What makes piano sound so hard to reproduce?
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analogsurviver

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These days you can get fast hard drives of large capacity with minimal noise, so even if you can't be bothered with a NAS:
 
  
 
 
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1285-page1.html  (there are recordings at the end for those interested in what that kind of spectrum actually sounds like, what some other drives sound like when seeking)
Thanks !
 
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analogsurviver

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These days you can get fast hard drives of large capacity with minimal noise, so even if you can't be bothered with a NAS:
 
  
 
 
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1285-page1.html  (there are recordings at the end for those interested in what that kind of spectrum actually sounds like, what some other drives sound like when seeking)
Thanks ! I have to be bothered by RAID of some sort - most likely it will be RAID5 with 5pcs 2TB HDs = 8TB useful storage. For anything else - CNCL
( Could Not Care Less ). When this setup will start nearing full capacity, something similar, possibly using 3TB HDs or whatever will be reasonable at the time. Meant as storage alone, not 24/7. SSD is not likely to come down in price for the capacity I need any time soon - despite being the most attractive solution. 
 
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xnor

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bigshot

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As soon as I got my speaker system working the way I wanted it to work, the headphones went in a drawer.
 
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Puranti

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Quote:
Which speaker system do you use?

Bigshot posted it in this thread : http://www.head-fi.org/t/623043/cafe-sceptico-the-objectivist-cafe/330#post_8986508
 
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post-8992128
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analogsurviver

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Unless it's a binaural recording or you use some other kind of DSP it's not going to sound real on any headphone.
Right. Most people get simply accustomed to the way music music meant for reproduction on speakers sounds on headphones - and expects even live music to sound that way. Which it never does. 
 
Binaural is very dependant on correct phase - the more extended frequency response of the entire chain, from microphone ( artificial or real head fitted with mics ) all the way finally to the headphone, the better. Hope opportunity to record some binaural in various formats Korg MR series of recorders are capable of ( from MP3 192 kbps to DSD at 5,6 MHz ) will present itself soon; some rehearsals or things of the similar kind, and will post or mail whatever will go into 25MB limit for attachments without further complications ( damn short for DSD , couple of seconds ) for those interested. When recording for real, it is exclusively DSD 5,6  MHz. Trouble is, unless you have some machine capable of DSD reproduction WITHOUT conversion to PCM, the main point is lost. 
 
I was shocked after recording my first "binaural natural" ( mics worn on my own ears ) with the Korg MR1000 with DSD at 5,6 MHz. Accustomed to its smaller relative, the MR1 that menages "only" DSD at 2,8 MHz, I did not expect such big difference when listening to the recording made less than an hour ago and heard naturally live ( for all practical purposes , good binaural mics should not impair normal hearing significantly ). Of coiurse, no monitoring with headphones of any kind is possible with "binaural natural" - but this is THE ONLY way you actually can say you were exactly where the mics were ( for the nitpickers, within a couple of mm/cm ). It does not get any closer or better than this.
 
Hit the Play switch - woooOOOOW ! Everything was a notch better, what really impressed me was uncanny depth of image I never heard before on any recording. Other things were better , of course, but not so impressive as depth of 5,6 vs 2,8 - which itself is superiour to 192/24 in this regard.
 
 
Disclaimer: I can not stash some 20 or so ears of other individuals along mine ( or artificial head ) , all somehow lumped to a single pair of microphones ; I can not afford 20 pairs of microphones and 20 recorders to satisfy statistical requirements for the assesment  of recording and playback impressions; and can not furnish each and every head-fier with machine capable of native DSD playback. What I CAN do is record some rehearsal ( hopefully in near future, but recording binaural is usually optional, so to speak my personal wish, if and when it does not present troubles of any kind for the main mics for speakers - time is usually at premium and additional mic positioning time is rarely approved by the musicians ) using various recording modes - and make these short samples available in their original format within constraints for attachments of normal e-mail. Those of you capable of playing back DSD directly should be able to understand instantly why I am trying to say that bandwidth above 20 kHz is important - it does not sound different like day and night, what it does offer better than any other recording I heard ( did not hear DXD directly yet ) is recreation of the acoustics of the recording venue. It simply sounds more like the real thing. PCMs are interesting to more people - the biggest jump in quality is jump from 44,1/16 to say 88,2/24 - but you have to hear it in your own system, to be able to decide just how far it makes sense to go in your case.
 
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xnor

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Could you please stop repeating this nonsense? As I said before, repeating stuff doesn't make it any more true.
 
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bigshot

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Which speaker system do you use?

Custom made 12 inch five ways from the 70s and a pair of JBL towers up front, a top of the line 12 inch Sunfire subwoofer, Klipsch center channel, and very soon, I'll be hooking up 10 inch custom three ways from the 70s in the rear.
 
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post-8996812
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pabloaugustus

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It's not that "some of the 12 steps sounded bad". It has to do with the combination of these steps, which sometimes resulted in impure harmony. An equal temperament will yield a perfect fifth (C to G) but has an awful M3 (C to E). What is great about equal temperament is that it allows one to play or modulate to many keys, and all these keys will sound "tolerable" to the ears. Of course equal temperament cannot compete with unequal temperaments when playing pieces that have G major or C major keys (just to name a few). This is the reason why so many Baroque pieces have the typical major/ minor keys, rather than something like C sharp major or G sharp minor. In short, the equal temperament is the jack of all trades. Unequal temperaments are great with a few keys, awful with others. 
 
There are unequal temperaments that somewhat rival equal temperaments, and to list one: the well-temperament. The well-temperament is a temperament designed by J.S. Bach so that all keys will sound tolerable to the ears (like equal temp.) but will still maintain their own unique color (unlike equal temp., which divides every semitone / half-step equally, making every key sound the same). 
 
The topic of the overtones is even more complex than the topic of chords/ temperament. I do not know enough about the harmonic series to discuss it in detail.
 
I believe headphones are good at reproducing intonation, meaning how harmonically complex a piano is due to temperament isn't the main issue.  I think the real issue here is timbre, which is clearly much harder to reproduce. 

 
This is exactly what I was saying in laymans terms. Some of the beautiful intervals have to be stretched or shrunk in a way that allows what you are saying.  It was a compromise.  What they heard as perfect in   However these people are not interested in music theory but math.
 
So do you enjoy this kind of post where you take the tone of correcting someone who is saying the same thing?  You could have made your additional points in a polite manner without quoting me as if my generalizations were inaccuracies. 
 
I've studied theory for years that stretch long into the double digits, teach theory at university, and could have given the complete history from greek music theory (where pythagorias discovered a string pressed in the middle doubles the octave) to the first medieval written music but I don't think people were asking for a lesson in music theory/history, the correct performance of baroque pieces using the temperament in which they were composed, nor the piano gesualdo had made tuned to microtones. But it sure made you sound smart. 
 
The piano is incredibly complex for many reasons, you could have added your valid points without coming across as smug.   Yes there are many more interesting things I left out, but your suggestion that I left out the key concept of interval is ludicrous, I was simplifying things by saying that some of the 12 steps sound bad together, implying harmony (there are two types of harmony, one where two notes sound together and an interval is heard together the other where two notes are played in succession and thus interval and harmony is heard as the effect of one note following the other, in both cases a trained ear should be able to identify the interval/steps between notes)
 
There is so much I want to say to fill in the holes of your corrections to my post but I believe that would be a waste of time, there are great theory boards on gearslutz and the ableton site, if people want that information I suggest they go there.  
 
I believe the question is why is it difficult to record a piano accurately today.  With the assumption of modern tuning.  Thanks so much for your contribution to that topic,
 
-Pablo
 
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Quote:
http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/components/pdf/em06_wm61_a_b_dne.pdf
Frequency : 20-20kHz .
 
http://www.dpamicrophones.com/en/products.aspx?c=item&category=128&item=24035
Frequency range, ± 2 dB: Soft boost grid: 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 3 dB soft boost at 8 – 20 kHz. High boost grid: 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 10 dB boost at 12 kHz.
 
http://www.earthworksaudio.com/microphones/qtc-series-2/qtc50/
Wow .. Show me the graphs, including conditions !
 
http://www.sanken-mic.com/en/product/product.cfm/3.1000400
"The Sanken CO-100K is the first 100kHz microphone in the world designed for actual professional recording, not for measurement purposes."
THE FIRST .... 
 
Was that the one you used to record the bat-frequencies ?? .
YES - THE BAT-FREQUENCIES  .
And YES - POOR BATS ! 
Nobody else has their ears tortured by +22kHz frequencies at audible levels !
 
 
Thanks for the links...I'd really like to try out a Mic that can pic up those real highs and do some multi-micing on my tenor pans (aka steel drum)  and see if I can make it sound better.  Obviously I EQ out much of the highs but the fact that they are there may make the total instrument sound more realistic.   Its so hard to record and not have it sound harsh.  This is another very hard to capture instrument.
 
Anyway, we are way off topic just want to say I appreciate those links, and sound above 20k, whether I can hear it or not it affects me and the instrument I play, which is probably quite rare, I've never heard such high pitches or suffered such hearing loss as when gigging with a 40-60 person steel band.  If you live in NYC or London there are great pan scenes, they always welcome beginners and its really fun to play.  (brooklyn has a trinidadian carnival with a panorama competition, its like the super bowl for people from Trinidad & Tobago...the Trinidad Panorama or course, Paris has one now too)
 
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Lord Voldemort

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Quote:
 
This is exactly what I was saying in laymans terms. Some of the beautiful intervals have to be stretched or shrunk in a way that allows what you are saying.  It was a compromise.  What they heard as perfect in   However these people are not interested in music theory but math.
 
So do you enjoy this kind of post where you take the tone of correcting someone who is saying the same thing?  You could have made your additional points in a polite manner without quoting me as if my generalizations were inaccuracies. 
 
I've studied theory for years that stretch long into the double digits, teach theory at university, and could have given the complete history from greek music theory (where pythagorias discovered a string pressed in the middle doubles the octave) to the first medieval written music but I don't think people were asking for a lesson in music theory/history, the correct performance of baroque pieces using the temperament in which they were composed, nor the piano gesualdo had made tuned to microtones. But it sure made you sound smart. 
 
The piano is incredibly complex for many reasons, you could have added your valid points without coming across as smug.   Yes there are many more interesting things I left out, but your suggestion that I left out the key concept of interval is ludicrous, I was simplifying things by saying that some of the 12 steps sound bad together, implying harmony (there are two types of harmony, one where two notes sound together and an interval is heard together the other where two notes are played in succession and thus interval and harmony is heard as the effect of one note following the other, in both cases a trained ear should be able to identify the interval/steps between notes)
 
There is so much I want to say to fill in the holes of your corrections to my post but I believe that would be a waste of time, there are great theory boards on gearslutz and the ableton site, if people want that information I suggest they go there.  
 
I believe the question is why is it difficult to record a piano accurately today.  With the assumption of modern tuning.  Thanks so much for your contribution to that topic,
 
-Pablo
I simply clarified your post because you did not say, "some of the 12 steps sound bad together".  No part of my post was intended to attack you, only to add to the topic. But I can see how me quoting you may have given off that impression. For that I apologize. 
 
But you know, if you want others to talk "in a polite manner", perhaps you should reply in that same manner as well. Your reply to me, from my point of view, honestly sounded like it was coming from an insecure jackass. 
 
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pabloaugustus

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I simply clarified your post because you did not say, "some of the 12 steps sound bad together".  No part of my post was intended to attack you, only to add to the topic. But I can see how me quoting you may have given off that impression. For that I apologize. 
 
But you know, if you want others to talk "in a polite manner", perhaps you should reply in that same manner as well. Your reply to me, from my point of view, honestly sounded like it was coming from an insecure jackass. 
 
 
Thanks for correcting my post.  I did misuse the terms.  There are so many names to describe the harmonic system we use today and I use them so frequently I myself got mixed up and did post an inaccurate post.  Your background information was useful.  I will continue the story you started because it is informative and correct my misinformation/use of terms.  Before temperament musicians were in a time of floating intervals and scales, and lots of experimentation, the would mistune the fifth so the third would sound perfect, for example, they used microtonality, all based on what they thought the greeks did.  Then as the Lord posted Bach stirred some crap up by inventing his well tempered tuning.  I was incorrect to say that this is what we use today.  Bachs tunings resulted, as the Lord said, in very colored tones.  Like different major keys would sound totally different.  But it still worked to transpose in the limited harmonic framework of the baroque.  People performing baroque music without a piano often return to such tunings. And period piano players will often have pianos retuned to bachs well temperament.
 
Equal temperament was probably invented by the chinese and brought back by Jesuits.  It logarythmically (sp) divides the octave into equal tones, and it was a lot cleaner than Bach's well-temperment.  When the classical period started and people started using more chromaticism equal temperament was adopted and it further opened the option to play in any key and have things sound the same.  Thats what we use today in western music.  The indians subdivide it into microtones but use the same system.  It seems like the mathematically based cultures "got it" before we did and so we were quite confused for a while, and still are today at times. :)
 
Can we just turn flame mode off.  I'd rather not argue with you or any anonymous user. I come here to learn and share information not to be bashed for responding to what I mistook as a disrespectful posting.  And finally I'd add the question is really too complex, you'd have to study all the theory and history Lord and I were referencing.  Then probably link it with a physic degree. 
 
Of you could just take that one dudes advice and play with mic position.  You can't polish a turd, get that piano sounding good, find a tutorial and play with mic positioning from there, and don't worry why.
 
-peace
 
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post-8998295
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Eisenhower

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Part of the problem is that people are very familiar with the way pianos sound. Grand pianos are not kept in cases tucked under peoples' beds like guitars, they are usually out in the open for anyone to play (or sneak a few notes in). I mean, who hasn't played notes on a piano before? Also pianos (of the same type) do not have wildly different sound qualities, unlike vocals or synthesizers or electric guitars. This means that there is essentially a standard piano sound that people are quite familiar with. They are also used in just about every genre of music.
 
For other instruments with more variations in the sound, it is more difficult to say it's not reproduced accurately unless you were in the studio and heard the actual guitar / recording. A piano is not a complex instrument, but I think they have a sound that is simple enough for us to remember what they ought to sound like, but complex enough for reproduction to not be trivial like a sine wave.
 
So it isn't that pianos are unusually difficult to reproduce -- it is that it's easier for us to identify flaws in a piano recording because of our familiarity with them.
 
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bigshot

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Another problem is how you mike it... Whether the lid is up or down, how far away from it you are, the direction you point the mikes at the instrument and the acoustics of the room the piano is in can all have an enormous impact on the sound.
 
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