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Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
newer player #2813691 02/11/19 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player
At your level, I wonder if you would notice a difference PianoTeq Pro allows with respect to:

- Boosting internal sample rate processing from 48KHz to 192KHz (there are a couple of samples on the PianoTeq forum from last year that seem to sound slightly different but that might just be some randomization)


- The boost from 128 to 1024 MIDI levels (Tapping into the NV-10s sensor network and getting that data into your computer "correctly" would take a fair bit of effort)



Where can you read that claim that it has internally 1024 MIDI levels? I'd like to look it up...

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Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
nicknameTaken #2813714 02/11/19 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by nicknameTaken

Where can you read that claim that it has internally 1024 MIDI levels? I'd like to look it up...

* Well, the optical sensors of the NV-10 are continuous by nature but I have no idea if Kawai uses more than 127 levels for internal sounds.

* It seems the Yamaha AvantGrand may use the optical sensors for 1023 levels for internal sounds:

https://youtu.be/FG5EVGf98lU?t=155

- Rep says that Yamaha MIGHT be using over 1023 midi levels for internal sounds, noting Yamaha did not release detail publicly at about 4:10 (John Ebata of Cosmo Music Canada)

* PIanoTeq provides cc#88 "high resolution" MIDI (I think on all versions). That is discussed in the PianoTeq forums.

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
newer player #2813746 02/11/19 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player

- Rep says that Yamaha MIGHT be using over 1023 midi levels for internal sounds, noting Yamaha did not release detail publicly at about 4:10 (John Ebata of Cosmo Music Canada)


I've seen that video before, and the claim is SO suspect. While it's cool to see the cutaway action. that's not even a Yamaha rep, it's a music shop rep. And he doesn't give any details to back up his off-the-cuff guess. I'd love to know if manufacturers are using a higher resolution internally than they output to MIDI, but I don't think I've ever seen confirmation of that.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2813760 02/11/19 06:52 PM
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So, Gombessa ... you're holding out for proof? Or for good evidence?
Good for you.

People of all walks formulate baseless conjectures. Sales people make wild and unsubstantiated claims. But you're wanting just the plain truth.
Nice.

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
navindra #2813888 02/12/19 02:42 AM
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Excellent playing computerpro3, thank you for sharing your recording!

To echo navinda's request:

Originally Posted by navindra
Could we hear this with the NV10 native sound instead?


It would be nice to hear this piece performed with the NV10's built-in SK-EX Rendering sound engine - perhaps the "Full" or "Rich" rendering character types - and recorded to USB memory as an uncompressed WAV.

Kind regards,
James
x


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Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
newer player #2813918 02/12/19 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by newer player
* Well, the optical sensors of the NV-10 are continuous by nature but I have no idea if Kawai uses more than 127 levels for internal sounds.

That is a misunderstanding. Meaning the bit about the "the optical sensors are continuous by nature". You are confusing "optical sensors" with "continuous sensors". Optical sensors can be continuous, but not all of them are. Many just function like simple binary on/off switches.
And the optical hammer sensors in the NV10 (and the NV10 only has hammer sensors) are indeed not continuous. They "simply" consist of two photo sensors in the travel path of the hammer shank. Each of these two photo sensors is an on/off-switch sensor. And the velocity is measured by the time it takes between triggering the first sensor and the second sensor.
In that regard, the system works in exactly the same way as the usual non-optical rubber dome switch sensors that you find in most other DPs: Two on/off switches in two different places in the hammer's (or key's) path, triggered at two different times, and the velocity is calculated from the time elapsed between triggering the first and the second switch.
The difference is, that the optical sensors in the NV10 work frictionless without contact to the hammer, while the more common rubber dome switches impose friction/resistance on the hammer, thus impacting the actual measurement.
BTW, it is my understanding that the *hammer* sensors of the AvantGrands (except the NU1(X) which doesn't have hammer sensors) work in the same way.
(In addition to that, the NV10 and many 3-sensor DPs also have a third sensor to detect key release, i.e. "damper down", but that is irrelevant for the velocity sensing.)

However, even though the sensors are not continuous, but consist of two on/off-type sensors, that does not say anything about the maximum number of velocity levels that can be measured with these sensors (and that is true both for the optical sensors as well as for the simpler rubber dome switch sensors). The number of velocity levels that can be measured is theoretically only bound by the resolution of the clock and number values used internally by the measuring firmware. So even a two-sensor system, if the firmware is fast enough and has a good enough resolution, could produce MIDI values 1-1023 (or high-res MIDI values 1-16,383, or whatever).

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2813927 02/12/19 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by computerpro3

Not only does my NV10 have an action that is better than 99.9% of acoustic instruments, the level of phrasing and expressivity I am able to achieve with ease on it is better than all but maybe the top two or three acoustic pianos I have ever played in my life. In many ways, I prefer playing the digital.

In terms of carryover to an acoustic instrument, I have found that from a stamina issue that has now been solved. Technically, I can do the same things on the NV10 and acoustic pianos. However, from an expressivity standpoint I am now finding that it takes me a significant period of time to adjust to an acoustic instrument to achieve the same level of musical phrasing and expressivity (if it's even possible).


I couldn't agree more...

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
JoBert #2813931 02/12/19 06:03 AM
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JoBert, how did you obtain this information?
Yes, there are a number of different ways for implementing optical sensors.
But where have you read that this particular method was applied to the NV10 (or to the Avant Grands)?
Originally Posted by JoBert
That is a misunderstanding. Meaning the bit about the "the optical sensors are continuous by nature". You are confusing "optical sensors" with "continuous sensors". Optical sensors can be continuous, but not all of them are. Many just function like simple binary on/off switches.
And the optical hammer sensors in the NV10 (and the NV10 only has hammer sensors) are indeed not continuous. They "simply" consist of two photo sensors in the travel path of the hammer shank. Each of these two photo sensors is an on/off-switch sensor. And the velocity is measured by the time it takes between triggering the first sensor and the second sensor.
In that regard, the system works in exactly the same way as the usual non-optical rubber dome switch sensors that you find in most other DPs: Two on/off switches in two different places in the hammer's (or key's) path, triggered at two different times, and the velocity is calculated from the time elapsed between triggering the first and the second switch.
The difference is, that the optical sensors in the NV10 work frictionless without contact to the hammer, while the more common rubber dome switches impose friction/resistance on the hammer, thus impacting the actual measurement.
BTW, it is my understanding that the *hammer* sensors of the AvantGrands (except the NU1(X) which doesn't have hammer sensors) work in the same way.
(In addition to that, the NV10 and many 3-sensor DPs also have a third sensor to detect key release, i.e. "damper down", but that is irrelevant for the velocity sensing.)

However, even though the sensors are not continuous, but consist of two on/off-type sensors, that does not say anything about the maximum number of velocity levels that can be measured with these sensors (and that is true both for the optical sensors as well as for the simpler rubber dome switch sensors). The number of velocity levels that can be measured is theoretically only bound by the resolution of the clock and number values used internally by the measuring firmware. So even a two-sensor system, if the firmware is fast enough and has a good enough resolution, could produce MIDI values 1-1023 (or high-res MIDI values 1-16,383, or whatever).

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
MacMacMac #2813970 02/12/19 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
JoBert, how did you obtain this information?
Yes, there are a number of different ways for implementing optical sensors.
But where have you read that this particular method was applied to the NV10 (or to the Avant Grands)?

That information comes directly from the Kawai patent that CyberGene posted in the NV10 thread about a year ago (see here), plus the simple observation that the sensor hardware that is used in the NV10 matches what is described in the patent.

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2813986 02/12/19 09:11 AM
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Thanks. That's just what I wanted.

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
JoBert #2814017 02/12/19 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by JoBert
[That is a misunderstanding. Meaning the bit about the "the optical sensors are continuous by nature". You are confusing "optical sensors" with "continuous sensors". Optical sensors can be continuous, but not all of them are. Many just function like simple binary on/off switches.
And the optical hammer sensors in the NV10 (and the NV10 only has hammer sensors) are indeed not continuous. They "simply" consist of two photo sensors in the travel path of the hammer shank. Each of these two photo sensors is an on/off-switch sensor. And the velocity is measured by the time it takes between triggering the first sensor and the second sensor.

Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed response here JoBert. It is both interesting and informative.

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2816286 02/16/19 05:36 PM
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So I went and purchased Garritan CFX Abbey Road to see if sampled instruments had improved since I last used Ivory, which consider a complete failure.

The results were interesting. I think Garritan is probably the best sounding sampled instrument I have used, but after spending hours playing with each in a critical manner I think there is no unicorn.

Playability: Pianoteq, by a mile. From a musical standpoint I can do things with it that I just can't with Garritan. It's the only one that I get a sense that how I approach the key affects the sound, which uncannily reminds me of an acoustic. Pedaling in Garritan is quite bad compared to Pianoteq. And I can't figure out a consistent velocity curve - I feel like I can't control my fingers.

Sound: This is where I can't make sense of things. I think Garritan sounds significantly, significantly more real when forte chords are played; it captures a complex timbre that Pianoteq does not have. This is immediately illustrated in the opening to the Chaconne. However when it comes to soft passages with pedal, Pianoteq sounds so much more nuanced and sensitive to me. I actually notice more of a difference based on volume than I do based on bass/midrange/treble. Pianoteq also needs to be loud to sound realistic, where Garritan sounds like a normal recording when played at lower volumes.

Another thing I don't understand is that Pianoteq sounds better to me when I am actively playing, vs. listening to a recording of it. And Garritan is the opposite and sounds better on a recording.... I don't understand this at all. Or perhaps there is an issue with my computer recording it properly?

Frustrations: How come Garritan doesn't have a custom velocity curve calibration? Pianoteq's calibration is excellent, where it actually has you play at various dynamics to create a custom curve. If Garritan had this, I wonder if it would be closer to Pianoteq in playing.

Another frustrating thing is that I can't record in Pianoteq (to get better musicality) and then simply apply the Garritan to it in Logic. I'm not sure why, but all of the nuances like pedalling and some phrasing does not carry over perfectly. It's like 85%.

Anyway, I didn't save the midi file from earlier, so I did a quick re-recording so you can mess with it with various VSTS.

Raw midi file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/26dfjwr6s4ulf07/Chaconne%20Pt%201%20Midi.mid?dl=0

Garritan CFX: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cpfbftc13o9ftc6/Pianoteq%206.2Garritan%20CFX%20Abbey.wav?dl=0

Pianoteq Bluthner: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dzpws9nh1t2yb3z/Pianoteq%206.2%20Pianoteq.wav?dl=0


Last edited by computerpro3; 02/16/19 05:37 PM.
Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2816292 02/16/19 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by computerpro3

Another thing I don't understand is that Pianoteq sounds better to me when I am actively playing, vs. listening to a recording of it. And Garritan is the opposite and sounds better on a recording.... I don't understand this at all. Or perhaps there is an issue with my computer recording it properly?


This is unintuitive at first, but it's actually a very common sentiment. I like to think of it in video game terms. When you're playing a competitive multiplayer game, you don't care for the high quality shaders, effects and extra chrome. You want a smooth 90-100fps and no distractions. But when you're spectating, it's much more pleasing to watch an Ultra-quality rendering. The former, as you can guess, is Pianoteq, it often doesn't sound quite as real, but it has a playability and dynamic response that you can appreciate when playing. When listening to a recording, you're not controlling anything, so you can't really anticipate how the player will approach the piece or how the sound will respond to their touch, so your focus is on musicality rather than response/playability. That's just my take on it often-made statement.

Originally Posted by computerpro3

Frustrations: How come Garritan doesn't have a custom velocity curve calibration? Pianoteq's calibration is excellent, where it actually has you play at various dynamics to create a custom curve. If Garritan had this, I wonder if it would be closer to Pianoteq in playing.


Garritan's UI is like a multimedia CD from 1995. It's horrible and there's no getting around it. Dragging a mouse to spin a graphical knob? Gray highlights over gray background? No MIDI recording? And yes, no custom curve generator. It's so outdated it's funny.

BTW, what does your velocity curve look like? It's taken me a while to find one I like with the NV10.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
Gombessa #2816300 02/16/19 06:06 PM
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I guess that makes sense regarding the playability aspect. But what I really don't understand is why sampled instruments play so bad. There is really no excuse for it since Pianoteq is also limited to the same 127 midi velocities. With modern data techniques, interpolation, etc, it should be trivial to make a sampled instrument equally as responsive.

Here is my velocity curve for Pianoteq. The key is putting the NV10 in "light" touch mode, otherwise it won't output full midi velocity.

[Linked Image]

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2816304 02/16/19 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by computerpro3
I guess that makes sense regarding the playability aspect. But what I really don't understand is why sampled instruments play so bad. There is really no excuse for it since Pianoteq is also limited to the same 127 midi velocities. With modern data techniques, interpolation, etc, it should be trivial to make a sampled instrument equally as responsive.


Velocity layers aren't everything, but as PT is modeled, it theoretically has infinite layers, or at least one generated for each velocity presented (and it also supports high res midi I believe, for 16k+ layers). Garritan is something like 20 layers? Which is great for a sampled instrument, but not in the same league.

Originally Posted by computerpro3
Here is my velocity curve for Pianoteq. The key is putting the NV10 in "light" touch mode, otherwise it won't output full midi velocity.

[Linked Image]

That curve looks similar to mine in Garritan (I use Light+). I recall you saying you hammer on your keys pretty hard, so I expect you are getting more value out of Light than I would smile I can get to 127 in light only if I pound harder than I ever would in real life, so I took the easy way out and use Light+, which hits 127 with an FFF strike on a single key. And I know I can't play chords as hard as I can hit a single key so that works for me.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2816312 02/16/19 06:34 PM
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Computerpro, you can improve pedaling in Garritan with a fix I created some time ago, the so called “CyberGene’s fix” smile It prolongs the repedaling window and makes it more realistic IMO. Here it is: Garritan repedaling fix


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Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2816401 02/16/19 11:14 PM
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Thanks for the link to the pedal fix, that was one of the first things I noticed about it. Fixing the pedal will at least remove one major limitation to the playability, I will give it a shot tomorrow.

Is Garritan only 20 samples per key? That is really surprising to me. I don't understand why they wouldn't do 127.....or at least offer a premium version with that many. People that are buying these hybrids are spending $10k+ on what is basically a glorified midi controller....I'd spend another $1k to get a truly playable instrument that sounds like Garritan. 12tb hard drives are cheap nowadays....

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2816404 02/16/19 11:38 PM
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computerpro3,

If you search the forums, you will see most people play Garritan CFX with both the piano controller and the software at default velocity. After a lot of experimenting on my lowly Kawai es100, this is the optimal solution on my system.

From a practical perspective, some controllers may eliminate say the top 10-20 MIDI velocities if the controller is set at "default". Whilst controllers at "light" might give you closer to 127 levels, the curve may be rather unnatural.

So please try setting both the NV-10 and Garritan CFX Full to default velocities and play for a while. See if that helps.

Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2816413 02/17/19 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by computerpro3

Is Garritan only 20 samples per key? That is really surprising to me. I don't understand why they wouldn't do 127.....or at least offer a premium version with that many.


20 is actually quite a lot... If you look around at other sampled VSTs I think you'll find most are far fewer. It's already 150+GB for 20-something velocities, so 128 would likely be about a TB. That's quite a bit of storage and RAM to require (hence one of the advantages of physical modeling),. And I think there's a lot to say about diminishing returns at that point.

That said, I think VSL Synchron CFX has some keys sampled more (many at the same velocity for round robin playback), so that may be one to try.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: New hybrid digital pianos "too good" compared to acoustic?
computerpro3 #2828867 03/19/19 11:23 PM
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Read most of the thread and I think OP has a fair point. My digital has an action that I love 100% . It is reliable and predictable and plays like a dream.

The renner action on my acoustic is much heavier and takes more work to play well.

But boy does it sound good when the hammers connect correctly to the strings.

There is no replacement for a good size soundboard.


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