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Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
#3029727 09/27/20 09:46 PM
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I recently started a thread posing some very beginner questions about the VPC1. The response was incredibly helpful and I couldn't be more grateful. I'm back with some follow-up questions, equally clueless. I've read numerous threads but I remain baffled by the laptop side of things. I read about people downloading ASIO to download a DAW in order to play a VST. I don't understand what most of those programs are. Help!

The goal is a great sounding tone combined with relatively easy operation, and for convenience let's assume headphones. For now, no recording/producing or editing, though that may happen down the road. The laptop is a MacBook Pro.

My question is simply: what does my laptop need to produce a beautiful sound? I've had VSL Synchron Piano recommended, and it looks like Pianoteq is popular. (I'm not sure if they do the same things.) Can I just download one of these programs and be on my merry way? Do I need a DAW, whatever that is? I gather that Garageband is a DAW that comes with a Mac; do I need to use that to play Pianoteq or the VSL Steinway? To repeat my basic question: what software do I need so that the laptop can send a beautiful sound to headphones?

Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029733 09/27/20 10:23 PM
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Hi! Delighted to hear from you again!
I'm a Windows person, so can't help you much in the Apple orchard. But I can share with you what I know!
1. I heard Macs perform well with midi hardware right out of the box. ASIO is for Windows machines, or you can do the audio interface, which should be more reliable.
2. A DAW (digital audio workstation) is a software that's basically a recorder, player, editor and production tool. Garageband is a DAW, and other DAW's on Windows I've heard of are Reaper, Cakewalk, FLStudio, ETC;
3. Most piano VST's can work without a DAW. I'm using the Synchron Pianos standalone and it works perfectly. Of course I need to find other ways to be able to record my performances, but it's OK.
4. The two common ways which piano VSTs make their sounds are sampling and modeling. PianoTeq is a modeled instrument. It uses computer models of pianos to create sound. Its advantage is that it's extremely playable, and low on resources, especially hard drive space. But the disadvantage to this approach is this lacks the realness of the piano sound. To me at least, PianoTeq always has this synthetic tone and I really don't feel like listening to a piano. Sampling, on the other hand, could create the best tones, and is usually great right out of the box. But its disadvantage is that it's highly demanding especially on hard drive space, and if your hard drive is not an SSD (solid state drive), the loading time for those samples will be kind of long. Some sampling VSTs also require a lot of CPU, like the Walker Concert D from Embertone.
5. Some common favorite sampling libraries on here are the Garritan CFX Concert Grand, the Vienna Symphonic Libraries' (VSL) Synchron Pianos (Yamaha CFX, Steinway Concert D 274, and the Bosendorfer Imperial 290, as well as a Bosendorfer upright and another smaller sized grand, sorry I can't seem to recall the spelling), VI Labs' Ravenscroft 275 and Modern U, Native Instruments' the Grandeur, Galaxy Instruments' Galaxy Vintage D, Synthogy's Ivory grand pianos (like the American D, and the original 3-piano package), the aforementioned Walker 1955 Concert D from Embertone, Production Voices' Concert Grand, ETC. As for modeling, besides PianoTeq there's also something called Arturia Piano V (the roman numeral 5).
Hope this helps!
David

Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029734 09/27/20 10:26 PM
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You can read more about these libraries on this thread:
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...mple-libraries-for-each-piano-model.html
There's even a spreadsheet created on one of the posts that talks about the capabilities of these pianos. These should be great places to start to think about how to spend your money, in my opinion. smile

Last edited by David Lai; 09/27/20 10:27 PM.
Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029754 09/28/20 12:44 AM
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Just to add a bit more, I would start with Pianoteq Standard. It's about as straightforward as it gets to try out. Download the trial here:
https://www.modartt.com/try

Plugin the VPC1 with a usb cable, run Pianoteq and the only thing you should need to configure is selecting the VPC1 as midi input. If you don't have any sound, try the on-screen piano keyboard or play the builtin song. If that works you know sound is working, and you just need to get the VPC1 working.

After you have the VPC1 working and you're comfortable with it, try doing a calibration (press the Calibration button bottom left).

Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029765 09/28/20 02:11 AM
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Ill try to sum it up as simple as possible, but keep in mind I use windows. I know nothing about apple, so I have no idea if anything would be different on a macbook, so for winows:


- You do not need a DAW to play most vst's. Before buying a vst, to be sure, check if it comes with a standalone player. Most of them do.

- An Audio interface comes with ASIO drivers. If you choose not to use an audio interface, you need to download and install ASIO4ALL drivers, you can download them for free.

That's it I think.

As for a piano vst, I definitely recommend a VSL piano, not Pianoteq. Of course, this is just my opinion, which could be very different from yours, but here's what I personally think about these 2 vst's.


Pianoteq:

+ Great playability
- Bad sound
+ Extremely small program / not demanding on pc


VSL:

+ Great playability
+ Great sound
- Huge program / Does need a decent pc with lots of SSD drive space
- You have to buy a usb dongle e-licenser for it to work


Garritan CFX is another very popular (sampled) vst around here. It's quite good and worth looking at, but in my opinion vsl is even better in both sound and playability.

Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029772 09/28/20 02:56 AM
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I agree completely with U3piano. It's better to try and to experiment than to study the general theory of everything.

I can only add that a free trial version of Pianoteq can be downloaded, installed and played immediately. It lacks some notes, but you will know the sound and the playability.

Some other piano plugins allow free trials too. With VSL, if you bought a dongle (which is not expensive at all), you can download, install any of their pianos, and use it for free during one month.

After you have done this you will be able to ask more specific questions and get more specific answers.

Last edited by Andrew_G; 09/28/20 02:59 AM.
Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029779 09/28/20 03:36 AM
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To get proper playability you need to get low latency sound card. With Realtek and ASIO4all you wont get proper low latency and you ll probably get lots of pops and crackles.
I just got a nice cheap sound card for my son and I can vouch for it:
Berhinger UMC202HD (Be careful, it is different from UMC22, which has really bad drivers).
I got it for £60. And he can play all VSTs with ultra low latency.
It even has decent microphone preamps built in, in case you want to connect a microphone.

Last edited by karoloydi; 09/28/20 03:37 AM.
Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029782 09/28/20 04:02 AM
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The master sticky thread offers lots of useful information: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...no-master-sticky-thread.html#Post2752919

There you'll find a link on how to setup virtual instruments: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NQTB8Qma06NcF9OU4xSS-g-0VQUov3Zo

Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029833 09/28/20 09:30 AM
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My experience is that Yamaha ASIO drivers are very good. My main VST devoted computer is connected to a Yamaha MG10XU mixer with USB interface and there are no latency problems


Yamaha U3H
Kawai VPC1
plus some other DPs, keyboards and VSTs
Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3029988 09/28/20 04:57 PM
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Thank you all! It sounds like it might take a little experimenting but is doable. MacMacMac, thanks for the great links. David Lai, I appreciate so much your enthusiasm (and your welcome back!). U3piano, as with the last thread, thank you for your level-headed explanations. Andrew G: right; it's time to try some things and then come back out with specifics. But really ALL of you: thank you!

It sounds like an audio interface, while perhaps not necessary, would simplify some of the potential issues.

At this point we're just waiting for the Kawai gear to come back into stock...

Cheers, all.

Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3030065 09/28/20 09:20 PM
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I'm also waiting for some Kawai stock -- as I'm also hoping to upgrade, perhaps to the VPC1! So we are in this together, NorthernLights! smile

Re: Newbie Redux: software for VPC1 (help!)
NorthernLights #3030073 09/28/20 09:40 PM
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I'll cede my spot in the Kawai line to you, David Lai. You deserve to get yours first! Also, once you get yours set up, you can help us with ours! Seriously, I hope you land your catch, whatever you decide on.


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