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View Full Version : Piano different perspectives vs. reverb



michael88s
06-27-2008, 09:23 PM
Well, I know that if you have a piano sample set with audience/wide/ambient perspective, you're pretty much out of luck if you don't want so much 'room' or natural reverb, since it's part of the sound already.

I'm wondering if, with a GOOD reverb, you can get pretty much any kind of ambience you want, say for instance you start with a player's perspective sample set. Any opinions?

kensuguro
06-27-2008, 11:50 PM
I think convlution verbs to a pretty good job, although it's not the same. Convolution stuff definitely sounds different (as in realistic) than plain reverbs.

michael88s
06-28-2008, 08:35 AM
Thanks for the reply kensuguro. Although I've not used a convolution reverb as yet, my understanding is that you can define the space an instrument is in pretty precisely. I'd guess that if mic placement is done very well, that would be better than the best reverb in any SINGLE situation.

But since there are so many choices about mic placement, IMO fine control of the space, like you might get with a great reverb, could be more useful than 2-3-4 different perspectives, as good as they might be. I've never been a fan of audience perspective/ambient mic-ing because, the way I see it, you're stuck with what you get to a large extent. Close/player's perspective mic-ing, OTOH, seems the most flexible.

kensuguro
06-28-2008, 11:41 AM
you can try out convolution with this free one:
http://www.knufinke.de/sir/sir1.html

and get some impulses here:
http://noisevault.com/nv/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=29

You'll find all sorts of impulses from amp cabinets to effects units, and of course, rooms.

michael88s
06-28-2008, 12:30 PM
Thanks, I'll check those out, and it looks like the Noise Vault is a pretty interesting site!

Ernest
07-01-2008, 10:36 PM
Hollywood Impulse Responses" is a relatively new product by Numerical Sound that can add ambience to a piano but to other instruments as well. This product has three very unique features that are not available in any other reverberation impulses in the marketplace.

1) Based on 20 major Hollywood blockbuster films released between 1977-2006

2) Timbre. The second feature unquie to HIR is that the impulses were designed to change the percieved timbre of an individual instrument such as a piano, ensemble or even the entire orchestra. The user can now adjust the tone of a track by selecting the appropriate Dark, Warm, Flat, Clear or Bright impulse when mixing the wet signal in with the dry. This dramatic effect cannot be matched by any kind of EQ. The advantage of this is that you can change the overall timbre of your piano by applying these RI's - similar reverberation impulses were developed and used in the Bluthner Digital Model One - www.proaudiovault.com )

3) Instruments. A new feature unique to HIR is the addition of 6 sets of RIís that are high pass filtered at points of the frequency spectrum that match the range of acoustic instruments. These point are at the notes C2, G2, C3, G3, C4, and G4. This instrument designed approach offer much more sonic precision and clarity than any other currently available hardware or software reverberation. For example if you have a solo violin track the RIís from the G3 set will exactly match the range of this instrument. C3 would work for the Viola and C2 for the Cello.~


Many timbral RI's can be heard at http://www.numericalsound.com/HIR_Demos.html



Ernest Cholakis
Numerical Sound/ProAudioVault
www.numericalsound.com
www.proaudiovault.com

03-05-2008, 04:56 AM Re:

michael88s
07-02-2008, 08:06 AM
Thanks Ernest, sounds very interesting, great website by the way.

mat123
07-20-2008, 04:37 AM
To my eyes, the big question is: how do you achieve a sufficiently dry recording to which the convolution reverb is added?

If you have a perfect studio with no reflections, and you place the mics so that you can adequately capture the piano's resonance, which are recorded in full length...

...then (but only then) convolution reverb may match ambience recording.

michael88s
07-20-2008, 09:38 AM
Hi mat123,

Well, my thought was to start with player's/close perspective mic-ing, which would allow very little 'room' into the recording, then to add ambience with reverb. Not a new idea. I was curious if anyone knew how close sonically to an ambient perspective sample set you could get using reverb.

You can always add reverb, but you can't really take it away. So, for me, with audience perspective piano samples you have to want that particular effect, while with close perspective samples you have much more flexibility.

For me, it's also about cost effectiveness. I already have a lot of piano libraries, and undoubtedly I'll be purchasing more. Flexibility is good.

mat123
07-20-2008, 10:15 AM
Hi mat123,

Well, my thought was to start with player's/close perspective mic-ing, which would allow very little 'room' into the recording, then to add ambience with reverb...

Well, e.g. Garritan Steinway's player perspective already has quite some reverb/resonance in it...


You can always add reverb...

Of course, you can. But I am not so sure if it's a good idea. I'm only speculating here, but if there is already reverb from room A in the sample and you add a convolution corresponding to room B, then, what is the geometry of room AB?

Just theory, no real experience with reverb...

kensuguro
07-21-2008, 02:04 AM
garritan steinway is an extreme case, where I think the point was to record everything, including the ambience. So, that's not a good library to be doing convolution with.

For convolution, I would think bluethner digitial would be a good one, since it was sampled to be used to with convolution. It's actually hard to find libraries (older ones esp) that don't have room ambience in the release sample.

ejr
07-21-2008, 02:20 PM
Some piano libraries (such as NI Akoustic Piano) come with their own reverb, micing perspectives and other characteristics (such as how much of the overtones you want to hear -- i.e. sympathetic vibrations of other strings) that are made for that particular library. I have found that Akoustic Piano has a lot of controls to keep me busy if I have a very specific sound in mind and that the presets are pretty good if I don't. But it is an older product. So, I wouldn't be surprised if some newer ones are giving it a run for its money at this point.

michael88s
07-22-2008, 12:14 AM
The piano sample sets I've been using the most are not new, and aren't standalone sets either- namely Sampletekk's Black Grand Close and the Bardstown Bosendorfer, both Gigastudio versions. Neither one of these has much 'room' to it, and a bit of reverb really enhances the sound.

But the trend nowadays seems to be for standalone pianos, like the Garritan Steinway, NI's Akoustik Piano, and Ivory, probably Galaxy too, and they all seem to have everything you need right in the host player if you want to refine your sound.

Cool.

ejr
07-23-2008, 12:03 PM
Yeah. I'm hardly a fan of NI (especially its activation/authorization methods which have been discussed ad nauseum here) and other users have posted recommendations for newer pianos that they say sound better than Akoustic Piano. But, so far, I find that I am usually able to get the sound that I am after with it -- or close enough to it -- that I really haven't looked at another piano library since I started using it. At the time I purchased it, either Electronic Musician or Keyboard magazine rated it as the best sounding virtual piano. They conducted two series of tests, one of which involved their reviewers simply listening to pieces performed with them, not knowing which library they came from. That convinced me to give it a try.

donmac
09-05-2008, 09:39 AM
Hello, First thing I read on the forum - Pianos. I think your'e absolutely right in wanting 'players perspective' on samples, it is natural to hear it that way and we can treat the sound to taste from there. My humble opinion. Don.
Well, I know that if you have a piano sample set with audience/wide/ambient perspective, you're pretty much out of luck if you don't want so much 'room' or natural reverb, since it's part of the sound already.

I'm wondering if, with a GOOD reverb, you can get pretty much any kind of ambience you want, say for instance you start with a player's perspective sample set. Any opinions?

michael88s
09-05-2008, 10:50 AM
Thanks for the reply Don, and welcome to the forums!

I've been gathering information for a while since I originally posted this topic, but I'm still thinking that players' or 'under the lid' perspective (I didn't know about that one when I originally posted) offers the most flexibility, and is the best way to go if there's the choice of only one perspective.

Fortunately, newer piano libraries usually give us several mic positions, so we can suit our choice of perspective to the recording task at hand. It's nice to have those options.


Regards,
Michael

scope4live
09-05-2008, 01:01 PM
I agree w/ Ken and you also on this. Standalone instruments can kill a DAW when several are used, and the difference I am hearing in quality from a Gigastudio Library and a more expensive VST / Standalone is negligable.

I use the Black Grand Close also. I use the pedal down convolution as it always makes the source piano library sound more realistsic, but add a PCM91 via the AES/EBU connectors of my Sound cards for the desiered space. When I am on a wooden stage I use a totally different space than I would if I was swamped by carget and suspended props used in a show that runs nightly. Their stage is designed for the show, not for our ensemble or solo performance. So choice is necessary.

I love the sound of BG Close in the Low registers, and the high registers, but low mid, as usual, can't be tweaked to my liking using the DEF filters of GS3 or GS4. Since Per's libraries are all very cheap and of high quality I am going for the 7CGS to follow up on a memebers request.

I just purchased something that I am not happy with, and once again will go for another library instead of a Standalone. Perhaps next week I can rejoice as I am purchasing Pianos every week until I find one I like well enough to play solo with.

But having your own choice of ambience has been my way for years, and looks to be the best solution still. Besides, the sounds of these added ambiences is not my idea of realism. But the PCM91 is not realistic reverb either, but the quality, and the way the effect wraps around the source material w/o adding colorization is so pretty. I actually pay no attention to the name of the preset as the preset I use most of the time that emulates a small stage is called Tiled Floor....)(~....Go figure.

michael88s
09-05-2008, 01:36 PM
Hi Jimmy,

Yeah, I use BG Close myself, and up until now it's been the best library I've had, especially in the low register.

But recently I've been testing out Akoustik Piano since a friend of mine has it, and I'm really liking it. It's certainly got it's faults, but unless I'm sitting listening to every note, and not really getting into the music, it's a very enjoyable and responsive piano to play.

There's great connection between my Keystation Pro 88 note ons and the piano sound, the best I ever felt, and there's a lot of tweaking possible, darn good reverbs, etc. For some reason a lot of folks don't seem to think Akoustik Piano is in the same class as Ivory or EWQLP, but since I don't have those I can't say.

I guess you're right about the DAW overhead using standalone pianos, but I'm wondering if the overhead gets cut down if you use them as VSTi's. Any ideas on that?

Weren't you thinking about picking up EWQL Pianos for an important gig you had recently?

beatpete
09-05-2008, 02:58 PM
I just purchased something that I am not happy with, and once again will go for another library instead of a Standalone.




Can you let us know which piano you weren't happy with and why?

Per Lichtman
09-05-2008, 03:28 PM
Hi Jimmy,

Yeah, I use BG Close myself, and up until now it's been the best library I've had, especially in the low register.

But recently I've been testing out Akoustik Piano since a friend of mine has it, and I'm really liking it. It's certainly got it's faults, but unless I'm sitting listening to every note, and not really getting into the music, it's a very enjoyable and responsive piano to play.

There's great connection between my Keystation Pro 88 note ons and the piano sound, the best I ever felt, and there's a lot of tweaking possible, darn good reverbs, etc. For some reason a lot of folks don't seem to think Akoustik Piano is in the same class as Ivory or EWQLP, but since I don't have those I can't say.

I guess you're right about the DAW overhead using standalone pianos, but I'm wondering if the overhead gets cut down if you use them as VSTi's. Any ideas on that?

Weren't you thinking about picking up EWQL Pianos for an important gig you had recently?

While EWQLP is a newer library that takes a fundamentally different approach than Ivory (where a single piano can take up the hard drive space of the entire Ivory library), my understanding has been the Akoustik Piano is of a similar breed and quality to Ivory and that Ivory is more popular but preference between the two seems to be a matter of taste. I've listened to demos of each and I have my own preference but I wouldn't say that there is a vast disparity between the two in terms of the quality of the recordings produced with them, though I have no hands on experience (unless you count http://www.try-sound.com/ for Ivory).

Where have there been so many disparaging comments about Akustik Piano?

michael88s
09-05-2008, 05:16 PM
Hi Per,

No, I haven't seen any disparaging comments about Akoustik Piano on this forum, just a few people that said they didn't care for it compared with one or another library. Probably every piano library has been 'the loser' in someone's comparison test. And, as I said, I like AkP very much myself.

Mostly what I've observed is people generally leaving Akoustik Piano out of the discussion when comparing what they feel are the best available pianos. IMO, that seems to indicate that AkP is not as highly regarded, but I could certainly be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. :)

Per Lichtman
09-07-2008, 03:59 AM
Well, it does seem to be less popular but I hadn't really thought of it as less well regarded. :)

Computer Music Magazine, when they reviewed it years ago, basically said it was on the same level as Synthogy Ivory, giving points to each on certain things. I haven't heard as much about it as other libraries and didn't look into it that much myself but that was mainly because it didn't embody my timbral preferences in the demos I heard, not because I had any hands experience with the performance features, etc.

If you like it, don't let anyone tell you that it's not "pro" enough. :)