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Joined: May 2015
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Although I am liking Pianoteq 7.3, and the Petrof Mistral, I acknowledge that the program does suffer from what I and others have referred to as a “distant” character to the sound. Especially in comparison to the better sampled VSTs, Pianoteq sounds as if the piano is in another room, or a distance down the hall rather than right in front of the pianist. This weakness is not so bothersome as to keep me from playing it, as the playability is just so much better than the competition.

During a rough patch playing over the last week (I just got back from 3 weeks in the Sierra Madre mountains with no access to a piano) my mind drifted to messing with the Pianoteq sound, and particularly to resolving the “distant” nature of the sound. I discovered a couple of interesting things in the process.

First, I discovered that Pianoteq offers a free trial version of 7.3 STANDARD version. I previously had only been aware of a trial version of the STAGE version. Though others here have suggested that I try STANDARD to correct or improve the sound, I had labored under the false impression that any purchase of STANDARD would be a matter of guesswork without any possibility of knowing if it would improve the sound, or how it would improve the sound. So, I happily downloaded the STANDARD trial version and have been experimenting with its advanced features.

Second, I think I have come upon a substantially effective reduction of the “distant” character, making the piano sound much more like it is immediately present in front of the me as I play.

I do have some history of “hearing” things that I want to hear, instead of hearing what is actually present, so, I want to share the settings I have developed, and to receive your feedback about what improvement you hear or don't hear to the “distant” character deficiency. I'm looking for a reality check, and possibly to share settings that successfully improve the sound.

My settings deviate only very slightly from the default settings, and, there are only a couple of parameters that are changed. They are:

1. Increase all three Hammer hardness parameters one click up from default, to the following settings: 0.37 for Piano, 0.87 for Mezzo, and 1.57 for Forte (2 clicks also works, but I like 1 click better);

2. increase Hammer noise one click (or two, I can't remember) to the following setting: 1.20

3. Increase Blooming: Inertia to its maximum setting; and,

in the “Effects” window, turn everything off, except EQ3, which is set to Bass Boost, but the left end of the graph reduced to 5db, sloping down to 0db at about 700hz, and everything above that at 0db.

I'm not sure that the Blooming and EQ3 settings have anything to do with the diminution of the “distant” character. I've just included them so you can replicate exactly what I have should you decide to investigate for yourself the settings I am looking at.

I'd be interested to hear your own opinions about whether these settings indeed reduce the “distant” nature of the sound, or, whether you have other settings you use in Pianoteq Standard to make the piano sound more immediately present.


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Ant Petrof sounds too distant to me as well.
I have a feeling that the issue is phasing.

The one that sounds perfect to me is Steinway D.

All the other major ones (Grotrian, Bechstein, Bluthner, etc.) are somewhere in the middle. They are not as bad as Ant Petrof but they have slight issues.

Turning off the delay and reverb help the most. Or change the reverb setting to dry room.

Last edited by karoloydi; 07/10/21 02:17 AM.
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If you mess with Pianoteq settings, be very sure they'll turn round and bite you. The idea is to make gentle changes, and listen for the difference.
The distant sound isn't apparant to me. I play the Ant Petrof regularly on default, (hardly bother with the others) and I find it so impressive, like in your face. Through the P515 speakers, it is very powerful with complex resonance. But playing a loud, strong grand can be overwhelming.
Distant? Never!!
Pianoteq Standard immediately corrects the biggest weakness of Stage.
It's inability to conduct individual note volume control.


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Originally Posted by peterws
Pianoteq Standard immediately corrects the biggest weakness of Stage.

If I use only unmodified presets, I suppose, Stage and Standard are equivalent. Aren't they ?

What is the key tweaking which enhances the sound and makes the Standard version worth the additional cost.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 07/10/21 04:21 AM.

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Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Although I am liking Pianoteq 7.3, and the Petrof Mistral, I acknowledge that the program does suffer from what I and others have referred to as a “distant” character to the sound. Especially in comparison to the better sampled VSTs, Pianoteq sounds as if the piano is in another room, or a distance down the hall rather than right in front of the pianist. This weakness is not so bothersome as to keep me from playing it, as the playability is just so much better than the competition.

During a rough patch playing over the last week (I just got back from 3 weeks in the Sierra Madre mountains with no access to a piano) my mind drifted to messing with the Pianoteq sound, and particularly to resolving the “distant” nature of the sound. I discovered a couple of interesting things in the process.

First, I discovered that Pianoteq offers a free trial version of 7.3 STANDARD version. I previously had only been aware of a trial version of the STAGE version. Though others here have suggested that I try STANDARD to correct or improve the sound, I had labored under the false impression that any purchase of STANDARD would be a matter of guesswork without any possibility of knowing if it would improve the sound, or how it would improve the sound. So, I happily downloaded the STANDARD trial version and have been experimenting with its advanced features.

Second, I think I have come upon a substantially effective reduction of the “distant” character, making the piano sound much more like it is immediately present in front of the me as I play.

I do have some history of “hearing” things that I want to hear, instead of hearing what is actually present, so, I want to share the settings I have developed, and to receive your feedback about what improvement you hear or don't hear to the “distant” character deficiency. I'm looking for a reality check, and possibly to share settings that successfully improve the sound.

My settings deviate only very slightly from the default settings, and, there are only a couple of parameters that are changed. They are:

1. Increase all three Hammer hardness parameters one click up from default, to the following settings: 0.37 for Piano, 0.87 for Mezzo, and 1.57 for Forte (2 clicks also works, but I like 1 click better);

2. increase Hammer noise one click (or two, I can't remember) to the following setting: 1.20

3. Increase Blooming: Inertia to its maximum setting; and,

in the “Effects” window, turn everything off, except EQ3, which is set to Bass Boost, but the left end of the graph reduced to 5db, sloping down to 0db at about 700hz, and everything above that at 0db.

I'm not sure that the Blooming and EQ3 settings have anything to do with the diminution of the “distant” character. I've just included them so you can replicate exactly what I have should you decide to investigate for yourself the settings I am looking at.

I'd be interested to hear your own opinions about whether these settings indeed reduce the “distant” nature of the sound, or, whether you have other settings you use in Pianoteq Standard to make the piano sound more immediately present.
Thanks, I'll try this as it's my biggest turn off to using PQ.

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I would try different Mic settings and placements first, they make a huge difference!


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Not sure what is your definition of “distant” (too mellow? Too muffled?). Anyway, calibrate your velocity curve, before all else.

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Originally Posted by Beansparrow
Not sure what is your definition of “distant” (too mellow? Too muffled?). Anyway, calibrate your velocity curve, before all else.

It’s an inherent quality I’ve noticed in all Pianoteq models. Sounds as though the piano is in another room.


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That's also my primary complaint.

At first my interest was piqued by Ralphiano's post. I tried his fix in Pianoteq 7 demo with the Steinway D ... to no avail.
His suggested settings were only a tiny smidge different from the defaults. So ... no luck over here.

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Pianoteq has been my Achilles Heel. I slid more sliders than I ever thought possible “and I still haven’t found… what I’m looking for”

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Can't say as I've noticed this "piano is in another room" effect.

You can definitely change the "in your face"-ness of the piano sound by changing the placement of the microphones, but if you select any of the presets that use a "player" setup (i.e. two microphones, in front of the piano, one to the left and one to the right of the player's head), the piano sound is clear, distinct and very much "in the room", if not in your face.

It's probably my lack of experience with "real" pianos that makes me find Pianoteq so satisfying, but... whatever floats your boat! smile


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Which version of Pianoteq allows you to change microphone placement?

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Pianoteq Standard and Pro allow microphone placement tweaks.

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Originally Posted by SeaDrive
It's probably my lack of experience with "real" pianos that makes me find Pianoteq so satisfying, but... whatever floats your boat! smile

Don't say such stuff here! Pianoteq is a real product for real people! It's a pity some are in denial of their hearing problems . . . . .


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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Which version of Pianoteq allows you to change microphone placement?

All versions, Mac!

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Originally Posted by Pete14
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Which version of Pianoteq allows you to change microphone placement?

All versions, Mac!

Not "Stage".

Table here:

https://www.modartt.com/pianoteq


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Oh, I see.

I thought Mac was playing coy about this feature, so when I said ‘all versions’ I was thinking Pianoteq 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and not the various options within those versions (Stage, Standard, Pro, etc.).

Granted, I never met versions 1 thru 3, so I’m making an educated guess there, but I’m sure 4 thru 7 (Standard and above) allow us to change mic placement.

Once again, I thought Mac was being a smart a$$! grin

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I don't get the "distant sound" claim at all. If you turn off reverb, there will be no trace of distance in the sound, and you could even move the microphones so close to the strings that they virtually touch, if you want extreme immediacy (not in the Stage version though).

If you want to retain reverb, but have a closer sound, then make the room smaller, and play around with the other reverb settings.


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Originally Posted by SeaDrive
Can't say as I've noticed this "piano is in another room" effect.

You can definitely change the "in your face"-ness of the piano sound by changing the placement of the microphones, but if you select any of the presets that use a "player" setup (i.e. two microphones, in front of the piano, one to the left and one to the right of the player's head), the piano sound is clear, distinct and very much "in the room", if not in your face.

It's probably my lack of experience with "real" pianos that makes me find Pianoteq so satisfying, but... whatever floats your boat! smile

Is this the Ipad version. Cause there is no such thing as a player setup on the version I have.

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Originally Posted by karoloydi
Turning off the delay and reverb help the most. Or change the reverb setting to dry room.

I've had the delay and reverb completely off from the outset.



Originally Posted by Frédéric L
Originally Posted by peterws
Pianoteq Standard immediately corrects the biggest weakness of Stage.

If I use only unmodified presets, I suppose, Stage and Standard are equivalent. Aren't they ?

What is the key tweaking which enhances the sound and makes the Standard version worth the additional cost.

I do not remember well enough whether Stage and Standard unmodified presets yield the same sounds.

As for effective tweaks, the ones I am experimenting with are helping. And, as others have mentioned, there is a wide variety of microphones to choose from, and, they can be positioned anywhere around or inside the piano. I've only tinkered slightly with these, and have noticed some nice improvements from this source, as well.

You can see for yourself by downloading the free trial of the STANDARD version so you can make your own comparisons to the STAGE version.


Originally Posted by Beansparrow
Not sure what is your definition of “distant” (too mellow? Too muffled?).

Forget VSTs for a moment, and imagine walking through the front door of a large house in which someone is playing the piano in a back room, far from the front door. You hear the notes and discern their pitch, but the overtones, the percussive sounds, etc. are not yet apparent. As you walk toward the piano room, those other attributes of the sound become more and more apparent to you. When you reach the piano room and draw near the instrument, you now get the full array of those sounds, in ample volume and perfect clarity. The 'distant' experience I speak of is similar to how that piano sounds when you are still several steps down the hall from the piano room, or still one corner away from the piano room.

Originally Posted by peterws
Distant? Never!!
Pianoteq Standard immediately corrects the biggest weakness of Stage.
It's inability to conduct individual note volume control.

Thank you for your persistence, peterws. You have mentioned this numerous times over the last year, but I had never succeeded in finding this facility. Today, I finally located it, and walked through its preliminary steps.

I have a little skepticism, though, as I have not yet noticed any uneveness in the volume levels of my Pianoteq pianos. So, I haven't yet felt the need to do note-by-note volume adjustments.

Last edited by Ralphiano; 07/10/21 01:06 PM.

Ralph

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