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HELP with VST
#3049529 11/25/20 09:14 PM
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I play classical music on a casio GP-400 (keeping fingers crossed that this won't devolve into bashing casio for calling this a hybrid!)... I really like it, but I was interested in trying a VST, largely to see if I could get increased sustain (a known issue with casio's midrange tones) and also a larger range of volumes..... mainly to give me better control of dynamics in the ppp to p range....

Unfortunately, my 'requirements' may not line up with those of most experts on VSTs. I would something very simple in terms of setup and gear. I have a powerful laptop (PC), I have a 'printer' cable to connect the piano to a computer, and I have audio cables. I would LIKE to be able to sit down and play and have the VST tone play the sound through the piano speakers. And I really would like, if possible, to start with something inexpensive, because I'm not certain that I'd stick with it unless it represents a real improvement.

SO..... what do I need to buy? Just a software program? Is there other 'gear' or multiple programs that are to be purchased? I'm really quite clueless about this....

EDIT: I should add that I am really intrigued by the following, which would mean a very low-cost entry into using a VST.... but I don't know if I am 'missing' something about what I woudl need to buy....

https://www.productionvoices.com/sforzando-libraries/

Last edited by Eli26; 11/25/20 09:17 PM.
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Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049530 11/25/20 09:20 PM
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Hello Eli26,

I think you can start off connecting your laptop's USB and audio to your Casio, then downloading the Pianoteq trial version, and seeing how you get on.

This hardware and software should be sufficient to get a feel for software pianos, and if you enjoy the experience you can either consider purchasing Pianoteq, or trying one of the many other sample library packages.

Best of luck!

James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.
Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049535 11/25/20 09:34 PM
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There are free piano VSTs available. Search YouTube for same.


Jazz at www.newartistsrecords.com. Search Michael Levy. Use Safari for free tracks.
https://soundcloud.com/michael-levy-387395070 for jazz, classical, world, rock tracks Albums on Bandcamp: https://michaelalevy.bandcamp.com/music
Kawai ES8, Casio PXS3000
Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049547 11/25/20 10:42 PM
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For a completely free setup I suggest downloading the sfz/sf2 player called "sforzando" from Plogue to your laptop.
https://www.plogue.com/products/sforzando.html
Next step is to download the free audio driver called ASIO4ALL which will reduce or eliminate the latency between hitting a key on your Casio and receiving the sound back from the PC.
http://www.asio4all.org/
Finally try out a few free sfz or sf2 instrument sounds. I've got lots of free ones on my site you are welcome to try.
https://sites.google.com/site/soundfonts4u/
The one called Essential Keys-sforzando-v9.5 has everything from pianos, EPs, Strings, Orchestral and Guitars.
The pianos are multi-velocity layered sampled so I'd expect you will get better touch response than you are getting on the Casio.

Last edited by Jonky Ponky; 11/25/20 10:47 PM.
Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049559 11/26/20 01:09 AM
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Asio4all isn't always a good starting point. My native Windows 10 drivers with my laptop offered better performance than Asio4all. Your buffer may vary etc. smile

Re: HELP with VST
Kawai James #3049566 11/26/20 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello Eli26,

I think you can start off connecting your laptop's USB and audio to your Casio, then downloading the Pianoteq trial version, and seeing how you get on.
. . .

+1.

I suggest downloading ASIO4ALL, as well. You might be lucky in using Windows standard drivers, but many of us have found them to be slow.

_If_ the DP has a "Line In" or "Audio In" jack(s), you'll only need an appropriate cable (or cables), to get from your computer's stereo headphone jack, to the "Line In" jack(s) of the DP.

Stay in touch, the path may not be smooth.

PS-- it _does_ have Left and Right-channel "Line In" jacks. So you'll need a cable with a 1/8" stereo headphone plug (TRS) on one end, and two _monophonic_ (TS) 1/4" plugs on the other end. A "splitter cable", from any music or audio-equipment store or Amazon.

Last edited by Charles Cohen; 11/26/20 02:25 AM.

. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq
Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049926 11/26/20 10:12 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I started with pianoteq demo on my older laptop (left my faster laptop at work). Didn't mess around with alternate drivers yet. So far, two issues:
(1) some latency. Keyboard feels sluggish. Didn't bother me playing slower piece. Fast piece wasn't good. Hoping this can be fixed with better driver (or perhaps faster laptop).
(2) much bigger issue: the input on the casio gp400 is noisy. Really noisy, staticcy (especially at higher volumes) with distortion at higher volume as well. Not sure if better cables would fix this, I suspect it's the DP, on which case this is a warranty issue..... perhaps better cables solve it? (I tried two different cables..... neither was very expensive but they had the same issue so I suspect its the piano. And direct output from the audio jack on the computer was clean ( tested with headphones)

Any ideas wound be appreciated.

Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049947 11/26/20 11:53 PM
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I think I've waited too long to edit my last post, but I'd lie to add two things:
1) It seems like a LOT of the noise was due to multiple electrical devices being plugged into the same outlet. I've eliminated ALMOST all of the hissing and static by getting rid of the other devices. It seems like the remaining static/hiss is directly attributable to the USB cable, because that hiss disappears when the USB cable is disconnected from the computer and appears whenever the USB cable is plugged in. Not sure what, if anything can be done about that (the USB port is on the opposite side as the audio output port on the computer, so it's not about proximity to the audio cable.
2) I've noticed another issue (ugh!). On pianoteq, keys are cutting out. Not sure what to do about that.... what settings can avoid this?

Last edited by Eli26; 11/27/20 12:01 AM.
Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049960 11/27/20 01:35 AM
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I find Pianoteq quite resource hungry. Download Addictive keys from XLN audio it's a free demo. See if the hiss/dropouts continue.
https://www.xlnaudio.com/demos

Studio grand, still a nice VST, not as tweak able as Pianoteq.

Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049961 11/27/20 01:37 AM
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Next is to switch out your Windows audio driver. You might find Asio4all a better alternative to whatever you are running at the moment. Particularly if you have a Realtek audio chipset

Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049962 11/27/20 01:43 AM
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Your latency can be addressed by decreasing your buffer size in audio settings. You want the lowest setting possible without crackling or sound anomolys.
You certainly don't want a half second pause between playing the note and hearing it.

Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049993 11/27/20 04:31 AM
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> It seems like the remaining static/hiss is directly attributable to the USB cable, because that hiss disappears when the USB cable is disconnected from the computer and appears whenever the USB cable is plugged in.

It may be a ground loop. These can be tricky. Old MIDI connections have isolated ground.

Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3049997 11/27/20 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Eli26
2) I've noticed another issue (ugh!). On pianoteq, keys are cutting out. Not sure what to do about that.... what settings can avoid this?

In the demo-version of Pianoteq, certain keys are silent at all times (they are not silent in the paid versions). Maybe this is what you are referring to. If not, could you explain in a bit more detail what "keys are cutting out" means?


Roland FP-30, Roland E-28
Synthogy Ivory II Studio Grands, Production Voices Estate Grand, Garritan CFX Lite, Pianoteq 7.0 (Blüthner, Bechstein DG, Grotrian, Steinway D, K2)
Re: HELP with VST
QuasiUnaFantasia #3050031 11/27/20 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Originally Posted by Eli26
2) I've noticed another issue (ugh!). On pianoteq, keys are cutting out. Not sure what to do about that.... what settings can avoid this?

In the demo-version of Pianoteq, certain keys are silent at all times (they are not silent in the paid versions). Maybe this is what you are referring to. If not, could you explain in a bit more detail what "keys are cutting out" means?

Notes which sound are cutoff (ie they just stop) when I continue playing.

Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3050038 11/27/20 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Eli26
Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Originally Posted by Eli26
2) I've noticed another issue (ugh!). On pianoteq, keys are cutting out. Not sure what to do about that.... what settings can avoid this?

In the demo-version of Pianoteq, certain keys are silent at all times (they are not silent in the paid versions). Maybe this is what you are referring to. If not, could you explain in a bit more detail what "keys are cutting out" means?

Notes which sound are cutoff (ie they just stop) when I continue playing.

Hmm, that's odd. Maybe the polyphony is set too low, so that "old" tones are silenced, when "new" tones are added. You can increase the polyphony in the "Perf" section (via the "Options" button).


Roland FP-30, Roland E-28
Synthogy Ivory II Studio Grands, Production Voices Estate Grand, Garritan CFX Lite, Pianoteq 7.0 (Blüthner, Bechstein DG, Grotrian, Steinway D, K2)
Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3050148 11/27/20 01:55 PM
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Playing around I think the cutoff notes have been eliminated. However, the two issues are (1) noises getting into the audio cable. I am not sure what can be done about this, however, I will be ordering those ferrite things that you add to the cables to suppress electrical interference. And (2) there's distortion at higher volumes. This distortion appears to be more pronouced through headphones as opposed to the speakers, but it appears even with speakers as well. It is not affected by buffer size (ie maximizing buffers didnt help.) IN the meantime I love the resonance of the pianoteq bluthner, but just as I'm getting into it, distortion destroys things! Argh! (Haven't gotten sforzando to work yet, will try that soon).
Any specific advice would be great, especially (but not exclusively!) if you have the same digital piano (ie a casio grand H-word).

Re: HELP with VST
Eli26 #3050197 11/27/20 03:53 PM
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Eli, what version are you trying? 7.0? Some folks have tried it and it seems by default it has some issues and it needs to be tamed. I would try 6.7 instead. Unfortunately, I do not see a link to download 6.7.

So you should try some of the variations of the instruments, there are some that are drier (less effects and embelishments) than others. I haven't haven't tried 7.0 as yet, maybe somebody that did could give more thorough advice.

I hope this helps.


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.

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