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Hello!

We have a virtual character upright piano, LivingRoom Upright Piano, currently in production and crowdfunding through Indiegogo, that we want to get to the digital pianos / stage pianos as well. When our main instrument for Kontakt/SFZ/EXS24 is done.

Is there a sample format for stage pianos or digital pianos that will work on multiple or all models on the market? Like Nord, Korg, Roland etc.

Would be great to be able to support more hardware pianos, for live music purposes.


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No, every brand has their own propritary format for loading in custom samples (if they can do it at all), except Dexibell uses soundfonts. Some others can import soundfonts and convert them to their own format (Kronos and Roland JUNO DS come to mind), and I soundfonts can be converted to other propietary formats (e.g. Yamaha, Kurzweil) with third party software. So that's probably as close to universal as you can get. (Nord doesn't support third party samples that have more than a single velocity layer, so that's pretty useless for piano sounds.)

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Originally Posted by KeyPleezer
Is there a sample format for stage pianos or digital pianos that will work on multiple or all models on the market?

No.

However, your question suggests an idea for a product.

A computer program that converts a sample built for one particular brand of digital piano into various other brands.

The concept would be fairly simple.

Insert lookup tables for each supported brand and just replace the code in brand1 for the code found in brand2.

Then, after that .... as more brands come on board .... all you need to do is add an additional lookup table for that brand.

There you go .... I have already done the planning.

Now, all you have to do is build it.


Good Luck smile



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Last edited by dmd; 05/13/21 02:57 PM.

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Originally Posted by KeyPleezer
Hello!

We have a virtual character upright piano, LivingRoom Upright Piano, currently in production and crowdfunding through Indiegogo, that we want to get to the digital pianos / stage pianos as well. When our main instrument for Kontakt/SFZ/EXS24 is done.

Is there a sample format for stage pianos or digital pianos that will work on multiple or all models on the market? Like Nord, Korg, Roland etc.

Would be great to be able to support more hardware pianos, for live music purposes.


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I don't think sound font 2 (sf2) is a free format. Sforzando is absolutely free and it comes with a free player and description of commands.


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What do you mean by not a free format ?

The SF2 format specification is available http://www.synthfont.com/sfspec24.pdf (it is not a proprietary format like NKI where you have to practice reverse engineering if you want to understand it).

You have free editors :

- https://www.polyphone-soundfonts.com/
- https://sourceforge.net/projects/smurf/ (open source)

And have some free softsynthesizers which use them :
- TX16Wx
- Fluidsynth (open source).

But, yes, SFZ is an open format, and there are multiple free players : https://sfzformat.com/software/players/ (not only Sforzando)

SF2 is however more used and understood by some Korg arranger for example.


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You will struggle to find a format that is widely compatible to DP's. The most supported (and still only by a spinklingf of models) is sf2. Even those claiming to support sf2 soundfonts often struggle to interpret them if they have many velocity layers or are simply too large.

On the other hand if compatibility includes connecting a device that most have about the house (iPhone, Android Phone, Tablet or PC/Mac)
and software to run it is free or an app costing just a couple of bucks then this opens up the usability to most.
The sfz format is compatible with the free sforzando player (PC or Mac) and I believe there is a way to play sfz on iPhone (with Auria Pro with Lyra).

But still the most widely supported free (or almost free) format is sf2 which will also run in the sforzando player for PC/Mac. You can also use sf2's on iPhone (cheap bs-16i app) or Android (Fluidsynth app).

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Originally Posted by anotherscott
No, every brand has their own propritary format for loading in custom samples (if they can do it at all), except Dexibell uses soundfonts. Some others can import soundfonts and convert them to their own format (Kronos and Roland JUNO DS come to mind), and I soundfonts can be converted to other propietary formats (e.g. Yamaha, Kurzweil) with third party software. So that's probably as close to universal as you can get. (Nord doesn't support third party samples that have more than a single velocity layer, so that's pretty useless for piano sounds.)

Okay, so SoundForts sounds promising. A quick googling gave the Polyphone Soundfont editor which seems okay. Not sure if it will convert my SFZ or EXS24s into a SF2, but I'm sure some app will. SF2 is a good starting point. Looped instruments are difficult though, since the loop tends to be slightly off in some playback engines. Pianos continuously change tone throughout the note playback, which is why our Complete Edition of LUP is full length only. So far.

Nord not supporting more than 1 velocity layer is discouraging to say the least, will verify that and perhaps it will change in a nearby future. Still, many pianists will not change hardware for years with the price tag of one of these things.

Last edited by KeyPleezer; 05/15/21 12:53 AM.
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Originally Posted by KeyPleezer
Not sure if it will convert my SFZ or EXS24s into a SF2, but I'm sure some app will.
Check into Chicken Systems Translator for the most complete set of translators.

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The trouble with all these SFZ or SF2 or even a basic folder full of loose WAV files or AIFF files or whatever, with all their explicit key and velocity zone maps written out fully into a text file list which anybody could understand and freely import into whatever sampler format they like (without any copyright protection - the whole reason for proprietary formats!) is that all the above still contains no modelling behavioural rules or mechanism by which the sympathetic string resonances are applied to each note or group of notes currently held down. This is vital.
Making a complete realistic piano emulation is more than just putting a bunch raw samples together in whatever format suits the hardware.

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Originally Posted by propianist
The trouble with all these SFZ or SF2 or even a basic folder full of loose WAV files or AIFF files or whatever, with all their explicit key and velocity zone maps written out fully into a text file list which anybody could understand and freely import into whatever sampler format they like (without any copyright protection - the whole reason for proprietary formats!) is that all the above still contains no modelling behavioural rules or mechanism by which the sympathetic string resonances are applied to each note or group of notes currently held down. This is vital.
Making a complete realistic piano emulation is more than just putting a bunch raw samples together in whatever format suits the hardware.

That’a not true about Sforzando. Sforzando is nothing like a soundfont. You can define a true FM synthesis or an actual Sine wave. These are vendor specific implemented commands.

Sforzando has “strings” keyword and the implementation of the resonance is vendor specific. Like this one:

https://www.productionvoices.com/wp...uction-Grand-Compact-SFZ-User-Manual.pdf


So Sforzando has Sympathetic resonance with waveguide synthesis. Take a look at here:

https://sfzformat.com/opcodes/type

Sf2 is a very basic file format. It’s not comparable to sfz(sforzando).


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>Abdol
That's because "Sforzando" means Plogue Sforzando which is a program, so the sample library in question is relying on the specific player engine and to render any effects like sympathetic resonance using some scripts and DSP which are already programmed into that player. I don't believe the sfz code contains the behavioural rules to run it. It might have a vendor specific parameter or two which relates to the sympathetic resonance which could be written as a user adjustable variable somewhere in the sfz format, but it still requires that vendor specific player engine to make anything happen after reading that parameter value.
You might be able to include numerous other instrument or vendor specific commands into the sfz file format (a bit like MIDI sysex data for use with particular products) if it allows for customized sysex type commands but still the basic sfz library cannot reproduce these effects elsewhere without that specific player, so my point stands that you can't simply load the sfz format into another 3rd party digital piano or whatever and expect it to just work as intended with all those proprietary resonance effects.
If you (or KeyPleezer or anybody) wants to be able to use sfz as a universal format.

Remember the sfz format is not solely for use with the Sforzando player - you can open sfz elsewhere without ever having installed Plogue Sforzando software.
eg. I can open a 3rd-party sfz format sample library using another player like Garritan's CFX or Steinway player based on Aira engine, instead of using Sforzando, and it can successfully read and play the basic sfz file samples, but any "sysex" type behaviour is then lost, unless it was something that Garritan had actually implemented too in the same fashion. And vice versa if you opened Garritan's sfz library files into another player it may not all work as originally intended.

What is really needed (by KeyPleezer, and for the digital piano / VST community as a whole) is an industry standard way of acknowledging the existence, including and implementing the behaviour of piano sympathetic string resonances as a core part of the sample format... a new universal sample format which could be opened and run predictably on any platform that wants to host it.

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The linked page https://sfzformat.com/opcodes/type has a table with 2 rows (+titles) : SFZ V2 and ARIA (the technology behind Garritan CFX and SForzando. The string opcodes are in the SFZ V2, then I guess they should be supported by any SFZ V2 implementation. String opcodes are related to string resonance.


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Originally Posted by propianist
What is really needed (by KeyPleezer, and for the digital piano / VST community as a whole) is an industry standard way of acknowledging the existence, including and implementing the behaviour of piano sympathetic string resonances as a core part of the sample format
I don't think that's possible, because different maufacturers don't all implement resonances the same way. However, something that *could* be standardized is the use of pedal-up vs. pedal-down samples.

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Originally Posted by propianist
>Abdol
That's because "Sforzando" means Plogue Sforzando which is a program, so the sample library in question is relying on the specific player engine and to render any effects like sympathetic resonance using some scripts and DSP which are already programmed into that player. I don't believe the sfz code contains the behavioural rules to run it. It might have a vendor specific parameter or two which relates to the sympathetic resonance which could be written as a user adjustable variable somewhere in the sfz format, but it still requires that vendor specific player engine to make anything happen after reading that parameter value.
You might be able to include numerous other instrument or vendor specific commands into the sfz file format (a bit like MIDI sysex data for use with particular products) if it allows for customized sysex type commands but still the basic sfz library cannot reproduce these effects elsewhere without that specific player, so my point stands that you can't simply load the sfz format into another 3rd party digital piano or whatever and expect it to just work as intended with all those proprietary resonance effects.
If you (or KeyPleezer or anybody) wants to be able to use sfz as a universal format.

Remember the sfz format is not solely for use with the Sforzando player - you can open sfz elsewhere without ever having installed Plogue Sforzando software.
eg. I can open a 3rd-party sfz format sample library using another player like Garritan's CFX or Steinway player based on Aira engine, instead of using Sforzando, and it can successfully read and play the basic sfz file samples, but any "sysex" type behaviour is then lost, unless it was something that Garritan had actually implemented too in the same fashion. And vice versa if you opened Garritan's sfz library files into another player it may not all work as originally intended.

What is really needed (by KeyPleezer, and for the digital piano / VST community as a whole) is an industry standard way of acknowledging the existence, including and implementing the behaviour of piano sympathetic string resonances as a core part of the sample format... a new universal sample format which could be opened and run predictably on any platform that wants to host it.

sfz stands for sforzando. Even the logo has the same form as the sforzando notation.

As I said the most basic sympathetic resonance uses a table which is dead simple to implement.

I have tried some of the commands with the sforzando player. Predefined waves such as sine was worked fine but the FM synthesis wasn’t working.

sfz is a much superior file format. It also supports ogg format I guess.


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Quote
sfz is a much superior file format. It also supports ogg format I guess.

SFZ is agnostic about the audio file format : it simple points to different external files. If the player happens to support Ogg, it will be ok.

See https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=545730 it seems Flac is supported by sforzando but not by other....

Last edited by Frédéric L; 05/16/21 06:12 AM.

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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by KeyPleezer
Is there a sample format for stage pianos or digital pianos that will work on multiple or all models on the market?

No.

However, your question suggests an idea for a product.

A computer program that converts a sample built for one particular brand of digital piano into various other brands.

The concept would be fairly simple.

Insert lookup tables for each supported brand and just replace the code in brand1 for the code found in brand2.

Then, after that .... as more brands come on board .... all you need to do is add an additional lookup table for that brand.

There you go .... I have already done the planning.

Now, all you have to do is build it.


Good Luck smile



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KeyPleezer.com | Twitter | FaceBook | YouTube
-----------------------------------------------------
Currently CrowdFunding LivingRoom Upright Piano - visit our campaign!
[/quote]


That's not a bad idéa. The translator application is similar to the app suggested. But I wonder if there is a translator or converter in open source format, which has many of the bigger formats. After all, the work done by Chicken systems seems to be a fairly difficult one.

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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by KeyPleezer
Is there a sample format for stage pianos or digital pianos that will work on multiple or all models on the market?

No.

However, your question suggests an idea for a product.

A computer program that converts a sample built for one particular brand of digital piano into various other brands.

The concept would be fairly simple.

Insert lookup tables for each supported brand and just replace the code in brand1 for the code found in brand2.

Then, after that .... as more brands come on board .... all you need to do is add an additional lookup table for that brand.

There you go .... I have already done the planning.

Now, all you have to do is build it.


Good Luck smile

True! Good luck for real LOL. This thing you're planning is impossible. Impossible as a man giving birth to a child naturally.


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Originally Posted by KeyPleezer
That's not a bad idéa. The translator application is similar to the app suggested. But I wonder if there is a translator or converter in open source format, which has many of the bigger formats. After all, the work done by Chicken systems seems to be a fairly difficult one.

It's impossible to translate voices that are created for Yamaha (let's say CP88) to other brands. There is software that you can sample the instrument of your desire, like Sample Robot, but it is impossible to translate instrument-specific samples cross-platform (for obvious reasons).

Your best bet is to target synthesizers that can load samples, like Kronos, Montage, Fantom and etc and that'll be a basic sampler quality voice.

And if you want to sample Stage and Digital Pianos, I don't see much point in doing it so. It will never sound like the original instrument.


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Have you seen a Kawai dp modelling any Yamaha acoustic grand? No. For obvious reasons.
That's the same reason why no universal format exist across all digital piano manufacturers.

Now it's possible to decode and provide lookup like dmd said, but first you have to find a way to interface with the digital piano's engine to extract it, which is, however, not provided by the manufacturers. Would you cut open a perfectly working dp just for that? , knowing that using dp as controller would already suffice? Now that DAWs with your " Kontakt/SFZ/EXS24" instrument would accomplish the same thing, why bother?


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Even intra-stage-piano-sound-sharing (what?) is very controlled. Hear me out... Roland allows the RD-2000 to install two additional expansion sound sets, only two, only from Roland, and only ones that they make available. Not all sound expansion sets are compatible with all Roland stage pianos/synthesizers.

While this is a greatly welcomed feature, it also shows the limits to which they allow it, thus the extent to which they're open about sharing... Probably the most closely guarded secret DP makers have.

Last edited by mmathew; 05/18/21 07:51 AM.

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