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A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite

Posted By: CyberGene

A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 02:59 PM

In the reharmonization thread I posted a recording I made with CFX Lite. I created the file in GarageBand and used CFX Lite to export the audio. Listening to it closely I realize there's something wrong with the audio, there's something like background noise and there's hissing-like sound to most of the notes. I thought it might be because of GarageBand normalization and turned it off, but it didn't help.

Then I exported the same file with my (old beloved) Vintage D and wow, what a nice, clean and soft tone.

Here's for you to compare:
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star - CFX Lite
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star - Vintage D

I think I've heard that noise in live playing but not sure if it bothered me that much or whether it was that prominent. What do you think? Am I doing anything wrong? Is there a mismatch between GarageBand and the Garritan AU instrument? Anything in the sample rate conversion? I'm baffled.
Posted By: rach3master

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 03:21 PM

Could it be the pedal noise? That's what it sounds like to me.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 03:24 PM

I suspected that, so I dialed down the pedal noise knob to zero to exclude that which is how this particular recording is done, so must be something else. Or should I also try with any other knob?
Posted By: rach3master

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 03:42 PM

I am comparing with my own recordings of CFX Full, and I don't hear any background hiss, so at least it seems that the problem isn't intrinsic to CFX. Maybe try turning off Sympathetic/Sustain Resonance if you have any of that?
Posted By: Pologuy

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 03:53 PM

Slightly off topic - OK, maybe a little more than slightly smile

But are both recorded at relatively the same levels/settings?

Because if so, I find the CFX to be much better than the D - which is a slight surprise to me.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 03:59 PM

I haven't changed anything on the host side (GarageBand). And I almost haven't changed anything related to audio on the plugin side. I mean: volume output is left at its default plugin value. Both plugins generate a relatively quiet audio but GarageBand applies normalization to the audio exports. I've experimented to disable the audio normalization and to either increase the master level of the CFX plugin, or normalize in external program such as Audacity but it's always the same.

That's a very weird problem. I've read GarageBand is internally fixed to 44.1kHz and that can't be changed (it's a free program bundled with Macs, so not a lot of settings). Maybe the native sample rate of CFX is 48kHz, so there's a sample rate conversion that's very badly implemented. I don't believe a sample rate conversion would result in so apparently audible artifacts unless it's seriously faulty.
Posted By: Max_Forte

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 05:39 PM

As Biased (because of my love) big fan of Galaxy Vintage D, I must admit: Tone of the Vintage D is still the Best!
Ok. One of the Best! smile

Yesterday added some piano midi tracks to Reaper and made experiments with Galaxy Vintage D and reverbs. Waves - Abbey Road plates, Waves H - Reverb, Liquidsonic - Reverberate 2 (BTW all of them now have full 30-day demo!): Listened and could not stop. How beautiful is it!
You can't get bad results recording Vintage D.
Posted By: mcoll

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 08:23 PM

If the playing is at low velocities, could it be the white noise/hiss heard when playing piano/pianissimo notes in the CFX? I find that noise ever so slightly bothering when playing the moonlight sonata for instance, more so on headphones than on monitors.

I just listened to it on headphones and I'm very inclined to believe that that's the reason. We can just pretend it's an old recording smile Makes it more real. Joking aside, I would've preferred the CFX without this nuisance.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 08:44 PM

Yes, looking at some of the note velocities in Garage Band, most of the noisy ones are at around 20-30-40 range... I tend to play very quiet. Indeed, if one can virtually ignore the hiss, the CFX has more presence, it's livelier than the Vintage D. The latter is rather clean and dull but has its warmth that suits some styles and especially Chopin too. It's only the not so good half-pedaling that stops me from using it for live playing. CFX is so much more playable!
Posted By: Max_Forte

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 10:42 PM

CyberGene

Listened on Beyers dt-880. These beast are able to show all nuances.
It is not a noise. It is plenty of reverb and sympathetic resonances that most speakers with low definition can't reproduce as separate sounds and mix them in unpleasant way.

Try "Dry" sound and turn off sympathetic resonance.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 10:55 PM

Well, as a matter of fact I got out my DT-880 600Ω today exactly because I knew they would show everything as it is and the noise was there which made my create this thread. I still think there is inherent noise in CFX Lite which is exaggerated mostly because I played relatively quiet throughout the piece and the normalization brings that out.
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/06/17 10:57 PM

Nice playing.

I also prefer the Vintage D file.

Quickly eyeballing the SoundCloud level "bar chart":

- the Vintage D might have more dynamic range

- CFX might be a bit "louder" overall

This is in line with what I hear on decent monitors also. You can compare these characteristics with free software on the internet.

- Not sure how manually "normalizing" the VIs via the software "output volumes" impacts sound quality but I think you want to run these with "volumes" pretty high but without any clipping.

- I think you could also manually "normalize" dynamic range with the CFX>Advanced>Dynamic Range dial.

Regardless, I think you should kill any "normalization" in GarageBand.

I agree with "McCool" above. The CFX has a some room and production noise that was not taken out in the mastering process. Generally, I prefer unadultered audio files over mastered ones; but the noise is a bit irritating on Garritan CFX.

The Garritan helpdesk would not tell me if the CFX was recorded in 44.1 or 48khz. They told me it would not matter and to run the VI at best performing rate for my laptop (whatever that means)...

There is a "limit" button on CFX Full that screws up sound somehow but I think you don't have that on CFX lite. If you have that "limit" button, please deselect.
Posted By: Kawai James

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/07/17 12:30 AM

Lovely playing Evgeny.

I don't have a dog in this fight, as I thought both recordings sounded great.

I'm only using inexpensive earphones, but was not concerned by any hiss/noise.

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted By: Grazilerimba

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/07/17 01:54 AM

Hi, the CFX recording doesn't sound right, something is definitely off. I don't have any noise on my end when I play and record. I have no clue what the issue is, but I am pretty sure that I don't have noise like this.
Did you disable the Equalizer and Reverb within CFX? I found that sometimes using this stuff can introduce weird sounds in other piano VSTs. Might be worth a shot. Although you'll certainly know better than me.
If you wanted to share the midi, perhaps some people here who have the CFX could try to render it on their machines and you can compare the noise levels?
Posted By: mcoll

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/07/17 06:15 AM

@newer_player - no "McCool" here, just mccoll (as in music collector) smile L.E. good thing I didn't go with mcluv laugh

It's not the resonances, it's white noise audible in low velocity samples (close mic perspectiv, I don't know about the others). Who wants to try this on their own CFX should just play some pianissimo chords and it's easily heard on headphones. As I previously said, this is very evident to me in the first mvt of the Moonlight sonata.

As for a comparison between the two VSTs, while Vintage D sounds beautiful, the repedalling problem and the modest resonances place it beneath the CFX as far as I'm concerned. The CFX is somewhat clearer, and brighter (might not be everyone's cup of tea), but the pedal down samples with rich resonances make a world of difference for the realism and feeling of the overall sound. Plus the half and re-pedalling work well.
Posted By: rach3master

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/07/17 06:56 AM

If you share the MIDI, I'll gladly render the file for you on my CFX Full.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/07/17 05:11 PM

I don't have quality headphones or monitors attached to my computer, but I have to say I really enjoyed both renderings.

I'm more than happy with CFX full, but I've never bothered to seriously compare it to other VSTs post-purchase. I have to say, if I had the Vintage D instead, I don't think I'd have much to complain about.

It's a good time to be into VSTs!
Posted By: karvala

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/07/17 08:05 PM

First of all, loved the playing and the harmonisation. Mozart would have been proud!

Noise in the CFX Lite samples has been talked about before here (see this thread for example) and I also hear it. It's at quite a low level - I have VSTs with much more prominent noise - but it is definitely there. I think it's the price you pay for samples with high resonance. I was talking to a producer of some other piano VSTis recently, and one of my complaints was that sample denoising and EQ, which are absolutely necessary to make a coherent instrument, is generally overdone and they lose some most of the room resonance and some of the instrument timbre as a result. Garritan are at the other extreme; they keep so much of the room resonance you actively have to turn it done, and you never need any other reverb, but the quid pro quo is that when a sample is played, its background noise comes with it a bit.

I'm not sure if you have sustain pedal samples on (it sounds like you do), which is the default, but if you do, they exacerbate the effect to my ears - you get a much bigger sample on/off effect than you do with the damped samples. You could try turning them off and re-recording and seeing if it improves it. That's about the only thing that is likely to make a difference; turning down room decay might also reduce it but it will lose some of the beauty of the sound as well unfortunately.
Posted By: TonyDIGITAL

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/07/17 09:52 PM

For me the Production Grand compact (got it in Blackfriday sales for $24) sounds very similar to the CFX Lite and is cheaper.
Posted By: peterws

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/07/17 10:34 PM

Originally Posted by genuse
If you share the MIDI, I'll gladly render the file for you on my CFX Full.


That'd be fun for all of us. And we can work out those delicious chords you use!
But, honestly, imo I dunno what you're complaining about. I heard that hissing sound when listening to digital pianos with resonances turned on/too far up. I have it with my Roland; some of the more expensive stuff exhibit this somewhat false sounding embellishment. Problem is - they're too finely tuned. Real pianos are never like that.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 12:22 AM

I’d gladly share the MIDI file but there actually isn’t one because GarageBand can’t export MIDI files frown I remember that once I managed to do it using an external program that presents itself as audio unit to GarageBand and can catch the MIDI data and save it. I’ll see what I can do. Or I can just re-record it on my ES7 smile And of course I can notate the chords if you’re interested?
Posted By: rach3master

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 12:34 AM

You can re-record on your ES7. And could you kindly share your CFX settings so I can mimic what you are doing?
Posted By: Mike A

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 03:30 AM

Originally Posted by CyberGene
And of course I can notate the chords if you’re interested?
I'm interested!
Posted By: bsntn99

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 03:41 AM

I took the two versions and created spectrums for the entire song. The CFX has a lot of noise in the samples versus most other libraries including Vintage D which are quite clean. This has always been a problem with the CFX samples. It has nothing to do with Garageband. The noise tracks with the volume of the sample. I see the same issue when I record with the CFX which is why I don't use it. I played with the weighting to enhance the visualization, so ignore the top half of the images.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Posted By: TonyDIGITAL

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 12:27 PM

Originally Posted by bsntn99
...CFX has a lot of noise in the samples versus most other libraries...

Were you using CFX full or Lite?
Thank you
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 12:32 PM

There shouldn't be a difference between full and lite. The Lite version has only the close perspective with no distant microphones, but other than that these are exactly the same samples and engine, they aren't lower quality ones.
Posted By: TheodorN

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 01:45 PM

Garritan CFX (full) was recorded from three perspectives, close, contemporary, and player. In each case there were two microphone pairs used, close and ambient, the latter presumably farther away from the piano to capture the room sound of Abbey Road Studio. Actually there were three pairs used for the close perspective, two for the close section, and one for the ambient part. The Lite version uses only the two close microphone pairs from the close perspective, which means muting the ambient pair in the full version, the close perspective, is basically the Lite version.

Is there any indication that this fault you and a few others, have found with the Garritan CFX, is linked to the sampling engine, and sound processing, and is therefore bound to be found in all the microphone perspectives? As far as I see it, it can't be overruled, that the noise was introduced in the recording for the close perspective only. At least, while we don't know if the noise was introduced in the processing, we can't tell if there is any difference between CFX Lite, and CFX full version, what this noise is concerned.
Posted By: TonyDIGITAL

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 02:30 PM

I second what TheodorN just said and therefore we would know for sure only if one of us could do what bsntn99 did but with one set of CFX and another one with CFX Lite.
Anyone?
Posted By: Pologuy

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 04:30 PM

Could it be that the "noise" some are hearing is just a natural result of recording a piano...?

And that on the D (and others) that "noise" was taken out during post processing - and that is why the D has a slightly "duller"/"muted" sound?
Posted By: bsntn99

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 04:37 PM

If I can get recordings from the other mic perspectives, I can look at the noise profile, but the close mics are the primary ones. Note I only have the Lite version. I just found out recently that Garritan used blended mics in their recording to get a particular sound versus most other libraries use one mic pair per position. Stacking mic sets can increase the noise floor and also introduce time/phase issues. This may be why there is some subtle blurriness in the sound.

Also, I don't think they recorded near 0 db and recorded at a low level so that when they normalized the samples, the noise floor increased significantly. It really jumps out listening to this with a pair of good headphones. Great programming, but poorly recorded technically. Even if the other mic sets are clean, would you want to only use those and not the close mics. As I said before, probably ok for playing, but not suitable for piano focused recording.
Posted By: Pologuy

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 06:00 PM

Originally Posted by bsntn99
As I said before, probably ok for playing, but not suitable for piano focused recording.


Which seems very odd, since that is pretty much Abbey Road's "wheelhouse".
Posted By: Aves

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 06:14 PM

When listening to your files the Vintage D does indeed sound clearer, actually I own both and I DO like the CFX more. However, in my opinion, on default settings it sounds muffled

For comparison I took a MIDI file from the internet (credits and made a comparison between CFX lite and CFX full (default and edited settings to achieve a clearer sound)

Schubert impromptu op90no3,
Garritan CFX lite (simulated in the full version by disabling the ambient mics)
Garritan CFX full (default settings)
Garritan CFX custom settings (can post them later if needed)

I hear a big difference between lite and full (the latter being much richer in sound) however the sound can be edited to be a little more clearer.
However I do not think this completely solves your issue of background noise/hissing (which i do not seem to hear clearly on speakers or my DT990's)
Posted By: karvala

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 07:01 PM

Okay, I have some fast and dirty analysis for you. I don't have nearly enough time or interest to do this in a properly controlled way (i.e. controlled rendering and bit-matched files), but this is more than sufficient for the present purposes. It's worth noting that if you're interested in recording noise, then you're interested in power at frequencies across the entire recording, so it is generally much easier to quantify these in spectral plots than spectrograms, hence I've used the former.

First, the original examples from soundcloud. Comparing the CFX lite and the Vintage D versions, you can clearly see the substantially lower noise floor of the Vintage D. In particular, I have highlighted the region of noise you can hear on the CFX but not the Vintage D, which is very clear to see.

[Linked Image]

The drop at 16Khz looks suspicious, and I wondered if this was related to the file compression. In order to test that, and to compare the Vintage D with both the CFX Lite and the CFX Full in different scenarios, I created some simple wave files of an ascending and descending two-octave C-major scale (just one tone playing at a time), and an ascending and descending one-octave C major scale with chords.

First, using the scale sample, comparing the Vintage D with the CFX Lite under default settings, and the CFX Lite under minimal noise settings (which essentially means turning all the dials down, so short release decay, no sympathetic resonance etc.). It is apparent that the Vintage D is still lower noise, but these room samples and effects are adding to the noise floor, as I suspected in an earlier post. Fundamentally, you don't get room reverb without room noise. However, it is also clear there remains a noise differential even when everything is turned off.

[Linked Image]

Second, I compared the CFX Lite at default settings with the CFX Full on settings designed to imitate it (close mic only, classic perspective, all dials and settings the same). I also compared with the CFX classic perspective on default settings out of curiosity. The results are perhaps surprising. The CFX Lite and the CFX Full imitating the Lite show a similar noise level, not surprisingly. However, the CFX Full, i.e. with the ambient mic present as well, does have a lower noise floor. That's partly an amplitude artifact (sorry, no time to start normalising amplitudes), but it does seem to be more than that and if anything I would expect the opposite. That suggests to me that the close mic samples are noisier than the others. How useful that piece of information is remains to be seen. As someone pointed out, the choice of using the close mics or not is likely to be determined by something other than the presence of a very slightly higher level of background noise in one mic perspective. These are barely audible effects (as you can see from the power levels), so it's not worth getting too involved with it.

[Linked Image]

Next, just to satisfy myself that these results are not an artifact of the particular sample used, I did the same analyses with the chords sample, and the results all follow exactly the same pattern.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Finally, out of curiosity, I rendered the chords sample in a few different instruments using my standard settings, and the results (shown in full and zoomed in on high frequency noise) are interesting. The Ravenscroft comes looking pretty bad, and if you've ever played it, you might recognise that. The Yamaha C7s (Acoustic Samples and Production Grand Compact) are also looking pretty noisy, which makes sense to me. Pianoteq comes out best, not surprisingly since it's not samples so there is no sampling noise. The Grandeur, The Maverick, the TrueKeys German Grand are looking fairly clean, and for all the complaints, the Garritan CFX Full (default Classic perspective, which I suspect from playing is probably the noisiest of the three perspectives) is actually right in the middle of the pack. So there you have it.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Posted By: bsntn99

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/08/17 08:44 PM

One thing as you probably know, the noise floor we are talking about in the CFX is fixed and mainly affects the lower velocities where you have the lowest signal to noise ratio. Once you get into the mid and higher velocities, the piano sound begins to mask the noise.

As the piano samples are normalized to a standard level in libraries, normalization of the lower velocity samples means that they are amplified greatly as well as the noise floor. I like to compare these libraries using the lowest velocities in my playing or I look at the lowest velocity samples when I have access to these which I do for most of the libraries that have been discussed.

I don't doubt the other mic positions might have a lower noise floor. In the end comes down to your intended use for the library and how sensitive your ears are to whether this bothers you or not.
Posted By: Grazilerimba

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 01:45 AM

Karvala, that was a very interesting and informative read. Thanks a heap for taking the time to do that, very much appreciated.
Posted By: mcoll

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 08:44 AM

karvala, thank you very much for that analysis, I was very impressed and found it very enlightening! I just want to ask, maybe you've noticed - is the noise floor louder in low velocity samples than in louder ones or is it just an illusion?

Edit: and I just want to add that, for me as well, the choice of VST is least affected by this and is mainly influenced by playability (uniformity, dynamic range, how well pedalling works and resonances), followed by the way it sounds (timber) and the noise in the samples would have to be quite bad to deter me from a VST if the first two criteria are well met.
Posted By: Alex C

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 09:27 AM

It was the first thing I noticed after I installed Garritan CFX Lite. The volume of the headphones was all the way up and I played very softly. There it was! Noise. But I could only hear it at the start of the notes. However, if the volume is at normal listening levels and if you don't boost the volume of the soft notes with a compressor to create some kind of soft cinematic piano, then the noise really isn't that noticeable.

Having said that, it's the best virtual piano that I've heard so far. And I'm still contemplating the full version (if it was available as a 'download', I probably would have bought it already). I only hope that the noise in the other mic perspectives isn't worse, of course.

Is there anybody here that has the full version? I was wondering if the other perspectives from the complete library sound more 'closed-miked'? The perspective of the Lite version sounds a bit distant, especially compared to other virtual pianos.
Posted By: karvala

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 01:25 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone; much appreciated.

In terms of the noise source, there are many types of noise but fundamentally you can divide them into additive noise - where a fixed amount of noise is added regardless of signal amplitude - and multiplicative noise where it scales with the signal amplitude. Both are possible in audio sampling and in the context of creating a VST, additive noise would represent a noise baseline somewhere in the recording pipeline, and multiplicative noise would represent an effect of subsequent rescaling the amplitude of an entire source, including its noise.

To look at this in the Garritan CFX, I have taken my scale midi file and created two versions - one where the midi velocity of each note is 40 (this is normal quiet playing on most DPs for most players), and 80 (normal moderately loud playing on most DPs for most players; both loud and quiet velocities do vary quite a bit between players and instruments, however). What we see in the Garritan is almost entirely baseline noise; there is only a small component which scales with the amplitude. As such, when the noise is most evident in quiet playing, this is because the SNR is relatively lower, i.e. the noise is not actually higher in amplitude in the quiet samples, but it's not much lower either, whereas the signal of course is lower, so the noise makes up comparatively more of the total sound.

[Linked Image]

As you can below there is no noticeable different in the noise levels between the close and ambient mics in the Classic perspective, so I don't think the Classic close mic perspective (used in the CFX Lite) is especially afflicted in any way.

[Linked Image]

Comparing mic perspectives gave a somewhat surprising result to me. The Classic and Contemporary perspectives had broadly similar noise levels in their close and ambient mics, and the Player perspective close mic was also at that level. The Player perspective ambient mic, however, does seem to have a somewhat higher noise floor (see the zoomed in view as well). You can also see here the additive nature of the noise when both mics are turned on - the noise is essentially summing the noise of the two mics, so you do get a higher noise floor and lower SNR when both mics are used, so the Player perspective with both mics is also somewhat higher.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

I must say, these are all pretty low values and none of them personally bother me in playing at all, but how much you hear will depend on your setup. I use a custom-built O2 amplifier with a neutral and unusually low noise profile, which is good for detecting noise, but I also use Sennheiser HD650 headphones which actually mask noise quite well due to their frequency profile. HD600 make it slightly more audible, but AKG702 are what do bring it out more to me, though it's still at very low levels.
Posted By: karvala

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 01:41 PM

Originally Posted by Alex C
It was the first thing I noticed after I installed Garritan CFX Lite. The volume of the headphones was all the way up and I played very softly. There it was! Noise. But I could only hear it at the start of the notes. However, if the volume is at normal listening levels and if you don't boost the volume of the soft notes with a compressor to create some kind of soft cinematic piano, then the noise really isn't that noticeable.

Having said that, it's the best virtual piano that I've heard so far. And I'm still contemplating the full version (if it was available as a 'download', I probably would have bought it already). I only hope that the noise in the other mic perspectives isn't worse, of course.

Is there anybody here that has the full version? I was wondering if the other perspectives from the complete library sound more 'closed-miked'? The perspective of the Lite version sounds a bit distant, especially compared to other virtual pianos.


Yes, I have the full version. The noise in the other perspectives isn't worse (except for the Player perspective ambient mic, and that's not much worse), but it's also no better, so the Lite version is fairly indicative of noise generally. Note that noise is additive across mic perspectives, though, so combining ambient and close mics in the full version will increase the noise level slightly. It's not something that bothers me at all, but it does depend on individual set up and sensitivity, so that's an individual thing really.

Subjectively, I would say the Player perspective sounds slightly more 'closed-miked', but not a great deal. Certainly none of the perspectives to my ears reach the sense of closeness achieved by something like the Galaxy Vintage D.

There are really two different reasons for that. One is that the closeness really does depend on what types of mic were used and where they were located. I don't think that's the main reason here, though. The second reason is that you can manipulate a sense of distance through reverb, i.e. I can play with the reverb settings on the Galaxy Vintage D and to an extent make it sound a lot more distant by using convolution reverb based on a large room and a substantial pre-delay. Most instruments have room reverb actively EQ'd-out during in the sampling pipeline, so their default settings are quite close and dry and if you want reverb, it's added through a convolution reverb function. Garritan took the opposite approach in the CFX and deliberately kept room reverb in there, and left it turned up in their default settings too. The result is that even in close mic perspectives, you hear a lot of natural reverb in the Garritan CFX that makes it by far the most resonant piano VST out there, but consequently also rather distant sounding. You can make it closer by reducing the release decay and volume, but if you do so entirely it sounds very artificial, i.e. you can clearly hear samples just being turned off mid-sound. So with the CFX, you pretty much have to have some room reverb, and that will always the sense of closeness.

For what it's worth, if you're contemplating upgrading from the lite to the full version, I did that too. I had the lite version for a few months, which I liked, and I upgraded to the full version, and I don't regret it at all. Having the ambient mics really adds something, and I use the Player perspective probably more than the Classic perspective (don't use Contemporary much, but it's occasionally useful if I want a slightly dryer sound). It actually worked out cheaper buying the lite and then the upgrade than buying the full straight off anyway as it happened!
Posted By: toddy

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 02:12 PM

Originally Posted by karvala
Note that noise is additive across mic perspectives, though, so combining ambient and close mics in the full version will increase the noise level slightly.


Won't the doubling of noise be compensated for by the fact that, presumably, the signal is doubled in volume?
Posted By: karvala

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 02:51 PM

Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by karvala
Note that noise is additive across mic perspectives, though, so combining ambient and close mics in the full version will increase the noise level slightly.


Won't the doubling of noise be compensated for by the fact that, presumably, the signal is doubled in volume?


If they were fully independent signals, yes, that would indeed work and the SNR would be the same. Unfortunately they're not; you can see just about see in the graphs (sorry, they're not very good resolution in these online versions; I can see them much better) that in the lower (signal) frequencies the amplitude of the two mics is very often not much more than that of a single mic, because the two signals are closely related (coming from the same piano strings, probably at the same time). Additive noise by definition tends to be more independent, and so the summation of that is a more straightforward doubling of amplitude, which you tend to see in the higher (noise) frequencies.
Posted By: toddy

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 03:17 PM

Thanks for your explanation and also for the impressive graphic analyses which I could read on a tablet by blowing them up to the maximum allowed.
Posted By: Pologuy

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 04:19 PM

Many people (laypeople and pros alike) consider the Abbey Road CFX to be one of the best (or the best) piano VSTs available.

So why not just play and enjoy it! smile
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 05:13 PM

Originally Posted by karvala
I use the Player perspective probably more than the Classic perspective (don't use Contemporary much, but it's occasionally useful if I want a slightly dryer sound).


I think the stereo imaging on the player perspective KU100 mic (that is the binaural head) is swapped left and right. Garritan techs disagree (there are phasing challenges and the distance makes this less critical) but you can make your own decision by testing each mic independently:

Quick test of swapped stereo images

- full>player>default
a. studio tab> mute close mic (km84)
b. studio tab> in "stereo image" test "audience" and "performer"

Then test:
c. studio tab> mute ambient mic (ku100)
d. studio tab> in "stereo image" test "audience" and "performer"
______

Quick "fix" which I think makes the sound via headphones more coherent but YMMV

I just run two instances of Garritan CFX
1. mute close mic (km84) & set "stereo image" to "performer"
2. mute ambient mic (ku100) & set "stereo image" to "audience"



BTW - someone noted earlier that the master limit light is wonky so bypass that via (master slider> limit button>turn off light)
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 05:30 PM

Thank you very much for your detailed tests and explanations Karvala. They are insightful and good learning opportunities.

Below is a slightly edited message I sent to Karvala yesterday which tries to address the playability of Garritan CFX.

I quite like Garritan CFX. I think what has come to bother me over time are the "unrealistic release accent sounds" which I think cause some "disconnection" between the VI and the player.

1. the "reverb" with many of the mics sounds odd when releasing a key; I hear an "unrealistic release accent sound" when relasing a key, then the sound quickly disappears. That accent makes playing irritaing and unrealistic for me. Particulaly around the C1 range. I never heard that type of accent playing a piano in any room. Putting all the Piano tab dials down to 0 then ramping up the two "Room/Release" dials emphasizes the problem.

If you go to full>player>default (and mute the KU100 so only the km84 is running) that irritating accent is gone and decay is much more natural. To Karvala's comments above, the km84 is rather boring particularly at the higher & lower registers (and sounds like a toy when lowering those Piano tab dials to 0) but is quite playable.

2. Whilst Garritan CFX is quite playable I think there is some "disconnection" from between the player and the piano. I assumed this was a "latency or jitter" issue. I find PianoTeq and the onboard sounds of my Kawai es100 are much more responsive. I have PC latency very low (say Garritan at 48khz with buffer of 48 on a RME babyface pro* with headphones). I thought this "disconnection" might be due to either:

- processing delays in the Aria player
- some small timing delay at the beginning of the CFX samples
- maybe some delays at the beginning of the CFX samples of slightly differing lengths of time (~jitter)

But...when I read Karvala's detailed posts today and tried playing some of the Garritan CFX mics with the Piano tab dials at 0, I noticed the player perspective close "km84" mic did not seem to have this "disconnection" issue. It felt as responsive as PianoTeq (but sounded even more bland). The km84 has the advantage of being close to the strings which helps latency a bit. Also, the player perspective has only one mic pair which probably simplified production (km84).

[The other "close" mics seem to run two pairs (classic - m49/km84) (contemporary - D19/c12) complicating production.]

So, I still don't know what the "disconnection" issue is with Garritan. Obviously the ambient mics are further from the strings and capturing the big room effects; perhaps there also are timing issues with the ambient samples. It sure feels like long latency.

But based on playing the km84 alone, I think the always surprising "unrealistic release accent sounds" are what make me feel a "disconnection" with the Garritan CFX.

* actually 96khz with buffer of 96 which performs the same.
Posted By: karvala

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 06:16 PM

Originally Posted by newer player
Originally Posted by karvala
I use the Player perspective probably more than the Classic perspective (don't use Contemporary much, but it's occasionally useful if I want a slightly dryer sound).

I think the stereo imaging on the player perspective KU100 mic (that is the binaural head) is swapped left and right. Garritan techs disagree (there are phasing challenges and the distance makes this less critical) but you can make your own decision by testing each mic independently:


Undoubtedly so; I'd always assumed that was the intentional placement, it never occurred to me that something as basic as that could be an error. I assumed it was to limit the sense of spatial division through headphones, which otherwise is rather sharp, but then I guess there is a stereo width option for that. In any case, I agree the space-frequency mapping is definitely switched for the KU100 in the Player perspective; I don't see how the Garritan techs can really disagree with that, if that's what they are disagreeing with; it's quite plain to hear.
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/09/17 07:34 PM

Originally Posted by newer player
I think the stereo imaging on the player perspective KU100 mic (that is the binaural head) is swapped left and right. Garritan techs disagree (there are phasing challenges and the distance makes this less critical) but you can make your own decision by testing each mic independently


Originally Posted by karvala
Undoubtedly so; I'd always assumed that was the intentional placement, it never occurred to me that something as basic as that could be an error. I assumed it was to limit the sense of spatial division through headphones, which otherwise is rather sharp, but then I guess there is a stereo width option for that. In any case, I agree the space-frequency mapping is definitely switched for the KU100 in the Player perspective; I don't see how the Garritan techs can really disagree with that, if that's what they are disagreeing with; it's quite plain to hear.


I found the sound of the default "Player Perspective" (with the KU100 & km84 stereo channels swapped) to be awkward. The discomfort was akin to wearing someone else's prescription glasses.

Flipping the channels by running two instances of Garritan CFX as noted above resolves that discomfort. Reducing the "volume" of one of the mics is a mediocre alternative.
Posted By: Alex C

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/10/17 08:46 AM

Originally Posted by karvala

Yes, I have the full version. The noise in the other perspectives isn't worse (except for the Player perspective ambient mic, and that's not much worse), but it's also no better, so the Lite version is fairly indicative of noise generally. Note that noise is additive across mic perspectives, though, so combining ambient and close mics in the full version will increase the noise level slightly. It's not something that bothers me at all, but it does depend on individual set up and sensitivity, so that's an individual thing really.

Subjectively, I would say the Player perspective sounds slightly more 'closed-miked', but not a great deal. Certainly none of the perspectives to my ears reach the sense of closeness achieved by something like the Galaxy Vintage D.

There are really two different reasons for that. One is that the closeness really does depend on what types of mic were used and where they were located. I don't think that's the main reason here, though. The second reason is that you can manipulate a sense of distance through reverb, i.e. I can play with the reverb settings on the Galaxy Vintage D and to an extent make it sound a lot more distant by using convolution reverb based on a large room and a substantial pre-delay. Most instruments have room reverb actively EQ'd-out during in the sampling pipeline, so their default settings are quite close and dry and if you want reverb, it's added through a convolution reverb function. Garritan took the opposite approach in the CFX and deliberately kept room reverb in there, and left it turned up in their default settings too. The result is that even in close mic perspectives, you hear a lot of natural reverb in the Garritan CFX that makes it by far the most resonant piano VST out there, but consequently also rather distant sounding. You can make it closer by reducing the release decay and volume, but if you do so entirely it sounds very artificial, i.e. you can clearly hear samples just being turned off mid-sound. So with the CFX, you pretty much have to have some room reverb, and that will always the sense of closeness.

For what it's worth, if you're contemplating upgrading from the lite to the full version, I did that too. I had the lite version for a few months, which I liked, and I upgraded to the full version, and I don't regret it at all. Having the ambient mics really adds something, and I use the Player perspective probably more than the Classic perspective (don't use Contemporary much, but it's occasionally useful if I want a slightly dryer sound). It actually worked out cheaper buying the lite and then the upgrade than buying the full straight off anyway as it happened!


Thank you for your two cents on the matter, karvala. It's really helpful. You could be right that the miked room sound contributes to the realism of the Garritan piano. For indeed, when dialling down the two room parameters, the magic of the instrument seems to disappear. You did mention that the contemporary perspective is the driest of the bunch but that you don't use it? Any particular reason? There's also the Ravenscroft piano from VI Labs to consider but I'm not sure if I like the 'special' sound of that piano. Going by the demo songs, the gentle side sounds very good (to my ears) but its 'forte' dynamic is quite 'attacky' and aggressive. The tone somehow reminds me of a Bosendorfer.
Posted By: TonyDIGITAL

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/10/17 03:21 PM

I intend to upgrade my Lite version to Full but the swapped L/R channel on the player perspective somewhat takes the wind out of the sail.
I'll be using Player + one side mic heavily so this is a no-go.
Anyone beside "newer player" have the same experience and can rate how disturbing that is?
Thank you
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/10/17 05:49 PM

Originally Posted by TonyDIGITAL
I intend to upgrade my Lite version to Full but the swapped L/R channel on the player perspective somewhat takes the wind out of the sail.
I'll be using Player + one side mic heavily so this is a no-go.
Anyone beside "newer player" have the same experience and can rate how disturbing that is?
Thank you


I think each user will have his or her own preferences. I think it is worth testing: swapping L & R channels, reducing the gain on the km84 mics, muting the km84 mics.

1. As karvala noted above, there are cases for running the mics swapped for realism.

2. There is also a strong case to run only the ku100 (binaural head). I think these heads originally were designed to be used alone, without additional mics to maximize the binaural effect. But I don't think the idea gained traction so for marketing purposes (how much binaural music do you own?). So I think the "head makers" subsequently promoted "benefits" of additional mics.

3. If you want to "reswap" the L & R channels, you can just run two instances of the Garritan CFX program at the same time (muting the respective mics as I noted above). I don't see any change in performance or latency on my 2015 & 2007 laptops. This also gives you the opportunity to easily mix & match mic pairs.

- I reduce the "volume" on the km84 close mics significantly to maximize binaural effect AND reduce room effect. The km84 mics are closer to the stings and have less room effect so they play very responsively to me but sound a bit dull. They do help tame the room.
Posted By: RobR

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/16/17 11:21 AM

Posting here instead of creating yet another Garritan CFX thread.

So it seems no CFX Full owners here like to use the contemporary perspective ? I received my CFX Full box yesterday (upgraded from CFX lite) and so far the contemporary perspective is my favorite.
Posted By: Alex C

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/16/17 03:52 PM

Originally Posted by tdwctdwc
Posting here instead of creating yet another Garritan CFX thread.

So it seems no CFX Full owners here like to use the contemporary perspective ? I received my CFX Full box yesterday (upgraded from CFX lite) and so far the contemporary perspective is my favorite.


Please elaborate because I find this topic very interesting.
Posted By: rach3master

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/16/17 05:33 PM

I tried the contemporary perspective for a few seconds and never used it again. The sound is too "plunky" for me and not at all what I'd envision a real grand piano sound to feel like. Might be ok for something like an intimate jazz salon-type mix.
Posted By: RobR

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/17/17 12:11 PM

Originally Posted by newer player
Originally Posted by karvala
I use the Player perspective probably more than the Classic perspective (don't use Contemporary much, but it's occasionally useful if I want a slightly dryer sound).


I think the stereo imaging on the player perspective KU100 mic (that is the binaural head) is swapped left and right. Garritan techs disagree (there are phasing challenges and the distance makes this less critical) but you can make your own decision by testing each mic independently:

Quick test of swapped stereo images

- full>player>default
a. studio tab> mute close mic (km84)
b. studio tab> in "stereo image" test "audience" and "performer"

Then test:
c. studio tab> mute ambient mic (ku100)
d. studio tab> in "stereo image" test "audience" and "performer"
______

Quick "fix" which I think makes the sound via headphones more coherent but YMMV

I just run two instances of Garritan CFX
1. mute close mic (km84) & set "stereo image" to "performer"
2. mute ambient mic (ku100) & set "stereo image" to "audience"



BTW - someone noted earlier that the master limit light is wonky so bypass that via (master slider> limit button>turn off light)

Wow i knew something with the player perspective sounded off, it just never never occurred to me that the stereo images were swapped! I wonder what the techs at Garritan think about this. Did someone create a ticket and asked them about this yet ?

Luckily, the "quick fix" solution worked great for me and it sounds great to my ears now just like a "player" perspective is supposed to sound.

Thank you for this post.
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/17/17 02:35 PM

Originally Posted by tdwctdwc
Wow i knew something with the player perspective sounded off, it just never never occurred to me that the stereo images were swapped! I wonder what the techs at Garritan think about this. Did someone create a ticket and asked them about this yet ?

Luckily, the "quick fix" solution worked great for me and it sounds great to my ears now just like a "player" perspective is supposed to sound.

Thank you for this post.


tdwctdwc - Glad this helped. It made a big difference for me.

I contacted Garritan help earlier this year. The help desk consulted with the engineers and they came back to me confirming the channels were correct (e.g. not swapped). But I don't see a black and white answer here.karvala, you, and I feel otherwise but I understand Garritan's view.

I can see other players liking the player perspective out of the box but think swapping the channels for a 2 minute test is well worth the time.
Posted By: RobR

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/17/17 02:41 PM

Originally Posted by newer player

The help desk consulted with the engineers and they came back to me confirming the channels were correct (e.g. not swapped).

How on earth can they be correct if they are literally swapped? No other way to put it really, oh well.

My concern though with the two instances running is whether the pedal noises samples end up being "doubled". I'm assuming those noises were NOT recorded separately. I'll have to listen carefully and monitor.
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/17/17 02:58 PM

karvala mentioned above that maybe Garritan's idea was to fill in the sound a bit.

My take might vary a bit from his. For example, playing A0 and the Garritan techs might have felt that the right channel of the dummy head was unrealisticly "silent" or "unbalanced". One way to resolve this is to pipe in some sound to the right channel by swapping the second mic pair. A complicating factor might be that the second mic pair is close (not ambient).
Posted By: RobR

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/17/17 03:20 PM

Originally Posted by newer player
karvala mentioned above that maybe Garritan's idea was to fill in the sound a bit.

My take might vary a bit from his. For example, playing A0 and the Garritan techs might have felt that the right channel of the dummy head was unrealisticly "silent" or "unbalanced". One way to resolve this is to pipe in some sound to the right channel by swapping the second mic pair. A complicating factor might be that the second mic pair is close (not ambient).


I think the Garritan team decided to touch their left ear with their right hand, concerning the way they approached the player perspective.

Ravenscroft 275 and Acousticsamples C7 both handle that perspective in a straightforward way. I understand that the iconic Abbey Studios room is a big highlight in CFX so the Garritan team wanted to heavily feature it in every perspective but i see no reason whatsoever to swap the channels on those mics.

Anyway thank you again, that quick fix of yours really made a difference for me.
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/19/17 02:25 AM

Originally Posted by newer player
I quite like Garritan CFX. I think what has come to bother me over time are the "unrealistic release accent sounds" which I think cause some "disconnection" between the VI and the player.

1. the "reverb" with many of the mics sounds odd when releasing a key; I hear an "unrealistic release accent sound" when relasing a key, then the sound quickly disappears. That accent makes playing irritaing and unrealistic for me. Particulaly around the C1 range. I never heard that type of accent playing a piano in any room. Putting all the Piano tab dials down to 0 then ramping up the two "Room/Release" dials emphasizes the problem.

If you go to full>player>default (and mute the KU100 so only the km84 is running) that irritating accent is gone and decay is much more natural. To Karvala's comments above, the km84 is rather boring particularly at the higher & lower registers (and sounds like a toy when lowering those Piano tab dials to 0) but is quite playable.

2. Whilst Garritan CFX is quite playable I think there is some "disconnection" from between the player and the piano. I assumed this was a "latency or jitter" issue. I find PianoTeq and the onboard sounds of my Kawai es100 are much more responsive. I have PC latency very low (say Garritan at 48khz with buffer of 48 on a RME babyface pro* with headphones). I thought this "disconnection" might be due to either:

- processing delays in the Aria player
- some small timing delay at the beginning of the CFX samples
- maybe some delays at the beginning of the CFX samples of slightly differing lengths of time (~jitter)

But...when I read Karvala's detailed posts today and tried playing some of the Garritan CFX mics with the Piano tab dials at 0, I noticed the player perspective close "km84" mic did not seem to have this "disconnection" issue. It felt as responsive as PianoTeq (but sounded even more bland). The km84 has the advantage of being close to the strings which helps latency a bit. Also, the player perspective has only one mic pair which probably simplified production (km84).

[The other "close" mics seem to run two pairs (classic - m49/km84) (contemporary - D19/c12) complicating production.]

So, I still don't know what the "disconnection" issue is with Garritan. Obviously the ambient mics are further from the strings and capturing the big room effects; perhaps there also are timing issues with the ambient samples. It sure feels like long latency.

But based on playing the km84 alone, I think the always surprising "unrealistic release accent sounds" are what make me feel a "disconnection" with the Garritan CFX.

* actually 96khz with buffer of 96 which performs the same.


To mix things up this weekend, I tried my favourite earphones and CFX's "unrealistic release accent sound" essentially disappeared. Sound and playability of the CFX is really nice with the earphones.

This is probably a lucky EQ dip in the earphones. The earphones probably have less bass than my speakers or my huge headphones.

The earphones are "JVC HA-FX850". They are a bit bigger and a lot heavier than apple earbuds. But sound great for music (my favourites by far). JVC also had bigger and smaller models in the same series (light and heavy on bass, respectively) but the bass response seemed too extreme on those. I don't think the 850s are for sale any longer, or if they were ever sold outside of Asia.

I'm not sure I like playing piano with earphones but will try it for a week and see if I go back to my Sony 70mm open-backed headphones. You see, the earphones might be a bit a bit big and heavy and the cable is a bit microphonic when I move; my headphones are feather-light.

FYI, PianoTeq sounds lousy with these JVC earphones to my ears.

Regardless, I would recommend you try out a few earbuds you have at home for fun (but use caution for health & safety purposes).
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 12/30/17 02:01 PM

I’ve upgraded slightly my CFX setup lately: switched to using my Sennheiser HD650 with Apogee Groove USB DAC/Amp audio interface. Previously it was HD595 straight from the Mac Mini’s audio output. There isn’t any significant difference though.

But in both cases there’s this slight hiss although it’s acceptable and it never bothered me so much. And I started wondering why I am so bothered with the recording in my original post. And I realized I did it on my Kawai ES7 when listening to its internal sound with normal touch. As I have complained in the past, normal touch is a bit too over sensitive and jumpy in velocities which made me play too quiet. When rendering that in CFX it ended up all too quiet exaggerating the noise. CFX is much more balanced when responding to live playing/auditioning and allows me a bigger window of velocities without getting too loud and unrealistic. Which is why I should have recorded the piece when listening to the CFX and not to ES7.

And then I had a deja vu and remembered I actually asked Jeff Hurchala (CFX developer) about the noise too, when also researching their initial bug with the undamped strings (and when he also described to me how to set the repedaling window timing that you are aware of). I opened my email cobnversation and found this answer:

Quote
> 1. I've noticed some slight hissing noise that can be heard when playing very quiet notes in the tenor-bass region. I guess that's inevitable in a real recording but just in case, is this normal?

Yes, the short answer is some amount of noise is inevitable on very quiet playing. The longer answer is it's a bit of a judgment call how much noise reduction to use. Any recording always has a small amount of noise (mostly from mic self-noise), and a lot of samples playing at the same time raises the noise floor cumulatively, which is why sample libraries need to be more careful with noise than more typical studio recordings. Aside from choosing low noise microphones and a quiet recording environment, samples go through noise reduction, but using a high amount of noise reduction is a trade-off between NR artifacts, and low noise.
So anyway, when you play very quietly with the volume raised, it's normal (and inevitable) to hear some amount of noise. When choosing the noise reduction trade-off amount, I aimed to make it very hard to hear noise over headphones when playing very quietly, *if* the volume was at a level that didn't hurt my ears when playing double forte. But it's always a trade-off. The downside is that you can still hear hissing if you raise the headphone levels to compensate for really quiet playing, knowing that you don't plan to do any playing at forte levels.
Posted By: Smaug

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/08/18 03:51 PM

I gave CFX Lite a good testing over the weekend and am also very bothered by the noise. Yes it is most noticeable on low velocities but I can't spend all the time playing above 60. I tried the Aria player as a standalone and as an AU plugin in Logic. i disabled all pedal noises and resonances. The hiss is most noticeable in the first second of the note then reduces, suggesting that the noise reduction has been more aggressive during the note decay, which may be confusing any software analysis of the spectrum. Going back to the Vintage D afterwards was a huge relief - what a beautiful cleanly recorded but organic piano.
Posted By: TonyDIGITAL

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 03:18 PM

Originally Posted by tdwctdwc
...Wow i knew something with the player perspective sounded off, it just never never occurred to me that the stereo images were swapped! I wonder what the techs at Garritan think about this. Did someone create a ticket and asked them about this yet ?
Luckily, the "quick fix" solution worked great for me and it sounds great to my ears now just like a "player" perspective is supposed to sound...

I can confirm the finding by "new player" and "tdwctdwc": after upgrading to CFX Full and using the player perspective the stereo image is kind of feeling weird compared to other VST's typical player perspective like VILabs' Ravenscroft 275 / Italian Grand.
It feels like the sound does want to come from the front center but one side crossing over to the other side: higher register is coming more from left while the base are more centric with a tendency of leaning to right.
Since I'm using all my VSTs with Ableton Live 9 I just add the "Utility" plugin to the CFX Full output and put the stereo image to "swap" and voila: the CFX spatial impression is now just right.
The CFX full is now my top "universal" VST for all kind of music, followed closely by the Fazioli and the Ravenscroft.
Now I'm just waiting eagerly for Modart to have a discount for an upgrade from Stage to Standard so that I can complete my multi-mikes / player perspective collection...
Enough dreaming, now back to practising smile
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 03:26 PM

The perspectives of the Garritan CFX can be “swapped” from the VST. The “Audience” is normal and the “player” is swapped. Note : the player and binaural (KU100) perspectives are mot rendered with the same logic. You have to select player with the player perspective, and audience with the binaural, if you want trebble from the right and bass from the left.
Posted By: toddy

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 03:48 PM

Originally Posted by Frédéric L
The perspectives of the Garritan CFX can be “swapped” from the VST. The “Audience” is normal and the “player” is swapped. Note : the player and binaural (KU100) perspectives are mot rendered with the same logic. You have to select player with the player perspective, and audience with the binaural, if you want trebble from the right and bass from the left.


Does this mean that the binaural setting was, in fact, designed and intended to be from an audience member's perspective, in which case the left/right phasing is correct?

If so, it's a little strange from a marketing and customer relations point of view since the listener using headphones will nearly always be the player, as s/he plays the piano, facing the keyboard.

And, anyway, by the time the sound reaches a listener, not sitting right by the piano, the left/right difference regarding bass and treble notes would be nonexistent.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 04:01 PM

You got it wrong. (Or I did). What newer player discovered is that the two sets of microphones (close and distant) in the player perspective are opposite to each other. So switching between player and audience that won’t help. What he suggested is to use two instances of CFX where you mute one or the other microphone sets, then reverse the distant one and use both them superimposed to fix the wrong behavior.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 05:17 PM

When I tested binaural, the close mics were correct for the player perspective. I didn't try with ambient, because that would just ruin the binaural effect.

Garritan had said previously that they placed the binaural head directly behind the player to get a realistic effect. That made me wonder whether the player would present an occlusion source against the head... But imo the player perspective isn't ready compelling in the first place, so I don't use it and have never really inquired further into it....
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 05:23 PM

The words Audience/Player are chosen for distant perspectives. We have 2 microphones (1 and 2), and we assign them to left and right using one of the 2 settings. With close perspectives, the choice of the setting is a little weird. I suppose they use player for player because this seems attended, and audience for KU100 because it is the default settings, then the KU100 setting is right without swapping the cgannels. .

Perhaps they didn’t aware of the difference, and once the product sold it was too late to swap one of the perspectives. I don’t think their is some marketing decision.
Posted By: toddy

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 05:36 PM

When an acoustic piano is played, do the lower (bassier) notes come from the left side of the piano, anyway? And do the higher ones come in any particular way from the right? When the strings are highly overstrung, a lot of the energy is going to be radiated the other way round, or completely scrambled in terms of direction. Isn't directional bass just a myth?
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 05:50 PM

Originally Posted by Gombessa
Garritan had said previously that they placed the binaural head directly behind the player to get a realistic effect. That made me wonder whether the player would present an occlusion source against the head


Binaural head placement can cause some recording issues. That may reduce the quality of the KU100 samples and reduce the "wow" effect compared to other KU100 samples you may hear on the internet.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
When I tested binaural, the close mics were correct for the player perspective.


The close KM84 mic's L&R stereo mix sounds correct to me on "Performer"
The ambient KU100 mic's L&R stereo mix sounds correct to me on "Audience"

Originally Posted by Gombessa
I didn't try with ambient, because that would just ruin the binaural effect. I didn't try with ambient, because that would just ruin the binaural effect.


***Confusingly, the KU100 ambient mics ARE the DUMMY HEAD binaural mics.

The KM84 close mics are really dry and have little room effect. Without the distance and echo they seem to play and sound a bit like PianoTeq.

So give this another try!

--Run the KU100 ambient HEAD mics alone on "Performer" (muting the KM84 close mics)

-- Then to reduce the room effect, open a second instance of CFX and run the KM84 close mics on "Audience" (muting the KU100 mics in this second instance)

-- Then maybe adjust the "gain" on the KU100 to taste.

BTW someone here (whose name I can not recall) noted there is something funny in the Master limiter (turn off the "limit" light above the slider).
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 06:10 PM

Originally Posted by newer player

***Confusingly, the KU100 ambient mics ARE the DUMMY HEAD binaural mics.

The KM84 close mics are really dry and have little room effect. Without the distance and echo they seem to play and sound a bit like PianoTeq.

So give this another try!

--Run the KU100 ambient HEAD mics alone on "Performer" (muting the KM84 close mics)


Oh geez, seriously? I'll give this another shot I guess.

I have to say I've not really noticed a strong stereo separation effect playing acoustic pianos, so I honestly haven't paid much attention to the binaural option before. I'll try to keep my mind open wink
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 06:24 PM

Originally Posted by toddy
When an acoustic piano is played, do the lower (bassier) notes come from the left side of the piano, anyway? And do the higher ones come in any particular way from the right? When the strings are highly overstrung, a lot of the energy is going to be radiated the other way round, or completely scrambled in terms of direction.


Good points. As I noted earlier, the Garritan techs argued that the swapped L&R channels is not 100% clear and it gets mind-bafflingly complicated with mic phasing, room acoustics, etc. While "investigating" this I noticed the samples on my es100 have a just a bit (very little) of this issue on a few of the higer notes also.

But the Garritan CFX "Player Perspective" sounds much better running two instances of CFX with the L&R swapped (and the KM84 mic "gain" dropped significantly) to my ears...YMMV

[Edit - this issue does not happen when we play real pianos] I suppose a mono recording with one mic and reproducing at home with a single driver speaker box would solve the problem...but that presents other issues!

Originally Posted by toddy
Isn't directional bass just a myth?


Not so clear and probably depends on the person, room and system. I have done too many bass measurements in my rooms with both huge and cheap subwoofers. At "ultra-low" frequencies, nobody has ever been able to locate my [big] subwoofers. But approaching say 50-80hz [with cheap subwoofers], it gets increasingly easier.

Not many subwoofers are playing realistic volumes at say 20-50hz (due to size, cost...) but are emphasizing higher frequencies so most subwoofers are easy to locate. For VI users, given the dearth of monster subwoofers and fact piano is not doing much in this very low fq range, most bass from the piano is probably directional (I think...)

This is a problem for music and movies. But not a problem for VI pianos. Easy solution - Just find a good place for a cheap subwoofer towards the left-hand side of your keyboard or room. Adjust positioning and gain at playing volume to blend it in, then drop gain a bit more to make it invisible.
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 06:28 PM

Originally Posted by Gombessa
Oh geez, seriously?


Confusing, right?

This quick post is a great resource for Garritan CFX binaural:

https://www.garritan.com/blog/abbey-road-cfx-concert-grand-player-perspective/
Posted By: Jeff Hurchalla

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 08:18 PM

Just a correction, the ku100 was just above the players head - the blog got a detail wrong there. For initial arrangements I asked Abbey Road to prefer to find a session pianist that wasn't too tall smile
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 09:21 PM

Jeff, glad to hear from you back again smile To whom it isn’t clear, Jeff is the CFX software engineer.
Posted By: Jeff Hurchalla

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 09:44 PM

The photos and videos are a little misleading on the ku100, since the shoots took place before recording and the head was held back to keep it out of the way of the technician and player before recording started. Yeah the guide got it wrong too smile
Hi, thanks Evgeni. It's fun to check in now and then (I'm not doing this work anymore).
Posted By: newer player

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/14/18 09:53 PM

Thanks for dropping by Jeff - you guys did a fantastic job with Garritan CFX!

I can imagine it was an exciting project with plenty of challenges.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/15/18 10:13 PM

Originally Posted by newer player
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Oh geez, seriously?


Confusing, right?

This quick post is a great resource for Garritan CFX binaural:

https://www.garritan.com/blog/abbey-road-cfx-concert-grand-player-perspective/


So, I tried Player perspective, close mics muted, ambient mics full volume. Conclusion: Ummm, I'm not sure.

I can fully agree that if you switch between performer and audience, the "audience" stereo sounds more like treble-right, bass-left.

However, when I play from the performer perspective, I can't say that it sounds reversed.

And in fact, it got me thinking that the clean stereo separation you hear so prominently in DPs is probably the single fakest part of the DP experience, and one that never gets mentioned. I've never sat at an acoustic and heard anything close to a clear gradient from left to right as I played bass to treble.

I ended up thinking - if I was trying to get as close of a consistent effect to how the OTHER CFX perspectives sounded (or the behavior of a typical DP), then yeah I'd probably prefer the ambient binaural stereo reversed. But after playing a few songs, I just didn't get any sense at all that the performer perspective was off or wrong.

Shrug...
Posted By: Jeff Hurchalla

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/15/18 11:12 PM

newer player, I'm glad you liked the piano, thanks for the message.
---

On the player perspective's performance/audience mix, I don't have the cfx on hand to check it, but I remember back prior to the release, I did hear what I thought was mismatch in the L/R image of close and ambient for the Player. I fixed it as it's quite easy- but who knows, maybe I misidentified it and made an L/R 'fix' for something that wasn't wrong, or maybe we missed updating with the final set of Player samples amidst all the release details. Or maybe it's correct, I can't check it here. Anyway, if you want to try a different L/R, the steps 'newer player' wrote above are good (In a daw or standalone VST host, you open two instances of CFX and mute the close in the first instance, and mute the ambient in the second, and press the Audience/Performer button to swap L/R in just one of the instances. There are a bunch of free standalone hosts- I like to use Bidule.)

For a ku100 or binaural fan, I used "Fritz" (the dummy head) for the Steinway B in GPO5 also. That piano patch doesn't attempt to be anything near as complete as the CFX, but the sound you hear is the ku100 a few inches over the player's head mixed with C414's close over the bass and treble parts of the soundboard. I quite liked the tone, as well as its wide stereo sound. I'm kind of in the camp (when I play) of give me a ton of stereo differentiation, though some people want ideal mono compatibility. The spaced pair 414s gave a sense of good separation (for better or worse), while the ku100 brought things together with nice cohesion after the mix.

On the CFX when I use Player perspective, I tend to like just playing the ambient mics (ku100 dummy head) by itself, as this is closest to what it felt like playing the piano there. Hall/Release decay fully clockwise, for the full natural hall of studio A. The hall's pretty legendary, between the beatles and motion picture soundtracks, and there's an appeal to me in hearing it as-is through the ku100. Surprisingly, the dummy head over the player really picked up the hall well, I guess due to the omni mics in the ears, despite the proximity to the piano.
(this reminds me to mention how important the Hall/Release Decay knob is - there's a lot of occasions where you want to have a small or smaller amount of reverb, and turning counter-clockwise gives you that.)
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/16/18 12:16 AM

What I really love about CFX is the re/half-pedaling implementation. My little fix aside, which is probably a matter of taste, I simply can’t find anything to not like about pedaling and I can’t say that about any other sampled piano I’ve tried. Jeff, if you happen to utilize your skills and half-peddling scripts to another sampled piano project, please let me know! smile

And I’d give everything to have these same scripts on Vintage D but I know that would never happen frown
Posted By: TonyDIGITAL

Re: A bit disappointed in Garritan CFX Lite - 01/16/18 02:44 AM

I've tried both: (A) swapping the L/R channel of the default player perspective (advance setting to performer) through my DAW (Ableton Live 9) as well as (B) running two CFX full with each one mic muted in turn and the audience / performer each set in opposite.
And I can happily report that both ways sound the same to me.
Even with two CFX running at the same time within Ableton there's hardly any issue noticeable in sound.
For me it's definitively better than the default player perspective.
And needless to say the CFX Full is now my default piano for anything from practice to going through my repertoire.
Its sound is beautiful, elegant and very versatile: it just sings every time I touch my keyboard smile
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