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Topic: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

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  1. #1

    Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    Hello,

    I'm in a search of a grand piano library that would satisfy/pass the following "tests":

    a) Piano used for sampling had a top quality mechanics in a very good shape that was not "refurbished" or "antique"

    b) Tuning was done by a good professional prior to sampling (no notes that are out of tune, or perhaps individual strings on higher notes out of tune; all notes with balanced tuning which is uniform across the whole keyboard) (tuning done preferably twice within 2-3 days prior to sampling to equalize for settling time, temperature swings, etc.)

    c) at least the following velocities: ppp, pp, p, mf, f, ff, (fff) all with pedal up and pedal down. Sampled preferably with a robotic arm or some mechanical device that has a programmable force rather than DSP scaling/filtering of a single "strong" sample. Human can do this as well, but you would need to record 10-20 times more samples to pick/correlate those of similar loudness. It also requires tremendous discipline and could require additional piano tuning which would not be good after the sampling process already started.

    d) preferably Steinway & Sons

    e) minimum close mic, preferably close and one ambient mic position

    f) Gigastudio 3 format preferred (16-bit Gigastudio acceptable too)

    g) Performance/articulation files available for all mic positions that are supplied

    h) Sampling done with "sustained" notes for both pedal up and down (no "staccato" playing of notes or "very short pressed" notes)

    i) Optional: both "sustained" and "staccato" versions available and switchable by mod wheel or using notes that are "out of regular keyboard range"


    As you can see, I'm looking for just a good quality authentic Piano sounds without any FX. Just pure piano with good dynamic range and basic articulation. Nothing fancy.

    My experience so far with 4 different pianos on Gigastudio (all well known and respected by many people) are as follows:

    1) Some are good just for rock music and perhaps people who bang on a piano and do not "play" a piano

    2) Some samples were done so good and realistic that they captured the aging mechanics that has bad hammers and/or dampers that make you "avoid" certain keys since they do not perform as well or do not sound as well as the others.

    3) Some were done playing short notes or some notes were played at random short or longer (especially for pedal down samples) forgetting that it makes a difference since the short notes would have a faster decay and different timbre from long-played notes. Later when you play such a piano in a manner different from the recorded manner, it sounds awkward and out of place.

    4) Some had notes that are out of tune. Bad tuning, not balanced. One of strings on 3-string notes would be too many Hz low or high. Some would be with perfect "electronic" tuning (all strings exactly the same Hz, or too close) which sounds "tense" and "artificial". Some would have a combination of all of these bad tuning problems.

    Many of these pianos (most) would be priced above $100 which is a rip off due to the obvious problems and mistakes made in sampling, tuning, selection of an instrument, etc.

    Is there anyone out there with a library which is up to this challenge? Just doing a decent job and capturing a good instrument in a consistent way making sure it is tuned well without any fancy FX/DSP or "antique marketing smoke screens".

    I'd pay $199 or more for such a library. Probably more if I would know for sure it's done so well and with ultimate care.

    You buy a real piano (for $$$$$'s) and you can always tune it, fix it, etc. You buy these libraries (for $$$'s) and you're stuck with bad notes/mechanics, suboptimal sampling technique, uneven note playing manner FOREVER.

    At this point it's not that I have to use multiple libraries to get different projects done. I cannot use ANY of them for ANY of my projects since they are not good enough. (I'm doing Jazz and Classical music...)

    Thanx,
    Bogdan

  2. #2

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    PMI Gold Bunlde Pianos

    Only one problem: they are $ 200 each not $199 as you wanted.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  3. #3

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    Hi Bogdan.

    Here's some info about the Black Grand

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan
    Hello,

    I'm in a search of a grand piano library that would satisfy/pass the following "tests":

    a) Piano used for sampling had a top quality mechanics in a very good shape that was not "refurbished" or "antique"
    The Black Grand was recorded using a Steinway D that was built in the late 90's (that's 1990's), so it's fairly new.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan
    b) Tuning was done by a good professional prior to sampling (no notes that are out of tune, or perhaps individual strings on higher notes out of tune; all notes with balanced tuning which is uniform across the whole keyboard) (tuning done preferably twice within 2-3 days prior to sampling to equalize for settling time, temperature swings, etc.)
    The Steinway used was tuned by the person in charge of thís instrument that's owned by the concert hall of Örebro, Sweden. He's the only person that's actually allowed to performe this task.
    It was tuned a week prior to recording, then the same day as the recording was to begin. He then checked the instrument 1-2 times/day during the whole session.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan

    c) at least the following velocities: ppp, pp, p, mf, f, ff, (fff) all with pedal up and pedal down. Sampled preferably with a robotic arm or some mechanical device that has a programmable force rather than DSP scaling/filtering of a single "strong" sample. Human can do this as well, but you would need to record 10-20 times more samples to pick/correlate those of similar loudness. It also requires tremendous discipline and could require additional piano tuning which would not be good after the sampling process already started.
    The Black Grand has 16 velocities recorded pedal up, and 16 pedal down. This means real samples, not 32 velocity layers reusing samples, but 32 unique samples per recorded note
    This was done using a specially designed digital recorded system since it's probably impossible to do this by hand. 16 releasesamples where also recorded adding up to 48 different samples/recorded note.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan

    d) preferably Steinway & Sons
    A Steinway D Hamburg was used

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan
    e) minimum close mic, preferably close and one ambient mic position
    Three different perspectives was recorded: Close, Medium Ambience and Ambience

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan

    f) Gigastudio 3 format preferred (16-bit Gigastudio acceptable too)
    Black Grand comes in both Giga 2 (16 bit) and GS3

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan
    g) Performance/articulation files available for all mic positions that are supplied
    There are 40 different .gsi files per perspectives using different velocity combinations

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan
    h) Sampling done with "sustained" notes for both pedal up and down (no "staccato" playing of notes or "very short pressed" notes)
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan

    i) Optional: both "sustained" and "staccato" versions available and switchable by mod wheel or using notes that are "out of regular keyboard range"
    Not sure what you mean here, but the 16 releasesamples or the convoluting engine in GS3 will give you very accurate staccato playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogdan
    As you can see, I'm looking for just a good quality authentic Piano sounds without any FX. Just pure piano with good dynamic range and basic articulation. Nothing fancy.

    My experience so far with 4 different pianos on Gigastudio (all well known and respected by many people) are as follows:

    1) Some are good just for rock music and perhaps people who bang on a piano and do not "play" a piano

    2) Some samples were done so good and realistic that they captured the aging mechanics that has bad hammers and/or dampers that make you "avoid" certain keys since they do not perform as well or do not sound as well as the others.

    3) Some were done playing short notes or some notes were played at random short or longer (especially for pedal down samples) forgetting that it makes a difference since the short notes would have a faster decay and different timbre from long-played notes. Later when you play such a piano in a manner different from the recorded manner, it sounds awkward and out of place.

    4) Some had notes that are out of tune. Bad tuning, not balanced. One of strings on 3-string notes would be too many Hz low or high. Some would be with perfect "electronic" tuning (all strings exactly the same Hz, or too close) which sounds "tense" and "artificial". Some would have a combination of all of these bad tuning problems.

    Many of these pianos (most) would be priced above $100 which is a rip off due to the obvious problems and mistakes made in sampling, tuning, selection of an instrument, etc.

    Is there anyone out there with a library which is up to this challenge? Just doing a decent job and capturing a good instrument in a consistent way making sure it is tuned well without any fancy FX/DSP or "antique marketing smoke screens".

    I'd pay $199 or more for such a library. Probably more if I would know for sure it's done so well and with ultimate care.

    You buy a real piano (for $$$$$'s) and you can always tune it, fix it, etc. You buy these libraries (for $$$'s) and you're stuck with bad notes/mechanics, suboptimal sampling technique, uneven note playing manner FOREVER.

    At this point it's not that I have to use multiple libraries to get different projects done. I cannot use ANY of them for ANY of my projects since they are not good enough. (I'm doing Jazz and Classical music...)

    Thanx,
    Bogdan
    Black Grand sells for $195 and you can download a playable 2 octave demo from our site, www.sampletekk.com

    Good Luck in your search for the piano you need! The sampled pianos of today has came a long way in terms of reality, but always remember that a sampled piano is a recorded piano and a real Steinway is something else.
    But as you yourself stated, a sampled piano has it's advantages!
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

  4. #4

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    Bogdan,

    As I was reading your post, I was thinking that the Black Grand fits your description very well! For sure, check out the playable demo, as well as mp3 demos.

    Lawrence
    Melodialworks Music
    Music for Relaxation and Inspiration
    www.lawrencelougheed.com


  5. #5

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    I tried out the Black Grand Demo and it sounds pretty good but on some keys the velocity switching was still obvious. For example I tried the medium ambience demo and loaded the ambience 1.gsp. In the Eb above middle C, the velocity switch to fff is totally obvious and isn't smooth at all. Am I being unrealistic? I thought with all the velocity switching that it should be smooth. Does this demo have all the velocity layers? I loaded it into GS3. Maybe that was the problem? I still haven't found a sampled piano that I really like.

    Incidentally, how does the developer actually decide how to play each velocity? It seems like there should be more velocities taken where the sound changes the most in tone. I imagine this would be nearer the forte range than the piano range. Is this how it was done?
    Anthony Lombardi, composer
    www.anthonylombardi.com

  6. #6

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Post
    PMI Gold Bunlde Pianos

    Only one problem: they are $ 200 each not $199 as you wanted.
    I said I would pey more, if it is good

    I've been checking out your site lately and currently I'm considering some of your pianos as well as 2 other vendors. In the end, I guess I would get 2-3 more pianos...

    I will listen to the demos and post my impressions.

    Regards,
    Bogdan

  7. #7

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    I love great pianos and I can't stand badly sampled and/or badly re-programmed pianos. And with the time, I'm becoming harder and harder on these points... But it's quite hard to make an even sampled piano. It depends also on the master keyboard you have.

    Actually, as soon as I receive a new one, I delete mercilessly out of timbre samples and then, I cope with others to recreate an overall even timbre. What is important to me is to have the same subtle timbre variation between each layer, and no note that comes out of the rest due to a different timbre (and if those bugs were on original acoustic piano, I would never paid its price to get it)... And it can take a long time for some...

    The ones I would recommend are (IMHO), and according to what i have or have tried (not sorted):
    The Ivory (from synthogy, only for MAC for the moment)
    The Emperor (from M. Post)
    The Black Grand (from Worra)
    The B290 (from M. Post)

    Appart the Ivory, I get them in kontakt format.

    Each one as some plus that others don't have. If you can, you should tried them in a music store who gets them.

    Finaly, if the ones above don't fit to you, I would advise you to wait on an update of them, or wait another one, or buy a great digital piano.
    But I have to say that M. Post and Worra are really listening to their users comments, to improve, days after days, their own libraries.

    Best,
    Xavier Bidault
    http://jazzphoton.free.fr

  8. #8

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    Quote Originally Posted by xav93
    The ones I would recommend are (IMHO), and according to what i have or have tried (not sorted):
    The Ivory (from synthogy, only for MAC for the moment)
    The Emperor (from M. Post)
    The Black Grand (from Worra)
    The B290 (from M. Post)
    Xavier, regarding Post's pianos, I really could've sworn that you favored 'The Old Lady' above 'The Emperor'. Guess I don't know you as well as I thought I did.

    ------------
    Alex Cremers

  9. #9

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    Quote Originally Posted by tonylombardi
    Incidentally, how does the developer actually decide how to play each velocity? It seems like there should be more velocities taken where the sound changes the most in tone. I imagine this would be nearer the forte range than the piano range.
    Many pianists actually want more layers at the ppp end of the piano.
    Melodialworks Music
    Music for Relaxation and Inspiration
    www.lawrencelougheed.com


  10. #10

    Re: Any grand piano library to pass these tests?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lougheed
    Many pianists actually want more layers at the ppp end of the piano.
    This is definitely the Black Grand's strong point. I feel when I'm playing it that I have more control with the softer dynamics than with any other piano library. It is just so thoroughly playable.

    The Bos290 vsti has masses of really well thought out variations and I just love the ambience which, to my tastes, has yet to be beaten.

    So many good points about both that choosing is nigh on impossible now I've got them. Both developers seem pretty fanatical about getting the most out of these insruments and serving the customer as best as possible so there's no room for winners here either!.

    I haven't helped then, have I?
    Trev Parks

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