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Could Korg put Ivory and Scarbee in a digital piano?


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They seem to licence versions of them for "module". Why not licence or buy them and put them in all their digital pianos too? Wouldn't it be a good thing for Korg, Ivory and Scarbee? I am tired of waiting for a DP light weight DP with those quality sounds. Casio Privia anybody out there? Is it Japanese upper management manufacturing pride that thwarts such a move? Why doesn't some company step up and do it? It seems obvious they cant really match Ivory and Scarbee.

 

Although I have heard the Korg actions are not very good, so there might be that thing.

 Find 675 of my jazz piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

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Also, even the scaled down Module versions of Ivory and Scarbee probably require more resources to run than what's in most DPs. An iPad is cheap for that amount of memory/storage/processing power, which makes it a cost-effective way to get the ability to run things like this. Still there are trade-offs, latency as you've noted, and long boot/load times. AKA no free lunch.

 

I don't think Casio would have much interest in putting a 2 GB piano sample in a Privia. It would add too much to the cost even before the cost of licensing. It would probably be cheaper to run Module from an i-device attached to your Privia. (Or to put it differently, how much more would you have been willing to pay for you PX360 if it had the "small" 2 GB version of Ivory in it?)

 

Also Synthology might have limited interest in licensing to others. They have to weigh what they would make from a deal against the possibility of fewer people buying their full version.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I play the Grandstage a couple times a month subbing on a church gig. It's a pop/rock/triad context but the action still hampers me in even the less demanding style. Basically it's a drag to play.

 

I don't feel adding "Ivory" quality sound would enhance that particular keyboard that much. I heard first hand a few years ago their short lived attempt to incorporate their tech into a module and it didn't sound, live, actually as good as what was available in the DPs from Yamaha, Nord, Kawai and Roland at that time. ;)

 

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I have full, not scaled down 3rd party acoustic and electric piano sample sets loaded into my Forte 7, so theres no reason a manufacturer could not license and do the same. Ive been asked by one of the makers not to mention that I did that with his samples in particular, and to not proliferate the Forte files, so I wont.
Moog The One, VV 64 EP, Wurlies 200A 140 7300, Forte 7, Mojo 61, OB-6, Prophet 6, Polaris, Hammond A100, Farfisa VIP, ,Young Chang 6', Voyager, E7 Clav, Midiboard, Linnstrument, Seaboard
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I have full, not scaled down 3rd party acoustic and electric piano sample sets loaded into my Forte 7, so theres no reason a manufacturer could not license and do the same.

Of course there's a reason a manufacturer might not be able to do the same... the maker of the sample set might not want to license it, or might want too much money for it. (Also, Kurzweil is one of the few keyboard manufacturers whose current technology supports such large samples, and even then, not in their low cost units.)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Someone tell me if I'm wrong: as I understand, it's the fast non-volatile FLASH memory that's expensive. A few gigs of straight-up ROM chips with Ivory or Scarbee samples shouldn't cost that much, correct? So I'll play, and spitball a few ideas as to why we don't see these in a DP. First, the major players probably feel their pianos are anywhere from "good enough" to "great" so why should they pay $$ to license another piano? Secondly, for all I know Casio, Yamaha and/or Korg are using the same sample sets (or supersets/subsets of them) in all their pianos the last few years, so by now they've recouped development costs and all they pay for are the chips to store the data on. More money saved = more profit.

 

I also want to mention that I have not tried Ivory II, but I did play Ivory I at someone's gig a while ago and found it to not work at all for me. The issue as I saw it was the samples seemed to have been recorded a little too far from the strings, so there was enough ambience baked into them that they sounded unnatural coming out of speakers at a gig. In a studio setting it's a completely different story of course. I've noticed that the slab DPs I've tried all have very close-recorded sounding samples, which I think is more appropriate for gigging.

 

The other thing about these premium piano sample sets is that I believe they depend on sophisticated scripting, e.g. they might trigger different key-off samples depending on velocities, or bring in different samples if the sustain pedal is down, etc. If the piano's OS is not already set up to accommodate that kind of thing, there probably is no point in crowbarring those fancy samples into it.

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Someone tell me if I'm wrong: as I understand, it's the fast non-volatile FLASH memory that's expensive. A few gigs of straight-up ROM chips with Ivory or Scarbee samples shouldn't cost that much, correct?

ROM is also expensive. (Another big variable would be the quantities needed... traditionally, the per-unit cost of a custom-burned ROM decreases significantly with quantity, though I may not be up on the newest technologies. But assuming that's still the case, digital pianos are not a high volume industry.)

 

Tha said, I think everything else you said is correct.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Secondly, for all I know Casio, Yamaha and/or Korg are using the same sample sets (or supersets/subsets of them) in all their pianos the last few years, so by now they've recouped development costs and all they pay for are the chips to store the data on. More money saved = more profit.

I believe THIS more than anything is the reason "better" samples are not being incorporated into their products.

 

To my ears, it sounds like Yamaha, Roland and Korg have been milking their same ole samples for decades now.

 

IMO, the only thing the major KB manufacturers are doing now is changing the hardware which is also becoming cheaper in the way of lighter-weight and poor KB action.

 

Also IMO, they are racking up profits without having to share the proceeds with sample library developers.

 

Meanwhile, Dave Smith partners up with 8DIO to provide a sample library for the Prophet XL. So, it can be done. :idea::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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I also want to mention that I have not tried Ivory II, but I did play Ivory I at someone's gig a while ago and found it to not work at all for me. The issue as I saw it was the samples seemed to have been recorded a little too far from the strings, so there was enough ambience baked into them that they sounded unnatural coming out of speakers at a gig. In a studio setting it's a completely different story of course. I've noticed that the slab DPs I've tried all have very close-recorded sounding samples, which I think is more appropriate for gigging.

 

The Ivory I & II samples are very dry, so it must have been a setting that was overlooked (the effects are on a separate page in the Ivory interface).

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The Ivory I & II samples are very dry, so it must have been a setting that was overlooked (the effects are on a separate page in the Ivory interface).

Good to know, thanks. Would you say they sound very close-miced too? I remember thinking it sounded a little distant to me cool for studio usage but not on a gig. Of course it could be an efx setting.

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I have full, not scaled down 3rd party acoustic and electric piano sample sets loaded into my Forte 7, so theres no reason a manufacturer could not license and do the same.

Of course there's a reason a manufacturer might not be able to do the same... the maker of the sample set might not want to license it, or might want too much money for it. (Also, Kurzweil is one of the few keyboard manufacturers whose current technology supports such large samples, and even then, not in their low cost units.)

 

Well, yes. My point, which I guess I did not make clearly, is that there would be no TECHNICAL hurdle in doing so. Of course they need to actually get the license and have it be financially viable both in regards to the content and the manufacturing.

There is also no technical reason why one of the major companies cannot deeply sample a piano themselves and do the same thing, again excepting financial constraints.

 

Moog The One, VV 64 EP, Wurlies 200A 140 7300, Forte 7, Mojo 61, OB-6, Prophet 6, Polaris, Hammond A100, Farfisa VIP, ,Young Chang 6', Voyager, E7 Clav, Midiboard, Linnstrument, Seaboard
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There is also no technical reason why one of the major companies cannot deeply sample a piano themselves and do the same thing, again excepting financial constraints.

It can be more complicated, some are already big. The Kronos Berlin is 8.6 GB (I think it's the same in the Grandstage). And some people love it, but others may compare it to smaller pianos they prefer and come away saying size isn't everything.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Well, yes. My point, which I guess I did not make clearly, is that there would be no TECHNICAL hurdle in doing so.

I'm not so sure about that. As I said in a previous post, the high-end pianos can use advanced features of the sample player plugins they're programmed for, like Kontakt scripting. I know the Garritan Steinway licenced Plogue's "Aria" engine for sample playback. There's probably a lot more going on than straightforward velocity switching. Whichever DP wanted to include these pianos would probably have to do a lot of work to recreate what those custom audio engines are doing or adapt the samples into their own existing (and quite proprietary I'm sure) onboard audio engine.

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It really isn't all about size; it's more about what you need the piano sound to do. Let's say you have an acoustic grand piano. Depending on how it's being used, you would mic and EQ it differently. Settings which will sound great for a solo player won't be as good in a band setting. That's why people like Dave Weiser produce 'gig piano' voices.

 

And if the piano is competing with a LOUD band, you'll need different settings again. Meanwhile, during this whole process, a huge chunk of the original instrument's fidelity is being lost. But the audience generally doesn't really realise, or care.

 

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I need a piano sound to make me happy playing it. I can make adjustments at each gig if there are circumstances that require it. Tweaking EQ, or speaker placement, or where I set up in relation to where my speakers are, etc... every gig/venue is different but I want to at least start out with as high quality piano a sound I can. So size can matter imo. Yes, on a loud gig I may not hear release samples or other nuances. If 100% of my gigs were like that then I might be happy with a smaller piano, who knows. Isn't it better to have something and not need it, versus needing or wanting something and not having it? BTW, I also feel that size isn't everything :) and that a larger piano sample set is not necessarily a guarantee of quality. There are of course other characteristics of a good-sounding piano sample set that come into play.
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A few thoughts:

 

1) You can buy the Synthogy American Grand for the Motif/Montage (and I assume MODX).

 

https://www.yamahamusicsoft.com/synth/american-grand-9

 

"OCT18" at checkout brings it down to $79.99.

 

2) I disagree the hardware manufacturers have been milking the same piano samples for decades. Actually, I feel they have emphasized pianos too much and have left many other of their instruments woefully behind.

 

- Nord has provided a steady stream of new pianos. I count 23 grand and uprights at their site. Phenomenal.

- Since 2011, Korg has released six new pianos.

- In the last ~10 years Yamaha has given us: S6, CFX, Imperial Grand and an upright.

- Kurzweil added two new pianos with the Forte in 2014.

- Haven't followed Roland/Kawai/Casio that much, can't speak to them.

 

3) I don't know where the Windows/OSX/iOS development team for Korg is based and how independent they might be from Korg Japan. Roland's Cloud team, for example, is based in Snohomish, WA. Korg and Roland's (I believe) arrangers come out of Italy. Point being these teams can be quite independent. I've long felt it was a missed opportunity for Korg not to open up the SGX engine to third parties. With disk streaming and an engine that properly handles release samples, noises, string resonance etc, they could have brought these software libraries to hardware with few compromises.

 

4) I believe the Grandstage uses disk streaming. It has 19GB of samples. That would be huge for ROM and I see no evidence of Korg using Flash. So, it would cost virtually nothing from a hardware perspective to add another large piano.

 

5) The perspective of software piano developers is to create instruments that record well. I don't think live playing is on their radar. Not that some can't be used live, but many are far too ambient and/or full-bodied. On the other side, I'd have a hard time using most DPs in a "studio" recording. Nord is probably the exception.

 

6) My take on these pianos is probably quite different than most around here. I give zip about what it sounds like in mono or how it cuts through a mix. I suspect I'm more distracted than others when I hear sampling compromises (loops, artificial decay envelopes, samples stretched, etc.) so I tend to gravitate toward those pianos that are "technically" superior. Not that I don't appreciate something that's just nice to play.

 

Busch.

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That is interesting info regarding the addition of the Synthology American Grand to Motif based keyboards.

 

Not that I am familiar with it, but the acoustic piano sample was a big reason I dumped my MOXF a couple years back. The electric pianos were OK but there was something about the acoustics that I just couldn't hack.

 

So anyway... it would be nice to hear something different out of some of these Yamahas . I did play the MODX again last night and liked it overall.... but I am not ready to lay out 2K for it.

 

I will have to keep in mind that there might be a possibility to get a better acoustic piano sound out of an MOXF etc. I wasn't aware of this.

 

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A few thoughts:

 

1) You can buy the Synthogy American Grand for the Motif/Montage (and I assume MODX).

...and the MOXF and Motif XF if they have flash cards installed. Good to know! Though it's just a small 612 mb window into the full 49 gb VST. (Though 612 mb is still quite a lot for most keyboards.)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Ive been using Ivory live since I got me a Muse Receptor in 2006. Ive always managed to get a good live sound from it, and havent found anything as expressive until the last crop of stage pianos. I use a Forte live nowadays and to me its as much fun to play as Ivory, and very expressive in a live context. When I was gigging with Ivory, I always used sounds with fewer sample layers, especially the softer samples werent nescessary in a pop/rock context.
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I mostly don't notice the quality of the sample, I notice where the behavior isn't quite right.

 

For example if I repeat a key with the damper held down, my PX560 treats that as an entirely new note. I can't do the trick of depressing some keys slowly, then lifting the pedal to leave those particular dampers raised without the hammers hitting the string again. Pianoteq gets this kind of thing right.

 

Anyway, understand that digital piano makers must be working with some difficult performance/cost/heat constraints.

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