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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: MacMacMac] #2878966
08/12/19 06:38 PM
08/12/19 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Let's stop calling them "127 velocity layers" when they're not layers. They're just 127 digital stops on the volume control.

It depends. VSL's Vienna Imperial has distinct samples for 100 velocity levels. The Synchron pianos have 60, IIRC.

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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: johnstaf] #2878977
08/12/19 07:13 PM
08/12/19 07:13 PM
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Let's be sure we're talking about a velocity layer as a sample sound at a specific key velocity, rather than the 127 values of velocity in a MIDI message.

That latter only implies that the recipient device should attempt to produce 127 different loudness levels.

The former is an indication of how many distinct samples (and thereby, how many distinct timbres) the device can produce.

Any piano or virtual instrument can respond appropriately to 127 velocity values and produce 127 distinct loudness levels.
But few (or any?) can produce 127 distinct timbres.

BTW ... are you sure that the VSL has 100 such levels? That seems ludicrously high ... way more than needed. But then ... that would explain the immense size of the package, eh?
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Let's stop calling them "127 velocity layers" when they're not layers. They're just 127 digital stops on the volume control.
It depends. VSL's Vienna Imperial has distinct samples for 100 velocity levels. The Synchron pianos have 60, IIRC.

Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: johnstaf] #2878978
08/12/19 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
And are we sure our digital pianos are not internally using much higher resolution velocity values? Maybe when exported through MIDI it’s only 127 but down-converted from a higher precision. In my DIY controller I have approximately 20000 steps between lowest velocity and highest velocity. And I recalculate that to produce a value between 1-127. I could easily imagine that my N1X might be even better than that taking in mind how advanced it is. Why would they bother to internally handicap it? Replaying the samples in the 16-bit dynamic range (even if not using the entire range) is exactly the same as replaying only 127 volume levels, there’s no difference.


Someone (Arc7rus?) once mentioned offhand that Yamaha's XG standard ran at 1028 velocities. I don't recall that ever being backed up but he is (was?) A pretty well-informed guy, and it was in line with that weird Yamaha AG sales video claim. The fact that we can't really tell between that and MIDI, and basically rely on reports and hearsay really suggests that 127 isn't doing much to limit the listening or playing experience.

And as Mac mentioned, supporting additional volume stops is fairly trivial, so if it were a major limiter to realism I suspect we'd see more high res midi implementations than we do...


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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2878996
08/12/19 08:31 PM
08/12/19 08:31 PM
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Liszt apparently tried out a piano roll recording expression piano, and found the recordings too lacking in expressivity, and refused to cut a roll. But they were improved, and Debussy, Rachmaninov, and others cut rolls, some of which have been remastered into CDs.

In the early part of the 20th century, a small American piano manufacturer, Brinkerhoff, sold an upright player piano that could cut its own piano rolls— perhaps the first ever home piano with recording capability.


Login name is a tribute to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, arguably the historically first great keyboard virtuoso.
Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: MacMacMac] #2879014
08/12/19 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac

BTW ... are you sure that the VSL has 100 such levels? That seems ludicrously high ... way more than needed. But then ... that would explain the immense size of the package, eh?


That's what they claim for Vienna Imperial, and 60 for the CFX.

Vienna Imperial has the ability to produce the most delicate gradations of tone, and is unlike anything else I've ever played, but it has problems. There are out-of-tune notes that they never fixed, and while repedalling is possible, pedalling is just on/off.

Last edited by johnstaf; 08/12/19 09:38 PM.
Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879063
08/13/19 05:32 AM
08/13/19 05:32 AM
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An analogue device, like a piano, is not restricted to a specific number of possibilities as a digital device is. However, this doesn't mean an analogue device has more dynamic capability. For example, TV in the 1970s was a completely analogue process from camera to TV set. There was, theoretically, an infinite number of possible resolutions. But the results are murky and indistinct compared to digital TV, despite the fact that the latter is 'restricted' to a specific number of steps of luminosity.

On the other hand, it's true that the current midi standard of 127 levels was chosen as it represents one byte of memory (8 bits) which, when it was decided in 1982 was valuable but now could be raised to several thousand levels. But you'd have to take timing problems into account because midi transmission is serial.

But, on the whole, I doubt the 127 levels of velocity response is a meaningful restriction even though it's a standard that was decided when personal computers commonly had 64k bytes ram to operate (if you had the latest Commodore) , whereas today ram is typically 8 giga bytes - 125 thousand times bigger.


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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879102
08/13/19 08:25 AM
08/13/19 08:25 AM
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Leaving out the VSL samples does anyone have an idea what the average timbral velocity layers there are in your typical sampled VST today? Is 10-20 layers about right? As I wrote before the velocity range allowed by MIDI is a moot point if today's sampled sounds (interposed or not) are taking only a fraction of what is available anyway. Also how well these timbral velocity layers are implemented vary from one DP or software package to another so it depends on how well they are implemented. Some perhaps don't "morph" levels as well as others so those of us who regularly practice on acoustics are sensitive to those gaps.

Last edited by Jethro; 08/13/19 08:33 AM.

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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879111
08/13/19 08:45 AM
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I think 10-20 is a realistic guess, with 20+ more probable than 10 because even very old sample libraries from the 2000-s were marketed as using 10 and more layers. I know how one would argue that 20 layers are not enough, and of course how Pianoteq "has" all of them smile First, 20 layers would cover everything between ppp and fff and although the difference between ppp and fff is drastic, the transition from ppp to fff is gradual and so 20 snapshots in that gradation would cover it sufficiently. Even without applying sample blending, it would be hard to detect the switch between 20 timbre layers but for the peace of mind many libraries and digital pianos also apply blending.

Last edited by CyberGene; 08/13/19 08:45 AM.

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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879148
08/13/19 09:57 AM
08/13/19 09:57 AM
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No! More is better. More is better. MORE IS BETTER!
You need 65,536 layers. At least! Nothing less will do. Nothing less will do. NOTHING LESS WILL DO!
<insert smilie or frownie here, according to your taste>

Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: MacMacMac] #2879199
08/13/19 12:30 PM
08/13/19 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
No! More is better. More is better. MORE IS BETTER!
You need 65,536 layers. At least! Nothing less will do. Nothing less will do. NOTHING LESS WILL DO!
<insert smilie or frownie here, according to your taste>

I'd be content with 65,536 Mac smile...nah, I think I'd be happy laugh...really happy grin...maybe even ecstatic crazy...think of all the possibilities we can have:

ppppp (for the ultra sensitive)
pppp (for the sensitive)
ppp (for the ones with perfect hearing)
pp (for the rest of us)
p
p with salt
p with pepper
mp
ump (ultra mezzo piano)
ummp (ultra mezzo mama-mia piano)
mmmmp (I am losing the plot)
mf
mff
mfff
mffff
mfffff
f
f with salt
f with pepper
ff
fff
ffff
fffff
ffffff
fffffff
fffffffff
ffffffffff

Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879207
08/13/19 12:48 PM
08/13/19 12:48 PM
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CyberGene Offline OP
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Somebody objected to Carl Orff that his music is too loud:

“Why do you have to always write so loud music, see for instance Mozart, his music is so tender, even his name contains the German word ‘zart’ which means ‘gentle’”

“Well, my name contains ‘ff’!”


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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: MacMacMac] #2879276
08/13/19 04:04 PM
08/13/19 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
No! More is better. More is better. MORE IS BETTER!
You need 65,536 layers. At least! Nothing less will do. Nothing less will do. NOTHING LESS WILL DO!
<insert smilie or frownie here, according to your taste>
65536 is for obsolete 16-bit machines of the 90s. Now we have 64-bit machines, so I want 2^64 = 18446744073709551616 velocity layers. Not 1 less. My ears are very sensitive.

Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: magicpiano] #2879278
08/13/19 04:08 PM
08/13/19 04:08 PM
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How rude! You left out the commas! How am I to read this number?
Originally Posted by magicpiano
2^64 = 18446744073709551616 velocity layers. Not 1 less. My ears are very sensitive.
18,446,744,073,709,551,616
That's better.

But it's still not enough.

Bigger is better.

Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879332
08/13/19 06:44 PM
08/13/19 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I think 10-20 is a realistic guess, with 20+ more probable than 10 because even very old sample libraries from the 2000-s were marketed as using 10 and more layers. I know how one would argue that 20 layers are not enough, and of course how Pianoteq "has" all of them smile First, 20 layers would cover everything between ppp and fff and although the difference between ppp and fff is drastic, the transition from ppp to fff is gradual and so 20 snapshots in that gradation would cover it sufficiently. Even without applying sample blending, it would be hard to detect the switch between 20 timbre layers but for the peace of mind many libraries and digital pianos also apply blending.


When playing with a virtual piano which doesn’t morph, it is rare to find velocity layer gaps. I can find them on the Bechstein from EWQL, an Imperfect Sample tried from a friend (I didn’t remember the piano), but generally its OK. Even with Pearl Concert Grand with only 8 levels.


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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879550
08/14/19 12:46 PM
08/14/19 12:46 PM
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Jethro Online content
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I think 10-20 is a realistic guess, with 20+ more probable than 10 because even very old sample libraries from the 2000-s were marketed as using 10 and more layers. I know how one would argue that 20 layers are not enough, and of course how Pianoteq "has" all of them smile First, 20 layers would cover everything between ppp and fff and although the difference between ppp and fff is drastic, the transition from ppp to fff is gradual and so 20 snapshots in that gradation would cover it sufficiently. Even without applying sample blending, it would be hard to detect the switch between 20 timbre layers but for the peace of mind many libraries and digital pianos also apply blending.

On the bolded it really depends on the experience and sensitivity of the pianist. There was little chance that I would have been able to detect the fine differences in timbre layers between an acoustic piano and a digital sampled piano when I was a beginner pianist. First of all how do report on something that is not there in the first place. These "gaps" we refer to is missing data that is filled in or "blended" by other data so yes it is difficult to detect the switch between 20 timbre layers because the brain tries to fill in the missing info. There are no silent layers (gaps), all you know as an experienced pianist is that something is just not right when you play on most sampled digital pianos- that it takes a more significant change in finger velocity before you actually have a timbre change- that too many notes (though depressed at ever so slightly different velocities) sound pretty much the same. As one gains finer control of finger velocity as they become more experienced at the piano they will find that an acoustic piano and some modeled piano VSTS have a more linear timbre change response to your inputs. That has been my experience. But then again, there are some better VSTS out there (VSL?) that are narrowing the gap as the implement better velocity layering and "morphing" technology I suppose, but for now IMO the technology is not there yet. So there are always sacrifices when going digital. Modeled sounds may play better but the sounds kinda suck. The sampled sounds may sound better but the playability kinda sucks. I find that for practice- since I have access to an acoustic grand, the playability of my digital piano was what mattered most to me since I only imagine performing for others on my acoustic.

IMHO one should always aim towards buying an acoustic at some point.

Last edited by Jethro; 08/14/19 12:46 PM.

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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879553
08/14/19 12:54 PM
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^ Jethro, it’s a significant event that I (almost completely) agree with you this time smile A proper acoustic piano is still inimitable and neither sampled or modeled pianos can recreate it. But they are kind of close. Each approach has its cons and pros. Once you realize a digital piano (or digital system for that matter) is not 100% there, you only have to decide for yourself what you are OK sacrificing with. For one it’s the timbre realism, for other it’s the limitations of sampling.


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Re: What if Chopin had MIDI? [Re: CyberGene] #2879650
08/14/19 09:37 PM
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“But then again, there are some better VSTS out there (VSL?) that are narrowing the gap as the implement better velocity layering and "morphing" technology I suppose, but for now IMO the technology is not there yet. ”

Isn’t VSL virtual piano between 60 (Synchron pianio, see http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...yamaha-cfx-vst-from-vsl.html#Post2733449), or 100 (Vienna Imperial) velocity layers ? This means that a layer is only shared by 2 midi levels in most cases... It will be hard to hear a difference of timbre between too consecutive layers (I mean difference of timbre, not volume), then a difference between the timbre of a played note and what it should be.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 08/14/19 09:44 PM.

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