1

Topic: Brittleness of high notes...

Really like PT6 - and particularly the improvement in bass for the D4. On balance, I'm still however using the Grotrian Concert Royal as part of the mix + native Avantgrand sound in my very amateur recordings.....but I wondered if anyone could advise on how best to reduce the harsh brittleness of the upper treble.

I've tried tone adjustments in the reverb and delay sections, tried reducing hammer hardness and messing around with the cut-off and Q factor. Adjusting the equaliser can obviously help, but this is too blunt a tool, killing much of the resonance. Direct sound mix has a marked effect, though I'm not quite sure what this is doing.

Are there any other adjustments I should be looking at e.g. Sound recording positions?...

For reference, this is the latest recording I've made:

https://hearthis.at/chriswarren-2j/ballade-3-opus-52-4/

thanks,
chris.

2

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

chriswarren wrote:

Really like PT6 - and particularly the improvement in bass for the D4. On balance, I'm still however using the Grotrian Concert Royal as part of the mix + native Avantgrand sound in my very amateur recordings.....but I wondered if anyone could advise on how best to reduce the harsh brittleness of the upper treble.

I've tried tone adjustments in the reverb and delay sections, tried reducing hammer hardness and messing around with the cut-off and Q factor. Adjusting the equaliser can obviously help, but this is too blunt a tool, killing much of the resonance. Direct sound mix has a marked effect, though I'm not quite sure what this is doing.

Are there any other adjustments I should be looking at e.g. Sound recording positions?...

For reference, this is the latest recording I've made:

https://hearthis.at/chriswarren-2j/ballade-3-opus-52-4/

thanks,
chris.

If you have Pro you can adjust relative overtone intensities. There are other adjustments you can make as well (you mentioned a few) but I am not the best qualified to help you out there. Using Pro, I can reduce harshness in any note by reducing the intensity of one or more of its overtones. I always do this when composing to save my ears and to keep the sound pleasing. However, just as with the techniques you've used, there are tradeoffs. I've been hoping that in the next version of Pro that the tuning of each overtone would be adjustable. I find that the harshness (to my ears) is largely due to overtone inharmonicity. Although some realism (or bite, or character etc.) might be sacrificed by reducing inharmonicity, at least a rich full-bodied spectrum of overtones would still issue from each note, and would be freely adjustable. The beauty of software!

I think some users do not feel the treble is harsh, others do. Although I do not know all of their forum names, there are piano tuners on this forum who may be able to help a bit!

3

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

In addition to other suggestions, the speakers and headphones you use can make a difference, some providing accentuated treble (and bass) and artificial resonances not present in the original audio. The EQU3 parametric equalizer effect in Pianoteq might help.

Last edited by Stephen_Doonan (17-10-2017 13:51)

4

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

chriswarren wrote:

For reference, this is the latest recording I've made:
https://hearthis.at/chriswarren-2j/ballade-3-opus-52-4/

Listening on what are probably petty crappy speakers in a 19" flat screen TV monitor, I don't have an extreme problem with the brightness of the treble notes, That said it seems the issue is only in the very highest note.  If you want to reduce it, I would try going after it in the pro version by reducing the velocity (dynamics) in the highest register.  The notes would have the same character, but just not play quite as loud.  That  would improve the overall balance .  I like your choice of the Grotian, it really is well suited to Chopin. It's as if you are playing on a piano of his own time. Honestly if you were trying to get that same brightness from the hammers of a genuine piano it would be hard to do.  The color of the upper mid range notes is really nice.  They sing quite well, with much beauty.  Just reduce the volume of the upper notes so they don't stick out as much, but don't mess with their character.

Last edited by GRB (18-10-2017 17:44)
Pianoteq Pro 6.x - Linux Mint 18.2 - Mate Desktop

5

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

Stephen_Doonan wrote:

In addition to other suggestions, the speakers and headphones you use can make a difference, some providing accentuated treble (and bass) and artificial resonances not present in the original audio. The EQU3 parametric equalizer effect in Pianoteq might help.

Yes, that is certainly the case regarding speakers / headphones, as can be quickly discovered by swapping between different types of headphones! I hadn't thought about using eq, but it could be a way to make the K2 more acceptable to my ears. To me it's a big improvement on the v5 K2, but there still seems to be far too much 'thumping' on the higher treble notes. I thought the Grotrian in v5 could also be excessively thumpy towards the top, but thankfully it's much less pronounced in v6. Will definitely be trying the eq next time I feel like doing some tweaking...

6

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

Another way is to reduce the hammer noise only in the high register with the Pro version. Here is part of of the Ballade on a modified Grotrian Recording 3 preset :

http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/uploads.p … nd2.xp.mp3

Too bad I can't upload as wav or flac, a lot of details get blurred with mp3 in my opinion...

7

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

dazric wrote:
Stephen_Doonan wrote:

In addition to other suggestions, the speakers and headphones you use can make a difference, some providing accentuated treble (and bass) and artificial resonances not present in the original audio. The EQU3 parametric equalizer effect in Pianoteq might help.

Yes, that is certainly the case regarding speakers / headphones, as can be quickly discovered by swapping between different types of headphones! I hadn't thought about using eq, but it could be a way to make the K2 more acceptable to my ears. To me it's a big improvement on the v5 K2, but there still seems to be far too much 'thumping' on the higher treble notes. I thought the Grotrian in v5 could also be excessively thumpy towards the top, but thankfully it's much less pronounced in v6. Will definitely be trying the eq next time I feel like doing some tweaking...

Yes - although pretty much all good monitor speakers (in a decent acoustic environment) and monitor headphones will reveal perceived harshness. If you feel it's too harsh, it's too harsh and you should be able to adjust for that. The EQ can help (though often it introduces  other compromises). Maybe Gilles suggestion below on hammer noise would help ... I have not done much on sound recording positions ... but I do know that by reducing certain overtone intensities the harshness can be removed.

8

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

I love the Grotrian. Another possibility is adding a distant mic, which in effect softens the sound somewhat and adds complexity. Reducing the hammer hardness for forte, especially in the treble - with the Pro version - could also help. Try also reducing the 7th slot on the spectrum profile and/or increasing the fundamental via the first slot.  In The Pro version there may be changes within the compass of the instrument of the spectrum profile which may help, but I have only had the Pro version since upgrading to PT6 so I haven't fiddled with this.

I too have a little trouble with the treble with my audio setup - solely through near field monitors when playing, but also playing recordings though higher-end audio - but more with the Steinways than the Grotrian.  It takes time, but one of the great advantages of Pianoteq, apart from its famed "playability", is the capability of tailoring it to your taste and audio.

9

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

honjr wrote:

,
Yes - although pretty much all good monitor speakers (in a decent acoustic environment) and monitor headphones will reveal perceived harshness. If you feel it's too harsh, it's too harsh and you should be able to adjust for that. The EQ can help (though often it introduces  other compromises).

It's times like these that the £18 I paid for my supermarket headphones was money well spent . . . sounds very much like horses for courses.

I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order

10

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

Interestingly, during beta testing, all of the harsh notes were corrected or eliminated.  Beta testing was done on a number of different systems by a number of different beta testers.  Speaker- and headphone quality ranged from mediocre to superior.

If you still believe that certain notes stick out, the program itself doesn't need correcting; rather either correct your own situation "by ear" using EQ or hammer hardness or any other means that works for you.

* * * * *

Sorry, I do not wish to sound condescending to you in any personal way.  On some models, people will rave about them and others will hear things that drive them crazy.  This is true on Grotrian, Blüthner, Steinway D & B, and others.  Obviously, if a great number of users complain about a certain note on a certain piano, played at a certain velocity, then Modartt may do something about it in a free upgrade.

Cheer,

Joe

11

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

Many thanks for the replies. I've got Stage version, so I'm limited to perhaps reducing the volume of higher notes, or I'll try the suggestions of adding a 3 rd distant mike and messing with the overtones settings. Thanks again.

12

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

You can't add a 3rd distant mic in Stage version.

Hard work and guts!

13

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

maybe try hard panning mics as described in post 77 by Modellingoptimist,on this page:

http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/viewtopic … 73&p=2

14

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

Gilles wrote:

Another way is to reduce the hammer noise only in the high register with the Pro version. Here is part of of the Ballade on a modified Grotrian Recording 3 preset :

http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/uploads.p … nd2.xp.mp3

Too bad I can't upload as wav or flac, a lot of details get blurred with mp3 in my opinion...

Thanks Gilles, I like that sound very much. Unfortunately I only have Standard, so I can't modify selected notes. Would you be kind enough to upload an fxp?
On the subject of distant mics, there is an fxp 'Grotrian Distant', uploaded by Nathan Shirley, which works well (IMO) for classical recordings, especially if you are not a fan of 'head stuck inside the piano lid' style micing.
As for the K2, it's just one of the very few instruments I just don't 'get' in v6. I can't say I care much for the YC5 either - but then I suppose I'm lucky to have so many other piano (and other) sounds in Pianoteq which I do enjoy very much! We can't all like everything...

15

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

Sure, here is the fxp:

http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/file/183mhzu4

By the way, I was not criticizing the Grotrian's sound in general. I was just trying to adapt it to this very demanding Chopin piece with a lot of high register ff notes where the hammer noise could be too obvious. As was mentioned, Chopin composed these pieces for a much softer instrument and I'm sure concert pianists have to adapt their playing to modern grands so as not to overemphasize.

Last edited by Gilles (18-10-2017 14:10)

16

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

jcfelice88keys wrote:

Sorry, I do not wish to sound condescending to you in any personal way.  On some models, people will rave about them and others will hear things that drive them crazy.  This is true on Grotrian, Blüthner, Steinway D & B, and others.  Obviously, if a great number of users complain about a certain note on a certain piano, played at a certain velocity, then Modartt may do something about it in a free upgrade.
Joe

I certainly agree.  The B Steinway drives me nuts from low C on down.  I think it must by my small 4" woofer which is just not bassy enough.  Too much harmonics and not enough fundamental, but I don't know how to adjust or possibly tune the harmonics even with the pro version.  Changing the string length dosen't help at all in my particular case.  Same lousy sound just produced by an alleged longer string.  The other models I have such as the K2, Bluthner, and historic models don't have the same issue.

Pianoteq Pro 6.x - Linux Mint 18.2 - Mate Desktop

17

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

@GRB:  Here is something about Pianoteq's String Length slider that is not mentioned too much.  People have the impression that a much longer string is going to be "deeper" in bass.  Such is not the case, because the string length really affects "inharmonicity" (the pitches of the overtones being less or more affected by string length).

An analogy:  If you have ever had access to a 97-note Bösendorfer, whose lowest note went down to the C below the normally lowest A note, the piano does NOT sound bassier (unless those low notes are specifically played -- and that is hardly ever in classical repertoire).  This is because those longer strings resonate at the same higher pitches as their harmonic neighbors when the damper pedal is pressed.

Cheers,

Joe

P.S.  I would agree that a 4" woofer cannot physically excite enough air pressure to recreate the fundamental frequencies of the lowest octave of notes, with much accuracy.  Yes, they can reproduce "something", but that something is nowhere the same as the original volume of the same low frequency.  (Hint, that's why there are no commercially successful powered subwoofers with 4" cones.)

18

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

No one has a 'standard' experience with Pianoteq because there is no one 'standard' set of speakers.  My tastes in presets vary greatly depending upon whether I am home listening to my monitor speakers or away from home listening to my folding earphones.  The non-standardness was made quite clear to me when I hooked Pianoteq to a Yamaha CVP-609 Clavinova, thinking that it should sound great, or at least as good as the Clavinova's virtual pianos... it didn't.  This led me to the conclusion that Yamaha (and other manufacturers) must balance their presets to make the most out of their appointed keyboard's chosen speaker-set.  Pianoteq sounded much better on my relatively neutral set of Emotiva monitor speakers.  With respect to any given speaker set, as they say in the automotive industry, "Your mileage may vary."

As for bass, my Emotiva 8" Bas-X subwoofer that I added, with the crossover and the volume set really low, gives the realistic visceral 'feel' that I was lacking before, but if I turn up it's relative volume or extend its range, things get really muddy really quickly.

19

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

@Gilles - thanks for the fxp, I look forward to trying that. I do love the Grotrian, but I went off it a bit in v5 when I became acutely aware of 'thump, thump, thump' on the higher notes, even when playing softly. As I say, this is very much reduced in v6, but it will still be interesting to hear the effect of further reduced hammer noise. It's great that Pianoteq gives us such sophisticated tools to modify the sound to suit our preferences and / or equipment.
Of course, another factor which affects the sound of a piano is tuning (unison width and temperament), but that's a whole new topic. I've been experimenting with a not-quite-equal temperament which I think makes the Grotrian (and other pianos) sound even better, and will post an update when I've had chance to investigate further.

20

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

Just to follow up and say that I've improved the brittleness in the end by:

- increasing the 1st fundamental slightly
- moving the microphones away from the keyboard slightly

... and most significantly, by having to resort to adjusting the Velocity curve downwards a little and accepting that for my keyboard I'm therefore not going to get the range of dynamics I'd like. The velocity curve seems to have by far the biggest effect on tone of any of the other potential adjustments.

(Has anyone else developed a good velocity curve for the Avantgrand N2?)

21

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

"... 4"  woofer" [?]   I suggest some nice floor sized speakers but in the meantime, Beyerdynamic DT 880 semi-open sided headphones would be very nice.

Lanny

22

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

I believe my 4" speaker is at best called a "woofer," but not a sub-woofer.  The truth is it's barely a mid-range by standards of yesteryear.  My Bluthner "Sudio Recording" voice sounds quite nice.  In fact it's lovely.  In contrast the Steinway B presets are not to my tastes as they come.  I have made my Steinway more useful by reducing the "forte" hammer hardness decreasingly from low C on down to the very lowest A.  Additionally I reduced the 7th and 8th overtones.  (the upper most two) if I'm counting correctly.  Anyway it's helped, and the Steinway voice is actually much nicer now and offers a lot of expression making it fun to play.  I also had to tweak my massive 4" woofer slightly, and believe it or not, it actually sounds better with reduced bass.  Therefore I would assume that the issue is that the 4" speaker distorts the fundamental in some way that makes it sound unpleasant at least on the harmonically rich Steinway piano..  I have a pair of 15" JBL studio monitors downstairs that I could try, but honestly I'm happy with the comparatively small and inexpensive speaker set up.  The JBL's were $600.00 a piece some years back and have a horn tweater.  The stock Casio voices sounded worse through the JBL's than through the built in sound system,  So yes, I do agree that manufacturers calibrate their instrument voices to the on-board audio reinforcement.  It's amazing to me that Pianoteq gets so much out of a computer sound card or audio chip.

Here's what I want to know:  Are the Pianoteq "pianos" just built from tweaking the parameters of the pro version or are they something else to which pro-version tweaks can be applied?  In other words could any alleged piano be created by just adjusting the various parameters of the pro version, or is something more required that the end user does not have access to?

Last edited by GRB (20-10-2017 18:33)
Pianoteq Pro 6.x - Linux Mint 18.2 - Mate Desktop

23

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

chriswarren wrote:

Just to follow up and say that I've improved the brittleness in the end by:
... and most significantly, by having to resort to adjusting the Velocity curve downwards a little and accepting that for my keyboard I'm therefore not going to get the range of dynamics I'd like. The velocity curve seems to have by far the biggest effect on tone of any of the other potential adjustments.

Do you have the pro version or not?  The best way to correct it would be to adjust the dynamics of the offending notes in the note edit of the pro version and for the most part change nothing else.
FWIW, I just use a completely linear velocity curve on the Casio with the ends flatten out in a way that more velocity is created at some what less than the highest output of the Casio, and soft end is modified similarly where I believe a key stroke of something less than a totally soft tone produces a soft tone, or perhaps the opposite. The velocity curve is something that is in fact rather hard to comprehend.  I can figure it out at the keyboard, but not now away from the Pianoteq software.

Are there videos that show exactly what every adjustment of the pro-version does and how to go about adjusting the various parameters?  I don't understand what I believe is called the "sound spectrum" at all.

Last edited by GRB (20-10-2017 18:48)
Pianoteq Pro 6.x - Linux Mint 18.2 - Mate Desktop

24

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

My understanding from past readings of the forum is that the different virtual pianos are built of different characteristics that we cannot adjust through even the note editor.  Thus, you can't take the old Walter and turn it into a contemporary Steinway Model D.

25

Re: Brittleness of high notes...

Have to say appreciate this topic and suggestions - my biggest concern to my ears on my system is the brittleness of the high notes. In fact I purchased all the acoustic pianos just to get the one with a preset that has more warmer harmonically rich higher notes. Very satisfied with the bass and mid range on all of them. Find the Bluthner has the least non-brittle high notes.

Tough challenge don't want brittle tone but don't want muddy non distinctive high notes either.

But in context this high note brittleness does not stop me from the Pianoteq 6 being my favorite and default acoustic piano. And recognize my system has a lot to do with it.

Monitors vs headphones seem to help the brittleness problem - perhaps the room mitigates the brittleness.