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Topic: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Using Pianoteq now since more than a year, and am very satisfied with it,
I although recently couldn't resist to try the new "C. Bechstein Digital" sampled grand piano:
https://www.bechstein-digital.com/

Unfortunately there is no trial version available, but there's a full 30 day money back guarantee, so I invested these 249,- Euros....
The sample files are *very* huge, 25 GB to download, this takes some time, uncompressed they have 80 GB!

But the sound is really great, I must say, the Bechstein samples do sound much more rich and complex, compared to Pianoteq,
the grand piano indeed seems even closer to the original.
There are some drawbacks, though, the Bechstein is very, very CPU consuming, you hardly can play it with maximum settings (500 voices)
even on a new high end PC,
and although I tried to adjust all possible settings, it still feels to me somewhat more "indirect" to play with, compared to pianoteq.
The pianoteq response seems to be more direct and real to me, on the other hand the C.Bechstein Digital sound has really considerable more depth and colors.

This may change during future development of Pianoteq, IMHO, regarding these issues, there is still room for improvement.

Also, very likely these differences will only be heard with a very good USB audio interface and headphones
(I have the RME Fireface UCX and Sennheiser HD 599).

By the way, I made the same experiences when comparing, for example, the excellent sampled harpsichord from "Realsamples",
like this Ruckers one:
http://www.realsamples.de/epages/178319 … 2F605-0001
comparing it to the Pianoteq Ruckers. The Realsampels instrument also definitely has much more colors and sound depth.

Do get me wrong, I still like and use Pianoteq very much, I just think, this should be a direction of future improvements.

Regards
Mathias

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

But what are you comparing the Bechstein sampled concert grand to ?

There is no equivalent in Pianoteq, so it's not exactly a comparison.

And for 249 euros I could buy and mix multiple piano models with Pianoteq and on more lightweight hardware.

But this has been suggested before : i.e. that the very best sampled pianos can have more depth, but may not play as well, so I get your point.  Version 6 may have some room to grow into. :-)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Have to second the OP.
Bechstein Digital Grand is absolutely wonderful, in my opinion the best sampled grand available.

Pianoteq 5 with Blüthner Model One / Grotrian Concert Royal / Hohner Collection / Vintage Electric Pianos

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Fleer wrote:

Have to second the OP.
Bechstein Digital Grand is absolutely wonderful, in my opinion the best sampled grand available.

Not my experience, sustain cpu overload, not very good optimized, nowhere near playability of Pianoteq. If you want samples, VSL Vienna, Garritan CFX, Ravenscroft and Ivory II German/American D are still way to go (IMHO).

Last edited by slobajudge (27-03-2017 18:55)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

slobajudge wrote:
Fleer wrote:

Have to second the OP.
Bechstein Digital Grand is absolutely wonderful, in my opinion the best sampled grand available.

Not my experience, sustain cpu overload, not very good optimized, nowhere near playability of Pianoteq. If you want samples, VSL Vienna, Garritan CFX, Ravenscroft and Ivory II German/American D are still way to go (IMHO).

This is a matter of settings.
Out of the box unfortunatley almost every system gets CPU overloads sooner or later.
I followed the tuning advices in their "blog" here:
https://www.bechstein-digital.com/blog/
and had no problems more at all, on my Core i7-3520M 2.90 GHz (a 4 year old thinkpad).

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Live performances are very stressful on hardwares (which are the limiting factor here). I think 80 GB no matter the justifications is overkill.

I consider that relying mostly on sound sampling quality is wasting all the resources on only one element.

See if you are going to use pianoteq to generate piano sound which will be combined with other instruments (flutes, violins, etc.)... that would be a wise move.

The goal is to put fewer emphases on one instrument in particular, but more on the whole music (including instruments which are all used wisely).

Here is where software like Pianoteq rules, since in a piece of music which contains all the right instruments, the piano is just one element. By right instruments I mean that they were selected according to their particularities. Some styles or variations are for instance better played with a flute rather than another instrument (because of specificities of the group of this instrument rather than its make).

The whole piece should be minimizing the importance of one particular brand (like C. Bechstein Digital) in the profit of the whole (more general to the family of the instrument). Classical Italian music took advantage of this technique, it was also used in other forms of art (such as painting). It was behind European Alchemy, which goal was to use the cheapest elements and lowest available resources to come up with a good (equivalent) substitute to the expensive (marked as gold) version which sucked too many resources for what it returned back.

How many will be able to identify a Bechstein vs Pianoteq in a piece of orchestral music, where the piano partition contains ONLY variations and styling which minimize extremes (used to separate or identify pianos)? And that the rest are tempered and balanced with the rest of other instruments?

Professional quality with minimal resources requires to put certain emphases on post production, layering, fixing, adding, removing... something hard to do when you have something like C. Bechstein Digital. (it's like oversaturated painting that needs diluting)

Last edited by Lucy (28-03-2017 02:33)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Arkanda wrote:
slobajudge wrote:
Fleer wrote:

Have to second the OP.
Bechstein Digital Grand is absolutely wonderful, in my opinion the best sampled grand available.

Not my experience, sustain cpu overload, not very good optimized, nowhere near playability of Pianoteq. If you want samples, VSL Vienna, Garritan CFX, Ravenscroft and Ivory II German/American D are still way to go (IMHO).

This is a matter of settings.
Out of the box unfortunatley almost every system gets CPU overloads sooner or later.
I followed the tuning advices in their "blog" here:
https://www.bechstein-digital.com/blog/
and had no problems more at all, on my Core i7-3520M 2.90 GHz (a 4 year old thinkpad).

I disagree, I think it is a matter of wrong strategy... when there is an ''almost every system'' its not about settings anymore but wrong uses of good systems.

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Lucy wrote:
Arkanda wrote:
slobajudge wrote:

Not my experience, sustain cpu overload, not very good optimized, nowhere near playability of Pianoteq. If you want samples, VSL Vienna, Garritan CFX, Ravenscroft and Ivory II German/American D are still way to go (IMHO).

This is a matter of settings.
Out of the box unfortunatley almost every system gets CPU overloads sooner or later.
I followed the tuning advices in their "blog" here:
https://www.bechstein-digital.com/blog/
and had no problems more at all, on my Core i7-3520M 2.90 GHz (a 4 year old thinkpad).

I disagree, I think it is a matter of wrong strategy... when there is an ''almost every system'' its not about settings anymore but wrong uses of good systems.

What a wisdom. It is a matter of : I DON`T LIKE IT. Understand now ?

Last edited by slobajudge (28-03-2017 10:35)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Hi slobajudge, I specified that's what I think (my thinking), others are free to disagree. I just think that when a product is not ''optimal'' as is for most systems, the problem is the product. I had my share of problems and, with the free market, little justify spending time to make exceptions work without glitches. Again, my opinion.

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Lucy wrote:

Hi slobajudge, I specified that's what I think (my thinking), others are free to disagree. I just think that when a product is not ''optimal'' as is for most systems, the problem is the product. I had my share of problems and, with the free market, little justify spending time to make exceptions work without glitches. Again, my opinion.

Ouch, SORRY for my arrogance, my mistake, wrong mind calculation smile  Thank you for understanding.

Last edited by slobajudge (28-03-2017 12:36)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

This Bechstein it's very bright in tone.  It's like someone hired Steinway to built a piano with tone that sounds like a Yamaha but with the Steinway quality standart.
It have a nice metalic natural tone, pleasant, not ringing, and at the same time a certain feeling of wood.

But like a sampler, it still lacks some few living feeling of the true interaction harmonics.
Playability can't be judged from mp3 demos.

Last edited by Beto-Music (28-03-2017 14:35)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

slobajudge wrote:
Lucy wrote:

Hi slobajudge, I specified that's what I think (my thinking), others are free to disagree. I just think that when a product is not ''optimal'' as is for most systems, the problem is the product. I had my share of problems and, with the free market, little justify spending time to make exceptions work without glitches. Again, my opinion.

Ouch, SORRY for my arrogance, my mistake, wrong mind calculation smile  Thank you for understanding.

I do admit having polar and strong opinions. I won't stop having them though. :b

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Lucy wrote:

I do admit having polar and strong opinions. I won't stop having them though. :b

Care for a coffee? smile

Greg.

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Have almost all sampled vst pianos. Bechstein rules them. Pianoteq rules the non-sampled world.

Pianoteq 5 with Blüthner Model One / Grotrian Concert Royal / Hohner Collection / Vintage Electric Pianos

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

skip wrote:
Lucy wrote:

I do admit having polar and strong opinions. I won't stop having them though. :b

Care for a coffee? smile

Greg.

That'll be hard, I'm a continent away from Australia.

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Lucy wrote:

That'll be hard, I'm a continent away from Australia.

Phew - I would have chickened out anyway. smile

Greg.

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Lucy wrote:
skip wrote:
Lucy wrote:

I do admit having polar and strong opinions. I won't stop having them though. :b

Care for a coffee? smile

Greg.

That'll be hard, I'm a continent away from Australia.

I can't resist suggesting a method to achieve this :

1. Find a couple of coffee shops with wi-fi in your localities that are open on overlapping hours.

2. Swap some contact details so you can make a video call (Skype, whatever)

3. Plant your bottoms there at agreed hours, pausing only to grab your coffees and possibly some cream and chocolate laden confectionery on the way in.

4. Spend the next half an hour cursing me for making you endure each other's company. :-)

This is partly motivated by the fact that a certain well known global coffee-shop has at least one (if not more) of their shops (which I loath) open 24 hours in our city center.  I can't help thinking the same happens elsewhere.

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

sjgcit wrote:
Lucy wrote:
skip wrote:

Care for a coffee? smile

Greg.

That'll be hard, I'm a continent away from Australia.

I can't resist suggesting a method to achieve this :

1. Find a couple of coffee shops with wi-fi in your localities that are open on overlapping hours.

2. Swap some contact details so you can make a video call (Skype, whatever)

3. Plant your bottoms there at agreed hours, pausing only to grab your coffees and possibly some cream and chocolate laden confectionery on the way in.

4. Spend the next half an hour cursing me for making you endure each other's company. :-)

This is partly motivated by the fact that a certain well known global coffee-shop has at least one (if not more) of their shops (which I loath) open 24 hours in our city center.  I can't help thinking the same happens elsewhere.

Thing is that those opinions (and all I express in this forum) are those of my home schooled protigy little son. Honestly Pianoteq is one of his toys not mine, I'm just the participating mother. smile He's the Geek I previously mentioned. So I advice against a meeting with the kid, unless Skip is ready for some online chess games with a little know it all. :b

Last edited by Lucy (31-03-2017 17:22)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

LOL! That's hilarious. smile Actually, the chess would be socially easier for me. smile

Greg.

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

In suitable repertoire, the Bechstein Digital is capable of very impressive results, and that’s what I bought it for, but, alas, it is plagued by a few playability issues — which indeed can't be picked up on by listening to the available official demos — which I find incomprehensible in an instrument as meticulously prepared, sampled and programmed as this one is supposed to be.

The thing that bothers me most about this piano, is its unconvincing dynamics. Surprising really that it should fail as badly as it does in this regard because the instrument apparently has 26 velocity layers — that’s more than twice the amount of some of my favourite sampled instruments — and it certainly has some very clever scripting working under the hood. And yet, when you play it, the dynamic response is distractingly unnatural. I mean, the range is certainly there, from very quiet to very loud, but the instrument almost appears to fade in and out depending on the incoming velocities instead of suggesting a convincing and coherent dynamic behaviour with all the timbral and energy differentiation that this requires.
Adjusting relevant parameters does help somewhat to address this issue, but only a little and you certainly never get it quite right — at least, I haven’t managed it so far — so, to my ears, there’s definitely something wrong with the programming of the dynamics.

example 1
example 2
example 3

(These three examples were all made with the default 'Enjoy Digital Grand M/S' preset. No tricks, no additional processing, simply played live, straight into Kontakt.)

Hear those totally unnatural level changes, depending on how loud or soft I play? Sounds completely wrong to me, and I really don’t understand why this piano, into which so much effort and expertise was invested, should have such an apparent flaw. And I understand even less why no one seems to have noticed it during the development stages.
(It’s not uncommon though: The WavesFactory Mercury and the SonicCouture Hammersmith are also plagued by severe playability issues of which I will never understand how these ever managed to pass through even the most rudimentary quality control. But they did.)

What I also found a bit annoying, is that the sustains of some notes (not all, but too many) appear to die away quite fast at the lowest velocities, almost sounding as if the piano is dampened at its lowest dynamic. (That isn’t the case of course, but it just sounds a bit as if it is.
I’m guessing the character of the Bechstein is partly the reason for this as it’s a piano which has very bright, pronounced, even edgy attacks. Even so, it does limit the possible playing styles somewhat, I find.

But again, if you use it in the right repertoire, it can be pretty sensational. Give this instrument a piece that manages to allow the piano to show itself from its best side, and you’re listening to a *very* good sound (not just timbrally but sonically as well).
Problem is: the range of repertoire that will bring out the best in this piano is rather small, I find. (I thought it a very unwise choice on the part of the developer, for example, to start their demo playlist with a Debussy piece, music which, to my ears, is completely at odds with the character of the instrument — not at odds with the Bechstein brand, but certainly with this particular sampled incarnation of it.)

I don’t regret buying it (well, maybe a bit), but try as I may, I just can’t declare this a good sampled piano. Not in its current version anyway. Maybe if they update it and take the opportunity to submit it to some rigorous pianoplayer testing before releasing it again, it might be a success (because all the raw material to make it so are definitely there), but until then: very difficult to recommend it, I fear.

(By the way: I haven’t run into any CPU overload problems or other technical issues. And that’s on an older Mac (early 2009 model, 2x.2,93 quad, 32gig RAM). So, from a technical point of view, this library works perfectly well, in my experience.)

_

Last edited by Piet De Ridder (01-04-2017 21:51)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Piet: it sounds like the overall dynamic range is too high. How much adjustment is available for the dynamic range? I agree - sounds very wrong.

Greg.

Last edited by skip (01-04-2017 22:10)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

here a good grand Bechstein :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUSDpxZgy0I

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Piet . . . lovely samples but definitely strange dynamics:

•  when dropping down to pp or ppp, the piano sounds like it is moving away - distant - like hearing a piano in another room somewhere
•  the pp or ppp, notes in the very upper register sound like the attack transient disappears

IMHO -

Lanny

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Some people in the audience laugh in the begining, imagining he was kiding or making fun with a child song, but this is the original beging for this Mozart composition.

Olivier_Frappier wrote:

here a good grand Bechstein :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUSDpxZgy0I

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Perhaps they were laughing at the ridiculous face he was making...

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Quite a fine analysis, Mr De Ridder and I do agree on the Debussy. Which repertoire would you find comfortable for the Bechstein to play?

Pianoteq 5 with Blüthner Model One / Grotrian Concert Royal / Hohner Collection / Vintage Electric Pianos

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

If you've played a real Bechstein, either an upright or a baby grand, they're not that rich. They can be brassy clashy, noisy things and not imo amongst the best sounding acoustics out there.
If you want the rich experience of having your head somewhere between the strings and the hammers, it's not the best place for playing the thing.
But it'd be sooo funny to watch . . .
I bought the Pianoteq vintage package containing the Bechstein, because, in my experience, it was a good essence.
I use it regularly now!  It has that vintagy slightly out of tune sound and that, with the clatter o' the pedals and stuff, does it for me!

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

I've got to say the demos of that digital Bechstein just aren't that convincing to me. It doesn't sound bad, in fact it's a rather nice tone, but it sounds quite artificial (I mainly listened to Debussy). Now some Pianoteq instruments certainly sound more convincing than others, but the best, in my opinion sound more realistic. What's more they can be heavily modified. Move the mics back a good bit (yes I prefer a classical recording style), add just a touch of nice reverb, and you've got a very convincing piano sound. I've heard some real pianos that sound more artificial!

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

NathanShirley wrote:

I've got to say the demos of that digital Bechstein just aren't that convincing to me. It doesn't sound bad, in fact it's a rather nice tone, but it sounds quite artificial (I mainly listened to Debussy). Now some Pianoteq instruments certainly sound more convincing than others, but the best, in my opinion sound more realistic. What's more they can be heavily modified. Move the mics back a good bit (yes I prefer a classical recording style), add just a touch of nice reverb, and you've got a very convincing piano sound. I've heard some real pianos that sound more artificial!

Nathan,

I have heard some pieces you play with Pianoteq and I am very impressed.
Especially your "Transfiguration" has something haunting... very nice piece and sound.
Which is the more convincing Pianoteq instrument in your opinion?
Thanks,
SK

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

Arkanda wrote:

By the way, I made the same experiences when comparing, for example, the excellent sampled harpsichord from "Realsamples",
like this Ruckers one:
http://www.realsamples.de/epages/178319 … 2F605-0001
comparing it to the Pianoteq Ruckers. The Realsampels instrument also definitely has much more colors and sound depth.
Do get me wrong, I still like and use Pianoteq very much, I just think, this should be a direction of future improvements.
Regards
Mathias

As I remember, the Realsamples instruments didn't have any sympathetic resonant Kontakt-scripts incuded which is a real shortcoming to a harpsichord,  so can Pianoteq's modelling can be regarded as the more consistent with a real instrument - at least in this regard .

The advantage of a fuller sound (especially while listening to the demos) was historically on the side of some better sample instruments, but this has been steadily diminishing over the newer Pianoteq versions, which came out in a years tact.  With sampling instruments I didn't see such a quick pacing.  I am  also curious to what extent these historical KIVIR instruments will be profiting from the upcoming versions sonically.

Last edited by Temperament (07-04-2017 13:34)

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

stamkorg wrote:

Nathan,

I have heard some pieces you play with Pianoteq and I am very impressed.
Especially your "Transfiguration" has something haunting... very nice piece and sound.
Which is the more convincing Pianoteq instrument in your opinion?
Thanks,
SK

Thanks SK, I appreciate it.

It's tough to say which one is the most convincing as there are such a wide variety of piano sounds represented. However I would say currently the Grotrian is the most realistic, overall, followed closely by the Model B, followed closely by the D4, followed closely by the Bluthner. A lot of people seem to love the Bluthner most, which I understand as it has such a nice tone. The B's tone might put off some Bluthner fans, but it sounds a good bit more realistic, overall, in my opinion. The D is a nice replication of a good typical Steinway D, not as edgy as Pianoteq's B, not as dark/warm as the Bluthner. The Grotrian, in my opinion falls somewhere in between the Bluthner and the D in tone, yet still unique. But I would say it's more consistently realistic than the others (by a hair over the B).

When I say overall, I mean throughout the dynamic range, over the full 88 key range, and with a range of articulations. Some of these pianos shine especially with certain music, for example the Bluthner with quieter, slower, more lyrical pieces. Each has its own strong points and charm.

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Re: Pianoteq vs. C.Bechstein Digital sampled grand piano et al.

I went scouring the shops looking for a digital that would give me the gloomy sound of a grand playing "Moonlight Sonata" or more to my point, Schumann's op 28-2.
Would have to pay around £3.5k upwards to sort of achieve that.  So I tried it on Pianoteq, and it works for me.  D4, K2, Bechstein . . .it just has that sound that the DP doesn't.