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Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695189
12/07/17 08:22 PM
12/07/17 08:22 PM
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Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline OP
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I’d gladly share the MIDI file but there actually isn’t one because GarageBand can’t export MIDI files frown I remember that once I managed to do it using an external program that presents itself as audio unit to GarageBand and can catch the MIDI data and save it. I’ll see what I can do. Or I can just re-record it on my ES7 smile And of course I can notate the chords if you’re interested?


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
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Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695191
12/07/17 08:34 PM
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You can re-record on your ES7. And could you kindly share your CFX settings so I can mimic what you are doing?


Youtube piano recordings (classical music/video games/anime): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9N3Xirs86USDQXE1WiwXg
Kawai Novus NV-10 / Yamaha Avantgrand N1 with Garritan CFX VST
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695234
12/07/17 11:30 PM
12/07/17 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
And of course I can notate the chords if you’re interested?
I'm interested!

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695236
12/07/17 11:41 PM
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I took the two versions and created spectrums for the entire song. The CFX has a lot of noise in the samples versus most other libraries including Vintage D which are quite clean. This has always been a problem with the CFX samples. It has nothing to do with Garageband. The noise tracks with the volume of the sample. I see the same issue when I record with the CFX which is why I don't use it. I played with the weighting to enhance the visualization, so ignore the top half of the images.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Last edited by bsntn99; 12/08/17 12:28 AM.
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: bsntn99] #2695298
12/08/17 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bsntn99
...CFX has a lot of noise in the samples versus most other libraries...

Were you using CFX full or Lite?
Thank you


[Kawai VPC1/ES100 - VSTs: Garritan CFX, VILabs Italian Grand, Ravenscroft 275 | Pianoteq 6 Standard: Steingraeber E-272, Bluethner - Ableton Live 9 Lite, Tascam US2x2, Mackie BIG KNOB, SMSL HP-AMP, Schiit Fulla 2 - Sennheiser HD700 / Sony MDRV6 - Presonus E5+T10, iloud micro monitors]
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695300
12/08/17 08:32 AM
12/08/17 08:32 AM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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There shouldn't be a difference between full and lite. The Lite version has only the close perspective with no distant microphones, but other than that these are exactly the same samples and engine, they aren't lower quality ones.

Last edited by CyberGene; 12/08/17 08:32 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695308
12/08/17 09:45 AM
12/08/17 09:45 AM
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Garritan CFX (full) was recorded from three perspectives, close, contemporary, and player. In each case there were two microphone pairs used, close and ambient, the latter presumably farther away from the piano to capture the room sound of Abbey Road Studio. Actually there were three pairs used for the close perspective, two for the close section, and one for the ambient part. The Lite version uses only the two close microphone pairs from the close perspective, which means muting the ambient pair in the full version, the close perspective, is basically the Lite version.

Is there any indication that this fault you and a few others, have found with the Garritan CFX, is linked to the sampling engine, and sound processing, and is therefore bound to be found in all the microphone perspectives? As far as I see it, it can't be overruled, that the noise was introduced in the recording for the close perspective only. At least, while we don't know if the noise was introduced in the processing, we can't tell if there is any difference between CFX Lite, and CFX full version, what this noise is concerned.


My YouTube channel

Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX. Prod. Voices: Grand 2 Gold, Concert Grand Compact, Est. Grand, Studio Grand LE. NI Giant. Galaxy II Blüthner Baby Grand. AcousticSamples C7. AK Studio Grand. Sampletekk Black. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695320
12/08/17 10:30 AM
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I second what TheodorN just said and therefore we would know for sure only if one of us could do what bsntn99 did but with one set of CFX and another one with CFX Lite.
Anyone?


[Kawai VPC1/ES100 - VSTs: Garritan CFX, VILabs Italian Grand, Ravenscroft 275 | Pianoteq 6 Standard: Steingraeber E-272, Bluethner - Ableton Live 9 Lite, Tascam US2x2, Mackie BIG KNOB, SMSL HP-AMP, Schiit Fulla 2 - Sennheiser HD700 / Sony MDRV6 - Presonus E5+T10, iloud micro monitors]
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695341
12/08/17 12:30 PM
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Could it be that the "noise" some are hearing is just a natural result of recording a piano...?

And that on the D (and others) that "noise" was taken out during post processing - and that is why the D has a slightly "duller"/"muted" sound?


Looking to purchase: Kawai MP(12), or Kawai VPC(2), or something Yamaha...
Current: Yamaha Synthesizer
Previous: Kawai CP205, Kawai CP207, Yamaha Synthesizers
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695343
12/08/17 12:37 PM
12/08/17 12:37 PM
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If I can get recordings from the other mic perspectives, I can look at the noise profile, but the close mics are the primary ones. Note I only have the Lite version. I just found out recently that Garritan used blended mics in their recording to get a particular sound versus most other libraries use one mic pair per position. Stacking mic sets can increase the noise floor and also introduce time/phase issues. This may be why there is some subtle blurriness in the sound.

Also, I don't think they recorded near 0 db and recorded at a low level so that when they normalized the samples, the noise floor increased significantly. It really jumps out listening to this with a pair of good headphones. Great programming, but poorly recorded technically. Even if the other mic sets are clean, would you want to only use those and not the close mics. As I said before, probably ok for playing, but not suitable for piano focused recording.

Last edited by bsntn99; 12/08/17 12:37 PM.
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: bsntn99] #2695365
12/08/17 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bsntn99
As I said before, probably ok for playing, but not suitable for piano focused recording.


Which seems very odd, since that is pretty much Abbey Road's "wheelhouse".


Looking to purchase: Kawai MP(12), or Kawai VPC(2), or something Yamaha...
Current: Yamaha Synthesizer
Previous: Kawai CP205, Kawai CP207, Yamaha Synthesizers
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695369
12/08/17 02:14 PM
12/08/17 02:14 PM
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When listening to your files the Vintage D does indeed sound clearer, actually I own both and I DO like the CFX more. However, in my opinion, on default settings it sounds muffled

For comparison I took a MIDI file from the internet (credits and made a comparison between CFX lite and CFX full (default and edited settings to achieve a clearer sound)

Schubert impromptu op90no3,
Garritan CFX lite (simulated in the full version by disabling the ambient mics)
Garritan CFX full (default settings)
Garritan CFX custom settings (can post them later if needed)

I hear a big difference between lite and full (the latter being much richer in sound) however the sound can be edited to be a little more clearer.
However I do not think this completely solves your issue of background noise/hissing (which i do not seem to hear clearly on speakers or my DT990's)


Kawai VPC1 - Garritan CFX
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695381
12/08/17 03:01 PM
12/08/17 03:01 PM
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Okay, I have some fast and dirty analysis for you. I don't have nearly enough time or interest to do this in a properly controlled way (i.e. controlled rendering and bit-matched files), but this is more than sufficient for the present purposes. It's worth noting that if you're interested in recording noise, then you're interested in power at frequencies across the entire recording, so it is generally much easier to quantify these in spectral plots than spectrograms, hence I've used the former.

First, the original examples from soundcloud. Comparing the CFX lite and the Vintage D versions, you can clearly see the substantially lower noise floor of the Vintage D. In particular, I have highlighted the region of noise you can hear on the CFX but not the Vintage D, which is very clear to see.

[Linked Image]

The drop at 16Khz looks suspicious, and I wondered if this was related to the file compression. In order to test that, and to compare the Vintage D with both the CFX Lite and the CFX Full in different scenarios, I created some simple wave files of an ascending and descending two-octave C-major scale (just one tone playing at a time), and an ascending and descending one-octave C major scale with chords.

First, using the scale sample, comparing the Vintage D with the CFX Lite under default settings, and the CFX Lite under minimal noise settings (which essentially means turning all the dials down, so short release decay, no sympathetic resonance etc.). It is apparent that the Vintage D is still lower noise, but these room samples and effects are adding to the noise floor, as I suspected in an earlier post. Fundamentally, you don't get room reverb without room noise. However, it is also clear there remains a noise differential even when everything is turned off.

[Linked Image]

Second, I compared the CFX Lite at default settings with the CFX Full on settings designed to imitate it (close mic only, classic perspective, all dials and settings the same). I also compared with the CFX classic perspective on default settings out of curiosity. The results are perhaps surprising. The CFX Lite and the CFX Full imitating the Lite show a similar noise level, not surprisingly. However, the CFX Full, i.e. with the ambient mic present as well, does have a lower noise floor. That's partly an amplitude artifact (sorry, no time to start normalising amplitudes), but it does seem to be more than that and if anything I would expect the opposite. That suggests to me that the close mic samples are noisier than the others. How useful that piece of information is remains to be seen. As someone pointed out, the choice of using the close mics or not is likely to be determined by something other than the presence of a very slightly higher level of background noise in one mic perspective. These are barely audible effects (as you can see from the power levels), so it's not worth getting too involved with it.

[Linked Image]

Next, just to satisfy myself that these results are not an artifact of the particular sample used, I did the same analyses with the chords sample, and the results all follow exactly the same pattern.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Finally, out of curiosity, I rendered the chords sample in a few different instruments using my standard settings, and the results (shown in full and zoomed in on high frequency noise) are interesting. The Ravenscroft comes looking pretty bad, and if you've ever played it, you might recognise that. The Yamaha C7s (Acoustic Samples and Production Grand Compact) are also looking pretty noisy, which makes sense to me. Pianoteq comes out best, not surprisingly since it's not samples so there is no sampling noise. The Grandeur, The Maverick, the TrueKeys German Grand are looking fairly clean, and for all the complaints, the Garritan CFX Full (default Classic perspective, which I suspect from playing is probably the noisiest of the three perspectives) is actually right in the middle of the pack. So there you have it.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


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: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695400
12/08/17 04:44 PM
12/08/17 04:44 PM
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One thing as you probably know, the noise floor we are talking about in the CFX is fixed and mainly affects the lower velocities where you have the lowest signal to noise ratio. Once you get into the mid and higher velocities, the piano sound begins to mask the noise.

As the piano samples are normalized to a standard level in libraries, normalization of the lower velocity samples means that they are amplified greatly as well as the noise floor. I like to compare these libraries using the lowest velocities in my playing or I look at the lowest velocity samples when I have access to these which I do for most of the libraries that have been discussed.

I don't doubt the other mic positions might have a lower noise floor. In the end comes down to your intended use for the library and how sensitive your ears are to whether this bothers you or not.

Last edited by bsntn99; 12/08/17 05:00 PM.
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695450
12/08/17 09:45 PM
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Karvala, that was a very interesting and informative read. Thanks a heap for taking the time to do that, very much appreciated.

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695500
12/09/17 04:44 AM
12/09/17 04:44 AM
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karvala, thank you very much for that analysis, I was very impressed and found it very enlightening! I just want to ask, maybe you've noticed - is the noise floor louder in low velocity samples than in louder ones or is it just an illusion?

Edit: and I just want to add that, for me as well, the choice of VST is least affected by this and is mainly influenced by playability (uniformity, dynamic range, how well pedalling works and resonances), followed by the way it sounds (timber) and the noise in the samples would have to be quite bad to deter me from a VST if the first two criteria are well met.

Last edited by mcoll; 12/09/17 04:52 AM.
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695504
12/09/17 05:27 AM
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It was the first thing I noticed after I installed Garritan CFX Lite. The volume of the headphones was all the way up and I played very softly. There it was! Noise. But I could only hear it at the start of the notes. However, if the volume is at normal listening levels and if you don't boost the volume of the soft notes with a compressor to create some kind of soft cinematic piano, then the noise really isn't that noticeable.

Having said that, it's the best virtual piano that I've heard so far. And I'm still contemplating the full version (if it was available as a 'download', I probably would have bought it already). I only hope that the noise in the other mic perspectives isn't worse, of course.

Is there anybody here that has the full version? I was wondering if the other perspectives from the complete library sound more 'closed-miked'? The perspective of the Lite version sounds a bit distant, especially compared to other virtual pianos.

Last edited by Alex C; 12/09/17 05:27 AM.
Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: CyberGene] #2695535
12/09/17 09:25 AM
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Thanks for the feedback everyone; much appreciated.

In terms of the noise source, there are many types of noise but fundamentally you can divide them into additive noise - where a fixed amount of noise is added regardless of signal amplitude - and multiplicative noise where it scales with the signal amplitude. Both are possible in audio sampling and in the context of creating a VST, additive noise would represent a noise baseline somewhere in the recording pipeline, and multiplicative noise would represent an effect of subsequent rescaling the amplitude of an entire source, including its noise.

To look at this in the Garritan CFX, I have taken my scale midi file and created two versions - one where the midi velocity of each note is 40 (this is normal quiet playing on most DPs for most players), and 80 (normal moderately loud playing on most DPs for most players; both loud and quiet velocities do vary quite a bit between players and instruments, however). What we see in the Garritan is almost entirely baseline noise; there is only a small component which scales with the amplitude. As such, when the noise is most evident in quiet playing, this is because the SNR is relatively lower, i.e. the noise is not actually higher in amplitude in the quiet samples, but it's not much lower either, whereas the signal of course is lower, so the noise makes up comparatively more of the total sound.

[Linked Image]

As you can below there is no noticeable different in the noise levels between the close and ambient mics in the Classic perspective, so I don't think the Classic close mic perspective (used in the CFX Lite) is especially afflicted in any way.

[Linked Image]

Comparing mic perspectives gave a somewhat surprising result to me. The Classic and Contemporary perspectives had broadly similar noise levels in their close and ambient mics, and the Player perspective close mic was also at that level. The Player perspective ambient mic, however, does seem to have a somewhat higher noise floor (see the zoomed in view as well). You can also see here the additive nature of the noise when both mics are turned on - the noise is essentially summing the noise of the two mics, so you do get a higher noise floor and lower SNR when both mics are used, so the Player perspective with both mics is also somewhat higher.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

I must say, these are all pretty low values and none of them personally bother me in playing at all, but how much you hear will depend on your setup. I use a custom-built O2 amplifier with a neutral and unusually low noise profile, which is good for detecting noise, but I also use Sennheiser HD650 headphones which actually mask noise quite well due to their frequency profile. HD600 make it slightly more audible, but AKG702 are what do bring it out more to me, though it's still at very low levels.


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: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: Alex C] #2695536
12/09/17 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Alex C
It was the first thing I noticed after I installed Garritan CFX Lite. The volume of the headphones was all the way up and I played very softly. There it was! Noise. But I could only hear it at the start of the notes. However, if the volume is at normal listening levels and if you don't boost the volume of the soft notes with a compressor to create some kind of soft cinematic piano, then the noise really isn't that noticeable.

Having said that, it's the best virtual piano that I've heard so far. And I'm still contemplating the full version (if it was available as a 'download', I probably would have bought it already). I only hope that the noise in the other mic perspectives isn't worse, of course.

Is there anybody here that has the full version? I was wondering if the other perspectives from the complete library sound more 'closed-miked'? The perspective of the Lite version sounds a bit distant, especially compared to other virtual pianos.


Yes, I have the full version. The noise in the other perspectives isn't worse (except for the Player perspective ambient mic, and that's not much worse), but it's also no better, so the Lite version is fairly indicative of noise generally. Note that noise is additive across mic perspectives, though, so combining ambient and close mics in the full version will increase the noise level slightly. It's not something that bothers me at all, but it does depend on individual set up and sensitivity, so that's an individual thing really.

Subjectively, I would say the Player perspective sounds slightly more 'closed-miked', but not a great deal. Certainly none of the perspectives to my ears reach the sense of closeness achieved by something like the Galaxy Vintage D.

There are really two different reasons for that. One is that the closeness really does depend on what types of mic were used and where they were located. I don't think that's the main reason here, though. The second reason is that you can manipulate a sense of distance through reverb, i.e. I can play with the reverb settings on the Galaxy Vintage D and to an extent make it sound a lot more distant by using convolution reverb based on a large room and a substantial pre-delay. Most instruments have room reverb actively EQ'd-out during in the sampling pipeline, so their default settings are quite close and dry and if you want reverb, it's added through a convolution reverb function. Garritan took the opposite approach in the CFX and deliberately kept room reverb in there, and left it turned up in their default settings too. The result is that even in close mic perspectives, you hear a lot of natural reverb in the Garritan CFX that makes it by far the most resonant piano VST out there, but consequently also rather distant sounding. You can make it closer by reducing the release decay and volume, but if you do so entirely it sounds very artificial, i.e. you can clearly hear samples just being turned off mid-sound. So with the CFX, you pretty much have to have some room reverb, and that will always the sense of closeness.

For what it's worth, if you're contemplating upgrading from the lite to the full version, I did that too. I had the lite version for a few months, which I liked, and I upgraded to the full version, and I don't regret it at all. Having the ambient mics really adds something, and I use the Player perspective probably more than the Classic perspective (don't use Contemporary much, but it's occasionally useful if I want a slightly dryer sound). It actually worked out cheaper buying the lite and then the upgrade than buying the full straight off anyway as it happened!


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: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite [Re: karvala] #2695542
12/09/17 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by karvala
Note that noise is additive across mic perspectives, though, so combining ambient and close mics in the full version will increase the noise level slightly.


Won't the doubling of noise be compensated for by the fact that, presumably, the signal is doubled in volume?


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

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by Coda9. 10/17/19 07:17 PM
"Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
by Gombessa. 10/17/19 12:30 PM
Impact Method....without Impact Hammer?
by Duaner. 10/17/19 12:04 PM
Yamaha AvantGrand N1X - Hands On Part Deux
by Gombessa. 10/17/19 11:55 AM
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