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Topic: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

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  1. #1

    Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    Soon, all three of these VI's should run on my Receptor. I currently (mostly) use White Grand Jr. or the internal sound of my Yamaha P250 for live use.
    I'd like to add one of these 3. $$ and Receptor specific considerations aside, I'm wondering which of these would work well for live use.
    My criteria:
    Dry recordings - I find that ambient pianos, even those that record well, don't work for me in clubs, when amplified.
    Playability - I want a piano that plays as expressively as the Scarbee electric pianos. The White Grand Jr., after I personalized it is close. I suspect the full White grand would be better, and I will indeed grab that at some point.
    Mono- Why, oh why, doesn't this get more attention? None of the hardware stage piano manufacturers have great mono piano sounds. Some sample libraries sound better than others. But noone has specifically put together a killer mono piano library or VI for live use. It is often preferable to run in mono - even when the house PA is run in stereo, mono piano simply woks better in some situations. That said, if any othe above 3 are particularly good or bad in mono, I'd love to hear about it. I do run stereo when I play solo, so that matters too - but it's one factor.

    Anyone able to make firste hand comparisons or observations?

  2. #2

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    Hello,

    about Akoustik


    The sound is very clean, warm and natural. The recording is dry.

    top Dry recordings !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bechstein : very good piano. The piano is very real
    Steinway D : excellent
    Bosendorfer : i'm disapointed - i don't like the sound

    The release is the best i've ever heard, and the impulse are very good.
    (it's not a fake release). it's add life

    the layers are natural, and the feeling for a pianist is good

    Each piano has his own directory and you can access to the .wav samples.

    the load time is 3 s (faster than gigastudio 3 for the size) for each piano and dfd work very well

    You can load the .nki / .nkm in Kontakt 2

    It's open ; you can improve the piano inside Kontakt 2.

    The NI Akoustic piano player support Kontakt 2 script.

    For only 299 EUR/USD, you have good samples. buy it !

    But....

    Some important features for a real pianist are missing :

    piano style release - repedal after key was released :
    no (ivory don't have it too)
    pedal up sympathetic resonance : no (ivory don't have it too)
    good self mask algorythm : no

    (explainations at http://music.mezo.com )

    but you can find a soluce by adding a script inside Kontakt2
    (Open Technology)

    but :
    When you load patches into Kontakt there is no release in the envelope so the note cuts off right away.

    i will investigate.

    I've some soluce to add this missing features

    The Steinway D inside this production is one of the best i've ever heard.

    And the Bechstein D is wonderfull ! (a real delight !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    As a pianist a can say : good work N.I !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And it's easy to play with it : versatile : click and play

    you don't need 100000000000...' patchs like crazy pianos !
    __________________
    http://www.audiolivepro.com

  3. #3

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    Artvista's Virtual Grand Piano (VGP) was created with a live player in mind. Hans Adamson is a great live player, and I think his head was in the same space when he created the library. I have the SCARBEE keyboard libraries and find VGP to be on par with it.

    Hans saw fit to put a stereo width control into his version of the player, and has a presets that tailor the instrument to playing in different genres (classical, rock, jazz, pop, gospel, etc). To whit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Adamson
    Long before VGP was in development I had been toying with the idea of emulating pianos, just the way you would hear them on certain records. Initially I was trying to figure out how to achieve it through impulse response technique.

    However, when starting programming in Kontakt, I realized that all the tools that would be needed to recall the different recording techniques where there, waiting to be used.

    To my ears it is of less importance what particular brand of a piano is used in a recording, than all the variables in the recording process itself. Maybe this is more true for those recordings made before the digital recording techniques had matured.

    Also, if you pick a certain recording artist, the piano will sound different from record to record. The piano recording style of Bill Evans was emulated from his album "Trio" from 1959.

    Elements of the recording style that can be successfully emulated are: tape saturation and compression, microphone placement, room size and amount of reverb, the pianos appearant width on the recorded soundstage, soundstage placement, the dynamic response from the piano itself, and for that "undefineable" non-digital warmth found in analogue recording I have developed my own method without using EQ. Also the various parameters of the reverb add to the whole.

    Some of the recording style presets may not sound as pleasing on their own, as the full basic presets, but it is when they appear in a mix of the recording style that they are emulating, that they shine. Play along with the record that is emulated, and no one can tell when you are playing and when the artist on the record is playing.

    On some records that I chose to emulate recording styles from, there had been multiple recording sessions, and the piano sound differed from track to track, depending where and when the recording was done. In those cases I focused on one particular performance.

    All patches in VGP are dynamically compatible when it comes to velocity response as long as you load them from the same folder. This means that you can record your track with one of the Basic Presets, which will give you the sense of sitting at the piano. When mixing down the track you can switch to one of the Recording Styles that will be appropriate for the style of the song.

    Thanks all for all the interest and nice comments!
    It's got a great price too - I don't think you'll be dissapointed with VGP, in fact, I can't imagine an instrument that's more suited to your described purpose.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  4. #4

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    I'm probably the only person in the universe that's not impressed by the Art Vista piano sound. It plays ok and the interface is a breakthrough but it's got way too much flavor. Too much of the cabinet resonances. The variations are nice but the core piano sound just doesn't trip my trigger.

    I used the Akoustik at a gig last Saturday. I monitor in mono - just picked up the small powered Fender monitor - and that wasn't a problem.

    I agree with everything Olivier said. In case you haven't read the other AP thread I have to add that currently it doesn't respond to cc7 and possibly cc11 messages so you can't control the volume via midi. I'll be confirming the latter later today. Tech support has been decent considering it's in Deutschland with roughly 36 hour turnaround. I've been told an update is coming out soon.

    I had problems installing the sounds. Fortunately the program and NKI's loaded ok and I was able to simply copy the waveform directories using a second DVD drive on the network. The layout is pretty obvious. Others have had the same problem so I suspect it's manufacturing. Be aware that the installer will "move on" if it encounters a file it can't read leaving 0 length directory entries. You'll see it as a real slow install. Since we are talking 4 DVD's and 2->3 gig piano's the install isn't particularly fast anyway. When you start the program and try to load a piano it'll give you an error with the number of waveforms it couldn't find.

    At last weeks gig I hooked it up to the PC88 so I could try it with weighted action. It was a dream. I used the Steinway. Rich sound, good response, as usual I was sending it into higher velocities too soon - I tend to be a hard player. The velocity curve can be adjusted, just couldn't do it then. It was a senior gig and there's a gal that comes up and sings the same two songs every time. One guy, who has heard our little "duet" at least a dozen times, thought I was using more intricate chords. Na, just playing the right ones for a change. Anyway, the sound works real well.

    I compared the sound to other samples including WGJr and the biggest thing was the "in your face" quality. It sounded like the mics were two or three feet closer to the piano but there wasn't any cabinet resonance. It's real dry. Also - the low notes do not have overly dominant nasal harmonics up around middle C that add flavor but take the gonads out of the bass strings.

    I'm using the 16 bit samples. What's interesting is that I can get down to a 128 byte buffer (2.5ms latency) without any crackles using Forte' as a VST host but if as a standalone the best I can do is 256 bytes (5 ms). Go figgur. Haven't worked that one out yet.

    Oh yeah, it's got a 50 note limitation and there's a weird problem with some short notes losing their release when played. I noticed when I did a stock bluesy second - flat third - third going to octave riff. I presume they'll be fixing that. I guess that at this point the built in recorder doesn't work right. I haven't tried it.

    Don't know anything about Ivory but as far as I'm concerned this is close enough. I can finally quit bitching about not having a live piano softsynth.

    Ernie

  5. #5

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    No contest: Art Vista. The sound on this one is AWESOME! As a player, I really like the way it feels under the fingers. And it plays nicely with others in a mix.

    I found Akoustik a disappointment sound wise. Just ok. Much better sounding piano libraries available. Can't speak to Ivory, but I don't like the demos and I don't see myself going for it.

    Good luck.

  6. #6

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    In my world Ivory is the king. I am always surprised that it doesn't get more praise here.

    It appears to me that most people that aren't blown away by Ivory don't own it and have only listened to demos. Does anyone here that actually owns Ivory find it not to be pretty amazing?

    The Virtual Grand is frustrating for me cause of the very slow load times. That and the sound just doesn't kill me.

    I think Ivory would be great for live cause of the immense tweakability factor. The voice stealing is amazing for slower computers. By the way, I only use it in the studio so I don't have first hand live experience with it.

  7. #7

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    Quote Originally Posted by fozzy
    No contest: Art Vista. The sound on this one is AWESOME! As a player, I really like the way it feels under the fingers. And it plays nicely with others in a mix.

    I found Akoustik a disappointment sound wise. Just ok. Much better sounding piano libraries available. Can't speak to Ivory, but I don't like the demos and I don't see myself going for it.

    Good luck.
    Did you use them both live?

    Just curious since we are so far apart. I've been going broke buying great sounding piano libraries that don't work live. For all it's flaws my PC88 piano does a better job than most giga sized piano's. In fact, I'd take an Alesis Nanopiano over most giga sized libraries. That's based on usability comparisons at the gig.

    (For reference PA was Bag End TA-12's, QSC 2402 and Mackie 1604vlx. These days the amp and speakers have been replaced with Yorkville NX-550P's at large gigs and FBT Maxx2a's at smaller ones.)

    Ernie

  8. #8

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    Quote Originally Posted by ohernie
    Did you use them both live?

    Just curious since we are so far apart. I've been going broke buying great sounding piano libraries that don't work live. For all it's flaws my PC88 piano does a better job than most giga sized piano's. In fact, I'd take an Alesis Nanopiano over most giga sized libraries. That's based on usability comparisons at the gig.

    Ernie
    That's exactly what I meant to address with this thread....
    I have alot of piano libraries, most of which sound fantastic, but they don't
    work very well at the gig!!!

  9. #9

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    I just wanted to jump in with a tip for anyone using the Art Vista Virtual Grand Piano in a live setting:

    The interface has innovative controls for handling a situation like a live gig. EQ1 will remove mud and lower frequencies progressively from the lower strings - more and more the lower you go. EQ2 removes the same frequencies but equally across all octaves. Combining these two EQ's will help you achieving the mix sound you need for various orchestra settings.

    Also, the width control on the interface allows you to shrink the instrument to mono with good result. However, I prefer a shrunken setting of around -40 on the width parameter, this will give you a distinct placement in the room without loosing all stereo feel.

    Hans Adamson
    Art Vista Productions
    http://artvista.net/
    Hans Adamson
    Art Vista Productions
    http://www.artvista.net/

  10. #10

    Re: Akoustik vs. Artvista vs. Ivory for LIVE use

    Quote Originally Posted by football
    In my world Ivory is the king. I am always surprised that it doesn't get more praise here.

    It appears to me that most people that aren't blown away by Ivory don't own it and have only listened to demos. Does anyone here that actually owns Ivory find it not to be pretty amazing?

    The Virtual Grand is frustrating for me cause of the very slow load times. That and the sound just doesn't kill me.

    I think Ivory would be great for live cause of the immense tweakability factor. The voice stealing is amazing for slower computers. By the way, I only use it in the studio so I don't have first hand live experience with it.
    I can comment on it, because I'm a regular user of Ivory live. I too have asked them about a mono set, because it's just one of those things you need live. They'd look into it. I hope the upcoming Ivory 1.5 fulfills that desire...

    For live gigs, I use my Roland RD-700 and a PB 1,25 with 1,5GB RAM and a LaCie HD. It's the bottom for live use, but it's rock stable. Haven't had a single issue with it. And the difference with the stock RD sounds and the SRX-02 is immense. Depending on the occasion I use the lighter versions or the full. The EQ is great for speedy sound tweaking

    I'm sorry if this sounds too commercial, but I'm still thrilled with it. Believe me, the web demos don't do it justice at all. The Steinway still gives me goosebumps. It was like falling in love with my beloved instrument once again...

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