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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: TheodorN] #2678985
10/01/17 09:10 AM
10/01/17 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by TheodorN
As I assume everybody here knows, Pianoteq is modelled, or calculated, not sampled. Which obviously means no microphones were used in recording the pianos, simply because they weren't recorded, or were they?

Pretty sure the modelled instruments are sampled, then these data (frequency strengths relating to different vibration modes etc) are used as the basis for the model. I vaguely remember there being acknowledgements for the guys who did the sampling for Pianoteq somewhere.


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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2678986
10/01/17 09:11 AM
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johnlewisgrant said:

"Someone recently said that playing PT is a whole lot nicer than listening to it . . . "That's the ESSENTIAL point!
Many, perhaps most, piano vsts are made to be PLAYED. A small number are made primarily to be LISTENED TO, and often they are awful to play.


Could you give an example of two of a VSTi (or other digital piano) which is great to listen to, great to record but not so pleasant to play?

Last edited by toddy; 10/01/17 09:20 AM.

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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: toddy] #2678988
10/01/17 09:22 AM
10/01/17 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by toddy


Could you give an example of two of a VSTi (or other digital piano) which is great to listen to, great to record but not so pleasant to play?


The Imperfect Samples pianos maybe, or the Art Vista pianos.
Gorgeous sound but I read bad reviews about their playability.
Nobody seems to play them here although their sound is marvellous.

Last edited by stamkorg; 10/01/17 09:27 AM.
Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2678990
10/01/17 09:35 AM
10/01/17 09:35 AM
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^ exactly my thoughts, Imperfect Samples.

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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Beakybird] #2678993
10/01/17 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Beakybird

What always surprises me is when people recommend the high-end speakers/headphones to be used with Pianoteq. My thoughts are that the better the audio - the clearer you hear the modelling artifacts; at the same time on a bad speakers it sounds and feel, well, like the real one. I mean not like playing the real piano, but like "playing as listening to a recording" through a not so good speakers. Like the sound of archive recordings of early 20-the century pianists.

Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: stamkorg] #2678994
10/01/17 09:49 AM
10/01/17 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by stamkorg
Originally Posted by Andrei Kuznetsov


I encourage you to get a Std. version. Then a) set the Dynamics slider to at least 60 dB.



With respect, I disagree.
By setting the Dynamics to 60dB, you make Pianoteq too easy in playing ppp. The feeling is totally unreal and the dynamic range is too high.

For me, in a player's perspective, if the keyboard sensitivity is well calibrated, the dynamic slider should be somewhere between 37 and 42.




My thoughts exactly. I find a dynamic range of 35-40 to be realistic. The same with the CFX. On acoustics, even the quietest notes are heard quite clearly and loud enough. Values louder than that feel unrealistic to me. I've see people setting the CFX to 70-80 but maybe it was just for recording purposes. I don't see how it could be played and still feel like an acoustic with this setting.

Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: mcoll] #2678996
10/01/17 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mcoll
Originally Posted by stamkorg
Originally Posted by Andrei Kuznetsov


I encourage you to get a Std. version. Then a) set the Dynamics slider to at least 60 dB.



With respect, I disagree.
By setting the Dynamics to 60dB, you make Pianoteq too easy in playing ppp. The feeling is totally unreal and the dynamic range is too high.

For me, in a player's perspective, if the keyboard sensitivity is well calibrated, the dynamic slider should be somewhere between 37 and 42.




My thoughts exactly. I find a dynamic range of 35-40 to be realistic. The same with the CFX. On acoustics, even the quietest notes are heard quite clearly and loud enough. Values louder than that feel unrealistic to me. I've see people setting the CFX to 70-80 but maybe it was just for recording purposes. I don't see how it could be played and still feel like an acoustic with this setting.


On Pianoteq the setting is for dB, on the CFX is % of the original sample amplitudes, so it could be argued that 100% is actually the acoustically realistic setting for the CFX (certainly not for Pianoteq, though). In practice, it is heavily dependent on the velocity curve, the instrument used and the sound production equipment (i.e. speakers, headphones, amps), so I'm not sure any general recommendation can really be applied to anyone. I can easily manipulate the velocity curve to make 30% or 80% in the CFX feel equally like an acoustic.


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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2678998
10/01/17 09:59 AM
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^ if you compare it to an average home piano then yes, you are right. But the top class grands often have a huge dynamic response.

Last edited by Andrei Kuznetsov; 10/01/17 10:03 AM.
Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: lolatu] #2679000
10/01/17 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by lolatu
Originally Posted by TheodorN
As I assume everybody here knows, Pianoteq is modelled, or calculated, not sampled. Which obviously means no microphones were used in recording the pianos, simply because they weren't recorded, or were they?

Pretty sure the modelled instruments are sampled, then these data (frequency strengths relating to different vibration modes etc) are used as the basis for the model. I vaguely remember there being acknowledgements for the guys who did the sampling for Pianoteq somewhere.


Modartt understandably keep this information locked away for commercial confidentiality reasons, but there's pretty good evidence that they actually do both. Their description of their basic piano models is that they use the physical characteristics of the actual instrument, i.e. string length, soundboard width etc.. in order to produce the distinct sound of each instrument, and there is no mention of sampling or optimisation. Furthermore, at least one of the instruments (the K2) is a purely virtual invention; there is no physical model in existence to sample. That's the evidence for a purely modelling approach.

On the other hand, with the KIViR instruments they explicitly acknowledge that the sound of missing notes is produced through numerical optimisation of tunable parameters based on recordings of other notes, so in that case sampling definitely plays a role as well. So they seem to use both approaches.

Last edited by karvala; 10/01/17 10:04 AM.

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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Andrei Kuznetsov] #2679003
10/01/17 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrei Kuznetsov
^ exactly my thoughts, Imperfect Samples.


Ditto on Imperfect and Ars Vista (both of which I own, but don't actually use much).

I might add Orchestral Tools Steinway D (not the B) the expensive Vienna Bos (forget the brand), HZP Steinway... all of which might be called "scoring" vsts, mainly because they focus on sound, not on playability.

I don't own the Vienna Bos, but the other two I DO own, and with my somewhat dated computer and interface they are impossible to play. But they can be made to sound incredibly "realistic" (hard to distinguish from your average post 80's professional solo piano recording) in a pretty wide spectrum of solo piano rep.

For my money, the much-maligned and overpriced HZP Steinway is pretty amazing with the right massaging for CLASSICAL music. But a lot of that is personal taste.

Take this little ditty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR9oWeWklAQ&index=23&list=PLP5BZzcdRkq0zO0dfrE3ZIGMcQTQQ9XTj

But there's quite a bit of relativity in these sort of assessments. Pick ANY vst out there, and with the right massaging, the right music, the right verb, the right musicianship, etc., you can produce something pretty darn close to a "real" recording (circa 1940, '50, '60 and on).

It's a question of how much work (endless fussing) with the sample and the midi file you're prepared to do.

Obviously the power of your rack matters, alot. The Production Voices full version Yamaha will play, but only with a very up-to-date rack. And the sound is very Yamaha, so not necessarily what your ears would be accustomed to hearing for classical rep. Ditto, I expect, with the CFX Yamaha, the demos for which are pretty convincing to my ears.

Many variables here. Many dollars, too. No question, though, that Pianoteq is incredibly playable, but it wouldn't be my first choice (personally) if my main purpose were to record.

Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: johnlewisgrant] #2679101
10/01/17 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
HZP Steinway... all of which might be called "scoring" vsts, mainly because they focus on sound, not on playability.

I don't own the Vienna Bos, but the other two I DO own, and with my somewhat dated computer and interface they are impossible to play. But they can be made to sound incredibly "realistic" (hard to distinguish from your average post 80's professional solo piano recording) in a pretty wide spectrum of solo piano rep.

For my money, the much-maligned and overpriced HZP Steinway is pretty amazing with the right massaging for CLASSICAL music. But a lot of that is personal taste.


Did you ever find a work around for the issue that HZP has? When you use the pedal after pressing down notes, there will be a drop in volume or a loss of 'sound thickness'. Several people wrote about it in the forums, I can't find a particular thread about it though.
The Bach piece you linked doesn't use any pedal at all. I would imagine if you use HZP mostly for Baroque music that doesn't need any pedaling then you wouldn't encounter that issue at all. I'd be interested what you think about this problem, if you encountered it yourself and if you found a way to improve it.

Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Grazilerimba] #2679136
10/01/17 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Grazilerimba
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
HZP Steinway... all of which might be called "scoring" vsts, mainly because they focus on sound, not on playability.

I don't own the Vienna Bos, but the other two I DO own, and with my somewhat dated computer and interface they are impossible to play. But they can be made to sound incredibly "realistic" (hard to distinguish from your average post 80's professional solo piano recording) in a pretty wide spectrum of solo piano rep.

For my money, the much-maligned and overpriced HZP Steinway is pretty amazing with the right massaging for CLASSICAL music. But a lot of that is personal taste.


Did you ever find a work around for the issue that HZP has? When you use the pedal after pressing down notes, there will be a drop in volume or a loss of 'sound thickness'. Several people wrote about it in the forums, I can't find a particular thread about it though.
The Bach piece you linked doesn't use any pedal at all. I would imagine if you use HZP mostly for Baroque music that doesn't need any pedaling then you wouldn't encounter that issue at all. I'd be interested what you think about this problem, if you encountered it yourself and if you found a way to improve it.


No work around that I've managed to find. And, as you say, that's exactly why baroque works, but romantic rep is more challenging.

Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679157
10/02/17 12:26 AM
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I've got addictive keys studio grand as a freebie with novaton controller... any idea about it? Worth installing?


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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: oscar1] #2679185
10/02/17 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by oscar1
I've got addictive keys studio grand as a freebie with novaton controller... any idea about it? Worth installing?


Addictive Keys is frustrating because it is potentially a very useful product totally ruined by the complete absence of any partial pedal or repedal support = useless for serious classical repertoire. XLN have been told about this countless times by people, but classical pianists are not their target audience and they just don't care. It's frustrating because the instrument itself is okay (not great), and very well sampled (even across the board, reasonable interpolation across velocity layers), and with the variety of mic perspectives, the sound can be quite well customised. It will never sound quite as nice as a properly sampled instrument intended for classical use (such as those that John mentions, and of course the Garritan CFX), but as the vast majority of piano VSTis are very poorly sampled (uneven sampling, poor velocity interpolation, individual notes popping out, instrument not tuned properly, only ambient mic perspectives, poor post-processing etc.; the list of screw-ups is endless), then it would still be one of the leading contenders just for not messing things up. But the lack of pedal support sadly cancels that out entirely.

If you have it for free, it's not a difficult or long install, so you might try it just to play around with the different sound options. Just don't expect to able to play classical repertoire with it.

Last edited by karvala; 10/02/17 06:32 AM.

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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: karvala] #2679194
10/02/17 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by karvala

Addictive Keys is frustrating because it is potentially a very useful product totally ruined by the complete absence of any partial pedal or repedal support = useless for serious classical repertoire.....

........ so you might try it just to play around with the different sound options. Just don't expect to able to play classical repertoire with it.


Not everyone would be so categorical about the necessity of half pedalling and repedalling though all would agree they are important.

The video here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u1EfMdbwxtM
....is serious and classical to the highest degree I'd say but I don't think the software used had those features. Someone will correct me if it did.

Last edited by toddy; 10/02/17 08:22 AM.

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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679200
10/02/17 09:10 AM
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I have a great respect for Philip and his abilities but I think he is not representative for piano software usability. It is known that he doesn't play through the VST sound and instead uses his AvantGrand sound for monitoring when recording his videos. He uses VST-s only to export the sound at a later point, for the sole purpose of obtaining high quality studio piano sound, which is usually the great advantage of sampled libraries. Furthermore, his videos are mostly dedicated as a show-off for his abilities and as a result are mostly virtuoso repertoire and very rarely lyrical pieces that are what requires half-pedaling. So, with all due respect but the fact a gifted virtuoso player can create stunning recordings using a toy piano doesn't mean we don't need good piano emulations smile


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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679202
10/02/17 09:20 AM
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As usual you make excellent points, indeed, cybergene., and I did say in the post above that these pedal features were important - just not perhaps essential.

Also, you could argue that both half pedalling and repedalling are undesigned and originally unwanted artifacts of the acoustic piano mechanism. If the were starting out from scratch, they might not be part of the apparatus at all.......just a thought. And not to deny their usefulness and desirability.

the fact a gifted virtuoso player can create stunning recordings using a toy piano

LOL. Sir (or madam), you go too far. wink

Last edited by toddy; 10/02/17 09:24 AM.

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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679203
10/02/17 09:24 AM
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OK, my apologies, that was a "lost in translation" situation but with that quote I didn't refer to Philip and any particular hardware/software piano at all laugh It was just a hypothetical situation: imagine a virtuoso who's able to create fantastic recordings using an imaginary toy piano. That wouldn't mean we all should be OK with whatever rubbish piano we complain about laugh


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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679204
10/02/17 09:26 AM
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.....I think we're broadly in agreement. smile


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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679205
10/02/17 09:30 AM
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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: toddy] #2679214
10/02/17 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by toddy
As usual you make excellent points, indeed, cybergene., and I did say in the post above that these pedal features were important - just not perhaps essential.


Well it's certainly repertoire and style dependent, I'd agree with that at least. Glenn Gould, to take an extreme example, I'm sure would have been quite happy playing Bach without a half-pedaling or re-pedaling available, and I would generally be okay with that and indeed have actually used the AK Studio Grand for playing Bach sometimes. On the other hand, there are quite a few 19th and 20th century works that I couldn't imagine playing without those pedal effects available, and indeed when I try it sounds pretty bad. Of course, partly that's just because I've learned those pieces, and more generally that style, with those pedal techniques available, and perhaps it would be possible to re-learn some pieces without using them, but I think it would be to the detriment of the music in many cases, and in all cases detrimental to my time. I'd rather have something that matches the instrument we currently have as far as possible.

Originally Posted by toddy

Also, you could argue that both half pedalling and repedalling are undesigned and originally unwanted artifacts of the acoustic piano mechanism. If the were starting out from scratch, they might not be part of the apparatus at all.......just a thought. And not to deny their usefulness and desirability.


Historical piano performance and the instrument is a whole can of worms that we'd best not open, but it's always worth remembering that the instrument we play on now (unless you're lucky enough to own a historical instrument) is not the instrument 18th and 19th century music was written for, and so we must offer our modern interpretations in that context using all facilities available to us. That's a whole area of debate and differing opinions, though, which is why I'm not really going there. ;-) Look at the debate around Chopin's tempo markings and his pianos to give one specific example.


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Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: CyberGene] #2679215
10/02/17 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene


Oh my goodness, that was just too funny. laugh And he's so good on it too; very even and accurate for the size of the keys!

N.B. Almost the funniest thing was going to the Korg Tiny Piano website afterwards and seeing the LP-380 listed under "Related Products". I think Korg are trying to tell us something....:)

Last edited by karvala; 10/02/17 10:22 AM.

Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: toddy] #2679217
10/02/17 10:27 AM
10/02/17 10:27 AM
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dire tonic Offline
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Originally Posted by toddy
Not everyone would be so categorical about the necessity of half pedalling and repedalling though all would agree they are important.

All? Not me, chum. Ok, so I'm a dabbler where classical is concerned, but there's a very long queue of technical difficulties for me to overcome before I'll start to worry about pedalling refinements, and there's plenty of repertoire that can be played well without them.

Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679224
10/02/17 10:58 AM
10/02/17 10:58 AM
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johnlewisgrant Offline
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"Furthermore, his videos are mostly dedicated as a show-off for his abilities and as a result are mostly virtuoso repertoire and very rarely lyrical pieces that are what requires half-pedaling. So, with all due respect but the fact a gifted virtuoso player can create stunning recordings using a toy piano doesn't mean we don't need good piano emulations smile"

That Etude Tableaux recording doesn't sound like a "real" piano at all, to me; yet it's technically excellent and more important.... musically interesting. Good illustration of that fact that the realism of the vst isn't even what might be called a "necessary condition" of making music, and certainly not of practising at the piano. Like many or most of us here, I grew up playing on a horrific piano. The worst modern electronic keyboard would have been vastly better in every way. But I used my imagination; and my ear accommodated.

That's why Pianoteq is appealing. It's super-responsive and (from my limited experience of it) an excellent alternative to a real piano, even though to my ears, it doesn't sound much like a real piano.

What I would like to see is a vst that has accurate pedaling, is playable, AND can yield recordings that are at least as convincing as what I can get from the HZP.

I wouldn't be surprised if HZP, with enough "post-playing-midi-editing" could do a reasonably convincing Chopin Nocturne, even in the absence of realistic pedaling; but it's a lot of work, and who can really be bothered?

The higher end Yamaha VSTs (CFX and Prod Voices come to mind) appear to have made progress on the pedaling front, but nothing on the Steinway front.

Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: dire tonic] #2679226
10/02/17 11:02 AM
10/02/17 11:02 AM
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toddy Offline
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Originally Posted by dire tonic

All? Not me, chum.


OK. Instead of 'all', I should have said 'many of those concerned with learning and playing the piano repertoire of music in the European tradition, especially from the mid 19th to early 20th century'

Thanks for pointing that out smile

Last edited by toddy; 10/02/17 11:03 AM.

Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / Native Instruments K9 ult / ESQL MOR2 Symph Orchestra & Choirs / Lucato & Parravicini , trumpets & saxes / Garritan CFX lite / Production Voices C7 & Steinway D compact

Focusrite Saffire 24 / W7, i7 4770, 16GB / MXL V67g / Yamaha HS7s / HD598
Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679231
10/02/17 11:12 AM
10/02/17 11:12 AM
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CyberGene Online content
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I'm wondering if Pianoteq deficiencies in timbre are due to CPU limitations and the need for real-time playback. If so, how about offline rendering engine that won't compromise on anything and will take its time (even a day, why not?) to render a recording that's indistinguishable from the real thing and would match sampled libraries in realism.


Soundcloud Profile - solo piano compositions, arrangements, reharms
Currently: Kawai ES7 -> Garritan CFX
Previously: Kawai MP6, Kawai CA63, Roland RD-700SX, Roland FP-5, Yamaha P90, Korg SP-200, Casio CDP-100
Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: Pete14] #2679233
10/02/17 11:16 AM
10/02/17 11:16 AM
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toddy Offline
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Just to clarify for people who might not have been following the whole partial pedalling VST saga (sensible people smile )

The VST you hear in the video by Philip Johnston above is a Garritan Yamaha CFX. On its release, it did not support half pedalling and repedalling. But NOW CFX DOES SUPPORT REPEDALLING AND HALF PEDALLING. According to accounts here, it does these functions well.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / Native Instruments K9 ult / ESQL MOR2 Symph Orchestra & Choirs / Lucato & Parravicini , trumpets & saxes / Garritan CFX lite / Production Voices C7 & Steinway D compact

Focusrite Saffire 24 / W7, i7 4770, 16GB / MXL V67g / Yamaha HS7s / HD598
Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: CyberGene] #2679234
10/02/17 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I'm wondering if Pianoteq deficiencies in timbre are due to CPU limitations and the need for real-time playback. If so, how about offline rendering engine that won't compromise on anything and will take its time (even a day, why not?) to render a recording that's indistinguishable from the real thing and would match sampled libraries in realism.


No reason why not. But is there a market?

Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: toddy] #2679239
10/02/17 11:35 AM
10/02/17 11:35 AM
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CyberGene Online content
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Originally Posted by toddy
Just to clarify for people who might not have been following the whole partial pedalling VST saga (sensible people smile )

The VST you hear in the video by Philip Johnston above is a Garritan Yamaha CFX. On its release, it did not support half pedalling and repedalling. But NOW CFX DOES SUPPORT REPEDALLING AND HALF PEDALLING. According to accounts here, it does these functions well.


Yep, and he even used the latest release with support for half-pedaling to record the Chopin's Ballade No.1 stating that this is a piece that can't be played without that. I fully agree because I play that Ballade too (enviously not as well as him) and I'd say almost all of Chopin's music actually requires half-pedaling.


Soundcloud Profile - solo piano compositions, arrangements, reharms
Currently: Kawai ES7 -> Garritan CFX
Previously: Kawai MP6, Kawai CA63, Roland RD-700SX, Roland FP-5, Yamaha P90, Korg SP-200, Casio CDP-100
Re: Pianoteq 6! [Re: johnlewisgrant] #2679245
10/02/17 12:00 PM
10/02/17 12:00 PM
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karvala Offline
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Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant

What I would like to see is a vst that has accurate pedaling, is playable, AND can yield recordings that are at least as convincing as what I can get from the HZP.

I wouldn't be surprised if HZP, with enough "post-playing-midi-editing" could do a reasonably convincing Chopin Nocturne, even in the absence of realistic pedaling; but it's a lot of work, and who can really be bothered?

The higher end Yamaha VSTs (CFX and Prod Voices come to mind) appear to have made progress on the pedaling front, but nothing on the Steinway front.



I would say the Garritan CFX is pretty close to fulfilling your first request. It's certainly highly playable (arguably not quite as much as Pianoteq, but there's really not much in it if it's properly configured), produces a great sound on recordings (for both an ambient style like the HZP, and a closer style, depending on your preference), and with CyberGene's fix, has fairly good pedaling.

I agree nothing on the Steinway front, sadly, but the acoustic CFX (and as captured in the Garritan library) is much warmer than Yamaha's usual fare anyway; to me, it's closer to a Steinway sound than it is to something like a C7. But perhaps my memory is playing tricks on me....


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
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