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Topic: unison Yamaha vs U4

I tried to listen to what is happening at the piano with different unison settings. I recorded the piano Yamaha on the microphone DPA4099. In Pianoteq (preset U4), he simulated the position of the microphone and the reverberation of the room. Of course, it is difficult to compare, because It is impossible to accurately determine the height of strings in comparison with synthesis(And the tools are different). But on the whole, an interesting observation turned out. I had to raise the rigidity of the hammers to get a similar brightness.  Аlso compared different dynamics.

ordinary unison:

mf

mf Ptq

mf yamaha


PP

pp ptq

pp yamaha

On pianissimo, strings have a slightly different composition of overtones and decay.


FF

ff ptq

ff yamaha

Fortissimo contains more luster in the upper overtones. And the uniform became wider. Sound more tin than steel.


tuned the strings more closely to each other:
unison 0

ptq

yamaha


Strings used to "fold" earlier and more. PTQ demonstrates the same decay.
Increase the value "direct sound duration"

duration - duration ptq



I configured the unison wider (+ - 1-2 cents)
unison 2

mp

2 mp ptq

2 mp yamaha


mf

2 mf ptq

2 mf yamaha


F

2 f ptq

2 f yamaha


FF

2 ff ptq

2 ff yamaha


We can say that the fine tuning of unison, there is much more variety of timbres and behavior of the decay of overtones, than is present at the moment in Pianoteq(in this model "U4"). The behavior of sound is well modeled at the value of unison 1 - .. 3 .., but "narrow" values behave less realistically. In living instruments, there is much more variety and changes in timbre, spatiality, disintegration at settings of unison. Also, there is more difference in the behavior of the decay, depending on the speed. Pianoteq is more straightforward in this. Sometimes you want to make different relationships and dependencies between the width of the unison - setting the duration of sound - the impedance of the deck - the volume of the game. And sometimes they seem too straightforward in their interrelations. Maybe the impedance between the chorus lines is the place where you have to sacrifice the correctness for the sake of productivity. Apparently these are difficult places for miscalculations.
And sometimes I want to introduce nonlinear and mobile relationships between unison width-velocity-direct sound duration.

Last edited by scherbakov.al (25-09-2017 22:16)

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Re: unison Yamaha vs U4

Interesting. It's also nice to hear how much U4 sounds the same as a real Yamaha upright! My opinion for the wider variety of results for a real piano is that there are real hammers interacting, while in pianoteq it's still samples, however well they are processed and integrated in the resulting sound. In other words, real hammers can surprise us with some chaotic interaction impossible to obtain with samples. One symptom is your need to increase hardness (to the point of tackiness) to get the effect at ff you obtain with a normal sounding hammer in the real piano. (by the way some of your example labels seem reversed to me...)

Last edited by Gilles (24-09-2017 19:05)

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Re: unison Yamaha vs U4

Interesting comparison; thank you for taking the time to compare recordings made with U4 and with a real Yamaha upright instrument.


Regarding the physical tuning of unison strings:
As a piano tuner, in trichords (usually from approximately note F3 upward), I first tune the middle string.  Then in conjunction with the middle string, I strive to make one of the remaining strings resonate with the octave harmonics (even harmonics) and the remaining string emphasize usually the interval of a twelfth (third harmonic).  This tends to add a singing quality to the instrument.  Please note, however, if I am unable to emphasize the octave harmonics in the leftmost string (in conjunction with the middle string), I switch to making the rightmost string emphasize the octave harmonics, and vice versa.  The general makeup of a real acoustic piano prevents me from guaranteeing that all of the octave harmonics are associated with the leftmost string and the center string.

Personally, I have come to believe this is what is meant by "deliberately de-tuning" of a piano by an experienced tuner.  As a rather cruel experiment, I used an electronic tuning device to tune each of the three trichord strings independently of one another (to within a tolerance of 0.1 cent, according to a particular electronic tuning device's published specification -- cheap electronic tuners are only accurate to within 1.0 cent, so buyer beware).  The not-so-shocking result was that there seemed to be no rhyme or reason between how the overtones worked themselves out -- except to state that a whole piano tuned this way (by an electronic tuning device of all strings, independently of one another) resulted in a tuning that sounded approximately in tune, but somehow weak, thin, and lifeless.

Ironically, I can walk into a given piano showroom and tell immediately when their "house piano tuner" simply went through each piano with an electronic tuning device:  It happens way too often.  These house tuners pride themselves in being able to tune a whole piano in less than 45 minutes.  Their tunings might sound "in tune" at first, but upon critical listening, you can tell the tunings are thin and lifeless! (Think: Cheap electronic big box store 49-note keyboard.)


* * * * * * * *

Back to application with Pianoteq PRO:  Here is one of the unsung applications/justifications of Pianoteq PRO.   Often times, many Youtube recordings of professional pianists include some individual notes that the unison tunings are "not-quite-right" in certain notes.  I am able to reproduce this effect in Pianoteq PRO by increasing the detuning slider of a very few individual notes to a value approaching 2.00.  The effect gets ruined if you simply "randomize" the detuning, because nearly all of the notes get affected.  Rather, only less than 5 notes per 88 notes of a piano should be treated this way.  Of course, there is no way to predict which note's unison tuning will be this far off. 

As an example, listen to Marney Laird's rendition of Brahms' Intermezzo in A Major Opus 118 No. 2 on Youtube.  At first you may think the piano sounds "glorious" -- until you realize that many of the unisons are horribly out of tune.  Generally, the better the professional performing artist, the piano is tuned better (often touched up during the recording sessions), such as those by Rubenstein or Glenn Gould.

Many individual velocity ranges within individual notes of high-priced Piano Sample libraries are horribly out of tune, with regards to unison width.  The problem often seems to occur in certain note-on velocity ranges.  This implies that the piano had to be serviced during the recording sessions, but the producer did not know or care about notes that slipped through to the final customer in certain velocity ranges.   Thankfully, with modeling, Pianoteq does not suffer from this problem.

Enough of my rambling, and thank you for having read this far.

Cheers,


Joe

EDIT:  Originally I was going to divulge the creator's name and commercial product name of a huge sample library of four famous piano brands, each consisting of from 12 to 18 sample layers per note, then repeated with soft pedal engaged, sustain pedal engaged and in "repetition" mode -- these were some of the most RAM intensive samples ever made into a commercial product.  I am not here to complain in a public forum about a competitive product, because this multi-multi-Gigabyte library was extremely popular at one time.  Of the four pianos, three of them were "unplayable" in the final version, due to individual notes that were in tune for most --  but not all -- of each velocity layer.  I complained to Mr. X via telephone about my findings; his only reply consisted essentially of shrugged shoulders and the statement that "Well, the piano was re-tuned twice per day."  Perhaps this was the truth, but certain notes remained horribly out of tune in the finished product.  When I made demos for these instruments (back in the days before discovering Pianoteq), I recall having to record my live performances into midi, and then subsequently editing velocities of certain notes, so as to avoid several instances of out-of-tune notes.

END EDIT

Last edited by jcfelice88keys (25-09-2017 05:36)

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Re: unison Yamaha vs U4

jcfelice88keys, thanks for your reply. Your setup experience is very interesting. So delicate. For some time now I've come to tuning unison by ear. This really allows you to control the "vitality" and melodiousness of the instrument. Unison can make the sound dull, electric, and can be melodious, woody, soft and lingering. Sometimes I thought that you could try to catch some rhythms in unison and try to build them into some system of rhythm interactions. Maybe in the future I'll get to that. But your information about this interaction intrigued me. I will try. Thank you! )

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Re: unison Yamaha vs U4

Joe,

Now that you've made me listen more closely, I do hear the unison widths. The A at O:46, for example? Much more noticeable when played hard. The note sounds good earlier, to me. I have to say that I still like the overall sound of this piano and recording--the sound of the room and the old piano, and perhaps those detuned unisons, until you mentioned them. And the clarity of the tenor section. Something, or some combination of elements, keeps this piece from being too beautiful in a simple way. I don't want to use the word "organic" but that may almost describe what I like about the sound--a bit raw. The piece is in danger of being elegant, and the older sound that I hear, perhaps partly because of the unisons, helps to prevent it from slipping into that. But I do want to hear it, now, with cleaner unisons. When are you going over to their place to set them right?  :-)

And I should mention that, in the thread where I posted her video, I've added that I emailed her and husband, asking them to come here and tell us about the piano and the recording. Now I'm hoping that they aren't sensitive about their unisons.

Last edited by Jake Johnson (25-09-2017 07:14)

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Re: unison Yamaha vs U4

jcfelice88keys wrote:

EDIT:  Originally I was going to divulge the creator's name and commercial product name of a huge sample library of four famous piano brands, each consisting of from 12 to 18 sample layers per note, then repeated with soft pedal engaged, sustain pedal engaged and in "repetition" mode -- these were some of the most RAM intensive samples ever made into a commercial product.  I am not here to complain in a public forum about a competitive product, because this multi-multi-Gigabyte library was extremely popular at one time.  Of the four pianos, three of them were "unplayable" in the final version, due to individual notes that were in tune for most --  but not all -- of each velocity layer.  I complained to Mr. X via telephone about my findings; his only reply consisted essentially of shrugged shoulders and the statement that "Well, the piano was re-tuned twice per day."  Perhaps this was the truth, but certain notes remained horribly out of tune in the finished product.  When I made demos for these instruments (back in the days before discovering Pianoteq), I recall having to record my live performances into midi, and then subsequently editing velocities of certain notes, so as to avoid several instances of out-of-tune notes.

Well that sounds to me like EastWest pianos big_smile big_smile big_smile

Last edited by EvilDragon (25-09-2017 08:57)
Hard work and guts!

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Re: unison Yamaha vs U4

EvilDragon wrote:
jcfelice88keys wrote:

EDIT:  Originally I was going to divulge the creator's name and commercial product name of a huge sample library of four famous piano brands, each consisting of from 12 to 18 sample layers per note, then repeated with soft pedal engaged, sustain pedal engaged and in "repetition" mode -- these were some of the most RAM intensive samples ever made into a commercial product.  I am not here to complain in a public forum about a competitive product, because this multi-multi-Gigabyte library was extremely popular at one time.  Of the four pianos, three of them were "unplayable" in the final version, due to individual notes that were in tune for most --  but not all -- of each velocity layer.  I complained to Mr. X via telephone about my findings; his only reply consisted essentially of shrugged shoulders and the statement that "Well, the piano was re-tuned twice per day."  Perhaps this was the truth, but certain notes remained horribly out of tune in the finished product.  When I made demos for these instruments (back in the days before discovering Pianoteq), I recall having to record my live performances into midi, and then subsequently editing velocities of certain notes, so as to avoid several instances of out-of-tune notes.

Well that sounds to me like EastWest pianos big_smile big_smile big_smile


Actually, it was Nick Phoenix I was working with, creator of EW Pianos at EWQL.

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Re: unison Yamaha vs U4

Right. Well from your description it was fairly obvious which sample library it was smile


(By the way, EastWest is one company, Doug Rogers', and Quantum Leap is another, Nick Phoenix's). They do joint releases as EW/QL though.)

Last edited by EvilDragon (25-09-2017 15:46)
Hard work and guts!

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Re: unison Yamaha vs U4

I listened to the tuning of the unison, but I heard something else. I tried to make a sound similarity in development. It turns out that for different values of velocity, different parameters of values are needed direct sound duration, impedance, cutoff, q factor. At a narrow interval, it would be more correct to make an attack with a low value of the duration of sound and the duration of sound as at a high value. A different nature of the development of the timbre in a narrow unison I could not exactly repeat.
Maybe there is not enough additional relationship for the existing settings in Pianoteq? (the relationship between direct sound duration, impedance, cutoff, q factor). Maybe that's why he sometimes looks a little flat? And these additional relationships would bring the right variety.

Last edited by scherbakov.al (25-09-2017 22:02)