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Genos (10 Boards) => Genos - General => Topic started by: mikf on December 07, 2020, 06:30:16 PM

Title: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 07, 2020, 06:30:16 PM
Over the years there have been many posts on the forum about the quality - or otherwise - of the piano voice. No less on the Genos. Many years ago we did a comparison on the forum of piano voices across models with some surprising results. There have been many changes in models since then and after some recent discussion I thought this worth doing again.
So with Toril's help I have tried to provide a comparison across some recent models. The models are the Genos, CVP605, PSR 975, and Tyros 5.
 The method was for me to to record a piano only MIDI, which we dined forces too turn turned into an audio using the on board grand piano voice on each model. I suppose a purist might think that a better test would have been a selection of individual notes and scales at different pitches and volumes, but I thought that would be a bit boring, so I played one of my favorite pieces - Misty. Just remember that purpose is to critique the voice , not the piano player ...LOL
 Of course there are other models like the SX range and the more recent CVPs that we did not have access to, but if anyone wants to volunteer, I can send the midi. I have a CVP 705 and I already know the piano voice is no different from the 605. So not worth doing. 
 The samples are not identified, and you might find it fun to try to spot differences, and guess which is which. The links to each sample are below. The CVP is often regarded as Yamahas best piano voice - can you spot it?? Are there night and day differences between the most recent snd the slightly older models, or high cost keyboards and the more modestly priced ??
 At this point I will only add one comment on the comparison - if you were to look at some of the comments over the years you might be forgiven for thinking that the piano voice on arrangers was nothing like a real piano. But I think that ALL of these samples clearly sound like a pretty decent piano being played.

Sample A - https://app.box.com/s/hehwn5bviewgbu5jpjyuvy2kctrqnhth (https://app.box.com/s/hehwn5bviewgbu5jpjyuvy2kctrqnhth)
Sample B - https://app.box.com/s/tbaionqh0o45ltcedce9b8vp3odrivs5 (https://app.box.com/s/tbaionqh0o45ltcedce9b8vp3odrivs5)
Sample C - https://app.box.com/s/b11mcgsvw2f0owmm4ci8b4ke4s79ov6z  (https://app.box.com/s/b11mcgsvw2f0owmm4ci8b4ke4s79ov6z)
Sample D - https://app.box.com/s/obtv1r55ka7b6bgrjbq65bwhebw4if7j (https://app.box.com/s/obtv1r55ka7b6bgrjbq65bwhebw4if7j)

Mike - with thanks to Toril
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: DerekA on December 07, 2020, 06:49:10 PM
Can I ask. On Genos, did you use CFX Grand, C7 Studio Grand or Legacy Grand Piano?
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 07, 2020, 07:03:52 PM
Toril will have to answer that as she did the Genos. My guess though is that she would let the midi select, and it would most likely choose the CFX grand because that was what i used on the midi.
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 07, 2020, 07:17:31 PM
One thing I should have mentioned, there was no way to record these on separate keyboards and keep volume the same. So for fair comparison you may have to adjust the volume of each one when you play it. 
mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Toril S on December 07, 2020, 08:07:10 PM
Derek, I let the MIDI select, so it was the cfx. EDIT: I don't really kmow how to check what voice the MIDI is playing. How to please?
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: PhotoDoc05 on December 07, 2020, 09:16:22 PM
Mike, Toril, thanks for the test!
Sample C was recorded quite a bit lower in volume, but still useful for comparison.
In my opinion, Samples A, B, and D really sounded close to one another.
If I had to make a call ---- Sample B sounded "nicest" to me! LOL, FWIW I'm new to keyboard playing.

I'd like to ask a question this way --> are there any specific settings on any of the keyboards in their Mixer that can make the Piano voice sound "better" or "richer" or "fuller"?  Such as in Chorus/Reverb  EQ  or Filter? I know the standard answer might be...... it depends on your taste!   But as an experienced Player, with your experience on several keyboards, which settings have you found that you think make an improvement over the defaults?
Jerry
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Francesco Massa on December 07, 2020, 09:28:56 PM
A = Genos
C = CVP
B and D are S975 and Tyros5, not sure of the order, but it's the same sample, the Concert Grand.

Is It correct?  :o
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 07, 2020, 09:45:59 PM
Francesco - I am going to let the answer hang out there until some others post their thoughts.
Mike
Jerry - a lot of people playing single note melody lines over arranger accompaniment feel a richer sound would be better, and many altered voices have been posted over the years.  But theseĒricherĒ sounds are usually not optimum for full piano playing. The harmonics can shout at each other with big chords and bass. But I am sure a search around the forum will produce a voice more to your individual liking.
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Francesco Massa on December 07, 2020, 09:51:45 PM
Francesco - I am going to let the answer hang out there until some others post their thoughts.
Mike
Jerry - a lot of people playing single note melody lines over arranger accompaniment feel a richer sound would be better, and many altered voices have been posted over the years.  But theseĒricherĒ sounds are usually not optimum for full piano playing. The harmonics can shout at each other with big chords and bass. But I am sure a search around the forum will produce a voice more to your individual liking.
Mike

Of course Mike, sorry! You're right.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Aquilauno on December 07, 2020, 09:58:33 PM
I like this topic ..
It's just personal taste.
Sample B is first, after D, tirth A e last C ...but only because the volume is low... ;)
Pietro
 B =Tyros5 ?!
 D =Genos ?!
 A =S975 ?!
 C=CVP ?!
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: RONBO on December 07, 2020, 10:07:38 PM
Thanks for doing this test comparison for us.. it was a lot of work!

After carefully listening through Bose earphones I can honestly say that each sample was terrific, to me they all sounded great.

Considering the possibilities regarding speaker systems it would be difficult to tell which sample is the best.

I say we enjoy what we are playing no matter what model we have

regards

Ron
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: panos on December 07, 2020, 10:20:39 PM
I don't own any of these models neither that sound that much differently but I agree with Francesco.
C sample is Mike's keyboard because of the flat EQ settings(more warmth sound).
A sample sounds more like Genos (More difference between high and low notes).
B and D is I think is the same recording,better check it out Mike.

Jerry yes the EQ settings affect a lot the sound and the recording.
While this is a midi, the same values of effects of the piano voice like reverb,EQ high-low etc applied also to Toril's recordings except from the EQ settings of each keyboard.

P.s.
cheap 25$ headphones here ;D
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Toril S on December 07, 2020, 10:30:14 PM
C and D is not the same :)
Come on people, guess away :)
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: PhotoDoc05 on December 08, 2020, 12:17:34 AM
OK Mike, I see what you're saying about the difference between full piano vs Arranger mode.

So, are you saying that in your examples here, you are using the defaults, and no changes in the Mixer settings?
Thanks, Jerry
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 08, 2020, 07:00:56 AM
Yes, no editing or altering of the on board voices. And I can guarantee the CVP equalizer is absolutely set flat. It is possible that there are some some equalizer changes in the other keyboards, I donít know this. But given how little the voices vary, I donít think it can be much.
The test mainly shows that there while there may be differences across models, they are small enough to hardly matter to a performance.
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Toril S on December 08, 2020, 07:42:51 AM
All are set on flat.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: RoyB on December 08, 2020, 09:50:50 AM
My preferences and guesses as to which keyboard are:-

1st - C (CVP)
2nd - B (Tyros)
3rd - D (S975)
4th - A (Genos)


Regards

Roy
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Francesco Massa on December 08, 2020, 12:34:13 PM
I noticed now that B and D are the same file (same link). Is that a posting error?
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 08, 2020, 01:09:25 PM
Francesco - well spotted you are quite correct. This was posting error. I have now corrected it. My sincere apologies to everyone.
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: soryt on December 08, 2020, 01:22:44 PM
A - Genos
B - Tyros 5
C - 975
D - CVP

I gues  ::)  ?
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Rick D. on December 08, 2020, 02:27:23 PM
I like B the best, but not sure where it came from.

Rick D.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: PhotoDoc05 on December 08, 2020, 04:08:31 PM
OK Mike,
I guess I'll chime in here again, now with the link to D version you corrected.
B and D sound very close, to me, but I have no experience to even guess which keyboard they came from!

Listening thru an Audient USB interface, with Sony MDR-7506 headphones, flat EQ  --- I'd still call B the nicest.
I'm not sure how to describe it, just some quality that seems like a tiny edge over D. Very good lows and highs.
And --- nice playing on your part!!
Jerry
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: PWB on December 08, 2020, 09:54:58 PM
This is all very interesting, but of course one of the reasons that we have a range of piano voices is that different sounds suit different pieces of music. There was a programme on TV a while back which showcased piano tuners who set up pianos for Classical concerts at world class venues and for some of the best pianists. They explained that part of the setup was to suit the personal preference of the performer and another aspect reflected the repertoire.
I am never afraid to try different sounds and settings and sometimes I surprise myself.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Toril S on December 08, 2020, 10:11:36 PM
What is your guess here?
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: RONBO on December 08, 2020, 10:46:52 PM
Hello all

I think B sounded best to me

Regards

Ron

P.S. I can't begin to guess what keyboard this is
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 09, 2020, 09:24:27 AM
You really canít change the sound of a grand piano. The tuners are mainly able to change the feel, but these changes are tiny on an already excellent piano. And I guarantee the listeners canít detect any difference. Concert pianists normally prefer Steinway - not so much because they sound the best, but because they like things the same. Nearly every concert hall has Steinway, the result of brilliant marketing as much as the quality of the piano and concert pianists would also normally practice on Steinway. Elton John carts his own Yamaha around with him, Oscar Peterson preferred Bosendorfer, - I was just happy if it was in nearly in tune, most of the notes actually played and it wasnít full of beer bottles and trash LOL
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Dromeus on December 09, 2020, 11:30:47 AM
You really canít change the sound of a grand piano. The tuners are mainly able to change the feel, but these changes are tiny on an already excellent piano. And I guarantee the listeners canít detect any difference.

The technique used to modify the sound (timbre, tone of colour) of a tuned piano is called piano voicing. The difference is best detected by a direct before/after -B comparison, e.g. :

https://www.cunninghampiano.com/piano-voicing-can-hear-difference/ (https://www.cunninghampiano.com/piano-voicing-can-hear-difference/)
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 09, 2020, 12:32:20 PM
Yes, voicing is mainly about sticking needles in the hammers to soften them. On these top end pianos the effect is going to be tiny, only noticeable to the most discerning.
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 09, 2020, 02:43:05 PM
I will give it another day or two then post the origin of each sample.
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Toril S on December 09, 2020, 08:48:13 PM
Please have a listen and make a guess friends😀
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Lee Batchelor on December 10, 2020, 04:16:53 PM
First, nice playing Mikf!

Samples A, B, and D all have the Tyros/Genos character with slightly different EQ settings. Sample C sounds more full and hence sounds like a CVP to my ear. I'm willing to admit that all four sound very good. There are three things to keep in mind:

Side bar
The developers REALLY need to clean up the list function of this interface. Also, pressing Ctrl+B does not result in a bold font application. In fact, none of the standard "Ctrl+ key" functions work. It's great software but way behind the times in these areas :).
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: maartenb on December 10, 2020, 05:23:30 PM
Thanks for the test, Mike and Toril! And wonderful playing!


Expectations before the test

I expect the PSR-S975 to sound almost identical to the Tyros 5. The Tyros 5 might be recognizable by the relatively dry sound.

The Genos has better DSPs. Not only for reverb, but also for piano strings resonance. And the Genos seems capable of reaching higher frequencies. This should sound better.

The CVP should have the best sound.

Let's put on the Yamaha HPH-MT8 headphones and do...


The test

Focusing on the ascending notes at around 0:14, I noticed C sounded artificial, therefore 975. The other one slightly artificially sounding to me was A, therefore Tyros 5.

The last two were difficult. At around 1:15 a quick descending line was played. D had that high frequency sparkle, therefore Genos. B sounded at that line real and therefore had to be the CVP.

So my list is:


A) Tyros 5
B) CVP605
C) PSR-S975
D) Genos


Afterthoughts

Upon first listening I noticed how hard it was to tell the instruments apart. This should silence all discussions about "bad" piano sound on keyboards!

However, C (PSR-S975?) sounded a bit worse than I expected. It sounded like less wave memory was used than in the Tyros 5.


If I turn out to be wrong, I don't know what to do. Change instrument, headphones or computer D/A? Or get a new pair of ears?


Again, thanks for the challenge; I loved it!


Maarten
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: johan on December 11, 2020, 10:34:55 AM
First one is really cool. Last one (sample D but the MP3 is also called misty C.mp3) seems slightly better. But very very hard!
Me too I like this exercise, so thank you for posting this challenge.

My guess:
A - Genos
B - 975
C - Tyros 5
D - CVP
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 11, 2020, 01:35:38 PM
Maarten - if you are wrong it will put you in the majority LOL
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Toril S on December 11, 2020, 01:58:32 PM
Like in all blind tests, most people are wrong :)
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Dromeus on December 11, 2020, 03:24:45 PM
Here's another wrongo guess...  ;D

B and D are very very alike... C surprises me, Yamaha pianos are quite bright, this one is warm, and I think this is where the original MIDI recording was done.

So my wild speculation:

A = Genos
B/D = PSR S975/Tyros 5
C = CVP

My fav is C.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 11, 2020, 10:26:37 PM
So now all is revealed.
A - Genos
B - 970
C - CVP 605
D - Tyros 5
Some got some right, I think one or two got them all correct. Not sure of they have very discerning hearing or if it was blind luck, law of averages!
 But most did not and an interesting point for me was how several rated B, the lowest cost keyboard on the list.

The main feature of the comparison was not the differences, but that it was so little. And that is even when you are trying hard to hear differences, not just listening to a performance. Most people were probably not even listening to the music, just focussing on the sound - and it was still hard.
But I am not saying there is no difference. I am sure that with a more technical test the differences might be more obvious, but they are really small at the level where it matters - when played normally. Certainly as I have said on this forum many times, the piano voice on even the much older arrangers like the PSR 3k, -the first model I had - was good enough. Put simply, no listener is going like or dislike what they hear because of the model or piano voice. it's what is played that matters.

So why do so many people think the piano voice on Yamaha arrangers is poor?
I believe it is because of how they are mostly used by arranger players, - single note melody line over full accompaniment and they feel like they would like a much richer sound. Yamaha could probably do that, and there have been many modified voices posted that achieve this. But then it may not sound like a piano when fully played as a piano.
I hope some of you found this an interesting exercise.
Thanks again to Toril for her help, and thanks to everyone who took the time to listen to the samples.
Mike
 
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: PhotoDoc05 on December 12, 2020, 08:18:44 PM
Mike,
Thanks for all of your comments, and I think your theory and explanation is correct, about Arranger style playing vs Full Piano style playing.

One follow up question, just out of curiosity. You have experience with multiple models of keyboards. So, is your actual playing affected by the different keybeds?
In other words, instead of playing back a MIDI to compare the voices, do you have any comments regarding the influence of the keybeds when you are playing them?
Or, maybe it doesn't really matter, because perhaps you are compensating for their different characteristics? Do the keybeds affect an experienced players performance?

Jerry
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Toril S on December 12, 2020, 08:26:55 PM
It is interesting that people liked the B sample best. I tend to agree with them. The S975 is a very well balanced keyboard. So I am holding on to mine.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: PhotoDoc05 on December 12, 2020, 10:46:20 PM
Yes Toril, I was one of those who liked B (975) the best, in the blind test. It's hard to describe exactly why it sounded best to me, other than the lows and highs sounded well balanced, and just a very good pleasing sound.
Jerry
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 13, 2020, 06:36:00 AM
One follow up question, just out of curiosity. You have experience with multiple models of keyboards. So, is your actual playing affected by the different keybeds?
Jerry
Provided the voice is at least adequate, feel of a keyboard is always going to be more significant.  You do adjust but itís more satisfying when the keyboard feels right.  Some are better than others, but nearly all arrangers will feel light and unresponsive to piano players. However, organ, synth and accordion players often prefer it to the heavier, more responsive piano feel. So itís personal.
The main advantage of the CVP605 for me is that it feels more like a real piano, and I made the midi on it. Having said that, it still falls well short of the feel of a great piano.
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Dromeus on December 13, 2020, 08:46:59 AM
the CVP605 ... feels more like a real piano, and I made the midi on it.

To me it was immediatly clear that C must be the CVP. I expected that you would choose the GH action keys to record the MIDI file, and you went for a mellow tone and subtle dynamics, that fits a ballad type song like Misty. If you take this MIDI file to an arranger keyboard it will sound very different, which can be heard in the recordings.

nearly all arrangers will feel light and unresponsive to piano players. However, organ, synth and accordion players often prefer it to the heavier, more responsive piano feel. So itís personal.

As a piano, organ and synth player I find it extremly important to have the key action that suits the instrument I'm playing. Graded hammer action for the pianos, waterfall keys for the organ and light action for synth sounds.

[The CVP] still falls well short of the feel of a great piano.

Surely it is a matter of personal preference, but for me the TOTL Kawai keyboard action is unmatched. I use a MP8-II stage piano ("AWA Grand PRO II" action with wooden keys) in my studio and I just love it. There is absolutetly no reason to upgrade to a newer model. Of course this great action comes at a price: the weight is high and it therefore never leaves my studio. On the road I have to compromise *sigh*.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 13, 2020, 10:12:30 AM
You are correct the at the end of the day personal preference is what matters. In most top end acoustic pianos like Steinway and Bosendorfer, the action can be made wonderful, but it takes work and constant care. IMHO Kawaii pianos have the best action in the keyboard world, their use of carbon fiber has made the action not just very responsive but extremely stable and easy to maintain. My Shigeru Kawaii grand feels like playing on silk. Digital pianos are what they are, they stay very stable, need almost no maintenance, but you can't do much to them.
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: DerekA on December 14, 2020, 11:16:09 AM
Hi Mike, can you share the MIDI file that you used for the comparisons?
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on December 14, 2020, 09:10:35 PM
Derek
Here it is.
https://app.box.com/s/pkf26ryjc22xfofz1a9g4ufcn4whtk4p (https://app.box.com/s/pkf26ryjc22xfofz1a9g4ufcn4whtk4p)
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: DerekA on January 16, 2021, 09:53:55 AM
Sorry Mike for some reason I've only just seen this -;thank you
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: rodrigo.b on January 16, 2021, 10:44:47 PM
Hi, thank you for doing the comparison and for the midi file. I render the same midi file using Pianoteq 7.1 virtual instrument and here is the result https://drive.google.com/file/d/18Xw3ROZHV0Opda_2R95HUgbW5bYTr2SB/view?usp=sharing
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on January 22, 2021, 02:00:29 PM
Rodrigo
I just got round to listening to this properly because I have been pre -occupied with moving back from the UK to the USA over the last week. I had 7 months of mail to go through.
The difference is small, and not enough to make a performance good or bad, but for my money the virtualize instrument voice you posted is definitely the best, a little ahead of the CVP.  It has a fuller sound, closer to a good real grand. 
BTW - who was that playing, they are really good LOL ;D ;D
Mike
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Drsun19 on January 22, 2021, 06:27:21 PM
We can make a videocall if you want, i had the same peoblem. Write me pm

Luis.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on January 22, 2021, 07:25:37 PM
I think this may have been posted in the wrong topic???
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: Amwilburn on July 08, 2021, 06:14:57 PM
Absolutely fascinating thread, thanks Mike!

I correctly guessed the CVP was C *because* of the low volume level, which would lend itself more to a more dynamic range; And since the T5 and s970/s975 should sound the same, I assumed I would just listen for the 2 that sounded the same... nope! Maarten correctly predicted that the T5 sample would sound drier.  But through my crappy computer speakers I could not hear the difference between A & B!

That's saying something, because the Genos through a GNSMS01 and the PSRs970/s975 through its own speakers sound *very* different in person. In person, the s970/s975 piano sounds clear, yes, but not as 'open' as the Genos (which is spectacularly clear... but still doesn't sound as good as the CVP809 through its own speakers)

What speakers you're using makes a *world* of difference.
Title: Re: Piano Voice comparison
Post by: mikf on July 08, 2021, 07:50:56 PM
Mark
Another way of looking at this - there are four things that potentially make a difference to the enjoyment of piano playing on these arrangers,
1. the sample quality and on board sound generation
2. the devices through which you play the sound, ie speakers, headphones
3. The quality of the playing
4  feel of the keyboard
Over the years we have seen hundreds of posts focused on #1, but this thread shows that it is maybe less than 5% of any perceived difference. So little that most people cannot pick it up.
 #2 matters, but is eliminated when you play them all thru the same device. #3 matters the most by a country mile but for good players this is also affected by #4.


Mike