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76 dynamic layers --meaningfully possible?

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by Sibelius19, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Sibelius19

    Sibelius19 Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy

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    Dec 12, 2015
    Michigan USA
    So I was contemplating purchasing the Sonixinema Hybrid Scoring Strings at 60% off. When I put it in my cart, VSTBuzz suggested "Silk Piano" which apparently boasts up to 76 dynamic layers?
    How the heck is this even possible? To genuinely do this, it seems you would have to have a machine which hammers the keys at precise degrees of variation. Doing this by hand and actually achieving a meaningful result seems it would take forever....if not eternity.
    More importantly, is it even necessary?
    Also, maybe they mean something completely different than what I'm thinking?
     
  2. Maxime Luft

    Maxime Luft Senior Member

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    I guess it's not the only virtual piano featuring such a great number of dynamic layers.

    Nonetheless, I think the tone & playability of a sample library are much more important to consider.



    They probably used one of these:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disklavier


    "The typical Disklavier is a real acoustic piano outfitted with electronic sensors for recording and electromechanical solenoids for player piano-style playback. Sensors record the movements of the keys, hammers, and pedals during a performance, and the system saves the performance data as a Standard MIDI File (SMF). On playback, the solenoids move the keys and pedals and thus reproduce the original performance."

     
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  3. DSmolken

    DSmolken Senior Member

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    Sure, it's possible. You don't even need much precision, because you don't have to know which velocity layer a note is in when you record it. The way it's done is you record rising and falling dynamics a bunch of times, then sort the individual notes by volume, and figure out which velocity layer they belong to at that point.
     
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  4. X-Bassist

    X-Bassist Senior Member

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    There are pianos fit with midi control (either factory or aftermarket) so yes, wih piano it is technicaly possible (can record or playback midi). Will you notice the difference between layers 55 and 56? Probably not. 20 or so velocity layers with round robins is probably as extensive as it needs to be.

    Question is, does it sound at all good out of the box? A mediocre sound recorded and programmed well is not that useful. And a good sound with bad programming is just a hassle to use. Both are really needed to get a great sounding, usable piano, especially with more dynamic layers.
     
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  5. OP
    OP
    Sibelius19

    Sibelius19 Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy

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    That's a good point. All that matters is what the actual volume is in the final recording, regardless of what's you're trying to do. Then you better be dang sure that your recording methods remain the same throughout the entire recording process :). But my question about the necessity of it still remains. 76? What's the most that any piano library has out there?
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Sibelius19

    Sibelius19 Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy

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    Michigan USA
    I'm an amateur sample library developer myself, so I feel uneasy commenting on the quality of other libraries. However, to be honest, I am not too impressed with the actual sound of it. It sounds too tinny or thin to me. Not sure how to describe it. If anyone else likes the sound though, it's only 15EUR. Not sure if you need to buy something else from VSTbuzz to get it though.
     
  7. pbattersby

    pbattersby Senior Member

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    When I first read the original post, I tried to imagine the look on the face of a session piano player when the recording engineer says: "Ok, the volume on that note was good, now play the same note 1/76th louder"
     
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  8. DSmolken

    DSmolken Senior Member

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    Smooth, natural and predictable response to velocity does make me more confident about how a note is going to sound as I'm hitting it, so it probably matters for playability more than it matters for sound. This is one of the nice things about Pianoteq - it has the equivalent of 127 perfectly calibrated layers.

    I learned about the "record'em all and let the Reaper sort'em out" method from the SM Drums guys, I think. With a piano I'd be more worried that sampling just one low note that many times will take a half hour to record because low notes have very long sustain, so the whole piano will take days, but there are ways around that, too.
     
  9. erica-grace

    erica-grace Senior Member

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    Hmmmm - Not sure if that is how the majority of developers do it. I would think that, with whatever instrument it is, they have the musicians play the proper dynamics, and then edit those dynamics into Kontakt, no?
     
  10. erica-grace

    erica-grace Senior Member

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    Isn't VSL's piano froma few years ago 127 velocity layers per note?
     
  11. Lee Blaske

    Lee Blaske Senior Member

  12. DSmolken

    DSmolken Senior Member

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    I'm sure most do proper dynamics with more reasonable numbers of layers, but with lots and lots of layers, the "go from quiet to loud and back a bunch of times" method becomes more practical, especially with drums. Getting a robot to do it mechanically would work for pianos, too.
     
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  13. Lee Blaske

    Lee Blaske Senior Member

    FWIW, a lot of instruments, especially things like a Yamaha Motif, do this with a combination of a limited number of samples, augmented with filtering and dynamic level control to get all the in-between levels.
     
  14. Casiquire

    Casiquire Senior Member

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    I believe the VSL piano is in the neighborhood of a hundred, but not necessarily a full 127. Apparently the Celeste is around 36 and it sounds wonderful. With these kinds of instruments, more is more, provided they're well recorded and well programmed.
     

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