Sample library and synthesis musings

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Re: Sample library and synthesis musings

Postby Consul » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:39 pm

That's a little beyond any one person's building skills, I think, especially just for the purpose of capturing a sound library. ;) Nevertheless, my idea was not too dissimilar in that I had the use of solenoids in mind. A counterweighted swing-arm might work, too, but it would have to be height-adjusted for the black keys.

Those player-piano systems are really sweet, though. I remember seeing one demoed in a piano store back when I lived in Colorado Springs. I have thought about contacting a piano store and seeing if they'd let me sample one, but somehow I doubt they'd live with the disruption.
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Re: Sample library and synthesis musings

Postby dahnielson » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:57 pm

Yes, having one solenoid for every key is to overdo it a tad if the purpose is sampling -- one will do in most cases. :D
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Re: Sample library and synthesis musings

Postby Consul » Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:42 pm

Of course, none of this is happening until I get the money to finish building my mics and mic preamps. *sigh* It's always something...
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Re: Sample library and synthesis musings

Postby dahnielson » Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:10 pm

dahnielson wrote:Per "Worra" Larsson (of Sampletekk whose Yamaha C7 have 93 velocity layers) said that he once tried a mechanical system but it made too much noise for the samples to be useful, instead, he use custom software that let him sample pianos in 2 dB steps.


Ok, maybe not 93 velocity layers. It should read 93 samples per note, forgot about pedal up/down and release samples. Anyhow, this is what the manual to my Black Grand - Steinway D (with 36 samples/note in GS2 and 48 samples/note in GS3) says:

The Black Grand's featured piano, a Steinway D Hamburg, was recorded using SLH, SampleTekk's proprietary digital recording system which allows ultra-deep sampling of acoustic instruments with an accuracy that’s impossible to achieve with traditional recording practices. We auditioned many mics and preamps during our R & D phase of development. We ultimately selected preamps from Millenia and microphones from Neumann, MG, Milab, and Röde for our sampling sessions. Each lends its own signature sound to the Black Grand, and we think you will be very pleased with the different approaches to this first-class instrument.

When playing any acoustic instrument, there's an inherent relationship between loudness and timbre. Using the piano as an example, you get a louder tone when you strike a key harder, but you also get a brighter timbre. The tone is continually variable between the softest and loudest strikes—a single note is an infinity of expression. When sampling a piano, of course one cannot sample an infinite number of velocities. The instrument designer must limit himself to a practical number of samples, which must succeed in emulating this infinite range of possibility. Even five years ago (the stone ages in sampler-world) most premium pianos had two to four discrete samples per note. Today, pianos average six to eight different velocities per note. This has increased quality of sound and playing proportionately. It is difficult to record large numbers of velocities per note—It is difficult for even the most trained player to consistently strike note after note with exactly the same strength. This is why we have developed SLH.

We developed SLH to ensure even timbral coverage through the entire instrument, while generating high numbers of usable, discrete samples. Using SLH, we have designed the Black Grand with sixteen discrete velocity layers. Both pedal up and pedal down samples were taken, along with four release samples, for a combined total of thirty-six discrete samples representing each note of the instrument! We are confident that you will find the Black Grand to be a uniquely expressive and beautiful sounding instrument, representing the highest standards of design and care in delivering a state-of-the-art sampled piano.
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Re: Sample library and synthesis musings

Postby Consul » Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:32 pm

If I'm not mistaken, a spring-loaded solenoid's distance traveled is proportional to the voltage applied to it. This means that the velocity it travels at can be controlled by the slope of a ramping voltage. Setting different slopes will get different velocities, and thus different hardnesses of struck notes. So I think what I'll need is, well an appropriate solenoid, and a ramping voltage generator with controllable slope.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? :D I'm running this by some EE types I know, so I'll see soon enough.
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Re: Sample library and synthesis musings

Postby Consul » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:05 pm

A fellow on another message board came up with the most brilliant idea ever for controlling a piano key strike:

Mailliw (on another board) wrote:I thought about this for a few minutes and here is what I came up with:

You double-sided tape a magnet (ex: rectangular neodymium) to the key and you position an electromagnet suspended from a rig just slightly above it. You apply different voltages to the electromagnetic to vary the velocity. Zero noise! Cheap too!


Bloody brilliant! I even have rectangular neodymium magnets that would work perfectly.

Here's the thread: http://www.prodigy-pro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26273
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Re: Sample library and synthesis musings

Postby dahnielson » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:15 pm

Consul wrote:A fellow on another message board came up with the most brilliant idea ever for controlling a piano key strike:

Mailliw (on another board) wrote:I thought about this for a few minutes and here is what I came up with:

You double-sided tape a magnet (ex: rectangular neodymium) to the key and you position an electromagnet suspended from a rig just slightly above it. You apply different voltages to the electromagnetic to vary the velocity. Zero noise! Cheap too!


Bloody brilliant! I even have rectangular neodymium magnets that would work perfectly.

Here's the thread: http://www.prodigy-pro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26273


F'ing brilliant! That's what I love about engineering.
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