America, have provided a considerable amount of assistance to you via telephone calls and email.

I can appreciate that you are frustrated, however I do not believe it is fair to cast aspersions on Kawai's customer support, simply because the individuals you have been corresponding with do not share your opinion.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357316 12/02/14 08:45 AM
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Again, IMHO

one way toward a solution for Kawai US, would be to jump in the piano van and bring a second, double checked instrument to your customer, clarify the situation and document it to the public. That would be cheaper than this PR disaster. You all would have saved a lot of time and nerves giving uneffective support on the phone or via an internet forum.

As a worst case scenario the service men could bring with them a third instrument of another brand (vans in America are supposed to be huge), and see if this would sound better and bring peace to your customer. He migth want to buy an acoustic piano later on ...





Re: Kawai Harmonic Imaging XL WaveForms And G4 [Re: McBuster] #2357322 12/02/14 09:31 AM
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McBuster, it's not clear to me what exactly you complain about. Is it the sound in headphones, speakers, the sound recorded in the computer or are you complaining about an issue that is present in all these cases? Do you think it's an inherent problem of HI-XL sound?

If anything, I don't think that it is reasonable to present waveform envelopes: IMHO they are not a good representation of sound. In particular, I believe it wouldn't be difficult to construct a waveform with regular envelope and very irregular sound or a wavewform with regular sound and very irregular envelope.

Also, the fact that Pianoteq's envelopes are more uniform might mean that Pinoteq's modelling is still not perfect rather than that Kawai samples are inferior. A better benchmark would be comparing these envelopes against the envelopes of sampled VSTs (though I still believe envelopes don't show much anyway). I checked Vintage D, which allows displaying them in Kontakt, and the envelopes were IMHO similarly jagged and different from each other.

Perhaps if you rather posted the sound in .wav format and explained your issues, it would be easier to understand the problem you have.

Last edited by PtJaa; 12/02/14 10:07 AM. Reason: restyling for better clarity

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Hand Sanitizer for Musicians
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Rust spots on strings
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