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i really do not understand why people, on both side, absolutely need to have "the last word" ... ???
i am lucky (birthday presents) to have few piano bank of samples and piano software and i really enjoy using all of them...
one day is for that one, and another day is for another one.

that's it !

be cool: live & let live smile


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Originally Posted by gvfarns
While the strings of an acoustic are metal, the soundboard is not, and good acoustic pianos are never described as sounding metallic.


The kind of acoustic piano sound I like does sound metallic, and moreover, I think most pianos do in fact sound metallic, due to all the metal! Wouldn't you agree that a steel-stringed guitar sounds more metallic than a nylon one?
In SteveO's pair of recordings, I think the Baldwin sounds more metallic than Pianoteq - in a good, natural way though. (neverthless, I thought Pianoteq sounded very good!)

I think the characteristic of Pianoteq that everyone except me seems to be describing as "metallic" is something I would describe as "harshness". It is also too simple - it is still not producing the complexity/richness of the real thing. (but they're getting there!)

The most metallic "piano" I know of is the Yamaha CP-80 electric grand. It's very bright and metallic, without being harsh. This is the quality I think is also present in acoustic pianos, to a lesser degree.

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Perhaps we can reconcile our observations thus:

The attack of a piano (and some other instruments) is metallic because of the metal string as you point out, but the subsequent vibrations come largely from the soundboard are not what you would call metallic. In PianoTeq there's kind of a metallic ringing in the decay as if the piano was not made of wood at all. Does that seem like a fair description to you? Further, acoustic piano attacks sound more metallic as you approach high velocities, but not so much at low velocities. Also they sound more metallic when the piano is more closely miced. The ringing in PianoTeq seems to me to occur at all velocities and mic positions. It is the resonance/reverb that offends me most about PianoTeq (3, I haven't used 4), not the attack.

Attacks are harsh kind of by definition. But it's unpleasant when the decay and reverb is harsh.

PianoTeq is also described as sounding synthetic, but that's a very difficult thing to describe more precisely, and I think a lot more excusable given the nature of the PT engine--it is synthetic after all. Or maybe our ears interpret artificiality in the sound as metallic-ness, as anotherscott suggests.

Last edited by gvfarns; 04/21/12 12:14 PM.
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No, I don't agree that it's only the attacks that sound metallic in a real piano, or that the sound after the attacks comes from the soundboard. (why do you say that? The strings are still vibrating!)

Take a listen to this iTunes preview:
http://itunes.apple.com/album/close-to-you/id343690663?i=343690838
(if the link doesn't work, see if you can find it by searching for the album "Tribute To: Burt Bacharach", and it's track 3 "Close to You")

IMHO, the sound is metallic in the sustain as well as the attacks. (and very, very nice!)

Greg.

Last edited by sullivang; 04/21/12 12:32 PM.
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Originally Posted by gvfarns
Perhaps we can reconcile our observations thus:

The attack of a piano (and some other instruments) is metallic because of the metal string as you point out, but the subsequent vibrations come largely from the soundboard are not what you would call metallic. In PianoTeq there's kind of a metallic ringing in the decay as if the piano was not made of wood at all.


...as the piano was not made of wood? come on this is a virtual piano with virtual wood. In that sense all digital pianos sounds metallic and synthetic. What I can perfectly test it right now playing interchangeably on acoustic grand and on roland sampled stage piano. But you can use controls, equalizers etc to minimize this effect that same as in modeled piano. BTW ringing happens quite often in a real piano as well.

p.s.
also you're wrong soundboard gives most of the sound, the strings do - soundboard is just amplifier.


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Strings don't move a lot of air and produce little sound of themselves. If you hit a string at paino-level tension that is not connected to something that resonates the sound would be very quiet and not last long at all. And it would not sound like a piano in any degree. The soundboard is the main part of the instrument. If you change the strings of a piano the sound changes very little. If you change the soundboard (dimensions, material, whatever) it's a completely different instrument.

But anyway, you don't need to agree with that for the discussion to move forward since we aren't talking about acoustics per se. The fact remains that many people (myself included) describe PianoTeq as having an unnatural metallicness to it. We wouldn't say that if the same property was present in acoustics.

Last edited by gvfarns; 04/21/12 12:54 PM.
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Originally Posted by gvfarns
Perhaps we can reconcile our observations thus:
(...)
In PianoTeq there's kind of a metallic ringing in the decay as if the piano was not made of wood at all.
(...)
But it's unpleasant when the decay and reverb is harsh.
PianoTeq is also described as sounding synthetic, but that's a very difficult thing to describe more precisely, and I think a lot more excusable given the nature of the PT engine--it is synthetic after all. Or maybe our ears interpret artificiality in the sound as metallic-ness, as anotherscott suggests.

as you, I do not really like the decrease somewhat "metallic" in Pianoteq.
About the attack, it's really close and best but, for me it is not yet good attack I would like to hear ... I'm sure it will be better in the next version.

and I will always love Pianoteq 4, for the great software that it is smile

Last edited by imyself; 04/21/12 12:41 PM.

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Originally Posted by piano_shark

p.s.
also you're wrong soundboard gives most of the sound, the strings do - soundboard is just amplifier.


I suspect this is true - good point. Supporting this assertion, the V-Piano allows the string material to be adjusted, but does not (to the best of my knowledge) bother allowing the soundboard material to be adjusted. The silver strings sound brighter than standard. Pianoteq does provide a carbon soundboard in some models, but it doesn't change the timbre very much, from memory.
EDIT: Actually Pianoteq has a whole section devoted to soundboard parameters, and these parameters do indeed change the tone a lot. The soundboard is not only an amplifier - it is a filter as well. So, both the soundboard and the strings affect the timbre. wink

Greg.

Last edited by sullivang; 04/21/12 12:51 PM.
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It looks like the discussion went into the area of well known facts. Which are discussed by non-experts who don't know even the fact that the facts they are talking about are trivial.

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It's not just that it sounds metallic, the problem goes deeper I think. It just sounds kind of artificial and unpleasant. Let alone the fact that it hurts my ears when I listen to it on my headphones. Something is ringing so terribly it hurts. Maybe that could be fixed with some EQ but I'm not sure, all the demos seem to have it.

Compare this (I tried the Liszt presets):

http://www.pianoteq.com/d4_in_action?s=d4_presets

to this Ivory II demo:

http://www.synthogy.com/demos/play/d2011-11-01a.html

To me the superiority of Ivory II is painfully obvious. It sounds like a real Steinway, an instrument that has been perfected for over a century. It's very natural, clear and open sounding and it fondles my ears and touches my soul. P4 is nowhere near that. It doesn't make me enjoy the music, on the opposite, it rather distracts me from it with its hurtful character.

I appreciate the work of Modartt and I support them (I actually own Pianoteq), and I think they are on the right track, but they still have some way to go.

By the way, this comparison is in order since P4 tries to imitate a Steinway.

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An amplifier is a device for increasing the power of a signal by use of an external energy source.

A transducer is a device that converts one form of energy to another form of energy.

There is no energy put into an acoustic piano other than the energy of the pianists fingers/arms.

An acoustic piano is a transducer not an amplifier.

I apologize in advance if someone is offended.

Glenn

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Thanks for posting those links Gigantoad because I think the Pianoteq recording sound remarkably similar tonally to the Ivory recording! The biggest difference to my ear is Ivory has more "air" the PTQ sound is denser. I imagine the Pianoteq sound could be opened up with some judicious EQing.

Bravo Modartt!


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Originally Posted by gvfarns
Strings don't move a lot of air and produce little sound of themselves. If you hit a string at paino-level tension that is not connected to something that resonates the sound would be very quiet
...
The soundboard is the main part of the instrument. If you change the strings of a piano the sound changes very little. If you change the soundboard (dimensions, material, whatever) it's a completely different instrument.


An easy analogy is to the guitar. If you put the same strings on different acoustic guitars, the same strings can definitely sound pretty different. And of course, if you put the strings on an electric guitar, the sounds is indeed very quiet. (Though, I would say, always at least somewhat like a guitar!)

In the case of some electric pianos, like the Yamaha CP-80, you get an idea of what a piano can sounds like without a soundboard... its a piano version of an electric guitar... no resonating surface, but pickups instead. Though the characteristic CP-80 sound is also a result of its short strings, and, if I remember correctly, the fact that it only had one string per key. Still, it does sound (at least to me) like a natural, acoustic sound source at its heart, even if not identical to a traditional acoustic piano.

I used to use a Baldwin electric piano, which sounded much more authentic than the CP80, even though it was likewise a "real" strung piano harp with pickups instead of a sound board. They were more commonly used in school labs than on stages. (I wish I still had that one...)

Now, I think some people are implying that what makes PIanoteq not entirely realistic is that perhaps they are modeling the string behavior but not the soundboard resonances. I don't think that is the explanation, though. The aforementioned CP80 and Baldwin no-soundboard electric pianos did not sound metallic or really in any sense "non-acoustic" to me, even though there was no resonating wood, and the pickups were just amplifying the vibrating strings.

Pianoteq sounds pleasant to me, but definitely not real. Now, that's a different evaluation than how realistically expressive it may feel to play, which I can't comment on, since I haven't had the chance to try it.

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Originally Posted by bfb
[Pianoteq 4 ] ... they keep moving forward with this product. It is wrong of us just to sh*tcan it flippantly.


Modartt is a company, not a charity or even an open source software project. Consumers have the right to judge whether the product is something they need. Based on versions 2, 3 and now 4, my entirely personal judgment is that it isn't.

I don't think anyone was being flippant. But nobody buys anything just because its creators are trying hard. That's not how it works. If, in my judgment, Pianoteq sounds not only worse than huge software sample libraries but also quite a few standalone DPs, I don't really care how clever the software behind it is.


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@anotherscott: I suspect that the CP80 would sound mellower (timbre wise) if the strings were replaced with nylon strings. (I agree that it sounds acoustic/natural - it sounds very bright, but not harsh - very pleasing indeed)

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Originally Posted by Glenn NK
An amplifier is a device for increasing the power of a signal by use of an external energy source.

A transducer is a device that converts one form of energy to another form of energy.

There is no energy put into an acoustic piano other than the energy of the pianists fingers/arms.

An acoustic piano is a transducer not an amplifier.

I apologize in advance if someone is offended.

Glenn


ok, I stand corrected, forgot acoustic don't have a power cord laugh

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Originally Posted by Ojustaboo

Again this is all pretty meaningless because I'm basing it on what I'm used to listening to, but I thought Pianoteq would impress me more than it has.


It's not meaningless at all. Often "neutral" ears are more honest than those of people who stand by their product only for reasons of justifying their purchase.

I own Ivory II so maybe I'm tainted as well. But since I also own Pianoteq I like to think I can compare them in an objective and neutral way. I simply don't have a reason to defend one and bash the other. As such I'm hopefully not being hypocritical here.

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@Glenn NK: Yes, thanks for your correction - it seems that the soundboard is not, technically, an amplifier. I found this expanded explanation (FWIW): The Soundboard: Amplifier or Transducer?

Despite this, I think it still makes sense to say that the soundboard "acts as an amplifier" in casual discussions, because it does make the piano louder than it would be without the soundboard. The Webster dictionary's looser definition of "amplify" seems to cater for this usage: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amplify?show=0&t=1335041871

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But anyway, whether we call it an amplifier or transducer, it does more than make it louder. It significantly changes the timbre, which is why pianos and the CP80 do not sound the same. That was the point I was making when bringing the soundboard up for the first time. The CP80 doesn't sound bad despite the fact that it can definitely be called metallic.

So maybe what I should have said about PT is that it has a flavor to it I don't like that I tend to interpret as metallic.

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