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Topic: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

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  1. #1

    Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    I have been using piano samples since the beginning, including the Ensoniq ESQ1, Eps16+, Kurzweil K1000, Gigasampler Old Lady, Kawaii MP9000 and finally Ivory Steinway D. I am a jazz pianist and have been looking for a satisfying piano sound for performance. Clearly Ivory is the best of the bunch I have tried, but it still does not work for me. I have tried a myriad of velocity curves, Eq settings, and controllers and it still sounds too artificial to be playable. My main controllers are the Kawaii MP9000 and Casio Previa PX 100. For amp/speakers, I have used (all in stereo) M-Audio monitors, FBT powered speakers, and Motion Sound KVR-3D. When I play through headphones it sounds great, but through speakers, it frankly sounds terrible. I find the built-in Rhodes sound on the Casio preferable (I realize a Rhodes is much simpler to sample than a Steinway). I have tried Pianoteq's latest version which is somewhat more "playable" (read- naturally responsive) but even more artificial sounding. I listen to the MP-3 demos of Garritan and others and they sound amazing, then I listen to the Ivory MP-3 demos and they sound great too! Am I alone in this quandry, or am I missing something? Thanks for any advice/opinions.

  2. #2
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    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    What kind of speakers are you using? Are they near-field monitors? It could be that your room acoustics are causing the problem when using your speakers.

    Jim

  3. #3

    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    I am also a jazz pianist, well... at least I want to be.

    I have piano teq and Ivory and I agree with your assesment in general, though I think Ivory is not bad. Pianoteq is still a bit too synthetic for my taste, though I do like the responsiveness of it. I do not have the new "Pro" version though, which is supposed to be improved over what I have.

    I have EWQL pianos and Garritan Steinway and I happen to think that both are excellent! I don't want to sound like I'm trashing Ivory, I'm not. I just think that EW and Garritan are the next step up in terms of sampling technology.

    It's a big investment to try them, but in my humble opinion, it's worth it.

  4. #4

    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    Here's some follow up on my previous post. The speakers I have tried are as followed: Samson Rubicon 6a (technically near-field monitors but good PA sound), FBT max 4a (similar/superior to JBL Eons with 12" woofer and compression driver), and the stereo input on the Motion Sound KBR-3d with max expansion. I was interested in the Roland V-piano but the weight and price make it unreasonable. I understand they have a more gig-friendly keyboard RD 700 GX with an expansion board (RD 700 GX1) which is supposed to have the sound and technology of the V-piano but only weighs 55lbs and would cost around 3K. Does anybody have experience comparing the V-piano to high-end sample libraries (run on fast computer with good controller)? I spoke with a salesperson at Sweetwater who said the Roland may not sound any better and I should use a different PA. He recommended the QSC K12. I would appreciate input from anybody with experience with these products. Thanks.

  5. #5

    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    The RD700-GX with the "SuperNatural" expansion board does not have the same sounds as the V-Piano. My understanding is that it is sample based, however it does employ some aspects of the V-Piano technology. However, it seems to sound very good indeed from the demos. In fact, someone over on the Pianoworld forums has exchanged his V-Piano for an RD700-GX (with expansion) plus some other stuff, simply because he didn't like the sound of the V-Piano. (to put it simply) The SuperNatural sounds are supposed to produce a very smooth change of timbre with velocity and across the keyboard.

    Now, whilst I do like the SuperNatural sounds, they don't have the very fine detail of large sample libraries, IMHO.

    Greg.

  6. #6

    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    B3boy,

    Just wanted to let you know that Art Vista's Virtual Grand Piano is pre-calibrated to give 100% accurate piano touch over the complete dynamic range for a large number of controller keyboards, including Kawai MP9000.

    A good friend of mine, producer/pianist Hans Gardemar just sent me a track he has produced using VGP for an upcoming album with Swedish singer Malin Wester. You can listen to a short version of the song here: "I ljusets tid"

    Keyboards and accordeon by Hans Gardemar.

    For further info and demos of Art Vista's Virtual Grand Piano please visit:
    http://artvista.net/Virtual_Grand_Piano.html
    Hans Adamson
    Art Vista Productions
    http://www.artvista.net/

  7. #7

    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    I love Hans' Virtual Grand 2. It plays beautifully.
    Composer, Logic Certified Trainer, Level 2,
    author of "Going Pro with Logic Pro 9."

    www.jayasher.com

  8. #8

    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    playable = for good response you must have many velocities layers.
    Black Grand or Tbo ( sampletekk) stay the best for me. New product like Garritan Steinway sound more beautiful and you have benefits of strings resonnances but the dynamique between lowest and hardest touch is little too tiny in fortissimo.

  9. #9

    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by B3boy View Post
    I have been using piano samples since the beginning, including the Ensoniq ESQ1, Eps16+, Kurzweil K1000, Gigasampler Old Lady, Kawaii MP9000 and finally Ivory Steinway D. I am a jazz pianist and have been looking for a satisfying piano sound for performance. Clearly Ivory is the best of the bunch I have tried, but it still does not work for me. I have tried a myriad of velocity curves, Eq settings, and controllers and it still sounds too artificial to be playable.
    Just a little clarification... pianoteq is much more efficient than sampled alternatives. The bigger the sample, the more challenging latency becomes. Time, perhaps, for folks who can both play and record, perhaps even with a bit of verb, a big sample like G. Steinway, to say what kind of power and audio interface they're using.

    jg

  10. #10

    Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

    I have the Academic Grand by Acoustic Samples which is a sampled Steinway D - this piano sounds great, is very playable and, priced at 59 €, pretty inexpensive, too..

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