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Topic: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

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  1. #1

    Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    After sitting on the sidelines of this forum and learning from all you excellent people active on this forum, I decided to ask your advice on my present dilemma..

    After 4 years of hammering away and re-learning the "Art of Piano" on my old clavinova clp-840 digital piano, I'am getting so disgusted with the sound of the instrument that I decided enough is enough, it's time to upgrade.

    A real piano is out of the question due to living conditions, and a new, substantially better digital piano is out of my reach due to cost. So I've decided to go the "PC and a sampled piano" route.

    What finally set me on this course was a chance to try out Synthogy's Ivory. (Through a kawai stage piano on my friends "cutting edge" PC. I was surprised beyond belief at the level of realism and playability, and decided this was the way to go. (This was the first time I've played a sampled piano)

    But here's the catch: unlike most members of this forum I'm not a pro but a student with rather limited resources (ie. a notch or two above broke), and the system I could realistically afford would look something like this:

    AMD Sempron 64 2800+ CPU
    Asus K8V-X SE Motherboard
    1 Gb ram
    2 x smallish 7200rpm drives (1 for OS, 1 for samples)
    M-Audio 2496 sound card


    So here are the question's...

    1. Is there any chance of running ivory with decent polyphony, latency etc. on this kind of a system? (That's all I would be running. That is: Windows XP, a VST host (preferrably free), and Ivory.)

    2. If not, What do I absolute have to change/upgrade to get a satisfactory system?

    3. Does anyone have experience of using the clavinova clp-840 (old model, mid-nineties I think) as a midi controller?

    4. Any viable alternatives to Ivory? (I'm not looking for piano that "sit's well in a mix", but one which is enjoyable to play. I play mainly classical stuff.)


    I'm looking for a system which, after setting up, I could just forget, put my headphones on and play along.

    Any views, advice and experiences of similar set-ups would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks in advance,

    -Janne (Oulu, Finland)

  2. #2

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    My guess is that you can run it just fine. That system isen't so bad - Ram being the biggest bottleneck in general.

    How much do you want to spend on the piano?

    Art Vistas Virtual Grand Piano is reather affordable, and will surely run on your system.

    SampleTekk and PMI also have quite a few good pianos. They are affordable, and and also have downloadable versions with upgrade paths (SampleTekk atleast has). Both are respected developers, with good customer service should something go wrong.

  3. #3

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    The PMI Bosendorfer is the best piano I've ever heard, and it's miraculously on sale for only $50, with direct download so you don't even have to pay shipping costs. I think you'll find it at www.postpiano.com, it's an absolutely fantastic deal.
    Wilbert Roget, II
    Composer
    Rogetmusic.com

  4. #4

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarti
    3. Does anyone have experience of using the clavinova clp-840 (old model, mid-nineties I think) as a midi controller?
    I have a CLP-560 (same vintage) and it makes a fine piano controller. If the 840 has the same keyboard it's as good as any current controller. Just be aware that only the sustain pedal does anything when you use it as a controller. Also, it may be helpful if the software you pick has a velocity setting. And, of course, if the 840 doesn't have pitch bend and mod wheels you'll be without those should you try some non-piano samples (and you will).

    Amy

  5. #5

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    Quote Originally Posted by amyhughes
    Just be aware that only the sustain pedal does anything when you use it as a controller.
    No release velocity or aftertouch, either. The former could be limiting on better piano libraries, but your current piano doesn't make use of release, either.

    Amy

  6. #6

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Roget
    The PMI Bosendorfer is the best piano I've ever heard, and it's miraculously on sale for only $50, with direct download so you don't even have to pay shipping costs. I think you'll find it at www.postpiano.com, it's an absolutely fantastic deal.
    Will, is it VST? Do you need a sampler to run it?

    That's all I would be running. That is: Windows XP, a VST host (preferrably free), and Ivory.)
    I don't know of any free sequencer other than Protools free edition but i don't think it's has a VST host. I recommend Cubas SE for that it's only $99 us and it's very stable here.

    As for your sound card, you should look into this option http://www.tascam.com/Products/US-122.html Because it is delivered with Cubas LE witch is VST and rewire capable and it also comes with GIGA 3 LE witch is a sampler with only 64 voice polyphony but ''could'' be enough to run a good piano. Now That's a budget setup! (P.S. Make sure this apply to non us citizen cause i"m not 100% sure)

  7. #7

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    My first suggestion to you would be to add more RAM. It shouldn't be too expensive to put in 2 GB...

    The second suggestion would be to listen to as many different demo sound files of the various pianos as you can. There was a huge thread here at Northern Sounds about a lot of different piano libraries. You may be able to find it with a search...

    You might also check my web page http://www.softsampling.com and scroll down to the piano sample area near the bottom of the page. I have a list of all the piano libraries I know about, and some of them even have links to the sample developer. Keep checking back as I try to add a bit more to the site each day...

    Also, depending upon how much money you want to spend, you might consider one of the inexpensive orchestral libraries that includes a piano. (Garritan GPO, East West Silver) You'll get a lot of bang for the buck that way!

  8. #8

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    Thank you all for the good advice and suggestions! And my apologies for replying a bit late, hectic schedule, different timezones and all that...

    Marcussen, Doug:

    So another Gb of RAM it is, I think i can squeeze it in the budget. Thanks for pointing that out. I have to say I was more worried about CPU power and the hard drives, because upgrading to an athlon CPU and WD Raptors would really have but this beyond my current reach.

    Concerning the VST host, I planned to run it (Ivory) through Hermenn Seib's SaviHost or VSTHost (or something similar). Any ideas will this actually work?

    The reason I'm talking about Ivory (and not NI Akoustik Piano, Pmi Bosendorfer, Art Vista, or any of the other excellent Pianos out there) is simply because it's the only one I have first hand experience of. And living in a small town just 100 miles shy of the arctic circle means chances for free experimenting are few indeed. So I have more or less decided to stick with the only known quantity.

    Thank you Amy for the encouraging info concerning the CLP-840 as a controller, although the "release velocity" bit came as a surprise. I didn't even know there was such a thing. I assumed that when a key is released, just a simple "NOTE OFF" messsage was sent, without any velocity data. Is the lack of this ability in the controller something that hurts the palyability/sound of the system enough to abandon the whole project?

    once again thanks the great advice!

    -janne

  9. #9

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    Regarding ram vs cpu... well. Ram is good for loading lots of samples, while CPU is good for loading lots of VST's and effects. If you acrtually need the ram for just playing the piano is doubtful. But for those who like to have more instruments loaded up 2GB ram is essential to get the most out of your computer.

  10. #10

    Re: Advice (desperately) needed on a budget system...

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarti
    Thank you all for the good advice and suggestions! And my apologies for replying a bit late, hectic schedule, different timezones and all that...

    Marcussen, Doug:

    So another Gb of RAM it is, I think i can squeeze it in the budget. Thanks for pointing that out. I have to say I was more worried about CPU power and the hard drives, because upgrading to an athlon CPU and WD Raptors would really have but this beyond my current reach.

    Concerning the VST host, I planned to run it (Ivory) through Hermenn Seib's SaviHost or VSTHost (or something similar). Any ideas will this actually work?

    The reason I'm talking about Ivory (and not NI Akoustik Piano, Pmi Bosendorfer, Art Vista, or any of the other excellent Pianos out there) is simply because it's the only one I have first hand experience of. And living in a small town just 100 miles shy of the arctic circle means chances for free experimenting are few indeed. So I have more or less decided to stick with the only known quantity.

    Thank you Amy for the encouraging info concerning the CLP-840 as a controller, although the "release velocity" bit came as a surprise. I didn't even know there was such a thing. I assumed that when a key is released, just a simple "NOTE OFF" messsage was sent, without any velocity data. Is the lack of this ability in the controller something that hurts the palyability/sound of the system enough to abandon the whole project?

    once again thanks the great advice!

    -janne
    Janne,
    a small midi controller is cheap these days. And you'll have the benefit of being able to manipulate any sample purchase to a greater degree.
    Even something with two octaves, mod wheel, pitch bend, and a few controllers won't break the bank.
    I wouldn't like to see you work hard to save, buy a sample library, and have limited means to exploit that library with.

    It's worth investigating. And there's nothing wrong with having two keyboards.

    Good Luck,

    Alex.

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