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Topic: Questions relating to the Piano.

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  1. #1

    Questions relating to the Piano.

    Hi to the Forum,

    I am wondering if someone can help me out here in regard to velocity layers in the 3 pianos.
    I would like to know if possible, the number of velocity layers in the:

    1. Professional version

    2. Standard Version

    3. Basic Version

    Thank you to anyone who can help me out with some information as regarding these.

    many thanks,

    Steve

  2. #2

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    Hi Steve,
    The idea of layers is getting a bit less relevant or accurate (at least for us) as time goes by, so numbers aren't necessarily comparable or even meaningful across the different editions, never mind across different manufacturers.
    For what it's worth, Basic is the closest product in terms of following a traditional meaning of layers, with 20 layers of pedal up samples. I'd really advise if you can to play the piano, or talking to people, as it is by far the best way to know about the piano. For me it is a great piano to play.
    The Pro and Standard versions are identical to each other except for the number of microphone positions and that in pro you can install 24 bit. The most noticeable difference of pro/standard from basic, aside from the obvious more positions, is that pro and standard include release samples and soft pedal samples.
    Per pedal position Pro/Standard actually use fewer layers on average than Basic, which goes to show what I was saying at top (fyi there's a lot of dsp work going on in these editions for note reproduction).
    Anyway, the main difference between the editions is going to be the microphone positions included, and with pro/standard also the inclusion of release and soft pedal samples.

  3. #3

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    Hi Jeff,

    thanks so much for the information in your answer. I do appreciate that!

    many thanks,

    Steve

  4. #4

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hurchalla View Post
    ... I'd really advise if you can to play the [Basic] piano, or talking to people, as it is by far the best way to know about the piano. For me it is a great piano to play ... The most noticeable difference of pro/standard from basic, aside from the obvious more positions, is that pro and standard include release samples and soft pedal samples ...
    I agree that the Basic piano is a great piano to play. I have been using it for a few months and am delighted with it. I haven't found a single note or velocity that seems out of place. And that puts me in a quandry regarding the new Standard version - do I switch or stay with Basic? Can it possibly sound better than Basic at the present state of the art?

    The upside (for me) of Standard is that it has the Classic perspective, which I perceive as a more traditional, natural and less studio-shaped sound. (Who sits under a piano lid to listen to a piano?) And it is a more complete piano due to the release and una corda samples. The downside of Standard is that it is, as you point out, less recent technology and involves more DSP, a potential source (in my mind at least) of unnatural sound.

    The upside of Basic is that it has received your TLC for many months, and is beautifully adjusted as result. And less DSP. It sounds very natural and very much Steinway.

    So, these are my issues to work through. But answers to a few questions would certainly help:

    (1) What is the deal with release samples? Do they really make a difference, considering they are so much softer than the main note? Piano textures are rarely monophonic, which would tend, I would think, to disguise release samples to such an extent that they would be irrelevant.

    (2) If you playback the same MIDI recording, same piano, with and without release samples, can you tell which is which?

    (3) If you apply reverb do you hear the release samples at all?

    (4) Does Standard Classic sound as natural as Basic? (I can't tell from the website demos because they appear to be made with an old version of Basic).

    (5) Will the website demos be updated with all the new piano versions so that comparisons can be realistic?

    (6) Which do YOU prefer - Basic or Standard Classic? (I know, I know --- "It depends on your purpose and your taste (blah blah)...") Still, I'm curious.

    Thanks again for your generous input.

    A suggestion: This puzzlement would be partially solved if another version of Basic was released with release samples. Una corda would be great, but I'm guessing it would be far more work.

    Wish list: Classic perspective with the same treatment you gave the new Basic. Plus release samples... Sigh...

  5. #5

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    To the Garritan team:

    I already have the Pro version.

    I would like to avail of the programming of the Basic version because of more layers and also for better operation on my laptop. (I am assuming here that all versions use the same set of samples. Or does the Basic version have an improved set of samples?)

    Do I have to pay separately to avail of Basic programming?

    This is the first time in my life when I want to "downgrade", and may have to pay for it. That's funny.

  6. #6

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    Hi Electone -
    Send a private message to Gary re: Basic. I really doubt there would be any sort of charge. Hope this helps,
    Jeff

  7. #7

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    I ought to clarify a bit since this will be getting only more important as time goes on. Dsp is essential!, and a piano having a big layer count may not tell you much as you might think (nor does the word 'dsp' to be truthful). For example, Basic uses more layers because it's using less online dsp. Online dsp is (or at least should be) a good thing. If you look at some of the subjectively good physically modeled pianos, they're using zero sample layers. But regardless of what's going on under the hood - dsp is just so fundamental to software instruments that it's like the famous emperor quote in Amadeus- "too many notes". Too much dsp - it's all dsp! You can't get away from it!

    As for basic, of course it doesn't have features in pro/standard of release samples, soft pedal, or multiple mics, but I believe it got good benefit in voicing/evenness from being a newer release using the latest custom software and techniques I'd created. pro/standard should get even more benefit going forward (probably 1.05 update) where I revisit voicing/evenness for it - using newer techniques yet.

  8. #8

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    Hi John,
    I'll try to do some quick answers:
    (1) What is the deal with release samples?
    Release samples are cool for two things. 1) giving you the non-linear note decay sounds that occur when the damper comes down on the string(s). This can be emulated but not completely reproduced by ADSR release - done right, release samples will be more accurate and true to the piano. 2) Giving you the accurate sound of the room reverb where it was recorded. This room reverb is always in combination with 1 by the way. As the mics move further away from the piano the ratio of (2) to (1) becomes larger.
    Practically speaking - if you use a lot of Reverb effect on the piano then release samples get drowned out a bit, but if you don't use much reverb effect the release samples should certainly be noticeable.

    (2) If you playback the same MIDI recording, same piano, with and without release samples, can you tell which is which?
    It probably depends how much reverb effect you add, but yes you'd likely hear a difference.
    If you are using some of the microphone positions out in the hall from pro/standard (not the Under the Lid position which Basic uses and which is available in pro/standard) then you'd very likely be able to tell the difference, because the room reverb is integral to those release samples and it's meant to sound like being in the hall at that position.

    I can't really answer the other questions since they're subjective, but I would like to have a few new demos - probably some new Basic ones would be up soonest. It is possible that sometime in the future we'll add release samples to basic. No promises, but fyi since you asked.

  9. #9

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hurchalla View Post
    [Basic] got good benefit in voicing/evenness from being a newer release using the latest custom software and techniques I'd created. Pro/standard should get even more benefit going forward (probably 1.05 update) where I revisit voicing/evenness for it - using newer techniques yet.
    Hooray! That would be the best of all worlds - Pro/standard with the attention and technology you used for Basic. You have my encouragment for a big job ahead of you.

    There is an interesting point though - how even is too even? Has any acoustic piano anywhere at anytime had the level of refinement in voicing that you can now achieve? In the interest of realism, should it rather be like a Persian carpet, with at least one intentional flaw (so as not to be god-like in perfection)?

  10. #10

    Re: Questions relating to the Piano.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hurchalla View Post
    Release samples are cool for two things. 1) giving you the non-linear note decay sounds that occur when the damper comes down on the string(s). 2) Giving you the accurate sound of the room reverb where it was recorded. This room reverb is always in combination with 1 by the way. As the mics move further away from the piano the ratio of (2) to (1) becomes larger ... the room reverb is integral to those release samples and it's meant to sound like being in the hall at that position...
    That clarifies it a lot. I hadn't realized that the room acoustics are part of the release samples. And since I suspect room acoustics would be much preferable to reverb, the release samples are indeed cool.

    Do you find that you use reverb on top of room acoustics?

    Thanks for your time and input. And the pianos!

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