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When VST's are compared, usually the number of velocity levels are mentioned. My first question is: how does the number of velocity levels affect the way that I play - or the way that I sound?

There is also, in one review, this mystical sentence: "It also offers Sample Interpolation Technology, which allows you to have different velocity layers (up to 18 velocity levels)."
My second question is: What are velocity layers?

PS I do know what a velocity curve is. cool


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Originally Posted by Animisha
My first question is: how does the number of velocity levels affect the way that I play - or the way that I sound?

My second question is: What are velocity layers?
They affect the way it sounds, which will affect the way you play, and more importantly will affect how much you enjoy playing.

When you press a key on a digital piano it produces a velocity measurement that is then translated into audio output.

For a VST or other software synthesizer the number of levels is usually restricted to the 128 levels of MIDI (0 = minimum/no sound, 127 = maximum).

So what they mean by 5 levels is that the VST has 5 samples recorded for each key.

To generate audio for the 127 levels from your piano they need to either:
1. Vary the volume of one of the 5 recorded samples, and/or
2. Mix two corresponding samples together.

Last edited by Burkey; 05/18/21 03:46 AM.

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Don't you just love marketing nonsense:
Quote
"It also offers Sample Interpolation Technology, which allows you to have different velocity layers (up to 18 velocity levels)."
Everything is a new "technology". So I think I'll patent "walking". I'll call it "Put One Foot In Front Of The Other Technology". smile

Small piece of advice: Ignore the product literature. Ignore the specs. None of that matters.

Instead, play the pianos ... as many as you can ... and judge them with your fingers and ears.

BTW ... all pianos perform sample interpolation. A piano that offers sample interpolation is like a car that comes with oil in the engine, or a shirt that comes with buttons.

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Thank you Burkey, I get it!

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Don't you just love marketing nonsense

You bring a smile to my face. smile

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Small piece of advice: Ignore the product literature. Ignore the specs. None of that matters.

Instead, play the pianos ... as many as you can ... and judge them with your fingers and ears.

I would love to. But sampled VST's don't offer trial versions, and it is a bit too expensive to buy them in order to test them.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
BTW ... all pianos perform sample interpolation. A piano that offers sample interpolation is like a car that comes with oil in the engine, or a shirt that comes with buttons.

But, what is sample interpolation? confused


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Just a guess but if a MIDI key can produce one of 128 (0..127) velocity levels but the piano engine has just 18 potential samples then you might break the 0..127 range so that MIDI level 0..6 plays the first sample, 7..13 plays the second, 14..20 plays the third an so on (this is because 128/18 is 7.1 - but that .1 means you aren't going to quite reach 127 at the top end!).

Anyway while you could do it like this there were would be a "hard boundary" between 6 and 7 (say) (then 13 .. 14 and so on) where anything up to 6 gets the first sample and anything over gives the next. So I imagine what they mean by "interpolation" is that around he boundary they actually mix two samples. At 6 say it might take 90% of the first sample and 10% of the next. At 7 it might be 10% of the first sample and 90% of the second. (in fact they may combine in a wider range than just 6..7 etc). Of course "interpolate" doesn't just mean "weighted average" it means "create a value in the middle between two points" so for each PCM sample in the sound it may be a case of looking at the value and working out a "mid-way" value between the two.

This is all a guess but it would certainly be a case of "interpolating samples".

None of this really matters of course. Who actually cares how they create the sound? All that matters is "do your ears hear something that sounds realistic"? Giving it fancy marketing names or flooding you with specs like "18 layers" doesn't really matter if it sounds crap. Perhaps someone else does a "better" job but only uses 10 sample layers or whatever?

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Let's say there are three samples for each note: piano, mezzoforte and forte (or whatever).

With interpolation there's no sudden change in the timbre when playing the same note repeatedly and increasing the velocity little by little.

Roland's marketing video kind of covers that at 1:15.



(It doesn't need to be repetition of the same note of course, but that's the most obvious demonstration. You might still notice sample layer switches during normal playing.)

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With enough carefully recorded velocity layers, sample interpolation is not needed.

With Pearl Concert Grand (8 layers), you can hear the gap between different layers, but it is quite subtle. (When we play a series of notes at a layer edge, half the notes sound a little different than the others). Many virtual pianos have more velocity layers. Some are badly recorded (EWQL Bechstein...) then we hear such a gap and it is not subtle even with 10-18 velocities per notes. But Ivory has up to 24 velocity layers and sample interpolation.

I guess that a VSL piano with 60 (?) layers really don’t need interpolation.

I guess sample interpolation is required on digital piano where there is a very few velocity layers because of a reduced ROM.


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Thank you, I get it! smile


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Originally Posted by 1903wrightflyer
Giving it fancy marketing names or flooding you with specs like "18 layers" doesn't really matter if it sounds crap. Perhaps someone else does a "better" job but only uses 10 sample layers or whatever?
The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-745 has 5 layers and the CLP-785 has 6 layers.

Top of the line VSTs usually have 8 or more layers.

Last edited by Burkey; 05/18/21 07:48 AM.

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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
...

Man, you do have a lot of VSTs - have you met @EB5GAV/Jose? laugh


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Originally Posted by Burkey
The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-745 has 5 layers and the CLP-785 has 6 layers. Top of the line VSTs usually have 8 or more layers.

Aha! Now I found the following sentence online (about Casio Privia, which was my previous DP): "It has 88 full-size keys with scaled hammer action. The hammer action is a Tri-sensor system, meaning there are three velocity layers."
Is this correct or does the author mix things up?


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I think the author is confused. The three sensors allows the key to be detected at three different positions and helps with the DP to know if the player is trying to not allow (on an acoustic piano) the dampers to return to the string by not releasing the key fully, but released the key far enough so that playing the key again allows the hammer to hit the string.

It helps with providing more control for the DP to emulate an acoustic piano.

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Originally Posted by mmathew
Originally Posted by Frédéric L
...

Man, you do have a lot of VSTs - have you met @EB5GAV/Jose? laugh

@mmathew You got it wrong, I am EB5AGV smile

Well, there are plenty of VSTs I don't have, I have just most of the more common suspects grin

Compared to what a high end DP cost, I have still plenty of margin left so, which is the problem of opting for variety? wink


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That's not correct. Lots of pianos have three sensors per key. But that has nothing at all to do with velocity layers.
Originally Posted by Animisha
I found the following sentence online (about Casio Privia, which was my previous DP): "It has 88 full-size keys with scaled hammer action. The hammer action is a Tri-sensor system, meaning there are three velocity layers."
Is this correct or does the author mix things up?

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Originally Posted by mmathew
Originally Posted by Frédéric L
...

Man, you do have a lot of VSTs - have you met @EB5GAV/Jose? laugh

No... some people collect luxury pens when only one is enough... I collect other things wink

But, with a SSD which is half full and no way to add another, I am getting a bit more selective.


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Hello,

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I think I'll patent "walking". I'll call it "Put One Foot In Front Of The Other Technology". smile

Well, you may be onto something here! Possibly the next big thing since the Invention of the Wheel! 😁

Cheers and happy innovations,

HZ

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Originally Posted by 1903wrightflyer
Giving it fancy marketing names or flooding you with specs like "18 layers" doesn't really matter if it sounds crap. Perhaps someone else does a "better" job but only uses 10 sample layers or whatever?
18 layers is factual, and normally a characteristic which render velocity layers gaps too subtle to be heard...... if recorded and mixed correctly which is not always the case. But among the VST I have, I get only one case where the velocity gaps are too important despite of the number of layers. I have also tried but not purchased an Imperfect Samples piano with such an issue.

But « Up to 18 layers » lacks some precision...

Last edited by Frédéric L; 05/18/21 09:58 AM.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Burkey
The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-745 has 5 layers and the CLP-785 has 6 layers. Top of the line VSTs usually have 8 or more layers.

Aha! Now I found the following sentence online (about Casio Privia, which was my previous DP): "It has 88 full-size keys with scaled hammer action. The hammer action is a Tri-sensor system, meaning there are three velocity layers."
Is this correct or does the author mix things up?
Sensors are what measure the piano's key velocities - and as I discussed earlier the piano then transmits these values to the VST or synthesizer as 128 levels (from 0 to 127).

Here's another comment from the producer of Noire (which I own and recommend):

'NOIRE uses 22 dynamic layers (both, in the Pure and Felt version) and has no round robins. However, just to shine some light on our piano production technique: These 22 dynamic layers were selected out of the 70 - 100 samples, which we've recorded per key. So we did not only record the ones we used, but we've selected the best 22 samples per key for a smooth dynamic curve. More is not always better, it also has to perform right...'

Last edited by Burkey; 05/18/21 09:58 AM.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
The hammer action is a Tri-sensor system, meaning there are three velocity layers."
Is this correct or does the author mix things up?

Tri-sensor means three sensors per key : 2 sensors which measure a time which is converted to a velocity, and a third sensor which trigger the note-off event. (There are 2 sensors keyboard where one of the 2 timing sensor trigger the note-off event).

No relationship with the number of layers.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 05/18/21 10:08 AM.

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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
Originally Posted by Animisha
The hammer action is a Tri-sensor system, meaning there are three velocity layers."
Is this correct or does the author mix things up?

Tri-sensor means three sensors per key : 2 sensors which measure a time which is converted to a velocity, and a third sensor which trigger the note-off event. (There are 2 sensors keyboard where one of the 2 timing sensor trigger the note-off event).

No relationship with the number of layers.

I am quite proud that with my limited understanding of all things audio-technical I managed to find this mistake. cool


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