Topic: Stereo vs Binaural vs Sound Recording

Well, I was goofing with Native Instruments Komplete10 as well as some other VSTs I bought such as Alicia's Keys (why was I goofing?  Because they came out with a sample sound preview program so that you can hear VST presets without loading the program).

Anyway, I realized that I still like Alicia's Keys as a piano and felt that it was pretty authentic for their "Player" preset, known as "Init", especially when I narrowed the stereo width since my speakers are outboard of my computer..

Why does it sound realistic?  I don't know.  The bass is from the left, and the treble is from the right, and overall my brain thinks that there's a piano inside my piano.

If I try to compare this to Pianoteq, the Pianoteq "Stereo" presets do not produce as much of Bass->left and Treble->right as Alicia's Keys.  The "Binaural" setting is pretty close, and almost has the same effect as the Alicia's Keys "Init" setting.  Sound Recording is good, but hard to make perfect.

So, how is "Binaural" recorded/produced/synthesized, as opposed to Pianoteq "Sound recording" simulated microphones, or "Stereo"?


Re: Stereo vs Binaural vs Sound Recording

Some presets of some piano models are panned left to right for low notes to high notes -- this is the classic player's perspective.  Other presets have microphones arranged such the at the listener is at the right side of the piano, facing the opened grand piano lid.  Within the last setup, some microphones are closer to the piano's strings than others.

It's all a matter of desired perspective.


Re: Stereo vs Binaural vs Sound Recording

Yes, that part I understand from seeing the diagrams on the microphone pages for the "Sound Recording" option, but what about Binaural versus Stereo? 

But, despite the "Earphone" picture on the Binaural setups, with mobile earphones, how does the earphone differ from placing two closely-aligned microphones, and what about the 'Stereo" option, which usually aurally doesn't have great separation between treble and bass? (what microphone distribution does that represent?)


Re: Stereo vs Binaural vs Sound Recording

dklein wrote:

what about Binaural versus Stereo?



Wahre Kunst bleibt unvergänglich.


Re: Stereo vs Binaural vs Sound Recording

After working on it a bit before work this morning, here's a preset of the Steinway Model B (Improv), modified a bit to sound like the Native instruments' Alicia's Keys with their "Init" setting (their "Player" preset).  I used the Pianoteq Binaural mode, lifting the headphones to about standing level, which warms and broadens the tone a bit, used the "wave.wav" convolution reverb file to simulate the piano's case (which may or may not transfer with the preset?), enlarged the headphones some (which seems to make the imaging a bit less accurate), moved the Condition slider to 0.27, and reduced the action sounds somewhat, raised the piano and mezzo hammer hardness, plus raised the volume a notch (and on my system, with the speakers outboard of my upright piano, I also set the Stereo Width to 0.41 in Pianoteq, as well as narrowing it to the 9 o'clock position in the Native Instruments' VSTs):


This sounds pretty close to me to the Alicia's Keys, which I have always liked, though it's not quite as accurate in imaging as some of the Pianoteq Player microphone setups are to real-life.  In any case, despite it being a Yamaha, the recordings of Alicia Keys' C3 Neo have always sounded 'sweeter than a Yamaha should' for their 'brand trademark sound', and they have sounded more Steinway-like especially in the treble.  The Model B does the best job of matching this in Pianoteq.

Understand that although I am using the binaural mode for playback, I am playing this through monitor speakers to the left and right of my upright piano.  Despite the description of binaural attempting to duplicate the effect of headphones for listening, I don't understand what is the difference in 'recording', unless DaveyJones is correct and Pianoteq is duplicating a 'human head' microphone.

Last edited by dklein (08-10-2017 13:46)


Re: Stereo vs Binaural vs Sound Recording

Yes a dummy head is modeled. See manual section 11.3.6.

By the way, samples being separately recorded can be artificially panned left to right as point source after the recording on a stereo line-up. Modeling can't do that because the entire soundboard is responding and is not a point source. My old sampletekk black grand sample set surely sounds like the notes have been neatly aligned from left to right...


Re: Stereo vs Binaural vs Sound Recording

Thanks, Gilles. Somehow (until now) I did not follow that the dummy head was in fact a dummy head microphone - instead I thought that it was something to be used if you are going to be listening to Pianoteq through headphones rather than speakers. Which brings me back to a couple of questions with respect to what produces the best realistic "Player" set-up from speakers:  Should it be a set of Pianoteq virtual microphones placed at the same location of where your real monitor speakers are placed for playback? Or is it best with Pianoteq virtual microphones placed where your ears are, such as using the binaural microphone dummy head set-up, or a set of other Pianoteq microphones?  The dummy head microphone never sounds quite as open as using regular microphones.  With my playback through speakers, I have still not decided which sounds best. And, what about the "Stereo" playback option?  With respect to a regular acoustic piano in Pianoteq (not the electrics), what does the program view as the "source"?  .

Last edited by dklein (08-10-2017 17:44)