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Topic: Clipped Steinway Samples?

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  1. #1

    Clipped Steinway Samples?

    When using the "Steinway Piano" sample, when I play the following notes at 127 velocity:

    D4, B3, G#3, G3, E3, Eb3, B2, G2, Eb2, B1, Bb1

    I hear some distortion. I don't think the player itself or my audio track is clipping, and this has happened in both the latest and previous versions of the GPO player. This happens regardless of whether I'm using the plugin version or the stand-alone executible.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
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    Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by guywithnoear
    When using the "Steinway Piano" sample, when I play the following notes at 127 velocity:

    D4, B3, G#3, G3, E3, Eb3, B2, G2, Eb2, B1, Bb1

    I hear some distortion. I don't think the player itself or my audio track is clipping, and this has happened in both the latest and previous versions of the GPO player. This happens regardless of whether I'm using the plugin version or the stand-alone executible.

    Thanks for your help!
    We extensively checked and rechecked and the clipping is not at the sample level. I suspect that it may be a soundcard setting. Check to see if a +6dB setting in your soundcard panel is activated. Also, make sure the auto-convert in the options menu is not engaged.

    Gary Garritan

  3. #3

    Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    Mr. Garritan, it's an honor. I think the product is absolutely fantastic. Keep up the superb work.

    Yes, I figured if there were clips in this sample somebody would have known. Auto-convert is not on, and there is no +6 dB boost option on my soundcard to toggle (M-Audio Audiophile 24/96). I'll look into this more!

  4. #4

    Question Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    Hi,

    I just accidentally lost a post which complained (among other things!) about a low B note on the Grand Piano...then I noticed this thread, so I'll contribute my 2c worth here...

    I thought it could not be the sound card settings either, but it seems I may be wrong?

    I did a bounce of the note in question in ProTools LE (MBox) and examined it spectrally and yes, there's a click/clip there on the left channel. It only happens for highest velocity. I've heard similar things in some of the ContraTuba samples too.

    I've tried this with the MBox, with highest buffer/memory settings, and with the DSP24/C-Port ASIO drivers and same thing is heard.

    It would appear that if you are certain it's not the samples themselves (ie you've examined the source files spectrally) then something is stuffing up the sample, but only when it gets to a high amplitude?

    I don't know if there are any settings for the MBox/ProTools which seem to relate to the suggestions that Gary made in this thread...so I don't know what to do.

    Any further thoughts anyone??? Anyone have this problem with the MBox in ProTools LE (WinXP) and know/how to tweak things on the system???

    Thanks,

    Steve

  5. #5

    Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    It's been a while since I've examined the piano waves so I just took another look at the "f" samples including B0, B1, B2, and B3 (making sure I covered all possible octaves for the low B.) I can confirm that none of these waves are clipped at the sample level.

    Tom

  6. #6

    Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    It's been a while since I've examined the piano waves so I just took another look at the "f" samples including B0, B1, B2, and B3 (making sure I covered all possible octaves for the low B.) I can confirm that none of these waves are clipped at the sample level.

    Tom
    Hi Tom,

    Firstly, I think it's not necessarily "clipping" in the usual sense that's happening. But some sort of waveform distortion is occuring at any rate. Presumably you actually listed to those "f" samples in good headphones (I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't show up in lesser quality phones - I'm using Sennheiser HD250's) and didn't hear any thing?

    That being the case, as far as I can work out, this is perhaps not (just) a sound card problem. I think it could be related to Kontakt player in some way. Perhaps certain samples that peak in a certain way trigger some flaw or bug in the envelope/filter and cause this clicking noise? I've done programming with Kontakt full version (unfortunately I only have version 1.2 so I can't check stuff myself for these instruments) and I'm quite sure that it's possible to cause an issue like this without too much trying????

    Also, I gather from other posts people have made that it is possible with certain mod wheel settings and certain velocities and sustain settings to cause clipping or something odd sounding...so surely it's possible something is not as it should be with the programming in Kontakt?

    Anyway, could you let me know what the layering is like for this instrument? eg Vel=120-127 triggers "f" sample, with varying LPF filter?? I want to do a bounce of repeated notes at different velocities that I could perhaps send you as well to see if that sheds any light on things?

    This is extrememly frustrating, because I don't have any special settings for the MBox (or the other sound card) that I can try....I've turned up ASIO buffers, I have NOT selected convert to 32-bit on loading, turning down the Volume on the Player merely gives you a quieter clicking, but it's still there (which is why I think it's a Player envelope/filter issue), I've tried turning off audio suite dither in PT (even though this is RTAS, not AS), I've tried 24bit and 16bit sessions.

    Regards,

    Steve
    p.s. I think it's a great testament to Garritan as a company that Gary and yourself are available for such intricate customer support!

  7. #7

    Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    I tried playing these notes (velocity 127) in Sonar for their full decay duration and they sound like I'd expect them to. One thing I've noticed (I had the MAudio 24/96 before I fired it in favor of the Lynx L22) is that piano samples in general, not just the GPO Steinway, get flaky when run through a loudness maximizer. There's just something about the quick attack of a piano note that pushes it over the edge when you take the signal arbitrarily close to the max (clipping) level. Other sounds with slower attacks seem not to exhibit this distortion you speak of, but the piano certainly does. I had piano pieces that I ran through a loudness maximizer, and had them "clip" in certain spots. Not clipping in the "I went above the max level" clipping, but something like intra-sample clipping, which sounds the same but is different, if that makes any sense. It's possible that this intra-sample clipping confuses certain DACs found in some soundcards. The M-Audio 24/96 distorts in these cases - the L22 does not. This does not mean you should rush right out and get an L22. It's actually a good thing that you can hear this because if you're going to put this on CD for other people to hear, it's important to address the issue since you have no idea what CD players / DACs are going to be used to hear your music.

    You didn't mention this in your post, but if you're pushing the levels of the piano notes to the max or beyond, back it off to something like 70% of max and see if the distortion is still there. If it isn't, then the good news is that you can make this work, but you will have to work with the settings of the loudness maximizer (if that is what you're using) to find the optimal attack/release settings where the intra-sample clipping doesn't occur.
    -E

    "Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson."

  8. #8

    Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Rhino
    You didn't mention this in your post, but if you're pushing the levels of the piano notes to the max or beyond, back it off to something like 70% of max and see if the distortion is still there. If it isn't, then the good news is that you can make this work, but you will have to work with the settings of the loudness maximizer (if that is what you're using) to find the optimal attack/release settings where the intra-sample clipping doesn't occur.
    Hi there,

    Well, I certainly have not been running any loudness maximiser/compressor... NOTHING... no processing at all. But it does seem like maybe it is this different type of clipping that you described?? In which case, my point was that maybe it's in Kontakt that it's getting stuffed up?

    Although, if it's a case of certain DAC's not handling it, it doesn't explain why I not only here it after the DAC, but also when bouncing and playing it back...although there might be some confused logic in that statement

    Ah, now I know why I'm NOT confused on that...it's because I bounced the clipped sounding notes to wav file in PT, then examined the spectral view in Audition and could "see" the distortions/clipping happening (believe I know what it looks like spectrally). Unless the DAC's are involved in bouncing as well??

    Anyway, I've worked with a lot of loud samples, and sharp attack samples very intimately for a professional product release that's due out soon (can't mention what or I'm self-promoting)...and I've never come across my soundcard's converters crapping out over such things...the piano samples were not even near to 0dBFS anyway....which again is why I think it's happening in Kontakt player.

    Still, I don't know why not everyone else is reporting this and why only some sound cards apparently?

    If anyone out there has, say, the MBox in PTLE 6.4, please let me know if it does it with your system or not...

    Regards,

    Steve

  9. #9

    Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    Even though it doesn't seem to be the root of your problem, the intra-sample clipping I was referring to was distortions or discontinuities bewteen samples in your audio file, not the samples used to create the audio file. In any case, it seems like everything is all right, level-wise, so I'm guessing this distortion is coming from, as you surmised, somewhere in the signal chain, probably Kontakt somewhere. The only obvious thing I can think of is that the output in Kontakt is clipping, but it sounds like you ruled that out already. Very puzzling.

    BTW - The DACs (Digital to Analog Converters) in the soundcard are only used when you're converting your digital information to analog for playback. They're not used at all in the DSP process. The problem I ran into created WAV files that had various levels of that intra-sample clipping I mentioned before, which was a tough nut to crack because some DACs were better than others at not distorting when it ran into them.

    I love that spectral view. Clips show right up as nice vertical lines. I wish Sonar had that feature.
    -E

    "Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson."

  10. #10

    Re: Clipped Steinway Samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveZ
    Hi Tom,

    Firstly, I think it's not necessarily "clipping" in the usual sense that's happening. But some sort of waveform distortion is occuring at any rate. Presumably you actually listed to those "f" samples in good headphones (I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't show up in lesser quality phones - I'm using Sennheiser HD250's) and didn't hear any thing?
    Yes, I actually listened to the samples over 2 sets of high quality speakers and a pair of extremely good headphones (Grado HP2's - $600 a pop). I wouldn't put too much weight on that though considering I'm an old guy with a great deal of mileage on these ears. The forte samples sounded as I expected them to sound for notes being hit that hard. In other words: An accurate reflection of the sound of that piano under those conditions. Did I hear anything I would characterize as clipping, clicks, or other types of distortion? No. Not on my system anyway.

    Tom

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