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Why is it "laugh out loud" material? I find reasoning behind what he describes. Speakers project sound in a specific way and while they will recreate faithfully all frequencies of the original record, they won't exactly recreate the original sound field. As an example, in an orchestra you have many instruments located in various places producing a sound field which when replayed through stereo speakers is only an approximation. You'd need surround system in order to recreate the feeling of the original instrument locations. Same with the piano - when playing one, the sound is coming from the soundboard which is a huge wooden frame, not just few points (speakers). You might be able to recreate the same "sound field" through speakers but that doesn't seem like an easy task, having in mind the sampled pianos already include the soundboard and cabinet resonances which are replayed in another cabinet. That's why some pianos include transducers and soundboard, although I am skeptical about real advantage if replaying just samples. The best way is for the transducer to generate vibrations as coming from bare strings and frame. Maybe modeling will help.


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Devil's advocate comment:

"If some guy prefers his second hand $200 Casio to a Steinway grand, or a $200,000 simulated Steinway grand, so be it. There's no right or wrong in this business. It's all a matter of personal taste."

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Why is it "laugh out loud" material? I find reasoning behind what he describes. Speakers project sound in a specific way and while they will recreate faithfully all frequencies of the original record, they won't exactly recreate the original sound field. As an example, in an orchestra you have many instruments located in various places producing a sound field which when replayed through stereo speakers is only an approximation. You'd need surround system in order to recreate the feeling of the original instrument locations. Same with the piano - when playing one, the sound is coming from the soundboard which is a huge wooden frame, not just few points (speakers). You might be able to recreate the same "sound field" through speakers but that doesn't seem like an easy task, having in mind the sampled pianos already include the soundboard and cabinet resonances which are replayed in another cabinet. That's why some pianos include transducers and soundboard, although I am skeptical about real advantage if replaying just samples. The best way is for the transducer to generate vibrations as coming from bare strings and frame. Maybe modeling will help.



Well, you hit the nail in the head.

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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by pold
Actually speakers are designed to sound more similar to a tuba than anything else. In fact during blind tests with the first Edison phonographs (big horn and no electricity), the real trombone was always mistaken with the recorded trombone. When we talk about speakers limitations we mean that they don't sound as pleasant as an acoustic grand. I don't know if you ever played an acoustic piano, but there is nothing silly in hoping that one day speakers tech will change, to sound like a piano rather than a trombone.


Brilliant! This is real laugh out loud material. But it does beg the question about the logic of using a soundboard transducer as some top console DPs do.




Why? Are you surprised if a speaker with its conical shape in a blind test would succeed more when replicating a real trombone rather than a real violin or piano?

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Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
Devil's advocate comment:

"If some guy prefers his second hand $200 Casio to a Steinway grand, or a $200,000 simulated Steinway grand, so be it. There's no right or wrong in this business. It's all a matter of personal taste."


Yes, and personal taste can change a lot through time. That's why we discuss all this.

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Why is it "laugh out loud" material?


It was funny because the argument seemed to depend on an experiment carried out nearly one and a half centuries ago when the phonograph was invented (around 1870's) when it is perfectly possible that speakers did indeed sound like trombones or tubas. But technology has moved on since then so that that argument can only look like a joke, which I thought it was. It's like saying that photography is innately flawed because exposure times take so long that faces never look natural in photos (which was often the case with Victorian portraits for that reason). But this argument doesn't make any sense today.

The issue of dimension in sound, I agree, has yet to be resolved and attempts with biaural, surround sound and stereo+ continue to be made. But I think that's a separate problem from sound quality which is what the trombone argument seemed to be based on.


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Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
Devil's advocate comment:

"If some guy prefers his second hand $200 Casio to a Steinway grand, or a $200,000 simulated Steinway grand, so be it. There's no right or wrong in this business. It's all a matter of personal taste."


Yes, and personal taste can change a lot through time. That's why we discuss all this.


I agree, completely. But I sometimes get the impression folks are saying, "This REALLY IS the most or most useful accurate VST." Or, "These 3 piano vsts REALLY ARE the best on the market right now."

That's different from saying, "I PREFER, for my specific purposes, piano x, y, z over piano a, b, c. (whether AP or VST)."

I like the latter way of putting things. Seems less contentious and more truthful.

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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Why is it "laugh out loud" material?


It was funny because the argument seemed to depend on an experiment carried out nearly one and a half centuries ago when the phonograph was invented (around 1870's) when it is perfectly possible that speakers did indeed sound like trombones or tubas. But technology has moved on since then so that that argument can only look like a joke, which I thought it was. It's like saying that photography is innately flawed because exposure times take so long that faces never look natural in photos (which was often the case with Victorian portraits for that reason). But this argument doesn't make any sense today.

The issue of dimension in sound, I agree, has yet to be resolved and attempts with biaural, surround sound and stereo+ continue to be made. But I think that's a separate problem from sound quality which is what the trombone argument seemed to be based on.


it made me giggle from another POV, perhaps my imagination is going wild grin .. but, the end of a trombone, it's actually shaped somewhat like a speaker cone. Put your ear close to one the sensation isn't that different to putting your ear close up against a speaker cone in terms of sound projection ... I suppose, more of a closer approximation how a piano projects sound.


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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Why is it "laugh out loud" material?


It was funny because the argument seemed to depend on an experiment carried out nearly one and a half centuries ago when the phonograph was invented (around 1870's) when it is perfectly possible that speakers did indeed sound like trombones or tubas. But technology has moved on since then so that that argument can only look like a joke, which I thought it was. It's like saying that photography is innately flawed because exposure times take so long that faces never look natural in photos (which was often the case with Victorian portraits for that reason). But this argument doesn't make any sense today.

The issue of dimension in sound, I agree, has yet to be resolved and attempts with biaural, surround sound and stereo+ continue to be made. But I think that's a separate problem from sound quality which is what the trombone argument seemed to be based on.


well, it seems funny, but I wasn't joking smile. In fact the Edison phonographs had more metal in the horn, but the conical shape is still there in today's speakers. And that's why I think a digital piano sounds better through the earphones: because the conical shape basically disappear.

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Yamaha once made speakers in the shape of an ear and published this absurd advertisement.

"Either we're right about the shape of our speakers, or you're wearing the wrong kind of ears."

http://s1102.photobucket.com/user/frommerstop/media/Audio/Yamaha_zpsb7931735.jpg.html

There are actually some sound (pun intended) technical reasons for creating a non-symmetrical shaped diaphragm (to reduce or distribute cone resonance modes) although that's more than counter-balanced by other side-effects. But there are no logical reasons for the sound transducer to mimic the shape of the device capturing the sound waves (the ear). These speakers were quite poor and huge flops. They didn't last long and engineers like myself have never forgotten these ads. But the speakers can still be found in some collections of absurd and weird audio ideas.



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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Why is it "laugh out loud" material? I find reasoning behind what he describes. Speakers project sound in a specific way and while they will recreate faithfully all frequencies of the original record, they won't exactly recreate the original sound field. As an example, in an orchestra you have many instruments located in various places producing a sound field which when replayed through stereo speakers is only an approximation. You'd need surround system in order to recreate the feeling of the original instrument locations. Same with the piano - when playing one, the sound is coming from the soundboard which is a huge wooden frame, not just few points (speakers). You might be able to recreate the same "sound field" through speakers but that doesn't seem like an easy task, having in mind the sampled pianos already include the soundboard and cabinet resonances which are replayed in another cabinet. That's why some pianos include transducers and soundboard, although I am skeptical about real advantage if replaying just samples. The best way is for the transducer to generate vibrations as coming from bare strings and frame. Maybe modeling will help.


Recreating the same sound field that a grand piano would create in the same room, EVERYWHERE in that room, from a system of speakers is indeed a challenge. That is why I separated that aspect of the audio system design (dispersion characteristics) from the frequency response, efficiency, sound levels, distortion parameters etc, that need to be as linear as possible to accurately recreate the piano's timbre at realistic sound pressure levels. I'll quote what I said previously on that subject:

"Emulating the acoustic dispersion characteristics of a grand piano to produce an equivalent sound field everywhere in a particular room is certainly a challenge, virtually insurmountable from any slab or console form factor. Digital pianos with multiple speaker drivers in a grand piano case have a distinct advantage in emulating acoustic piano dispersion characteristics. But independent multiple-channel speaker systems with room correction can be used to optimize multiple listening positions. Optimizing for a single position (the players position for instance) is far less difficult."

You can think of this as somewhat similar to designing a high-end hi-fi system to reproduce the sound of a piano at one seat in a room. We have been doing that for years with significant success subject to personal subjective preferences and opinions. As we try to expand the optimum listening position to more seats in the room the problem becomes more difficult, arguably requiring additional source channels, room correction, audio processing, etc. But trying to walk around to ANY position in the room and still maintain a convincing audio image of the piano becomes impractical because of the varied directional dispersion pattern of the piano and room boundary issues. But once again, these are not speaker limitations.





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I guess this begs the question, Macy.

In your experience, what has resulted in the (in your opinion) best-sounding speakers for reproducing piano sounds? What do you use when you play at home and don't don the headphones on?


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Originally Posted by pold
well, it seems funny, but I wasn't joking smile. In fact the Edison phonographs had more metal in the horn, but the conical shape is still there in today's speakers. And that's why I think a digital piano sounds better through the earphones: because the conical shape basically disappear.


Maybe, but it sounds like the doctrine of signatures to me.

Quote

The botanist William Coles (1626–1662) supposed that God had made 'Herbes for the use of men, and hath given them particular Signatures, whereby a man may read ... the use of them.'[1] hColes's The Art of Simpling and Adam in Eden, stated that walnuts were good for curing head ailments because in his opinion, "they Have the perfect Signatures of the Head". Regarding Hypericum, he wrote, "The little holes whereof the leaves of Saint Johns wort are full, doe resemble all the pores of the skin and therefore it is profitable for all hurts and wounds that can happen thereunto."


...sometimes, these ideas turn out to be right, up to a point. Who knows? But it's a funny old world.


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well, it seems funny, but I wasn't joking smile. In fact the Edison phonographs had more metal in the horn, but the conical shape is still there in today's speakers. And that's why I think a digital piano sounds better through the earphones: because the conical shape basically disappear.


Magnapan flat speakers

MartinLogan Flatpanel speakers

There are many, many others. There are also transducers that can turn your walls or any flat surface into a speaker.

[Linked Image]

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Originally Posted by Kbeaumont
Magnapan flat speakers

MartinLogan Flatpanel speakers

There are many, many others. There are also transducers that can turn your walls or any flat surface into a speaker.

[Linked Image]

OK but how do they SOUND?

Also, those types of speakers always require a LOT of power! I'd say a solid clean 150W at 4 ohms at least. Most amps can't deliver that.


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Yes - and you've had these from Quad since 1957.
http://www.quad-hifi.co.uk/product.php?cid=5
Since the diaphragm is stretched across a large surface and is of very low mass, it is a plane rather than conical. If this is a higher-fi speaker than the common conical type, it's not necessarily because of its shape but because it's electrostatic rather than electromagnetic.


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Stay away from Hans Zimmer Piano. It is nothing but a rip off. Unplayable.

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Originally Posted by farao
Stay away from Hans Zimmer Piano. It is nothing but a rip off. Unplayable.


It seemed to get a favorable review at Keyboard. Im curious as to why you find it to be a rip off and unplayable? Im only asking because I'm slowly entering the world of VST pianos and enjoying it so far. Im always looking for suggestions and detailed reviews.

http://www.keyboardmag.com/gear/1183/review-spitfire-audio-hans-zimmer-piano/57493



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Don't trust magazine reviews paid for by advertising.
Have you ever read a bad review in such a magazine?

From that linked article:
Quote
Hans Zimmer piano is as inspiring to play as it is technically and sonically flawless.
Meaningless drivel.

Quote
The inevitable question: But is it an Ivory killer? I’d say no more than a Bugatti Veyron (to which Spitfire’s marketing likens it) is what you drive instead of a Tesla Model S.
More meaningless drivel.

Whether it's a keyboard mag or an auto mag or a home audio mag or any other "review" mag ... it's always the same. Pure BS.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Don't trust magazine reviews paid for by advertising.
Have you ever read a bad review in such a magazine?


Mac, You are right. I really should know better:

http://www.keyboardmag.com/gear/1183/review-williams-allegro-2/55063



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