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Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
AlexBltn #2849097 05/17/19 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexBltn
This is just an incorrect comparison. Garritan CFX has too much reverb while the N1X is very dry. Reverb is a very important factor in perception, and many people buy it and even abuse it (hi, cubusdk from YouTube). I am surprised that only a few people noted this.

I’ve intentionally used default presets with no changes. Theses presets are chosen by the developers/manufacturers to showcase what they think is their best sound. Garritan CFX has a lot of reverb.


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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: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849116 05/17/19 05:17 AM
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Is there any logic to Yamaha not allowing users to save reverb settings in the N1X?
I don’t get it.

Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
Pete14 #2849127 05/17/19 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Pete14
Is there any logic to Yamaha not allowing users to save reverb settings in the N1X?
I don’t get it.

Yeah, I find this slightly odd, but it's Yamaha after all laugh It only stores the reverb state on/off but not the level which is reverted to 5 when you restart the piano. Go figure.


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Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849160 05/17/19 08:03 AM
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I finally had time to go through all the recordings from this post. I must say my opinion varied a lot from last year. I've been using Garritan CFX all the time for one year until I switched to Pianoteq last month, and there is no going back. A year ago, Garritan was my go to piano and I liked the deep and resonant sound from the rich reverb. Didn't like any DP's internal samples or Pianoteq because the timbre just feels thin.

However, after I used Pianoteq exclusively for a month and I listened to these recordings by CyberGene for several times, I would say N1X is clearly the best among all of them! . Then followed by Pianoteq Bechstein, Garritan CFX and Pianoteq Steinway D. I've been a classical pianist for more than 10 years and I just found something important is missing in Garritan CFX. Classical music is all about expression, phrasing and direction of the melody. This Chopin prelude could be a beginner piece, but could also be a difficult piece under the hands of professional pianists. The left hands must be very soft, almost a lazy sound. The right hand themes appear several times with different harmonics so a better interpretation is to play those themes in different color (or timbre). CyberGene plays this piece very well and he was also trying hard to phrase the melody in the right hands with different colors. However, the timbre variation of different pianos are different.

Many people here are talking about reverbs but I don't think that's the fundamental differences of these pianos. The difference is the characteristic of the pianos themselves.

1. N1X CFX Binaural: I would use vanilla to describe the timbre of this piano. It's like a typical Yamaha grand piano, but doesn't sound like a Steinway. Overall a huge leap from the previous CFIIIS sample in the first generation of AvantGrand because of the Virtual Resonance Modeling. Sustain and reverb also feels enough for me as CyberGene pedals the piece pretty well. I can hear the direction of the melody and the it seems like I can feel both warm and cold from this piano. From the last chord I can still feel a bit of looping but if I don't pay attention it wouldn't bother me. I like this recording a lot from CyberGene, though still not better than a fine acoustic grand.

2. Garritan CFX: Garritan did a fantastic job of sampling, which captured the full decay of a whole note. As people said, this piano has a lush sound. It feels like a good recording. However, I cannot feel the direction of the melody or the timbre change at all. This is very obvious after I use Pianoteq for a month. For example, the right hand theme is a descendent second. It's better to play the first note loader and the die away the second note. However, from this recording I can only hear the volume difference but not the timbre change. The notes in the right hands all feel the same and I cannot feel the shape of the melody. I feel like CyberGene is already trying hard to interpret the piece but it's just not there. BTW, the base chords are really really full! Garritan sounds very good when you play a single note, but does not sound good when you simply play a melody.

3. Pianoteq Steinway D: I played this recording immediately after the Garritan and what a night and day difference. It's so dull and uninspiring, and it's the exact opposite of Garritan CFX. The tone of each note is just bad, but I can feel the variation of the timbre.

4. Pianoteq Bechstein: I prefer this piano a lot to the Steinway. Actually I'm having a hard time to decide between N1X CFX and Pianoteq Bechstein. It's different based on personal tastes but I just slightly prefer the N1X.


I saw different people have different views. Pianists, audiophiles, technicians, piano dealers can come up with different opinions. It's interesting to hear different opinions. From my perspective, I would enjoy play N1X and Pianoteq live but not Garritan any more. If this piece is played by a beginner, Garritan CFX should sound better than other pianos as it has the most realistic tone. However, if it's played by an experienced classical pianist like CyberGene, I much prefer the N1X and Pianoteq Bechstein than Garritan CFX. I still prefer Garritan CFX to Pianoteq Steinway D because I can't bear with that Steinway D tone. I believe the difference will be more obvious if this comparison is done by a professional pianist, say computerpro3 or Hugh Sung.


Piano: Yamaha N3X
VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849166 05/17/19 08:26 AM
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Maybe the smooth release of N1X also matches my preference. The key-off velocity will result in different characteristic of the notes. There is some nuance in the first recording that I just didn’t feel in other three. I couldn’t describe it very well but when playing acoustic pianos, some notes sound lazy like feather and some other notes sound like.a pin. N1X doesn’t not send key off to pianoteq so it’s not there in pianoteq.


Piano: Yamaha N3X
VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849174 05/17/19 08:42 AM
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Thanks for your detailed observations Harpuia.

Originally Posted by Harpuia
Garritan CFX: Garritan did a fantastic job of sampling, which captured the full decay of a whole note. As people said, this piano has a lush sound. It feels like a good recording. However, I cannot feel the direction of the melody or the timbre change at all. This is very obvious after I use Pianoteq for a month. For example, the right hand theme is a descendent second. It's better to play the first note loader and the die away the second note. However, from this recording I can only hear the volume difference but not the timbre change. The notes in the right hands all feel the same and I cannot feel the shape of the melody. I feel like CyberGene is already trying hard to interpret the piece but it's just not there. BTW, the base chords are really really full! Garritan sounds very good when you play a single note, but does not sound good when you simply play a melody.

Interesting. Why is this? Do you think this is programming, or cumulative noise and reverb drowning out the music, or something else?

A few of us boost the dynamic range a lot on Garritan CFX. It should make dynamics unrealistically responsive but doesn't. Maybe is a brute way to get some timbre change to bleed through. I do this dynamic range adjustment as it wakes the piano up a bit.

EDIT- My main complaint is the VI feels a bit disconnected and the lower registers feel a bit sluggish or "lazy" and there is a bit of sameness to playing for hours. I run RME interface at 44,1KHz and 48 samples so don't think latency is the issue. I still like Garritan CFX a lot.

Originally Posted by Harpuia
CyberGene plays this piece very well

Agreed. Great job CyberGene!

Originally Posted by Harpuia
I believe the difference will be more obvious if this comparison is done by a professional pianist, say computerpro3 or Hugh Sung.

Keep practicing CyberGene!


Last edited by newer player; 05/17/19 08:49 AM.
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
newer player #2849195 05/17/19 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by newer player

Originally Posted by Harpuia
CyberGene plays this piece very well

Agreed. Great job CyberGene!

Originally Posted by Harpuia
I believe the difference will be more obvious if this comparison is done by a professional pianist, say computerpro3 or Hugh Sung.

Keep practicing CyberGene!


Thanks for the kind words smile It's the struggle of my whole (hobby related, piano in particular) life: wanting to play advanced classical repertoire and at the same time being way too lazy to play scales and technical exercises... BTW, in addition to computerpro3, who is conservatory trained, we also have AmyC who's a former professional pianist in her own words. Philip Johnston too. Not sure about rach3master, maybe he is also a conservatory trained pianist? Who's Hugh Sung? Has he posted in the digital piano forum and what's his nickname? And we also have a few professional jazz piano players such as Dave Ferris, Dave Horne and a few others. Hopefully they won't get it personally but I believe classical music is probably better suited for shootouts because people know the pieces, note by note, so they know what to expect and jazz is more about improvisation than interpretation.

To be fair to Garritan and Pianoteq, it's the first time I played them through my N1X, and I haven't played them since I sold my ES7. Whereas I'm very used to my N1X and so I was able to control the notes and be free to express how I feel the music rather than adapting to the piano.

Last edited by CyberGene; 05/17/19 09:44 AM.

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Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849217 05/17/19 10:27 AM
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Search Hugh Sung name on You Tube. He also promoted Pianoteq on early releases. He lives on East Coast of USA.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849222 05/17/19 10:44 AM
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Is this the same Hughs Hung working for Cunningham Piano?

Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
Pete14 #2849230 05/17/19 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Pete14
Is this the same Hughs Hung working for Cunningham Piano?

Yes he is now working at Cunningham's. I forgot about that. I remember him from back in the early days of MusicReader software and Airturn pedals. I like his take because he can play and loves tech!


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849333 05/17/19 03:20 PM
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Great playing!

Doing a direct comparison is of course a bit difficult since it's different takes/playing, as I understand it? (perhaps I misunderstood). With that caveat:

The Garritan sounds "best" to me. If it was a CD, that's the one I would have preferred. But it's also the one which sounds the most like a recording. I can actually detect some recording hiss. So it feels more distant because of that, and I have trouble visualizing that it's me generating those tones.

Pianoteq Bechstein: my favorite. Lovely sound, and direct and intimate in a way - I can easily imagine that it's me playing

Pianoteq Steinway and Yamaha: tied for me. Not very engaging sound-wise, but I can easily imagine that it's me playing, as opposed to the Garritan.

Last edited by oivavoi; 05/17/19 03:23 PM.
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849462 05/18/19 01:42 AM
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I’m not really sure why Garritan feels not live for me. It could be it is a sampling piano, or because it only has around 20 velocity layers. Garritan is very accurate with the volume change from 0-127 but here we are mapping these 127 midi value to 20 velocity layers. I think the dynamic range setting only changes how those values map to velocity layers.

In an acoustic piano, when playing soft the hammer hits the string with the softer side. However, when we are banging the piano hard it’s a different attack from the harder side of the hammer. It’s just like we can adjust the hammer hardness. But in addition to that, a pianist can also create different timbre when playing a well-voiced piano.

Last edited by Harpuia; 05/18/19 01:43 AM.

Piano: Yamaha N3X
VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849472 05/18/19 03:12 AM
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Why should 20 layers not be enough? If they cover the entire timbre range from ppp to fff and there’s sample interpolation between the samples that should be more than enough. I think it’s a common misconception that number of layers means number of dynamic steps and that’s simply not true. Volume change and timbre change are separate parameters. There are 127 volume steps. And there are 127 timbre steps that are derived through sample interpolation from 20 samples.


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Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849473 05/18/19 03:22 AM
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Perhaps you misunderstand the meaning of these velocity layers?
Twenty layers is plenty. Even ten is plenty.

Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849475 05/18/19 03:27 AM
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Very interesting....


With my Sennheiser HD 598 ( and used to my pianoteq Grotrian prelude) I found Garritan more “ alive” and the only one that could express the “ sadness” of this music. Perhaps because we can feel the “room” surronding the piano, mics seem to be a little bit far from the piano, as if I were sitting on the audience in a real theatre.

N1X is a very good student, very “ clean”, mics seem to be close to the piano, near the player,
But doesn’t express any emotion... where is the “ dark” side of the music? I can’t feel it.

Pianoteq now: I’m a big fan of it ( and I ve never never played again my built in CA 67 samples since I bought it).
But: I ‘ ve always thought that the Steinway ( D) had nothing similar to the real one...( nothing similar to A piano..in fact... weird...)
We feel here an electronic piano, dead notes...

I think Modartt missed the point when they realised it.

The Bechstein has similarities with the Garritan, but the mics position seems also to be closest to the pianist, we can’t feel the “ air

I would be very interested to hear from you the same files but with the pianoteq Grotrian, which is for me the best of the pianoteq’s pianos ( I have no experience on other VST’s).

Ps: stereo effects also are more impressive with Garritan, nb2 would be Pianoteq and third Yam.





Last edited by rolex67; 05/18/19 03:30 AM.
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
rolex67 #2849481 05/18/19 04:02 AM
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I would also add that, as all of those VST’s can be “tweaked”,
Perhaps with other settings, other mics position, reverbs, etc...feelings, comments
Would certainly change....
That’s why it’s probably hard to compare apples to oranges as we don’t know the particular settings of each ones.

Last edited by rolex67; 05/18/19 04:03 AM.
Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
Harpuia #2849505 05/18/19 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Harpuia

In an acoustic piano, when playing soft the hammer hits the string with the softer side. However, when we are banging the piano hard it’s a different attack from the harder side of the hammer.


why, doesn't the hammer hit the string always in the same spot?

Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849515 05/18/19 07:14 AM
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@pold: Yes this is curious. The hammer should always strike the string the same way. If not then there may be loose parts in the hammer flange.

Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
pold #2849517 05/18/19 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by Harpuia

In an acoustic piano, when playing soft the hammer hits the string with the softer side. However, when we are banging the piano hard it’s a different attack from the harder side of the hammer.


why, doesn't the hammer hit the string always in the same spot?

I suppose the “softer/harder side” is not the the right expression : there is only a single point of impact.

However, the harder the note is hit, the deeper the hammer is striked which makes the hammer harder.


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Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq
CyberGene #2849614 05/18/19 11:29 AM
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Very interesting comparison.
Yes, Yamaha has no reverb here and this can make the sound less voluminous. But this is more correct when playing through the speakers built into the piano: we hear a clear sound (as in the studio), and reverberation creates the room in which we play.
Pianoteq adds reverberation, and when listening to speakers, a more natural feeling is created: we are used to hearing reverbs and we hear them. But to me, the sound of Pianoteq seems less natural (especially when playing chords and bass).

I compared the built-in CLP-635 engine and Pianoteq when playing live and it seemed to me that the built-in sound of the Yamaha is much better: not only because it sounds more open and bright, but it has better responsiveness and sensitivity. In addition, I have tried many other popular VSTs and so far have not found anything better either. The built-in CFX voice when playing in the room is my favorite so far. And for recordings I do a little post-processing: add compression and reverb.

I think we can complicate this test and make it blind. I played this wonderful prelude by Chopin, but the files turned out to be 15 and as long as they do not contain the names of the instruments:
Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments


I started learning to play the piano in November 2017.
Yamaha Clavinova CLP-635 | SoundCloud >>
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