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Sharing Pianoteq Tips #2815567 02/15/19 05:34 AM
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jamiecw Offline OP
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Hi all,

I am not an RTFM person at all so decided to start a PTQ Tips thread so we can share tips/settings in order to change default settings on the premise to achieve a better sound (would be good if this became a sticky thread but won't hold my breath since PTQ is a bit like marmite). :-)

FYI - these tips are from the many threads that I read on PW and PTQ forums so credit goes to all the people who put these out there & I am using the Standard version (so some settings on Stage are likely not to be available) - ok so without further ado:

SOUND EDITING TIPS:

1) Experiment with the condition slider - 15 to 35 usually yields some interesting sounds so use it unless you want your piano to sound like it just came out of the Pianoteq factory :-)

2) Experiment with velocity but also alongside it, the dynamics and volume sliders. E.g. a moderately fast keyboard velocity will create a soft sound / permit a soft touch but I found that the dynamics slider will need to decrease from the default 40dB to around 30-32dB and the volume up to 2-3dB. Vice versa if you move to a moderately slow keyboard etc. There is no one glove fits all here, depending on piano model etc. some time needs to be spent to see what sounds best to you.

3) Detune notes under Tuning - for those who want an ever so slightly out of tune piano sound yielding a more realistic setting. Chose random (a couple clicks) and then smooth it out so it's not horribly out of tune yet there are some nuances there. Also drop the 440Hz to 438/439 or 442 etc. (for me, 438 for a brighter sounding piano or 442 for a warmer sounding piano makes some interesting changes).

4) Effects (Reverb) - I haven't seen any worth changing the default delay settings and sometimes adding some presence EQ (where there was none) there are some enhancements. However, I found out that turning off the reverb and choosing one from a DAW (yes you need to use PTQ as a plugin inside a DAW) gives you a far better reverb. A bit more work I know..

5) Microphone positioning - believe it or not, there are some interesting outcomes when the mics are moved around. I personally like to hover the mouse between the 2 mics and double click on the pointed section and this highlights both mics so they can be move together in unison. An interesting position is a few feet behind the players ears at that height (creates that slightly distant sound, if you like that). Obviously experimentation is your friend here.

6) String length - I have seen some stating that lowering the string length prevents the highs sounding to high-end like, lowering them to around 2.15 does make an incremental change but anything less than sounds too weird. Have a go and please let me know what you think?

7) Another from PW users here, increase Unison Width (1.05 - 1.15 for me) and Octave (1.05.1.10 again for me) settings.

8) Hammer hardness - some brighter pianos can do with their Forte hammer hardness slightly reduced (to 150) if they are above 160 etc.

9) Action - damping duration, usually defaults to 1.00. Good tip from a user here on PW so many thanks to them for this! Increasing this a little helps with what some perceive with the early cut-off staccato notes...I set it around 1.10-1.25 depending on the piece played...some experimenting is needed.

10) Action - key release & sustain pedal noises. Unless you want to hear the key release noise in your recordings, I can hear them clearly when using headphones... I prefer setting mine to a lower volume (usually around -8 to -10dB) as well as the sustain pedal noise.

That's all for now. I hope there's more so we can all benefit from making PTQ even better than it is out of the box.

Many thanks,

Jamie

Last edited by jamiecw; 02/15/19 05:36 AM.
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Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815573 02/15/19 05:53 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 614
thickfingers Offline
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Stickiness is required, here. That's a fact as true as Pianoteq's position as the No.1 VST available today.

Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815574 02/15/19 06:05 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
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Craig Richards Offline
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Originally Posted by jamiecw
Hi all,

I am not an RTFM person at all so decided to start a PTQ Tips thread so we can share tips/settings in order to change default settings on the premise to achieve a better sound (would be good if this became a sticky thread but won't hold my breath since PTQ is a bit like marmite). :-)

FYI - these tips are from the many threads that I read on PW and PTQ forums so credit goes to all the people who put these out there & I am using the Standard version (so some settings on Stage are likely not to be available) - ok so without further ado:

SOUND EDITING TIPS:

1) Experiment with the condition slider - 15 to 35 usually yields some interesting sounds so use it unless you want your piano to sound like it just came out of the Pianoteq factory :-)

2) Experiment with velocity but also alongside it, the dynamics and volume sliders. E.g. a moderately fast keyboard velocity will create a soft sound / permit a soft touch but I found that the dynamics slider will need to decrease from the default 40dB to around 30-32dB and the volume up to 2-3dB. Vice versa if you move to a moderately slow keyboard etc. There is no one glove fits all here, depending on piano model etc. some time needs to be spent to see what sounds best to you.

3) Detune notes under Tuning - for those who want an ever so slightly out of tune piano sound yielding a more realistic setting. Chose random (a couple clicks) and then smooth it out so it's not horribly out of tune yet there are some nuances there. Also drop the 440Hz to 438/439 or 442 etc. (for me, 438 for a brighter sounding piano or 442 for a warmer sounding piano makes some interesting changes).

4) Effects (Reverb) - I haven't seen any worth changing the default delay settings and sometimes adding some presence EQ (where there was none) there are some enhancements. However, I found out that turning off the reverb and choosing one from a DAW (yes you need to use PTQ as a plugin inside a DAW) gives you a far better reverb. A bit more work I know..

5) Microphone positioning - believe it or not, there are some interesting outcomes when the mics are moved around. I personally like to hover the mouse between the 2 mics and double click on the pointed section and this highlights both mics so they can be move together in unison. An interesting position is a few feet behind the players ears at that height (creates that slightly distant sound, if you like that). Obviously experimentation is your friend here.

6) String length - I have seen some stating that lowering the string length prevents the highs sounding to high-end like, lowering them to around 2.15 does make an incremental change but anything less than sounds too weird. Have a go and please let me know what you think?

7) Another from PW users here, increase Unison Width (1.05 - 1.15 for me) and Octave (1.05.1.10 again for me) settings.

8) Hammer hardness - some brighter pianos can do with their Forte hammer hardness slightly reduced (to 150) if they are above 160 etc.

9) Action - damping duration, usually defaults to 1.00. Good tip from a user here on PW so many thanks to them for this! Increasing this a little helps with what some perceive with the early cut-off staccato notes...I set it around 1.10-1.25 depending on the piece played...some experimenting is needed.

10) Action - key release & sustain pedal noises. Unless you want to hear the key release noise in your recordings, I can hear them clearly when using headphones... I prefer setting mine to a lower volume (usually around -8 to -10dB) as well as the sustain pedal noise.

That's all for now. I hope there's more so we can all benefit from making PTQ even better than it is out of the box.

Many thanks,

Jamie

Great tips Jamie - your list is almost exactly the same tweaks I make to most models. The microphone positions (available in Standard & Pro versions) make a huge difference to both the tone and stereo image of any piano model. Worth experimenting with a stereo pair placed either inside the piano around 30cm above the strings, or a spaced pair in the curve of the body just outside the frame lip at about 1.5m high, panned hard left & hard right, and then placing a mono mic underneath the piano (about 30cm off the floor) setting that to a centred pan, and reducing the volume of that mic to around 50-60% of the main mics. Gives the piano sound a more solid centre image, and avoids an unnaturally wide stereo image.

Also, Valhalla Room is my choice of external reverb for Pianoteq. It just seems to be a great match (particularly the 'Large Room' algorithm) and adding some late modulation to the reverb tail can help make it more 'organic' sounding.

My preferred models are the more recent Ant. Petrof & Steingraeber grands, followed by the recently re-voiced Steinway B.

Last edited by Craig Richards; 02/15/19 06:06 AM.

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815580 02/15/19 06:21 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
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GWILLY Offline
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Amazing Post! Exactly what I had hoped for on this forum. I am a new user so have not a lot to contribute yet. But look forward to exploring this great software and learning from this thread!! Would be great to hear wdco chime in too! Cheers!

Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815620 02/15/19 09:17 AM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 2,144
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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Thanks, what DAW do you use?


♯ ♮ ♭ ø ° Δ ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
YouTube
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Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: Craig Richards] #2815648 02/15/19 10:17 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
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dmd Offline
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Originally Posted by Craig Richards
Also, Valhalla Room is my choice of external reverb for Pianoteq.


I have searched high and low for the Valhalla Room everywhere I can think of within Pianoteq v6.41 PRO but I cannot find it.

Could you provide a road map ?

Thanks


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used)
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815650 02/15/19 10:21 AM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,169
lolatu Offline
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Posts: 1,169
Useful thanks. It has encouraged me to fiddle with the condition, velocity, diapson and delay etc. I only have the Stage version so I can't change all those suggested, but it's still made a pleasing difference to the D Prelude setting.


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: bSharp(C)yclist] #2815674 02/15/19 11:07 AM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 515
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jamiecw Offline OP
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Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 515
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Thanks, what DAW do you use?


As for me, the free Garage Band that came with the MacBook...

Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: dmd] #2815675 02/15/19 11:08 AM
Joined: Jul 2017
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jamiecw Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dmd

I have searched high and low for the Valhalla Room everywhere I can think of within Pianoteq v6.41 PRO but I cannot find it.

Could you provide a road map ?

Thanks



Hi Don - 3rd party plugin:

https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-room/

Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815685 02/15/19 11:47 AM
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scorpio Offline
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Very nice, Jamie. Thank you.

I also use Valhalla (both Room and Vintage) with Pianoteq. I like the "Large Chamber" setting.
Here are a couple tips and tricks from Valhalla that provide presets for "realistic concert halls": https://valhalladsp.com/2011/05/25/valhallaroom-tips-and-tricks-realistic-concert-halls/

But like anything, it takes time (too much sometimes) to get the sound you want.


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq / Garritan CFX

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. -Willy Wonka


[Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: scorpio] #2815688 02/15/19 11:56 AM
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JoeT Offline
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Originally Posted by scorpio
But like anything, it takes time (too much sometimes) to get the sound you want.

...and money. That stuff isn't free.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815693 02/15/19 12:02 PM
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JazzBow Offline
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Excellent post! Thanks Jamie!

Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815696 02/15/19 12:12 PM
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newer player Offline
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The binaural headphone scheme is pretty good IMO. In particular:

1. try changing the head diameter options
2. try using different headphones/earbuds that you might own.

Go to the PianoTeq output window, select "binaural MODE", hover over the headphone image:

- head diameter - right-click up arrow
- head angle - right-click left-right arrow
- head position x,y,z- right-click headphones

Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815707 02/15/19 12:31 PM
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dmd Offline
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Originally Posted by jamiecw
Originally Posted by dmd

I have searched high and low for the Valhalla Room everywhere I can think of within Pianoteq v6.41 PRO but I cannot find it.

Could you provide a road map ?

Thanks



Hi Don - 3rd party plugin:

https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-room/



OMG !

Is there no end to the need for additional variations and companies to fill them ?


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used)
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: Craig Richards] #2815708 02/15/19 12:33 PM
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jamiecw Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Craig Richards
...The microphone positions (available in Standard & Pro versions) make a huge difference to both the tone and stereo image of any piano model.

Also, Valhalla Room is my choice of external reverb for Pianoteq. It just seems to be a great match (particularly the 'Large Room' algorithm) and adding some late modulation to the reverb tail can help make it more 'organic' sounding.


Cheers Craig - will try the positions and see what happens....

FYI - further tip for mic placement:

Perhaps stating the obvious here, but do record a piece first and then playback whilst experimenting the positioning of mics as you hear the piece...it's faster and you get to hear the changes on the fly...also if the piece varies greatly in dynamics check each and every part...it's reaching sound engineering territory here but hey unless you are a studio artist with an engineering team...

Last edited by jamiecw; 02/15/19 12:34 PM.
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: bSharp(C)yclist] #2815711 02/15/19 12:39 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Thanks, what DAW do you use?

I had started a thread on DAWs a few weeks ago and there were a number of DAW recommendations.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815722 02/15/19 12:55 PM
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scorpio Offline
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As far as Valhalla is concerned, just to be clear, I don't always use it. I use it when I am trying to achieve a specific sound. I don't believe it is necessary.

The reverb in Pianoteq is very good.

But also, Pianoteq allows you to upload free Impulse Response reverb files into Pianoteq. This provides additional options that may also suit your needs.
http://www.samplicity.com/bricasti-m7-impulse-responses/


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq / Garritan CFX

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. -Willy Wonka


[Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: scorpio] #2815733 02/15/19 01:25 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by scorpio
As far as Valhalla is concerned, just to be clear, I don't always use it. I use it when I am trying to achieve a specific sound. I don't believe it is necessary.

The reverb in Pianoteq is very good.

But also, Pianoteq allows you to upload free Impulse Response reverb files into Pianoteq. This provides additional options that may also suit your needs.
http://www.samplicity.com/bricasti-m7-impulse-responses/

Does this uploading work for Pianoteq STAGE, or only the STANDARD version?


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: jamiecw] #2815746 02/15/19 01:45 PM
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thickfingers Offline
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And what else does Pianoteq allow you to upload? I'd rather like some drum/rhythm tracks to accompany my Steinways.....

Re: Sharing Pianoteq Tips [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2815749 02/15/19 01:49 PM
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scorpio Offline
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I just looked it up; uploading external impulse files is not available with STAGE.


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq / Garritan CFX

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. -Willy Wonka


[Linked Image] [Linked Image]
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