In the other active thread on this subject I have submitted recordings of my own playing comparing my AkoustikPiano virtual piano system to my CLP-230. You might want to listen to that. Although if you are a better player than myself you might be able to take better advantage of a virtual system than myself. LINK: Other Thread on Virtual Pianos
How the audio is streamed from the software: from the PC to the DP or from PC to an amp, or from the DP to an amp? How does it work exactly?.
The software accepts instructions from your keyboard/piano via the MIDI connection and plays its sampled sounds via your computerâ€™s sound system, whatever that may be. For this to work well, the sound system must be able to respond quickly. That aspect of the system is called latency. If your computerâ€™s sound system has poor latency, there will be a noticeable delay between when you press a key and when you hear the sound. A special driver (called ASIO) is used to optimize latency performance, and your audio system needs to be ASIO compatible.
I donâ€™t use the internal sound system of my computer. I use an external unit, a PreSonus Firebox. The latency of my system is reported by the Akoustik Piano software as 2 milliseconds. On a previous unit, the E-MU 0202 the latency was 6 milliseconds, but I could not perceive the difference. I upgraded from E-MU 0202 to PreSonus Firebox for other reasons. Less than 5 milliseconds is considered good. I suspect most people will begin to first notice latency when it exceeds 10 milliseconds, but of course different people are more talented in perceiving this than others.
is it practical to have PC-based-music software attached to a DP and having to turn on the PC in order to play it?
In the case of Akoustik Piano, I cannot set it up for the software to fire up automatically at boot up time. I have to first wait for the computer itself to boot up completely, then start the software. If I setup Akoustic Piano to fire up automatically (by placing its icon in my system startup menu), the software does not properly recognize itâ€™s drivers. In addition, the Akoustik Piano software does not automatically activate a particular voice (set of samples). You must first activate your favorite set of samples.
I also report that Akoustic Piano software is crash prone. If I do not disable my network connection (I have six computers in the house), Akoustic Piano misbehaves after about 15 minutes of playing. If I disable the network connection, this strange effect goes away. I have tested it by leaving it ON permanently for a week, and playing it for several hours every day without a problem as long as I keep the computer disconnected from the network.
Akoustik Piano also does work well when other software is running on the system.
So I cannot play piano, then take breaks like browse the web. Eternal
reports that his Ivory system boots up completely, software and all, without any user interaction. He doesnâ€™t even have to turn on the monitor and can conceal the entire computer from view if he wants to.
Although I hear Pianoteq pedal characteristics are good, some posters here at PianoWorld have admitted that their dynamic sampling sounds artificial. I myself have no experience. However, some people are aspiring to the theory that Pianoteqâ€™s method of simulating the dynamic sampling (which involves some kind of software/algorithmic alteration of the sound) does not sound better than other systems that simply play different samples. Other people strongly disagree. Myself, my Akoustik Piano system plays 16 different samples, depending on the force/velocity that you strike a key, but as closely and as carefully as I listen, I cannot perceive any difference in tonality between the lightest pianissimo to the strongest fortissimo. They all sound the same to me as far as tonality is concerned.
And, it's not as if I'm tone-deaf. I can perceive audio quality differences sufficiently well to notice that the internal speakers that are installed in my CLP-230 are marginal and I have added an external HiFi amplifier and speaker system to improve the quality of its sound. It is not for loudness that I do this. I play with the volume set to the level you would expect from any average acoustic piano. I use an external amplifier/speaker system for the better tonal quality that I hear, and I easily notice the difference. But I do not notice any difference in tonality between pianissimo and fortissimo on my Akoustik Piano system. I only notice the difference in volume. The tonality sounds the same. However, I suspect that if an accomplished pianist with excellent dynamic expression skills were to play my two systems, I would easily notice a difference. I say this because I do notice that the demos of the various virtual piano system sound much better than my own piano. But I suspect that the talent of the pianists who make those demos has a lot to do with why they sound so good. When I play the Akoustik Piano system myself, it doesn't sound that spectacular compared to the resident sound of my CLP-230. Of course the tonal quality of my Akoustik Piano is noticeably different than that of my CLP-230, and the sound of its various instruments is noticeable, and very interesting. But I do not preceive any tonal difference between the various dynamic levels within any particular set of samples (that is, for any particular instrument or voice). And, no particular set of samples stood out as so much better than the internal, resident sounds on my CLP-230 that I would recommend rushing out and getting it.