View Full Version : Ultimate Piano Collection Demos

11-20-2006, 09:23 AM
Hopefully this link will provide access to files I have prepared to show the sound of these 'old generation' 32MB piano libraries from East West.

They are all dry feeds from the headphone out on the front panel of the (Akai) S2000.

Currently there is just the one track posted, the Fazioli F228 Pedal-down patch, mp3 size (320 kbps) is 2,2 MB.


Hope this works, I'm brand new to this side of things, shall post more on this thread as soon as I get them uploaded.

Again, I think the sampling work is highly musical and still holds its own.


Stephen A. Phillips

11-20-2006, 10:22 AM
OK, I have all the (existing) demos uploaded at the above link. Wasn't so hard after all.

The Steinway D PED (pedal down) demo is processed, rolled-off highs and low, reverb added, to get a bit more 'in the next room' dreamy quality.

There are more patches in the library eg. Steinway D soft, Fazioli F228 soft, Bosendorfer 225 loud looped, Steinway C Marcato (Chromatic unlooped) etc. I can do up similar short demos if anyone is interested. My initial purpose was to encourage East West or the relevant sampling artists to bring this excellent library back to life in a format which would permit greater polyphony and some of the features we have become used to in the giga-type libraries.

Any thoughts most appreciated. Kept me up late one more time, was fun.



11-20-2006, 07:12 PM
Any thoughts most appreciated. Kept me up late one more time, was fun.

Nice project, Stephen! That "Ultimate" was one of the nicest samples ever. I have even considered getting an old sampler off eBay specifically to play the copy I still have. But old Akais remain somewhat expensive, and I already have far more good samples than I ever play in other formats.

Mine would be be an impractical gesture. But it was that fine a thing, and it's nice to hear it again.


Jake Johnson
11-21-2006, 02:01 AM
Sounds really good. Nice presence in the melody notes and the treble general was really round.

Do you know what features couldn't be implimented in soft samplers? (I though Kontakt could do just about anything.) Have you tried recreating the library in a soft sampler?

11-21-2006, 02:39 AM
Hi Jake,

Yes, I do enjoy playing these well-crafted libraries, except when the sustained notes cut out due to lack of polyphony.

I have tried importing the patches into GS2 and GS3, with about the same level of partial success as I have thus far achieved in K2. The mapping is correct but the sound is really hay-wire (you know what I mean?) - wrong dynamics and the sorts of artifacts I described elsewhere. I have not attempted to 'rebuild' the patches ina software synth, my skills in instrument creation are extremely rudimentary. This is why I have taken my appeal to a higher forum!

I have just come from doing a little practise on the Steinway D #3 in my orchestra's small studio, with the lid up. These big pianos generate amazing clouds of harmonics all over the place, something approached in a quite believable way in some of the big Giga libraries etc. General music have been playing around with modelling sympathetic vibration and soundboard effects for some time now.

The problem one often encounters with samples is that the crucial middle octaves can sound somewhat dis-embodied, I wonder if it is due to comb-filtering at the recording stage (sounds like it could be). The Ultimate Piano Collection pianos are relatively free from this flaw and I think it is this 'wholeness' that contributes so much to the satisfaction of playing, even without the other 'cues' provided by the biggies [eg. damper-up 'swish', release samples (which is important in modelling solo piano in fine detail obviously) and sympathetic cloud vibrations] absent. Got to have the best raw material to build on.



11-21-2006, 03:59 AM
Well, maybe it is the dry sound - but especially the first tune sounds a bit synthetic to me. And generally the upper mids are a bit weak, like so often with piano samples....

On the other hand I cannot really make a statement about that versus current big libraries as I do not know them good enough - but the 7 Seas and the hybrid demos sounded quite great .....


11-21-2006, 05:41 AM
Hi Steff,

I think the web link is playing the Steinway D LOUD as demo #1? You are hearing just like me: decay on some notes is quite static, unlike actual piano decay which wanders quite a bit in a cyclic way (as do other decays in this library). As for the dry sound, yes it is very very dry, I wonder what studio conditions the sampling was conducted under? When you think about it, it is virtually impossible to hear the sound of any piano detached from the effect of the room or hall acoustic. Some of the regional country theatres our orchestra plays in when on tour are really pitiful acoustically (they call them 'multi-purpose venues') and it is sad to hear beautiful concert grands sound so sick in these inferior spaces. Having said that, the internal resonances of a large piano are sufficient to at least convey some sense of body, even though a typical concert hall decay is notably absent. No such luck with a violin. . .

Another comment on the (UPC) library in general, there is a strong sense of key strike/key bed noise on the samples, no doubt a function of the relatively close miking employed. This 'defect' is a common problem with acoustic guitar libraries as well in my experience.

Of all the libraries I have access to here at home, the PMI Grandioso 290 (GS3) is the most compellingly real, though it lacks some of the ultimate fff slam available in the upper range of this piano. It is beautifully recorded and sounds so very real (I believe) for these reasons:

Mike placement from audience perspective (especially the 'wet' samples. In this case we don't get any of that insistent 'thunk' from the mechanism)

Sensitive inclusion of an excellent hall acoustic. Even the best convolution reverbs do not quite match an authentic 'attached' decay, just now anyway.

I have not been able to quite get the Maple extension patches to work, allowing the release samples to sound properly in this situation:

Play notes, depress sustain pedal, let go fingers, then let go pedal. The dampers should drop back, terminating the notes with release samples, as with a real instrument. Maybe others have a solution on this, the Maple patch is supposed to cure it.

Still, for less-than-absolutely-critical work, it is really convincing. There are many others I have not had the opportunity to try. My experience with NI Akoustik Piano v 1.1 has been mixed, and actually prompted my re-examination of the East West Ultimate Piano Collection. Remember, this is a ten-years-old project! And for choice, value and craftsmanship, surely amongst the all-time greats.



Jake Johnson
11-21-2006, 07:51 PM
Have you tried playing around with the AHDSR settings in Giga? The pops you mentioned can surface if the sample moves too quickly from the Hold stage to the Sustain stage, or if the Hold stage is skipped entirely. (I don't have Giga 3. I remember seeing that the amp envelope in the first version was hard to work with. Maybe it's been revised to be more self-evident in the version you have, so you can change the settings without having to go into the Editor.)

Try a longish (1 second or more) Hold stage, 2 seconds or so of Decay, and as long a sustain as you can manage without letting the sound of the loops be too evident.

If there are separate Release samples, try at first doing without them, get the sound right, and then see about adding them in, adjusting the volume and Decay ramp to get the best match.

Keep in touch about your progress with this project and about getting East\West to work with you.

(Is Oliver Traum still around? I haven't heard anything from him in several years--he used to post here.)