Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Who's Online Now
72 registered members (amyram, ando, camperbc, Chernobieff Piano, D959, cmb13, ChrisMH, 19 invisible), 1,490 guests, and 18 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
What good is polyphony? #659411
04/03/08 10:52 AM
04/03/08 10:52 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 391
Indianapolis
diinin Offline OP
Full Member
diinin  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 391
Indianapolis
If the digital has 64 poly, then that means it can play 64 notes at once? Is that right?

So I only have 10 fingers. In a pinch, I might be hitting two keys at once on adjacent notes, so maybe, even tho it won't ever happen, 11 notes at once. Factor in a duet, and you've got 20 notes possible.

Is all this polyphony just overkill? What does pedaling have to do with it?


Charles Walter Queen Anne 1520 (polished cherry)
Roland fp-4 (black)
(ad) SWEETWATER Lowest Prices
Re: What good is polyphony? #659412
04/03/08 11:16 AM
04/03/08 11:16 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
G
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Gyro  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
G

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
I've been playing digitals since 1989, hard
playing of the most difficult classical
repertoire, and I don't comprehend the fuss
about polyphony. With "low" polyphony you
supposedly hear notes "dropping out," but
I don't know what this means and have
never experienced it as far as I can tell.

My first digital, bought in 1989, had
16 note polyphony. My neighbor now has
it, and I think it sounds better than
the latest digitals with 128 and 192
poly. My next one, bought in 2005, had
32 poly and an optional 64 poly grand
piano, but I could not tell the difference
and so I always used the default 32 note
grand piano because it was most convenient.
My current piano has 60 polyphony, and
it's not much different from the previous
two pianos. I've tried digitals with
128 polyphony, and the sound is maybe
of better quality but not enough to
make me dump my 60 poly piano and buy
them.

So, I see no problem with getting some
hypothetical $400 to 500, unknown-brand,
economy 32-note poly digital, with non-progressive
weighted action and non-half-pedal sustain
pedal. You could save a lot of money on such
an instrument, and it would play similar
to a digital with 128 or more polyphony,
or your acoustic pianos.

Re: What good is polyphony? #659413
04/03/08 11:34 AM
04/03/08 11:34 AM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 179
New England
O
Orez Eno Offline
Full Member
Orez Eno  Offline
Full Member
O

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 179
New England
That’s a very good question. One answer is that many musicians want the computer to play with them simultaneously on the same instrument. For example, the computer may play from a score in a music editor, like Finale or Sebelius, or from a previously created MIDI file. The MIDI file might contain several simultaneously playing instruments. Expand on this idea and you can quickly run out of simultaneously playing notes. Myself, I’m not a heavy user of such features. I do play simultaneously with the computer often enough, but rarely using more than two instruments on the computer. So, 64 note polyphony is more than I need. These features are especially desirable if you are recording such performances. For example, I can conveniently record the entire performance directly off the one clean audio output of the instrument. No microphones are involved, so the recording can be very high quality using relatively low cost equipment. When you use your instrument like this you are effectively using it as a sequencer.

I don’t know what pedaling has to do with it, but I’d like to know.

If you don't do such work, I agree with Gyro, 32 note poly is more than you need, even if you play duets with another person on the one keyboard, as I often do with my wife.


Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.
Re: What good is polyphony? #659414
04/03/08 12:09 PM
04/03/08 12:09 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 5,003
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
5000 Post Club Member
terminaldegree  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 5,003
Georgia, USA
Keep in mind that a keyboard advertised as "32 note polyphony" only has 16 note polyphony in reality when using a stereo piano sound (which most people prefer).

It is in this scenario that a perceptive listener can hear things dropping out on more advanced/pedal intensive pieces, or in the scenarios Orez Eno mentions above.

For use as a piano, I would think advertised polyphony of 64 notes is preferable, while higher numbers would be good for multitrack sequencer use. Lower numbers are fine for easier piano music and less discriminating listeners.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: What good is polyphony? #659415
04/03/08 12:14 PM
04/03/08 12:14 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member
signa  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
pedaling and laying more than 1 voice on your digital will eat out more polyphony, and then if you're even trying to play some big chords and fast passages over such, you'd notice some note drops.

64 polyphony is not even overkill but a minimum acceptable standard for today's digitals. that's why all DP makers have already made the minimum 64 polyphony available on all new low end models.

Re: What good is polyphony? #659416
04/03/08 12:39 PM
04/03/08 12:39 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 179
New England
O
Orez Eno Offline
Full Member
Orez Eno  Offline
Full Member
O

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 179
New England
Quote
terminaldagree wrote:
Keep in mind that a keyboard advertised as "32 note polyphony" only has 16 note polyphony in reality when using a stereo piano sound (which most people prefer).
I guess I thought that the sequencer within my piano accepted each MIDI note instruction as mono and then made it into stereo within its own circuitry. Oh my goodness! I guess my instruments have been using twice as many notes as I thought.

In that case 32 note poly would be insufficient even for the simple stuff that I do. Both my instruments have 64 note poly. I haven’t noticed any hiccups or dropped notes, but I didn’t realize how close to the margin I have been operating.


Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.
Re: What good is polyphony? #659417
04/03/08 01:00 PM
04/03/08 01:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,242
Cape Cod
H
hv Offline
1000 Post Club Member
hv  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
H

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,242
Cape Cod
With 64-voice polyphony, it's pretty much gone in stereo after 3 rapid-fire, 2-handed chords. But the good news is that modern keyboards also use smart voice stealing algorithms that try and figure out which voice you're least likely to miss and drop that one first. And reverb processing that will cover up a bit for dropped voices.

Howard

Re: What good is polyphony? #659418
04/03/08 02:10 PM
04/03/08 02:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,555
B
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Bob Newbie  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
B

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,555
look at most DP brands and you see many of them higher than 64..usually 96 and 128..Yamaha is still at 64..even in the medium price digitals!

Re: What good is polyphony? #659419
04/03/08 03:34 PM
04/03/08 03:34 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 21
Nederland
E
Eric - CVP-303 Offline
Full Member
Eric - CVP-303  Offline
Full Member
E

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 21
Nederland
I think there is no general answer how many voices you need. If you play just one instrument at a time and do not play like Jordan Rudess you don't need a high polyphony. But...

One preset on a digital instrument can use more than one voice at the same time, meaning you don't hear one instrument using one of the (i.e.) 64 voices, but you hear 2 or 3 or maybe 4 voices at the same to produce one sound. And you can layer sounds yourself like the obvious piano + strings. The more sounds you add the more voices you use. Playing midi sequences, using arpeggiators, styles, etc can also "steal" a lot of voices.


Regards, Eric
Re: What good is polyphony? #659420
04/03/08 04:17 PM
04/03/08 04:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 53
Central Florida
D
doc123454321 Offline
Full Member
doc123454321  Offline
Full Member
D

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 53
Central Florida
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
My first digital, bought in 1989, had
16 note polyphony. My neighbor now has
it, and I think it sounds better than
the latest digitals with 128 and 192
poly. My next one, bought in 2005, had
32 poly and an optional 64 poly grand
piano, but I could not tell the difference
and so I always used the default 32 note
grand piano because it was most convenient.
My current piano has 60 polyphony, and
it's not much different from the previous
two pianos. I've tried digitals with
128 polyphony, and the sound is maybe
of better quality but not enough to
make me dump my 60 poly piano and buy
them.
It's amazing how you (or your neighbor) can compare a 1989 keyboard with 32 note polyphony which possibly doesn't even have a stereo sample to a recent keyboard (2007-ish i assume.) and say that the 1989 version sounds better. Granted some older models could be better but are we comparing a top of the line roland to a casio 100? or are we comparing apples to apples?


Quote

So, I see no problem with getting some
hypothetical $400 to 500, unknown-brand,
economy 32-note poly digital, with non-progressive
weighted action and non-half-pedal sustain
pedal. You could save a lot of money on such
an instrument, and it would play similar
to a digital with 128 or more polyphony,
or your acoustic pianos.
Hypothetcal is the keyword Gyro. A non-progressivie action (simply each key has the same weight), non half pedal (used to add increased dimension and expressions simulating not a full sustain but a partial sustain), and most likely being made at the economy level qualtiy is no where near comparable to a higher level digital piano such as a high end Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, or even a Casio. Let alone comparing this type of a keyboard to a Yamaha, comparing it to an acoustic (upright or grand) is quite a complete feat). You can't compare a Ferrari to an old Geo Metro can you?


You've been into music for far too long if you tell somebody to shut up by drawing a fermata over the rest in their music.
Re: What good is polyphony? #659421
04/03/08 07:45 PM
04/03/08 07:45 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 300
California
B
btcomm Offline
Full Member
btcomm  Offline
Full Member
B

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 300
California
Am I guessing correctly that polyphony is a moot point if one is using piano software programs like Synthogy Ivory or Sampletekk or Pianoteq and other brands and your keyboard then is being used as a "controller" and not using the keyboards internal sounds? I've read that when doing so polyphony is very large and not a concern.

Re: What good is polyphony? #659422
04/03/08 09:08 PM
04/03/08 09:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 349
Austin, TX
V
Vincent L. Offline
Full Member
Vincent L.  Offline
Full Member
V

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 349
Austin, TX
But then you should consider buying a controller with a good action and not a DP -
On the other hand if you plan to play midi files with something like 8 instrument's tracks using the voices of your keyboard, 32 is not much at all. I do believe that stereophonic voices will use 2 generators (1 for each side) - it's the case for my synth.
Now if you want to have midi tracks playing with you playing the piano with some long sustain parts, 64 will show it's limits. 128, I doubt one can reach the point where notes will be dropped, even if they play 32 tracks midi files.

Re: What good is polyphony? #659423
04/03/08 11:23 PM
04/03/08 11:23 PM
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 179
New England
O
Orez Eno Offline
Full Member
Orez Eno  Offline
Full Member
O

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 179
New England
Quote
btcomm wrote:
your keyboard then is being used as a "controller"
Quote
… then Vincent L. wrote:
But then you should consider buying a controller with a good action and not a DP
Now I’m curious. If by action you are talking about physical action, wouldn’t a DP have the best action to begin with? My CLP-230 has very good action. Why wouldn’t I want to use it as a controller to some virtual piano software on a computer using MIDI connection between them, as btcomm suggests? Or are you talking about a different kind of action having to do with MIDI? Or are you saying that because of the type of music that people typically play when playing on a controller, as opposed to a piano? Or, are there features of a controller that my piano doesn’t have and that I’ll need in order to use if as a controller?

I’d really like to know this because I am thinking of upgrading the computer that I use with the CLP-230 in order to make it a virtual instrument. Please stop me from spending money for nothing if that is not a good idea.


Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.
Re: What good is polyphony? #659424
04/04/08 12:02 AM
04/04/08 12:02 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 131
MD, USA
S
seanakaforty Offline
Full Member
seanakaforty  Offline
Full Member
S

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 131
MD, USA
I guess I'm one of those guys that buys into the polyphony hype then. Let's say you hold the damper pedal while playing a four-note arpeggio played over four octaves while the left hand plays the root note in octaves, that's 18 notes of polyphony. Assuming you're using a stereo sound (the standard nowadays), this becomes 36 notes of polyphony. Now lets say you play the same thing with two combined two sounds (grand piano and vibes for example), both of which use stereo samples. Now you're already using 72 notes of polyphony! And this is just a modest example. Me personally, I have some setups that use 5 or 6 different sounds, a few of which are stereo (double the polyphony).

Now, since we're mainly focusing on digital pianos here, let me give you another example that doesn't have to involve layering sounds. Instead of an arpeggio, think about playing a scale. If you play a scale over 4 octaves, with holding the damper pedal down, and the left hand playing octave root notes (not such a farfetched situation for a non-beginner pianist), that's already 60 notes of polyphony for a stereo piano sound!

Now I'm not saying that everybody will need a ton of polyphony, I'm just saying...it is not that hard to eat up polyphony in a hurry. I noticed dropouts often when I was using a board with 32 notes of polyphony (16 for stereo), so I upgraded. My current board has 64 notes, and I still notice dropouts when I am doing complex layering or using multiple stereo voices :rolleyes: .

Just my $0.02

Re: What good is polyphony? #659425
04/04/08 12:53 AM
04/04/08 12:53 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 119
Everett, WA
RayMetz100 Offline
Full Member
RayMetz100  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 119
Everett, WA
on my CP33, when I play the church organ sound, if I hold the pedal down and repedately tap the same key, it gets louder with each tap. It's very different from the sound it makes when I hit it once very hard, and that doesn't matter because church organ voice isn't touch sensitive.

My question is why does the organ get louder with each keypress of the same key? I don't have a real church organ to try, but my old Hammond electronic and Conn analog organs don't even have a sustain pedal and my guess is a church organ doesn't either. Is my CP33 trying to simulate more air pressure in the pipes or something?

Is this behavior common? If I hold down the pedal on the grand piano sound and repeat the same key 20 times quickly, where all 20 notes end before the first note would have ended it's sustain, would that be using 20 of my 64 notes polyphony? On a real piano, I imagine by the time the string was struck about the third time, it would forget the action of the first strike, so I don't think my digital should remember 20 notes. It seems to on the church organ sound though. Maybe real pipe organs have a different sustain action and my cp33 is duplicating it. or maybe it's a software bug.


PianoMagic.com student
Recordings and piano pic at: RayMetz.com/Piano
Re: What good is polyphony? #659426
04/04/08 03:25 AM
04/04/08 03:25 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 184
Cumbria, UK
S
SSB Offline
Full Member
SSB  Offline
Full Member
S

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 184
Cumbria, UK
Quote
Originally posted by Bob Newbie:
look at most DP brands and you see many of them higher than 64..usually 96 and 128..Yamaha is still at 64..even in the medium price digitals!
320 note polyphony on the GEM Promega 3.

I was surprised to see the Yamaha DGX-620 was only 32 note poly as are / were alot of the low/mid Casios.


User ratings are the work of the devil [Linked Image]
Re: What good is polyphony? #659427
04/04/08 03:41 AM
04/04/08 03:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,803
Decatur, Texas
Studio Joe Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Studio Joe  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,803
Decatur, Texas
I,m not an organist but I'm pretty sure they do not have a sustain pedal. By holding down the sustain pedal on your DP in organ voice you are producing sounds not possible on a real organ.

What is happenenig is that since the organ note has no decay, the first note is still as loud as when first struck when you strike the same key again. The multiple tones (when in phase) wil be summed by the audio circuitry producing a louder tone.


Joe Whitehead ------ Texas Trax
Re: What good is polyphony? #659428
04/04/08 04:03 AM
04/04/08 04:03 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 184
Cumbria, UK
S
SSB Offline
Full Member
SSB  Offline
Full Member
S

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 184
Cumbria, UK
You're right - sustain on an organ, harmonium etc is only available through holding notes (with your fingers).

The more advanced DPs out there with multiple layers and zones etc allow you to turn off the damper / sustain selectively. So, if you wanted to play organ over piano, you could disable sustain on the organ voice while leaving normal damper behaviour on the piano part.


User ratings are the work of the devil [Linked Image]
Re: What good is polyphony? #659429
04/04/08 10:04 AM
04/04/08 10:04 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 349
Austin, TX
V
Vincent L. Offline
Full Member
Vincent L.  Offline
Full Member
V

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 349
Austin, TX
Quote
Originally posted by Orez Eno:

... If by action you are talking about physical action, wouldn’t a DP have the best action to begin with?
VL: So far you are right but the software simulation like Ivory gain some tracks, it will not take long for action manufacturers to come with a controller with excellent action like your CLP-230 or better. And that for less than $1k

Quote

... My CLP-230 has very good action. Why wouldn’t I want to use it as a controller to some virtual piano software on a computer using MIDI connection between them, as btcomm suggests?
VL: you already have the expensive instrument - why would you not use it as a controller as well? I will give a bad, excessive analogy: You have a rolls royce, with a big engine and a trailer kit. You can use the Rolls to trail your boat. But if you are on the market only for something to trail your boat, you are better off looking for a truck instead of a Rolls.
Quote

Or are you talking about a different kind of action having to do with MIDI?
VL: No - but tell me about it? Is there a noticeable lag between your CLP and the sounds played from the cotrolled computer software compared to the sound coming out of your CLP when played as a regular dp?
Quote

Or are you saying that because of the type of music that people typically play when playing on a controller, as opposed to a piano?
VL: I am not that evil - But how could you think something like that?
Quote

Or, are there features of a controller that my piano doesn’t have and that I’ll need in order to use if as a controller?
VL: if you are looking for using your "controller" for piano playing only - no essential feature that I can think of. But usually controllers have some features that your DP does not have, like Modulation and Pitch wheels for instance. You might not have any use for those.
Quote

I’d really like to know this because I am thinking of upgrading the computer that I use with the CLP-230 in order to make it a virtual instrument. Please stop me from spending money for nothing if that is not a good idea.
Sounds like a good idea to me. I don't believe you need to get a computer as expensive & powerful as some gamers need. A good mother board & CPU, excellent sound card, a lot of fast memory and a decent hard drive. But this is OT and you know all about this.
Just IMHO, excellent post form Seanakaforty why polyphony does matter.

Re: What good is polyphony? #659430
04/04/08 10:05 AM
04/04/08 10:05 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 300
California
B
btcomm Offline
Full Member
btcomm  Offline
Full Member
B

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 300
California
Orez Eno ---------- It's a little obvious that most people-including us-don't know much about DP's and virtual instrument software because of the lack of info when questioned. As for someone using a controller instead of a digital keyboard my guess is one would opt for a keyboard since this is mostly what I see with videos on YouTube with guys using their keyboards with software to get a better sound/polyphony. They use a keyboard because they like the action and/or other functions. That's the route I would take but like yourself have a lack of knowledge when it comes to the details of what and how to hook it all up.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Piano World 

(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Bechstein
Shop our Store for Music Lovers!
PianoSupplies.com is Piano World's Online Store
Please visit our store today.
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Insuring your piano
by Stitches. 10/13/19 07:14 PM
Yamaha clp 625 vs ydp 164
by Itsbeenawhile. 10/13/19 06:53 PM
Field Report - Accompanying on a Steinway "D"
by Seeker. 10/13/19 05:25 PM
What's Hot!!
Our August Newsletter is Out!
------------------
Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour!

-------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics194,507
Posts2,878,884
Members94,657
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2019 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.1