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Posted By: CyberGene N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 02:39 PM
There was a very old thread in the past where I recorded the Chopin Prelude in Em with various VST-s and I also posted the MIDI file for people to compare.

I didn't have time to look for it again and I prefer always playing the pianos live to have the aural feedback than use a MIDI file, so created a quick comparison today with N1X vs Garritan CFX Full and Pianoteq 6.5 (released yesterday).

I was in a hurry and couldn't show my best, and also my daughter went in the middle of recording the last one (Bechstein DG) and I was barely able to hear how I will finish it but anyway smile

Yamaha N1X binaural

Garritan CFX Full

Pianoteq 6.5 - Steinway D ("Prelude" preset)

Pianoteq 6.5 - Bechstein DG ("Prelude" preset)

All are WAV files. In Pianoteq when exporting I selected high quality and normalization. For the Garritan and the N1X I normalized the wav files in Oceanaudio on my Mac to -1dB. No other changes are done.

P.S. Pianoteq is a trial version, so a few black keys at the end are silent
Posted By: pold Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 03:06 PM
you know the drill...garritan and pianoteq sound both good, and yamaha sounds like a piano toy from 1980.
Posted By: Pete14 Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 03:32 PM
I think the last chord says it all: N1X is simply a set of notes piled up together. Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered. wink
Garritan is okay.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 03:45 PM
Originally Posted by Pete14
Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered. wink

See my forum signature. You have just been memorialized! thumb
Posted By: Pete14 Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:06 PM
blush
Posted By: johnstaf Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:06 PM
The new version of Pianoteq is a big improvement. The binaural recording of the CFX reminds me of sitting in a small studio with a big piano -as it should, I suppose. I like it.
Posted By: EPW Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:09 PM
Thanks for posting the Wave files to Dropbox CyberGene. I have to say Pianoteq is getting there. I'm glad I brought it several years ago. I still have to buy one of the more recent add-on instrument packs.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:15 PM
The Steinway D is a nasty affair which is obvious in the repeating chords but I can admit the Bechstein DG is a really good patch. Maybe I can still detect the typical modeling sound I don’t like but it’s the best from Pianoteq I’ve heard so far smile
Posted By: MarioPf Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:17 PM
After hearing these recordings several times, I've reached the following conclusions:

1. Yamaha N1X binaural - In the first round it was my least favourit piano sound, because it feels too dry. But in the third round this impression was inverted and the N1X seems to me to have the best overall sound. I think I can play with this sound for hours without becoming tired but I can't say I love these piano sound.

2. Garritan CFX Full - The best in the first round but in the other rounds the reverberation feells annoying.

3. Pianoteq 6.5 - Steinway D - The high and low notes seemed ok but the chords in the left hand don't sound to me like a Steinway D. If feels like it was another person playing these chords in another piano.

4. Pianoteq 6.5 - Bechstein DG - Ok but not great.

Thank you for these experience!
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:19 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Tbut I can admit the Bechstein DG is a really good patch. Maybe I can still detect the typical modeling sound I don’t like but it’s the best from Pianoteq I’ve heard so far smile

C. Bechstein DG is my current favorite from Pianoteq. I've been using it as my go to for my FP30. It's the one I used for this ABF recital submission of a few days ago.
Posted By: thickfingers Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:23 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
but it’s the best from Pianoteq I’ve heard so far smile

Still gaaaarbage, though? You didn't say. Which was unusual...grin

Thanks for the update heads up, btw. Downloaded and being evaluated as we speak, to see just how much better it is than an N1X. cool
Posted By: Max_Forte Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:23 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
The Steinway D is a nasty affair which is obvious in the repeating chords but I can admit the Bechstein DG is a really good patch. Maybe I can still detect the typical modeling sound I don’t like but it’s the best from Pianoteq I’ve heard so far smile


Is it because we all know Steinway sound very well? Bluethner, Grotrian, Petrof, Bechstein: All of them are more pleasant to my ear...
Posted By: Nordomus Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:41 PM
Originally Posted by Pete14
I think the last chord says it all: N1X is simply a set of notes piled up together. Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered. wink
Garritan is okay.

This... this is beautiful smile
Posted By: newer player Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:45 PM
Nice playing CyberGene. And thank you for taking the time to put these recordings together for a quick "shootout".

The N1X sound is quite impressive.

The Garrian CFX sometimes exhibits a cohesiveness. Alas, the ambient room & the noise floor probably contribute to that cohesiveness and get slightly irritating. I turn down the ambient mics and that helps a bit.

The PianoTeq is improving but still has some non-natural sounds to my ears, although I prefer the Bechstein over the Steinway.

I suppose the player's live "experience" is not really captured by the wav files, which is most relevant for some of us. Do you feel the playing experience (ignoring sound quality) is significantly better on one of the platforms?

Posted By: EPW Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:48 PM
Originally Posted by Nordomus
Originally Posted by Pete14
I think the last chord says it all: N1X is simply a set of notes piled up together. Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered. wink
Garritan is okay.

This... this is beautiful smile


LOL It is nice that Pianoteq is keeps improving and does give an alternative to sampled pianos. I think Pianoteq is wonderful myself. YMMV smile
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:51 PM
I went through the files now with my headphones and while I like the N1X best, I can also understand why people may not be impressed. It shows nothing about its playability that puts it miles ahead of the other three. Maybe that can also be achieved with a note by note editing in Pianoteq but as of now the N1X expectedly is the only one which feels like a real piano, and an excellent one at that, when played. The others have slight discrepancies, would need voicing here and there, maybe brightening some notes, darkening others, changing velocity not just globally but in regions or even per key, etc.

P.S. That Steinway is such a shame... It epitomizes everything I used to hate about Pianoteq. But the Bechstein makes up for it and is a promising step towards the hope modeled pianos can actually compete with sampled ones. Not a giant leap, but not a small step either smile
Posted By: Doug M. Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 04:59 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
There was a very old thread in the past where I recorded the Chopin Prelude in Em with various VST-s and I also posted the MIDI file for people to compare.

I didn't have time to look for it again and I prefer always playing the pianos live to have the aural feedback than use a MIDI file, so created a quick comparison today with N1X vs Garritan CFX Full and Pianoteq 6.5 (released yesterday).

I was in a hurry and couldn't show my best, and also my daughter went in the middle of recording the last one (Bechstein DG) and I was barely able to hear how I will finish it but anyway smile

Yamaha N1X binaural

Garritan CFX Full

Pianoteq 6.5 - Steinway D ("Prelude" preset)

Pianoteq 6.5 - Bechstein DG ("Prelude" preset)

All are WAV files. In Pianoteq when exporting I selected high quality and normalization. For the Garritan and the N1X I normalized the wav files in Oceanaudio on my Mac to -1dB. No other changes are done.

P.S. Pianoteq is a trial version, so a few black keys at the end are silent


Hi CyberGene,

Nice playing!

What would be cool would be an acoustic recording of the same by your hand. Do you have a spare CFX grand? 😉

Interesting, although I think that the Pianoteq needs more bass in the EQ or maybe just the mids seem too loud. Liked the Garritans most though.

Kind regards

Doug
Posted By: Doug M. Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 05:10 PM
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by CyberGene
There was a very old thread in the past where I recorded the Chopin Prelude in Em with various VST-s and I also posted the MIDI file for people to compare.

I didn't have time to look for it again and I prefer always playing the pianos live to have the aural feedback than use a MIDI file, so created a quick comparison today with N1X vs Garritan CFX Full and Pianoteq 6.5 (released yesterday).

I was in a hurry and couldn't show my best, and also my daughter went in the middle of recording the last one (Bechstein DG) and I was barely able to hear how I will finish it but anyway smile

Yamaha N1X binaural

Garritan CFX Full

Pianoteq 6.5 - Steinway D ("Prelude" preset)

Pianoteq 6.5 - Bechstein DG ("Prelude" preset)

All are WAV files. In Pianoteq when exporting I selected high quality and normalization. For the Garritan and the N1X I normalized the wav files in Oceanaudio on my Mac to -1dB. No other changes are done.

P.S. Pianoteq is a trial version, so a few black keys at the end are silent


Hi CyberGene,

Nice playing!

What would be cool would be an acoustic recording of the same by your hand. Do you have a spare CFX grand? 😉

Interesting, although I think that the Pianoteq needs more bass in the EQ or maybe just the mids seem too loud. Liked the Garritans most though.

Kind regards

Doug

Just listened to a few other Pianoteq renditions and they are all similar in sound. Seems that bell like aftertaste is too prominent.
Thank you very much, CyberGene! It's a comparison that I wanted to listen to.

Of that four I'd surely prefer Garritan, it has most rich, resonant sound in my opinion. I was negatively suprised by choppy chords on both Pianoteq plugins, it almost destroyed the prelude. N1X seems to lack resonance.
Posted By: Doug M. Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 05:23 PM
Hi guys,

This is a recording of the Rd2000 of the same piece: sound patch 0003 mellow concert.

Posted By: Bosendorff Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 06:04 PM
Garritan is OK, the other three sound rather lifeless, especially the Yamaha.
Posted By: Chrispy Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 06:47 PM
It's funny how impressions are so different. CyberGene I wonder if you ever did another shootout like this if you'd initially leave off what the source was, so just a blind ABCD test. I wonder if it would influence the results.

My personal take, well I'm very used to the N1X sound and I quite like it, Garritan maybe a bit more as it has a little more processing that's pleasing to me. There's something about Pianoteq that doesn't work with my ears and it's still very present. It's the attack, it's got this bongo like sound to me I can't get over. I've tried many things to minimize the sound with my own setup. I hear it even in the Bechstein though it's less prevalent.

I hate to say it because the "bongo" comment has been made fun of in the past but that's really what it sounds like to me.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 06:55 PM
Originally Posted by Chrispy
It's the attack, it's got this bongo like sound to me I can't get over. I've tried many things to minimize the sound with my own setup. I hear it even in the Bechstein though it's less prevalent.

I hate to say it because the "bongo" comment has been made fun of in the past but that's really what it sounds like to me.

The irony is that thickfingers adopted Pianoteq to avoid a bongo sound on the FP30. I guess this just proves: What is beautiful music to one, is bongo to another! smile
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 06:57 PM
Chrispy, ahh, you’re right, I should’ve anonymized the results and just see the comments. I’m sorry I didn’t do it, it would’ve been really interesting... Well, next time smile
Posted By: newer player Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 07:08 PM
I suspect a lot of us know what the PianoTeq Steinway & Garritan CFX sound like. So could easily deduce the N1X and PianoTeq Bechstein. Maybe the blind test would not be useful there.
Posted By: johnstaf Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 07:29 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Tbut I can admit the Bechstein DG is a really good patch. Maybe I can still detect the typical modeling sound I don’t like but it’s the best from Pianoteq I’ve heard so far smile

C. Bechstein DG is my current favorite from Pianoteq. I've been using it as my go to for my FP30. It's the one I used for this ABF recital submission of a few days ago.


I've just spent some time with the new version (6.5) of Pianoteq using the Bechstein. I haven't been able to play lately, and I only messed around a bit, but the improvement is huge.

I listened to your recital submission. Well played!
Posted By: thickfingers Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 07:33 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Chrispy
I hate to say it because the "bongo" comment has been made fun of in the past but that's really what it sounds like to me.

The irony is that thickfingers adopted Pianoteq to avoid a bongo sound on the FP30. I guess this just proves: What is beautiful music to one, is bongo to another! smile

Indeed. I detect no bongos at all in Pianoteq. Every preset, although different to each other, at least is consistent in tonal change as you go along the octaves. Not so the Roland, yakkk.
Posted By: EPW Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 07:45 PM
Funny story. The church got a Roland digital piano, I think a RD300nx way back when I was helping out at some masses. It was nice because I didn't have to bring my Alesis QS8 board all the time. My wife said when you play both side by side I can hear the difference between the two. But if I just heard either board by themselves I would think the sound is just fine. Wife also said "the congregation couldn't t / wouldn't care too. Sound is such a subjective thing. I didn't like Pianoteq until version 5 came out. Didn't love it but I liked it and finally brought it. With version 6 I'm liking it more and more and glad I'm supporting them to make it better. Now, would I love a Kawai NV10 or Yamaha NX1, sure I would but right now I can't afford one. By the way I use Pianoteq with a Casio PX5S piano right now.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 08:19 PM
Listening on monitors ...

PIANOTEQ STEINWAY D
Drab. Check the court docket ... I smell a defamation suit against Modartt.

PIANOTEQ BECHSTEIN
Much better than the Steinway, but still drab.

YAMAHA N1X CFX BINAURAL
Very good, but a bit dry. It needs some air. Or some reverb. Or both.
Does the N1X have a reverb tweak?
Since this is binaural I'll have to try it again with headphones.

So, with headphones ... this really REALLY needs some air. I felt boxed in.
The lower notes (no lower than A3 or B3 IIRC) were boxy. The speakers sounded better.
The upper notes were clean and beautiful, though. Gorgeous.
But when I say high notes keep in mind that this piece goes no higher than the #5 octave.

GARRITAN CFX (Note: You said these were all wav files, but this one is an aiff file. Does that matter?)
Superb. I didn't know whether or not I'd like a CFX. But I do. This is really excellent.
Gotta run to Walgreens now. Gotta pick up some Beano ... because I feel some Garritan G.A.S. coming on.

Thanks for posting these, CyberGene. This has been an ear-opening demo.

Next steps
1. CyberGene runs out to buy a Novus.
2. CyberGene runs this same test on the Novus.
3. CyberGene posts the wav file.
4. MacMacMac has a chance to decide whether he wants an N1X or a Novus.
Thank you CyberGene. smile
Posted By: Harpuia Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 08:21 PM
Interestingly, I found Steinway B is much better than Steinway D in pianoteq. I just hate the sound of Steinway D in pianoteq. Have you tried the Steinway B?

Also I’m not convinced by Yamaha’s own sample for a long time. Listen to this comparison by Cunningham piano who compared Yamaha B series uprights with their own samples using the silent system. The acoustic pianos are miles ahead and have a lot more details under Hugh Sung’s hands.
Posted By: ˆTomLCˆ Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 08:23 PM
Compare those recordings to this one by JoBert:

https://youtu.be/48VRiG0zb6Q
Posted By: Harpuia Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 08:33 PM
I only tried binaural CFX once when I tested the N3X in the store. I feel it’s OK and more playable than Garritan CFX, especially the sympathetic resonance and pedaling. However, I still believe pianoteq is the most playable piano out there. I believe Yamaha only uses modeling for string resonance but not for fundamental tone generating. I also suspect Yamaha samples are less than 1GB with around 10 velocity layers.
Posted By: QuasiUnaFantasia Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 09:23 PM
The N1X sounded very clean and direct, like played in a very small room padded all over with velvet. I would have preferred a bit more reverb.

I think the Garritan was by far the most "real" sounding, but this was probably due to the reverb. And for my taste the reverb was too dominant.

The Pianoteq Steinway sounded horrid a low levels, but louder notes came out very decent. Pianoteq Bechstein was rather good all around, but in both Pianoteq recordings the pedal sounds were set too loud for my taste.

Actually, I am quite shocked by how poor the Steinway D came out; this new release of Pianoteq specifically included improvements to this very piano (and also the Bechstein), but to me the D sounds dramatically worsened. I have to install the new version tomorrow to test for myself.

Cybergene, if you do another shootout one day, please include the Bösendorfer as well! smile
Posted By: JJHLH Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/16/19 11:38 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
I went through the files now with my headphones and while I like the N1X best, I can also understand why people may not be impressed. It shows nothing about its playability that puts it miles ahead of the other three. Maybe that can also be achieved with a note by note editing in Pianoteq but as of now the N1X expectedly is the only one which feels like a real piano, and an excellent one at that, when played. The others have slight discrepancies, would need voicing here and there, maybe brightening some notes, darkening others, changing velocity not just globally but in regions or even per key, etc.

P.S. That Steinway is such a shame... It epitomizes everything I used to hate about Pianoteq. But the Bechstein makes up for it and is a promising step towards the hope modeled pianos can actually compete with sampled ones. Not a giant leap, but not a small step either smile


Thanks for doing this experiment!

I listened to all 4 recordings twice using my Sennheiser HD 6XX’s and Dragonfly Red. All 4 recordings are high quality and sound lovely but I do have a slight preference for the binaural N1X sound. It sounds the most natural and realistic to my ear.
Posted By: siros Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 01:22 AM
Listening on my small in-ear earphone ...

Garritan CFX sounds really nice like a recording in a good room. Whether that is good from player perspective, I'm not sure.
No wonder it becomes a favorite choice for many people.

N1X sounds a bit dry and in your face. (or is it "in your ear" ?)
If that's binaural supposed to be, I guess it works well.

Since Pianoteq 6, I don't think the Steinway D model is one of their best anymore. Not sure if it was from the start either.
After Bechstein, I would pick Steinway B or Petrof.

This is fun. Thanks for the post.
Posted By: ando Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 02:40 AM
Originally Posted by siros


N1X sounds a bit dry and in your face. (or is it "in your ear" ?)
If that's binaural supposed to be, I guess it works well.


Is the binaural sample kept completely dry? Is it possible to add reverb to it? Or is it meant to represent that piano in the room in which it was sampled?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 02:50 AM
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by siros


N1X sounds a bit dry and in your face. (or is it "in your ear" ?)
If that's binaural supposed to be, I guess it works well.


Is the binaural sample kept completely dry? Is it possible to add reverb to it? Or is it meant to represent that piano in the room in which it was sampled?

In the piano store two days ago, I saw that reverb defaults to a setting of '5'.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 03:15 AM
Yeah, that was the default reverb level of 5. It can go up to 20 which is really deep. As to the AIFF file from the Garritan, it’s the format that Garritan’s player uses when doing recordings. If I’m not mistaken it’s exactly the same as WAV, only the extension name differs.
Posted By: AlexBltn Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 07:18 AM
This is just an incorrect comparison. Garritan CFX has too much reverb while the N1X is very dry. Reverb is a very important factor in perception, and many people buy it and even abuse it (hi, cubusdk from YouTube). I am surprised that only a few people noted this.
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Hi guys,

This is a recording of the Rd2000 of the same piece: sound patch 0003 mellow concert.


I like it very much! I would probably rate it 2nd after Garritan, even considering it was played by a beginner.

But could someone who owns RD2000, please, confirm that it's the mellow patch. On the recording it sounds pretty bright. Though probably it has been played that way.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 07:39 AM
Originally Posted by AlexBltn
This is just an incorrect comparison. Garritan CFX has too much reverb while the N1X is very dry. Reverb is a very important factor in perception, and many people buy it and even abuse it (hi, cubusdk from YouTube). I am surprised that only a few people noted this.

I’ve intentionally used default presets with no changes. Theses presets are chosen by the developers/manufacturers to showcase what they think is their best sound. Garritan CFX has a lot of reverb.
Posted By: Pete14 Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 10:17 AM
Is there any logic to Yamaha not allowing users to save reverb settings in the N1X?
I don’t get it.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 10:56 AM
Originally Posted by Pete14
Is there any logic to Yamaha not allowing users to save reverb settings in the N1X?
I don’t get it.

Yeah, I find this slightly odd, but it's Yamaha after all laugh It only stores the reverb state on/off but not the level which is reverted to 5 when you restart the piano. Go figure.
Posted By: Harpuia Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 01:03 PM
I finally had time to go through all the recordings from this post. I must say my opinion varied a lot from last year. I've been using Garritan CFX all the time for one year until I switched to Pianoteq last month, and there is no going back. A year ago, Garritan was my go to piano and I liked the deep and resonant sound from the rich reverb. Didn't like any DP's internal samples or Pianoteq because the timbre just feels thin.

However, after I used Pianoteq exclusively for a month and I listened to these recordings by CyberGene for several times, I would say N1X is clearly the best among all of them! . Then followed by Pianoteq Bechstein, Garritan CFX and Pianoteq Steinway D. I've been a classical pianist for more than 10 years and I just found something important is missing in Garritan CFX. Classical music is all about expression, phrasing and direction of the melody. This Chopin prelude could be a beginner piece, but could also be a difficult piece under the hands of professional pianists. The left hands must be very soft, almost a lazy sound. The right hand themes appear several times with different harmonics so a better interpretation is to play those themes in different color (or timbre). CyberGene plays this piece very well and he was also trying hard to phrase the melody in the right hands with different colors. However, the timbre variation of different pianos are different.

Many people here are talking about reverbs but I don't think that's the fundamental differences of these pianos. The difference is the characteristic of the pianos themselves.

1. N1X CFX Binaural: I would use vanilla to describe the timbre of this piano. It's like a typical Yamaha grand piano, but doesn't sound like a Steinway. Overall a huge leap from the previous CFIIIS sample in the first generation of AvantGrand because of the Virtual Resonance Modeling. Sustain and reverb also feels enough for me as CyberGene pedals the piece pretty well. I can hear the direction of the melody and the it seems like I can feel both warm and cold from this piano. From the last chord I can still feel a bit of looping but if I don't pay attention it wouldn't bother me. I like this recording a lot from CyberGene, though still not better than a fine acoustic grand.

2. Garritan CFX: Garritan did a fantastic job of sampling, which captured the full decay of a whole note. As people said, this piano has a lush sound. It feels like a good recording. However, I cannot feel the direction of the melody or the timbre change at all. This is very obvious after I use Pianoteq for a month. For example, the right hand theme is a descendent second. It's better to play the first note loader and the die away the second note. However, from this recording I can only hear the volume difference but not the timbre change. The notes in the right hands all feel the same and I cannot feel the shape of the melody. I feel like CyberGene is already trying hard to interpret the piece but it's just not there. BTW, the base chords are really really full! Garritan sounds very good when you play a single note, but does not sound good when you simply play a melody.

3. Pianoteq Steinway D: I played this recording immediately after the Garritan and what a night and day difference. It's so dull and uninspiring, and it's the exact opposite of Garritan CFX. The tone of each note is just bad, but I can feel the variation of the timbre.

4. Pianoteq Bechstein: I prefer this piano a lot to the Steinway. Actually I'm having a hard time to decide between N1X CFX and Pianoteq Bechstein. It's different based on personal tastes but I just slightly prefer the N1X.


I saw different people have different views. Pianists, audiophiles, technicians, piano dealers can come up with different opinions. It's interesting to hear different opinions. From my perspective, I would enjoy play N1X and Pianoteq live but not Garritan any more. If this piece is played by a beginner, Garritan CFX should sound better than other pianos as it has the most realistic tone. However, if it's played by an experienced classical pianist like CyberGene, I much prefer the N1X and Pianoteq Bechstein than Garritan CFX. I still prefer Garritan CFX to Pianoteq Steinway D because I can't bear with that Steinway D tone. I believe the difference will be more obvious if this comparison is done by a professional pianist, say computerpro3 or Hugh Sung.
Posted By: Harpuia Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 01:26 PM
Maybe the smooth release of N1X also matches my preference. The key-off velocity will result in different characteristic of the notes. There is some nuance in the first recording that I just didn’t feel in other three. I couldn’t describe it very well but when playing acoustic pianos, some notes sound lazy like feather and some other notes sound like.a pin. N1X doesn’t not send key off to pianoteq so it’s not there in pianoteq.
Posted By: newer player Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 01:42 PM
Thanks for your detailed observations Harpuia.

Originally Posted by Harpuia
Garritan CFX: Garritan did a fantastic job of sampling, which captured the full decay of a whole note. As people said, this piano has a lush sound. It feels like a good recording. However, I cannot feel the direction of the melody or the timbre change at all. This is very obvious after I use Pianoteq for a month. For example, the right hand theme is a descendent second. It's better to play the first note loader and the die away the second note. However, from this recording I can only hear the volume difference but not the timbre change. The notes in the right hands all feel the same and I cannot feel the shape of the melody. I feel like CyberGene is already trying hard to interpret the piece but it's just not there. BTW, the base chords are really really full! Garritan sounds very good when you play a single note, but does not sound good when you simply play a melody.

Interesting. Why is this? Do you think this is programming, or cumulative noise and reverb drowning out the music, or something else?

A few of us boost the dynamic range a lot on Garritan CFX. It should make dynamics unrealistically responsive but doesn't. Maybe is a brute way to get some timbre change to bleed through. I do this dynamic range adjustment as it wakes the piano up a bit.

EDIT- My main complaint is the VI feels a bit disconnected and the lower registers feel a bit sluggish or "lazy" and there is a bit of sameness to playing for hours. I run RME interface at 44,1KHz and 48 samples so don't think latency is the issue. I still like Garritan CFX a lot.

Originally Posted by Harpuia
CyberGene plays this piece very well

Agreed. Great job CyberGene!

Originally Posted by Harpuia
I believe the difference will be more obvious if this comparison is done by a professional pianist, say computerpro3 or Hugh Sung.

Keep practicing CyberGene!

Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 02:41 PM
Originally Posted by newer player

Originally Posted by Harpuia
CyberGene plays this piece very well

Agreed. Great job CyberGene!

Originally Posted by Harpuia
I believe the difference will be more obvious if this comparison is done by a professional pianist, say computerpro3 or Hugh Sung.

Keep practicing CyberGene!


Thanks for the kind words smile It's the struggle of my whole (hobby related, piano in particular) life: wanting to play advanced classical repertoire and at the same time being way too lazy to play scales and technical exercises... BTW, in addition to computerpro3, who is conservatory trained, we also have AmyC who's a former professional pianist in her own words. Philip Johnston too. Not sure about rach3master, maybe he is also a conservatory trained pianist? Who's Hugh Sung? Has he posted in the digital piano forum and what's his nickname? And we also have a few professional jazz piano players such as Dave Ferris, Dave Horne and a few others. Hopefully they won't get it personally but I believe classical music is probably better suited for shootouts because people know the pieces, note by note, so they know what to expect and jazz is more about improvisation than interpretation.

To be fair to Garritan and Pianoteq, it's the first time I played them through my N1X, and I haven't played them since I sold my ES7. Whereas I'm very used to my N1X and so I was able to control the notes and be free to express how I feel the music rather than adapting to the piano.
Posted By: EPW Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 03:27 PM
Search Hugh Sung name on You Tube. He also promoted Pianoteq on early releases. He lives on East Coast of USA.
Posted By: Pete14 Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 03:44 PM
Is this the same Hughs Hung working for Cunningham Piano?
Posted By: EPW Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 04:04 PM
Originally Posted by Pete14
Is this the same Hughs Hung working for Cunningham Piano?

Yes he is now working at Cunningham's. I forgot about that. I remember him from back in the early days of MusicReader software and Airturn pedals. I like his take because he can play and loves tech!
Posted By: oivavoi Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/17/19 08:20 PM
Great playing!

Doing a direct comparison is of course a bit difficult since it's different takes/playing, as I understand it? (perhaps I misunderstood). With that caveat:

The Garritan sounds "best" to me. If it was a CD, that's the one I would have preferred. But it's also the one which sounds the most like a recording. I can actually detect some recording hiss. So it feels more distant because of that, and I have trouble visualizing that it's me generating those tones.

Pianoteq Bechstein: my favorite. Lovely sound, and direct and intimate in a way - I can easily imagine that it's me playing

Pianoteq Steinway and Yamaha: tied for me. Not very engaging sound-wise, but I can easily imagine that it's me playing, as opposed to the Garritan.
Posted By: Harpuia Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 06:42 AM
I’m not really sure why Garritan feels not live for me. It could be it is a sampling piano, or because it only has around 20 velocity layers. Garritan is very accurate with the volume change from 0-127 but here we are mapping these 127 midi value to 20 velocity layers. I think the dynamic range setting only changes how those values map to velocity layers.

In an acoustic piano, when playing soft the hammer hits the string with the softer side. However, when we are banging the piano hard it’s a different attack from the harder side of the hammer. It’s just like we can adjust the hammer hardness. But in addition to that, a pianist can also create different timbre when playing a well-voiced piano.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 08:12 AM
Why should 20 layers not be enough? If they cover the entire timbre range from ppp to fff and there’s sample interpolation between the samples that should be more than enough. I think it’s a common misconception that number of layers means number of dynamic steps and that’s simply not true. Volume change and timbre change are separate parameters. There are 127 volume steps. And there are 127 timbre steps that are derived through sample interpolation from 20 samples.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 08:22 AM
Perhaps you misunderstand the meaning of these velocity layers?
Twenty layers is plenty. Even ten is plenty.
Posted By: rolex67 Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 08:27 AM
Very interesting....


With my Sennheiser HD 598 ( and used to my pianoteq Grotrian prelude) I found Garritan more “ alive” and the only one that could express the “ sadness” of this music. Perhaps because we can feel the “room” surronding the piano, mics seem to be a little bit far from the piano, as if I were sitting on the audience in a real theatre.

N1X is a very good student, very “ clean”, mics seem to be close to the piano, near the player,
But doesn’t express any emotion... where is the “ dark” side of the music? I can’t feel it.

Pianoteq now: I’m a big fan of it ( and I ve never never played again my built in CA 67 samples since I bought it).
But: I ‘ ve always thought that the Steinway ( D) had nothing similar to the real one...( nothing similar to A piano..in fact... weird...)
We feel here an electronic piano, dead notes...

I think Modartt missed the point when they realised it.

The Bechstein has similarities with the Garritan, but the mics position seems also to be closest to the pianist, we can’t feel the “ air

I would be very interested to hear from you the same files but with the pianoteq Grotrian, which is for me the best of the pianoteq’s pianos ( I have no experience on other VST’s).

Ps: stereo effects also are more impressive with Garritan, nb2 would be Pianoteq and third Yam.




Posted By: rolex67 Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 09:02 AM
I would also add that, as all of those VST’s can be “tweaked”,
Perhaps with other settings, other mics position, reverbs, etc...feelings, comments
Would certainly change....
That’s why it’s probably hard to compare apples to oranges as we don’t know the particular settings of each ones.
Posted By: pold Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 11:36 AM
Originally Posted by Harpuia

In an acoustic piano, when playing soft the hammer hits the string with the softer side. However, when we are banging the piano hard it’s a different attack from the harder side of the hammer.


why, doesn't the hammer hit the string always in the same spot?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 12:14 PM
@pold: Yes this is curious. The hammer should always strike the string the same way. If not then there may be loose parts in the hammer flange.
Posted By: Frédéric L Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 12:35 PM
Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by Harpuia

In an acoustic piano, when playing soft the hammer hits the string with the softer side. However, when we are banging the piano hard it’s a different attack from the harder side of the hammer.


why, doesn't the hammer hit the string always in the same spot?

I suppose the “softer/harder side” is not the the right expression : there is only a single point of impact.

However, the harder the note is hit, the deeper the hammer is striked which makes the hammer harder.
Posted By: StasNick Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 04:29 PM
Very interesting comparison.
Yes, Yamaha has no reverb here and this can make the sound less voluminous. But this is more correct when playing through the speakers built into the piano: we hear a clear sound (as in the studio), and reverberation creates the room in which we play.
Pianoteq adds reverberation, and when listening to speakers, a more natural feeling is created: we are used to hearing reverbs and we hear them. But to me, the sound of Pianoteq seems less natural (especially when playing chords and bass).

I compared the built-in CLP-635 engine and Pianoteq when playing live and it seemed to me that the built-in sound of the Yamaha is much better: not only because it sounds more open and bright, but it has better responsiveness and sensitivity. In addition, I have tried many other popular VSTs and so far have not found anything better either. The built-in CFX voice when playing in the room is my favorite so far. And for recordings I do a little post-processing: add compression and reverb.

I think we can complicate this test and make it blind. I played this wonderful prelude by Chopin, but the files turned out to be 15 and as long as they do not contain the names of the instruments:
Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments
Posted By: Gombessa Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 05:03 PM
Originally Posted by Frédéric L

I suppose the “softer/harder side” is not the the right expression : there is only a single point of impact.

However, the harder the note is hit, the deeper the hammer is striked which makes the hammer harder.


Yes, but should not that be accounted for in the sampling? It's a major component of timbre. No modern DPs use a p sample and simply increase the volume to make it an f strike (looking at you, Kurzweil CUP2).
Posted By: Frédéric L Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 05:11 PM
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Yes, but should not that be accounted for in the sampling? It's a major component of timbre. No modern DPs use a p sample and simply increase the volume to make it an f strike (looking at you, Kurzweil CUP2).


It explains why we need multiple samples. If layers are not blended, we will need multiple of them to avoid to near velocity levels to sound too different. Some VST (EWQL Bechstein for example) seem to behave badly about it.

I suppose sampled DP to use nowadays a limited set of samples and blend them to avoid such gaps. (My DP is 12years old and have no blending of its 3 levels... and the difference between levels is important).
Posted By: Gombessa Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/18/19 05:19 PM
Originally Posted by Frédéric L

I suppose sampled DP to use nowadays a limited set of samples and blend them to avoid such gaps. (My DP is 12years old and have no blending of its 3 levels... and the difference between levels is important).


I'm sure modern DPs will variably blend samples (and they can get away with fewer velocity layers this way). I've never looked into whether sampled VSTs do, especially the ones with 20-100+ layers. Btw, the old CUP2 also had only 3 levels, non-blended. And the timbre change is startlingly obvious, even to non-audiophiles. It's good to be past that time in the technology curve.
Posted By: David B Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 05/20/19 12:33 AM
I finally listened to all the audio files with my headphones on.

A few phrases and the chords at the end sound better with the Garritan CFX, but the overall the piece sounds better with the N1X. There just seems to be more expression and feeling that comes through in the playing. The Garritan feels more distant and like a recording. The N1X feels like I'm sitting right there at the bench with you and I can see your arms and hands sinking into the keys to create the dynamic expressions. I feel like I connect more with you emotionally while listening to the N1X.

N1X all the way.
Garritan will suffice if you don't have an N1X.
Pianoteq...neither of the sounds appeal to me.

God Bless,
David
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 01:35 PM
Somebody linked to this thread from another thread and so I listened again to my performances, long after I’ve forgotten them. Well, the Garritan CFX recording is simply the best sounding piano. For some reason just listening to the N1X (since I have no fresh memory on how I felt when playing each piano) makes it sound a tiny bit Pianoteq-ish in the sustain. It’s of course closer to Garritan rather than Pianoteq but I can’t close my ears and just reject what I hear smile However when I count in the playability, the N1X is incomparable. Which is also why people sometimes prefer Pianoteq compared to other software pianos although they admit the recorded sound isn’t perfect.
Posted By: Doug M. Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 02:20 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Somebody linked to this thread from another thread and so I listened again to my performances, long after I’ve forgotten them. Well, the Garritan CFX recording is simply the best sounding piano. For some reason just listening to the N1X (since I have no fresh memory on how I felt when playing each piano) makes it sound a tiny bit Pianoteq-ish in the sustain. It’s of course closer to Garritan rather than Pianoteq but I can’t close my ears and just reject what I hear smile However when I count in the playability, the N1X is incomparable. Which is also why people sometimes prefer Pianoteq compared to other software pianos although they admit the recorded sound isn’t perfect.


Twas me, I remembered your post---liked it a lot.

Really highlighted where Pianoteq is weak i.e., in legato, whereas so many Pianoteq performances are fast and cover up the metallic twang.

However, it's worth noting that some people (mainly Phil) make very nice recordings with Pianoteq that seem flattering in comparison to others (maybe with better setup):



Kind regards,

Doug.
Posted By: HwyStar Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 02:25 PM
I think if you were to re-record the N1X using the same amount of reverb as the Garritan had we would struggle to hear much if any difference. It isn't, in my opinion, a fair comparison. But, the reverb in the N1X may not sound as well as the Garritan's reverb which can affect the sound too. Consider re-recording the Garritan with less reverb to match the default N1X of 5 instead?

Reverb really does trick the ear into hearing different things to different people. I used reverb extensively in my guitar playing to very good results, without it sounding like it had reverb at all. It impacts the midrange more than we think, in a good way.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 02:28 PM
^ Very good point about the reverb! Thanks. I’ll do another comparison when I have time and will try to also anonymize it this time wink
Posted By: pmh Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 02:37 PM
Hi Guys,
By all means go for more comparisons. I think Phill Best might be doing this as well if he has the time. But in my heart of hearts I have a feeling that it probably won’t definitively resolve the current differences in sound perception. On the other hand it’s good fun and provides welcome relief from the loneliness of practicing😀

Paul h
Posted By: Gombessa Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 02:49 PM
Originally Posted by HwyStar
I think if you were to re-record the N1X using the same amount of reverb as the Garritan had we would struggle to hear much if any difference. It isn't, in my opinion, a fair comparison.


just in case you weren't aware, most people don't run CFX with any revert on at all. It's all in the ambient mic setup which provides the absolutely natural reverb of the Abbey Road studios where the CFX recorded. This point has little to do with CFX or pianoteq at all, and more about the insufficiency of artificially generated reverb, IMHO. It does, however, make it such that CFX may not suitable or preferable for some people who really like or need a more dry piano sound.
Posted By: magicpiano Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 03:11 PM
What I hear clearly is that the N1X uses just the usual sample-based digital piano engines, so you have some nice attacks but you have looping for sustained notes... and it's just in the sustained long notes (like the last chords in that piece) that you hear all the limits of this old technology (that they stubbornly continue to use in today digital pianos because it can work well on very cheap little single-boards that maybe cost less than 50$).

When you play a sustained chord on an actual digital piano sample-based, after a while you feel the digital nature of the sound because the looped parts. When you play a sustained chord on a high-quality piano VST (and even more on an real acoustic), you hear the unlooped notes intertwine beautifully, creating a complex, detailed and breathing, live, harp sound.

Pianoteq should not suffer from this problem, because it generates the sound algorithmically, yet it still sounds too digital to me.

I don't know how much is good the Garritan CFX playability, but to me, as a listener, its natural, unlooped sound is on another level when compared to the N1X and Pianoteq too.

Anyway, as I expected, the attack part of the notes played by the N1X to me is a little better than the attack generated by the Pianoteq engine which sometimes I feel a little strange.

And the quality of the reverb in the Garritan is excellent too.
Posted By: JJHLH Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 03:29 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Well, the Garritan CFX recording is simply the best sounding piano.... However when I count in the playability, the N1X is incomparable.


Hi Cybergene, could you expound on this? I have a Yamaha P-515 (and am looking at the N1X) and am thinking of purchasing Garritan CFX Full. After listening to the samples again I now prefer the Garritan CFX, but is the playability considerably worse with it? Which sound do you normally use for your N1X?
Posted By: CyberGene Re: N1X vs Garritan CFX vs Pianoteq - 07/07/19 03:43 PM
Playability of the N1X’s native sound is the best. However CFX isn’t much worse. It’s only the slight subtleties of pedaling, repedaling and half-pedaling that (despite being implemented great for a sampled VST) are still lagging behind. But the timbral realism makes up for it to a degree.
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