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Topic: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

Hi,

As mentioned in my previous post, I've been using Pianoteq since ver. 4.5. Since then I tweaked my setup here & there. You can read the story in this link:
http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/viewtopic.php?id=4899

Couple days ago I tried to compare Pianoteq with the internal digital piano sound. To my surprise, I found not many differences and both are enjoyable to be played.

Since my goal is to get the authentic feeling of playing an acoustic piano, I'm starting to question if my effort is really worth, time & money wise.

So I would like to ask your help to answer this 2 questions:
- Which of the 3 recorded piano on the below link is the closest one with an acoustic piano?
- Which one is the most pleasing?
https://soundcloud.com/user-783020558/sets/piano-sound

I will not tell which Pianoteq preset I used or which one is the internal piano sound. At least until 10 persons (hopefully reach it) share their opinion. If many of you choose the internal digital piano sound, then Moddart has a lot of homework.

Note: The poll can only accomodate 1 question, you can add the respon by replying this post. The song was composed by Indonesian composer. One of the recordings has little static noise that I didn't have a chance to troubleshoot with. Lastly, sorry for my rusty finger.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

B sounded closest to me.

Also, you have a PM about which is the internal piano sound smile

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

lowendtheory wrote:

B sounded closest to me.

Also, you have a PM about which is the internal piano sound smile

Thanks. Still waiting for others to submit.

Btw, how to access the PM?

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

vkvkvk wrote:
lowendtheory wrote:

B sounded closest to me.

Also, you have a PM about which is the internal piano sound smile

Thanks. Still waiting for others to submit.

Btw, how to access the PM?

I sent you an email.

Last edited by lowendtheory (04-03-2017 05:53)

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

The differences are obvious in the first few seconds (but less afterward)!

Is it worth using Pianoteq? Pianoteq strength is that it's more expressive. So the differences are more striking where less speed and more expression is required.

The beginning of the piece already distinguishes the three samples. I won't say one is ''better'' than the others, sampled sounds have their strengths. But pay particular attention to the third sample, the first few seconds (and compare it with the first and second)! I won't try influencing you, so I won't tell you what is right or wrong with it.

See also at 0:14 transition in sample 3 and compare it with sample 1 and 2?

To be more explicit, there are chances the poll will end up with sample 3 having the least votes (less stability, particularly since the opening has a lot of importance in the appreciation of a piece), it sounds like my Casio Keyboard (at the opening). Results might have been different if you left your fingers a little bit longer (maintaining same speed) with better transition between notes at the beginning. While I voted, my personal opinion is that there are segments of the piece which are better with one, and others with another. There are segments which are OK in the three samples.

Usually it is little things like this which give an edge to one and in a specific piece or segment only. And often which is the better depend on circumstances and tastes.

Edit: I don't think this poll can be neutral, the noise of sample 2 will lead many to conclude it's not Pianoteq (don't forget it's a Pianoteq forum)... then proceed through elimination between 1 and 3.

Last edited by Lucy (04-03-2017 18:16)

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

Just one other thing, I don't think it is fair to compare Pianoteq simply by pure comparison of sounds.

Pianoteq excels in several other areas which generally we forget, real time midi recording... free softwares like musescore input midi, but they're not realtime. The others which does it correctly are too complex (Ardour) and require time and resources.

I bought a midi controller with knobs, and then I set those knobs to control pedals in pianoteq and it controls them from 0 to 127. There are many similar things which usually will take hours to use correctly.

It's the amount of configuration and the easiness of use.

If you want brute sound which are free, there are impressive ones here: http://freepats.zenvoid.org/Piano/acous … piano.html

They're heavy though (the really interesting ones above 1 Gb)

Last edited by Lucy (04-03-2017 16:25)

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

Hi,

The G sounds the more pleasant to me.
I think the D is not Pianoteq.
There is something I don't like in the attack of the B.

These 3 sounds are credible as piano sounds

SK

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

First of all, thank you all for taking time to take the poll and put comments. @Lucy, thank you so much, your deep review reminds me to adapt my playing to each piano individually. I certainly will try the piano sounds from your link. Although sf2 won't be easy to play with, since afaik there is no adjustable velocity curve. I agree that pianoteq is the most expressive piano software, but if all condition/variable are the same, is digital piano (DP) more, same or less expresive than pianoteq?

I would like to clarify a little bit why I started this poll. My experience taught me, to get the feeling of playing an acoustic piano on a digital one + pianoteq, I need to set 4 things right:

1. Keyboard action vs velocity curve: it is important to set the velocity curve right so pianoteq can express your touch correctly.
2. Latency & polyphony: I get 2ms latency and 64 polyphony. It is comparable to a digital piano. Any less, it won't feel as expresive.
3. Speaker system: get as good as you can. Perhaps Genelec is the minimum.
4. The piano sound it self.

After get all things right with pianoteq, I started to compare it with the internal digital piano sound. To my surprise, using the the same speaker system and placement, both are enjoyable and expressive, eventhough my DP is on the cheap side. This lead me to this poll.

I still look forward for others to take the poll & comments. Thanks!

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

Recordings are not enough for me to decide which instrument is best. It's how the thing feels under my fingers that matters. And with Pianoteq I always tweak the instruments to my liking: hammer hardness and sympathetic resonance being the parameters I change most frequently. Also the key release noise I tend to turn down. The defaults often seem excessive to my ears. Sure I'd love to get an acoustic, even just a Yamaha U1, but I still would not stop playing Pianoteq.

Having the Pro version gives me a virtually infinite library of different instruments that I enjoy playing and playing with. And if I find something I don't like about a note here and there, I can fix it in the Pro version. But even the Stage version is great for a student.

The weak link in my chain is the keyboard. It's a Numa Nero - not bad, but nothing like the Kawai VPC1 or MP11.

Is it worth it? IMO very much so. The software is a bargain for what it does.

3/2 = 5

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

SteveLy wrote:

Also the key release noise I tend to turn down. The defaults often seem excessive to my ears.

Cool, it's not just me then.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

SteveLy wrote:

Is it worth it? IMO very much so. The software is a bargain for what it does.

Hi, off course the software it self is worth it. But one can skip the hassle of adding sound card, laptop, tweaking latency etc, if they just want to get the feeling of the piano is there with you. With cheap DP + good speaker + placement you can achieve it.

On the other hand i raise my hat to pianoteq that they achieve such realism. Out of curiosity I bought a sample piano Addictive Keys Stuido Grand + Modern Upright. Will share my impression later in this post.

Btw just need 1 more person to take the poll, then we can draw a general conclusion.

Thanks

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

I like D due to the wider dynamics difference.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

vkvkvk wrote:

Hi, off course the software it self is worth it. But one can skip the hassle of adding sound card, laptop, tweaking latency etc, if they just want to get the feeling of the piano is there with you.

I must admit that the latency and occasional stall or crackle sound issues kept me purchasing Pianoteq for a few years. Now that I have it all figured out (on Linux) I can set up a 10 y.o. laptop to run it flawlessly with no perceptible latency and no snap-crackle-pop. It's not at all hard but should be better documented IMO. I use a $200 ~5 y.o. second hand laptop (Dell E6220) that's dedicated to Pianoteq. And an inexpensive external USB DA soundcard.

Cannot speak for Windows users. But once the latency issues were fixed (ASIO I hear will take care of that in Windows), the main issue for me was CPU frequency throttling. Every time the OS would switch frequencies, there'd be a delay and glitch in Ptq. Very annoying and making it basically unplayable. In Linux it takes a bit of BIOS tweaking and a handful of lines of shell script to fix all that. I'm sure in Windows there are similar "easy" fixes.

Also some computers are better suited to the task than others. CPU fan noise e.g. is very intrusive. So I run all cores at no more than 80% max normal speed and turn turbo boost off in BIOS.

Excuse me for repeating myself, all is lacking is documentation for all this that should make it easier for users to set up their computers to run Ptq without a hitch.

Last edited by SteveLy (07-03-2017 04:49)
3/2 = 5

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

I also am using Pianoteq with Linux, Windows 10 takes too much resources. All my other softwares except for Pianoteq are free open source (except for my French grammar corrector).

To answer your question vkvkvk, I think that it is quite possible to be as expressive with your digital piano if you record then tweak your work afterward or you adapt your play. Pianoteq gives you this with less effort (out of the box) though.

What is interesting with Pianoteq is that the sound will be less affected by your digital device, so it gives musicians or hobbyists with tight budget a chance.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

B sounds the most realistic in terms of sounding like a real piano. But I feel like it sounds more like a so-so quality piano more than a top-notch one. The other two have tones that are more 'smoothly beautiful' but not quite as realistic. Thus, I would enjoy having all three available for use.

Caveat: it's not like I hear drastic differences between all three so my analysis above can be considered very "fine grained".

Also, I would likely have different opinions of all three if I were to play them myself. Hearing the tone of a piano I am playing and hearing the tone of one that has been recorded are vastly different experiences even with the same virtual piano.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

Yes, it is sometimes nice to compare sounds, but, to get the authentic feeling of playing an acoustic piano, I have to play, not listen. Which one is the closest one to an acustic piano, is a matter of, depends on, my special needs for the music I play. And which one is most pleasing, is the piano that is dynamic and give the feel of having it in front of me, like a real piano. Because of this, I cant tell which one, before playing it. But playing with Ptq I get the feeling, it is so expressive, it is amazing. Cant get same feeling with sampled, although many are good, as sounds. I had many before. But those examples are all good as sounds. I think many people have difficulties to tell the difference between sampled, real and Ptq in blindtest, as probably in this thread, but by playing, one can feel the differences. Well, thats what I think about it.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

Thank you again guys for all of your comments and thoughts. I think it is time to reveal the sound I use. First I would like to lay down my thought a bit.

Mossy wrote:

I like D due to the wider dynamics difference.

TBH I am surprised you can tell this by listening. I feel the same by playing all 3 sound.

SteveLy wrote:

Excuse me for repeating myself, all is lacking is documentation for all this that should make it easier for users to set up their computers to run Ptq without a hitch.

Totally agree with you. Not all pianist out there is techie. How can our kids play pianoteq? But perhaps this true to all software base piano out there. Btw I like your signature. It is the perfect fifth frequency, isn't it?

Lucy wrote:

To answer your question vkvkvk, I think that it is quite possible to be as expressive with your digital piano if you record then tweak your work afterward or you adapt your play. Pianoteq gives you this with less effort (out of the box) though.

I think you might be surprised that it probably the other way around. Btw win10 is just fine.


@mabry & pianoteqenthusiast
Agree, one must try to playing it instead of just hearing it. It was the thing that bring me to pianoteq.


As mentioned, out of curiosity I bought Addictive Keys, a sample based piano. I found the sound is beautiful. But something is not in the league of pianoteq and my digital piano. First, the attack is not 'attack' enough (I don't know how to express it). Second, when I quickly depressed then pressed the pedal, the sound was just cut. There was no resonance whatsoever left. Don't know if more expensive sample based piano software behaves the same. I think this is important for pianist. Another story for recording though. Kudos for pianoteq and my cheap digital piano.

As of now, score for the poll: B is 4, D is 4, G is 1. Not include the preference in the comments. And the sounds used in the recordings are:
B: Pianoteq Bluethner Model One
D: Yamaha DGX 650 (about 600USD new in Indonesia)
G: Pianoteq Gotrian Player

For pianoteq I have Model D, K2, Bluethner, Gotrian and Model B. Love them all in different ways. I use win10 core2duo 1.8ghz laptop, zoom r16 as sound card, and roland ua ex1 sound card + andoid tablet to record the sound. I have casio px 150, the keyboard action is really good IMO, the sound? Not so much. Would love to try the more expensive keyboard though. I also have Yamaha DGX 650, the sound? Surprising, as shown in this topic posts/poll.

Last, I very much looking forward to Pianoteq 6. Hope they will also improve the existing sound to the next level. It will be like a dream, having all those gorgeous acoustic piano in your living room..

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

vkvkvk wrote:
Mossy wrote:

I like D due to the wider dynamics difference.

TBH I am surprised you can tell this by listening. I feel the same by playing all 3 sound.

This may be a mind trick from the recording where D starts off at a lower volume and the tone of the note is softer.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

vkvkvk wrote:

I think you might be surprised that it probably the other way around. Btw win10 is just fine.

I can understand that for those who do the Tweaking it might sound it's the other way around. :b I merely pick Pianoteq D4 (it's the one I like most) and all its variants (also from FXP corner) and leave others do the tweaking. I actually do not spend any time tweaking in Pianoteq. Regarding my comment about Linux, I was answering another user comment. I use Pianoteq on a Celeron N3060, and with Pianoteq under Win10 I get very often the message that the CPU is overloading.

Last edited by Lucy (08-03-2017 14:07)

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

vkvkvk wrote:

Btw I like your signature. It is the perfect fifth frequency, isn't it?

You got me. wink

3/2 = 5

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

I like C the most. But no idea wat kind of source it is.......Let,s assume it is Pianoteq ( I hope...)

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

Based upon the panning of the notes, Pianoteq characteristically pans the high notes to the right, and the lower notes towards the left.  Of the three examples furnished, only the middle version's panning corresponded to a "Pianoteq" regular preset.  I didn't pay attention as to how the "piano" sounded, as my playing style is much different than those of the three selections.  Also, the scale was a white note scale from E to E (Phrygian mode??), whose compositional mode is not my cup of tea.

This distinction was made after playing the first selection for about 30 seconds, the second selection for about 10 seconds, and the third selection less than 5 seconds. 

Cheers,

Joe

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

jcfelice88keys wrote:

Based upon the panning of the notes, Pianoteq characteristically pans the high notes to the right, and the lower notes towards the left.

That would depend on the preset that was the starting point for the tweaking, though, was it AB or BA, no? smile So you could be easily fooled if you just thought that panning is the smoking gun.

Last edited by EvilDragon (15-03-2017 00:55)
Hard work and guts!

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

EvilDragon wrote:
jcfelice88keys wrote:

Based upon the panning of the notes, Pianoteq characteristically pans the high notes to the right, and the lower notes towards the left.

That would depend on the preset that was the starting point for the tweaking, though, was it AB or BA, no? smile So you could be easily fooled if you just thought that panning is the smoking gun.


Hello Mr. Dragon,

I concur with your assessment.  However, two other choices were so obviously panned backwards (BA in Pianoteq parlance), and the third choice was extremely hard panned backwards, that I based my assessment on the difference between the other two samples.

Cheers,

Joe

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

jcfelice88keys wrote:

Based upon the panning of the notes, Pianoteq characteristically pans the high notes to the right, and the lower notes towards the left.  Of the three examples furnished, only the middle version's panning corresponded to a "Pianoteq" regular preset.  I didn't pay attention as to how the "piano" sounded, as my playing style is much different than those of the three selections.  Also, the scale was a white note scale from E to E (Phrygian mode??), whose compositional mode is not my cup of tea.

This distinction was made after playing the first selection for about 30 seconds, the second selection for about 10 seconds, and the third selection less than 5 seconds. 

Cheers,

Joe

The background noise of the middle sample would lead many to conclude that it wasn't Pianoteq. Pianoteq records in midi, then generate the wav file (no such noise is generated). So it was the least probable it was Pianoteq.

Such elements are more determinant than presets which can all be changed.

Sample 3 start was very weak, but like I had already mentioned, it require a change in the playing style to do justice to the instrument.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

What an interesting experiment.

I didnt read the commentary in order to not be spoiled

I liked B, far more the rest.

D, didnt like it but it has some artifacts as well on the recording

Keep in mind that most sampled pianos will sound like a piano because well, they are sampled, pianoteq is far more responsive while playing and far more configurable to your liking, but you may get weird results if you mess it up a little bit.

I have an acoustic piano and because the speaker system I have yet to find an option that sounds like an acoustic, I guess you can model it but now we shold worry about how to project the sound.

Also they should be at the same volume, I think they aren't people tend to go toward the higher volume in those comparison according to Phillipe

Last edited by Rohade (15-03-2017 21:36)

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

I just read the answer, Im a proud-er pianoteq owner now

Btw, I didnt like G that much either thats why I didnt comment on it but it was better than D, D was thin and has artifacts, which is funny as I dont like the Gotrian at all, I prefer the bluethner

Last edited by Rohade (15-03-2017 21:36)

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

Haven't read the thread for a while. Many new interesting point of view. Hope the experiment useful.

TBH, I never make post in any kind of forum before. Pianoteq made me start writing. I really want Modart to succeed. Hope in the next version release they can be at least on par with the realism of sample based piano sound. Now I'am also the happy owner of Ravenscroft 275. What a sound. I am settled now, at least until Pianoteq 6 show up smile.

Last edited by vkvkvk (17-03-2017 18:52)

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

vkvkvk wrote:

Now I'am also the happy owner of Ravenscroft 275. What a sound. I am settled now, at least until Pianoteq 6 show up smile.

Sounds a good software, but does not work on Linux.

Like I have previously mentioned there are a lot of taste involved.

For my needs Pianoteq is the best , it might not be the best for you. I am running it in a netbook which has 32 GB of SSD... it takes minimal space!

The really important thing is that you are satisfied with what you have.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

vkvkvk wrote:

TBH, I never make post in any kind of forum before. Pianoteq made me start writing. I really want Modart to succeed. Hope in the next version release they can be at least on par with the realism of sample based piano sound.

Realism ... in terms of trying to match a real world piano exactly ... is just not what Pianoteq is about.

Fact is no matter how close the digital products currently are, there's something that's a bit off and you get listening fatigue over time.  (Check out the Pianoworld forum -- you see people's tag lines showing numerous piano VSTs)

Hence, the most important feature that Pianoteq gives me is the sheer variety of the different presets and the the free instruments.  Every 2 weeks, I switch to a different instrument, play for a while -- and when I switch back to a "go to" instrument, everything feels new again.  And the price is way cheaper than buying multiple sample-based piano VSTs.

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Re: Pianoteq, is it worth the effort?

I often mix my Yamaha Clavinova sound with Pianoteq. And sometimes I don't. Sometimes I fire up Lounge Lizard. The key is variation.