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Logic 9 Piano software instrument timbre problem

Discussion in 'Logic 9' started by kendradog, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. kendradog

    kendradog New Member

    I am using the "Yamaha Piano Hall" software music instrument as output from a MIDI track in Logic Express.

    The problem is that at least one of the notes sounds completely different at velocity 64 than the same note does at velocity 65.

    When I change a "D3" note in the Piano Roll from velocity 64 to 65, two things happen:

    (1) The note gets much louder, and

    (2) The timbre completely changes.

    At velocity 64, D3 has a kind of mellow timbre. At velocity 65, there is a much sharper, more strident timbre. (And it's much louder too).

    By contrast, velocities 64 and 63 sound virtually alike.

    Is this an inherent limitation of the software instrument, or do I have some wrong setting? Is there some workaround (other than mapping all the MIDI to velocities from 1 to 64?)
  3. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    This is a result of the sample mapping in the EXS 24. It is likely that a different sample is triggered at a velocity value of 65 than 64.

    There are several workarounds. The three that come to mind immediately are:

    1. Go into the EXS 24 editor and edit the velocity split point between those two samples, so the split happens at a different velocity level.

    2. If you don't like the sound of the sample triggered at velocity level 65, get rid of it, and extend the velocity range of the sample at the previous velocity levels.

    3. Assign the samples at velocity level 65 to a new group and attenuate the volume of this new "group" so that it better blends and matches the sound of the samples mapped to the quieter velocities.

    All of these options will require you to dig in to the EXS editor to varying degrees.
  4. kendradog

    kendradog New Member

    Thanks. I'll look into the editing. (My first try somehow muted all tracks' output, but I'll keep at it).

    Just out of curiosity, I'm confused about why the designers of the software would bundle a piano that by default sounds completely different and much louder going from velocity 64 to 65. Did they forget to match volume outputs? Are they targeting some application for which this is useful?
  5. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Hi ken,

    I haven't checked the specific instrument/samples in question, but in general, it's most likely just the result of mediocre sampling and programming. That's why people spend hundreds of dollars on piano sample sets. Because he sampling and velocity layering is done meticulously.

    I can't really fault Apple; this is one of hundreds of instruments bundled into a complete daw that sells for $500. I'm not saying I excuse it; just that it is explainable. If you want great grand piano sampled instruments, you'll need to pay for them separately outside of Logic. It is unfortunate, but that's just the way it is. The entire Logic bundle takes up about 45 GB of space. Ivory pianos alone take up about the same!
  6. kendradog

    kendradog New Member

    On another thread I discussed a timing problem I was having with D3 on the Yamaha Piano Hall. So far, others have not been able to reproduce this problem. It may be that my Yamaha Piano Hall sample is damaged around D3.

    Here is a sound file that plays D3 in Yamaha Piano Hall at velocities 62 to 66. The dramatic change in volume and timbre from 64 to 65 should be clear: http://soundcloud.com/kendracute/bad-d3-velocity-64-to-65 .

    Here is a screenshot of the project itself.
  7. Jay Asher

    Jay Asher Senior member

    It is. As Eli, says, this is a case of the detailed sampling and editing in a bundled package not being up to par with more expensive dedicated libraries.
  8. kendradog

    kendradog New Member

    "Mediocre" means, "of moderate quality; not very good" [Merriam-Webster]. The sampling and programming here was not "mediocre":

    (1) Crescendo from velocity 62 to 66, posted above: http://soundcloud.com/kendracute/bad-d3-velocity-64-to-65 . That example doesn't sound "moderate quality". It sounds terrible.

    (2) At least one note in this sample begins too late, making a piece using it sound out-of-sync. (See thread http://www.logic-users-group.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5452 )

    (3) It is time-consuming to figure out why a complex piece sounds "off", either in (1) timbre or (2) timing. Indeed, I wound up having to reinstall Logic to track this down, and that's just one user. An unusable sample - one that didn't play at all - would have been a vast improvement over Yamaha Piano Hall. If a sample is worse than an unusable sample, it cannot be "of moderate quality."

    For these three reasons - sound, timing, and the waste of time for the user - the quality of the programming and sampling of Yamaha Piano Hall does not attain the level "mediocre".
  9. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    Never had reason to use the Yamaha SI that comes bundled with all the other free samples. But I do think the free Steinway is pretty good.

    Makes spending the thousands of dollars on superior sample libraries seem justified when l have to listen to someone complain about the free stuff.

    I recommend you stay away from all the orchestral sounds that were included for free. I prefer my Miroslav Vitous stuff, but there are many more recent introductions, if you have $5,000 to $25,000 to invest.
  10. Jay Asher

    Jay Asher Senior member

    Well, I think you are a little over the top here. I could play in a part using that channel strip preset and my guess is that 9 out of 10 here would think it sounds decent with just a little velocity tweaking.
  11. Eli

    Eli Senior member


    Attached Files:

  12. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    Thanks for sharing, Eli. I like your piece much more than John Cage's Four Minutes and Thirty-three Seconds [of Silence].

    I record pianists into Logic using MIDI keyboards. My latest controller input is by way of a Yamaha P155, so I have nothing against their tone. But I use SIs once I dick around with the MIDI file.

    Inevitably, there are a few notes that need to be balanced out, velocity wise. To fault a sample for the point under discussion is to miss the point of Logic's facility as an editor.

    I hear an abrupt transition from mezzo piano to mezzo forte, but the tone sounds like a piano to my tin ear. I would be more interested in how the two velocities interplay with either the melody line, harmony and counterpoint..or the timbres of the other instruments in the mix.

    Is there another color between grey and black without having to pay for metallic finish, a clearcoat and topcoat of carnauba wax?
  13. Eli

    Eli Senior member


    Attached Files:

  14. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    64 Shades or Grey, or just...

    A Whiter Shade of Pale...

    Like the bass part. Time for a XX cervesa.

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