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#669070 - 10/20/04 06:34 PM Viscount Sonata  
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Pianocchio Offline
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Pianocchio  Offline
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Goodyear, AZ
I'm looking for opinions on Viscount's digital piano the "Sonata". Has anyone here played one? How does it compare to other digitals like Yamaha's CLP170?


Thank you for an input you can offer.

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#669071 - 10/21/04 03:02 AM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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fogwall Offline
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The Sonata has 32 MB of internal samples which is not much compared to CLP170 which has 128 MB.

As I haven't myself tried the Viscount Sonata (simply as there are no resellers nearby) I can't tell if the keyboard action is better or worse than CLP170. The Sonata has a wooden keyboard and with the new iMotion samples technique for even timbre so it should be at least as good.

The piano sound is otherwise superior in the Sonata because it is equipped with very nice physical modelling features such as string resonance and damper effect. You can even hear the distinct sounds of the pedal as you press it up and down. In this respect, the CLP170 is far behind.

For more in-depth information on modelling, visit my piano page .

#669072 - 10/21/04 05:23 AM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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I was extremely unimpressed with the Viscount keyboards I played at NAMM. I think they're kind of a non-player in the industry. I'd feel much better about musicality & reliability of a Yamaha, Korg or Roland product.


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#669073 - 10/21/04 11:18 AM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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Goodyear, AZ
FogWall,

Thanks for the info =) I actually have visited your site, it is where I've gotten nearly all the info I had previous to posting this message. I must apologize, I somehow overlooked much of the information you offered about Viscount (I only noticed the blurb next to the picture of the Sonata). The Sonata is sounding better and better as I learn more, it is also less expensive and more attractive than the CLP170.

While I have your attention: Do you know why the Yamaha GT20 was discontinued in the US? Or was it never sold in the US?

Thank you very much for your help.


Steve,

When you say keyboard, do you mean the keyboard on the digital piano, or Viscount portable keyboards?

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#669074 - 10/21/04 01:22 PM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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All of the above. I played several "products" at NAMM 2004. I thought they were pretty lousy when compared with other manufacturers.


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#669075 - 10/21/04 02:35 PM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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Pianocchio: I cannot answer that question, sorry. They did have a GT15 for a while too, cheaper than GT20.

#669076 - 10/21/04 09:58 PM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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Pianocchio Offline
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Goodyear, AZ
Steve,

Thanks for the feedback, i'll definitely keep that in mind.


Fog,

Quite alright =) Have you played a GranTouch, by any chance? I can get it online (shipped from Europe) for about $5,000US(plus possible customs fees) I'm trying to decide if I should do that, or just get a CLP locally. I really love the way the GranTouch looks and sounds, and I believe it is considered to have the best touch?

#669077 - 10/21/04 11:35 PM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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fogwall Offline
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Yes, I tried the GT2 once. It is hard to criticize the touch of a GranTouch, simply because the keyboard is absolutely authentic. That is the really good thing about it apart from the slick design. The piano sound is not bad either even though, for that price, it should be even better and with some physical modelling added.

Perhaps you should also have a look at a Valdesta C-500 which you can buy for less than half the price in USA.

#669078 - 10/22/04 08:17 AM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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Pianocchio Offline
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Goodyear, AZ
Thanks for all your help, Fog =) I'll definitely have a look at the C-500 as well.

#669079 - 10/22/04 10:30 AM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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"The piano sound is otherwise superior in the Sonata because it is equipped with very nice physical modelling features such as string resonance and damper effect"

According to the link below the CLP170 does include string resonance, though i'm not sure how much 'modelling' would be involved.

http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/ContentDetail/ModelSeriesDetail/0,6373,CNTID%253D2714%2526CTID%253D203500%2526ATRID%253D20%2526DETYP%253DATTRIBUTE,00.html


Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem
#669080 - 10/22/04 11:21 AM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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I just checked Viscount's web site. I didn't find a single reference to "physical modeling" technology. The "iMotion" technology that was referenced is never identified as utilizing "modeling".

I get the impression that most folks around here don't know the difference between "sampling" and "modeling" technology. Perhaps that should be a new thread?


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#669081 - 10/22/04 12:25 PM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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OK, let me clear things up for you Steve.

iMotion is a new feature in the Viscount models which evens up the timber, reminding of Generalmusic's FADE engine. It is indeed a modelling technique (which combines samples with
an algorithmic software program).

iMotion itself is just a feature which was added to their IS4 modelling.

#669082 - 10/22/04 02:08 PM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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Fogwall,
I don't want to appear argumentative, but I'm wondering if you could clear this up by presenting a definition of acoustic or physical modeling technology (especially as to how it differs from sample-based technology)?


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#669083 - 10/23/04 12:16 AM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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Well, Steve, I'm no expert in modelling technologies but I do know that physical modelling is based on complex mathemathical formulas performed by a DSP unit. The purpose is to simulate the true behaviour which samples alone can not achieve, alternatively, in order to avoid excessive use of samples.

Sampling technology is, as far as I know, more of representing the true sound based on certain static conditions.

I you are not happy with this answer I would gladly discuss this further in a separate thread.

#669084 - 10/23/04 03:34 PM Re: Viscount Sonata  
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SteveY Offline
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Actually, that's a pretty decent definition, Fogwall.

Modeling Instrument: a very powerful processor recreates the waveform of an instrument in real-time with various nuances specific to that instrument. No samples are used.

Sample-based Instrument: digital recordings or "samples" are played back in real-time with various nuances specific to that instrument created by velocity switching and layering.

Modeling technology has great potential in that it's not limited to the number of sample layers to mirror the expression of the player. However, because of the considerable processor speed needed as well as some speed bumps in the implementation, no one has really perfected a modeled piano yet (GEM is getting close, however). Guitar, drum and even organ manufacturers have already released some great products using physical or acoustic modeling (Line 6, Roland V-drums, Roland VK organs, Native instruments plug-ins, etc.).

My concern around for this board is that people are throwing around the term "modeling" when in fact, the technology is sample-based. It's misleading when a manufacturer (or a poster here) says that a digital piano has features that "model" string resonance, etc. when it's not. Awhile back, we had a guy who claimed that the Yamaha P series keyboards utilized modeling technology. A representative from Yamaha posted here to correct that false assumption:

Quote
The sound generation technology in the P-series is sample based.

The ONLY part of this that could be considered "modeled" is the way that the Harmonic Resonance responds in the P250 and PF500. This "response" uses samples to create illusion of real sympathetic vibrations.

This would have nothing to do with any kind of sound generation technology which Yamaha has explored in products like the VL1 and VL70m.

Mike Martin
Yamaha
Modeling technology is in its infancy in the keyboard world. Most of the major manufacturers have not yet created a piano sound using modeling, instead relying on sample-based sounds. I'm highly skeptical that a fringe company that makes budget products such as Viscount is ahead of the curve.


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