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Posted By: Michael P Walsh Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 09:53 AM
According to John Mortensen he can get 10 different dynamic levels on his acoustic grand. Does the same apply to touch sensitive digital pianos, none of them or just the ones with very good actions? I tried it on my cheap korg and (I think) I can only get 7 but then again I'm a beginner so perhaps it's my own shortcomings.
Posted By: Colin Miles Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 09:57 AM
Originally Posted by Michael P Walsh
According to John Mortensen he can get 10 different dynamic levels on his acoustic grand. Does the same apply to touch sensitive digital pianos, none of them or just the ones with very good actions? I tried it on my cheap korg and (I think) I can only get 7 but then again I'm a beginner so perhaps it's my own shortcomings.


I tried this out on my LX7 and reckon I can certainly match that if not better it. Which is why the Roland modelled sound has such a dynamic range.
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 01:03 PM
In theory, you can get an infinite number of dynamic variations on an acoustic grand because it is an analogue device. I assume, on a DP, the maximum number of dynamic variations available, at this time, is limited by the midi range 0-127.

In the case of an acoustic, no reasonable pianist should care or be able to say - “I am now going to play at level 6.”

Besides, in standard classical music, there are only five normal dynamic levels - pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff.

I guess I should say six levels, including the best one - OFF.

Posted By: arc7urus Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 01:08 PM
How have you counted the number of dynamic levels? Are we discussing the perception of dynamics or the actual number of velocity layers on a DP/VST?

In an acoustic piano the dynamic range is continuous. In a modelled piano it is discrete/quantized but there is no reason not to have the full 127 velocity range (or even more). On sample-based DP/VST there is a fixed number of velocity layers, maybe with some interpolation in-between the layers. But the only way to count the actual number of layers is performing an amplitude analysis of the sound waves generated when playing with velocities going from 1 to 127. There is a huge thread on this forum with analysis of many DPs and VSTs...

Edit: DPBSD Project http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1365103
Posted By: AlphaBravoCharlie Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 01:08 PM
I think limitation of 0-127 no longer exists due to High Resolution MIDI.
Posted By: DazedAndConfused Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 01:30 PM
He must have a very poor acoustic Grand. How many levels can you hear in this piece?

[video:youtube]

https://youtu.be/q4q5769HWCI[/video]

Start 22:05
https://youtu.be/q4q5769HWCI?t=1325
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 01:35 PM
Originally Posted by DazedAndConfused
He must have a very poor acoustic Grand. How many levels can you hear in this piece?

[video:youtube]

https://youtu.be/q4q5769HWCI[/video]

Start 22:05
https://youtu.be/q4q5769HWCI?t=1325
As many as he desired. But that is true of any trained pianist.
Posted By: Frédéric L Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 01:36 PM
Very few controller supports High resolution MIDI.

I have read that Ivory’s piano do some interpolation, but even without interpolation, the amplitude could be controlled by the velocity, and we don’t hear issues since timbers of adjacent layers are too closed (but the Bechstein from EWQL has an issue : some huge gaps between two layers and it could be heard while playing).
Posted By: PianoStartsAt33 Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 01:47 PM
Heinrich Neuhaus writes about 100 dynamic levels (he just quotes one of the famous pianist of the past).
All of this reminds me of painting. There are endless number of colors and shades. Machine can grade them exactly, for example, from 0 to 32 000 000. A painter can more. But if you ask machine "Give me a color â„– 2 949 485" - it will give it to you. A painter will not. Enen if we will extremely reduce the number of color gradation - down to 1000, for example - I'm not shure that a color â„– 755 will be the same today and tomorrow for the same painter.

So, it's a weakness and an advantage of the human performance at the same time - it's has an amount of chaos within.
Posted By: Colin Miles Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 02:13 PM
If you listen to John Mortensen's video you will see how he (and others) are testing it. I can't find the link at the moment.
Posted By: Michael P Walsh Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 02:16 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIUXBhw-7Wo

Scroll to 7:30.

I too thought it would be infinite (or at least a huge amount) but when I tried the test I don't think I could differentiate more than 7 or 8. Then again I'm a beginner so it's not as though I have a lot of control. Just thought it was interesting.
Posted By: JohnSprung Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 02:30 PM

Mortensen could be a little clearer that what he's really talking about is the JND for hearing dynamics:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-noticeable_difference

My digital (Yamaha CP33) clearly. has less dynamic range than the acoustic -- unless you use the volume control as a sort of sliding window into a larger range.
Posted By: PianoStartsAt33 Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 02:41 PM
Originally Posted by JohnSprung

Mortensen could be a little clearer that what he's really talking about is the JND for hearing dynamics:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-noticeable_difference

My digital (Yamaha CP33) clearly. has less dynamic range than the acoustic -- unless you use the volume control as a sort of sliding window into a larger range.



"The total number of perceptible pitch steps in the range of human hearing is about 1,400;"
I wonder what about the loudness steps? It can be calculated too.
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 03:05 PM
The real question is - and I am really interested - Why do you care? The “you” referring to anyone who does.
Posted By: dmd Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 03:42 PM
Originally Posted by prout
The real question is - and I am really interested - Why do you care? The “you” referring to anyone who does.


For some ….. When it comes to practicing …… any diversion will do.
Posted By: DazedAndConfused Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 03:53 PM
Originally Posted by Michael P Walsh
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIUXBhw-7Wo

Scroll to 7:30.

I too thought it would be infinite (or at least a huge amount) but when I tried the test I don't think I could differentiate more than 7 or 8. Then again I'm a beginner so it's not as though I have a lot of control. Just thought it was interesting.


Well, one his test was just plain silly. He presses the key ten times and concludes there are only 10 levels. Wow.
If one could be bothered it shouldn't be too difficult to program a midi sequencer to play the same note at slightly different velocity levels 10 seconds apart and ask a random sample of people to decide whether the two sounds are the same. But it is not a very interesting question to me. I couldn't care less about sound in isolation, I care about music.

Secondly he fundamentally misunderstands how a piano works. When you play a note, the new note isn't overlaid in pristine form over the existing notes, it modulates the pre-existing sound to make a new totally unique sound. Play 30 notes at once, you don't hear 30 individual notes, you hear a mush of sound but you hear it as one sound.

So you can play the same note at the exact same velocity but you will get a different colour depending on what is already sounding at the same time and what other keys are depressed with their open strings allowed to resonate.

Never mind if you play exactly the same note with different combinations of damper and soft pedal.

So Mortenson might only have 10 discreet finger speeds at his disposal (poor guy) but even with those 10 he can produce 1000s of colours.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 03:53 PM
Most pianos only support seven-bit data over MIDI. So 127 is the limit.

How many layers do you need?
One is not enough. Nor two. Nor three.

But how many are needed before ...
(a) you can't hear any difference when more layers are added
or
(b) when any shortcoming ascribed to layering diminishes, and the next greatest deficiency becomes primary?

The number is far less than 127. I think ten is enough. Beyond that it's just "bragging about size".
Posted By: Doug M. Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 03:59 PM
Originally Posted by prout
In theory, you can get an infinite number of dynamic variations on an acoustic grand because it is an analogue device. I assume, on a DP, the maximum number of dynamic variations available, at this time, is limited by the midi range 0-127.

In the case of an acoustic, no reasonable pianist should care or be able to say - “I am now going to play at level 6.”

Besides, in standard classical music, there are only five normal dynamic levels - pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff.

I guess I should say six levels, including the best one - OFF.



I presume you're referring to controlling a VST. I'm not sure if hardware pianos like the Roland LX708 are limited to general midi velocity levels or if they have their own standard. Certainly they have general midi standard built in for the use of controlling a VST or as a midi controller; however, does that imply the instrument itself is limited to 128 levels?
Posted By: DazedAndConfused Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:03 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Most pianos only support seven-bit data over MIDI. So 127 is the limit.

How many layers do you need?
One is not enough. Nor two. Nor three.

+But how many are needed before ...
(a) you can't hear any difference when more layers are added
or
(b) when any shortcoming ascribed to layering diminishes, and the next greatest deficiency becomes primary?

The number is far less than 127. I think ten is enough. Beyond that it's just "bragging about size".


127 is the external limit for 8 bit MIDI. There is nothing to stop any manufacturer produce millions of discrete levels from the keyboard to feed the modelling engine and scale down to 0 - 127 for midi output.
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:08 PM
Originally Posted by DazedAndConfused
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Most pianos only support seven-bit data over MIDI. So 127 is the limit.

How many layers do you need?
One is not enough. Nor two. Nor three.

+But how many are needed before ...
(a) you can't hear any difference when more layers are added
or
(b) when any shortcoming ascribed to layering diminishes, and the next greatest deficiency becomes primary?

The number is far less than 127. I think ten is enough. Beyond that it's just "bragging about size".


127 is the external limit for 8 bit MIDI. There is nothing to stop any manufacturer produce millions of discrete levels from the keyboard to feed the modelling engine and scale down to 0 - 127 for midi output.
Can you cite an example of a manufacturer that does this and indicates that in the specifications? It is a very good idea.
Posted By: Colin Miles Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:12 PM
Originally Posted by DazedAndConfused

So Mortenson might only have 10 discreet finger speeds at his disposal (poor guy) but even with those 10 he can produce 1000s of colours.


I don't know what your level of experience and knowledge is but with all due respect I think perhaps John Mortensen has a little bit more experience and knowledge about the music and the piano than you do? Or maybe not.
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:12 PM
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by prout
In theory, you can get an infinite number of dynamic variations on an acoustic grand because it is an analogue device. I assume, on a DP, the maximum number of dynamic variations available, at this time, is limited by the midi range 0-127.

In the case of an acoustic, no reasonable pianist should care or be able to say - “I am now going to play at level 6.”

Besides, in standard classical music, there are only five normal dynamic levels - pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff.

I guess I should say six levels, including the best one - OFF.



I presume you're referring to controlling a VST. I'm not sure if hardware pianos like the Roland LX708 are limited to general midi velocity levels or if they have their own standard. Certainly they have general midi standard built in for the use of controlling a VST or as a midi controller; however, does that imply the instrument itself is limited to 128 levels?
No, it does not.
Posted By: Nordomus Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:13 PM
Originally Posted by Michael P Walsh
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIUXBhw-7Wo

Scroll to 7:30.

I too thought it would be infinite (or at least a huge amount) but when I tried the test I don't think I could differentiate more than 7 or 8. Then again I'm a beginner so it's not as though I have a lot of control. Just thought it was interesting.

I certainly can. This guy in video makes some very good points but at the same time very bad ones, tone/volume count is one of them. While practicing I often try to get that one level of tone I would really like and on good instrument you really can play with that. Another problem with the video is that he says speed is the only factor in playing, actually there is one more, hammer travel distance, if you won't hit key to the full stop for example the hammer will barely touch the strings, so with the same speed the strings will be affected a bit differently.
Posted By: Colin Miles Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:17 PM
Nordomus and DazedandConfused. I suggest you listen to a few more of John Mortensen's videos. You both may learn a lot.
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:20 PM
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by DazedAndConfused

So Mortenson might only have 10 discreet finger speeds at his disposal (poor guy) but even with those 10 he can produce 1000s of colours.


I don't know what your level of experience and knowledge is but with all due respect I think perhaps John Mortensen has a little bit more experience and knowledge about the music and the piano than you do? Or maybe not.
I wonder what Mortensen’s intent is? Is he saying, “I have defined the amplitudes of 10 discrete volume levels on an acoustic piano. Here is a chart showimg the ampltudes. I will now pick out of a hat a random number between 1 and 10, play that amplitude, record it, and you will see it matches the correct amplitude I defined.”

I take it his day job is a magician? Clearly not a pianist. Who has time for that s**t?
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:24 PM
Originally Posted by Nordomus
Originally Posted by Michael P Walsh
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIUXBhw-7Wo

Scroll to 7:30.

I too thought it would be infinite (or at least a huge amount) but when I tried the test I don't think I could differentiate more than 7 or 8. Then again I'm a beginner so it's not as though I have a lot of control. Just thought it was interesting.

I certainly can. This guy in video makes some very good points but at the same time very bad ones, tone/volume count is one of them. While practicing I often try to get that one level of tone I would really like and on good instrument you really can play with that. Another problem with the video is that he says speed is the only factor in playing, actually there is one more, hammer travel distance, if you won't hit key to the full stop for example the hammer will barely touch the strings, so with the same speed the strings will be affected a bit differently.
This is totally wrong - has been disproven by many published papers - and has been discussed many times at PW. I will now shout. Please forgive me.

THE VELOCITY OF THE HAMMER AT THE INSTANT IT STRIKES THE STRING IS THE SOLE DETERMINANT OF TONE, when all other variables - no use of sostenuto pedal, no previous notes still sounding, no repetition, no una corda are removed.


Posted By: PianoStartsAt33 Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:32 PM
OK. We've got 8 levels for one note. For example, we need to play 3 notes. How many combinations can be created? 7+8+7, 6+7+8, 8+8+8, 8+7+6 and so on and so on. It is only for the 3 notes. And how many notes are there in an everage piece of music? - yeah, that is why musical variety is endless even with this 8 levels.
Posted By: Rhodes74 Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:33 PM
There is a saying "one note on the piano is no music".

It takes a lot of control to play a part in 10 clearly defined levels.
You don't necessarily have to be able to perform that.
But within your current playing, if you shape the music from tone to tone, you will have much finer differences in the levels.
You just can't get that steps without the context.

-rhodes74
Posted By: JohnSprung Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:41 PM

All this reminds me of "Spinal Tap" --- Yeah, but it goes up to eleven..... ;-)
Posted By: Groove On Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:55 PM
In Pianoteq, there is a "dynamics" setting from 0-100 dB. The standard modeled pianos are set around 40-50 dB. But personally, I enjoy playing the modeled pianos with the dynamics set to 100 dB. This gives me amazing colors and much better control at each level. Crescendos/descrescendos feel like they go forever.
Posted By: Frédéric L Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 04:57 PM
Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33
OK. We've got 8 levels for one note. For example, we need to play 3 notes. How many combinations can be created? 7+8+7, 6+7+8, 8+8+8, 8+7+6 and so on and so on. It is only for the 3 notes. And how many notes are there in an everage piece of music? - yeah, that is why musical variety is endless even with this 8 levels.


Yes, many sampled piano have recorded sound for each of the 88 notes multiplied by the number of layers and the combination of pedals (una corda, sustain). We can also have release samples and overtones (sympathetic resonance).
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 05:29 PM
The question really is how precise is the optical sensor (or many sensors) that detects a keystroke velocity on a given DP. I don't really know. I tend to think that the high-end DPs can detect all 128 dynamic levels supported by MIDI, but I'm not sure about low-end DPs. The only way to check it out is to record your playing in MIDI format on your DP and then to analyze MIDI file on a computer. If you see random key velocity values in 0-127 range, than full MIDI range sems to be supported, but if you see some quantization (like 4, 8, 12, 16, etc.) than probably the number of detectable dynamic levels is reduced on that DP.

How many dynamic levels are needed? Suppose you need to play a 4-octaves scale with crescendo. To play it with truely even crescendo you need 29 levels.


Besides I find very interesting what DazedAndConfused has said above:
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2773594/re-digital-dynamics.html#Post2773594

Originally Posted by prout

... in standard classical music, there are only five normal dynamic levels - pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff.
I guess I should say six levels, including the best one - OFF.

lol smile
Posted By: DazedAndConfused Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 05:31 PM
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by DazedAndConfused
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Most pianos only support seven-bit data over MIDI. So 127 is the limit.

How many layers do you need?
One is not enough. Nor two. Nor three.

+But how many are needed before ...
(a) you can't hear any difference when more layers are added
or
(b) when any shortcoming ascribed to layering diminishes, and the next greatest deficiency becomes primary?

The number is far less than 127. I think ten is enough. Beyond that it's just "bragging about size".


127 is the external limit for 8 bit MIDI. There is nothing to stop any manufacturer produce millions of discrete levels from the keyboard to feed the modelling engine and scale down to 0 - 127 for midi output.
Can you cite an example of a manufacturer that does this and indicates that in the specifications? It is a very good idea.


Yes. I seem to remember in the publicity blurb that PHA50 outputs at 16bit to the modelling engine. I'll see if I can find a link.
Posted By: toddy Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 05:35 PM
Analogue television had an 'infinite' number of levels - so did analogue audio tape if it comes to that, but their digital equivalents have a far greater resolution (or dynamic range). Perhaps it's similar with analogue and digital pianos. I shouldn't be at all surprised.

DPs, as long as they're worthy of the name, have plenty of dynamic range. The MIDI standard of 128 levels is more than enough. But there's nothing restricting internal sound engines to that specification anyway. I think the newer Roland pianos have over a thousand.
Posted By: DazedAndConfused Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 05:59 PM
Originally Posted by toddy
Analogue television had an 'infinite' number of levels - so did analogue audio tape if it comes to that, but their digital equivalents have a far greater resolution (or dynamic range). Perhaps it's similar with analogue and digital pianos. I shouldn't be at all surprised.

DPs, as long as they're worthy of the name, have plenty of dynamic range. The MIDI standard of 128 levels is more than enough. But there's nothing restricting internal sound engines to that specification anyway. I think the newer Roland pianos have over a thousand.


8 bits is not good enough for classical piano in terms of either level or timing. I believe Yamaha use a much higher resolution for their ePiano Disklavier competitions for good reason. You can prove it yourself. Play a piece with plenty of rubato and record the audio out while recording midi data into a sequencer. Now run the midi data back to the piano and record the output. Compare the audio outputs they should be the same? They won't be. And one will sound weird and the other won't, just like every classical midi file.
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 06:05 PM
Originally Posted by Groove On
In Pianoteq, there is a "dynamics" setting from 0-100 dB. The standard modeled pianos are set around 40-50 dB. But personally, I enjoy playing the modeled pianos with the dynamics set to 100 dB. This gives me amazing colors and much better control at each level. Crescendos/descrescendos feel like they go forever.
Remember that dB is a ratio, so saying the Pianoteq has a dynamic range of 100dB is fine, but, relative to what baseline? Is the baseline is SPL (Sound Pressure Level), then the lowest level a human can hear is 0dB, but the noise level in an average home is about 50dB, so you need a minimum dynamic level on the piano to be heard above the noise.

The practical dynamic range of a full orchestra is 65dB - of a trumpet is 30dB - of a violin is 35dB.

The noise level of a baffled air exchange system in a concert hall is about 35-40 db.

Measuremens of live concerts in those halls show a dynamic range for a typical concert pianist of about 20dB.


Posted By: Frédéric L Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 06:17 PM
Yes, see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disklavier, the Disklavier pro has 1023 levels of velocity.

Note that resolution is not equal with precision. On a Disklavier the playback could induce a near linear transformation of velocity.

About the timing, it’s more complicated. A SMF file is not limited. The time is expressed with a fraction of a quarter note, and the fraction can be choosen on a DAW. We can see 1/480 or 1/960 of a quarter note. Then a SMF record (floppy, flash drive...) has a quite high limit. On a MIDI cable, a single event needs around 1ms... and 2ms if you use an enhanced resolution. If you play a very synchronised chord, each notes will be sent one per 1ms or 2ms.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 06:35 PM
Thank you for making this point.
Originally Posted by prout
Remember that dB is a ratio, so saying the Pianoteq has a dynamic range of 100dB is fine, but, relative to what baseline? ...
The practical dynamic range of a full orchestra is 65dB - of a trumpet is 30dB - of a violin is 35dB ...
Measurements of live concerts in those halls show a dynamic range for a typical concert pianist of about 20dB.
And I'd like to add ...
Pay attention to the sound, not to the specs.
Sound makes art. Specs do not.
Posted By: DazedAndConfused Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 07:01 PM
Originally Posted by toddy
Analogue television had an 'infinite' number of levels - so did analogue audio tape if it comes to that, but their digital equivalents have a far greater resolution (or dynamic range). Perhaps it's similar with analogue and digital pianos. I shouldn't be at all surprised.

DPs, as long as they're worthy of the name, have plenty of dynamic range. The MIDI standard of 128 levels is more than enough. But there's nothing restricting internal sound engines to that specification anyway. I think the newer Roland pianos have over a thousand.


I cannot find a link right now, it might have been a video where I learned this, but millions is more accurate. There were 16,000 internal levels during the SUPERNATURAL sample + modelling days.

Quote
Previously, playback of different samples provided the basis for electronic pianos, in combination with using a computer algorithm to adjust the pitches for the notes between the samples. The SuperNATURAL engine differed by utilising a separate set of samples for every key and a dynamic algorithm that offered 16,000 different levels for each note – delivering an incredibly smooth response (most other keyboards had a maximum of 128 levels per key).


https://www.rolandcorp.com.au/blog/magic-touch-brief-history-rd-series
Posted By: JohnSprung Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 09:11 PM
Originally Posted by toddy
Analogue television had an 'infinite' number of levels - so did analogue audio tape if it comes to that, but their digital equivalents have a far greater resolution (or dynamic range). Perhaps it's similar with analogue and digital pianos. I shouldn't be at all surprised..


Um... not quite. Analog TV eventually runs into discrete photons and electrons. For digital cameras, there's a limit to the number of photons that it takes to saturate a photosite. According to Grass Valley, it's about 15,000. That means that a 14 bit number would be sufficient to count them. Of course real world equipment can't actually count them....
Posted By: toddy Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 09:57 PM
Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by toddy
Analogue television had an 'infinite' number of levels - so did analogue audio tape if it comes to that, but their digital equivalents have a far greater resolution (or dynamic range). Perhaps it's similar with analogue and digital pianos. I shouldn't be at all surprised..


Um... not quite. Analog TV eventually runs into discrete photons and electrons. For digital cameras, there's a limit to the number of photons that it takes to saturate a photosite. According to Grass Valley, it's about 15,000. That means that a 14 bit number would be sufficient to count them. Of course real world equipment can't actually count them....




Wouldn't the same kind of resolution limits also apply to an acoustic mechanical system like a piano?
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 10:12 PM
Originally Posted by prout
in standard classical music, there are only five normal dynamic levels - pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff.

You're leaving out all the levels between them, which are also notated in classical music, i.e. crescendos.
Posted By: arc7urus Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 10:18 PM
- MIDI has 128 velocities
- MIDI XP has 1024 velocities. This is the format used by the Disklavier
- Hi-Res/CC88 MIDI has 16.384 velocities

As DazedAndConfused stated, these quantized velocity values are used when sending or receiving MIDI data. The actual
velocity values measured by the sensors and then sent to and used by the sound engine may use the same resolution as MIDI or may use a higher resolution.

For example, the Casio PX-560 (and other PX models) support Hi-Res MIDI and that wider velocity range can be used with PianoTeq, which also supports Hi-Res MIDI (the effects are not noticeable, IMO). Anyway, this means that these DPs have sensors that are able to read more than 128 velocity values. Which is not surprising at all because DPs calculate the velocity of a key by measuring the time difference between the activation of its two or three sensors. So, the measured velocity is probably a high resolution value (e.g. 16 bits). One question is whether the sound engine makes use of that high resolution value or quantizes it first. The other question is if it is possible to hear the differences..
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/18/18 11:54 PM
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by prout
in standard classical music, there are only five normal dynamic levels - pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff.

You're leaving out all the levels between them, which are also notated in classical music, i.e. crescendos.
But that is not the point of this thread. The OP specifically states that a person can achieve 10 dynamic levels on an acoustic piano. It is to that statement I am responding.

If you have read this thread carefully, you will also note that I explicitly state that the number of dynamic levels on an acoustic piano is, in theory, infinite. I use thousands of them every day, but I don’t tell people that I am doing it. Nor am I even aware that I am soing it. I make music. I let people listen for themselves. Chances are they will hear 4 or 5 different levels averaged from the 1000s I use.

Remember, between any two values in the analogue domain (not quantum), there are an infinite number of intermediate values, and between each of those values, and infinite number of intermediate values, ...

Also, OT, there are different size infinities,

Aleph Null - the infinity of countable numbers

Aleph One - the infinity of uncountable numbers.

Don’t get me started.
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 12:15 AM
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by prout
in standard classical music, there are only five normal dynamic levels - pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff.

You're leaving out all the levels between them, which are also notated in classical music, i.e. crescendos.
Actually, you and I are both wrong.

By definition, a level is ‘level’, that is, a specific, finite length time quantifiable value.

By definition, a crescendo or decrescendo is not level. It is constantly changing and can be measured only through a differential calculus as an instantaneous value. Therefore, a crescendo is not a level.
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 01:20 AM
Originally Posted by prout
By definition, a crescendo or decrescendo is not level. It is constantly changing

But each individual note in a crescendo (say, between f and ff) is at some fixed strike level. So that crescendo include strikes at f, ff, and a variety of other levels in between.
Posted By: prout Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 02:12 AM
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by prout
By definition, a crescendo or decrescendo is not level. It is constantly changing

But each individual note in a crescendo (say, between f and ff) is at some fixed strike level. So that crescendo include strikes at f, ff, and a variety of other levels in between.
For the purposes of this discussion, you are correct. (In reality, this is not the case. A struck note on the piano never, ever maintains an amplitude level.)

I suppose we could assign levels to a two octave scale that is marked with a crescendo. In that case, we clearly have 25 distinct levels which will likely be incrementally larger as the run progresses. If we perform a crescendo on a scale from C1 to C8, we would have 85 distinct levels. I think that knocks the OP’s claim of only 10 levels out of the ballpark.

Cheers.
Posted By: Groove On Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 10:37 AM
My understanding is that [pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff] are relative musical values. They are not tied to the absolute physical velocity/volume levels of the keys.

For example, if a piano's keys have 1000 velocity/volume levels, then I might play a smokey blues in the range of around 200-500 or to put some punch into a toccata or gigue, I might play in the range of around 400-700. I may also change the velocity/volume range depending on the room/audience; using a lower range for an intimate setting or a higher range for a large crowded hall.

But within each those absolute ranges, I can musically use the values of [pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff]. And it's the combination of velocity/volume level plus [pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff] that contributes to my Interpretation of the score.
Posted By: Doug M. Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 11:10 AM
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by prout
By definition, a crescendo or decrescendo is not level. It is constantly changing

But each individual note in a crescendo (say, between f and ff) is at some fixed strike level. So that crescendo include strikes at f, ff, and a variety of other levels in between.
For the purposes of this discussion, you are correct. (In reality, this is not the case. A struck note on the piano never, ever maintains an amplitude level.)

I suppose we could assign levels to a two octave scale that is marked with a crescendo. In that case, we clearly have 25 distinct levels which will likely be incrementally larger as the run progresses. If we perform a crescendo on a scale from C1 to C8, we would have 85 distinct levels. I think that knocks the OP’s claim of only 10 levels out of the ballpark.

Cheers.


I'm not 100% sure of what I'm saying here---I'm paraphrasing from another conversation I had on another thread, so bear with me. From what I remember, on digital pianos that are sampled, there maybe a limited number of velocity levels e.g., on the Korg Grandstage, the number is 10 (in the diagram, the example keyboard has 4). However, it seems that modern sampling software interpolates so that different velocities available when playing a note are mapped within a velocity level (e.g., 4 in the below eg). This in practice means that there are many more volume levels available than velocity levels. When playing a VST via midi, there are 127 volume levels (128 if you count silent) mapped across how ever many discrete velocity levels there are (in the eg below, 4). If a hardware digital piano like the Kawai ES8 had a lot more than 127 volume levels for it's on board sounds, then those volume levels would be mapped across however many velocity levels the instrument has. Someone will probably correct me if I'm wrong, hopefully.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: toddy Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 11:48 AM
Velocity levels are the same thing as volume levels - or rather, 128 velocity levels (the input) correspond to 128 levels of output volume.

The block levels (4 in your diagram) are different samples (per note). They might be better referred to as 'sample levels' than velocity levels, since, as far as I know, there are always at least 128 velocity levels. Newer VST s typically have a lot of samples per note (often called velocity levels). Around 18 seems fairly common. But good dynamic effects can be achieved with far fewer samples, using DSP to alter the tone across the note's dynamic range.
Posted By: Doug M. Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 12:28 PM
Originally Posted by toddy
Velocity levels are the same thing as volume levels - or rather, 128 velocity levels (the input) correspond to 128 levels of output volume.

The block levels (4 in your diagram) are different samples (per note). They might be better referred to as 'sample levels' than velocity levels, since, as far as I know, there are always at least 128 velocity levels. Newer VST s typically have a lot of samples per note (often called velocity levels). Around 18 seems fairly common. But good dynamic effects can be achieved with far fewer samples, using DSP to alter the tone across the note's dynamic range.


Yes, sort of what I imagined (discrete samples for each volume level); however, am I right to say that the term 'velocity level' refers to the mapping of discrete volume levels in the diagram to a range of key velocities; such that, if the velocity of a keystroke is between a and b, then X volume level is triggered. However, as I understand it---or putting it thusly---the transition between discrete volume levels is smoothed out somehow by the sampling software (seamless layer interpolation), such that in practice, there is no sudden discrete change of volume. Am I understanding this correctly?

The sampled VSTs I've read about do use about 18 levels. I think there are some with 20 or more. Seems to be a factor that is creeping up with each year.
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 01:12 PM
Originally Posted by Doug M.
if the velocity of a keystroke is between a and b, then X volume level is triggered.

You don't trigger volume levels, you trigger samples. So if the velocity of a keystroke is between a and b, then sample X is triggered, at a volume level determined by the velocity.

Originally Posted by Doug M.
However, as I understand it---or putting it thusly---the transition between discrete volume levels is smoothed out

No... the technique you're describing is not smoothing transitions between volume levels, rather it's smoothing transitions between samples. The audible result is a smoothing of the difference in tone (not volume) of lower velocity strikes vs. higher velocity strikes. It is typically called crossfading, you can think of it as one sample is "fading out" in its usage as velocity increases, while another is fading in. It is not an attribute of all sampled pianos... many (most, I think, at least among hardware DPs) simply play different samples at the different velocities, without crossfading, but this is a technique that is sometimes used.

Originally Posted by Doug M.
smoothed out somehow by the sampling software (seamless layer interpolation), such that in practice, there is no sudden discrete change of volume.

There would never be a sudden discrete change of volume, even if there were only a single sample used for the entire velocity range (and there have been pianos designed that way). Again, the number of samples affects tone, not volume (remember that real pianos change, not just in volume, but also in tone as you strike their keys with different amounts of force). If a DP plays the same sample at all velocity levels, you would say its samples have a single velocity layer. If it chooses from 4 different samples on a key depending on how hard you hit the key, you would say it has four velocity layers. Either way, there is no difference in the ability to generate different volumes at soft and hard velocities. What's changing is the amount/character of tonal variation between strikes of different velocities.

Posted By: Bambers Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 01:12 PM
Mortensen's 10 levels is fine within the context of what he is saying and his series of videos. The whole point of that particular one was to point out to starters that

a) hammer speed is the sole control over tone and the idea that certain ways of playing the key can produce different sounds is rubbish - those ways can help make getting different speeds easier and more natural but they are a means, not the end.

b) realistically, most people won't be able to play, to order, at more than around 10 'areas' of volume. Obviously when crescendoing/diminuendoing the transition is fairly smooth and hits many different levels but as an intentional 'zone' of volume to play in, particularly for a series of notes rather than an individual one were you have a little more control/force to spare for super loud or super soft, 10 is pretty good going and this is largely reflected in the way that notation tends to specify a maximum of 8 broad levels (10 if you go for the 4x pppp/ffff that some of the romantic composers brought out)

Now context is important here. That does not mean the piano is only capable of 10 levels, or that, on a note to note basis you will only play at 10, it's just trying to get people to understand the fundamental limitation of the control we have on a piano.

Similarly, one cannot take that 10 and use it to say '10 will do' for digitals, it will not, a digital piano only capable of 10 volumes will sound unnaturally 'flat' and 'lifeless' and probably also sound weird should you end up playing on the boundary between two volume levels when notes fall either side. Crescendos etc will also sound distinctly weird.

Regarding what is sufficient for a digital piano, the 128 for midi certainly seems sufficient, even a very good player trying to play at a consistent level will show plus or minus a few from note to note and the human ear would struggle to pick out the difference of one as well.

Also the vast majority of current digital piano engines will either blend or otherwise recreate a smooth change in tone as volume changes rather than using distinct velocity layers that only change in volume within them.
Posted By: Doug M. Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 02:07 PM
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by Doug M.
if the velocity of a keystroke is between a and b, then X volume level is triggered.

You don't trigger volume levels, you trigger samples. So if the velocity of a keystroke is between a and b, then sample X is triggered, at a volume level determined by the velocity.

Originally Posted by Doug M.
However, as I understand it---or putting it thusly---the transition between discrete volume levels is smoothed out

No... the technique you're describing is not smoothing transitions between volume levels, rather it's smoothing transitions between samples. The audible result is a smoothing of the difference in tone (not volume) of lower velocity strikes vs. higher velocity strikes. It is typically called crossfading, you can think of it as one sample is "fading out" in its usage as velocity increases, while another is fading in. It is not an attribute of all sampled pianos... many (most, I think, at least among hardware DPs) simply play different samples at the different velocities, without crossfading, but this is a technique that is sometimes used.

Originally Posted by Doug M.
smoothed out somehow by the sampling software (seamless layer interpolation), such that in practice, there is no sudden discrete change of volume.

There would never be a sudden discrete change of volume, even if there were only a single sample used for the entire velocity range (and there have been pianos designed that way). Again, the number of samples affects tone, not volume (remember that real pianos change, not just in volume, but also in tone as you strike their keys with different amounts of force). If a DP plays the same sample at all velocity levels, you would say its samples have a single velocity layer. If it chooses from 4 different samples on a key depending on how hard you hit the key, you would say it has four velocity layers. Either way, there is no difference in the ability to generate different volumes at soft and hard velocities. What's changing is the amount/character of tonal variation between strikes of different velocities.



Thankyou very much for that clarification---the way you explained it, I think I've got a better idea now:

So checking, what you're saying is that for any velocity layer, the volume level is determined by the velocity of the key strike. Each velocity layer (which is a sample of an acoustic triggered at that key stroke velocity) there is a different tone, so with varying velocity of a key stroke, a different tone is played as well as a different volume. Also, to prevent big tone differences between notes played at quite similar velocities---which just happens to map to the boundary of two velocity layers---the total output of that note becomes a mixture of two velocity layers (samples) played at different volumes depending. Am I close to understanding?

Kind regards,

Doug.
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 02:21 PM
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Am I close to understanding?

Yup. Though again, that "mixture of two velocity layers (samples) played at different volumes" is not something every DP does, often they just do a hard switch. And for those that do some kind of "smoothing" at transition points, there's more than one way to do it. But your basic understanding is right.
Posted By: Doug M. Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 02:27 PM
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Am I close to understanding?

Yup. Though again, that "mixture of two velocity layers (samples) played at different volumes" is not something every DP does, often they just do a hard switch. And for those that do some kind of "smoothing" at transition points, there's more than one way to do it. But your basic understanding is right.


Ah so only some DPs (perhaps meaning the more expensive models in a range) use cross fading; but also, some manufacturers achieve the result using a different method.

Thanks again for the explanation!
Posted By: arc7urus Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 02:45 PM
Yes. That is the idea! DPs have a fixed number of velocity layers, each with a number of samples. Ideally there should be a minimum of 88 samples per velocity layer, one for each note. There can be more samples per note on the same velocity layer, e.g. with/without una corda, with/without sustain pedal, with different mic positions, etc. But some DPs actually do not sample each of the 88 notes. Instead, they store just a few samples and then "stretch" them to change the frequency and produce the missing notes. This is why some DPs state in the specs things like "Full 88 Key Sampling".

Most sample-based DPs and VSTs have less than 127 velocity layers. So, they may need to "mix" several layers in order to artificially produce a velocity level that was not sampled. To do this, the DP/VST will fetch the layers with the samples that best match the velocity that was played. Then the DP mixes these samples together to produce a new (i.e. not sampled) sound wave with a timbre/tone that is a function of the original samples according to an acoustic model. Finally, the overall volume of the mix is normalized to fit the 1-127 velocity level. If this process is done properly, then the sound should seem continuous across the whole velocity range, without sudden "jumps" in timbre/tone and volume. In this sense, a sampled-based DP/VST is also model-based because it is synthesizing sounds that were not sampled. Note that this model.based sound-synthesis is different than the "models" used for resonance and other effects. Also note that many DPs do not do this "mixing" properly and some do not mix the layers at all and do have sudden "jumps" between the layers..

Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 03:29 PM
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by anotherscott
each individual note in a crescendo (say, between f and ff) is at some fixed strike level. So that crescendo include strikes at f, ff, and a variety of other levels in between.
For the purposes of this discussion, you are correct. (In reality, this is not the case. A struck note on the piano never, ever maintains an amplitude level.)

That's why I said "strike" level. After the strike, of course, each note decays.

Originally Posted by arc7urus
Most sample-based DPs and VSTs have less than 127 velocity layers.

Not most. All. The most I've seen is about 18.

Originally Posted by arc7urus
So, they may need to "mix" several layers in order to artificially produce a velocity level that was not sampled. To do this, the DP/VST will fetch the layers with the samples that best match the velocity that was played. Then the DP mixes these samples together to produce a new (i.e. not sampled) sound wave with a timbre/tone that is a function of the original samples according to an acoustic model. Finally, the overall volume of the mix is normalized to fit the 1-127 velocity level. If this process is done properly, then the sound should seem continuous across the whole velocity range, without sudden "jumps" in timbre/tone and volume. In this sense, a sampled-based DP/VST is also model-based because it is synthesizing sounds that were not sampled. Note that this model.based sound-synthesis is different than the "models" used for resonance and other effects. Also note that many DPs do not do this "mixing" properly and some do not mix the layers at all and do have sudden "jumps" between the layers..

There's a lot of stuff in there that is kinda right, kinda wrong. Without getting into every bit of it, I'll just say, again, the purpose of providing samples of different velocities is not to produce different volumes (you can get the full range of volume out of a single sample), but to provide the different tonal characteristics you get on a real piano at different volumes. Most hardware based pianos (digital pianos or other keyboards that have piano sounds) have used "hard" transitions, some use some kind of smoothing/crossfading (I don't know how common the different methods are in VSTs). When "mixing" of layers is done, it would be a mixing of two (adjacent) layers, not a mixing of "several." A mix of two waves is not modeling, but modeling approaches can also be used to generate non-sampled tones (e.g. Roland SuperNatural).
Posted By: Frédéric L Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 04:30 PM
There are some virtual pianos with more than 18 layers : 26 on Bechstein Digital Grand, 32 on Keyspace, 100 (yes, 100) on VSL Vienna Imperial.

I don’t think blending samples from two layers is common. I haven’t seen blending on Kontakt piano : the full software can edit each Kontakt based pianos (excepted scripts which are password protected). I don’t remember to gave seen 2 samples in the same layers to permit such a blend. The issue with Bechstein sampled by EWQL shows that there is a gap between two layers. I don’t think layers ate blended there.
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 04:52 PM
Originally Posted by Frédéric L
There are some virtual pianos with more than 18 layers : 26 on Bechstein Digital Grand, 32 on Keyspace, 100 (yes, 100) on VSL Vienna Imperial.
Good to know!

Originally Posted by Frédéric L
I don’t think blending samples from two layers is common.

I think it is the exception rather than rule, But that's one of the things the DPBSD evals tried to suss out.
Posted By: GoldmanT Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 05:30 PM
Originally Posted by DazedAndConfused

8 bits is not good enough for classical piano in terms of either level or timing. I believe Yamaha use a much higher resolution for their ePiano Disklavier competitions for good reason. You can prove it yourself. Play a piece with plenty of rubato and record the audio out while recording midi data into a sequencer. Now run the midi data back to the piano and record the output. Compare the audio outputs they should be the same? They won't be. And one will sound weird and the other won't, just like every classical midi file.


This is aside from the discussion on dynamic levels, but the timing thing is not true at all - MIDI files have more than enough timing resolution to capture a natural performance and have done since the 80s. Its resolution will vary depending on settings, but it will be down to the milliseconds level, more granular than any human would be able to discern anyway. Rubato is irrelevant, it will just be capturing the exact time you played whatever notes you played - I've recorded a DP as MP3, and simultaneously as a midi file so I can layer other sounds beneath it, and if I play the midi file back through the digital piano it sounds exactly the same.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 05:46 PM
Two things:
1. Toddy: You are correct. Every MIDI velocity level can produce a different loudness from the piano, and each of the MIDI values is assigned to one of the available sampling levels. There are up 127 of the former, and as many as the manufacturer sees fit for the latter ... with 127 being the upper limit, but it's much smaller in practice.

The number of velocity layers for samplers ranges from 1 for the el-cheapo pianos to about 20 for the better VST libraries (though I may be out of date with that figure because I don't own any of the newest mega-libraries).

2. How is any of this even relevant? Your ears cannot hear the difference once the number of sampling layers reaches some number. I doubt you'd ever benefit from having more than ten, especially since the transition between on layer and the next is blended in software.

If you have ten competently recorded sampling layers that number ceases to be a relevant deficiency in the piano. There are other deficiencies to be overcome. Ones that are much more important ... such as:
- Proper pedaling (which seems to always be a deficiency despite the glowing claims made).
- Proper resonances (likewise deficient).
And those are just the audio aspects. Next comes the shortcomings of the action ....

Short story: I'm not concerned about the number of sampling layers anymore.
Posted By: Alexander Borro Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 08:02 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
T
2. How is any of this even relevant? Your ears cannot hear the difference once the number of sampling layers reaches some number. I doubt you'd ever benefit from having more than ten, especially since the transition between on layer and the next is blended in software.

Short story: I'm not concerned about the number of sampling layers anymore.


Ivory uses interpolation between layers, but also has adjustable velocity layers anything from 4 to 20 on Ivory ACD. The differences can be noted. It may not be obvious immediately in a blind test, but when you play for a while you will notice every note at some velocity can have characteristics unique to that piano adding character to the sound. If you really go down in velocity layers that goes away and the sound becomes more homogeneous with less character IMO.

I like to think of it as a pint of fine organic milk with all the froth, that is lets say 20 or more layer. 4 - 8 layers is more like homogenised sterilised milk, like my Ca78 for example, which I would guess has absolutely no more than 8 layers, so that character does go up with layers, you get more nuances and details that would be missed out on with less layers.

Where it stops to the ear I don't know, I never tested. To my ears, suffice it to say I always found the Vienna imperial by VSL one of the most convincing sounding timbres, it indeed has a 100 layers, and interpolation will likely interfere with the natural sound it was recorded from at layer boundaries that are audible if you compare it to the original sound it came from ( I guess), VSL Imperial is not interpolated btw at all AFAIK
Posted By: DazedAndConfused Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 09:22 PM
Originally Posted by GoldmanT
Originally Posted by DazedAndConfused

8 bits is not good enough for classical piano in terms of either level or timing. I believe Yamaha use a much higher resolution for their ePiano Disklavier competitions for good reason. You can prove it yourself. Play a piece with plenty of rubato and record the audio out while recording midi data into a sequencer. Now run the midi data back to the piano and record the output. Compare the audio outputs they should be the same? They won't be. And one will sound weird and the other won't, just like every classical midi file.


This is aside from the discussion on dynamic levels, but the timing thing is not true at all - MIDI files have more than enough timing resolution to capture a natural performance and have done since the 80s. Its resolution will vary depending on settings, but it will be down to the milliseconds level, more granular than any human would be able to discern anyway. Rubato is irrelevant, it will just be capturing the exact time you played whatever notes you played - I've recorded a DP as MP3, and simultaneously as a midi file so I can layer other sounds beneath it, and if I play the midi file back through the digital piano it sounds exactly the same.


Depends what you play. For advanced classical pieces standard MIDI doesn't work.

I can tell you that if this standard MIDI file is representative of the gentleman's performance, he couldn't win a toffee.

http://www.piano-e-competition.com/MIDIFiles/2017/BuiJL08.MID

It sounds quantised, granular, mechanical and dreadful like a robot at the keyboard. The contrast between that and any audio version of L'isle Joyeuse that you can find on Youtube is so blindingly obvious to anyone with an ounce of sensitivity to rhythm.
Posted By: GoldmanT Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 09:52 PM
Originally Posted by DazedAndConfused

Depends what you play. For advanced classical pieces standard MIDI doesn't work.

I can tell you that if this standard MIDI file is representative of the gentleman's performance, he couldn't win a toffee.

http://www.piano-e-competition.com/MIDIFiles/2017/BuiJL08.MID

It sounds quantised, granular, mechanical and dreadful like a robot at the keyboard. The contrast between that and any audio version of L'isle Joyeuse that you can find on Youtube is so blindingly obvious to anyone with an ounce of sensitivity to rhythm.


BiB: nope, you're wrong. I have no idea how that file was generated so can't comment on it, and any midi file sounds awful on my computer's soundcard, but a midi file is plenty good enough to reproduce a digital piano performance of any piece played by any pianist - whatever you would record via audio during the live performance, that is what you would get if you replayed the midi. That is what midi was designed to do, and it's been pretty much unchanged since the 1980s.
Posted By: Frédéric L Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 09:59 PM
@anotherscott: DPBSD is about digital (hardware) piano. I was thinking of virtual pianos. Perhaps blending is less useful with near 20 layers or more.
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/19/18 10:32 PM
Originally Posted by Frédéric L
@anotherscott: DPBSD is about digital (hardware) piano. I was thinking of virtual pianos.

He tested both, actually. But as you probably know, there have been no updates in a while, so the VSTs evaluated there are not the most current.
Posted By: Frédéric L Re: Digital dynamics - 10/20/18 08:35 AM
Ok, then I read about the Galaxy Vienna :

Velocity switch @ vel=45, 52, 70, 80, 90, 102, 112.

About Galaxy Vintage D : some velocity switching is visible particularly when zoom up and midrange is nicely blended (perhaps with scripting since I haven’t seen Kontakt builtin blending)

Garritan Steinway : OK velocity switching (I don’t know really what it means)

Not all VST are analysed : sometimes, there is only the mp3 file.
Posted By: Bambers Re: Digital dynamics - 10/21/18 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by anotherscott


Originally Posted by Frédéric L
I don’t think blending samples from two layers is common.

I think it is the exception rather than rule, But that's one of the things the DPBSD evals tried to suss out.


Eh? I'd say it very much is the rule for hardware dps at least. I certainly cannot think of any recent model from the Yamaha, kawai, Roland and probably even Casio (if you exclude the toys) that shows sharp changes in tone.

Yamaha does, rather shockingly, still sample stretch on eg the p115 but the velocity tone shift is smooth (though I'm sure I've seen some speculation that it's a single layer with the tone change entirely done by filters etc)
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/21/18 03:23 PM
Originally Posted by Bambers
Originally Posted by anotherscott


Originally Posted by Frédéric L
I don’t think blending samples from two layers is common.

I think it is the exception rather than rule, But that's one of the things the DPBSD evals tried to suss out.


Eh? I'd say it very much is the rule for hardware dps at least. I certainly cannot think of any recent model from the Yamaha, kawai, Roland and probably even Casio (if you exclude the toys) that shows sharp changes in tone.

Roland SuperNatural (and V) use modeling, so they come at it from another angle. But even when there are multiple layers with no blending, it is not so easy to discern the presence or absence of blending in normal playing (though you can tell as the DPBSD tests do, by sending MIDI to all 127 values and putting the results on a scope). In normal playing, I think it's pretty hard to tell if there are sudden shifts between layers, outside of same-note crescendos. Especially as the number of layers increase (which means a lesser degree of difference between adjacent samples).

Originally Posted by Bambers
Yamaha does, rather shockingly, still sample stretch on eg the p115 but the velocity tone shift is smooth (though I'm sure I've seen some speculation that it's a single layer with the tone change entirely done by filters etc)

Not shocking, plenty of DPs don't sample all 88 keys, especially at lower price points. In fact, I'd say it's more common than not. But yes, to the other point, filters can also be used to give the illusion of layer blending (i.e. a softer strike can play the same sample as a harder strike but with less brightness by using a filter).

Posted By: Bambers Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 08:40 AM
Well I was thinking of the DPBSD thread when I said most do not show sharp changes in tone. They are not necessarily blending the samples but they are applying a timbre change across each layer so that there are no sharp changes in tone like there were with older DPs (or all the really low quality extra instrument samples they throw in), this is shown fairly well in the DPBSD thread were even if layers show up in the phase display, they do not show up in the spectral display.

Similarly for 88 key sampling. As far as I'm aware, of the 'big 3', yahama is the only one currently selling DPs with stretched samples and this has been the case for quite some time.
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 12:46 PM
Originally Posted by Bambers
As far as I'm aware, of the 'big 3', yahama is the only one currently selling DPs with stretched samples and this has been the case for quite some time.

I don't know model by model, but up to $600, Yamaha's competitors are Casio and Korg, and I think those competitive models stretch as well.
Posted By: arc7urus Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 01:40 PM
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by Bambers
As far as I'm aware, of the 'big 3', yahama is the only one currently selling DPs with stretched samples and this has been the case for quite some time.

I don't know model by model, but up to $600, Yamaha's competitors are Casio and Korg, and I think those competitive models stretch as well.


Unless the "big" manufacturers started changing their technical designs lately, stretched and looped samples are to be found on most DP models except for some top-tier models...
Posted By: JoBert Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 03:03 PM
Originally Posted by arc7urus
Unless the "big" manufacturers started changing their technical designs lately, stretched and looped samples are to be found on most DP models except for some top-tier models...

Kawai has 88 key sampling (=not stretched) already on its entry level model ES110. The same for the smaller cabinet models. Of course also for the higher tier models.
Posted By: arc7urus Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 03:53 PM
Originally Posted by JoBert
Originally Posted by arc7urus
Unless the "big" manufacturers started changing their technical designs lately, stretched and looped samples are to be found on most DP models except for some top-tier models...

Kawai has 88 key sampling (=not stretched) already on its entry level model ES110. The same for the smaller cabinet models. Of course also for the higher tier models.


Yep! Kawai is one of the few manufacturers that states that feature explicitly. The ES110 has 32MB worth of samples vs. 512 MB on the CS67/97 vs. 1GB on the CS68/98/NV10 . So, the lower-end models probably have 88 key sampling with a single velocity layer and then the number of layers gradually goes up in the higher-tier models.
(cf. http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2746707/how-much-sample-memory-is-in-there.html)

The sample libraries used by DPs are really small when compared to average VST libraries. But the results that a DP can produce are quite impressive if we just consider the absolute numbers. I wonder what would be degree of improvement if a DP manufacturer supported a, say 100 GB, high-quality sample library combined with its know-how on sound processing...
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 04:16 PM
Originally Posted by arc7urus

The ES110 has 32MB worth of samples vs. 512 MB on the CS67/97 vs. 1GB on the CS68/98/NV10 . So, the lower-end models probably have 88 key sampling with a single velocity layer and then the number of layers gradually goes up in the higher-tier models.

The difference does not have to be velocity layers (or only that)... other things that affect size are how much of a sample there is before it is looped (or whether it is looped at all), and samples for additional instrument sounds (including possibly additional pianos).
Posted By: Bambers Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 05:27 PM
And we know from the DPBSD thread that roland uses 88key sampling (when it does actually use samples) for, eg, the FP30, which leaves just yamaha, as I said smile
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 07:32 PM
I wasn't sure which you were considering the big 3!

But again, at up to $600 (for 88-key weighted action models), where Casio, Yamaha, and Korg have multiple models (and Roland and Kawai have none), I think all use stretching.

The FP30 uses their Supernatural sampling/modeling hybrid. It may well use 88 key sampling, though I haven't been able to determine that for a fact.
Posted By: arc7urus Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 08:49 PM
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by arc7urus

The ES110 has 32MB worth of samples vs. 512 MB on the CS67/97 vs. 1GB on the CS68/98/NV10 . So, the lower-end models probably have 88 key sampling with a single velocity layer and then the number of layers gradually goes up in the higher-tier models.

The difference does not have to be velocity layers (or only that)... other things that affect size are how much of a sample there is before it is looped (or whether it is looped at all), and samples for additional instrument sounds (including possibly additional pianos).

You are right. The length and resolution of the samples play a significant role as well. But the large jumps in library size are often the result of a new "layer" (velocity, mic position, etc.). The big jump from the ES110 to the CA67/97 should be the combination of longer samples, higher resolution and more layers. The other instruments should not take much space since one can get at the same quality with small sound fonts. On the other hand the CA78/98/NV10 has twice the memory of the CA67/97. Half of it (512MB) should be the to store all of the "sound mode" instruments that came from the previous generation. The other 512MB (or part of it at least) should be the "pianist mode" SK-EX. I would say its 10 rendering characters are a result of processing the same set of samples with different modelling parameters and effects. But we would need to run these DPs through the DPBSD project to confirm this :-)
Posted By: anotherscott Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 08:56 PM
Originally Posted by arc7urus
The other instruments should not take much space since one can get at the same quality with small sound fonts.

Depends how fussy you are. Quality Rhodes, Wurli, Clav, can easily run into 100s of megabytes each.
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Digital dynamics - 10/22/18 09:00 PM
Originally Posted by arc7urus
The big jump from the ES110 to the CA67/97 should be the combination of longer samples, higher resolution and more layers.


Yes, Kawai actually states that one of the main benefits of the HI-XL engine (Sound mode) is that it has longer sample lengths.

Originally Posted by arc7urus
On the other hand the CA78/98/NV10 has twice the memory of the CA67/97. Half of it (512MB) should be the to store all of the "sound mode" instruments that came from the previous generation. The other 512MB (or part of it at least) should be the "pianist mode" SK-EX. I would say its 10 rendering characters are a result of processing the same set of samples with different modelling parameters and effects. But we would need to run these DPs through the DPBSD project to confirm this :-)


Assuming the ROM sizes listed are correct, that breakdown makes sense. Since you can't fully disable the resonance rendering in Pianist mode, it's hard to compare directly to Sound mode, but they do sound really quite similar (I think can be from the same sampling session on the same instrument). One thing I haven't tested is if and how Pianist mode loops.
Posted By: Bambers Re: Digital dynamics - 10/23/18 09:38 AM
Originally Posted by anotherscott
I wasn't sure which you were considering the big 3!


Ah yes, this mini debate has segued a little bit but in the context of my 21st 3pm post I did specify those as I was thinking about the more 'digital piano' market rather than stage pianos & the more complex slabs where korg and nord have their presence.
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