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Topic: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

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  1. #1

    What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    Hi,

    We've been developing a piano VSTi for some time now. So far we've made something that is quite different from what's currently out there. Since there is always room for improvement, I'd like to ask you guys/gals the following question. What do you think that is generally/often wrong with existing piano VSTi's ? In other words, what are you missing that's important to you ... and what's often included that doesn't make any sense.

    Any even slightly related comments are welcome.

    ---
    Roel / TruePianos

  2. #2
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    I can tell you 2 things that I do like.

    The sound of the hammers striking in Giga Piano 1 and it's flowing sustain and subtle ambience.

    The darkness of a Yamaha when it's played softly and it's bell like quality when one digs into it.

  3. #3

    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    Hi,

    How important do you consider things like pedal sounds, harmonic resonance etc. ? E.g. pedal sounds are like a toy to me. They won't often show up in a final mix and MIDI only allows for on/off states which doesn't allow it to be emulated fatefully.

    Same as with Reverb settings. A real piano has got no reverb and IMHO the sound should be as dry as possible. Making it wet is something for other plugins to do. Do you agree on this ?

    What's more important to you ? Realism or playability ?

    ---
    Roel / TruePianos

  4. #4
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    Peadal sounds ... hummm ... well ... I suspect they're not really that important, as I've not considered it much, although I believe GigaPiano1 has some subtle pedal noise in it, so they probably do contribute to the playing experience a bit.

    I'd not ever want a piano lib. with room reverb or ambience, so I totally agree ... however GigaPiano1 has that box resonance in the full version which is kinda nice, especially when it comes to the playing experience.
    There is of course also the "light" version which seems to be really resonance free, but it's been a long time since I've loaded that one up.

    I'm not that familiar with a real piano's pedal response so I can't really speak to that other than I wish I had a sost. pedal for both of the pianos I use.

    My only other piano sound I use is the default 3 layer Yamaha in my S90.
    Now it "sounds" better to me than the GigaPiano, in some instances, just on pure sound, as it's warmer, has more of a blackness to it and brightens up very nicely when I dig in a bit, but it's not nearly as playable ... as sensitive.

    GigaPianos sound ( just the sound at the ears ) to me is a bit thin and a bit inconsistent compared to the Yamaha but it totally smokes the Yamaha for playability and the ability to inspire me to play things I've never heard before.
    It leads me into the unknown. It really reaches my stomac also. Probably the touch of it.

    I always seem to find myself setting my keyboard action to the "wide" setting
    which is the last one after hard, and playing very lightly to get that gigapiano sensation that I like.

    If I could cross breed the 2, I'd have gigapiano a bit blacker, darkening that brown sound a little bit, and I'd add at lease 3 more velocitiy layers at the bottom, ( the quiet end ) and I'd have it be mod wheel sensitive the same way my Yamaha is, in that rolling up the mod wheel slightly removes some hight end. I'd also make it a little harder to reach full velocity.

    Realism is much more of a vague preception to me than playability, probably because I rarely play real pianos, so I'd have to say playability is going to be more important.

    I've never had any trouble fitting either of these piano sounds into a mix.


    Steve

  5. #5

    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    I come from a gigging, not recording, standpoint. Off the top of my head.

    1) dry, no case resonances. Been plenty of discussion on that here already.

    2) mono compatibility, mono patch if that's easier.

    3) Controlled transition to "spank" ff timbre at high velocity levels. I don't care if it's filtering or several layers.

    This isn't a problem with weighted controllers, but non and semi-weighted controllers don't give as much control (smoothing). It's really easy to more or less randomly go in and out of the super bright and disconcerting ff samples. You may have another way to solve the problem.

    4) In-depth control of volume vs velocity curve. Not just "weighted, semi, unweighted" selection buttons.

    5) Separate control of the layer vs velocity curve.

    Ernie

  6. #6

    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roel/Truepianos
    Hi,

    What's the problem with converting to mono after recording ? Or are you purely speaking from the life-performance gigging point of view ? Anyhow added a mono/stereo button it to the implementation list
    The general rule is the better it sounds in stereo the worse it sounds in mono. Restated, it's hard to get a good mono compatible stereo sound. Generally there are phase cancellation problems so you are better off going to either the right of left sample than you are combining the two audio channels.

    Ernie

  7. #7

    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roel/Truepianos
    Hi,

    What's the problem with converting to mono after recording ? Or are you purely speaking from the life-performance gigging point of view ? Anyhow added a mono/stereo button it to the implementation list


    ---
    Roel / TruePianos
    Roel,
    As someone who works in Mono nearly all the time, it's a lot easier to record mono, and place everything in the right spot before post process.

    I'd be interested if the Mono/Stereo button, in Mono mode, actually selected mono samples, or one channel of a stereo sample, rather than a narrower stereo image involving both channels. And i've never had an inbalance issue with selecting one channel, so i'm not sure what problems you may have faced.
    The biggest perception that i hear expressed about Mono is the loss of detail,and 'width', and that's incorrect. (IMHO)
    It's been my experience that the precision of mono in a well orchestrated and dynamically balanced work gives one a much better end result, than swathes of instruments 'wet' with stereo. And placement in mono is an easy practical process, instead of the mechanics of panning and placement involved, when adjusting the balance of a stereo sample.


    But then, i'm not that fond of too much reverb either. I'd rather hear the music......................

    Regards,

    Alex.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roel/Truepianos
    Hi,

    Using only the left or right channel would produce very a very inbalanced result in my experience. There are severals ways of converting a stereo source to mono. We'll just have to find out the best implementation for this instrument I guess. No matter which way you choose, converting from stereo to mono makes you loose a lot of detail.



    ---
    Roel / TruePianos
    That depends upon the mic placement, though. If you were dealing with an X/Y signal, it would not be so bad to use left or right.

    But there again, if you were deaing with an X/Y signal, you wouldn't have a problem collapsing to mono, either.

    What I like and don't like in general:

    I like to feel in control. For comparison's sake, the piano library that currently makes me feel most in control is TBO...it rarely produces a timbre that I did not intend to play. So, I guess that is something of a clarification within my point--I do not like to have timbres "jump" out of nowhere that I did not intentionally play. I'll qualify it one more step by saying that this is in context of playing a weighted controller, and having sufficient piano playing experience and chops to possess a realistic physical memory of what "should" be emerging from the speakers when I play with a certain amount of force.

    I don't particularly like player-perspective (panning per range) microphone plots. To me, these create far more problems than benefits. I like mid-side stereo a lot more for getting a "width" out of piano (even if that signal is at some point fixed rather than left "wild").

    To make a more general statement in the above regard, I always like to feel that I am playing a singular "thing" rather than a collective of individual notes. I like feeling the weight of the "furniture" and this definitely comes through in some sample sets as a product of good mic placement...even in "close" perspectives.

    A certain amount of keybed, pedal, etc., noise DOES contribute to a feeling of wholeness in the instrument, and I appreciate their inclusion. I understand the problem with pedal noise, that it cannot ever be wholly realistic since we have an on/off state switch to contend with. I would propose including only soft/subtle pedal noise, and using round-robin to alternate between five or so discrete samples...keeping them very similar. I certainly agree that in any ensemble setting these disappear under the mix. However, in an exposed setting this kind of detail heartily contributes to the listener's suspension of disbelief...again, if done with subtlety and taste. I heartily agree that done without subtlety and taste, these details can be more distracting than helpful.

    Those are the immediate thoughts I have. Good luck with your venture.

  9. #9

    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    1. Thus the reason for not mixing channels. Takes the body right out.

    2. There is a "channel mixer" plugin on the Winamp website that can be used to listen in combined mono. I generally audition in mono first so I know what worst case will sound like.

    3. Jeez - you DO like an "in your face" sound ...

    Ernie

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: What don't you like about piano VSTi's ?

    I like this sound, though. It would work in a lot of settings.

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