Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers?

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ncp10
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2011/01/15 14:19:09 (permalink)

Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers?

I know this may be hard to answer to, but here is some more info:

I am using Giga 4, mostly Sampletekk sampled pianos, set up this way: 
  • Headphones: Giga 4 > Delta 2496 audiophile > Alesis Multimix 12x (w or w/o effects) > Sony Studio Monitor Headphones
  • Speakers/Amp:  > Samson 100W stereo amp > Yamaha S8M unpowered speakers
No matter what volume I am playing at, the pianos sound really awful thru speakers!  They sound fantastic and good enough for recording thru the headphones.  And yet, if I play downloaded sampletekk piano demos they sound just fine thru the same speakers!   I guess this is pointing to how I have the samples set up in Giga maybe?

Whenever I play something for someone, I have to have them use the headphones as it just sounds crappy thru my speakers.   What could be the issue? 

Noel
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    JonD
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/15 15:01:05 (permalink)
    How do other Giga instruments sound though the speakers?

    I have a few Sampletekk pianos - but in Kontakt format - and they sound just fine through speakers.

    Do you have another sampler that plays Giga format, that you could test with?



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    Funkybot
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/15 15:23:36 (permalink)
    Well, if it sounds bad through you speakers but fine through headphones, it could mean any of the following: 

    1. Your room needs to be treated 
    2. Your speakers' frequency response really just don't compliment the pianos in question  
    3. Your headphones' frequency response compliments the sample library 
    4. Your speakers are in a poor location in your room (on a desk? too close to the rear wall? etc.) 

    Looking at your setup, I'm guessing it's mostly #1, with a little bit of everything else. 

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    #3
    CJaysMusic
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/15 15:49:11 (permalink)
    Get better sperakers and tune your room. Then come back. Yuor room (enviroment) needs to be acosutically tuned.
    also, headphoens take out the room (enviroment) and what your hearing is the audio only without any reflections form the walls and other things in your room
    Cj

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    #4
    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/15 22:39:48 (permalink)
    OK, it's a few votes for better speakers for starters and tune the room too.

    What speakers should I be considering?  Budget is not for high end, but something that will work well for piano samples which is what I use mostly.

    Also, for room tuning:  a good yet simple resource/guide on this?  I am completely stuck with keeping my actual keyboard and PC screens where they are.  I am in an 11 x 11' room, the keyboard is against one wall, the speakers could be put anywhere.  What still is puzzling is the RECORDED music, including piano either acoustic or sampled, sound fine w/ my speakers in this room.
    #5
    Kalle Rantaaho
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/16 05:44:06 (permalink)
    Better speakers sound like an obvious answer, but
    all the replies forgot the important point:

    The downloaded Sampletekk piano demos sound fine through those same speakers. Are they somehow edited ?? Or are they auditioned with Windows Media Player and the integrated soundcard or something??

    SONAR PE 8.5.3, Asus P5B, 2,4 Ghz Dual Core, 4 Gb RAM, GF 7300, EMU 1820, Bluetube Pre  -  Kontakt4, Ozone, Addictive Drums, PSP Mixpack2, Melda Creative Pack, Melodyne Plugin etc.
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    JonD
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/16 14:44:47 (permalink)
    Clearly the problem is not his room or the speakers.  (He says all other music played through the same speakers and room sound fine).

    I think the issue is how those Sampletekk piano files are being translated through Giga4.  Try this: download the demo from one of these other Giga format players:

    http://www.samplelord.com/index.php?page=demo

    http://www.soundlib.com/gplayer/

    (I would first create a backup image or system restore point just to be cautious).  Import the Sampletekk files into the player and see if it sounds any better.  Keep us posted.

    SonarPlat/CWbBL, Win 10 Pro, i7 2600K, Asus P8Z68 Deluxe, 16GB DDR3, Radeon HD5450, TC Electronic Impact Twin, Kawai MP11 Piano, Event ALP Monitors, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, Too Many Plugins, My lucky hat.
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    Funkybot
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/16 16:02:52 (permalink)
    JonD


    Clearly the problem is not his room or the speakers.  (He says all other music played through the same speakers and room sound fine).

    I think the issue is how those Sampletekk piano files are being translated through Giga4.  Try this: download the demo from one of these other Giga format players:

    http://www.samplelord.com/index.php?page=demo

    http://www.soundlib.com/gplayer/

    (I would first create a backup image or system restore point just to be cautious).  Import the Sampletekk files into the player and see if it sounds any better.  Keep us posted.
    Jon, if that were the case then it would stand to reason that the same Sampletekk Piano's would sound bad on headphones also. The variable here isn't the player (that's remaining the same), it's the playback device (speakers or headphones).


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    #8
    JonD
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/16 16:14:35 (permalink)
    Funkybot, of course, you're right about it being a problem in the playback - I'm only going on my own experiences with poor Giga file translations, and the chance that the panning may not be translated right - which may not be obvious to hear through headphones, but would be through speakers.

    Since Giga4 hasn't been supported for awhile, I figured that either of the other Gigaplayer demos would do a better job of translation and put any questions of that to rest - and it's an easy test to try.



    post edited by JonD - 2011/01/16 16:21:23

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    JonD
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/16 16:33:22 (permalink)
    Well, I thought I'd look up the Yamaha S8M, since I wasn't familiar with them, and found this very interesting (and similar) thread from 2004:

    http://www.northernsounds...index.php/t-24207.html




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    webbs hill studio
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/16 16:43:52 (permalink)
    CJaysMusic


    Get better sperakers and tune your room. Then come back. Yuor room (enviroment) needs to be acosutically tuned.
    also, headphoens take out the room (enviroment) and what your hearing is the audio only without any reflections form the walls and other things in your room
    Cj
    +1-Just treated the tracking room with a studio set(bass traps and wall panels)from wavepanels.com.au-should be an equivalent brand elsewhere-no more bass rumbling and improved clarity-well worth the money!
    cheers



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    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/17 00:01:36 (permalink)
    JonD


    How do other Giga instruments sound though the speakers?

    I have a few Sampletekk pianos - but in Kontakt format - and they sound just fine through speakers.

    Do you have another sampler that plays Giga format, that you could test with?

    Hi Jon,

    I just use the piano samples, mostly from Sampletekk but also an E/W.   It is remarkable how excellent these pianos sound thru headphones, and so bad thru my amp & speakers I won't play for anyone thru them!  They sound weak & thin if I were to describe it in a few words.   It's a mystery for sure and it's been this way for years, so I just play w/ headphones.
    #12
    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/17 00:19:35 (permalink)
    JonD


    Well, I thought I'd look up the Yamaha S8M, since I wasn't familiar with them, and found this very interesting (and similar) thread from 2004:

    http://www.northernsounds...index.php/t-24207.html


    Haha you can see I never got to the bottom of it!  I'm hoping when Giga4 no longer works on my system a different sampler will fix this!

    OK, now that I've asked, what's the best available samplers for  pianos now:  Synthogy?  Native Instruments?  I found this copy of Giga4 on ebay for a very good price which has let me continue using the samples I bought for Giga 2 & 3.
    #13
    JonD
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/17 01:28:01 (permalink)
    Even after reading the other thread (with some very valid theories) I still think the problem is with the Giga samples - either the playback or translation.  Especially since you say everything else sounds fine through the same amp/speakers.

    I would first try one of the other Giga player demos that I linked to earlier, just to rule the giga translation issue out.

    To answer your question, Kontakt (now up to version 4) is the "standard" for samplers.  It can even import Giga format, though with mixed results.  If you decide to go that route, I believe Native Instruments has a crossgrade offer, so by having Giga4 you'd be able to save a bit off the retail price.

    Let us know how it turns out.


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    craigfowler
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/17 03:31:54 (permalink)
    Not a solution, but a commiseration.

    I have a pretty nice pair of headphones (Sennheiser HD600s) and a pair of pretty so-so budget monitors (KRK R6s).

    I also have most of the Sampletekk pianos and experience exactly what you describe, though the issue also extends to NI pianos (both Alicia's Keys and the now-renamed Akoustic Pianos).

    I wouldn't describe the sound through monitors as "weak" but it's certainly underwhelming after listening through headphones. It's a more artificial, less "wide" sound to my ears. Better in a mix, but still disappointing. I'd just assumed it was my room/monitor set up. I certainly don't believe it's the samples.

    BTW, Per is pretty darn good about cross-grading. That is, if you own legitimate copies of the samples in one format, he'll provide alternative format discs for a nominal fee (at least, I believe he does, based on what I've heard and an email or too we've exchanged). I run the samples in Kontakt now, but used to run the Giga versions in Emulator X.

    All this to say - I don't think that buying Ivory or Pianoteq (or other samples) is likely to change your issue. But if you want to rule that out, download the free demo of something like Pianoteq and see if the problem replicates.
    #15
    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/17 12:10:56 (permalink)
    Yes Craig & Jon, 'artificial' is a good descriptor of what I am experiencing, as well as lacking punch, so it could be more than one issue.  I kinda think this makes sense, that it's not in the translation because again thru headphones it's wonderful.   But it's worth seeing so I'll check on trying some of the other Giga player demos etc.
    #16
    craigfowler
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/17 15:04:16 (permalink)
    ncp, after I read your post again, I noticed you talked about the sample demos sounding better on playback, and went back to play my pianos through my monitors again. Something I realized that I didn't mention was simply the layout of the room - I have a long thin room, and the keyboard needs to be running along one of the walls - so I'm horribly positioned to hear things while I'm actually playing because I'm right in front of one speaker and miles from the other. When I can be closer towards the sweet spot, the sound improves a good deal, as you'd expect. Just wondering if there's something 'physical' like that that could be a problem here.
    #17
    bitflipper
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/17 21:02:06 (permalink)
    No matter what volume I am playing at, the pianos sound really awful thru speakers! They sound fantastic and good enough for recording thru the headphones. And yet, if I play downloaded sampletekk piano demos they sound just fine thru the same speakers!

    I doubt it's a speaker or acoustical problem. Maybe a MIDI feedback loop? I know that can cause those symptoms on a hardware synth, but I don't how that might translate to a soft synth.


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    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/24 23:13:08 (permalink)
    Thank you all again I am looking at all of these things.  I tried a reposition of my monitors and things do sound somewhat better for sure. 

    Bitflipper, I wonder for the midi feedback loop, would I not hear it in my headphones as well?  I think I have had some issues w/ midi feedback looping at times when I was setting this up, but thought I had resolved it.  It's still a possible concern so thank you for that.
    #19
    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/24 23:51:12 (permalink)
    JonD


    Clearly the problem is not his room or the speakers.  (He says all other music played through the same speakers and room sound fine).

    I think the issue is how those Sampletekk piano files are being translated through Giga4.  Try this: download the demo from one of these other Giga format players:

    http://www.samplelord.com/index.php?page=demo

    http://www.soundlib.com/gplayer/

    (I would first create a backup image or system restore point just to be cautious).  Import the Sampletekk files into the player and see if it sounds any better.  Keep us posted.


    Jon, I installed SampleLord demo and it sounds better to me. more natural.  It's missing effects, and the latency is beyond terrible, but the notes themselves sound more like an acoustic piano than in Giga4 w/ or w/o effects.  I don't think that this is specific to Giga 4 since I had Giga 2.5 and 3 and each had this issue.   Do you know if I can try a sample of something more potent that can read Giga files such as Kontakt, or for which Sampletekk could give me a deal on a crossgrade?  I'm beginning to think Giga just doesn't play well w/ Sampletekk, whatever the cause.

    And as long as I'm on this topic:  since I am 99% piano player, which do you think is superior (defined mostly as the best recordable piano), Synthogy or some other standalone piano, or Kontakt?
    post edited by ncp10 - 2011/01/24 23:53:16
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    jsaras
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/25 09:59:52 (permalink)
    A lot of folks like Modartt Pianoteq.  It's physically modeled, so the CPU hit is zilch and it's a tiny installer.  It has a dynamic playability that's better than any sampled piano and the chords have a wonderful sense of animation that samples don't have either.  You can even hold keys down silently and then hit a stacatto low note, and you'll hear the sympathetic vibrations.  The downside is that the attacks can sound too synthetic for some ears.

    They do have a downloadable demo. Definitely worth a try.



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    JonD
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/25 22:57:26 (permalink)
    Hi Noel,
     
    Piano sound is such a subjective thing... That said, this one has gotten surprisingly good reviews given its low(-ish) price: 
     
    http://www.acoustica.com/pianissimo/index.htm
     
     

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    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/26 23:09:49 (permalink)
    Well, I installed both pianissimo and Pianoteq and these guys don't sound to good either.  Giga 4 w/ Sampletekk piano: 9.5 out of 10 thru my headphones, 3 out of 10 via my speakers.    The two VST pianos I am demoing here now are about a 4.5 or so, so now I'm starting to think it's my amp and/or speakers, their position in the room, the room acoustics, and even how well I have the sampler tuned (EQ, reverb, etc).  I think it's probably a little of all these things having some effect on sound thru the speakers.   I do doubt it's a midi loop, as it doesn't' sound that weird, it just doesn't sound very natural. 

    There is something I still can't put my finger on though:  how come .mp3's of these same pianos sound half decent thru my speakers?  Am I  . . . that bad?!  Some other bad mixing issue?  I need professional help!
    #23
    Rudo
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/27 03:41:12 (permalink)
    Maybe a stupid suggestion but still..... Don't know the setup you are usin, but the audio interface from my laptop lets me setup my headphone sound different than my speaker sound...... SO are you sure it has nothing to do with your setting?

    Rudo
    #24
    JonD
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/28 01:33:13 (permalink)
    Noel, have you considered the speakers might be in reverse polarity (wired or connected backwards)? 

    This can greatly affect the sound, and it's possible the harmonics (or lack thereof) from the pianos are just more noticeable being off, than other instruments?

    Try switching the speaker wires (first on each speaker, then both).  Hear any improvement?

    Otherwise, I'm out of ideas.  


      

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    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/28 12:59:32 (permalink)
    Rudo


    Maybe a stupid suggestion but still..... Don't know the setup you are usin, but the audio interface from my laptop lets me setup my headphone sound different than my speaker sound...... SO are you sure it has nothing to do with your setting?

    Rudo


    No I am not sure of anything Rudo.  I really don't know anything about setting up midi/audio studios!   
    #26
    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/28 13:03:28 (permalink)
    JonD


    Noel, have you considered the speakers might be in reverse polarity (wired or connected backwards)? 

    This can greatly affect the sound, and it's possible the harmonics (or lack thereof) from the pianos are just more noticeable being off, than other instruments?

    Try switching the speaker wires (first on each speaker, then both).  Hear any improvement?

    Otherwise, I'm out of ideas.  


    Way back when I first posted on this (the thread you referenced) I remember I had gone thru checking speaker wiring to no avail, but what the hey flipping them can't hurt.  I will let you know. 

    As I say, could a case of just having a bunch of things a little off:  iffy speakers for the application, position, wiring, room acoustics, un-fine tuned effects and EQ to name a few.  I haven't bothered to resolve the issue because usually it's just me listening w/ phones.  But I've created some mp3's to send to friends and family and so this is why I've brought this up again.



    #27
    ncp10
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    Re:Why does my Giga 4 piano samples sound way better thru my headphones than thru speakers 2011/01/28 21:23:39 (permalink)
    I flipped wires on each speaker separately, then together, and it seems a little better.   I also played some with stereo field width I guess it is, in Giga 4, and narrowed the field from 100% to 60% or so, and between that and aiming my speakers in many different ways to find the best sound, I can say it does definitely sound better, in fact not bad at all!  But what I think I am noticing is quite simply:  there just aren't enough speakers in this room, among other things.  I am listening to sound 4' from my ears (aimed in different ways including up to the ceiling bouncing off and straight down into the carpet), coming from a cone, and this is not the same thing as having sound spring organically out of a piano sound board!  I'm sure a better amp, speakers and all of the other suggestions would add significant improvement. 

    I think what I'm really hoping to do is make my room sound as close to what I hear in my phones as possible.  I can still say, it's not there at all yet, even with these improvements.  I guess maybe now Giga 4 w/ Sampletekk piano has gone from a 3 to a 5 out of my speakers, which is quite significant, but still falls short of the 9.5 out the phones.   But as I ponder this, the entire spectrum is coming out of a tiny speaker at point blank range to my ear drum, and that is a very physically different thing than sound coming from speakers 4 feet away, into a the tiny tunnel that is my eardrum.   I can tell already and I'm no audio engineer, getting any software piano to duplicate this through speakers in a room will take some serious trickery--pull out all the stops both electronically & acoustically!

    Thanks, it's been a help




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