• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Topic: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    The word 'synth' has become the phrase 'physical modeling' but the sound remains the same: synthetic chorusy bell tones. Yet every few months another of these synths comes out with a new version and the astroturfers browbeat the posers into singing the praises of their new monstrosity. The call goes out, "This time we did it, and we really mean it, truepianos/pianoteq sounds BETTER than a real piano." The statement is absurd but every time a new piano synth comes out it is dressed up in this pomposity. This brings me to point #2: there's a lot of bad piano samples out there. From the pure horrible like Sonart to the fake 12 layer cut/paste jobs, to the hiss laden, to the out of tune, to the uneven, to the poorly mic'd, to the badly edited, to the FX imbued. So I can understand that some people actually believe the hype. But seriously, no synth will ever perform better than the instrument it's modeling, and even though it's not perfect, sampling is the closest we can get without actually playing the real thing.

  2. #2

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    Welcome to the forum with an awful rant.

    Well done on pissing at least on two companies (and who knows however many more).

    Well done on spotting all possible errors.

    I would suggest you invest the time and money and do better, instead of wasting our time by deciding you know (and hear) BETTER than us. Allow us to have an opinion...

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    South of the Ohio River
    Posts
    555

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    Quote Originally Posted by bookemdano View Post
    The word 'synth' has become the phrase 'physical modeling' but the sound remains the same: synthetic chorusy bell tones. Yet every few months another of these synths comes out with a new version and the astroturfers browbeat the posers into singing the praises of their new monstrosity. The call goes out, "This time we did it, and we really mean it, truepianos/pianoteq sounds BETTER than a real piano." The statement is absurd but every time a new piano synth comes out it is dressed up in this pomposity. This brings me to point #2: there's a lot of bad piano samples out there. From the pure horrible like Sonart to the fake 12 layer cut/paste jobs, to the hiss laden, to the out of tune, to the uneven, to the poorly mic'd, to the badly edited, to the FX imbued. So I can understand that some people actually believe the hype. But seriously, no synth will ever perform better than the instrument it's modeling, and even though it's not perfect, sampling is the closest we can get without actually playing the real thing.
    And your point of this post is...?
    Jerry
    Dayton, Kentucky
    Personally, I'm waiting for caller IQ.

  4. #4

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    The words 'new forum member' have become the phrase 'ranting guy who has a strong but wrong opinion" but the sound remains the same: People like those are NOT welcome here. Yet every few months another of these guys comes out of the blue with a new version of his totally useless and unwanted opinion. The call goes out, "This time we should do it, let's kick him out of here to where he originally comes from." The statement is absurd but every time a new ranting guy comes out it's the same old story. This brings me to point #2: there're a lot of bad nerds out there. From the pure horrible like bookemdano to the fake guy I even do not remember anymore after his first post. So I can understand why some people actually can't stand guys like you. But seriously, no ranting guy will ever write more needless stuff like you. Period.

  5. #5

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    well, actually no guys.. I think this attitude is what nothern sounds is becoming known for, and so I actually think we should take the rants seriously, as they are quite valid.

    I think there are many ways to slice this. Me, being always critical about pianoteq's output, tend to agree that it still has some ways to go, although I think pt3 is more than a leap better than the previous version. It is also true that no vsti piano will perform better than its acoustic counter part, if it is well maintained and properly miced, recorded properly, etc.

    Bottom line is though, it's quite hard to record a good piano tone. Take away all the subjective preferences, it's still hard to "recreate" any acoustic instrument's sound because it's always about recording a 3 dimentional resonating body through a limited number of sampling points (mics). And even if the sound was recorded perfectly, we are recreating it through a very basic stereo system. So, recording and playback already has physical limitations, and it is technically very hard to get that part all right, let alone the creative "direction" of the recording project.

    But you also have to understand the "necessary evil" sort of concept, where if 100% of piano players and learners only could use an acoustic to learn, the let's say we'd only have 10k new learners per year. But since everyone can choose their own method, be it vsti samples, physmod, acoustic upright, console, grand, etc.. we probably have more like 300k. (all number just to illustrate the idea) In my belief, a lot of the time, art is not about getting the best of the best, the perfect condition, the perfect materials. It's about making the most of what you have access to, figuring out what works for you. Because if you just keep complaining, or pondering about unrealistic ideals, you'll never get to finishing a project. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about.

    Sure, some people say that pt3 sounds better than an acoustic. It's true and false. It is a fact that it sounds better than a poorly regulated upright, grand, or console. The fact is, there are a lot of bad sounding acoustics out there that would take thousands of dollars to overhaul and fix. But at the same time, there are a bunch of acoustics that sound incredibly better (obviously). But again, going back to "necessary evil", or many, a vsti option is the only way the person can use a piano, and if that is the case, I'd say anything that works is good. It's a means to an end, there's no use in being purist. And that's actually directed to both sides.. it's not acoustic or nothing, and it also means that pt3 or any other physmod vsti doesn't rule the universe. Actually, you just want to keep your chops up to par, and keep honing your musical ear so that you can kick on any gear, or be able to always come up with awesome lines.

    So, ya, I'm not 100% happy with pianoteq 3, but it's to the point where it's usable, and I can practice with it. Sure Sampletekk TBO isn't the biggest any more, but it still has the sound that I like very much. I think beyond a certain point, you just have to stop fixating on the instrument, and start thinking about what you put into it, and what comes out of it. If you fixate on the instrument part too much, you'll become a piano technician.

    One thing I strongly agree with, though, is that we should never fall prey to marketing hype, and actually come to believe that any vsti piano is "the" piano.. We shouldn't be content at any sound, we should always be searching for a better sound, and remain critical of any product that comes out. It can only get better, but we should never settle down. It's like with any art form. Once we become content, the evolution stops. That said, we should always be critical of what we already have, and also be open to any new formats / methods / ideas to get a better sound. I think if both the dev side and user side keep up this mentality, we will keep getting better sounds.

  6. #6

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    Ah... Some healthy discussion!

    Pianoteq has some way to go, I agree. although it does take some effort, from my behalf to spot it's synthetic sound anymore. Maybe I'm just too used to it, or too happy with what I have.

    Thing is that it's quite obvious, in Mordatt's case especially, that they are striving for a better sound. PT3 is a free upgrade from previous owners. All the new upgraded pianos as well. They heavily appear to strive against marketing strategies (50% sale for 90% of the year, BOGOF products for ever, Group buys and whatnot) and stick to having great customer service, while at the same time trying to better their instrument.

    I am a strong believer (maybe because I have friends who studied exactly that: sound synthesis) of modeled instruments (synths if you want). BTW, I would imagine, without knowing really that a synth is much more basic than what pianoteq, and truepianos, and wivi, and synfu do. This is why PT3, for example is a dedicated software, without (obvious) oscillators and other stuff, while you get Reaktor/Massive/Absynth and other stuff which are non dedicated to a single instrument.

    ___________

    Researching for my Ph.D has brought me to some rather fixated ideas. Can't say they are right or wrong, but here's a line of thinking:

    In concert hall music (classical) you get the live performance, and a recording of it. *All* (like 99%) technological advancement as regards to this has been in capturing and reproducing the sound as fairly as possible: A photocopy! and you have a huge industry based onto photocopies!

    Now, pop, or synthesis, on the other hand have decided to use the technology on their benefit: Why limit yourself with "playable" parts, and "faulty acoustics" in your work, when you have a studio to work on in the first place? Pop's being doing it for such a long time...

    If you decide to stick to recording, which as a means and media should at some point be classified as a new art (not much alike photography for example), you should also use the benefits of it.

    ________________

    Now, imagine that sampling is also using recordings (so photocopies) and only attempts to alter the sound (Round Robin, staccato samples, more velocity layers, etc). It all comes down to being: a recording. Elaborate as much as possible, wonderful, brilliant (I own Ivory and the Garritan Steinway, I'm not a purist!), amazing! But a recording.

    Why not take technology and strive to synthesize something new? Could it be that ultimately it will be better? Maybe not now, maybe WIVI, synful, pianoteq, truepianos and others are not there yet, but neither are samples, are they? Can't say there's been 1 company of samples, in orchestral libraries, which has produced the ultimate result. The trumpet (samplemodeling), and their predecossors, the strad and gofriller by Garritan, are the epitome of combining both worlds I think.

    ________________

    Is there more to come? I sure hope so! One can never be 100% satisfied. I spend my time composing, writing, communicating. Other people spend their time ranting with an idiotic manner (not talking about you kensuguro, obviously).

    There are better ways to provide feedback, which is all valid, especially in the case of Mordatt, who they LISTEN, and I'm 99.9% sure of that!

    _________________

    Finally marketing. I'll agree, I don't fancy marketing too much. But I do prefer marketing which is open (and all companies that deal with synthesis are quite open and explain quite a lot), rather than sale hypes and BOGOF and stuff... :-/ Personal quirks I guess...

    There, some interesting discussion I think, thanks to kensuguro!

  7. #7

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    Granted, the initial statements from bookemdano were quite provocative, but I like the thread, as I am on the "samples" side...

    What are the benefits from modelling?
    - smaller memory requirements (will become more and more irrelevant)
    - better "playability" (a not so well defined term, probably referring to some specific problems of some specific libraries)
    - the user himself can play with the settings (well, I personally prefer to play music not settings ;-))
    - one might add features to the sound that cannot be added to a real piano, such as twice the length of a concert grand, 5 strings instead of three, soundboard made from olive tree etc. (valid point, I happen to be not interested)

    If someone actually likes pianoteq, V-piano, etc. that's fine. As bookemdano, I just don't understand the enthusiasm the word "physical modeling" sometimes creates. To me, modeled sounds are like animated movies. It's nice to see how close computer grafics comes to reality. And, yes, wall-e is a nice movie. But it doen't mean the end of acting as long as there are talented actors. The potential I see is rather coming from the other side, i.e. from digital postprocessing of real world instruments (like CG-effects in a real shot movie).

    -mat123

  8. #8

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    Hi all,
    I'm also new to the forum, so I'll try not to rant
    I'm old enough to remember when nothing was available, and how thrilled we all were when ANYTHING that sounded remotely like a piano came onto the scene. I score a ton of children's TV shows and I use a sampled Bosendorfer that's pretty good. I take my hat off to all of the developers, who've come up with some pretty great instruments.
    For me, leaving sound issues aside for a moment, the main issue is the lack of response to really nuanced velocity, especially when playing really softly. In some genres, this isn't as critical, but I do find that I have to go into the sequence and modify touch, especially at the beginnings and endings of phrases. I know that there are programs available that allow some pretty sophisticated manipulation of the velocity slope. I'd appreciate any input about that. I also find that globally lowering velocities gets me into a mellower part of the samples.
    Ken mentions that electronic pianos have brought many more people under the piano player's tent, and I agree that's a good thing. The other side of the coin, and again, I'm a fan - is that our ears have become used to a different type of piano sound. It's just not as beautiful as a real piano and it just doesn't play as well. Again, for 95% of my work it's what I use. I toured with a major rock band, and certainly for that, I didn't need a concert grand, but I've also played with symphony orchestras and obviously, in that context, nothing else comes close.
    Time marches on, and creative people constantly give us new and wonderful tools. I look forward to new and better sampled pianos, and I'm happy working with what I have, but my first love and deepest love is my 1890 Steinway A. Then again, it will cost about 50k to get one like mine...By the way, with a great instrument, it's not hard to get a beautiful sound in a home studio.
    To me, it's all good. Sorry for rambling a bit.

    Paul

  9. #9

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    Quote Originally Posted by kensuguro
    art is not about getting the best of the best, the perfect condition, the perfect materials. It's about making the most of what you have access to
    good point!

    Well, given the assumption that we had a mathematical model that models all aspects of the behaviour of a piano that can be audable from a recording in a defined environment we would have the "perfect" physical piano model of a recorded piano.
    If we'd record every possible sound a certain piano could produce for a given input then we'd have a "perfect" sample set of this piano in this environment with this recording equipment. In theory both perfect approaches should lead to identical results. (I don't mean "perfect" in terms of being simple and elegant like e.g. a sine wave, what is presumably not a good way to describe something undefined, subjective and conglomerated like a piano sound, I just mean perfect in the very subjective terms of "close to a (chosen) real thing in a (chosen) environment with a (chosen) recording technique".)

    The "physical super model" is unrealistic because of the limited processing power and perhaps the many question marks in the "world formula" departement. On the other side sampling decillions of bytes (and then having to decide which chunk to play in which scenario in realtime) is impractical, too:
    We have to go for a lossy approach that is "good enough".
    So it's just a matter of personal choice where you are more willing to make comprimises.
    And for doing that I think it shouldn't matter to the user how the model was created for chosing what sound source to use (although one can of course be interested in that from a technical point of view).
    If you like to do sequenced recordings just hear and compare sequenced recordings done by others with various libraries. If you want to play by yourself, then - play them (most people will try out a digital piano at the store, that should also be possible for most digital piano sounds in the store). Perhaps it would even be best to ask the dealer not to tell the names of the products before you tested them in order to counter the "knowledge bias" one might have what is supposed to be good/bad.)
    Presumably many sampled pianos could easily come out less favourable than it would be adequate for their quality with that approach as sampled pianos are imo even more reliant on a proper velocity scale mapping than physical modelled ones, so ask your vendor whether you can try different mappings if something seems to "feel odd".
    Then buy the one that sounds/plays best to you (for the amount of money and harddisk space you want to spend).

    Most of the things I wrote are presumably quite obvious, so sorry for potentially having wasted your time...
    I just think there is no need to go berserk on each other from the users side over the sound based on technical details, it's just too easy to cheat yourself, I think it's like with e.g. wine, we mostly like/hate what we expect to like/hate - and I think you do yourself a favour to be aware of this.

    ... and please: no unfounded FUD campaigns for competing products from the devs side, I think (and hope) this can easily backfire to the "source" if it comes out...

    NothanUmber

  10. #10

    Re: Piano synths sound like synths & all are inferior to samples.

    Quote Originally Posted by NothanUmber View Post
    ... as sampled pianos are imo even more reliant on a proper velocity scale mapping than physical modelled ones...
    NothanUmber
    Granted, I've seen more sampled libraries with velocity problems than modelled pianos. However, I am quite convinced that this is not a conceptual difference, but the consequence from the fact that so far, piano modellers have paid more attention to velocity curves than some piano samplers did.

    -mat123

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •