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#3111999 04/29/21 07:07 PM
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HERE WE GO AGAIN - Round #1128

If someone posted an audio recording of their playing, would you be able to tell if the instrument was a digital or acoustic?

- What are the things that give it away?

- Would it make a difference if the DP audio was recorded by (ambient/close mics) vs. (onboard recording) vs. (computer recording)?

- Would it matter to you?

In photography, it's pretty easy to identify a film photograph (even if it was digitally printed) vs. a digital photograph? In some cases, it might require a closer look, but it's easy to tell.

That easy with recorded piano audio?

Last edited by mmathew; 04/29/21 07:08 PM.

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mmathew #3112005 04/29/21 07:27 PM
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If the recorded digital piano is Pianoteq, it's very easy ...

mmathew #3112009 04/29/21 07:41 PM
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:-) MacMacMac


---
I also wanted to ask another question in my original post, but I forgot. As an avid listener/classical music fan - does it matter if the recording you're listening to is was played on a DP or Acoustic? Let's just stick to solo piano.


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I don't know that I'd be able to tell. There's so much that could affect the sound, whether it's the piano, the mics, the processing, the file format, the platform on which its posted, the speakers I'm listening through, etc. I mean, I guess if it sounded super synthy, I'd probably guess it wasn't an acoustic piano, but that's about it.

Does it matter to me? Uh, probably not? I mean, I'd need some context here. Am I guessing for a chance to win a million dollars? Then it might matter! laugh


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland DP-603, Roland RD-2000, Yamaha MX61, Casio CDP-130
Past: Roland FP-30, Casio PX-160, Casio PX-830
Etc.: PianoTeq Stage 7 (Bechstein, Bluethner, U4), Roland KC-80
mmathew #3112014 04/29/21 07:48 PM
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I can tell 100% in any recording if it's a dp or ap, no exceptions.

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Originally Posted by mwf
I can tell 100% in any recording if it's a dp or ap, no exceptions.


No, I can record something you won't be able to tell. I do have Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet for my winnings after you lose the bet.

I'm going to the Yamaha dealer tomorrow to buy an N1X. While I am there I can record a few chords on 5 DP and 5 acoustics, you have to identify them 100% 10 out of 10 times right?

Make it worth my while.

Last edited by msromike; 04/29/21 08:00 PM.
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Pianoteq aside ... it's usually easy to tell the difference, especially when using comparing an acoustic with the native sound of a digital piano.

It's often more difficult to distinguish a good VST from an acoustic. But not always difficult ... because some VSTs don't measure up.

OTOH, when listening live there's no comparison.

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Originally Posted by msromike
Originally Posted by mwf
I can tell 100% in any recording if it's a dp or ap, no exceptions.


No, I can record something you won't be able to tell. I do have Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet for my winnings after you lose the bet.

I'm going to the Yamaha dealer tomorrow to buy an N1X. While I am there I can record a few chords on 5 DP and 5 acoustics, you have to identify them 100% 10 out of 10 times right?

Make it worth my while.

It would be very hard if just chords... But full pieces or at least a section of a piece of music I'd have no trouble...

Macmacmac is correct, maybe the very best high end VST would fool me for the most part, but I would still be able to tell.

I'm very confident in my ears and musical senses so be careful when challenging me that's all I'm going to say.

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Originally Posted by msromike
I'm going to the Yamaha dealer tomorrow to buy an N1X. While I am there I can record a few chords on 5 DP and 5 acoustics, you have to identify them 100% 10 out of 10 times right?

Make it worth my while.

Bets aside, this would be a fun exercise, if it's not too much trouble for you!

From a players perspective, playing on an acoustic vs. DP are two very different experiences. One is preferred over the other. I get that. I'm trying to analyze this from the receiving end.


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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Does it matter to me? Uh, probably not? I mean, I'd need some context here. Am I guessing for a chance to win a million dollars? Then it might matter! laugh

Well, when I wrote this post, the context I had in mind was purely from a classical music fan/listener perspective. We listen to so many recordings on CD, Amazon HD, Spotify whatever... I'm safely assuming here that all the famous artists and pros play the acoustic in studio or live.

I also listen to some artists, and other YouTubers play their DPs, and with my eyes closes, I am able to enjoy their performances, but they all sound the same to me. Not mathematically equal, but similar.

And then I listen to some of my playing. Apart from the bad playing, I can't tell. Of course I am not playing even remotely comparable pieces as the pros and You Tubers, but still, the tone sounds so similar.

--- That's what I had in mind ---


A man must love a thing very much if he practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practice it without any hope of doing it well. Such a man must love the toils of the work more than any other man can love the rewards of it.
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mwf #3112215 04/30/21 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mwf
I'm very confident in my ears and musical senses so be careful when challenging me that's all I'm going to say.

Oh I trust you @mwf! I'm just curious to know the "how".

Until @msromike can give us some samples (and @msromike - you don't have to at all, this is purely a fun with a bit of learning if possible thread) - let's try a sample:

Acoustic or DP? https://soundcloud.com/basement_pianist/test-audio-rec/s-rnGVudIY7K8
## Kindly excuse the amateurish, you-have-no-idea-what-you-are-doing kind of playing eek ##

How did you make out acoustic or DP? What things did you look/listen for?

For folks without the skills/experience @mwf describes:

- What made you decide one way or another?
- Did you make an educated guess? Which is OK as well - I'm curious to know what made you guess?
- Random guess? Say anyway, what made you think so?

Last edited by mmathew; 04/30/21 08:01 AM.

A man must love a thing very much if he practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practice it without any hope of doing it well. Such a man must love the toils of the work more than any other man can love the rewards of it.
G. K. Chesterton
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If it's a good vst, the recording can fool you, but it doesn't fool you if you are playing live. Remember that a vst is the recording of single notes. And as we know, things really change when you play notes together. That's one obstacle, the next big obstacle is to find speakers/monitors that mimic a real piano, even for single notes it's a difficult task.

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The first and most obvious thing is, there are not so many people around who have equipment to record AP in a way it sounds clean.


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mmathew #3112241 04/30/21 08:59 AM
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Generally, I'd say I can tell the difference, but perhaps with a pro acoustic recording it would be difficult. The main giveaways would be the ambient/room sound, which generally would be greatly controlled in a recording studio. Now listening live I could definitely tell the difference - as it's really hard to duplicate the sound coming out of an acoustic grand vs speakers.

Does it matter? Well, not to me. I'm more about the quality of playing. That said, classical has such nuances that if you're recording on an entry-level digital, there may be things you're doing that won't get caught in the recording. But using a high-quality software piano you may be able to overcome this drawback.


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My digital 88 is at least 5 years old. Definitely the reverb is not as noticeable than hitting a key on an acoustic. Not a high-end digital for sure but nonetheless have weighted keys.

In a video recording you can see DPs don't have the box behind for the strings. In audio depends. A lot of church pieces I prefer to play with the organ sound so it's electronic anyway.

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Originally Posted by mmathew
Originally Posted by mwf
I'm very confident in my ears and musical senses so be careful when challenging me that's all I'm going to say.

Oh I trust you @mwf! I'm just curious to know the "how".

Until @msromike can give us some samples (and @msromike - you don't have to at all, this is purely a fun with a bit of learning if possible thread) - let's try a sample:

Acoustic or DP? https://soundcloud.com/basement_pianist/test-audio-rec/s-rnGVudIY7K8
## Kindly excuse the amateurish, you-have-no-idea-what-you-are-doing kind of playing eek ##

How did you make out acoustic or DP? What things did you look/listen for?

For folks without the skills/experience @mwf describes:

- What made you decide one way or another?
- Did you make an educated guess? Which is OK as well - I'm curious to know what made you guess?
- Random guess? Say anyway, what made you think so?

My guess is DIGITAL.
My reason is the sustain sounded short, and not as much resonance as anticipated from an acoustic.


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The reverb doesn't feel natural. It's more like an echo and I doubt you placed a grand piano in a long corridor.

The bass notes seem a bit muffled.

It sounds like a very well unison-tuned piano and acoustics stay in that condition only for a while between tunings. (I guess...)

It's not an acoustic piano.

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Indeed it is a DP, and thank you for sharing your observations and thought process :-)

This was recorded on an RD-2000. A global reverb and delay added.

Originally Posted by clothearednincompo

The reverb doesn't feel natural. It's more like an echo and I doubt you placed a grand piano in a long corridor.

The bass notes seem a bit muffled.

It sounds like a very well unison-tuned piano and acoustics stay in that condition only for a while between tunings. (I guess...)

It's not an acoustic piano.

Originally Posted by Ralphiano
My guess is DIGITAL.
My reason is the sustain sounded short, and not as much resonance as anticipated from an acoustic.


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Since I got it right first, I get the Steinway.

clothearednicompo gets the Medeli.

Last edited by Ralphiano; 04/30/21 04:54 PM.

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OK, as long as nobody says "Mac gets the Pianoteq". smile
Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Since I got it right first, I get the Steinway.

clothearednicompo gets the Medeli.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
OK, as long as nobody says "Mac gets the Pianoteq". smile
Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Since I got it right first, I get the Steinway.

clothearednicompo gets the Medeli.

Now would I do such a thing wink


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
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Originally Posted by mmathew
Acoustic or DP? https://soundcloud.com/basement_pianist/test-audio-rec/s-rnGVudIY7K8
## Kindly excuse the amateurish, you-have-no-idea-what-you-are-doing kind of playing eek ##

It sounds too clean and level to be acoustic.

Acoustic is muddy with any amount of pedal.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Originally Posted by mmathew
Acoustic or DP? https://soundcloud.com/basement_pianist/test-audio-rec/s-rnGVudIY7K8
## Kindly excuse the amateurish, you-have-no-idea-what-you-are-doing kind of playing eek ##

It sounds too clean and level to be acoustic.

Acoustic is muddy with any amount of pedal.

Well, there was absolutely no pedal used in this one, but I get what you're saying.


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Originally Posted by mmathew
Indeed it is a DP, and thank you for sharing your observations and thought process :-)

This was recorded on an RD-2000. A global reverb and delay added.

You shouldn't have added the delay - that was an immediate giveaway.

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Originally Posted by mwf
I can tell 100% in any recording if it's a DP or AP, no exceptions.

Okay, prove it. Here's 30 seconds of 16 bit 44.1kHz stereo wav audio.
Which is this then? Digital or acoustic?

piano 1.wav

And what about this? Digital or acoustic?

piano 2.wav

Remember, might be a deliberate trick question!

Maybe both are acoustic...

Maybe both are digital...

Maybe a digital piano was being performed live out loud in a room, recorded acoustically through the air via a microphone setup (not direct line output)...

Maybe acoustic piano was recorded live in quiet studio and tracks were carefully edited / cleaned up of extraneous noises in post production so it sounds super-clean like a digital piano, which could also confuse you.

Can you honestly tell 100% just from listening for realistic quality of piano tone / timbre alone?
I think beyond 50/50 guesswork, you require certain other given conditions to remain consistently the same for every case so you can actually discriminate any differences reliably. Once those frames of reference are deliberately moved, your previous sonic expectations can be fooled.

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Those are good sound snippets for the challenge. 👍

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Originally Posted by propianist
Originally Posted by mwf
I can tell 100% in any recording if it's a DP or AP, no exceptions.

Okay, prove it. Here's 30 seconds of 16 bit 44.1kHz stereo wav audio.
Which is this then? Digital or acoustic?

piano 1.wav

And what about this? Digital or acoustic?

piano 2.wav

Remember, might be a deliberate trick question!

Maybe both are acoustic...

Maybe both are digital...

Maybe a digital piano was being performed live out loud in a room, recorded acoustically through the air via a microphone setup (not direct line output)...

Maybe acoustic piano was recorded live in quiet studio and tracks were carefully edited / cleaned up of extraneous noises in post production so it sounds super-clean like a digital piano, which could also confuse you.

Can you honestly tell 100% just from listening for realistic quality of piano tone / timbre alone?
I think beyond 50/50 guesswork, you require certain other given conditions to remain consistently the same for every case so you can actually discriminate any differences reliably. Once those frames of reference are deliberately moved, your previous sonic expectations can be fooled.
They both sound acoustic to me, with the first one having less room sound/different mic position. That's because they sound a bit detuned. I do think that with a lot of work, one could achieve this kind of sound with a digital post-production, but you don't mention doing any of that.


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I don't know if they are acoustic, but I'm pretty sure they both are NOT from an internal digital piano engine from Roland, Kawai or Yamaha.

The first recording looks more like an old upright piano sound.

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I also thought that 1 is upright and 2 is grand but beyond that...no idea. Either one could be real or VST.

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Originally Posted by mmathew
HERE WE GO AGAIN - Round #1128

If someone posted an audio recording of their playing, would you be able to tell if the instrument was a digital or acoustic?

- What are the things that give it away?

- Would it make a difference if the DP audio was recorded by (ambient/close mics) vs. (onboard recording) vs. (computer recording)?

- Would it matter to you?

In photography, it's pretty easy to identify a film photograph (even if it was digitally printed) vs. a digital photograph? In some cases, it might require a closer look, but it's easy to tell.

That easy with recorded piano audio?

Your piano never sounds the same twice. The notes you play always sound different.


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In 2009 a Roland V piano demo was already capable of fooling you, the problem is when you play live. No dp can fool you live.

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#1 sounds like an acoustic, poorly mic'd.

#2 is very clean, so I think it's a line out recording of a digital piano (or maybe a VST).

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Sounded like the same DP with different settings

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Originally Posted by propianist
Originally Posted by mwf
I can tell 100% in any recording if it's a DP or AP, no exceptions.

Okay, prove it. Here's 30 seconds of 16 bit 44.1kHz stereo wav audio.
Which is this then? Digital or acoustic?

piano 1.wav

And what about this? Digital or acoustic?

piano 2.wav

Remember, might be a deliberate trick question!

Maybe both are acoustic...

Maybe both are digital...

Maybe a digital piano was being performed live out loud in a room, recorded acoustically through the air via a microphone setup (not direct line output)...

Maybe acoustic piano was recorded live in quiet studio and tracks were carefully edited / cleaned up of extraneous noises in post production so it sounds super-clean like a digital piano, which could also confuse you.

Can you honestly tell 100% just from listening for realistic quality of piano tone / timbre alone?
I think beyond 50/50 guesswork, you require certain other given conditions to remain consistently the same for every case so you can actually discriminate any differences reliably. Once those frames of reference are deliberately moved, your previous sonic expectations can be fooled.


1 acoustic
2 digital

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Originally Posted by propianist
Originally Posted by mwf
I can tell 100% in any recording if it's a DP or AP, no exceptions.

Okay, prove it. Here's 30 seconds of 16 bit 44.1kHz stereo wav audio.
Which is this then? Digital or acoustic?

piano 1.wav

And what about this? Digital or acoustic?

piano 2.wav

Remember, might be a deliberate trick question!

Maybe both are acoustic...

Maybe both are digital...

Maybe a digital piano was being performed live out loud in a room, recorded acoustically through the air via a microphone setup (not direct line output)...

Maybe acoustic piano was recorded live in quiet studio and tracks were carefully edited / cleaned up of extraneous noises in post production so it sounds super-clean like a digital piano, which could also confuse you.

Can you honestly tell 100% just from listening for realistic quality of piano tone / timbre alone?
I think beyond 50/50 guesswork, you require certain other given conditions to remain consistently the same for every case so you can actually discriminate any differences reliably. Once those frames of reference are deliberately moved, your previous sonic expectations can be fooled.


Both have been performed on the same upright. A crappy one. Most likely made in North Amercia. If it was in the middle east I'd say made in Russia.


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@propianist: Okay, it has been two days. Where's the revelation?

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We are still missing the answer from mwf.

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Me on YouTube

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@propianist: Okay, it has been two days. Where's the revelation?

MacMacMac, you'll just have to WaitWaitWait...!

mwf is the person whose very bold claim initiated this challenge to prove otherwise, so we'll give him plenty of due time to recite whatever "eenie meenie miney mo" guessing routine he uses to derive his answer. The world awaits with baited breath...

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mwf has a 50% of randomly guessing the first recording.
And he likewise has a 50% of guessing the second recording.

This gives him a 25% of guessing both correctly ... without even listening.
If that happens, does that prove his bold claim? I say no.

By the way, didn't I make a similar (but less bold) claim earlier?
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Pianoteq aside ... it's usually easy to tell the difference, especially when using comparing an acoustic with the native sound of a digital piano.
It's often more difficult to distinguish a good VST from an acoustic. But not always difficult ... because some VSTs don't measure up.
OTOH, when listening live there's no comparison.
I did listen ... but I don't think that changes things. If I get both right, that still doesn't prove anything. frown

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My guessing is 1 digital and 2 acoustic. 2 has string resonance that sounds more natural to me

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Nobody willing to guess which my recording is, acoustic or digital? I feel rejected. cool

If anyone will indeed guess, then please state why that one has come to the conclusion (s)he came to.


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Originally Posted by TheodorN
Nobody willing to guess which my recording is, acoustic or digital? I feel rejected. cool

If anyone will indeed guess, then please state why that one has come to the conclusion (s)he came to.

I can't say. Could be either way. I don't hear any mechanical noises but I suppose it's possible to get a rather "clean" recording from an acoustic upright.

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Originally Posted by TheodorN

Oops I missed this. I am guessing this is a digital recording. It was very clean, and many "too bright" spots which I guessed to come from a VST. I am no expert at acoustics and have only played them to when I went to try DPs, so I may be wrong.

If the recording (acoustic or digital, leaving out live performances) is EQed, and uniformly "mellowed" - my conviction is that I personally won't be able to tell the difference. I listen to a lot of classical piano music on CD and Amazon. After a long time, although the music was different, the recordings sounded the same and appeared to be of the same quality.

I expanded on that thought and started this thread to learn more...

Last edited by mmathew; 05/05/21 06:41 AM.

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mmathew #3113839 05/05/21 06:41 AM
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It's this one

https://www.toontrack.com/product/ezkeys-upright-piano/

rendered in Reaper. Threw it a bit out of tune, raised the reverb, and normalized to -2.5db. Won't keep people waiting for days.

Maybe fair to mention this is not my playing, it's from a MIDI I found. I can't play anywhere near this level.

Good catch, mmathew. I assumed this one was easy, maybe it wasn't. The EZKeys Upright Piano is less than one gigabyte in size.

Let me add, I will not even try to guess the other recordings from propianist, just don't have the ears for it.

Last edited by TheodorN; 05/05/21 06:46 AM.

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TheodorN,
I knew it was digital yesterday when I heard it, but didn't want to rain on the parade by giving away the answer immediately before anyone else had a time to listen.
Kihar,
Piano 1 definitely has natural sounding string resonances all the way through it as well... if you were observing that 2 does, therefore implying maybe 1 does not. They both do.

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I have seen a couple of recent posts from @mwf in other threads, so I don't mean any offense at all - maybe he/she is just too busy... but I don't want this thread to go down forgotten; I believe there is something to be learnt and understood as far as audio recordings go....

Because we have not received any response from @mwf - in a fun way let's call bluff :-) and have the results from @propianist?

What say, folks?


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I gotta know right now!
(You don't need to think on it.)

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I was curious to wait and find out whether mwf would reply, but now I'm more curious to wait and find out whether MacMacMac's head will explode soon if he doesn't get the answer...

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I've no idea really to be honest, to me number 2 sounded really gorgeous though, probably that one is the acoustic, but could be a very high quality vst indeed, number 1 also probably is an acoustic, people should just ignore me, my sense of humour in UK is more dry, you shouldn't take me seriously, sorry to mess anyone around.

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My guess: 1 digital and 2 acoustic. But will we ever get an answer?


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Originally Posted by Animisha
But will we ever get an answer?

It's a well-documented fact, Animisha, that the answer is always... 42. smile


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Would be fun to know the answer, though I'm in no hurry myself, since I'm not good at guessing stuff like this. If it were glaringly synthetically sounding, maybe I would be able to tell. Won't reveal which VSTi that could apply to, but I'll give you a hint - the first letter is Pianoteq. eek


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Piano 1 (slower tempo playing) was a digital multi-sample of an upright piano, recorded in mono (stereo effect achieved by panning keys). This total multi-sample library is only 64 MB in size (as uncompressed linear WAV files 16 bit 44.1kHz) - tiny by modern standards, but apparently realistic sounding enough to fool many listeners here to believe it was an actual acoustic they were hearing.

Piano 2 (faster tempo playing) was a live acoustic recording of a Steinway D concert grand at Gateway Studios in Surrey, UK. Recording is just a single mono microphone, originally 24 bit 96kHz recording, then downsampled to 16 bit 44.1kHz for this. There's audible player noise present, so this example should have been easy to identify.

The only two people who got each answer correct were... Kihar and Animisha. Well done you!

I think what this vaguely proves, it seems to me, is that it's borderline impossible to tell 100% certain whether you're hearing a digital piano or an acoustic piano from just a random unfamiliar recording played over speakers.

Sonic fidelity of the audio and mic positioning have such a big influence on the sound you're hearing - and are probably the biggest unknown and variable quantity with adverse effects on piano timbre realism - far more or greater extent probably than any digital sampling related artefacts that might spoil the illusion.

You might be fooled into believing you're hearing an acoustic piano track most probably if the audiophile recording fidelity sounds lifelike and realistic (even in spite of tiny digital sampling artefacts that might be barely audible) because you can "hear" the authentic instrument timbre being played coming through in the recording.

Conversely, the illusion of realistic piano timbre can be quickly destroyed by a poor recording of an acoustic instrument. Even if it was acoustic, you might dismiss it as "fake" or a bad sounding digital perhaps, just because it was unpleasant to listen to.

Poor sonic fidelity often so swamps the listening experience, that it becomes really hard or impossible to look past that enough to solely focus on isolating those digital artefacts (or lack thereof) to make an informed judgment. Many digital VSTs suffer from poor sonic fidelity EVEN IF they are 88 note sampled with 30 second sustain sample and lack noticeable digital artefacts, but essentially they just sound so bad and give "digital samples" a poor reputation. eg. anyone remember Native Akoustik?!

Obviously sometimes you can spot a digital if their digital artefacts are very obviously bad and noticeable, or if you are very familiar with the digital tone or restricted dynamic range of a certain particular brand or model series within a brand, eg. Yamaha or Roland, or one specific VST you own and use every day, you might just about be able to hear it and recognize it.

Conclusion - if it's hard for even experienced pianists and digital piano enthusiasts to tell digital vs acoustic sounds apart in a recording, then the untrained ear of the general public should be easily fooled.

However one unanimous truth remains - sit down and play the keyboard live for yourself - 1st person experience - and you can instantly recognise a digital vs acoustic instrument under your own fingers from the way it BEHAVES and sounds in real life... rather than hearing how it sounds disembodied from the playing experience, reproduced artificially through loudspeakers or headphones.

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@propianist: I think that the DIGITAL PIANOs world and the Piano VSTs world are 2 totally different animals. AFAIK actually it doesn't exist a DP that (with its internal piano engine) sounds like a real acoustic Steinway D/Yamaha CFX/Kawai SK-EX in such a way that could fool expert ears. But you can find some VST libraries very nice and realistic to the listener.

Anyway, your tiny 64MB VST upright sounds realistic, but how it is to play? In all the tiny VSTs I tried I can hear sudden jumps from a layer to the next one when I play... So, they might sound good to the listener but in most cases they are horrible for the player.

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I got it right in my head.. Thought number 2 was the acoustic like i said, number 1 was not as good so makes sense it was a digital yeah.

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Originally Posted by mwf
I got it right in my head.. Thought number 2 was the acoustic like i said, number 1 was not as good so makes sense it was a digital yeah.
To me, at least in that small excerpt, both sounded like an acoustic recording, with the 1st recognizable as a (very nice) upright (you can easily distinguish by the bass octaves, weaker on an upright), the 2nd as a grand, but the 2nd with better audio quality in the recording.

Usually I can easily distinguish a digital piano (internal engine) recording from an acoustic one, but with some good VSTs it is much harder. Internal DP engines are easily recognizable because many little details in the high frequencies are cut off or very short in duration and the "beating" effects are very poor, inexistent or too short and regular (because the loops).
P.S.: the "beating" effect is one of the audible characteristics in real piano tones that occurs mainly due to the coupling of slightly detuned strings of a single note.

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I thought number 1 was a crappy acoustic.
It turned out to be a crappy digital. frown

I thought number 2 was a sterile digital. No air. No resonance. Dead.
It turned out to be a perfectly good acoustic that sounded lifeless because of the recording conditions.
As Mr. Pro said:
Quote
... the illusion of realistic piano timbre can be quickly destroyed by a poor recording of an acoustic instrument."

This is paramount:
Quote
... sit down and play the keyboard live for yourself - 1st person experience - and you can instantly recognize a digital vs acoustic instrument under
your own fingers from the way it BEHAVES and sounds in real life ... rather than hearing how it sounds disembodied from the playing experience,
reproduced artificially through loudspeakers or headphones.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I thought number 1 was a crappy acoustic.
It turned out to be a crappy digital. frown
Why do you think it's a crappy acoustic? I think the original acoustic from which it was recorded the 1st piano sound had to be a very nice upright: not too much percussive and unusually rich sounding (for an upright) upper range

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I thought number 1 was a crappy acoustic.
It turned out to be a crappy digital. frown
You do see the sheer contradiction / dumb irony of your statement, don't you?!

.. it turned out to be a "crappy" digital which sounded so realistic that YOU THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY AN ACOUSTIC PIANO !!! By your own statement!!!
Therefore, as a digital replication of the real thing, it is surely ANYTHING BUT "crappy"... in fact, it did its job of fooling the listener's ear absolutely perfectly! That's exactly what a digital piano emulation is hopefully designed to do.

Your term "crappy" may of course refer to it being recorded mono, or perhaps that piano hadn't been tuned for years - a character upright as sometimes people desire for certain boogie woogie / ragtime style - fair enough... but as far as the core issue under debate - acoustic instrument vs digital replication - the proof is in the pudding that you couldn't tell the difference.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I thought number 2 was a sterile digital. No air. No resonance. Dead.
Okay well, let's write a letter of complaint to Mr. Steinway in Hamburg, Germany, shall we? How much more resonance are you expecting to find elsewhere? Maybe your ears have grown accustomed to playing VSTs with their artificial sympathetic resonance FX turned up to maximum effect, to such a degree that a mere natural amount of resonance sounds lifeless by comparison?

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
It turned out to be a perfectly good acoustic that sounded lifeless because of the recording conditions.
Okay well, let's write a letter of complaint to Gateway Studios, shall we? Perhaps their acoustics suck. Or perhaps the top class Sennheiser MKH80 microphone and Apogee A/D converters and 24 bit 96kHz sampling are partly to blame? (This was recorded over 20 years ago by the way, hence the equipment dating from that era.)

I think you actually just don't like hearing "dead" mono recordings nor a fixed mic perspective colouration. Not to blame you, because I don't like those either(!), but that's actually just natural acoustic behaviour of sound going into a mono microphone. That is what things sound like in the real world. That's physics and acoustics for you. And also that's why this was somewhat of a trick question, for the modern listener used to VSTs. Move the sonic goalposts a little bit away from what you're used to hearing, and the listener is easily fooled.

Originally Posted by magicpiano
To me, at least in that small excerpt, both sounded like an acoustic recording, with the 1st recognizable as a (very nice) upright (you can easily distinguish by the bass octaves, weaker on an upright), the 2nd as a grand, but the 2nd with better audio quality in the recording.
Obviously, yes, a Steinway D concert grand will likely always sound "better audio quality" than a small domestic upright anyway, all things being equal...

But that aside, since you said, "...the 2nd with better audio quality in the recording...", you might be interested to know that the recording chain was EXACTLY the same hardware for both audio examples.

Same microphone (Sennheiser MKH80)
Same mic preamp (DACS MicAmp)
Same A/D converter (Apogee PSX100)
Same linear sampling rate (24 bit 96kHz)
Same down-converting to 16 bit 44.1kHz for the final result you're listening too.

So the only differences you are really hearing are literally the different designs of instruments (different mechanical physics of sound radiation, in different acoustic buildings, etc.) and the fact one was a digital multi-sample note playback performed live from MIDI keyboard, whereas one was acoustically captured live playing.

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Why, you ask?
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I thought number 1 was a crappy acoustic.
It turned out to be a crappy digital. frown
Why do you think it's a crappy acoustic? I think the original acoustic from which it was recorded the 1st piano sound had to be a very nice upright: not too much percussive and unusually rich sounding (for an upright) upper range
I didn't like the sound at all. And it's been revealed as a digital sample.
So @pro is right about one thing. The sampling was faithful. The digitized piano sounds crappy, just like the original.
But he's wrong about one thing: That's not a contradiction.

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@propianist: you said you used the same hw to record the 2 different instruments. But it was the same location too? The same recording studio?
Apart from the more precise and deeper bass notes (of course, it's a Steinway D!), to me the Piano n.2 sounds more "dynamic", "bright" and "open", but if I listen more carefully I also think the pianist used more pedal on the upright, compared to the grand version, especially in the central part of that excerpt.

P.S.: I think MacMacMac meant that the piano n.2 sounds very dry. Usually you imagine a Steinway D in a big hall, so you expect some nice natural reverb. But if you recorded it in a recording studio full of soundproof walls then that type of dry sound is to be expected, like it was generated by an (high-quality) VST with reverb disabled.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Why, you ask?
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I thought number 1 was a crappy acoustic.
It turned out to be a crappy digital. frown
Why do you think it's a crappy acoustic? I think the original acoustic from which it was recorded the 1st piano sound had to be a very nice upright: not too much percussive and unusually rich sounding (for an upright) upper range
I didn't like the sound at all. And it's been revealed as a digital sample.
So @pro is right about one thing. The sampling was faithful. The digitized piano sounds crappy, just like the original.
Ok, but I was asking WHY do you think it's crappy. What sound characteristics do you hate/dislike in that upright piano sound (apart from the simple fact it's an upright). Maybe are you saying that you dislike uprights sound timbres in general, or that you dislike that particular upright sound? And if this is the case, what upright piano do you think is very good sounding? What characteristics it should have to sound good in your mind? Just curiosity....

Of course, if you would like an upright to sound like a grand, then there would be an issue at the base of the reasoning... grin

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Good to get the answer, this was a fun ear exercise. What surprised me maybe most is that a 100MB piano VST was mistaken for an acoustic by some of those who took a guess.

I would have understood if it had been a high-end VSTi, something like the VSL Boesendorfer, but not a freebie soundfont or whatever it was. I'm curious to know which instrument was used in the first recording. Was it a known piano VST?


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MagicPiano
No, the two pianos were not in the same building or location, as I said.
Originally Posted by propianist
So the differences you are hearing are literally the different designs of instruments, different mechanical physics of sound radiation, in different acoustic buildings, etc.

TheodorN
The 64MB sample was a Kemble upright piano (Kemble have been owned by Yamaha since the 1980's) recorded in a domestic living room with carpet and soft furnishings and was multi-sampled and edited by me when I was a much younger chap, approx 22 years ago.
At the time I though it sounded more realistic / lifelike than many of the vanilla commercial digital piano modules and stage pianos of the time.
So thinking the results were quite promising for a small audiophile 64MB library, I decided to go into a local studio to record a Steinway D - my dream piano. The studio room was much larger with wood tiled floor and high ceilings. The result of that sampling session unfortunately was less impressive to me, perhaps because the Steinway had much, much longer sustains with evolving timbre so really couldn't be satisfactorily captured in just 64MB (to fit my Yamaha EX5R rack sampler of the time.) So after that, I kinda gave up trying to multi-sample pianos myself. Nowadays there's so many fairly good commercial VSTs that it's quicker and easier just to keep shopping around buying those VSTs from time to time hoping to find the holy grail one day, whereas sampling your own piano takes forever to manually edit all the notes in the DAW. I furthermore think that because most commercial companies these days use automated software scripts to batch process all the note samples that certain bad notes fall through the cracks undetected. My old fashioned approach was to listen carefully to every single note individually and edit each one by hand the hard way, but that yields much better results.

MacMacMac
Okay, so you do NOT see the sheer contradiction in your statement. Good to know.
I'm sorry you think my upright piano sounds crappy. Everyone has to start somewhere and that's all I had when I was a teenager. If I could afford a Steinway I would buy one.
The Gateway Studios Steinway D recording session cost me £50 an hour for 4 hours and in such a limited short time, I just couldn't get everything recorded how I wanted, in terms of getting enough different velocities captured for each key and choosing best mic positions, etc. That's probably why that Steinway D multi-sample never impressed me as much unfortunately, and I probably wasted my £200 there, but it was an interesting learning experience. I think I'd need many long days in a studio to get an excellent multi-sample of a Steinway. It's not an easy job. It's not a cheap job either when you're a teenager.
At least that's one advantage of recording your own domestic upright piano in your own home - you've got ample time spare, no studio clock ticking, but the 64MB sample RAM restriction did obviously render the end result a bit "crappy" it's fair to say. I believe the actual instrument sounds and plays much nicer in real life.

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To me, they both have that out of tune ‘saloon piano’ sound

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Thank you for these explanations, propianist, an interesting story. Just shows that sampling a piano is no easy task, takes a lot of tedious work, and precision.


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Hi folks! My first post here, and my two cents.

1. What are the things that give it away?
You know, I usually can tell it's an acoustic due to a simple but striking feature of APs: 99% of time, they are out of tune. A homemade (or semipro for that matter) recording that does not have at least one clash...well, it was made with a DP, no doubt about that.

(Even in the realm of professional recordings...you listen strange things happening: the grand piano can be sometimes an unpredictable beast.)

Another indicator is pedalling. Although I've seen this particular point improving quite a lot in the last years, it is what generate the most noticeable artifacts in digital processing of a piano sound.

2. About using real MICs, etc. this will only decrease the quality of what you already have on the package. You'd have to have a stellar studio equipment (and a stellar studio room) to make any resampling/remicing/reanything justify the effort. And I doubt it will improve things the slightest.

3. Would it matter to me?
I'm an enthusiast of DPs since the early Clavinovas of the mid 2000s. I think we are approaching the 100% asymptote of emulation at a fast pace, and we are very, very near to the point of being indistinguishable for all practical purposes. Even before that, I'm about music, not fetish: I prefer to listen to someone playing very well with a Casio keyboard than to listen to this mainstream classical garbage played with the most unique Steinway, at the most unbeliveable stage, with the most cutting-edge audio production...oh, I'm annoyed just to write this...

My very best regards,
J.

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Originally Posted by desordre
...than to listen to this mainstream classical garbage played with the most unique Steinway, at the most unbeliveable stage, with the most cutting-edge audio production...oh...
Oooooh! I feel you, J. I bet you have someone in mind, when you typed this... Who's it? c'mon now.. don't be shy... Share it! Share it! Share it!


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Originally Posted by magicpiano
the "beating" effect is one of the audible characteristics in real piano tones that occurs mainly due to the coupling of slightly detuned strings of a single note.
That's a major advantage of digital pianos: the strings of a note can be correctly tuned to identical pitch.
Makes no sense to reintroduce that flaw of acoustics' incorrect tuning.

Last edited by Burkey; 05/13/21 08:26 PM.

Pianos are one of the best human inventions of the past 320 years - help evangelize the magic!
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The keyboard at home has speakers on both sides. Audio recordings need to be pointing towards 1 of the speakers for optimal pickup. Otherwise would get a lot of recording noise. The sound of an acoustic is more evenly distributed in the room so don't notice black spots in recording pickup.

Besides using a microphone, haven't been experimenting with connecting an audio cable from the keyboard headphone jack directly to the computer. This is supposed to eliminate background noise in the room.

It's an older keyboard with a reasonable piano sound. The reverb is not quite the same. The long notes don't hold as well without using a bit of sustain pedal.

Have been using digital for a while and only record on acoustic at a local conservatory when available. During music lessons the teacher uses a Yamaha Clavinova. She doesn't think learning on a DP is an issue.

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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Originally Posted by desordre
...than to listen to this mainstream classical garbage played with the most unique Steinway, at the most unbeliveable stage, with the most cutting-edge audio production...oh...
Oooooh! I feel you, J. I bet you have someone in mind, when you typed this... Who's it? c'mon now.. don't be shy... Share it! Share it! Share it!
Dear Josh,
Actually, I was thinking about an unfortunately large list of pianists: the commercial realm of hodiern art is a giant recycle bin, and since it's very difficult to sell old trash - mainly because it stinks of mold - people resort to progressively more desperate means (which includes all this fetishism of super-ultra-hyper cool stuff that does not add a penny to the music being made).

However, it is understandable: how do you promote something to sell if you have free versions available that offer the same experience and are subjectively better? Marketing 101, you overhype what is not available to everyone. And it's surprisingly effective! Apple keeps making billions with this beaten formula...

Now, coming back to the subject (sorry I digress a lot), I think we are freakingly near to the point where a piano album made at home with little to zero budget (other than the gear itself, but I mean production costs) will be sonically identical to anything a triple A label can offer, other than having a beautiful face on the cover and a ton of formidable stuff trying to justify the sales.

And to someone who thinks that it's not the case, when was the last time you bought a CD and when was the last time you digged into an unknown pianist YouTube channel? And what experience did you enjoy the most? Hip hip hurray to DPs, VSTs and DAWs: here lives the future of art music.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
the "beating" effect is one of the audible characteristics in real piano tones that occurs mainly due to the coupling of slightly detuned strings of a single note.
That's a major advantage of digital pianos: the strings of a note can be correctly tuned to identical pitch.
Makes no sense to reintroduce that flaw of acoustics' incorrect tuning.
Dear Burkey,
I think here lies the major challenge to making a digital piano sound 99.99...% authentic: the shape of the sympathetic resonances of a grand piano. There is an acoustic law at stake here: if you get three identically tuned sources, they don't add the same as three very very very very slightly "out of tune" ones. The reason, as modern piano wrote, are the beats (not the beets, it's important to make it clear...). And here is the part of approximating an infinite sum to save computational resources makes a difference: we musicians - and the well-acquainted lay persons - are like dogs, listening to subtleties that are sometimes difficult to measure.

However, I think we are closing the gap: combined approaches of sampling and modelling, and shear horse power, are the key IMHO.

As a side note, I agree 100%: having a well-tuned piano is the major advantage of a DP, because playing out of tune - as is the usual case with acoustics - is a nightmare and the reason I sold my upright many many years ago...

Best regards!

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Originally Posted by desordre
Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
the "beating" effect is one of the audible characteristics in real piano tones that occurs mainly due to the coupling of slightly detuned strings of a single note.
That's a major advantage of digital pianos: the strings of a note can be correctly tuned to identical pitch.
Makes no sense to reintroduce that flaw of acoustics' incorrect tuning.
Dear Burkey,
I think here lies the major challenge to making a digital piano sound 99.99...% authentic: the shape of the sympathetic resonances of a grand piano...However, I think we are closing the gap: combined approaches of sampling and modelling, and shear horse power, are the key IMHO.

If a realism was the goal, then we're not closing the gap at all just because of one area alone: Sympathetic Resonance. Going by Wikipedia's definition here:"a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness." I haven't found a DP or VST that could implement this live. This is much harder to replicate than half-pedaling, IMHO.

If an ideal piano sound is desired, doing away with the hammer strikes , pedal sounds, etc., then yes we have been closing the gap... smile


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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
the "beating" effect is one of the audible characteristics in real piano tones that occurs mainly due to the coupling of slightly detuned strings of a single note.
That's a major advantage of digital pianos: the strings of a note can be correctly tuned to identical pitch.
Well, that's not correct: inside the eprom of your typical digital piano engine, you don't have a different sample for each string of the original acoustic instrument... You have no more than 88 samples * n. velocity layers (but there could be other samples for the release and various resonances). So, in your typical digital piano engine (unless it's a Roland V-Piano) you cannot tune separately the 3 strings of each note. This means that if the original instrument had some not well tuned note because 1 or 2 of the 3 strings of that note (in the original acoustic piano) were not well tuned, you'll never be able to fix the issue with the options inside your DP. Either you like how the 3 strings of each key were tuned in the original instrument, or you have to buy another DP... (not many DP manufacturers allows you to put new samples inside the eprom!)
Quote
Makes no sense to reintroduce that flaw of acoustics' incorrect tuning.
What you call "a flaw" is just one of the many things that make an acoustic grand piano like a Steinway Model D or a Kawai SK-EX sound so beautiful and natural.
Do you know what happens if you take out from a piano sound some natural effects like the "beating", the "dispersion" (inharmonicity of upper partials in a vibrating metallic string), the "double-decay" and many others you can read in most research papers about piano sound modeling? Probably something like this:

BTW, the Roland Juno-60 was a very cool synth...

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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
If a realism was the goal, then we're not closing the gap at all just because of one area alone: Sympathetic Resonance.

Modern digital pianos have all kinds of resonances where "formerly passive strings" resonate: damper resonance, string resonance, undamped strings resonance...

...and as a bonus even cabinet resonance.

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@cloth-meister: Aren't all of those resonances just synthetic substitutes?

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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
If a realism was the goal, then we're not closing the gap at all just because of one area alone: Sympathetic Resonance.

Modern digital pianos have all kinds of resonances where "formerly passive strings" resonate: damper resonance, string resonance, undamped strings resonance...

...and as a bonus even cabinet resonance.
...but still no Sympathetic Resonance.

I gave a link of the full definition of Sympathetic Resonance in my original post here: Post#3117575.
Where'd you get yours? Can you name one DP or VST that explicitly says they have Sympathetic Resonance? +link of course


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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Can you name one DP or VST that explicitly says they have Sympathetic Resonance? +link of course

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Where's the link?

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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Where's the link?

Page #64 here: https://static.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/RD-2000_Parameter_Guide_eng01_W.pdf


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Originally Posted by mmathew
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Where's the link?

Page #64 here: https://static.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/RD-2000_Parameter_Guide_eng01_W.pdf

Thanks OP. Here' a Demo of RD-2000 artificial "sympathetic resonance". Please jump to 14:07.

Yep, that's it folks, I stand by what I said here: Post#3117575.:
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Originally Posted by desordre
...I think here lies the major challenge to making a digital piano sound 99.99...% authentic: the shape of the sympathetic resonances of a grand piano...However, I think we are closing the gap: combined approaches of sampling and modelling, and shear horse power, are the key IMHO.
If a realism was the goal, then we're not closing the gap at all just because of one area alone: Sympathetic Resonance. Going by Wikipedia's definition here:"a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness." I haven't found a DP or VST that could implement this live. This is much harder to replicate than half-pedaling, IMHO.

If an ideal piano sound is desired, doing away with the hammer strikes , pedal sounds, etc., then yes we have been closing the gap... smile


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Dear Josh,
Please notice I wrote "major challenge", not the only one: there are other factors at play for sure. And yes, pedaling is lagging behind and I just don't understand why. We have some technologies (optical, for instance) that are way better than what is used today to achieve a near-continuum control.

Anyway, resonances (not only sympathetic) are a pain to deal with. This is why we don't have anything acceptable in the realm of acoustic guitars yet: you can't sample every single nuance, let alone model it, and yet is a striking feature when you listen to music. But, again, I do believe we are - in the case of digital pianos - getting so close you almost feel it.

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The fp-90x at least to my ear has fixed the issues the JPS highlighted in the rd2000.

And you have control of five different string resonance parameters in the piano designer.

I suspect we are finally getting enough processing power.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@cloth-meister: Aren't all of those resonances just synthetic substitutes?

Isn't everything in digital pianos just synthetic substitutes?

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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
...but still no Sympathetic Resonance.

Damper resonance is sympathetic by nature.

String resonance is sympathetic by nature.

Undamped strings resonance is sympathetic by nature.

In all of those "a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness."

Is there any resonance in a piano that isn't sympathetic(?)

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Of course the resonance implementations (simulations/synthetic substitutes) may then be more or less incomplete.

Some digital pianos have none, some only have damper resonance, some have string resonance implementations that omit some of the less important harmonics while others are more complete etc.

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You don't need optical sensors to deliver continuous control. A pot will do nicely.

My piano has a pot-based pedal, but the piano produces only seven pedal levels. It's not continuous, but it could surely be more finely graduated ... without resorting to optical sensors.
Originally Posted by desordre
... pedaling is lagging behind and I just don't understand why. We have some technologies (optical, for instance) that are way better than what is used today to achieve a near-continuum control.
But that's not the important part. I can think of two challenges:

1. It's about the samples. If you want it to truly realistic, you'd need to augment the current sample-per-velocity-range with a sample-per-pedal-range. In total that's a sample for each pedal range for each velocity range. It's a multiplier. And that's a lot of samples.

Or else you'd need to fake the damper by using filters or DSP or other audio trickery. That's probably what's being done now.

2. It's about the market. If a continuous damper were available, how much would it cost? And I wonder how many more pianos would be sold to damper afficionados because of the damper improvements?

I think the sales benefit would be negligible. But what do I know?

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Many DP piano engines (in the last 7-8 years) try to emulate sympathetic resonances with 3 effects: "Damper Resonance", "String Resonance", "Undamped Strings Resonance".

Damper Resonance
- It tries to emulate the sympathetic resonances you should hear when you play with the sustain pedal depressed.

String Resonance
- It adds sympathetic resonances only from the held notes (when you play other notes of the same harmonic overtone series).

Undamped Strings Resonance
- It adds sympathetic resonances from the undamped strings in a piano (upper octaves and, theoretically, duplex scaling too).

The problem is that IMHO, of the 3 effects, only the "String Resonance" effect is implemented decently. I think the other 2 are implemented in a very basic way in current internal piano engines, being that the final result leaves much to be desired. Damper Resonance is often implemented as a special type of reverb added to the sound notes with pedal depressed, so it adds "muddiness" more than "sympathetic resonances" to the sound. Undamped Strings Resonance is often implemented just as a little sample added to each note you play. Usually I feel it's fake, too short and undetailed.

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
the "beating" effect is one of the audible characteristics in real piano tones that occurs mainly due to the coupling of slightly detuned strings of a single note.
That's a major advantage of digital pianos: the strings of a note can be correctly tuned to identical pitch.
Well, that's not correct: inside the eprom of your typical digital piano engine, you don't have a different sample for each string of the original acoustic instrument...
No - note that I wrote: 'the strings of a note can be correctly tuned to identical pitch'.

I.e. I never stated that all (or most) current digital pianos do this.


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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@cloth-meister: Aren't all of those resonances just synthetic substitutes?

Isn't everything in digital pianos just synthetic substitutes?

This. Everything in the DP is synthetic. The intent behind my expedition is to find out to what level the DPs are now at, in terms of producing album-worthy recordings. Naturally, they will be compared to acoustics. But, are they really that far off, when listening to a recorded performance played on a DP?

From a player's perspective, the differences are obvious, from the moment the player sits at a DP, without even touching a key.

Producing album-worthy recordings on a DP - am I hearing the DPs say, "why not? bring it on." Or will they never be any good?

This post here at our beloved vi-control.net is worthy of perusal: https://vi-control.net/community/th...ce-worth-the-effort.109329/#post-4824324

It talks about sampled instruments, but I guess, for the moment, we can generalize to all DPs.

Quoting a portion of text from there:
"
Fab, If you're thinking of recording piano even semi-regularly, it's much cheaper—and you'll get a much better outcome—if you get a good 88 note controller and a top tier piano sample library than mucking about with microphones/piano tuners etc.

Some years ago I sold two perfectly good acoustic grand pianos, replaced them with an all-digital setup. Absolutely no regrets.

Instead of my never-quite-perfectly-in-tune pianos, inexpertly recorded with my OK-but-not-great-microphones, I get the microphones, placement, sound engineers, instruments, expertise and ambience of somewhere like Synchron Stage (VSL) or Abbey Road Studios (Garritan CFX), all recorded on a $250,000 instrument. And then—particularly with Synchron—I then also get a wealth of microphone options for sculpting the sound.

Recent example using Yamaha CFX VSL is below, also plenty of Garritan examples at my YouTube Channel. No acoustic pianos used in any of the videos.

"

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
You don't need optical sensors to deliver continuous control. A pot will do nicely.

My piano has a pot-based pedal, but the piano produces only seven pedal levels. It's not continuous, but it could surely be more finely graduated ... without resorting to optical sensors.
Originally Posted by desordre
... pedaling is lagging behind and I just don't understand why. We have some technologies (optical, for instance) that are way better than what is used today to achieve a near-continuum control.
But that's not the important part. I can think of two challenges:

1. It's about the samples. If you want it to truly realistic, you'd need to augment the current sample-per-velocity-range with a sample-per-pedal-range. In total that's a sample for each pedal range for each velocity range. It's a multiplier. And that's a lot of samples.

Or else you'd need to fake the damper by using filters or DSP or other audio trickery. That's probably what's being done now.

2. It's about the market. If a continuous damper were available, how much would it cost? And I wonder how many more pianos would be sold to damper afficionados because of the damper improvements?

I think the sales benefit would be negligible. But what do I know?

Dear Mac^3,
What you wrote in point 1 makes a lot of sense. I was thinking more of a modelling approach, but when it comes down to sampling...yeap, we're talking about a huge section of the library just devoted to that.

However, about the sales and price, perhaps now it is prohibitive but mostly everything a digital piano does today was also prohibitive in terms of costs (or computer horse power) a decade ago. If you consider the decade to come, I truly believe the details we lack today we'll be mainstream in DP production. Even because we are really talking now about final tweaks in a massively well-developed new instrument.

Let's wait and see...or play, i mean :-P

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I suppose on paper anyway, this is where completely modeled digital pianos or vsts would have an advantage over sampled.

Provided there is enough processing power and a good model for these interactions.

Roland with their pure acoustic modeling to my ear have gone through a lot of trouble to try to model these resonances.

And the sustain in a note seems endless.

And along with an increase in processing power, we also have more memory and so companies like dexibell can offer longer samples. Although I would conjecture there are still some digital techniques perhaps sample interpolation that still must take place.

As far as recorded sound dps are doing well.

But competing with a 1000 lbs of resonating stuff in a live environment seems pretty tough, especially for a slab keyboard.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by Burkey
That's a major advantage of digital pianos: the strings of a note can be correctly tuned to identical pitch.
Well, that's not correct: inside the eprom of your typical digital piano engine, you don't have a different sample for each string of the original acoustic instrument...
No - note that I wrote: 'the strings of a note can be correctly tuned to identical pitch'.

I.e. I never stated that all (or most) current digital pianos do this.
Note that I wrote: "that's not correct".
I.e. I never stated that you were 'totally' wrong. grin

Jokes aside, IMHO if you say: "That's a major advantage of digital pianos", all human beings with standard IQ and no extrasensory abilities would think that you are referring to "MOST" digital pianos, rather than "A VERY FEW" digital pianos... I'm wrong?

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Do you know what happens if you take out from a piano sound some natural effects like the "beating" ...? Probably something like this:

BTW, the Roland Juno-60 was a very cool synth...

Actually wouldn't an easier way just to use the una corda pedal, so that the hammers which normally strike all three of the strings for a note strike only two of them?

And yes the Juno-60 sounds like every Amiga 8-bit stereo audio demo & game soundtrack from the 1980s == uber cool smile

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
IMHO if you say: "That's a major advantage of digital pianos", all human beings with standard IQ and no extrasensory abilities would think that you are referring to "MOST" digital pianos, rather than "A VERY FEW" digital pianos... I'm wrong?
No: 'digital pianos' means the whole genre of pianos which are digital. This also includes all future digital pianos.

Yes the English language is quite ambiguous - Johannes Gutenberg invented the moveable-type printing press about a century too early (with that extra time English would have been simplified to perfection)... Germans angering the British like this had dire consequence down the road :-p

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Kawaii’s sympathetic resonances are not reverb, they are triggered sustain portions of their samples: the octave, twelfth and possibly others.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Do you know what happens if you take out from a piano sound some natural effects like the "beating" ...? Probably something like this:
link
BTW, the Roland Juno-60 was a very cool synth...

Actually wouldn't an easier way just to use the una corda pedal, so that the hammers which normally strike all three of the strings for a note strike only two of them?
"Easier" for what? To get less 'beating'? Yes, you'll get less beating, but there will always be a beating effect. But why you should remove that natural effect from an acoustic piano? It's one of the many things that makes a piano sound like a piano and not like an organ.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
IMHO if you say: "That's a major advantage of digital pianos", all human beings with standard IQ and no extrasensory abilities would think that you are referring to "MOST" digital pianos, rather than "A VERY FEW" digital pianos... I'm wrong?
No: 'digital pianos' means the whole genre of pianos which are digital. This also includes all future digital pianos.
But it also includes the current and the previous generations of digital pianos with no distinction between the many types of piano engines, so your reasoning seems a bit weak to me... IMHO you should have said: "That's a major advantage of digital pianos with single-string-tuning capabilities"...
Another consideration: we cannot assume for sure that ALL future digital piano engines will have this feature (single-string-tuning).
Quote
Yes the English language is quite ambiguous - Johannes Gutenberg invented the moveable-type printing press about a century too early (with that extra time English would have been simplified to perfection)... Germans angering the British like this had dire consequence down the road :-p
IMHO it's not the language itself to be ambiguous... It's the way you use it that could generate ambiguity or not. If there may be ambiguity in a sentence, simply disambiguate it (usually adding 1 or 2 more words should be enough).

Originally Posted by emenelton
Kawaii’s sympathetic resonances are not reverb, they are triggered sustain portions of their samples: the octave, twelfth and possibly others.
That could be true for "String Resonance" but not for "Damped String Resonance". The latter to my ears sounds just like a reverb effect added when you depress the sustain pedal.

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by emenelton
Kawaii’s sympathetic resonances are not reverb, they are triggered sustain portions of their samples: the octave, twelfth and possibly others.
That could be true for "String Resonance" but not for "Damped String Resonance". The latter to my ears sounds just like a reverb effect added when you depress the sustain pedal.

My Forte has the damper resonance reverb as well(probably).

I’ve always appreciated Kawaii’s ‘triggered’ sympathetic resonance routine. Compared to all others; l don’t consider it artificial.

Thanks

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Do you know what happens if you take out from a piano sound some natural effects like the "beating" ...? Probably something like this:
link
BTW, the Roland Juno-60 was a very cool synth...

Actually wouldn't an easier way just to use the una corda pedal, so that the hammers which normally strike all three of the strings for a note strike only two of them?
"Easier" for what? To get less 'beating'? Yes, you'll get less beating, but there will always be a beating effect. But why you should remove that natural effect from an acoustic piano? It's one of the many things that makes a piano sound like a piano and not like an organ.
I actually don't find the out of tune strings that attractive.
Indeed many people get migraines from such off colour sound.


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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
IMHO if you say: "That's a major advantage of digital pianos", all human beings with standard IQ and no extrasensory abilities would think that you are referring to "MOST" digital pianos, rather than "A VERY FEW" digital pianos... I'm wrong?
No: 'digital pianos' means the whole genre of pianos which are digital. This also includes all future digital pianos.
But it also includes the current and the previous generations of digital pianos with no distinction between the many types of piano engines, so your reasoning seems a bit weak to me... IMHO you should have said: "That's a major advantage of digital pianos with single-string-tuning capabilities"...
Another consideration: we cannot assume for sure that ALL future digital piano engines will have this feature (single-string-tuning).
Again, no where did I ever state 'ALL' future digital pianos would have such a feature. Let's stop putting words into people's keyboards shall we smile

My reasoning and wording are both perfectly sound:
The complete genre of digital pianos as a whole allows the great many limitations afflicting acoustic pianos to be fixed once and for all.

The acoustic piano is dead;
Long live the digital piano!

Last edited by Burkey; 05/15/21 11:45 AM.

Pianos are one of the best human inventions of the past 320 years - help evangelize the magic!
Burkey #3117893 05/15/21 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Burkey
The acoustic piano is dead;
Long live the digital piano!
This! grin

Burkey #3117903 05/15/21 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
But it also includes the current and the previous generations of digital pianos with no distinction between the many types of piano engines, so your reasoning seems a bit weak to me... IMHO you should have said: "That's a major advantage of digital pianos with single-string-tuning capabilities"...
Another consideration: we cannot assume for sure that ALL future digital piano engines will have this feature (single-string-tuning).
Again, no where did I ever state 'ALL' future digital pianos would have such a feature. Let's stop putting words into people's keyboards shall we smile
And where did I ever state that you said that? It was clearly just a consideration from me. Maybe it's you the one trying to put words into my keyboard...? smile
Quote
My reasoning and wording are both perfectly sound:
The complete genre of digital pianos as a whole allows the great many limitations afflicting acoustic pianos to be fixed once and for all.

The acoustic piano is dead;
Long live the digital piano!
There are certainly some limitations/annoyances afflicting acoustic grand pianos, like the size, the weight, the volume of the generated sound, the price, tuning and maintenance costs. But the incredible amount of nuances, richness, details and immersive experience you can get from its sound is unrivaled with any current digital piano.

Another thing: let's say you play C4 on a current digital piano... It will always be the same C4 sound even in 30 years. On the contrary, even on a well-tuned and well-maintained acoustic piano, that C4 will be slightly different in the years, but always beautiful, because the wood ages and the tuning of the strings cannot be always exactly the same... So the sound evolves like a person who grows and slightly changes his/her character. That's incredible, it's almost like a living being...

So, acoustic pianos are dead? In your head, maybe. I guess you too, as Pete14, dream of electric sheep... grin

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Originally Posted by mmathew
It talks about sampled instruments, but I guess, for the moment, we can generalize to all DPs.
No, that has literally nothing to do at all with DPs.

Quote
Quoting a portion of text from there: "[...] Some years ago I sold two perfectly good acoustic grand pianos, replaced them with an all-digital setup. Absolutely no regrets.

Instead of my never-quite-perfectly-in-tune pianos, inexpertly recorded with my OK-but-not-great-microphones, I get the microphones, placement, sound engineers, instruments, expertise and ambience of somewhere like Synchron Stage (VSL) or Abbey Road Studios (Garritan CFX), all recorded on a $250,000 instrument. And then—particularly with Synchron—I then also get a wealth of microphone options for sculpting the sound."

They outsourced recording the piano to someone else and are mixing samples recorded from a grand piano by someone else. That's nothing unusual. That's exactly what these sample libraries are meant for. It's the same for recording voice: You are able to sing or use an autotune plugin and let it sing for you.

There is nothing wrong with that, but the topic of recording acoustic pianos and (re)using samples recorded from them has nothing to do with using digital pianos at all.


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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Another thing: let's say you play C4 on a current digital piano... It will always be the same C4 sound even in 30 years.
Complete nonsense. You simply upgrade to Pianoteq 42: sounds better every year!

Last edited by Burkey; 05/15/21 09:16 PM.

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Burkey #3118043 05/15/21 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Burkey
[
The acoustic piano is dead;
Long live the digital piano!

Well, I'm not sure if the acoustic piano will vanish for good - this is a discussion that goes beyond my scope of interest - but in many situations it'll be a relic of the past in no time. Even today, I see no use anymore for acoustics in any conceivable situation excluding (1) a live performance whose venue can afford to maintain its piano in pristine conditions, or (2) a recording session whose studio also can afford this. Other than that, I'll stick 100% of the time to a digital piano rather than fight with a mistuned, ill-callibrated, poor-sounding acoustic. Given that I'm not nostalgic nor have any piano fetish, it's an easy trade... :-)

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
... a well-tuned and well-maintained acoustic piano, that C4 will be slightly different in the years, but always beautiful, because the wood ages and the tuning of the strings cannot be always exactly the same... So the sound evolves like a person who grows and slightly changes his/her character. That's incredible, it's almost like a living being...
Also complete nonsense: acoustic pianos all get worse and lose value the older they are. No acoustic piano remains just as beautiful over time - that's proven by the fact that 99.9999% of pianos do not increase in value over time (the only pianos that increase over time are not ones you play - they're the ones owned by famous people like Mozart, Chopin, Rachmaninoff).

That's why older pianos all have to be reconditioned - the only way to maintain their beautiful tones is to replace/refurbish every single part of them. Which is an extremely expensive journey.

Last edited by Burkey; 05/15/21 11:06 PM.

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we've been there millions of time, there is space for both, but so far nothing can replace a good acoustic piano.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Another thing: let's say you play C4 on a current digital piano... It will always be the same C4 sound even in 30 years.
Complete nonsense. You simply upgrade to Pianoteq 42: sounds better every year!

Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
... a well-tuned and well-maintained acoustic piano, that C4 will be slightly different in the years, but always beautiful, because the wood ages and the tuning of the strings cannot be always exactly the same... So the sound evolves like a person who grows and slightly changes his/her character. That's incredible, it's almost like a living being...
Also complete nonsense: acoustic pianos all get worse and lose value the older they are. [...]

Sometimes I wonder why some people have to be so rude in expressing their own opinions... confused

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Sometimes I wonder why some people have to be so rude in expressing their own opinions... confused
'Complete nonsense' refered to the counterfactual statements.
'Complete nonsense' was not a judgement of you personally.

I wish people would stop taking offence at things not directed at them smile

Last edited by Burkey; 05/16/21 06:32 AM.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
I wish people would stop taking offence at things not directed at them smile

Complete nonsense. People are people. grin


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You're being trolled! frown


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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Sometimes I wonder why some people have to be so rude in expressing their own opinions... confused
'Complete nonsense' refered to the counterfactual statements.
'Complete nonsense' was not a judgement of you personally.

I wish people would stop taking offence at things not directed at them smile

I take offense at your ‘offence’ because I’m certain that you are aware of the correct spelling -offense- yet you still come here to throw this offence at us.

I won’t have it -offence- just like I won’t have defence! It’s freaking defense!

For god’s sake, even “auto-correct” will not allow it!

Burkey #3118153 05/16/21 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Burkey
[The complete genre of digital pianos as a whole allows the great many limitations afflicting acoustic pianos to be fixed once and for all.

The acoustic piano is dead;
Long live the digital piano!

Almost. wink

The acoustic piano is dying.
The digital piano has just passed its peak.
The Midi Controller Keyboard + VST is the future!


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OK so,

With regards to the differences in audio recordings acoustic vs. DPs:

Are DPs good enough to produce album-worthy recordings? From what we have heard so far:

- Yes, to a limited extent. The resonance has not been satisfactorily 'designed'* There are pieces even below virtuoso level that will expose the limitations of the DP.

- With VSTs, to a great extent, yes. In addition, VSTs and DAWs provide excellent audio recording capabilities that can do it. But VSTs too lack in enough resonance 'design'*. Virtuoso and hyper-virtuoso pieces will expose the VSTs' weaknesses.

- To a good ear, these inefficiencies are disappointingly obvious.

What else?


---
* designed - sampled. modeled. sampled, then used to model. and whatever goes with it.

Last edited by mmathew; 05/16/21 07:37 AM.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Burkey
[The complete genre of digital pianos as a whole allows the great many limitations afflicting acoustic pianos to be fixed once and for all.

The acoustic piano is dead;
Long live the digital piano!

Almost. wink

The acoustic piano is dying.
The digital piano has just passed its peak.
The Midi Controller Keyboard + VST is the future!

I’m not saying you’re wrong about the ‘controller/VST’ ruling the future because it all comes down to semantics, and a digital piano with on-board sound is by extension a controller + a ‘virtual’ simulation of a piano.

Now, for those simply wanting to sit down and practice, the ‘digital’ piano is just getting warmed up, and pretty soon we will see on-board ‘pianos’ matching and even surpassing the *sound* quality of so-called VSTs.

Keep in mind that having an action paired and calibrated to a sound engine and on-board speakers at the factory level already has inherent advantages compared to a generic VST designed to work with any action/sound system.

Something gets lost in translation (velocity curve, sound imaging, etc) and Rosetta can only do so much, but native, on the other hand, is just native!


*sound* refers mostly to fidelity in isolation, but not necessarily to playability and/or overall sound imaging.

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Originally Posted by Pete14
Keep in mind that having an action paired and calibrated to a sound engine and on-board speakers at the factory level already has inherent advantages compared to a generic VST designed to work with any action/sound system.

Good point Pete! However, I think that the technical development of each aspect of piano playing will enable users to individualise their instrument, so that everyone can chose the action they prefer, and combine it with the piano sounds they prefer, with the loudspeakers they prefer. Who knows, ten years from now there may even be keyboards with smaller keys, for piano players with small hands, or with a rounded form, for more ergonomic playing. cool


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Originally Posted by mmathew
OK so,

With regards to the differences in audio recordings acoustic vs. DPs:

Are DPs good enough to produce album-worthy recordings? From what we have heard so far:

- Yes, to a limited extent. The resonance has not been satisfactorily 'designed'* There are pieces even below virtuoso level that will expose the limitations of the DP.

- With VSTs, to a great extent, yes. In addition, VSTs and DAWs provide excellent audio recording capabilities that can do it. But VSTs too lack in enough resonance 'design'*. Virtuoso and hyper-virtuoso pieces will expose the VSTs' weaknesses.

- To a good ear, these inefficiencies are disappointingly obvious.

What else?


---
* designed - sampled. modeled. sampled, then used to model. and whatever goes with it.
I just realized I use the term "digital piano" for both actual digital piano units and for the controller/VST combo. I think it's perhaps because I don't use the original sounds of my DP for so long now it makes no difference.

That said, borderline off-topic, I agree with you about VSTs with one remark: it's not the virtuosity of the piece that makes the flaws apparent. Some of the most convincing, almost indisguinshable digital recordings I've listened to were of very challenging stuff by Liszt, for instance. Yet Debussy's Clair de Lune keeps making developer's lifes difficult. I think it became some sort of milestone in this quest for authenticity: the VST that first make it sound really really good will win the jackpot LOL

On a side question, let me ask you guys something: Would you rather listen to an acoustic piano with a couple of slightly out of tune notes or to a digital piano with an obvious digital artifact?

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I want neither one of these ...
Originally Posted by desordre
Would you rather listen to an acoustic piano with a couple of slightly out of tune notes or to a digital piano with an obvious digital artifact?
I prefer an in-tune acoustic. Second place: a top digital piano.

An out-of-tune acoustic can be tuned.
A poor-sounding digital can be left on the showroom floor.
I don't want either one.

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Originally Posted by mmathew
OK so,

With regards to the differences in audio recordings acoustic vs. DPs:

Are DPs good enough to produce album-worthy recordings?
IMHO, absolutely not for a professional "piano solo" recording. The sound quality is not there yet. The level of detail you can get from a current DP piano sound is poor (to my ears) compared to a real grand. But maybe you can fool the listener if a top-range digital piano sound is mixed with many other instruments.
And we must also consider the level of "satisfaction" a pro-pianist can get from playing a digital, compared to a real grand. I think that if an instrument allows you to play with many more tonal variations and nuances, it can inspire you a lot more, thus giving you the potential to be a better musician / composer / player.
Quote
From what we have heard so far:

- Yes, to a limited extent. The resonance has not been satisfactorily 'designed'* There are pieces even below virtuoso level that will expose the limitations of the DP.
Paradoxically is in the slow romantic pieces that you feel the bigger difference. Fast classical pieces usually sound good on a digital, because you don't have the time to focus on fine details of each single note or in a long sustained sound. There was a video in which Casio attempted to show how their DPs were very close to the real thing... They used the Mozart's Turkish March => fast piece => better sounding for an internal DP piano engine. However, to my ears the real grand was much better sounding. laugh
Quote
- With VSTs, to a great extent, yes. In addition, VSTs and DAWs provide excellent audio recording capabilities that can do it. But VSTs too lack in enough resonance 'design'*. Virtuoso and hyper-virtuoso pieces will expose the VSTs' weaknesses.

- To a good ear, these inefficiencies are disappointingly obvious.

What else?
There are some good VST that are very good sounding for the listener and they are difficult to distinguish from a recording of the real thing, but not impossible to distinguish, especially for an ear used to the way that VST sounds... Usually, sympathetic resonances, note repetitions, release and the difference in the way the piano sounds with and without the sustain pedal depressed are what make the most difference.

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We’re closer than you think, magicpiano, we’re closer than you think!

It’s inevitable, this death, and I beseech thee to rid thyself from this ancient artifact now or thou shall feel the wrath of depreciation take hold of thy coins!

By the message bestowed upon me, Pete, I summon the ancient spirits to get rid of thee, acoustic, and thy children; be gone, acoustic (especially the upright). laugh

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I want neither one of these ...
Originally Posted by desordre
Would you rather listen to an acoustic piano with a couple of slightly out of tune notes or to a digital piano with an obvious digital artifact?
I prefer an in-tune acoustic. Second place: a top digital piano.

An out-of-tune acoustic can be tuned.
A poor-sounding digital can be left on the showroom floor.
I don't want either one.
Yes, but I would place the out-of-tune acoustic in second place and the top-digital piano in third. Why? Because the untuned piano can be tuned, and then it returns in first place! If the digital piano has a note that you don't like the way it was tuned in its 3 strings (of the original acoustic), in most current internal piano engines you can't do anything about it (apart from buying a different DP!). In the acoustic you can do some maintenance to the instrument (you can call a professional tuner or, if it's just some string tuning, you can even do it yourself if you like to do it) so that it sounds the way it should do. On the contrary, whatever defect in the original acoustic instrument is "sampled" in its digital version so these defects will remain forever in the DP. Sometimes you can "mitigate" a defect with some options in the DP, but usually you cannot go very far in these customizations... A bad piano sample will remain a bad piano sample.

Of course things are better with a VST + (a good) midi controller, because it's easier to change a VST that you don't like, rather than changing the whole digital piano! smile

IMHO the future of digital pianos should be:

- DPs with sample-based piano engines, but with replaceable piano libraries (and it would be great if the advanced user could modify even just a single sample he don't like);

OR, alternatively:

- DPs with totally modeled piano engines (i.e.: V-Piano, Physis Piano, Pianoteq) with plenty of options to make the piano sound (almost) like you want.

And if a digital piano would allow for both of the above worlds (so that the user could even mix a modeled piano patch with a sampled-based piano patch) it would be very very nice...

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Originally Posted by Pete14
We’re closer than you think, magicpiano, we’re closer than you think!
Closer? With current rhythms I fear it would be at least other 10 years just to get a "single" significative improvement to the current DP internal piano engines... If we look at the recent history in internal digital piano engines from the usual manufacturers, we find they made a new piano engine every 4-5 years. And often the new piano engine is just a little upgrade of the previous one: a new velocity layer here, a new reverb algorithm there, an improved resonance effect, a new Mozart's Fortepiano sound patch (I think even Mozart himself today would not be much interested in a Fortepiano sound patch!) and so on, with very little changes at each new iteration. Sometimes the improvements are almost inexistant (see the ES920 piano engine compared to the ES8 one: they are identical, but the ES920 has 2 more options in the menu, and -- they say -- some mysterious "improvements in the samples" that they don't want to explain in detail).
Quote
It’s inevitable, this death, and I beseech thee to rid thyself from this ancient artifact now or thou shall feel the wrath of depreciation take hold of thy coins!

By the message bestowed upon me, Pete, I summon the ancient spirits to get rid of thee, acoustic, and thy children; be gone, acoustic (especially the upright). laugh
If you are not too old (i.e.: you still have good ears), I suggest you to never sit in front of a good (and of course well-tuned) acoustic grand piano and never try to play it, because that ancient relic would blow out your mind, your ears, and could make you return to dream about living sheep rather than electric ones... grin

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Well, I guess magic-meister thinks that progress is slow in the digital piano world. And he's right. It's slow. Very slow. Too slow.

(But I'm not sure what is "significative" or "inexistant".)

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Okay, I totally agree about the ES-920.

And it’s not that you’re wrong about the slow pace of improvement; which so far has been linear (1,2,3,etc), but what you’re missing is the fact that we’ve reached a level of maturity that will now propel us exponentially (2,4,8,16, etc..).

This is true of other emerging technologies which initially move at snail pace until ‘that’ point of maturity arrives along with emerging markets (everybody wants to be Lang Wang in China now, but they can’t afford anything bigger than a studio apartment), and yes, emerging competition (Casiostein?).

For example, up until 2007 no one ever dreamed of having an iPod, a mobile phone, and an internet communications device all packed into one device.

‘An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator.....
are you getting it? This is one device, and we are calling it iPhone....’


The digital piano is now at the point where we have the emerging and mature technologies at hand’s reach. The demand for good digital pianos that can handle anything you throw at them is there, and the fact that the acoustic is now a losing proposition financially will lead to what Kurzweil calls ‘exponential growth’ for the ‘digital piano’ stemming from many years of linear (slow) growth/advancements.


A soundboard, a grand action, limitless modeling and perhaps a dash of sampling....are you getting it? This is one piano, and we’re calling it the iPiano! grin

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So, is the DP really only a compromise, at least for the foreseeable future? Are we buying them only because we don't have the space and monies?

If a DP can't be used to get decent recordings of piano repertoire, is the DP relegated to "for practice only" status?


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The ‘space and monies’ is but one amongst many other factors.

And no, the iPiano will not be a compromise delegated “for practice only”; how dare you!

The ‘modern’ hybrid will blow everything but a concert grand out of the water in every respect, and it will not just be ‘a convenient tool’, but rather an inspiring instrument; to a certain extent it -NV5- already is.

Do you want every single virtual string to go out of tune at a slightly different rate for that homemade, organic, perspective? No problem! Simply model this phenomenon into the model and account for hours played, room acoustics, temperature, locality (humidity?), and other incidental aspects and your digital will de-tune exactly like an acoustic; not that I would want that, but for the purists ‘round here.

You want that ‘feeling’ of hammers hitting strings? No problem! Implement a ‘string-like’ material that upon pounding from the hammers will provide this tactile sensation.

What else do you want? Affordability, you say? Okay, all this, a solid spruce soundboard, Neotex, concert-length action, the mother-load of sound engines (AI), and a bag of chips for 12/14K!

Once again, what else do you want?

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Pete, you do know I am a DP-with-onboard-sounds-not-VST guy, right? I'll not be buying an acoustic in this life.

My quest is to find out whether my theory, that DPs can be used to produce album-level recordings, holds water or not. I started the thread by first asking what the differences were re: recorded audio, if it matters etc. etc.


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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
(But I'm not sure what is "significative" or "inexistant".)

"Significative" is in the English dictionary and "inexistant" is French.

So, magicpiano just forgot the "Pardon my French...". 😉

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@mmathew: Perhaps you should rephrase the question.

First: The notion of "album-level recording" is vague.

Second: The question "can DPs be used to produce album-level recordings" is moot. They HAVE been used for that purpose.

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I guess I learned some English today! smile
Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
"Significative" is in the English dictionary and "inexistant" is French.

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Same here.

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OK, folks, you dismissed my question as a dumb one: of course an out-of-tune piano can be tuned! But consider a home piano, a school piano, even a small venue piano: how many times a year one can afford a tuning? And for how long a piano actually stays 100% in tune?

The answers are: "not as often as needed" and "a couple of days". So, the true nature of my question is one of practical matter: you actually do choose between a mistuned acoustic and an imperfect sounding digital. The question is what matters the most to you.

Furthermore, going out of tune is an inherent feature of acoustic piano, in particular of uprights. It will never be solved and the proper solution (learning how to tune and DIY) is a bit difficult, to say the least. Now, DPs/VSTs (I don't distinguish anymore between them) are really getting there and I believe it's only a matter of "when" (not of "if") a first tier pianist will release an album of classical solo music entirely non-acoustic played.

BTW, do you guys know of any album (even a small independent release) that did this already?

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Originally Posted by desordre
BTW, do you guys know of any album (even a small independent release) that did this already?

Rabih Rihana, great pianist, he posts here sometimes, I think he recorded some album with vst.

Pete14 #3118634 05/17/21 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete14
[...]Do you want every single virtual string to go out of tune at a slightly different rate for that homemade, organic, perspective? No problem! Simply model this phenomenon into the model and account for hours played, room acoustics, temperature, locality (humidity?), and other incidental aspects and your digital will de-tune exactly like an acoustic;
I don't necessarily need an emulation of natural detuning (well, it would be cool!) but I would like a way to fine-tune the 2 or 3 strings of each note (of course for the notes with 2 or 3-strings) so that I could change some natural characteristics of the piano sound that you cannot change with just a 'voicing' parameter. For example, in the digital version of the SK-EX piano sound I dislike the C4 note because its 3 strings were (IMHO) badly tuned in the original instrument. I think there is an excessive "meowing" in that C4 caused by the way the 3 strings were tuned, and unfortunately I cannot change that in the current engine. And I doubt Kawai or other manufacturers will give us in the next generation of piano engines the ability of fine-tuning at single-string level (in a sample-based engine), because that would mean the need for 3x the storage size for the samples and 3x the max polyphony (so, 3x the computational power of the hardware they use now). So I think we'll not see this feature soon, at least not in the next 10 years. Maybe in 30 years, considering their slowness in piano engine improvements... Consider that AFAIK not even the latest piano engine from Roland allows you to do that (and they say it's modeled... At this point I doubt it... Probably it's just a mix of sampling and modeling, maybe with a little more modeling work compared to what the other manufacturers do). IMHO the only true modeled piano engine from Roland is that inside the old V-Piano. Then there is the Physis Piano from Viscount. I guess all the other are just sample-based engines with some modeling on top of the samples.

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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
(But I'm not sure what is "significative" or "inexistant".)

"Significative" is in the English dictionary and "inexistant" is French.

So, magicpiano just forgot the "Pardon my French...". 😉
Sorry, "inexistant" is just a stupid typo. smile I wanted to write "inexistent" and it means non-existent. I'm Italian, not French.

About "significative" that's an adjective we use often in Italy ("significativo" is the italian word), and it means big, important, relevant and so on.

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Originally Posted by desordre
[...]how many times a year one can afford a tuning?
Countless times if you DIY.
Quote
And for how long a piano actually stays 100% in tune?
Well, I don't think a 100% tuning is possible... grin Anyway, you should tune it 2-3 times a year if you play it everyday.
Quote
[...]
Furthermore, going out of tune is an inherent feature of acoustic piano, in particular of uprights. It will never be solved and the proper solution (learning how to tune and DIY) is a bit difficult, to say the least.
Acoustic piano tuning is not so difficult... I think any pianist should learn to do it. It could be also fun, because you learn how your piano works and how to change some aspects of the way it sounds.
Quote
Now, DPs/VSTs (I don't distinguish anymore between them) are really getting there and I believe it's only a matter of "when" (not of "if") a first tier pianist will release an album of classical solo music entirely non-acoustic played.

BTW, do you guys know of any album (even a small independent release) that did this already?
I think Alicia Keys (more than 10 years ago) made an album by using the Alicia Keys VST... But it was just for marketing purposes. She plays acoustic pianos during her concerts and I guess she uses only (expensive) acoustic pianos in her home.

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
... And I doubt Kawai or other manufacturers will give us in the next generation of piano engines the ability of fine-tuning at single-string level (in a sample-based engine), because that would mean the need for 3x the storage size for the samples and 3x the max polyphony (so, 3x the computational power of the hardware they use now). So I think we'll not see this feature soon, at least not in the next 10 years. Maybe in 30 years, considering their slowness in piano engine improvements...

Okay, let’s agree to disagree because you’re thinking linearly and I’m thinking exponentially.

I understand your distrust and hesitance; after all, we have been moving at snail pace, but as I said before, all the necessary elements are coming together for an imminent exponential leap forward in advancements the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

It’s about world dominance (China) first, then the fact that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here, but rather just make it rotate faster, and this is now possible for minimal cost as compared to ten years ago:

Storage is cheaper, modeling is simply waiting for more power (computational), and that is around the corner (M1-type processing) also for cheap, and once again, China is putting in an order for the first 5 million “iPianos,” so yes, demand is there, too.

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Originally Posted by Pete14
Okay, let’s agree to disagree because you’re thinking linearly and I’m thinking exponentially.

I understand your distrust and hesitance; after all, we have been moving at snail pace, but as I said before, all the necessary elements are coming together for an imminent exponential leap forward in advancements the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

It’s about world dominance (China) first, then the fact that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here, but rather just make it rotate faster, and this is now possible for minimal cost as compared to ten years ago:

Storage is cheaper, modeling is simply waiting for more power (computational), and that is around the corner (M1-type processing) also for cheap, and once again, China is putting in an order for the first 5 million “iPianos,” so yes, demand is there, too.

Pete, we could have had an exponential grow already 10 years ago. And we didn't. So, what has changed today to make you think otherwise?

You talk about M1 CPU but you should know that digital pianos manufacturers, differently from Apple, are very stingy about the hardware they use inside their DPs. IMHO, today, we could have so much more for what we pay... But then, again, they make another series of DPs and what we have more compared to the previous one? Onkyo speakers? Binaural samples for the Bosendorfer piano patch? "1" more velocity layer for the CFX piano patch? Does this sound like "exponential growth" to you?

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We had a similar discussion here not too many years ago. Someone here thought pianos were on a "trajectory" toward huge improvements. He foresaw "exponential" growth and change.

But that was based on the glowing terminology used in product release literature. The latter is largely meaningless.

The truth is that change happens at a snail's pace.

Pete might choose to think exponentially. But his (or our) thinking does not lead to remarkable new advancements in pianos.

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On many occasions I've heard from knowledgeable engineers and other professionals that it can sometimes be the chosen practice among those who own new technologies to sit on the technologies and not bring them to market until the MOST commercially advantageous time. A manufacturer which does so, does it with the plan of only incrementally releasing new technologies into the marketplace at a pace that keeps it just ahead of or even with the competition, but not so fast as to cause the competition to immediately release all of their best technology in order to survive.

Under certain circumstances, I could see logic in such a plan. A corporation holding several successively improved generations of a technology could hope to ensure financial livelihood for a considerable distance into the future by only releasing as much of the technology as currently needed to keep sales at the desired level. It could work if all or the majority of competitors recognized the same and chose to proceed in the same fashion. No explicit conspiracy is needed, only the common perception that each will prosper by not shaking up the level of tech currently and profitably being released.

I am not personally close enough to the locus of these types of decisions to say that I have witnessed it. But, as a theory, it makes sense. And, it does match up with other, similar situations where a great number of providers have a similar understanding about the profitability of providing mediocrity, as part of an overall industry providing mediocrity, even though excellence might be readily available.

So, Pete14's observations and thoughts about tremendous improvement and advancement being within our grasp do not seem inconsistent with the equally supportable assertion that progress comes very slowly, especially to consumer type consumers. I can easily believe both that the technology for digital pianos that far exceed our current performance levels already exists, and, that we won't see the level of performance that is currently technologically available for many, many years.

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There have been attempts at ‘significant advances’ but these have been stalled due perhaps to bad timing and, sometimes in the ‘purist-piano’ world, due to skepticism like what ‘we’ are demonstrating here.

Back in ‘98 Yamaha made such an attempt with two groundbreaking instruments, the CLP-990 and the GranTouch DGT7; the former used an action with fully wooden black and white keys on a pivot, 88 key sampling and a robust speaker system; the latter used a real grand piano action (unheard of at that time), a real baby grand cabinet, and also a phenomenal speaker system.

These two instruments did not do as Yamaha expected in terms of sales and even for the DGT7 the purists still labeled it a ‘big toy’. This was a major setback for Yamaha to the point that they stopped sampling 88 keys, reverted back to folded actions, and one might even speculate, ‘cheaper’ speakers. It would take years for Yamaha to bring back 88 key sampling and subsequently a ‘new’ hybrid to the market. Still, the AvantGrand N3X uses a modified (particle board) cabinet and not a 100% real wood cabinet (same cabinet used for the A1 baby acoustic).

But today it’s different because even so-called serious musicians are now publicly vouching for hybrids, and by extension these instruments are selling like hot cakes.

As I said before, technologies that were just being born back then have now matured, and essential components like storage have gotten cheaper; not to mention processing power now reaching new heights at much lower prices. Couple this to record demand, a dying acoustic market, and more competition, and it’s just a matter of time for the “iPiano” to become a reality. Whoever gets it right first will have a lead in the largest growing market for these pianos: China!

Also, word of mouth is something altogether different today, and on this forum alone every other day we hear of a happy N1X or NV5/10 owner. We see videos of ‘serious’ musicians playing challenging classical repertoire on these instruments on a daily basis on YouTube and other platforms, etc.....

This is all happening at the same time acoustic piano sales are dropping significantly. The ‘acoustic’ is also losing that appeal and/or allure of the 50s and ‘made by hand’ no longer signifies much for the great majority; affordability, reliability, and ‘good enough for Chopin’ is more than enough for most people nowadays.

IMHO!

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
You talk about M1 CPU but you should know that digital pianos manufacturers, differently from Apple, are very stingy about the hardware they use inside their DPs.
The M1 CPUs are very cheap to manufacture - about 10x cheaper than purchasing the equivalent Intel chipset. That's why the MacBook Pro are half the price of previous generation Intel chipset MacBooks. And they also consume 10x less electricity than Intel chipsets - making them perfectly suited to powering modelled piano engines.

Last edited by Burkey; 05/17/21 08:24 PM.

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“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.“ Emerson

Just like those who were surprised that a Covid vaccine could be produced in half the expected time, so digital tech is advancing at a rate that might surprise you. For example, the upcoming release of Osmose by Expressive E out of France.

After years of struggle with creating a keyboard instrument for Midi Polyphonic Expression (Linnstrument, Continuum, Roli) finally there is one that uses regular piano keys to create parameters like vibrato. This seemed very far away...like many things technological.... and then, voila it is there in front of you.... an MPE keyboard that doesn’t require a keyboardist to learn a new mode of playing skill.

Unless one thinks the boundaries of sound generated by a grand piano are mathematically
infinite, which they are not, all the parameters will be mapped eventually. After all, we have computers that do 4-5 quadrillion calculations per second. Will it take some time? Probably, but maybe not as long as you might think (or wish).


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Pete14 #3118799 05/17/21 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete14
There have been attempts at ‘significant advances’ but these have been stalled due perhaps to bad timing and, sometimes in the ‘purist-piano’ world, due to skepticism like what ‘we’ are demonstrating here.
Yamaha and Kawai both have a vested interest in ensuring that acoustic pianos are not overtaken by digital pianos any time soon - otherwise sales of their acoustic pianos will accelerate downwards.

It will only be the other manufacturers like Roland, Casio, Nord, Korg, Dexibell, and Fatar that can drive the acceleration of digital piano technology advancement.

Last edited by Burkey; 05/17/21 11:01 PM.

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Burkey #3118803 05/17/21 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by magicpiano
Another thing: let's say you play C4 on a current digital piano... It will always be the same C4 sound even in 30 years.
Complete nonsense. You simply upgrade to Pianoteq 42: sounds better every year!

Burkey, your funny, hahaha!. Of course if you are still using the same dp, the sound will be consistent, compared to an acoustic piano without ever being maintained. smile


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EVC2017 #3118806 05/17/21 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by EVC2017
Originally Posted by Burkey
I wish people would stop taking offence at things not directed at them smile

Complete nonsense. People are people. grin

hahaha,.....:D



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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I want neither one of these ...
Originally Posted by desordre
Would you rather listen to an acoustic piano with a couple of slightly out of tune notes or to a digital piano with an obvious digital artifact?
I prefer an in-tune acoustic. Second place: a top digital piano.

An out-of-tune acoustic can be tuned.
A poor-sounding digital can be left on the showroom floor.
I don't want either one.

Yes, me neither. (that means I agree with Mac the third, smile )

I hope desorde understands that those DPs "with obvious digital artifact" were designed for those seeking an affordable version of the acoustic grand they truly desire , with the realistic sound, defects and all (key strikes, hammer sounds, pedal strikes... )


Hard at work while waiting for my dream DP....
mmathew #3118815 05/18/21 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mmathew
OK so,

With regards to the differences in audio recordings acoustic vs. DPs:

Are DPs good enough to produce album-worthy recordings? From what we have heard so far:

- Yes, to a limited extent. The resonance has not been satisfactorily 'designed'* There are pieces even below virtuoso level that will expose the limitations of the DP.

- With VSTs, to a great extent, yes. In addition, VSTs and DAWs provide excellent audio recording capabilities that can do it. But VSTs too lack in enough resonance 'design'*. Virtuoso and hyper-virtuoso pieces will expose the VSTs' weaknesses.

- To a good ear, these inefficiencies are disappointingly obvious.

What else?


---
* designed - sampled. modeled. sampled, then used to model. and whatever goes with it.

Putting two high fidelity recordings (non-mp3) of the same piece, side by side would definitely reveal those limits...
But we humans, being imperfect as we are, will always love the acoustic piano, with all its so called 'defects'. Those defects add to a DP's character (such as varying resonances and tuning/detuning) .Because to us that imperfection is what makes it real. Now you see why the first matrix* failed. smile This is of course largely on classical pieces. On other genres, like jazz, blues, it doesn't matter. The examples below, according the wikipedia, as originally recorded, is of "soft-rock" genre.


On a DP


On a Grand


OP, I applaud your sincere effort to steer the conversion back to it original purpose....


*A conversation between Neo and the Engineer, Matrix Revolutions.


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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I want neither one of these ...
Originally Posted by desordre
Would you rather listen to an acoustic piano with a couple of slightly out of tune notes or to a digital piano with an obvious digital artifact?
I prefer an in-tune acoustic. Second place: a top digital piano.

An out-of-tune acoustic can be tuned.
A poor-sounding digital can be left on the showroom floor.
I don't want either one.

Yes, me neither. (that means I agree with Mac the third, smile )

I hope desorde understands that those DPs "with obvious digital artifact" were designed for those seeking an affordable version of the acoustic grand they truly desire , with the realistic sound, defects and all (key strikes, hammer sounds, pedal strikes... )
Dear Josh,
Actually, I mean something else: a digital artifact is some undesired by-product of sound processing. Think, for instance, of pedalling "jumps", or mid-range harmonic envelope - the usual things that give away a digital is not an acoustic.

The components you mention are actual parts of the sound of the piano, which cannot be "avoided" since it is a mechanical machine.

But again, we choose on a daily basis between those situations: even the best controller-VST combo available still has some obvious minor flaws, and our acoustic piano are out of tune as a rule. Just check your own, it will have at least one key that has that annoying clash.

Oh, and BTW, learning how to tune and DIY is the perfect solution, but it's absolutely not easy. Many so-called professionals just can't deliver a well-tuned piano. It's an art in its own.

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Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by desordre
BTW, do you guys know of any album (even a small independent release) that did this already?

Rabih Rihana, great pianist, he posts here sometimes, I think he recorded some album with vst.

Thanks, bro! I'll check his work :-)

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