Welcome Guest! To enable all features please Login or Register.

Notification

Icon
Error

Forum Jump  
VSL Steinway D: The BEST (resolved)
Last post Sat, Jun 13 2020 by The-not-so-young-Norman, 49 replies.
Options
Go to last post
3 Pages<123>
Posted on Fri, Dec 28 2018 16:45
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5511

Gabriel,

O.K., sorry I was not clear on what you were saying.  That makes sense.

Posted on Sat, Dec 29 2018 19:49
by stephen limbaugh
Joined on Tue, Feb 23 2016, Los Angeles, Posts 249

Originally Posted by: karvala Go to Quoted Post

it's the timbral mapping that's heavily skewed in favour of fff.

I would like to 2nd this observation... and think to a small extent, the CFX could use a tweak fixing the bias towards the fortissimo and fortississimo as well.  It is a timbral issue, agreed.

For the harshest of tone, only the very top velocities should be reserved for it.  (Sort of like "harsh" shorts on the Synchron strings)  For the almost-top velocities, I feel there should be a gradual timbral curve.  But as of now, if I'm in the upper 1/3, it's all pretty "loud" timbrally.

2019 MacBook Pro, 8 core i9, 32gb RAM. Heavy Digital Audio PC slave, 6 core Xeon E5-1650, 128gb RAM. Logic 10.4.8. Mojave & Windows 10.
Posted on Sat, Dec 29 2018 19:56
by stephen limbaugh
Joined on Tue, Feb 23 2016, Los Angeles, Posts 249

Originally Posted by: stephen limbaugh Go to Quoted Post

I would like to 2nd this observation... and think to a small extent, the CFX could use a tweak fixing the bias towards the fortissimo and fortississimo as well.  It is a timbral issue, agreed.

For the harshest of tone, only the very top velocities should be reserved for it.  (Sort of like "harsh" shorts on the Synchron strings)  For the almost-top velocities, I feel there should be a gradual timbral curve.  But as of now, if I'm in the upper 1/3, it's all pretty "loud" timbrally.

One other thing.... I sent a file over to VSL about the keynoise on the Steinway, which to my ears is really loud, causing a whole lot of noise/mud in the 75-184hz range.  If this is adjustable in the sample, then perhaps that would alleviate some of the preceived timbral "bias" towards FFF.  Maybe? 

2019 MacBook Pro, 8 core i9, 32gb RAM. Heavy Digital Audio PC slave, 6 core Xeon E5-1650, 128gb RAM. Logic 10.4.8. Mojave & Windows 10.
Posted on Mon, Dec 31 2018 23:35
by C.B.
Joined on Wed, Aug 11 2010, Quebec Canada, Posts 122

Originally Posted by: stephen limbaugh Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: stephen limbaugh Go to Quoted Post

I would like to 2nd this observation... and think to a small extent, the CFX could use a tweak fixing the bias towards the fortissimo and fortississimo as well.  It is a timbral issue, agreed.

For the harshest of tone, only the very top velocities should be reserved for it.  (Sort of like "harsh" shorts on the Synchron strings)  For the almost-top velocities, I feel there should be a gradual timbral curve.  But as of now, if I'm in the upper 1/3, it's all pretty "loud" timbrally.

I sent a file over to VSL about the keynoise on the Steinway, which to my ears is really loud, causing a whole lot of noise/mud in the 75-184hz range.  

I have the same issue (annoying key noise on some release notes).The noise is more audible when playing softly (final chord of a soft piece, for example). It reminds me the noise of a silent piano.

The Steinway is beautiful but I agree that hammers are too hard (at least, compared to then my own 205 cm grand piano). It is not easy to produce a «muffled» sound with that software intrument.

Best,

C.

C.B.
Posted on Tue, Jan 01 2019 03:05
by TCLG
Joined on Mon, Dec 24 2018, Posts 7

Given complaints about issues similar to those of the Steinway going back to the CFX release, it makes me wonder how likely it is that VSL will correct these issues in a reasonable time. Can anyone offer some optimism? Have there been any previous updates from VSL for any of their pianos?

Posted on Tue, Jan 01 2019 03:24
by stephen limbaugh
Joined on Tue, Feb 23 2016, Los Angeles, Posts 249

Originally Posted by: C.B. Go to Quoted Post

I have the same issue (annoying key noise on some release notes).The noise is more audible when playing softly (final chord of a soft piece, for example). It reminds me the noise of a silent piano.

The Steinway is beautiful but I agree that hammers are too hard (at least, compared to then my own 205 cm grand piano). It is not easy to produce a «muffled» sound with that software intrument.

Best,

C.

Here is my solution thus far that may be acceptable in crafting a better sound...

Turn up Dynamic to around 120 (maybe more?) and turn down MIDI Sensitivity to around -20.

Also, go to the edit page and take the upper half of the keyboard and put an EQ shelf below 200hz... (or get the bell curves so you can keep a little bit of the piano "body" below 70hz) that helps reduce all that noise, yet on the lower half of the keyboad you can preserve the low end.

2019 MacBook Pro, 8 core i9, 32gb RAM. Heavy Digital Audio PC slave, 6 core Xeon E5-1650, 128gb RAM. Logic 10.4.8. Mojave & Windows 10.
Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 00:50
by opus64
Joined on Fri, Dec 14 2018, Posts 10

Hi all,

Thanks for the replies.  In the past few days I did a direct comparison with the VSL Vinenna Imperial and it does not have the same problem.  The Imperial runs fine with a linear curve off the Kawai NV10, much like Garritan and my other VSTs.  There is something definitely different with the VSL Steinway D.

I do not beleive there is anything wrong with the sample set, the problem would be remedied by adding a 1-D velocity curve editor.  The only case in which a 1-D velocity curve editor could not address this is if there was (a) a sparse sample set and (b) strong non-linear characteristic to how the samples were originally captured.  For example if the sample set had 8 layers and most layers were recorded near ff-sfz..not much can be done there.

However with so many sample points on the velocity axis, just fixing the curve would fine even if the 'robot' velocity curve for layers was non-linear.

Someone commented on the VSL video and how the pianist did not notice this, this is a good observation. I would note that that this was a specific weighted MIDI controller which has some implemented velocity mapping curve.  It could be that the VST was designed to work very well with that in-house controller, but that doesn't mean it would work with others, which is why having a 1-D velocity curve editor is standard on all other VSTs.

I agree that if the velocty curve issue is fixed as far as I can tell this could be the definitive sampled Steinway D.  What great sound, and ambience, absolutely mesmerizing.

Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 02:49
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5511

I can't help wondering what is done with all this perfection of velocity levels etc. by the people demanding it.  

There are lots of people on this Forum who write all this complicated stuff about how this or that parameter is just not right and not acceptable, etc. etc. - and yet what do they do with all this technique?  

Not trying to be obnoxious!  Maybe all the complaints are correct, sure.  I don't know.  But I wonder what is the actual musical use of all of this?  If the instrument is just perfect ----  do the people who are complaining then proceed to create masterpiece after masterpiece?    Somehow I never hear any music by them.

Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 03:37
by opus64
Joined on Fri, Dec 14 2018, Posts 10
Hi William, no worries:

I play classical piano. I have been working with keyboarded analog, digital\sampled instruments on several genres for about 30 years. When I say this is the most amazing piano sample set I have heard, I don't say it lightly.

I certainly don't create master piece after masterpiece :) my (perhaps too strict) perspective for the purpose of piano practice is that if I load a grand piano emulation VST to practice, I would like the entire system to behave as close as possible to the real thing. Ideally, one would prefer to be able to practice on the emulated system and have the muscle memory transfer to the real piano. In terms of the mechanical portion of the system, as far as I know my NV10 has the Millenium3 action from the Kawai grands up to the hammers. Not the same action as a Steinway by any means, but it should be much closer than a weighted controller.

Which velocity layer in the VSL sample set gets triggered by which midi cc generated by the NV10 is perhaps the main factor contributing to how close one can get the system to the real thing. I have played a lot with the two sliders(dynamic range and midi sensitivity) and while I can get it closer around pp it is never quite right over the entire range, for instance one can lose access to the sfz sound no matter how high the velocity on the keys.

Anyway, in my opinion the issue is simply the lack of a detailed velocity curve editor. It is no coincidence that every other engine has this (Pianoteq, Garritan, Kontakt based instruments, etc), it is because it is a necessity due to the lack of standard or consistent behavior across controllers. Still, all the other engines(even VSL Vienna Imperial)seem to be much closer even without adjustments.






Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 06:34
by stephen limbaugh
Joined on Tue, Feb 23 2016, Los Angeles, Posts 249

Originally Posted by: William Go to Quoted Post

Somehow I never hear any music by them.

Allow me to flex. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VdWcNWQQlI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz2Q3kNsIIk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBn5yVYG96k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QisezFa_oUU

 

If the suggestions in this were implemented, I would say they would have the following direct musical benefits:

  • Better "out of the box" sound requiring less EQ to fix the noise.
  • Better playability requiring fewer adjustments to the MIDI after a performance.
  • For film scoring, piano parts tend to air on the soft side (the opposite of the current curve)... could be more inspirational for composers!

 

Granted, this is what *I* would do.  If none of these are implemented, then I certainly have workarounds and handy "save presets" options once I get it dialed in how I like it.   I have a feeling though VSL will introduce a curve... they're really good about listening to their customers when they have reasonable requests.

2019 MacBook Pro, 8 core i9, 32gb RAM. Heavy Digital Audio PC slave, 6 core Xeon E5-1650, 128gb RAM. Logic 10.4.8. Mojave & Windows 10.
Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 15:31
by karvala
Joined on Mon, May 07 2018, UK, Posts 23

Originally Posted by: opus64 Go to Quoted Post

Hi all,

Thanks for the replies.  In the past few days I did a direct comparison with the VSL Vinenna Imperial and it does not have the same problem.  The Imperial runs fine with a linear curve off the Kawai NV10, much like Garritan and my other VSTs.  There is something definitely different with the VSL Steinway D.

I do not beleive there is anything wrong with the sample set, the problem would be remedied by adding a 1-D velocity curve editor.  The only case in which a 1-D velocity curve editor could not address this is if there was (a) a sparse sample set and (b) strong non-linear characteristic to how the samples were originally captured.  For example if the sample set had 8 layers and most layers were recorded near ff-sfz..not much can be done there.

However with so many sample points on the velocity axis, just fixing the curve would fine even if the 'robot' velocity curve for layers was non-linear.

Someone commented on the VSL video and how the pianist did not notice this, this is a good observation. I would note that that this was a specific weighted MIDI controller which has some implemented velocity mapping curve.  It could be that the VST was designed to work very well with that in-house controller, but that doesn't mean it would work with others, which is why having a 1-D velocity curve editor is standard on all other VSTs.

I agree that if the velocty curve issue is fixed as far as I can tell this could be the definitive sampled Steinway D.  What great sound, and ambience, absolutely mesmerizing.

Unfortunately it's not as simple as that; if it were there would be no problem because there are countless free velocity curve editors already out there which can easily be used with Synchron Pianos already.

The problem is that the perceived loudness of the piano comes from two things: objective amplitude (sound pressure level) and timbre.  If I record a piano really loud, and then greatly reduce the volume on playback, it doesn't sound like a soft piano, it sounds like a loud piano being played back quietly.

A velocity curve editor enables the user to change the mapping between the input and the amplitude-timbre combination (because the two are fixed together in the sample).  However, if the amplitude-timbre mapping is wrong, which in this it clearly is, that cannot be fixed by changing the velocity curve.  I could, for example, edit my velocity curve to require me to play much harder in order to achieve higher velocity layers, which would help to fix the input-timbre mapping.  However, that would have the effect of making it much harder to achieve higher amplitudes, i.e. it would distort the input-velocity mapping.  Or instead, I could edit the velocity curve to ensure that the input-velocity mapping is okay (which it more or less already is in this case), but that would then create (or leave/not fix) the problem with the input-timbre mapping.

In other words, you cannot, by adjusting the mapping of the input to different samples, fix a problem which is caused by internal inconsistency in the samples in terms of the amplitude and the timbre.  The amplitude-timbre mapping of the samples needs to be adjusted and that can only be done by VSL.

Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 16:31
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5511

Steven, yes actually I realized I had heard something of yours after writing that. Excellent work though I'm sure you don't care what I think.  

Opus64 thanks for that - very interesting and I'm certain the feedback is valuable to VSL.

Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 18:42
by opus64
Joined on Fri, Dec 14 2018, Posts 10

Hi Karvala,

Interesting point, but i'm not sure I understand something if you don't mind clarifying:

My understanding of how the piano was sampled is that multiple mics are placed in the room with fixed settings(preamp gain, etc).

Considering only a single pedal/etc condition layer, the robot plays a key at multiple velocities and the microphones capture the resulting sound.

Unless VSL is changing the mic settings for velocity(perhaps to accomodate dynamic range?) or post-adjusting the amplitude of the samples during playback, it seems to me the amplitude and timbre are linked at the recording point and if the microphones are linear, should represent what the instrument sounds like.

If these two are truly linked at sampling time, then it seems the midi->velocity map should allow to adjust for the problem, which in my view is that for a relatively soft keypress velocity the resulting sound is more ff or even sfz.

I'm probably missing something....

Thanks. 

Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 21:12
by stephen limbaugh
Joined on Tue, Feb 23 2016, Los Angeles, Posts 249

Originally Posted by: William Go to Quoted Post

Steven, yes actually I realized I had heard something of yours after writing that. Excellent work though I'm sure you don't care what I think.  

Just having a little fun, and never missing an opportunity for a little shameless self promotion  But thank you very much! 

2019 MacBook Pro, 8 core i9, 32gb RAM. Heavy Digital Audio PC slave, 6 core Xeon E5-1650, 128gb RAM. Logic 10.4.8. Mojave & Windows 10.
Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 23:36
by 08freedom
Joined on Fri, Dec 26 2008, Germany, Posts 14

Eukalyptis wrote:

If the Steinway simply had the playability / velocity reaction of the Pianoteq 6 Steinway, in my opinion, the search for pianos would be over! Really hoping for a fix soon.

+1

Dear VSL team, please fix this.

Posted on Wed, Jan 02 2019 23:54
by karvala
Joined on Mon, May 07 2018, UK, Posts 23

Originally Posted by: opus64 Go to Quoted Post

Hi Karvala,

Interesting point, but i'm not sure I understand something if you don't mind clarifying:

My understanding of how the piano was sampled is that multiple mics are placed in the room with fixed settings(preamp gain, etc).

Considering only a single pedal/etc condition layer, the robot plays a key at multiple velocities and the microphones capture the resulting sound.

Unless VSL is changing the mic settings for velocity(perhaps to accomodate dynamic range?) or post-adjusting the amplitude of the samples during playback, it seems to me the amplitude and timbre are linked at the recording point and if the microphones are linear, should represent what the instrument sounds like.

If these two are truly linked at sampling time, then it seems the midi->velocity map should allow to adjust for the problem, which in my view is that for a relatively soft keypress velocity the resulting sound is more ff or even sfz.

I'm probably missing something....

Thanks. 

That's a fair question.  If there were no post-processing, you would be absolutely right, but in practice there is a *lot* of processing of the samples after recording, and amplitude adjustment is certainly one of them.

Have you ever heard the Salamander piano - a Yamaha C5 VST?  It was essentially a fun project that someone did on their own, and it's probably the closest you'll come to a piano VST which has simply been sampled and  assembled with minimal post-processing (but even in that, they did some).  It's worth having a listen if you haven't , and you'll see just how raw and 'recorded' the sound is, and it will give you some idea of the amount of work which is needed after recording to turn it into a usable VST rather than a series of triggered individual piano recordings.  Indeed, one might even say that the quality of the post-processing is as important as the recording setup in determining the final quality of the VST.

Posted on Thu, Jan 03 2019 01:08
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5511

Stephen, you should always be shameless in self-promotion - a musician has to be.  Also you're playing in real-time - fantastic. 

Posted on Thu, Jan 03 2019 03:31
by karvala
Joined on Mon, May 07 2018, UK, Posts 23

Originally Posted by: stephen limbaugh Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: William Go to Quoted Post

Somehow I never hear any music by them.

Allow me to flex. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VdWcNWQQlI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz2Q3kNsIIk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBn5yVYG96k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QisezFa_oUU

 

If the suggestions in this were implemented, I would say they would have the following direct musical benefits:

  • Better "out of the box" sound requiring less EQ to fix the noise.
  • Better playability requiring fewer adjustments to the MIDI after a performance.
  • For film scoring, piano parts tend to air on the soft side (the opposite of the current curve)... could be more inspirational for composers!

 

Granted, this is what *I* would do.  If none of these are implemented, then I certainly have workarounds and handy "save presets" options once I get it dialed in how I like it.   I have a feeling though VSL will introduce a curve... they're really good about listening to their customers when they have reasonable requests.

Fantastic stuff, Stephen!!  Dazzling performance of the Rachmaninoff, and your Millennial Suite is superb and with such passionate performance.  Deeply impressive.

Posted on Thu, Jan 03 2019 18:00
by David B.
Joined on Tue, May 15 2018, Posts 52

Originally Posted by: karvala Go to Quoted Post

... Indeed, one might even say that the quality of the post-processing is as important as the recording setup in determining the final quality of the VST.

I learn somthing almost every time you post. Thank you for your contribution. 

God Bless,

David

Posted on Thu, Jan 03 2019 23:17
by opus64
Joined on Fri, Dec 14 2018, Posts 10

Thanks Karvala, this is a very interesting discussion.

I understand there is normally a lot of processing involved with most sampled pianos which have relatively few actual samples.  For example, the on-board Kawai NV10 engine I bet has a lot of processing going on to make use of the relatively few layers(mixing, splicing, looping, etc) and even with all the trickery one can clearly hear the limited velocity expression when playing it.  (Not to knock this piano, it's not bad compared to the competition)

However, with such a thoroughly sampled piano as the VSL Steinway D(I believe they quote 4000 samples per key!), my expectation is that if I select a single mic perspective and happen to exactly request an isolated key in a velocity/configuration that was sampled then pretty much the original sample would be played.  I'm not sure why it would need to be dramatically altered if I happen to ask for a sound that was sampled exactly.

I can undersand some EQ'ing to compensate for the microphone response, and layering of release samples and of resonance modelling/pedal noise but otherwise I would hope that what I hear is almost exactly what the selected microphone heard in the room...

Anyway this is sort of educated specilation.  I don't really know how VSL does it so interesting discussion!

3 Pages<123>
You cannot post new threads in this forum.
You cannot reply to threads in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.