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Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
#2369937 01/05/15 07:24 PM
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I thought a somewhat provocative title might enhance involvement.

Well that plus I am curious to what degree and in what ways the digitals just can't match-up to a big, acoustic concert grand.

Bennivis. I always welcome your input. I've been away for some time but recall your many excellent posts.

I'm still thinking about buying a V-Piano and I'll bet I'd love it.

Perhaps another digital piano has come along and proven superior to the V-Piano?

Same ole same ole for many of you, I suppose, but not for me. And, this time the responses may be "new and improved." Maybe not.

Bech


Music. One of man's greatest inventions. And...for me, the piano expresses it best.
Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2369947 01/05/15 08:19 PM
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Hi! So you've been away for bit. Not that much going on.

Still have to buy a few pieces to get the latest and greatest of everything.
If you haven't already seen the Kawai VPC-1 a few guys are looking at opening it up and tweaking it. Ravenworks Digital is selling a modified VPC-1 as well as a matching software instrument called Ravenscroft 275 VI.

Yamaha's AvantGrand N3 still arguably has the best action on a digital piano. Offers a nice rumbling feeling when you dig into the instrument. But they aren't offering an uncompressed sample library like people are getting with Synthogy Ivory or the latest modeling engines like you get with Pianoteq or the Roland V-Piano.

Phillip Johnston has been making some nice youtube recordings using the AvantGrand N3 and Garritan CFX.

And I've been searching for the ultimate monitoring/speaker solution for lack of audiophile range speakers being included in a digital piano. Some really great suggestions appear in this thread.

So what we need is a Yamaha AvantGrand that offers both a massive uncompressed unlooped sample library and the latest physical modeling engine with a boutique amplifier and ribbon speaker soundboard with a subwoofer underneath.

Will we buy it when they make it? Would we be able to afford it?

Last edited by ElmerJFudd; 01/05/15 08:55 PM.
Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
ElmerJFudd #2369957 01/05/15 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
So what we need is a Yamaha AvantGrand that offers both a massive uncompressed unlooped sample library and the latest physical modeling engine with a boutique amplifier and ribbon speaker soundboard with a subwoofer underneath.

Will we buy it when they make it? Would we be able to afford it?


Nice summary - how would envision the massive sample library working with a physical modeling engine or would these be two separate things in one unit?


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Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2369959 01/05/15 08:41 PM
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Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
True.
Many digitals sound good ... but none are even close to a grand piano.

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Vid #2369971 01/05/15 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Vid
Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
So what we need is a Yamaha AvantGrand that offers both a massive uncompressed unlooped sample library and the latest physical modeling engine with a boutique amplifier and ribbon speaker soundboard with a subwoofer underneath.

Will we buy it when they make it? Would we be able to afford it?


Nice summary - how would envision the massive sample library working with a physical modeling engine or would these be two separate things in one unit?


That's a good question. It's very well possible that developers could create a wonderful sounding engine that takes the advantages of both samples and modeling. Supposedly Acoustica Pianissimo uses this technique. And I've heard that True Pianos does as well, although there isn't anything about it specifically in the marketing other than that system resource requirements are lower. For now, I think what I had in mind was offering both. That seems to be the trend right now in the high end stage pianos like the Kurzweil Forte and the Korg Kronos . They both use multiple sound engines to deliver the best of what each has to offer.

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2369978 01/05/15 09:20 PM
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You could spend a lot less than the cost of an AG and still get good key action.

You can't get top-notch samples inside a piano today, but you can get them inexpensively on a PC with a suitable piano library. They're already massive and unlooped.

Amplifiers are nothing special.

The prime main missing ingredient: Speakers that behave like a soundboard. If only a speaker could produce that enveloping piano sound!

A second important missing ingredient: Piano libraries that offer properly performing half-pedal, and string- and damper-resonance. (Current offerings are still lacking.)

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2369990 01/05/15 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bech

Bennivis. I always welcome your input. I've been away for some time but recall your many excellent posts.

I'm still thinking about buying a V-Piano and I'll bet I'd love it.

Perhaps another digital piano has come along and proven superior to the V-Piano?

Thanks for your appreciation of my posts. Here or in Pianist Corner? grin

Nothing new on the horizon, I have to say. Since we last met, I did finally satisfy my curiosity about software pianos and tried out the Pianoteq free trial version, which turned out to be a disappointment.

The only possible contender might be the Physis, which is about as easy to find as hen's teeth. Sampling seems to have gone as far as it can, and it's about time other manufacturers challenge Roland with their own modeled DPs.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
bennevis #2370010 01/05/15 10:54 PM
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...Since we last met, I did finally satisfy my curiosity about software pianos and tried out the Pianoteq free trial version, which turned out to be a disappointment.

The only possible contender might be the Physis, which is about as easy to find as hen's teeth. Sampling seems to have gone as far as it can, and it's about time other manufacturers challenge Roland with their own modeled DPs.......


Since developers working on sampled instruments are having success in the market with their pursuits, it is highly likely that we will continue to see advancement. The speed and size of SSDs is increasing, available RAM, multi-core CPUs, etc. This can only equal more velocity layers, more unique features captured and implemented, improved sound engines, quicker reaction times, and reduced latency.

With regard to modeling, I agreed that Pianoteq is good but not good enough but I feel the same about the V-Piano. Those that enjoy modeling engines like the fact that it's very reactive/responsive. It feels like you have greater control of the instrument and are better able to play expressively. I suppose put simply, it feels more like that forte or piano attack belongs to you as opposed to triggering a pre-recorded sound of a machine swinging a hammer with a pre-detirmined value of force.

Does the Physis engine sound any better than Pianoteq or the V-Piano? I'm curious to know if their math is any different. Viscount Instruments/Physis states that they have been working with several Italian Universities for the last 7 years on their piano modeling technology.

The irony here is that Yamaha has not delivered a digital piano yet with their modeling technology and they've been involved in it since the late 80s. In 1989 they signed a contract with Stanford University to jointly develop "digital waveguide synthesis" which is pretty much what most modern physical modeling instruments are based on - although not exclusively. In fact, "most patents related to the technology are owned by Stanford or Yamaha" - says wikipedia. Based on how software is developed these days it's very likely that there is a lot of similar code and/or math in Pianoteq, V-Piano, and Physis. I might be wrong, but it's not far fetched.

So, why no V-Piano from Yamaha? Why use samples in the AvantGrand? Why use samples for pianos in the CP1 but modeling for the elecro-mechanicals? One can only assume that Yamaha believes their sampling engine sounds better than modeling with regard to acoustic piano sounds at this point in time. They are probably right. But modeling has great potential.

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2370050 01/06/15 01:57 AM
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Wonder what Chopin would think of the AG or V piano. . .


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Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
peterws #2370080 01/06/15 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by peterws
Wonder what Chopin would think of the AG or V piano. . .

I wonder what the slang of the day would have been for "it's the dog's".

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2370098 01/06/15 07:23 AM
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I have to wonder if Yamaha has NOT jumped into the modeled arena more due to patents held by competitors?

Or ... with everyone else doing modeled ... perhaps Yamaha figures that their differentiating factor is the fact that their sounds are sampled?

Or ... folks are still buying Yamaha digital pianos at acceptable rates regardless of what the other folks are doing ... so why change?

Probably a combination of all three.

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
theoak #2370143 01/06/15 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by theoak
I have to wonder if Yamaha has NOT jumped into the modeled arena more due to patents held by competitors?

Or ... with everyone else doing modeled ... perhaps Yamaha figures that their differentiating factor is the fact that their sounds are sampled?

Or ... folks are still buying Yamaha digital pianos at acceptable rates regardless of what the other folks are doing ... so why change?

Probably a combination of all three.


I'll go with option #3: "so why change."

Yamaha will continue to milk that cow till the milk runs out. At some point they will start working on physical modeling; however, since people are still buying samples, they're not in a hurry to do so.

I do hope the next NAMM proves me wrong. If not, perhaps summer NAMM, or the NAMM after that.....For sure, it'll be done by NAMM 2099!


Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2370153 01/06/15 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by theoak
Or ... with everyone else doing modeled ...

Originally Posted by Pete14
Yamaha will continue to milk that cow till the milk runs out. At some point they will start working on physical modeling; however, since people are still buying samples, they're not in a hurry to do so.

Everyone is NOT doing modeled - only Roland does (I don't count Physis, I doubt their sales numbers are significant).

Also, I don't understand WHY Yamaha should work on modelling - at current hardware prices, the reasonable way would be putting a couple multi-GB libraries inside - the cost per unit would be very low and development rather straightforward.
Developing a working modelling sound engine si much more expensive and takes an order of magnitude more time - see how long it took Pianoteq to reach good sound quality, and many people still prefer sampled libraries.


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Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
dire tonic #2370179 01/06/15 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by dire tonic
Originally Posted by peterws
Wonder what Chopin would think of the AG or V piano. . .

I wonder what the slang of the day would have been for "it's the dog's".


Just wondering if the following word to your phrase should be " breakfast" or "bollocks" . .


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Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2370185 01/06/15 12:16 PM
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Don't sampled libraries use modelling to a certain degree, at least for the good ones? (thinking sympathetic resonance, half-pedalling, re-pedalling, temperament shifting, and the combination of these)

Cheers,
C

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Pete14 #2370187 01/06/15 12:18 PM
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Quote

I'll go with option #3: "so why change."

Yamaha will continue to milk that cow till the milk runs out. At some point they will start working on physical modeling; however, since people are still buying samples, they're not in a hurry to do so.

I do hope the next NAMM proves me wrong. If not, perhaps summer NAMM, or the NAMM after that.....For sure, it'll be done by NAMM 2099!


I agree, "so why change" is most likely correct. It certainly isn't a patent issue, they hold many and have used the tech already in their VL1. It comes down to the bean counters. They'll stick SSDs with big libaries in the digital pianos when the little ROMs don't sell anymore. Although, it's probably also sound, they don't think modeling sounds good enough yet on acoustic piano.

In the workstations and performance synths we'll probably see SSDs and a return to their various synthesis engines (DX, AN, VL, etc.) soon. Sales of Motifs and XSs are sure to diminish due to stiff competition.

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2370190 01/06/15 12:23 PM
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Don't sampled libraries use modelling to a certain degree, at least for the good ones? (thinking sympathetic resonance, half-pedalling, re-pedalling, temperament shifting, and the combination of these)

Cheers,
C

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
Bech #2370192 01/06/15 12:25 PM
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They are not and will never be. They are convenient and practical instruments that can achieve a high degree of expresion but I bet they will never replace a high end concert grand from concert halls.

That's why I dont understand super high end digital pianos (roland v grand, yamaha nu1) they are so expensive you could buy a good grand and install a silent/midi system on them.

Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
peterws #2370211 01/06/15 12:59 PM
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Chopin would probably have the same opinion of the V-Grand and high-end Yamahas as I do: they're a lot better than some pianos I've played, and not as good as many other pianos I've played. Chopin famously had a really bad piano at one point in his life, and would have loved a V-Grand. Or, a better acoustic piano.

If I'm practicing or rehearsing, or playing a low-budget gig where a piano is not available, or if the piano is in dubious shape, or if it's a jazz gig where electric piano sounds are wanted, I'll happily bring and play a digital piano.

And if I am giving a posh concert where a great piano sound really matters, I want a real piano that's been well maintained.

I remember a time when a local ballet company tried to replace its orchestra with a recording of some European orchestra for their production of The Nutcracker. They claimed that it would sound better because they were getting the best players in the world, recorded very well. But audiences wanted live musicians, because it's a concert, for Pete's sake; and after an audience boycott, they had to hire the orchestra back.

A digital will never be a "concert grand," because when audiences go to hear a concert, they expect to hear a real piano; and a digital trying to be a concert grand is usually a compromise while a well-maintained concert grand never is.

By definition, the best a digital piano can hope to do is to approach the sound of a real piano, which already sounds 100% like itself.

String resonance? Infinite note decay without looping? Zero latency? Subtle key-off sounds and pedal noises? Infinite polyphony? A powerful sound-generating system that can fill a large room with a perfectly natural piano sound across the acoustic spectrum? Half-pedalling? True una corda sounds when the soft pedal is down? Eerie string resonances when someone plays a trumpet into the open lid while you hold the damper pedal down?

An acoustic concert grand already does all of those things perfectly.


Rodney Sauer
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Re: Digitals ARE NOT a concert grand!
login #2370219 01/06/15 01:11 PM
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You lot will never understand the word "anachronism" ( nowt to do wi spiders) but surely the big boys producing big pianos will pay big money to concert pianists(and popstars) to flaunt their products on the big stage. . .By all accounts they are very aggressive in their marketing. These beasts are rooted in the days of the Model T and have yet to acquire electric windows. Or even a heater. . .

WHY should you have to tune them after each professional engagement? Just crazy. The truth is, IMO, if it was tuned electronically or digitally to perfection for all time, it might begin to sound like a decent DP. . . some are even trying for reduced resonance for a purer tone.

Conversely, how many here would buy a DP that did sound like a top end grand, close up? And maybe that is the reason DP manufacturers don't make them that way. . .


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