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Topic: importance of sympathetic string resonance

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  1. #1

    importance of sympathetic string resonance

    On the quest for the ideal software piano, I found myself following a checklist of all these fancy must-have features (SSR, real overtones, key-off samples...).

    I would like to hear some opinions about which of these are really important to create the impression of a real piano. Particularly, SRR.

    My first thought: If sound generation in a piano was a linear process, then why is it so difficult to make a good synthesizer? And then, in what way could a piano be nonlinear? The only nonlinear physical mechanism I can think of is SSR, so SSR must be important...

    However, this resonance is only heard when the sustain pedal is released. And the respective overtones are quite low as compared to the sound that generates them. Has anyone done some testing with a direct comparison of SSR on/off? Is there really an effect beyond that of a placebo?

  2. #2

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    We have the same question as to whether there really is something to SSR beyond a placebo effect. I have Akoustik Piano with SSR and various Sampletekk Pianos that I subject to free SSR scripts within Kontakt. I can't tell ANY difference with SSR turned on and off with normal playing and normal SSR levels, but I still keep the SSR on. Reminds me of the Emperor's (not the piano) new clothes. LOL

    Perhaps a blind randomized study would be in order.

    Release samples, pedal sounds, key sounds, etc. are more significant than SSR IMHO and observation.

  3. #3

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    I'd also like to add that just the right amount of soundboard resonance (whether through pedal down samples or convolution) is more important to me than SSR.

    But as I said, I keep the SSR on because it's there and it's the "correct" piano behavior.

  4. #4

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    For me, I usually play with pedal up, so I don't notice it too much. But with pedal down, the difference is noticable. (I use TBO with script) SSR creates a sort of rumble that you won't have without SSR. I don't play any tunes that make specific use of SSR, so it's not critical, but it does make it sound more believable. Or forget believable, I like the sound of it better that way.

    For pedal up, I do notice on real pianos, it also creates some sort of weak rumble (maybe not supposed to) that add to the overall character. Maybe it's the soundboard resonance, not sure. I think it's just one of those things that make a real thing real. TBO script doeesn't do this I don't think.

    All in all though, I think SSR is a real thing that adds to the overall sound. It's handled differently in different sample packs, so not all of them may end up sounding good.

  5. #5

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    Quote Originally Posted by kensuguro View Post
    For me, I usually play with pedal up, so I don't notice it too much. But with pedal down, the difference is noticable...
    Ummm, "pedal down" means "sustain pedal pressed"?

    I'd put it the other way round: SSR plays a role only if the sustain pedal is released.

    Do we talk about the same SSR?

  6. #6

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    Quote Originally Posted by mat123 View Post
    Ummm, "pedal down" means "sustain pedal pressed"?

    I'd put it the other way round: SSR plays a role only if the sustain pedal is released.

    Do we talk about the same SSR?
    Yes, that is correct. I understand you completely.

    You mean when dampers are muting the strings (pedal up, no foot on pedal), silently hold down a C chord, and play staccato some notes somewhere else on the keyboard. Result: the silently held-down chord is now ringing.

    Kensuguro said that he perceives SSR to be more pronounced on pedal down and I agree. That is because strings are unmuted and free to resonate.

  7. #7

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    I think one way to resolve this issue would be to do a poll between two identical audio files with one of the files having SSR.

    Perhaps, Garritan Steinway Under Lid, or Galaxy II could be used.

    It would be fun to know if results are statistically significant.

  8. #8

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    Kensuguro said that he perceives SSR to be more pronounced on pedal down and I agree. That is because strings are unmuted and free to resonate.

    Most piano libraries have pedal down samples and I presume these would also include the sympathetic overtones. SSR script would be redundant in this
    situation (ie pedal down).

  9. #9

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    Quote Originally Posted by jjloving View Post
    If you have a MIDI file you'd like to test I can post these examples from the Garritan Steinway from any of the perspectives. I can post them without labeling which is which.

    Are you interested in both sympathetic resonance and sustain resonance, or just the former?

    Jon
    Hi, Jon!

    So kind of you to offer this. I think any short MIDI file would do, preferably a slow piece like Schumann's Traumerei, rendered with the Under Lid perspective.

    It is sympathetic resonance that we're interested here, so BOTH files should have SAME level of SUSTAIN resonance, but only one file should have sympathetic resonance. The sympathetic resonance should not be overly cranked up but only have normal volume like on a real piano.

    Thanks in advance!

    Jun

  10. #10

    Re: importance of sympathetic string resonance

    I'm curious!!!

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