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Topic: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

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  1. #1

    Post New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    Hello to you all!
    After a long time of reading this fantastic forum, I’ve finally decided to join it as a “full member”. Sorry for my poor english!
    It has a reason to do it right now. Perhaps I’m one of the first, who has already got “The Old Lady”. So I want to tell you my first impressions and help you to a good decision, whether to buy it, or not.
    First of all: The overall quality of this library is fine. Much better than the B290, which I also own. The sound is wide and clear, as it should be. The “play-feeling” is good aswell.
    But:
    1. It has only 7 layers pedal down and 7 layers pedal up, not 10 as was said! So you can imagine, that some sample changes are not smooth. The same story again: P290 had only 5 dry layers, not 8, as was said before.
    2. Only the white keys are sampled. Why? At least Kontakt and later GS3 could handle much more data.
    3. The melodic very important octave above middle c sounds not as good as the rest. It sounds more metallic and less precise (difficult to describe in an foreign language). Perhaps a problem of the placement of the microphones.
    4. There are no impulse responses in the Kontakt version. Why? We could use it aswell in another convolution reverb. Please, Michiel Post, give it for download to all!


    In summary: A nice instrument with a few weaknesses.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    305

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    Thanks for that review - it was helpful.

    Ive just downloaded the demo and am looking forward trying it out myself.

    I have not yet found a great piano sample library and even though they continue to improve, it seems there is still a ways to go before honest realism.


    Jim

  3. #3

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by Johannes
    Hello to you all!
    After a long time of reading this fantastic forum, I’ve finally decided to join it as a “full member”. Sorry for my poor english!
    It has a reason to do it right now. Perhaps I’m one of the first, who has already got “The Old Lady”. So I want to tell you my first impressions and help you to a good decision, whether to buy it, or not.
    First of all: The overall quality of this library is fine. Much better than the B290, which I also own. The sound is wide and clear, as it should be. The “play-feeling” is good aswell.
    But:
    1. It has only 7 layers pedal down and 7 layers pedal up, not 10 as was said! So you can imagine, that some sample changes are not smooth. The same story again: P290 had only 5 dry layers, not 8, as was said before.
    2. Only the white keys are sampled. Why? At least Kontakt and later GS3 could handle much more data.
    3. The melodic very important octave above middle c sounds not as good as the rest. It sounds more metallic and less precise (difficult to describe in an foreign language). Perhaps a problem of the placement of the microphones.
    4. There are no impulse responses in the Kontakt version. Why? We could use it aswell in another convolution reverb. Please, Michiel Post, give it for download to all!


    In summary: A nice instrument with a few weaknesses.
    Hopefuly, I'll get my copy soon and we can compare notes

    About the "metallic" sound -which I like- I did notice that in the evaluation copy. In fact, it reminds me a bit of Tractman's Steinway C (which I seem to recall is also an old gal as well). I am looking forward to this one in Giga 3.
    What are you looking for in a piano library (pop, classical, dark, bright), which I guess is another way of asking, if you don't mind, what lead you to purchase the "Old Lady" originally? Have you check out any of the other newer piano libraries? Galaxy? Milan? I suspect, as it were, you might find one them more to your liking.

  4. #4

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    HI Johannus,

    Thank you for your feedback. That was fast! We shipped the library on Friday. I'm, off course. very pleased that you find the Old Lady a fine library.



    The overall quality of this library is fine. Much better than the B290, which I also own. The sound is wide and clear, as it should be. The “play-feeling” is good as well.


    I think the quality is about the same as the Bosendorfer 290 but this is (off course) a matter of personal taste. But I'm honoured to hear that you find it much better than the B290.



    This logically brings me to the next point: your concerns. First of all I would like to stress that your remarks are based on your personal taste and preferences and I don't quite agree with the idea that your first impressions would help everybody to make a good decision whether to buy it, or not.



    I think the demos on our webpage are a better way to start evaluating this library. Personal impressions are too often biased by personal taste and can make sense or absolutely no sense to somebody with a different taste.



    The number of velocity layers: The current shipping versions GS2 and Kontakt have only 8 layers because we have some no-noise processing going on that will remove artefacts in the last 2 layers and because I wanted to have a GS2 version which could load in one file (and not multiple files across several midi ports) which obviously has to be below 2 GB (Windows XP file limitation). There are 10 sample layers in the final version of the Old Lady and all users will receive the final 10 layer version when it’s finished. I still have to think of the easiest way to program them in GS2 though. Same is true for the release layers, more layers will be introduced in the final version but we need a little more time to finish these additional releases. In g=fact the library was designed to take full advantage of GS3 and the releases are not more than the actual damping of the strings and a key “klonk”. The actual ambience of the room or hall will be added by the GS3 convolution engine.

    The Impulses and body resonances and the pedal noises for Kontakt users will be on my website later today for everybody to download. They were not included in the Kontakt version but they are in the GS2 version. Obviously these will play a major role in the GS3 version since GS3 has an integrated convolution engine that will take full pre-programmed advantage of these impulses. You can experiment with Kontakt/GS2 and an external convolution engine but the programming of body resonance with an external engine is a bit tricky since you would have to re-route the pedal down samples to a convoluted channel and the pedal up samples to a different channel. I will make such patches but other things have priority right now.

    The middle octave is a bit weaker in the Kontakt version not in the GS2, as with more libraries by the way, and I have patches for Kontakt where that octave range is a little louder, which solves the balance problem. I will post these as an update on our website also. I don't hear the microphone issue you are hinting at, but maybe this is also personal taste.

    BTW, I will make Maple and GRANDIOSO FX available as shareware later this week. These applications will be free to be used by everybody to add several features to all current piano libraries. Note that Maple is a PC program only. Grandioso FX offers extra release layers for GS2 files, pedal noise (or damper release "whoosh'") triggered by the sustain pedal and real-time re-pedalling when the sustain pedal is used. These features will be a free update (articulation file) and will also work in Kontakt on the PC. I will make a Kontakt multi with the pedal noises that will work with GRANDIOSO FX.

    All this requires some extra programming that I hope to finish this week, but maybe the release of the Emperor will prevent this work. The Emperor is very close to a final beta and when things go as planned we’ll release it this week.

    Thanks again for your feedback and please try to see my reaction above as constructive comments on your observations, not criticism.

    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  5. #5

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    Why would the middle octave be weaker in the Kontakt version? I wouldn't have expected that to be different from sampler to sampler.
    Mark

  6. #6

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    thanks for the review Johannes , and thanks for the answer Michiel
    to be absolutely fair
    - we can not hear the original isntrument, when there is a 'problem' in the sample library it is often hard to guess whether the original instrument sounds that way or not
    - subjective review is in fact useful, selling products often quotes subjective reviews on the other side so this way both sides get the chance. I love forums like this.

    best regards

  7. #7

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoDavinci
    Why would the middle octave be weaker in the Kontakt version? I wouldn't have expected that to be different from sampler to sampler.
    Mark
    Just to clarify my remark.
    I said most piano libraries tend to be "weak" in the middle octaves. Can´t explain why but when you sit in front of a real piano and compare it with a sampled piano you´ll hear what I mean.
    I think it has something to do with the simple fact that the human ear is much more sensitive to frequencies in the middle octaves part of the piano (which are the speech and alert sound frequencies to the human brain) and that these frequencies are not picked up with the same accuracy by microphones.

    To compensate I created a attenuation curve in GS that gives slightly more emphasis to the middle two octaves. This was not programmed in Kontakt yet, so in Kontakt the middle octaves are weaker than in GS.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  8. #8

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by maszat
    - we can not hear the original isntrument, when there is a 'problem' in the sample library it is often hard to guess whether the original instrument sounds that way or not
    This is why we have a free downloadable 2 octave demo on our website, so you can play before you have to decide if this library is something for you. Since personal tatstes differ, what works extrememly well for one musician or composer is absolutely useless for the next. With a playable demo you can find out how it sounds in your own studio, with your own keyboard, mixer and speakers. I know that counts a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by maszat
    - subjective review is in fact useful, selling products often quotes subjective reviews on the other side so this way both sides get the chance. I love forums like this.
    Sure, we never before now quoted one of the first PMI B290 users who called this award winning and best-selling library "worse than Gigapiano and totally useless". Can you imagine why not?

    Developers just don't like critisim when it's not constructive or merly bashing a product and only summing up weaknesses. I probably over-reacted a little, since Johannes said positive things as well as negative things. In my efforts to create good products I often get carried away...
    You may argue that a raving superlative review isn't constructive too and maybe even misleading when it doesn't focus on weaknesses. I can agree but our role is mainly to present to upsides of products. And I always encouraged our users to make their opinions public, subjective as they are. A review based on personal experiences is more usefull than the developers story. Very true. In the case of Johannes I would have loved to hear something about his background, kind of music he plays and other relevant things that help to place his review in a perspective. Or maybe some hints how he would like to see the "few weaknesses" solved.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  9. #9

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    Why have there never been any cautionary warnings to not put stock in someone's "personal taste and preferences" and "first impressions" after glowingly positive reviews?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske

    Lee Blaske




    You mean like the review below?

    Firstly I would like to say that after listening to the Debussy demo of your new product, I had the first time ever experience of really not being able to distinguish what I heard from a real recording of a real pianist.
    I really want to congratulate you for accomplishing this great task: To capture the steinway soul in such an unpreceding manner. I admire your skills as a sample developer! How great it is to just lean back and enjoy the music and not think for a second oh wait that didn't sound right..

    If it is not a secret, I would like to ask you how the performer of the Debussy piece reacted to playing this new instrument. From the playing I must guess it was a quite skilled performer (although not a world class classical star, some unevenness in the fast runs reveals this, if I may be so bold?!).
    From my conservatory years I have quite a few pianist friends, and I have several times enthusiastically tried to show them the latest landmarks of gigastudio sampled pianos, mostly through demos. The only gigapiano I have to play is The EW steinwayB. (Money matters and scepticism have kept me from investing in another one so far). They also picked the right ones in your little sample vs. real contest last year without trouble, and I have not been able to fool them yet with any demo. Until now that is. I think for sure I will get either your lady or the emperor.
    -The only place in the demo that felt a tiny bit fake was in the beginning at 0:27 mins. where the pedal is lifted. The stopping of the sound as the pedal is released is too abrupt I think. Maybe I am being to picky here, but once everything else is so perfect, one really start to catch the little details. I don't know if this is a programming issue? I tried adding some reverb from Acoustic Mirror, which helped quite a deal (and, boy was the piece even sweeter to listen to!!!).
    -Something else I noticed: At 2:42 there is a single note in the top melody that suddenly jumps to the left speaker, where the rest of the line is in the right side. (just in case you didn't notice, sorry for pointing this out)




    Well to answer your question; This message has it all; perspective, constructive criticism, both + and – signs.

    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  10. #10

    Re: New member and first impressions on PMI Old Lady

    Hi Lee, You are totally right, sometimes I should keep quiet.

    Related story: I once had an assignement for a TV commercial, given to me by another studio owner (John) who usually did these projects. I presented my work to the client, who immediately turned it down and said:"This is not what I want. Let John have a look at it". John listened to my tape and told me to re-send the tape without any changes because he liked it a lot.
    The client called me up the same minute he recieved the tape; "That sounds so much better now!"...
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


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