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Topic: Digital Piano Shootout

  1. #1

    Digital Piano Shootout

    Purgatory Creek Publishing is happy to announce the first online digital piano shootout. Now you can compare the musical output from more than 25 digital pianos, all generated from the same MIDI file.

    Answer, once and for all, the questions that have besieged digital piano players since the beginning:

    - Which is the best GigaSampler/GigaStudio piano?
    - Do the GigaSampler pianos really sound better than the best RAM-based samples?
    - Can the Yamaha PLG150PF plug-in piano ROM compete with the 32MB Roland SRX-02 piano?
    - How do the budget stage pianos from Kurzweil, Yamaha and Korg compare with each other?
    - Can any of these digital pianos sound like a recording of a real grand piano?

    Shootout pianos include:
    - Recording of a real Steinway B
    - East West Steinway B (GigaSampler)
    - East West Bosendorfer (GigaSampler)
    - Trachtman Steinway C (5 layer) (GigaSampler)
    - Trachtman Steinway C (8 layer) (GigaSampler)
    - Post Pristine Piano (GigaSampler)
    - Malmsjo Piano (GigaSampler)
    - Ultimate Piano Bosendorfer (Akai)
    - Ultimate Piano Fazioli (Akai)
    - Ultimate Piano Steinway D (Akai)
    - Ultimate Piano Steinway C (Akai)
    - William Coakley Perfect Piano Steinway D (Kurzweil)
    - William Coakley Perfect Piano Kawai (Kurzweil)
    - William Coakley Perfect Piano Fazioli (Kurzweil)
    - Roland SRX-02 32MB ROM Piano
    - Roland Session Card Stereo Piano
    - Roland JV/XV Series Standard Piano
    - Korg Triton Standard Piano
    - Korg SP100 Stage Piano
    - Korg N1 Standard Piano
    - Alesis QS8.1 Stereo Piano
    - Kurzweil K2600 Stereo Piano
    - Kurzweil SP88 Stage Piano
    - Yamaha S80 Standard Piano
    - Yamaha S80 PLG150PF ROM
    - Yamaha P80 Stage Piano
    - Apple Quicktime

    The digital piano shootout can be found at http://www.purgatorycreek.com

  2. #2

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    Wow, that\'s really a nicely done set of demos. I\'ve played with a lot of these samples and the sound files give a very fair comparison of how they play. A well done, well chosen midi file, good recording, and the encoding is not intrusive.

    I\'ve also tinkered with the programs on many of these, and most can be improved with careful tweaking, but the best sounding ones here still sound the best after tweaking. If you were inclined to make the midi file public I could make you \'produced\' versions of some of these samples (and a few others you don\'t have), it wouldn\'t quite be fair but it could be interesting.

    In any case I am impressed with the fine job you did here. A sample comparison is so much more useful than a review, and this is about the best I\'ve seen.

  3. #3

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    I can\'t wait to listen to all of these!

    I just wanted to mention that the Yamaha S80 has quite a few piano presets, and the one you chose is (in my opinion), not the best one. I would have gone with \"Dark Grand,\" myself.

  4. #4

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    You might want to include General Music\'s Piano. It\'s pretty decent. Sam\'s right about the tweeking. It\'s everything to a piano sample. Few samples are all that good in their native format. And different midi files show up samples differently. A bad sample can be made to sound great on a midi file that\'s tailor-made for the sample.

    Oh, and BTW, I\'ve got new Bach preludes and fugues at my site, the best of which is the B1p18, which seems to be fooling virtually everybody. I, of course, remain eternally critical of my own stuff.

    John Grant

    [This message has been edited by JG (edited 12-09-2000).]

  5. #5

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    Here I go replying to my reply. I\'ve just read your comments at the site, and I\'ve listened to virtually all the pianos you mention.

    You rate the EW Steinway B, I think, at the top; and I\'m inclined to agree. But the MAG is up there too, in my view. Yes, it has limited expressiveness; but I\'m convinced that\'s simply a feature of the original instrument. Where the Steinway B has a somewhat metallic almost nasal Bass between middle C and about an octave below, the MAG is without artifact in this crucial range.

    Which proves, in a sense, that there\'s still lots of fighting room out there for a really super piano. As memory comes down in price, we should see more layers. And unlike Coakley, who has coined the phrase, \"more is not necessarily better,\" I think it\'s obvious that more, although not a guarantee of better, is certainly a precondition of it. I have the beta of the PPP for gigasampler. It has great promise, but has a long way to go. Fabulous bass, and a ringing tone on the loud notes, which the Truan Steinway B lacks. But there\'s major work to be done on the upper register, which both the Steinway B (Truan, EW) and the Gigapiano do beautifully. PPP sounds as if the sampling is on one out of every four or five notes. Not recommended. You can really here the \"jumps\" as the sampling moves up the scale. Also, as you so rightly notice, the transition between the layers is REALLY obvious.

    John Grant http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/42/john_lewis_grant.html

    P.S. A real good piano sample is not always a \"nice\" sounding one. Trachtman\'s 1.9 to me sounds VERY realistic and smooth; but the piano itself grates a bit in the classical mode. Perfect, though, for other applications. (I know this is a controversial position. I invite criticism, defence, and comment generally--natch.)

  6. #6

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    I suspect comments on the Post beta piano are premature. I have corresponded with Michiel and believe the samples and programs might well change before the actual product is released. Betas are intended to gather (private) feedback and improve the product, I don\'t feel it\'s appropriate or meaningful to critique them like a finished product. (Then again betas usually aren\'t sold and beta testers are traditionally non-disclosed...)

    I\'m not affiliated with M Post or anybody else...


  7. #7

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    Does anyone have any input on the piano samples from BAP Sounds?

    One thing that really excites me about these samples is that they include the natural ambience of the room. I think this ambience really adds to the realism of a piano sample.

    8-layers (including staccato release) and 24-bit resulution...sounds pretty good to me.

  8. #8

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    Doesn\'t look like there are any demos at the site. I like the idea of preserving the room ambience.

    J.G. http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/42/john_lewis_grant.html

  9. #9

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    Yes, Sam, true enough, it\'s a work in process, NOT by any means the finished product. I did want to mention PPP though, simply to say that it\'s up and coming and that I have, in fact, high hopes for the sample. Again, a gorgeous bass, unequalled in any other sample. And if the organ samples are any indication, expectations are high.

  10. #10

    Re: Digital Piano Shootout

    Anyone knowledgeable about the Yamaha DGT7? What\'s the quality of the sample?

    John Grant

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