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Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments

Posted By: StasNick

Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 04:13 PM

Hello friends!

I decided to do a little experiment: I played a test track on the Clavinova CLP-635 and recorded a MIDI file. And then I converted it to audio on different devices and programs: there are several CLP-635 voices, several popular VST instruments, and several Pianoteq voices. Total received 15 files.
And most importantly: the test must be blind. That is, it is not known in advance on which device the sound was received. And this, I think, excludes any prejudiced attitude as much as possible. Therefore, the names of voices I will post later: in 1-2 days.

Test audio files here >>

I would be very grateful if you can listen to these files and answer a few questions (you can write the first two digits of the file name - this is the number):
1. Do you hear a distinct difference between these voices?
2. Which voice do you like best?
3. Which voice do you think is the worst?


Many thanks in advance and pleasant listening!

PS: It would be great if you can make a test recording on your instrument. And upload this file here. We all have different digital pianos and it would be possible to create something like a comparative table with the sound of different instruments.
Test MIDI: Chopin op.28 No_4 (18.05.19) >>
Posted By: RobR

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 04:40 PM

3 is the best, better yet: The only one which is convincing to my ears.

6 and 14 are abysmal, it was a tough choice choosing which one is worst.

I hear a lot of Pianoteq models in these demos, am i right? EDIT: Nevermind, it's in the title, so i was right:)

Posted By: oivavoi

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 05:56 PM

Can't download the files to my ipad! Will try later on the computer.
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 06:06 PM

Originally Posted by RobR
3 is the best, better yet: The only one which is convincing to my ears.

6 and 14 are abysmal, it was a tough choice choosing which one is worst.

I hear a lot of Pianoteq models in these demos, am i right? EDIT: Nevermind, it's in the title, so i was right:)


RobR, thank you very much!
Yes, of course, there is Pianoteq there (I will say more: there are 6 different timbres from Pianoteq, including the new Bechstein).

Originally Posted by oivavoi
Can't download the files to my ipad! Will try later on the computer.

I made an alternative source, perhaps this will help you:
Test audio files (DropBox) >>
Posted By: akc42

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 06:45 PM

I downloaded an played all the files

I liked No 4 the best, but I like a mellow voice rather than a bright one

Agree that 6 and 14 are the worst, BUT I also found 13 and 15 slightly funny - some sort of background ringing which I didn't like.

I did make a load of wav files on my CA67 with a load of different piano voices selected, but I also tried selecting an organ and playing the midi file and I still got a piano voice and a quick listen to the various wav files I made are all the same, so I am not sure what piano settings the CA67 uses. I can load it somewhere if useful, but I am not sure what sounds its using
Posted By: PianoMasterIreland

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 06:53 PM

Thanks for this; always a bit of fun especially when it's a blind test. I'll write my thoughts on each one as I go.

01. Sounds like clipping coming through on some chords although that could be the sound effect of the MIDI limitation. It's a clean sound. The decay on the notes is respectable but this piano isn't to my liking overall.
02. Sounds distant with a lot of hissing in the background. This surely is a VST. The piano is nice with a rounded sound. A lot more exciting than number one but I can't get past the hissing.
03. A more modest tone from this one but quite beautiful. As with number two, too much hiss for me. I like the attack on this piano on the accented notes but it's a mellow sound overall. I'm more of a bright guy.
04. I'm aware this is MIDI file which is going to be clinical in technique crossover but I really didn't like this piano's obsession with the pedal sound. Reminds me of an old upright I'd hear in a showroom. I get that people might go for this but I can comfortably say; hate it.
05. Off to a lovely start. Clean delivery. It's another mellow sound. High notes are a little weak. Wow, the overtones on the final chords are dense; don't think I'm fond of that..
06. So, going to have to forget hissing lest all my comments here be negative!😂It's bright. The samples in this are quite good. It's an improvement for me but not number 1 yet.
07. Immediately know I wouldn't go for this. That twang aside, it's got a heavy lumbering sound although I do admire the sampling on certain individual notes.
08. Quite nice. Is it Yamaha? I've become a Yamaha fan boy (P255 and Garritan CFX). I'll possibly mark this down as favourite so far, lovely balance and attack. Final chords - gorgeous.
09. An in-your-face left hand on this track. The climactic part on this was disappointing. I have to hand it a really good sustain.
10. An older piano sound again here which just isn't up my street. It reminds me of another percussion, keyboard instrument like celeste in parts. Good dynamics to be fair. Sampling is very respectable.
11. I don't have strong feelings on this one on way or another. It's okay. It has an ethereal sound. The pedal sampling is annoying.
12. I may be beginning to need a palette cleanser but this reminds me of previous pianos here. A respectable sound. Bass is lacking more so in this one.
13. This is like glass. Really smooth and ringing. I'm drawn to it so far. It let me down in the climax. Right hand drowned out. Too delicate.
14. Sounds tired and dusty. Bored by it. Shaky sampling on the higher notes very obvious. This sounds inconsistent with itself.
15. I like this one a lot. Really nice tone. It's slightly imbalanced. It's not as nice as number eight.

Favourite: 08

Least favourite: 04
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 07:17 PM

Originally Posted by akc42
I downloaded an played all the files

I liked No 4 the best, but I like a mellow voice rather than a bright one

Agree that 6 and 14 are the worst, BUT I also found 13 and 15 slightly funny - some sort of background ringing which I didn't like.

I did make a load of wav files on my CA67 with a load of different piano voices selected, but I also tried selecting an organ and playing the midi file and I still got a piano voice and a quick listen to the various wav files I made are all the same, so I am not sure what piano settings the CA67 uses. I can load it somewhere if useful, but I am not sure what sounds its using


akc42, thank you for your feedback!
By the way, you have raised an interesting topic: it turns out that changing the voice for a MIDI file to Kawai CA67 is not such an easy task. I have an option on the CLP-635 in the settings that changes the voice for a MIDI file (this is very convenient), I thought it was on any instrument.
I found a discussion of this issue here on the forum, perhaps it will be useful to you:
Kawai CA67 MIDI Playback From USB
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 07:26 PM

PianoMasterIreland, incredibly comprehensive answer! You have a great ear and you noticed many small details.
And it is especially interesting to read this, knowing the names of instruments smile
I think tomorrow I will show a table with names.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 07:27 PM

I also tried opening the files from my iPhone but it seems they are not playable on iPhone by default. Even DropBox won’t show a player. Ogg is kind of exotic nowadays. Should’ve used AAC which is the same high quality and supported on all platforms. I’ll take a listen when I’m on my laptop.
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 07:53 PM

Originally Posted by CyberGene
I also tried opening the files from my iPhone but it seems they are not playable on iPhone by default. Even DropBox won’t show a player. Ogg is kind of exotic nowadays. Should’ve used AAC which is the same high quality and supported on all platforms. I’ll take a listen when I’m on my laptop.


CyberGene, I got used to the OGG format and converted all my music into it. I did not know that there are problems with it on iOS.
But for convenience, I made MP3 files, I hope it will be compatible:
Test audio files (MP3) >>
Posted By: JJHLH

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 08:51 PM

Originally Posted by StasNick
Originally Posted by CyberGene
I also tried opening the files from my iPhone but it seems they are not playable on iPhone by default. Even DropBox won’t show a player. Ogg is kind of exotic nowadays. Should’ve used AAC which is the same high quality and supported on all platforms. I’ll take a listen when I’m on my laptop.


CyberGene, I got used to the OGG format and converted all my music into it. I did not know that there are problems with it on iOS.
But for convenience, I made MP3 files, I hope it will be compatible:
Test audio files (MP3) >>


I couldn’t get this to work on my iPad either.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 09:04 PM

For me it works.
Posted By: oivavoi

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 10:20 PM

Got the mp3's to work.

Listened through and scribbled down my first impressions upon listening to them. This is very spontaneous and probably not very precise. FWIW:

1: something is wrong. clipping? Muffled
2: metallic sheen. noticeable hiss
3: noticeable hiss here as well
4: what's that really strange noise which shouldn't be there?
5: nice all in all. well-rounded. no hiss. but do I detect some digital artifacts? I think so. Or maybe not. Not sure. Can't make up my mind about it.
6: this one sounds really different! Difficult to describe, but weird. Like it's old or something.
7: I like it. Musical and clear sound. But with this one there's a fairly pronounced low-level noise. Damper noise I assume?
8: wow! My clear favorite so far. Nothing to comment on really. The damper noise isn't annoying but blends well with the overall sound. Lovely and rich and clear.
9: once again pronounced low-level noises. Damper noise. This time the damper noise has a more metallic feel to me.
10: sound feels nasal on this one. kind of 'twangy'. Once again I find the damper noise noticeable
11: what's with the weird low-level scratchy noises?
12: different tonally from the last one, but scratchy noises here as well. AND metallic damper noise
13: no hiss or low-level noise. But it has a kind of artificial "amplified" feel to it. A bit weird tonally
14: different from the last one, but also feels artificial to me
15: very polite, this one. Probably not my overall favourite but I definitely like it.

Eight is my clear winner!
Posted By: JJHLH

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/18/19 11:28 PM

I can give my rough impression after listening to them all.

Ones I preferred: 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11

Neutral towards: 1, 7, 12

Didn’t like as much: 2, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15

Thank you for the taking the time and effort to do this experiment.
Posted By: clothearednincompo

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/19/19 08:55 AM

Quick impressions without reading anyone's comments:

1) There's a certain piano brand somewhere in the file's metadata. Sounds ok, could be Pianoteq(?)
2) Has more reverb than #1 so that's at least different. Maybe a Japanese grand VST(?)
3) Pretty much like #2
4) What's wrong with this one? The una corda pedal stuck down? Maybe it's the NI Noire piano with the "felt effect".
5) Okay, could be a Clavinova.
6) A historical "pianoforte"/"fortepiano" from Pianoteq. Interesting but probably boring over time.
7) A wild guess: another "slightly older" piano from Pianoteq. Or Clavinova's "Bösendorfer".
8) Could be anything. Except a Casio. An okay "basic grand".
9) A bit muffled? Again an okay "basic grand". Maybe Pianoteq.
10) Brighter than #9. Could be anything except a Casio.
11) Pianoteq Steinway(?)
12) Pianoteq Bechstein(?)
13) Could be anything except a Casio. At least the key action noises are now gone.
14) Again a historical "pianoforte"/"fortepiano" from Pianoteq.
15) Could be anything except a Casio. Maybe a digital piano.
Posted By: Granyala

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/19/19 09:07 AM

Originally Posted by StasNick
1. Do you hear a distinct difference between these voices?
2. Which voice do you like best?
3. Which voice do you think is the worst?

1) Yes. There are timbre / EQ and stereo image changes.
2) No favorite really. They all sounded convincing to my ears.
3) Nr. 5 sounded very flat / lifeless

I also noticed damper noise on Nr. 12 and odd metallic scratching noises in Nr. 4.

Other than that, I found myself enjoying the playing an not thinking much about stuff that stands out / disrupts the experience.
Posted By: stamkorg

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/19/19 09:15 AM

Interesting test but not easy.

1st Q: YES

2nd Q: The best for me is the 5 , but unnatural bass resonnance in the end.

3rd Q: The worst for me is the 6
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/19/19 09:47 AM

I also didn’t read other opinions in order not to be influenced. I listened them in order and wrote short notes after each:

1. OK, slightly nasal
2. OK, metallic sustain, nasal
3. Better
4. Too soft and dull, maybe bad velocity mapping, some weird hammer knocks, not enough dynamic range
5. Ok, metallic sustain at places
6. Ugh, nasty! Immediately starts ugly, contender for worst so far
7. Another contender for worst, but slightly better than 6
8. Best so far but still slightly metallic sustain
9. OK at low velocities but at higher velocities exhibits some synthetic CP70 sustain
10. OK-ish, but still some nasal and metallic character
11. Among the better ones, but some bell-like attack at places that spoils it
12. Best so far!
13. Among the best ones, maybe slightly smeared sustain but otherwise very good
14. Ugh! Another ugly and nasal contender for the title of “worst”
15. Ohh, this is great! Maybe it’s the best

The best is 15. Also good are 12, 13, 8, to some degree 11
Worst: 6, 7, 14
Posted By: nax

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/19/19 10:12 AM

Great comparison. I made the mistake to first read a few comments, so it might not be 100% blind:

round sound: 3, 8, 11

ok: 7, 9, 12, 15

too thin: 1, 14

too bright: 10

too mellow (muffled bass around 1:16-1:18): 4, 5

a bit artificial/tinny (too much virtual resonance? or maybe just reverb): 2, 6, 13

Overall, I would probably vote for 8.
Posted By: lorez

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/19/19 03:44 PM

3 and 10 are the ones I like the most.
Posted By: EPW

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/19/19 05:53 PM

I don't know if I have a clear cut winner but I like 8, 12, 13 and 15.
I still will take Pianoteq for its playability, there is just something about the interaction while playing it that I love. YMMV
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/19/19 06:44 PM

1 - Pretty good.
2 - Veiled. The piano isn't here, it's elsewhere. Is this Pianoteq?
3 - Same comment as #2.
4 - Veiled.
5 - Much better than the previous three.
6 - Thin, like a cheap digital.
7 - Not too bad, but not as good as 5.
8 - Sounds good, but it lacks stereo spread.
9 - Muffled, and some noises.
10 - Refreshing after hearing those veiled, muffled pianos. But the sound placement moves around oddly.
11 - As oivavoi said, what's with the weird noises?
12 - How do you spell "eh"?
13 - I'm begin to tire of this exercise.
14 - As oivavoi said, this has a very artificial sound.
15 - As I write this I realize that I didn't listen to #15.
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/20/19 04:05 PM

Many thanks to everyone who took part in this experiment. This gives a lot of information to think about.

It is time to reveal the names of the instruments.
(Warning: if you want to pass the blind test, then do not look under this spoiler!):


  • 01 - VST - C. Bechstein Digital Grand ---01
  • 02 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (with compression and reverb, v1) ---02
  • 03 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (with compression and reverb, v1) ---03
  • 04 - VST - Noire Felt ---04
  • 05 - VST - The Grandeur ---05
  • 06 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Upright Yamaha SU7 (with compression and reverb, v1) ---06
  • 07 - Pianoteq - Steinway D (Classical) ---07
  • 08 - Pianoteq - Steingraeber (E-272) ---08
  • 09 - Pianoteq - Grotrian (Concert Royal) ---09
  • 10 - Pianoteq - Ant Petrof (Prelude) ---10
  • 11 - Pianoteq - Bechstein DG (Prelude) ---11
  • 12 - Pianoteq - Steinway B (Prelude) ---12
  • 13 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (original, without processing) ---13
  • 14 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Upright Yamaha SU7 (original, without processing) ---14
  • 15 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (original, without processing) ---15
  • 16 - VST - The Hammersmith ---16
  • 17 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (with de-noising, compression and reverb, v2) ---17
  • 18 - VST - Noire Pure ---18
  • 19 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (with de-noising, compression and reverb, v2) ---19



In addition, I added 4 more files (with new instruments): these are numbers from 16 to 19:
Test audio files (OGG) >>
Test audio files (MP3) >>
Posted By: EPW

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/20/19 06:01 PM

Thanks for taking the time for uploading the audio for us to debate about which piano sound we like/dislike smile
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/20/19 06:21 PM

So ... my favorites were the Grandeur (which is my everyday favorite) and the Bechstein VST (which is entirely new to me).
My least favorites were the CLP635 and four of the six Pianoteqs.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/20/19 06:31 PM

Unsurprisingly my favorite is the unmodified CFX from the CLP smile Also unsurprisingly the Pianoteq Steinway D is among the worst to me. Unsurprisingly I liked the Pianoteq Bechstein DG which I have also praised in another thread. Surprisingly there are a few other Pianoteq presets that I liked: the Steinway B and the Steingraeber. It’s a shame there are no sampled CFX pianos though. Especially Garritan CFX.
Posted By: EPW

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/20/19 06:52 PM

I liked the Pianoteq Steinway B which I have. I liked the Steingraeber and is on my list to purchase from Pianoteq. I also like the unmodified CFX from the CLP too.
I brought the Steinway Model D from Pianoteq but I like the Model B more and play that one more.

Unlike MacMacMac I like Pianoteq smile
Posted By: oivavoi

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/20/19 07:24 PM

Interesting!

It’s been a couple of years since I used pianoteq or VST’s regularly, but it kind of confirms my preference for Pianoteq. Haven’t played the Steingraeber myself, but it makes sense that it was my favorite given that Steingraeber by far and away is my favorite acoustic piano manufacturer.

The big shocker for me is nr 1. I would really have expected to like the Bechstein digital. But I would say the clipping (or whatever) is unmistakeable. Is something malfunctioning with this VST on the computer used?
Posted By: kj85

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/20/19 08:03 PM

Originally Posted by StasNick
It is time to reveal the names of the instruments.


My Grandeur VST does not sound like the rendered sample at all, which has a nice, full sound. Have you changed any of the default settings or did you run the output through some filter?

Other than that, don't really have a preference. They all sound like pianos.
Posted By: nax

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 05:20 AM

It would be really great if anyone could add the Garritan CFX and Ivory II American D with the given midi file to the list (and shuffle numbers again).
I don't own them, but I am thinking of buying them to test whether I like them better than the sound of my N1X.
Posted By: MarioPf

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 11:34 AM

Originally Posted by StasNick

1. Do you hear a distinct difference between these voices?
2. Which voice do you like best?
3. Which voice do you think is the worst?



1. Yes.
2. 11
3. 17

6 and 14 may sound odd but I think they are sounds from old pianos and not so bad.
Posted By: Granyala

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 12:18 PM

I did a few renders with a VST that shall not be named for now.
If you recognize it, keep it to yourself fow now, don't ruin the fun for people that may not know it.

All profiles were predefined by the manufacturer, nothing custom.
Will post the name of the presets and VST later.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YE-CEo8CtLmMx0BybKNAcb5diKmI68FB

What do you think?
Posted By: MarioPf

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 02:22 PM

Originally Posted by Granyala
I did a few renders with a VST that shall not be named for now.
If you recognize it, keep it to yourself fow now, don't ruin the fun for people that may not know it.

All profiles were predefined by the manufacturer, nothing custom.
Will post the name of the presets and VST later.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YE-CEo8CtLmMx0BybKNAcb5diKmI68FB

What do you think?


1. Very pleasant sound.

2. Metallic sound, not always pleasant.

3. Nice but it seems like a piano in another rooms sometimes.

4. Sound inside the head; treble line very thin.
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 02:38 PM

Originally Posted by oivavoi
Interesting!

It’s been a couple of years since I used pianoteq or VST’s regularly, but it kind of confirms my preference for Pianoteq. Haven’t played the Steingraeber myself, but it makes sense that it was my favorite given that Steingraeber by far and away is my favorite acoustic piano manufacturer.

The big shocker for me is nr 1. I would really have expected to like the Bechstein digital. But I would say the clipping (or whatever) is unmistakeable. Is something malfunctioning with this VST on the computer used?


oivavoi, I agree: the Steingraeber sounds pretty good. Perhaps I accidentally picked up the tuning (E-272), which sounds open and free, it has a good bass, and in the recording there is “air”, besides, the pedal noise is low.
By the way, I think that this pedal noise should be immediately reduced in all VST and Pianoteq - this is what I learned from this experiment.

As for the C. Bechstein digital (VST):
I chose one of the standard settings (Classic near) and it looks like it sounds awful. I made a new version (with more fine tuning of the sound, including setting the curve for the keyboard) and I really like this result. The sound of this VST is pleasant, the responsiveness is very good, although I think that it is thin and overly open (there is little bass and low frequencies in it). This file is here (number 00):
Test audio files (OGG) >>
Test audio files (MP3) >>
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 02:56 PM

Originally Posted by kj85
Originally Posted by StasNick
It is time to reveal the names of the instruments.


My Grandeur VST does not sound like the rendered sample at all, which has a nice, full sound. Have you changed any of the default settings or did you run the output through some filter?

Other than that, don't really have a preference. They all sound like pianos.


kj85, no, I did not add filters. But I changed the settings. The main ones are:
1. Tone: turn to the right until the sound is clear and bright for your hearing, and then slow down a little. And, as it seems to me, it will sound much better than the default.
2. Anatomy: Adjust the curve for better responsiveness and accuracy for your keyboard. My best fit is Hard. Enable Overtones for a richer sound. Reduce pedal noise.
3. Space: I like the Piano reso 1 setting, and I reduce the size and amount a bit.
I attach screenshots for clarity.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Posted By: oivavoi

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 03:19 PM

Originally Posted by StasNick
Originally Posted by oivavoi
Interesting!

It’s been a couple of years since I used pianoteq or VST’s regularly, but it kind of confirms my preference for Pianoteq. Haven’t played the Steingraeber myself, but it makes sense that it was my favorite given that Steingraeber by far and away is my favorite acoustic piano manufacturer.

The big shocker for me is nr 1. I would really have expected to like the Bechstein digital. But I would say the clipping (or whatever) is unmistakeable. Is something malfunctioning with this VST on the computer used?


oivavoi, I agree: the Steingraeber sounds pretty good. Perhaps I accidentally picked up the tuning (E-272), which sounds open and free, it has a good bass, and in the recording there is “air”, besides, the pedal noise is low.
By the way, I think that this pedal noise should be immediately reduced in all VST and Pianoteq - this is what I learned from this experiment.

As for the C. Bechstein digital (VST):
I chose one of the standard settings (Classic near) and it looks like it sounds awful. I made a new version (with more fine tuning of the sound, including setting the curve for the keyboard) and I really like this result. The sound of this VST is pleasant, the responsiveness is very good, although I think that it is thin and overly open (there is little bass and low frequencies in it). This file is here (number 00):
Test audio files (OGG) >>
Test audio files (MP3) >>


Great work!

Yes, the new Bechstein version sounds much better. Still - IMHO - not even close to the Pianoteq Steingraeber. (Steingraeber pianos are not very well known, compared to Steinway and Bösendorfer etc, but they really are ahead of the pack... again IMHO)

And I very much agree re: pedal noise. Pedal noise, and other mechanical noises, are inherent weaknesses of the mechanics of an acoustic instrument. It's not a good thing! It's there because we can't get rid of it! Why on earth would one like to import that into a digital instrument? That would be like voluntarily putting "clicks" and "pops" on MP3's, because they were there on vinyl and tape recordings.

I also think it's possible that the brain (or my brain at least) reacts differently to such noises when they are present digitally, and not in the instrument itself. When playing an acoustic instrument, it may be that we kind of stop noticing such noise, because it's so connected to the instrument itself. But when playing a DP, there is no way of making that connection between the noise and the actual instrument we have in front of us.

Acoustic pianos can be wonderful creatures, and the playing experience can't be fully recreated by digital technology IMO. But there are some things digitals do better than acoustics, and one of those things is the possibility of playing without generating mechanical noise. So on my Kawai CS10 I always turn the pedal noise all the way down.
Posted By: kj85

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 03:52 PM

Originally Posted by StasNick
I attach screenshots for clarity.


Thanks. Can you post the anatomy settings screenshot? The tone settings appear twice in you post by mistake.
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 06:27 PM

Originally Posted by kj85
Originally Posted by StasNick
I attach screenshots for clarity.


Thanks. Can you post the anatomy settings screenshot? The tone settings appear twice in you post by mistake.

Yes, of course. Here is a new screenshot:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: kj85

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 07:03 PM

Originally Posted by StasNick
Yes, of course. Here is a new screenshot


Thanks. Still sounds very different from your sample. Unless, I am making some obvious mistake, I don't see how two renders of the same midi file using the same settings in the same VST instrument can be so different.

It's after midnight here. In the morning, I'll upload screenshots of my settings as well as a render of your midi file using said settings.
Posted By: newer player

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 07:14 PM

Thanks for taking the time to organize this StasNick.

My preferences were generally for music that had:

- fewer mechanical sounds,
- less audio distortion,
- fewer "synthetic" sounding chords (which sometimes took time to rear their ugly heads and were not only PianoTeq).

On this listening test, I thought dry vs. wet was much less important than clean, natural sounding notes. That might be bias as I use the very noisy and very wet Garritan CFX every day.
Posted By: lorez

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 08:46 PM

So it turns out I like the Yamaha CFX from a 635, not surprising since I own a P-515 and after I bought the triple pedal unit I was forced to switch to the internal sounds to utilize half pedaling (none of the VSTs I own for iPad support it). At first I didn’t like it at all, then I began to appreciate it. Now I actually prefer it to my VSTs. The Petrof is a surprise to me. I’m not familiar with the instrument but at least it’s Pianoteq so it should be amazingly playable.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/21/19 10:17 PM

Can anyone add a better piano to this test? Such as the CLP685?

I ask that because I'm finding the CLP635 tested here as being only marginally better than my 2005-vintage CLP240.
As I described it earlier: Thin, like a cheap digital. Not at all impressive.

I'd like to hear what the high-end Clav sounds like.
Posted By: johnlewisgrant

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/22/19 12:24 AM

Modified the midi file.... just a wee bit... Employing a secret sample:

https://www.dropbox.com/l/scl/AACoyDA1mWYvcpmLh7XQ9ul0vT04GBEa6U0


That's a crazy-long url.

I just ran the file and got heavy clipping in the loud section.... I can fix that... my bad.

Also, the pedaling is WAY off in some places, which obviously can be fixed, as well.
Posted By: Granyala

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/22/19 02:35 PM

As promised, the name and settings of my renders:


Garritan CFX full

01 - standard player
02 - standard classic
03 - standard contemporary
04 - classic soft and cozy
Posted By: kj85

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/22/19 03:25 PM

Originally Posted by kj85
Originally Posted by StasNick
Yes, of course. Here is a new screenshot


Thanks. Still sounds very different from your sample. Unless, I am making some obvious mistake, I don't see how two renders of the same midi file using the same settings in the same VST instrument can be so different.

It's after midnight here. In the morning, I'll upload screenshots of my settings as well as a render of your midi file using said settings.


My screenshots:

Tone:
[Linked Image]

Anatomy:
[Linked Image]


And the rendered audio:
"The Grandeur" rendering
Posted By: nax

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/22/19 06:24 PM

Thank you for adding the Garritan CFX. I suspected the Garritan because of the level of reverb.

If someone could add the Ivory II American D, then I would do a re-shuffle of all, so that one can do a blind test again (even though it is not really blind if you have a good memory of the sound).
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/22/19 07:02 PM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Can anyone add a better piano to this test? Such as the CLP685?


Yes, it would be great to hear other digital pianos (including Casio, Roland and Kawai).
But I'm not sure that the CLP 685 sound engine is fundamentally different from other instruments in this series (although I could be wrong).
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/22/19 07:10 PM

Originally Posted by Granyala
As promised, the name and settings of my renders:


Granyala, thank you for your test!
I suspected it was a VST. But I did not like any of the samples. And I remembered that I once tested the Garritan CFX and concluded that this is not the best VST with the Yamaha CFX timbre (in my opinion), so it was removed a long time ago and did not even use it in this test.
But number 1 and number 2 would probably be good if the reverb was much smaller.
Posted By: StasNick

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/22/19 07:24 PM

Originally Posted by lorez
So it turns out I like the Yamaha CFX from a 635, not surprising since I own a P-515 and after I bought the triple pedal unit I was forced to switch to the internal sounds to utilize half pedaling (none of the VSTs I own for iPad support it). At first I didn’t like it at all, then I began to appreciate it. Now I actually prefer it to my VSTs. The Petrof is a surprise to me. I’m not familiar with the instrument but at least it’s Pianoteq so it should be amazingly playable.


The built-in Clavinova engine has many advantages (I compared it with many third-party VSTs): support for the half-pedals, beautiful timbre, great dynamics and excellent response to keystrokes. In addition, there is even support for Key-off velocity's MIDI commands (Pianoteq also has this, but if you use the standalone version), this trifle adds realism to the game, simulating different string sounds at different key-off speeds. Well, the main advantage: to start the game you need 8-10 seconds from switching on smile
But there are also disadvantages that I found: samples are not recorded in the highest quality (no 24 bits and no at least 48 kHz), during post-processing you can hear that the recordings are not perfect and there is noise (very quiet, but it is), except In addition, the built-in reverb is just awful (I always turn it off). But this does not affect the game live (for which the tool was created), but rather a claim to Yamaha for the future.
Posted By: Craig Richards

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/23/19 10:59 PM

Originally Posted by nax
Thank you for adding the Garritan CFX. I suspected the Garritan because of the level of reverb.

If someone could add the Ivory II American D, then I would do a re-shuffle of all, so that one can do a blind test again (even though it is not really blind if you have a good memory of the sound).


I have Ivory 2.5 American D. Will render an audio file now. Can I upload the file directly to the thread?
Posted By: Craig Richards

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/23/19 11:40 PM

Here's Ivory 2.5 ACD (a downloadable 24bit 44.1 WAV file):

https://soundcloud.com/pianoproducer-online/ivory-25-acd-chopin-op28-no-4/s-PVuAI

I used Ivory's built in EQ & Reverb.

PS: How can I add screenshot images of my settings to my post?
Posted By: kj85

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/24/19 12:15 AM

Originally Posted by Craig Richards
PS: How can I add screenshot images of my settings to my post?


Upload it somewhere (imgur etc) and use the image url within "img" tags.
Posted By: Craig Richards

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/24/19 07:27 AM

Originally Posted by kj85
Originally Posted by Craig Richards
PS: How can I add screenshot images of my settings to my post?


Upload it somewhere (imgur etc) and use the image url within "img" tags.


Here's my Ivory 2.5 American Concert D settings:

https://imgur.com/dovZUmY

https://imgur.com/ZHMSSsv
Posted By: nax

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 05/24/19 08:42 AM

Thanks a lot for adding the Ivory. I like the sound, but at 1:18 it seems that the sustain of the bass note is not the same as on others, maybe an issue with the midi pedal data.

I did an automatic re-shuffling of all files (hopefully without errors):

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/80r5kunfe21ddzx/AADEV84ZdOLLNb8uqZ8pkGx-a?dl=0

Click below for the new list of VSTs.


01 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Upright Yamaha SU7 (with compression and reverb, v1)
02 - Pianoteq - Steingraeber (E-272)
03 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (with compression and reverb, v1)
04 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Upright Yamaha SU7 (original, without processing)
05 - VST - C. Bechstein Digital Grand ---01
06 - Pianoteq - Ant Petrof (Prelude)
07 - Garritan CFX full - standard contemporary
08 - Garritan CFX full - standard player
09 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (original, without processing)
10 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (original, without processing)
11 - Ivory 2.5 - American Concert D
12 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (with de-noising, compression and reverb, v2)
13 - Garritan CFX full - classic soft and cozy
14 - Pianoteq - Grotrian (Concert Royal)
15 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (with compression and reverb, v1)
16 - Garritan CFX full - standard classic
17 - Pianoteq - Bechstein DG (Prelude)
18 - VST - Noire Pure
19 - VST - The Hammersmith
20 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (with de-noising, compression and reverb, v2)
21 - Pianoteq - Steinway B (Prelude)
22 - VST - The Grandeur
23 - Pianoteq - Steinway D (Classical)
24 - VST - Noire Felt
Posted By: pianophil

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/12/19 02:39 PM

7 - Pianoteq - Steinway D (Classical)
Originally Posted by MacMacMac

7 - Not too bad, but not as good as 5.


8 - Pianoteq - Steingraeber (E-272)
Originally Posted by MacMacMac

8 - Sounds good, but it lacks stereo spread.


10 - Pianoteq - Ant Petrof (Prelude)
Originally Posted by MacMacMac

10 - Refreshing after hearing those veiled, muffled pianos. But the sound placement moves around oddly.


Thank you for the kind words MacMacMac, their value is increased by there rarity wink. I was really pretty happy to see that finally you like the sound of some instruments in Pianoteq (of course not all of them!).

Philippe (Modartt)
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/12/19 03:01 PM

Originally Posted by pianophil
Thank you for the kind words MacMacMac, their value is increased by there rarity wink. I was really pretty happy to see that finally you like the sound of some instruments in Pianoteq (of course not all of them!).

Philippe (Modartt)

Yes, shocking, all things considered smile

Philippe, can you settle a controversy for us that mcontraveos raised on another thread? Were actual physical Steinway D/B pianos used in the actual modeling work during the development of the Steinway D & B VIs in Pianoteq? Or was the work entirely done using recordings of those pianos?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/12/19 03:12 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by pianophil
Thank you for the kind words MacMacMac, their value is increased by there rarity wink. I was really pretty happy to see that finally you like the sound of some instruments in Pianoteq (of course not all of them!).

Philippe (Modartt)

Yes, shocking, all things considered smile

It's my belief that in double-blind tests over time, not only will modeled VIs pass "Turing tests" with sampled VIs, but VIs in general will pass Turing tests against acoustical pianos. The differences become slighter and slighter with time until it will be hard for non-experts to distinguish them aurally.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/12/19 03:34 PM

Sample based pianos have long passed the Turing-test against real pianos when only listening to recordings. Pianoteq not so much, or at least I believe so and would bet that I can recognize a Pianoteq recording vs a real grand piano.

This particular test here contains a limited number of pianos, mostly Pianoteq and mostly edited versions of sounds from a Yamaha CLP which isn't the best piano sound frankly speaking, despite me owning a Yamaha digital piano smile It's slightly sad some established sample-based VST-s are missing, such as Garritan CFX, Vintage D, VSL libraries, Ivory, etc. Noire is IMO one of the bad examples.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/12/19 05:23 PM

Referring to something as not too bad, or better than something much worse is a bit short of high praise, yes? smile
Originally Posted by pianophil
Thank you for the kind words , their value is increased by there rarity wink. I was really pretty happy to see that finally you like the sound of some instruments in Pianoteq (of course not all of them!).
And those were my highest rated of the PT's.

I found the others to be ...
- muffled, and some noises.
- refreshing after hearing those veiled, muffled pianos. But the sound placement moves around oddly.
- what's with the weird noises?
- how do you spell "eh"?
- this has a very artificial sound.

And I gave highest marks to my every-day piano, the Grandeur.
And lowest to the native Clav sounds from the 635. No surprise there either.
Posted By: peterws

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/12/19 05:30 PM

Originally Posted by StasNick
Many thanks to everyone who took part in this experiment. This gives a lot of information to think about.

It is time to reveal the names of the instruments.
(Warning: if you want to pass the blind test, then do not look under this spoiler!):


  • 01 - VST - C. Bechstein Digital Grand ---01
  • 02 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (with compression and reverb, v1) ---02
  • 03 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (with compression and reverb, v1) ---03
  • 04 - VST - Noire Felt ---04
  • 05 - VST - The Grandeur ---05
  • 06 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Upright Yamaha SU7 (with compression and reverb, v1) ---06
  • 07 - Pianoteq - Steinway D (Classical) ---07
  • 08 - Pianoteq - Steingraeber (E-272) ---08
  • 09 - Pianoteq - Grotrian (Concert Royal) ---09
  • 10 - Pianoteq - Ant Petrof (Prelude) ---10
  • 11 - Pianoteq - Bechstein DG (Prelude) ---11
  • 12 - Pianoteq - Steinway B (Prelude) ---12
  • 13 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (original, without processing) ---13
  • 14 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Upright Yamaha SU7 (original, without processing) ---14
  • 15 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (original, without processing) ---15
  • 16 - VST - The Hammersmith ---16
  • 17 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Bosendorfer (with de-noising, compression and reverb, v2) ---17
  • 18 - VST - Noire Pure ---18
  • 19 - DP Yamaha CLP-635 - Yamaha CFX (with de-noising, compression and reverb, v2) ---19



In addition, I added 4 more files (with new instruments): these are numbers from 16 to 19:
Test audio files (OGG) >>
Test audio files (MP3) >>



Very good! My fave was 17, the yamaha Bosie. I didn't score 1,4,5,15. The rest were fine in their own way. Tweaking makes a huge difference.
Posted By: Granyala

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/13/19 04:05 AM

Originally Posted by CyberGene
It's slightly sad some established sample-based VST-s are missing, such as Garritan CFX, Vintage D, VSL libraries, Ivory, etc. Noire is IMO one of the bad examples.

Some other VSTi were posted later in the tread.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/13/19 12:35 PM

I, too, think the set is missing a lot of great ones, while over-representing some of the worst.
Originally Posted by CyberGene
It's slightly sad some established sample-based VST-s are missing, such as Garritan CFX, Vintage D, VSL libraries, Ivory, etc.
Noire is IMO one of the bad examples.
The Garritan CFX is there, though. Did you miss it?
Vintage D is not, but should be.

In all, I see ...
8 CLP635 varieties
6 Pianoteq varieties
4 Garritan CFX varieties
2 Noire varieties
1 C. Bechstein Digital Grand
1 Grandeur
1 Hammersmith
1 American Concert D


A bottom-of-the line Clav doesn't even belong on the list ... except to prove that you can do much better, eh?
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Blind sound test: DP vs Pianoteq vs VST instruments - 06/13/19 02:06 PM

When I made the test it was containing only a very limited set of pianos. I think new ones were gradually added to the test, including those mentioned but I think there was not point in doing it again since the actual order of the first 15 was the same and I already knew what is what.
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