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Topic: The best piano sound possible

Hello Everyone,

I've tested many VSTIs and found Pianoteq the best so far. I use Stage.

I have tried almost all the settings in the software and found that the D4 Daily Practice is the best piano sound. It's the clearest and most piano like setting, for me.

I always turn the key release and sustain peddle noise almost off. As I find them distracting and muddies the sound.

But, I'm still not happy with the sound. I guess I keep comparing it to the real thing, recorded in a studio with profesional mixing and mastering.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the best piano sound possible with the Pianoteq software?

I know a lot of this has a lot to do with the type of sound system and the space you are hearing it in, but I've still not heard anything as clear and natural as a good acoustic piano. Though, Pianoteq is very close, in my opinion.

Here's a short peice to show you what I think is the best sound I can create so far But, I have to say, Soundcloud does something weird to the sound. It sounds likes it's being played in a tunnel. If I listen on the Pianoteq software, it's much clearler.

Cheers

https://soundcloud.com/rob-kennedy-9/d4-daily-practice

Last edited by kenrob2037 (17-04-2017 07:06)

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Re: The best piano sound possible

kenrob2037 wrote:

Hello Everyone,

I've tested many VSTIs and found Pianoteq the best so far. I use Stage.

I have tried almost all the settings in the software and found that the D4 Daily Practice is the best piano sound. It's the clearest and most piano like setting, for me.

I always turn the key release and sustain peddle noise almost off. As I find them distracting and muddies the sound.

But, I'm still not happy with the sound. I guess I keep comparing it to the real thing, recorded in a studio with profesional mixing and mastering.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the best piano sound possible with the Pianoteq software?

I know a lot of this has a lot to do with the type of sound system and the space you are hearing it in, but I've still not heard anything as clear and natural as a good acoustic piano. Though, Pianoteq is very close, in my opinion.

Here's a short peice to show you what I think is the best sound I can create so far But, I have to say, Soundcloud does something weird to the sound. It sounds likes it's being played in a tunnel. If I listen on the Pianoteq software, it's much clearler.

Cheers

https://soundcloud.com/rob-kennedy-9/d4-daily-practice

Hi Rob - recently I purchased some brutal mixing monitor speakers (which act like a microscope on sound) through which I ran your D4 Daily Practice. It sounds horrendous through these monitors - which is exactly what these monitors are meant to do - reveal issues. However, I have some other pianoteq models that I have altered that sound FAR better through these monitors. So there is absolutely no question in my mind that D4 is not the best Pianoteq model. Even the "better" models do not sound perfect, largely but not completely due to tuning "errors" that are likely unavoidable (I'm not a piano tuner). For example, using my best attempt to smooth the harshness out of Steinway Model B, I still have harshness when playing (for example) D5 and B6 (use the convention that the lowest A is called A1) together under the Equal Temperament tuning. Under Zarlino tuning, that same interval sounds better. Much of the harshness issue has to do with accumulated tuning "errors" that result in unpleasant beats between fundamentals and overtones. For example, for that one specific interval, Zarlino tuning shows "correct" frequency ratios of 1.67 (one and two-thirds) for the fundamental and first two overtones, whereas equal temperament shows "erroneous" ratios of 1.69 for all three. However, many other intervals sound far worse under Zarlino than under Equal since tuning a piano involves making compromises. Now, using my less brutal monitor speakers, Model B sounds extremely good for almost all intervals - although the harshness it still audible to a degree, and certainly is felt, as a sort of irritation, to a small degree on a more unconscious level.

Somewhere else in the forum I skimmed a discussion on the nature of the pianoteq overtones compared to those made on a real piano. There could be something in the modeling that creates an extra harshness - BUT - it's been so long since I used an acoustic piano that I am not comfortable saying that acoustic pianos are less harsh than pianoteq models!

FYI the adjustments I made to my model involve equalization, reverb, some per-note velocity adjustments to smooth out the volume response, and some overtone adjustments (using the Pro version) to smooth out some harshness. However, even without these adjustments, I am sure that D4 Daily Practice is not even close to being the best Pianoteq model - but since it's a matter of taste I will not push that opinion - as long as someone makes good music, poor sound quality is not the end of the world.

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Re: The best piano sound possible

Hi,

Thanks for the reply. I have to say I agree with you on the sound quality of that piece on Soundcloud. After a bit of research on several computers with different sound systems, I now know the problem is with streaming sites, not my gear.

I've put a meter on the sound quality that comes from these streaming sites like Soundcloud and then on the sound coming out of my computer through Pianoteq, and there is no comparrison. The muddiness and poor sound quality that is produced from the streaming sites is the problem, not my gear.

To me, sound quality is the second most important aspect of music, over the overall compositional quality. Then it's things like the choice of instrumnets, the laying and blending of those timbres and finaly the style of music.

While I'm not an audiofile, (can't afford to be) the sound quality of my music is so very important.

I know now what I asked was incorrect. It should have been "How to get the best sound quality from a streaming site?", and that's simply not possible. Especially as most stream MP3s. That siad, it's almost impossible to tell the difference bewteen an MP3 and a WAV when it is streamed.

As mentioned, the sound quality from Pianoteq and the same piece on Soudcloud is about 50% poorer in most aspects.

Thanks again.

Cheers

rob

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Re: The best piano sound possible

kenrob2037 wrote:

Hi,

Thanks for the reply. I have to say I agree with you on the sound quality of that piece on Soundcloud. After a bit of research on several computers with different sound systems, I now know the problem is with streaming sites, not my gear.

I've put a meter on the sound quality that comes from these streaming sites like Soundcloud and then on the sound coming out of my computer through Pianoteq, and there is no comparrison. The muddiness and poor sound quality that is produced from the streaming sites is the problem, not my gear.

To me, sound quality is the second most important aspect of music, over the overall compositional quality. Then it's things like the choice of instrumnets, the laying and blending of those timbres and finaly the style of music.

While I'm not an audiofile, (can't afford to be) the sound quality of my music is so very important.

I know now what I asked was incorrect. It should have been "How to get the best sound quality from a streaming site?", and that's simply not possible. Especially as most stream MP3s. That siad, it's almost impossible to tell the difference bewteen an MP3 and a WAV when it is streamed.

As mentioned, the sound quality from Pianoteq and the same piece on Soudcloud is about 50% poorer in most aspects.

Thanks again.

Cheers

rob

Hi again Rob,

lovely piece and performance by the way!!

I think I confused things a bit in my earlier reply. I was not referring to your Soundcloud file, but to the actual Pianoteq D4 preset Daily Practice. I was playing my keyboard using that model and preset, and not your Soundcloud recording, through my mixing speakers and comparing it to playing other presets using other PT models (e.g. Steinway B). I found that some of the other models sound a lot better through those speakers, which as mentioned are designed to magnify potential issues with recordings so they can be eliminated (often they make music sound so bad it's unlistenable). So all I was trying to say is that to me D4 is not even close to being the best PT model. Others may disagree!!

Sorry for the confusion, and I really enjoyed your piece!

Hugh

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Re: The best piano sound possible

Thanks for that info. No worries about your comments. all clear to me.

After more investigation, I've found that my original statement is sort of right and sort of wrong. D4 Daily practice, is good as solo piano, gor me. But when blended with other instruments it's a bit muddy. I've switched to the K2 Concert Recording BA. This is what PT say about the K2. "The K2 Grand Piano is developed especially for Pianoteq 5. It is not based on any specific model but created from scratch by the Modartt virtual piano factory, combining the best elements of several source pianos."

I found it about 20% clearer when used with accompanying instruments; I've yet to try it solo.

Unfortunately, I do not have the Steinway B, only a demo, It didn't work for me I'm afaraid.

Cheers and thanks, nice talking to you.

Rob