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#2705581 - Yesterday at 11:09 PM Virtual piano softwares and velocity curves  
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 49
lunobili Offline
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lunobili  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 49
I have a question about virtual piano softwares and velocity curves, but before asking let me give you some context regrading my question.

I have been learning piano for four years with a teacher right from the beginning. My piano is a four years old Roland DP90se. I have recently changed teacher. Lessons with my previous teacher were given on an upright acoustic piano and honestly I never felt a huge difference between my piano and the one at the music school, but lesson with the current teacher are given on a grand piano and I certainly feel the difference. I am not sure how to express the difference, but I would not think it is the action. It is more the "sensitivity" of the pianos. I find my digital piano way more forgiving than the grand piano. One example is a passage where a note played with my thumb on the grand piano definitely sounds uneven compared to the other notes in the passage, but playing on my digital the unevenness is way less pronounced. Another difference is the length of the sustain.

I installed the trial version of Pianoteq to see if I can get a "sensitivity" similar to the one of the grand piano, but I found that it heavily depends on the velocity curves. The problem I have with adjusting the velocity curves is that I do not want to adjust the way the piano plays to my playing style. I want to adjust my playing style to the way a proper piano plays, therefore, I would like to have some velocity curve that is right for my piano and than adapt myself to it. I followed the setting wizard in Pianoteq, but it feels like it is adapting the software to my touch (or lack of it) rather than adapting the software to the MIDI response of the piano.

Finally, here is the question. Am I correct to assume that every virtual piano software will need some sort of calibration to adapt to the response of the MIDI controller? Is there any virtual piano software that "plays right" out of the box so that if it does not sound right I know it is my technique and not some miss-configuration?

I hope the question is clear.


Last edited by lunobili; Yesterday at 11:37 PM.

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#2705608 - 6 hours ago Re: Virtual piano softwares and velocity curves [Re: lunobili]  
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 446
Osho Offline
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Osho  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 446
Portland, OR, USA
Originally Posted by lunobili
Finally, here is the question. Am I correct to assume that every virtual piano software will need some sort of calibration to adapt to the response of the MIDI controller?

I am not a VST and veolocity curve expert - but for both the VSTs that I use regularly (Pianoteq 6 and Garritan CFX) with Kawai CA-67 - I leave the software at the default normal velocity curve. After a few weeks - I find that to be just the 'right' setting - perhaps I got used to that and changed my habit or my ears got used to it - but either way, I don't feel the need to play with velocity curves any more.

Originally Posted by lunobili
Is there any virtual piano software that "plays right" out of the box so that if it does not sound right I know it is my technique and not some miss-configuration?

This is a very subjective question as 'plays right' may mean different things to different people. Both the above VSTs sound right to me on the default normal velocity curve - but it may sound not OK to someone else.


#2705672 - 53 minutes ago Re: Virtual piano softwares and velocity curves [Re: lunobili]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,129
Charles Cohen Online content
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Charles Cohen  Online Content
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,129
Richmond, BC, Canada
I did some work with Pianoteq, adjusting the velocity curve to my PX-350.

The first attempt used Pianoteq's calibration sequence, and I wasn't completely happy with it.

The second attempt was like this:

. . . I found the softest touch that I could consistently play, and noted its MIDI velocity (say, 10);

. . . I found the loudest touch that I could consistently play (without pounding with my fists), and
. . . noted its MIDI velocity (say, 115).

. . . Then, I custom-drew a velocity curve:

. . . . . a straight line from (0, 0) to (10, 0) (along the left-hand bottom edge of the graph);

. . . . . a straight line from (10, 0) to (115, 127) (diagonal, rising left-to-right from the bottom of the graph,
. . . . . .. to the top of the graph)

. . . . a straight line from (115, 127) to (127, 127) (along the right-hand top edge of the graph).

That worked nicely. Adjusting to my teacher's acoustic upright was very quick, at the start of a lesson. I haven't played a grand recently.

Another thing to try:

, . . Pianoteq has a "Dynamics" slider.

It changes the dynamic range of the (virtual) piano. With high "dynamics", "pp" playing is _very_ soft, and "ff" playing is _very_ loud.

If you want to exaggerate note-to-note differences (to simulate the grand piano you use), just raise the "Dynamic" setting. I've found that 60 dB is just about unplayable, but it shows up any irregularity in my playing.

Many of the "stock" presets are around 40 dB; the "cinematic" presets are around 30 dB.

. Charles
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2705675 - 37 minutes ago Re: Virtual piano softwares and velocity curves [Re: lunobili]  
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 438
mcoll Offline
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mcoll  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 438
I have pretty much the same action (pha4-premium which is mechanically the same) and I would also add to adjust the velocity on the piano first.
Before using vsts, I kept it on H1 setting for playing on my piano, but when I switches to vsts, I noticed that I could only reach 120 velocity on H1, through very hard pounding and not consistently. I switched the piano velocity to medium and now it outputs velocities from 0 to 127, which can be reached through some serious pounding, but less so than 120 on H1.
Afterwards, you can try altering the curve in small increments to see where it gets you, and also playing with the dynamic range. I find that a dynamic range of 30-35db is more realistic, as I haven't played an acoustic which was so silent in pianissimo as to be barely heard, like it happens with some vsts.
The velocity curve I use in pianoteq is very slightly convex upwards, but I have yet to made final adjustments, since I have changed some aspects of my setup recently.

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