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Topic: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Hello,

I just learned about Pianoteq and my old GS 4 install is in an old XP box that will probably give up the ghost, so I'm looking at something to replace GS 4 for predominantly piano sounds.  I just play for my own enjoyment, and layer sounds by midi from my old Korg WaveStation A/D and T2EX and Fender Strat.  So I'm looking for a digital piano that is the most believable piano sound you can currently obtain as software or as a standalone hardware box.  Coming from Sampletekk White Grand and Yamaha C7 how do you think I will find what Pianoteq has to offer by comparison?  I still need to find the demo files to play so that's next.  Thanks

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Download and try the demo.

Pianoteq wins hands down for me.

I like some other sample based instruments but Pianoteq is very flexible, allowing you to widely tweak a bunch of seriously realistic piano models.

Gone are the days where whole hard drives are needed for just a hard and soft version of just one piano.

It's very small in terms of hard disk space, I find it surprisingly light on CPU, it opens in an instant inside a DAW, so many configs possible, a bunch of different effects built in which are more than adequate for recording.

It can be up and running in seconds - nothing like that possible with my other sample libs.

Just a whole different ball game also where playability comes in. No matter how seriously you take your playing, it's as expressive as anything can be at this time.

Hope you enjoy whatever samples you listen to - remembering those are not the limit to what's possible.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Hello Noel, welcome to the forums,

I think that you’ll find Pianoteq fantastic. Coming from Sampletekk sampled pianos, the pffff noise sound from prolonged sustain is over... Pianoteq is modeled, so you won't need much disk space. CPU performance/optimization is the most important aspect.

You’ll find that you can install the demo and try all available instruments for a few minutes a time. There are several pianos to choose with very different characters. I encourage you to consider buying the standard version since it allows you to tweak the instruments and sound to your taste (e.g., chose different microphones and their position, change some aspects of the hardware, etc.).
Since a couple of versions ago, the timbre/sound is awesome; but for me, the strongest point are on the playability, dynamic range and behavior like the real deal.

One other thing that I find really great is the constant improvements that Modartt is bringing to the system and upgrades between generation versions are very affordable (~30€).

If you come across some difficulty, don’t hesitate to post, the Pianoteq community is very friendly and always keen to give help/advice.
Try it and discover which instrument is your favorite.

Have fun!

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Fascinating, I must say they do sound impressive, expressive, and quite frankly, unexpected.   What would you say the weaknesses are for Pianoteq piano sounds?

Also, as I am migrating away from the m-Audio Delta PCI delta card in the old XP box to something of a USB external audio solution.  I have truly been living under a rock so blindly contacted Sweetwater and the fellow suggested this would be good enough for recording quality:

PreSonus Audiobox 44VSL 24-Bit/96 kHz 4x4 USB 2.0 Audio Interface

4 inputs is ample for my needs, and I guess it comes w/ Studio 1 recording software or something like this.  What do you think, good enough?

I'm intrigued and quite amazed this is done w/ modeling rather than sampling.

Thanks for your comments so far!

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Noel wrote:

What would you say the weaknesses are for Pianoteq piano sounds?

There is no consensus...
But, due to its modeled nature, some find the sound a little (very little) below the top sampled pianos.
This is balanced by its great playability and overall behavior as a "real" instrument.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

I have almost all Sampletekk grands. They are among the best sampled libraries in the market. Pianoteq, however, is in a different ballgame. Maybe not as full sounding as some sampled grands, but infinitely more playable and adjustable.

Last edited by Fleer (15-04-2017 18:28)
Pianoteq 6 with Blüthner Model One / Steinway Model D / Vintage Electric Pianos & Hohner Collection

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

FYI gigasampler files can be played on Win/Mac/Linux with the "Linuxsampler" program, i.e to replace GS4.  I use both Pianoteq and Linuxsampler on linux, and my favorite piano is the SampleTekk TBO gigasampler format.   Though I find Pianoteq pianos to be quite good, I still prefer the TBO overall, and I don't find the playablity to be any different (which may be a statement about my technique as much as anything).   For me there is still something slightly artificial about the Pianoteq sound, though I can't say exactly what that is except that there is a certain "szzz" to the sound.  That said, I use Pianteq 100% of the time because I like that it records everything you play (useful to save ideas), and I do like the wide variety of sounds it can make.  I mute it when playing other sounds by setting the velocity curve to 0 (have a preset for this).

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

varpa wrote:

FYI gigasampler files can be played on Win/Mac/Linux with the "Linuxsampler" program, i.e to replace GS4.  I use both Pianoteq and Linuxsampler on linux, and my favorite piano is the SampleTekk TBO gigasampler format.   Though I find Pianoteq pianos to be quite good, I still prefer the TBO overall, and I don't find the playablity to be any different (which may be a statement about my technique as much as anything).   For me there is still something slightly artificial about the Pianoteq sound, though I can't say exactly what that is except that there is a certain "szzz" to the sound.  That said, I use Pianteq 100% of the time because I like that it records everything you play (useful to save ideas), and I do like the wide variety of sounds it can make.  I mute it when playing other sounds by setting the velocity curve to 0 (have a preset for this).

Fascinating, that you for the perspective.  Does it still require a GSIF driver in order to play GS file format samples?   I'm interested--I wonder if I picked up an external USB audio/midi interface like Prosonus 44VSR that should work eh?  Windows 7 SP1 is what I would install into.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Fleer wrote:

I have almost all Sampletekk grands. They are among the best sampled libraries in the market. Pianoteq, however, is in a different ballgame. Maybe not as full sounding as some sampled grands, but infinitely more playable and adjustable.

Interesting.  There seems to be some consensus that 'playability' shines for Pianoteq and perhaps pure sound-wise might not be quite as compelling as the best the sampled world has to offer for at least some.   I understand now it's still possible for me to use my old Sampletekk grands using linuxsampler so this may ultimately solve my issues.  Once I settle on an external audio/midi interface I can try the demo here and see what all the buzz has been about.

I'm not an advanced keyboard player so when someone here says 'playability' what really does that reflect?   I'm wondering if ultimately it implies the player has less need to 'adapt' to a particular piano's weaknesses and idiosyncracies or something along those lines or that perhaps more playable means more forgiving.

Last edited by Noel (15-04-2017 21:46)

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Noel,
I would suggest that 'playability' is the 'connected' feeling between you as the player and pianoteq that you get. I have some other samplebased pianos and synths, none of them seem to respond as well as pianoteq does.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

rAC wrote:

Noel,
I would suggest that 'playability' is the 'connected' feeling between you as the player and pianoteq that you get. I have some other samplebased pianos and synths, none of them seem to respond as well as pianoteq does.

So this sounds like you are also describing expressiveness which seems a little less esoteric.   Would you also say that if you compared striking a key or two at X velocity on your favorite sampled piano, in isolation from your playing per se, that you would find the sampled sound more authentic, less electronic as it were than pianoteq, but that in the end due to the superior connected feel or expressiveness, pianoteq would be your go-to piano for recording for example?

Pardon me I'm just learning here!

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

The White Grand is a very unique and rich sound (which I like very much) - if you really like *that* particular sound I have a suspicion it would require  Modarrt to develop a model.

Greg.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

I'm convinced Pianoteq actually does sound better, just as realistic and even fuller than the best sampled pianos, sincerely. Tweak it deeper or thinner, sharp or soft, no limits really.

Noel wrote:

if you compared striking a key or two at X velocity on your favorite sampled piano, in isolation from your playing per se, that you would find the sampled sound more authentic, less electronic as it were than pianoteq

The Grotrian piano in PTQ still gives me goosebumps. I have retired my Ravenscroft sampled instrument 18 months ago (and others before that).

Hitting two or more notes in a row particularly is bothersome to me in sampled instrument packs. Repetition, particularly quick reps can be glaringly unrealistic.

With sample technology, every time you hit a key, you're kind of copy/pasting the same samples over and over, maybe a bunch of different velocity samples with maybe some extra computation, sympathetic resonance added in.

In Pianoteq, the full model calculates more than just "what if, for this velocity we paste this sample over the top of the last sample as you hit the keys". It kind of keeps a theoretical physical sound-scape running without regard to static base samples.

Also more levels of velocity can be accounted for, making nuanced playing more realistic.

So I am in the camp that says there are no down sides to Pianoteq which will certainly only improve.

Noel wrote:

when someone here says 'playability' what really does that reflect?

rAC wrote:

the 'connected' feeling between you as the player and pianoteq that you get.

Yeah, well said rAC.

For me, playability is definitely about greater levels of responsiveness and precision.

On top, it's about having more options rather than settling for less.

I love the sound of my Ravenscroft sampled piano particularly but I haven't used it for 18 months because it can't be as expressive as Pianoteq. I feel the limits of the sampled instrument in everything I play. I have to coddle it through any fast repetitions and those reps sound same-ish. The longer notes are predictable and unalterable. The entire general sound is permanently baked into the samples and so on.

Every time I feel like altering a Pianoteq piano I'm playing, there's nothing I can think of that can't be changed to my liking.

You can make it sound full or make it sound like a shiny metal and glass thing with crystalline strings or as dull as tennis shoe hitting a wall if you want. Where are the limits I asks ya?

I can pick any Pianoteq piano and play for hours, knowing that I don't have to alter my style or repertoire, or avoid certain notes sounding too clunky when repeated in quick succession. It doesn't limit my ability to play like I'm at a real piano. My MP11 helps. But I'd argue that if I didn't have Pianoteq, I wouldn't desire the Kawaii keys.

Sometimes it's great to play or write music to suit the limitations you set for yourself of course but when those limits are permanent, hard and fast, arbitrary, then it's really not so inspiring, especially over the years.

In short, Pianoteq is inspiration. It just picks up and plays more like I'm sitting at a live piano. I am always battling harder with that perception using sampled instruments.

So much detail involved, and I do apologise for being a wordy person..

Here's a quick idea, in Pianoteq's main interface, the "design" section for a modern grand like the latest Grotrian:

Set "energy" to something like 0.07 - and "bloom" to something like 2 seconds, up the "Q factor" to something like 1.26 and "cutoff to maybe 1.25 and then in the "tuning" box, change "direct sound duration" to something around 0.70 - it's not so subtle for some ears but for me it is one easy enhancement worth tweaking back down from. (Hovering the mouse over the controls gives info about what each setting means).

Couple that with a slightly softer velocity curve and Dynamics at say 45. You get amazing range, warmth with hardness at forte.

For me this kind of thing works on the sense of blooming long notes while initial higher overtones dissipate. With the right reverb and virtual mics it has been a nice trick to make Pianoteq sing even more pleasantly for me.

Increase the velocity curve and lower the Dynamics to around 30 and you have more of a typical sampled piano sound.

I simply cannot tweak those kinds of isolated details up or down in my sampled pianos, nor the onboard MP11 sounds, to the same degree to enhance their responsiveness and playability.

It's a whole different universe for me - and I've been into music tech since the late 70s, midi and all those horrible old sounds since the early 90s. I really wouldn't be returning to the forum except for the love of the product and have been seeking the best sounds all along, I have no interests to declare and Modartt has not paid me.

Higher praise maybe than some would give, but it's a no-brainer to my ears after all these years and I love it when others also discover it. It can change everything you knew about your use of the piano.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Qexl, thank you for this little detail settings for Grotrian. I must say that I like the results from this.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Qexl wrote:

I love the sound of my Ravenscroft sampled piano particularly but I haven't used it for 18 months because it can't be as expressive as Pianoteq. I feel the limits of the sampled instrument in everything I play. I have to coddle it through any fast repetitions and those reps sound same-ish. The longer notes are predictable and unalterable. The entire general sound is permanently baked into the samples and so on.

You put the spinpoint on what makes me feel that when I play Pianoteq i'm playing a piano and not a computer !

I can pick any Pianoteq piano and play for hours, knowing that I don't have to alter my style or repertoire, or avoid certain notes sounding too clunky when repeated in quick succession. It doesn't limit my ability to play like I'm at a real piano. My MP11 helps. But I'd argue that if I didn't have Pianoteq, I wouldn't desire the Kawaii keys.

Yes, that's The wrong side with Pianoteq : Now I do want this Kawai keyboard instead of my Studiologic SL 990 pro ! sad

Last edited by Gaston (16-04-2017 20:11)

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Hi
As always, interesting reading. When trying to compare Pianoteq sound/sampled sound, the word playability always comes up - the overall qualities, how well it feels to play in different aspects. But, as with many other things, I think playability is a very personal thing. We have so different preferencies, what we like, how we describe the feeling. It is the same as when a carseller talked to me about the cars drivability. He told me things that I did not understand. I wanted to drive the car and made my own observations. Four years ago I heard about Ptq, and wanted to test it myself - and now, I dont need sampled anymore (although there are still very good sampled sounds). Probably I cant give an objective evaluation, so I always say, download the trialversion. That being said, in my opinion, Modartt really know how to optimize the sound and playability, which surely leads to more and more satisfied customers. Well, just some thoughts. And one more thing - thank you all for interesting opinions. In this forum we really have a great source of knowledge

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Before I can demo I need an external audio/midi interface.  Can anyone comment on Prosonus 44VSR?  I only bring up this model because it was suggested by Sweetwater when I called them.  I've been under a rock for keeping up with technology, the Prosonus 44VSR price is right, has 4 inputs which is fine for my needs.  Comments on this one or another?

I'm intrigued and can't wait to try Pianoteq myself!   Plus, have to check out Linux sampler for my sampletekk sounds ;o)  Most of all though, I just retired and have more time available to play and get into lessons.  I have suffered from being too impatient for lessons and even though I took classical guitar lessons I've gotten away w/ playing by ear and this has impaired my progress immensely!

Addendum:  Do I need another 'sound card' beyond a midi interface to optimize how Pianoteq works on a Windows 7 PC, or is the integrated audio chip sufficient?  I know to use Gigastuidio I used an m-Audio Delta card w/ midi interface, but it was also a sound card beyond just a midi interface.  Thanks in advance

Last edited by Noel (16-04-2017 23:32)

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Noel,

A 'soundcard' isn't needed if you have an audio/MIDI interface, which the Presonus that Sweetwater recommends is. BTW it seems to be a 44VSL not 44VSR. In which case you will need speakers to go with it (or possibly cabling to route it through your stereo) unless you want to limit yourself to headphones.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

rAC wrote:

Noel,

A 'soundcard' isn't needed if you have an audio/MIDI interface, which the Presonus that Sweetwater recommends is. BTW it seems to be a 44VSL not 44VSR. In which case you will need speakers to go with it (or possibly cabling to route it through your stereo) unless you want to limit yourself to headphones.

What is it that takes the digital information and turns it into audio you can listen to thru phones or amplifier and speakers?  With an integrated audio chip that my PC's mainboard has, does that take Pianoteq's data and convert it into the audio, or does the audio/MIDI interface perform that role?  On my old XP box w/ GigaStudio 4 the m-Audio Delta card was the audio system so the onboard audio chip wasn't used when using GS.

Sounds like I need something like the 44VSL.  Do you have another you can personally recommend?  I will be playing Pianoteq, adding some synth and guitar tracks using some type of software.  I think the 44VSL comes w/ some basic recording software.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Qexl wrote:

Here's a quick idea, in Pianoteq's main interface, the "design" section for a modern grand like the latest Grotrian:

Set "energy" to something like 0.07 - and "bloom" to something like 2 seconds, up the "Q factor" to something like 1.26 and "cutoff to maybe 1.25 and then in the "tuning" box, change "direct sound duration" to something around 0.70 - it's not so subtle for some ears but for me it is one easy enhancement worth tweaking back down from. (Hovering the mouse over the controls gives info about what each setting means).

Couple that with a slightly softer velocity curve and Dynamics at say 45. You get amazing range, warmth with hardness at forte.

For me this kind of thing works on the sense of blooming long notes while initial higher overtones dissipate. With the right reverb and virtual mics it has been a nice trick to make Pianoteq sing even more pleasantly for me.

Qexl,
I created a new track template in Reaper with your settings, I named it "Grotrian Qexl", and I feel very comfortable with it ! smile

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

Note: about linuxsampler - it can only play the gig files, not gsi (which I think have some reverb info?).   It lacks sympathetic resonance though I get some sort of approximation to this by using the PianoVerb VST plugin.   I have not used linuxsampler on Windows so I don't know about the specific requirements for drivers, but I assume the webpage (https://linuxsampler.org/downloads.html) tells you what it needs.

I recommend an external audio interface over your internal soundcard.   It will sound better and be able to run with lower latencies.   You want to be able run around 10ms or below to avoid a noticeable delay in between playing a note and hearing the sound.   I have no experience with the Prosonus 44VSR, but it looks fine.  If you will only playing your piano with it (i.e. don't need  other input channels) you might consider the Presonus AudioBox-USB which is a bit cheaper.

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Re: Gigastudio 4 w/ SampleTekk White Grand v Pianoteq 5/6

OK great, I guess the 2x2 version is adequate if I'm only running one instrument at a time.  Thanks for your help!