You are here

Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:58 am

DC-Choppah wrote:The real piano, the sustain pedal is NOT a switch. I am gently damping and undamping. It's felt on metal.

I use a sustain pedal that I have had forever and plugged it into the MX88. It did not come with a pedal.

So I was wondering, are these modern snyths using a sustain pedal input that have a range, not just on/off. I mean do I need to update my old sustain pedal to get more feel?

The DS-1H sustain pedal on the Kronos does this. As they say: Korg users can enjoy half-damper control, which varies the lengths of your sustained notes depending on how far down you press the pedal.

It might be for this reason (I have one) that I like playing the Kronos a lot even though the piano sounds on it are quite imperfect (I'm going to redo this with Pianoteq using the Kronos as a controller soon).

The Yamaha Motif XS (and I assume XF) also supports half damping, which I used as well, though I've now given the XS8 to my wife who relocated it into her own space so I don't get to play it as much as I used to ;)

However, you need a synth that supports this feature, it's not just a pedal technology.

Not sustain exactly, but on a related note a nice feature on the venerable Korg Trinity is the 'sympathetic resonance' effect that you can apply to piano sounds such that playing it introduces sympathetic resonance on adjacent 'strings' to the notes currently being struck (and that's going back to the 90s!)

Overall though, I think half-damper pedals are a good step towards 'real' feeling sustain.
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2418
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my musical works.
I had a weird time in Surrey once, but that was a drummer's fault.

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:38 am

In my brief dalliance with the Eigenharp I learned that midi does not have sufficient resolution to convey the full range of expression the Eigenharp is capable of (according to EigheLabs at least). If that is the case then would the same not apply to E Pianos? In which case the, potentially, most expressive would be a dedicated hardware piano with greater resolution than midi? There was a fair old song and dance surrounding the release of the Roland V-Piano a few years ago.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10033
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby ef37a » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:48 am

I have a very dim grokking that what is being discussed here is a "velocity/pressure" curve and OP wants it to be a bit non-linear at the top and bottom ends?

Something for a coding, MIDI mathematician methinks?

I also suspect something like this occurs in real pianos due to the action, especially the rod holding the hammer absorbing energy in some complex way? I also have NO idea if string SPL is exactly proportional to hammer smite?

(and I thought guitar players were fussy......!)

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10608
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby The Elf » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:46 am

Not sure what other gear you have with you on stage, but this is yet another of those features that is simple to sort out with Cantabile. Whether I'm using a soft or hard synth, I run everything through Cantabile and it sorts out velocity curves amongst the rest.

And if you felt you wanted to sample your own piano into something like Kontakt it'll handle that too.

But this all relies on you using a laptop as the centre of your world, and I realise that's not for everyone.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12592
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:56 am

The Elf wrote:Not sure what other gear you have with you on stage, but this is yet another of those features that is simple to sort out with Cantabile. Whether I'm using a soft or hard synth, I run everything through Cantabile and it sorts out velocity curves amongst the rest.

And if you felt you wanted to sample your own piano into something like Kontakt it'll handle that too.

But this all relies on you using a laptop as the centre of your world, and I realise that's not for everyone.

Man, I just made a gig the other day and sat down and had like 10 secs before they started playing! Glad I didn't have to boot up a laptop!

I like what you are describing though. Cantabile looks sweet, and being able to play a sampled version of my own piano would be very cool, if I could get it to sound real!

Gonna have to look into laptops that boot really fast.
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1183
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:59 am

Why would you have to boot it? :lol: It just sits there, powered up on stage where you left it, waiting for you to come on and play!

(and Cantabile has a 'don't go to sleep' feature, if you normally set your laptop to sleep during inactivity)
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12592
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby MarkOne » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:32 am

DC-Choppah wrote:Man, I just made a gig the other day and sat down and had like 10 secs before they started playing! Glad I didn't have to boot up a laptop!

Presumably the keyboard was already on?

My Fantom G takes longer than my macbook to go from pressing the button to being raddy to play! :)
MarkOne
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1171
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Bristol, England, Earth, Perseus Gap, Milky Way
Debut Album 'Fantasy Bridge' available now!

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby ef37a » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:53 am

MarkOne wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:Man, I just made a gig the other day and sat down and had like 10 secs before they started playing! Glad I didn't have to boot up a laptop!

Presumably the keyboard was already on?

My Fantom G takes longer than my macbook to go from pressing the button to being raddy to play! :)

Yo! "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail" or some such **** as that! Actually this 6+yr old i3 HP with a 5k4 spinner would do? If I setup Samplitude to record R3 say then close the lid. Next day all I need to do is enter password and logon to BBC. If I didn't need the Beeb I would be recording in seconds.

I have also had it recording a band for 2 hours at a stretch without a single glitch.

I might add, this is BY FAR not a dedicated laptop! Got Office 2007, 3 browsers and loads of other stuff on it. I recently did a full scan with Ms Essential. Took ALL day! Only found one potential problem and fixed it.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10608
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:39 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:I like what you are describing though. Cantabile looks sweet, and being able to play a sampled version of my own piano would be very cool, if I could get it to sound real!

Noticed this mentioned a couple of times. Forgive me if I'm being foolish but I would have thought sampling you own piano would be doomed to failure. The resolution of modern sample sets would be pretty unachievable as a DIY job (even without factoring in the studio space required)?
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10033
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:50 am

Sam Spoons wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:I like what you are describing though. Cantabile looks sweet, and being able to play a sampled version of my own piano would be very cool, if I could get it to sound real!

Noticed this mentioned a couple of times. Forgive me if I'm being foolish but I would have thought sampling you own piano would be doomed to failure. The resolution of modern sample sets would be pretty unachievable as a DIY job (even without factoring in the studio space required)?

Sampled pianos always seem to have a much compressed range of dynamics to me. You cannot play them quietly enough, and there is this artificial maximum of how hard you can hit it, and that maximum is reached pretty easily so you have to be careful of notes that poke out when you don't want. The result is a compressed, less expressive instrument than the real thing. When playing jazz, this brings the left hand voicing vs right hand solo too close together in volume.


Let me a hear a MIDI piano do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHTyYdyuEQw
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1183
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:54 am

Live version at Carnegie Hall.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFtgXKXWu2g

Can you even imagine this on a MIDI piano??
User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1183
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:12 am

DC-Choppah wrote:Let me a hear a MIDI piano do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHTyYdyuEQw

MIDI has a limitation insofar as the velocity values are limited to 127 values, although MIDI 2.0 looks likely to resolve that in no uncertain terms.

When it comes to synthesizing pianos, I think modelling is the future as opposed to sampling. The performer is as important to a good result as the instrument. If you were to find a suitably talented pianist using a good controller keyboard, a very good amplification system and record it well with microphones in an appropriate setting then I'd say some of these (modelled) instruments wouldn't be a million miles away: https://www.pianoteq.com/listen_by_styl ... jazz&new=1
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2418
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my musical works.
I had a weird time in Surrey once, but that was a drummer's fault.

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:27 am

I'm a guitarist not a pianist but I get where you're coming from. The problem must arise from the discrete number of samples. A real instrument has an infinite number of levels from complete silence to max volume, a sampled piano only, say, 7 or 32 or whatever (that being a simplified version) and the 'computer' extrapolates between them. Even then there are a huge number os samples required which is why, even aside from the recording studio facilities, I believe a DIY sampling job is impractical. Early sampled pianos might have had 3 levels (each with and without damper) so needed 528 x 16/44 samples each a couple of seconds long, modern ones will have many times that to closer approximate the sound of a real instrument and the time and effort put into building such a sample set is enormous. And it still can't fool an educated listener :headbang:
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10033
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:17 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Early sampled pianos might have had 3 levels (each with and without damper) so needed 528 x 16/44 samples each a couple of seconds long, modern ones will have many times that to closer approximate the sound of a real instrument and the time and effort put into building such a sample set is enormous. And it still can't fool an educated listener :headbang:

The modelled instrument packs for PianoTeq are about 5Mb each, and the whole install is about 60 Mb. As they also support Linux on ARM processors I'm rather looking forward to getting it set up on a Raspberry Pi to have a portable piano-engine-in-the-pocket too ;)
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2418
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my musical works.
I had a weird time in Surrey once, but that was a drummer's fault.

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:21 am

How good, in your opinion, is the Roland V Piano? It got a lot of good press when it was released.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10033
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby ef37a » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:26 am

I knew that MIDI had a range of 127 levels. What I don't know is what the change is PER level?

Digital audio coding is ~6dB per bit and I cannot think MIDI is anywhere near that!

My thought is a mild expander twixt keys out and amp? Have to be a plugin though I think because you would not want anything as course as 1:2? Need to set the power.

MIDI Two Point Two O? Oh! First I have heard of that I think must have a Goog.

BTW, for the DIN detractors. I had a promo email yesterday about a new Soundcraft digital mixer. Got MIDI DINs on'bugger!

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10608
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:22 pm

ef37a wrote:I knew that MIDI had a range of 127 levels. What I don't know is what the change is PER level?

That depends completely on the velocity curves in the sound engine ... MIDI just delivers values, so to it the difference between each level is 1. The velocity curves on the receiving device map that linear 1 - 127 value to a contoured range of volumes (and potentially other attributes such as brightness, filter cutoff or other parameters) in the resulting audio.

Think of the MIDI velocity as a physical measure of how firmly the key was struck, and the output from the velocity curve as the actual volume resulting from that strike. Two velocity-sensitive sounds with the same tone but different velocity curves will sound different when playing the same MIDI file.

The difference in volume between two notes with velocities of 50 and 60 will depend on the curve - on some curves it may be almost the same, on others it could be huge. Also, on one curve a velocity of 80 could be fortissimo whereas on another it could be mezzo-forte for example.

Digital audio coding is ~6dB per bit and I cannot think MIDI is anywhere near that!

MIDI doesn't do dB, it's control information. The audio generated using it is dependent on the sound engine receiving that control information.

MIDI Two Point Two O? Oh! First I have heard of that I think must have a Goog.

https://www.midi.org/articles-old/detai ... y-exchange

in MIDI 2.0, velocity will be upped from 7-bit resolution (0-127) to 16-bit resolution (0-65535) which I think will effectively remove the limitation as far as human ears are concerned, though now it's down to the hardware that's being played to deliver as much of that range as accurately as possible, which it may already be capable of, (I'm not certain on that latter point).

Of course it's still up to the sound engine to deliver on that, but this is where modelling beats sampling IMHO, as modelling can simply plug that value into its calculations whereas sampling has the obvious overhead of how to map what ranges to which samples and the purists will want increasing numbers of sampled velocities per note etc.

Still, not a bad problem to have ;)
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2418
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my musical works.
I had a weird time in Surrey once, but that was a drummer's fault.

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Folderol » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:47 pm

It's actually better than that. Velocity and some of the 'standard' controls are 16 bit but many others are 32 bit. Also there is a jitter management system which can also be applied to MIDI 1, and MIDI 1 data can be embedded/carried in MIDI 2.

All in all these people have done an impressive job of not just bringing MIDI up to date but also launching it well into the foreseeable future.
User avatar
Folderol
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8769
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:00 am
Location: The Mudway Towns, UK
Yes. I am that Linux nut.
Onwards and... err... sideways!

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:37 pm

User avatar
DC-Choppah
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1183
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:00 am
Location: MD, USA

Re: Is it possible to match the action of synth piano to a real piano ?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:48 pm

Well, you ain't sampling that in your living room..... :smirk:
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10033
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users