Spent 8 of my last 12 waking hours playing post\'s new library, the Bos \"Grandioso\". But first: I am a new age composer, strictly solo piano. I\'ve done all of my work on some form of yamaha piano, from my old U1 ypright to the great and Giga-ignored C7! (not for long though according to a personal note from Michiel!) I am unrightfully & unfairly critical about piano sounds, acoustic or sampled. I play very delicate & relatively simple passages with lots of sustain & prominent melodies. To refernce my musical style, check out my CD samples (performed on a REAL Yamaha grand)at www.mellowsounds.com
I got the Giga thing going 8 months ago with ultra-high but uneducated expectations of the Gigapiano. Upon first playing I crashed like a like a meteor to the earth, so disgusted I turned my new super computer into my personal everyday computer. The other day i booted up the Gigapiano to relive my pain (don\'t ask me why) and with some thirty other programs on the drive now, it still played flawlessly. I came to this forum to seek new sounds, which lead me listening to Michiels\' new Bos sample at his site. Quite impressive they were, and very much in the vain of my playing style. I decided, \"what the hell\", buy the damn thing, with still, very little expectations. Michiel & his staff were quite responsive, overniting the Cds the same day, from the Netherlands to Seattle for a mere $40. Got home from work yesterday, loaded it up & played my heart out. here are my initial findings:
THE ACTUAL SOUND: Beautiful!... and this from a Yamaha guy! The pianissimo passages had warmth & delicacy, the piano really opened up and the brightness grew in relative proportion to the velocity. Open & full sounding... lots of air which I love & yearn for. perfect choice of mic placement as there is still a nice amount of stereo spread from the low keys to the high. This piano was not close mic\'d, from the picture in the manual (yes it comes with one!) it appears to be mic\'d about 3 feet above the soundboard. Lovely & natural room/hall sound! I did find myself reaching for the bass and adding a touch of 80-90hz, about 3 db really filled out the bottom end. I have no problem with having to do that! This was the 8 layer Dry patch with long release. After some time, I began to notice a bit more clarity from the patch w/o the release.. just my own taste. The wet patches didn\'t do much for me personally, though when my father plays them ( an accomplished classical pianist) I\'ll report his findings. They are obviously suited for this style. The combo dry/wet patch interests me, but my yamaha P120 master hasn\'t a modwheel to control the wet/dry balance? Maybe Michiel will instruct me how to adjust this manually! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] my one \"gripe\" if I had to pick one, would be length of the samples. When you play a low-mid key & allow it sustain fully, I feel like I can hear the fader going to work (very smoothly) to shorten the sample. If this not so, then the piano is lacking just a touch in sustain, for mt taste & stlye. I understand that when you have release samples & sustain layers that this preserves polyphony. It is also not obvious when playing. My Utopian Gigapiano would just sustain a little longer, that\'s all... Just a couple of instances had me wondering of slight phase cancellation, and I mean slight. When I move the cpu back to the studio in a controlled envirnment & listen thru my beloved Tannoys, this may very well disappear.
PLAYABILITY: Impressive! initially, some of the sample layers were obvious (remember I\'m a picky bastard) but as I played more, I began to refine my touch & the sample layers smoothed out considerably. I did not have to change the \"touch\" controls on the master, as the default medium setting was just right. A few notes still \"jump out & scare me\" sometimes, but I obviously must learn how to set my own sample layer points... Michiel? [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] The tuning of this piano is impeccable! The consistancy in timbre and volume of the notes thoughout each layer was very good, for the mostpart. The development of my editing skills will most likely solve the bulk of my concerns. For kicks, I opened up the Gigapiano (big mistake), played it for about 10 seconds, whinced, and reloaded the Bos as fast as I could.
CONCLUSION: My faith has been restored in Giga! michiel has done a fantastic job allowing us to play the Bos for a couple hundred bucks! I\'m sure with a few more days playing ubder my belt, I\'ll grow happier & happier with the piano. Thanks Michiel!
Update: After moving the cpu to back to the studio, the suspect phasing I mentioned is not apparent in any way! I am in love with this piano sound. It\'s easy to adapt to & incredibly expressive. One thing... why are there not 16 layer versions of the \"dry\" piano, as there are for the \"wet\" piano?
The mod wheel control option can be found in the GigaStudio Midi control surface tab. The first slider is by default mod wheel.
In the midi mixer page you can select the first fader and click on the little triangle (normally assigned to overall volume) and select the mod wheel there.
Normally your master keyboard should have some for of variable control: usually one or more faders. In most cases you can just assign any midi controller to the faders. They may default to master volume and data entry, but it should be possible to assign mod wheel to one of them.
Well I love this sample, too, but the WET patch much more than the dry. The vel splits on the 16 layer version are impossible to detect. I\'m strictly a classical guy, which may explain my preference for the wet version.
One of the amazing things about the PMI Bosendorfer is that is really does fill many needs. First, it is two recordings of the same piano, from two different mic positions. (This is a first in the industry, for a Giga piano, I believe).
I have played the WET version a lot, and love playing it, but there really is too much \"room\" for my type of music (New Age), probably due in part to the fact that I use a lot of sustain pedal. However, I can hear (in examples of John\'s work, for example) that for pure classical piano, the WET version is superb.
I next worked with the DRY version, but even with reverb, it didn\'t produce the sound that I wanted. It lacked the richness and sustain of the WET version, although there certainly was no problem with too much \"room\".
I also worked with the Low Pass filtered versions.
I found that I liked the LP versions, but that the WET wasn\'t filtered quite enough, and the DRY was filtered just a bit too much.
I was about to e-mail Michiel to ask advice about adjusting the filtereing when \"pianojoe\'s\" post appeared.
For some reason, this inspired me to check out the mix or layered versions, which combine both the WET and the DRY at the same time. After a bit of experimenting with the mod wheel (which controls the cross fade between the two samples) I felt that about the 50% location is \"right\" for my style of playing, and style of music.
Also, the combination now produces the correct LP filtering (again, for my ears, my style), a happy fix, without any further editing or dinking around required!
I really am thrilled with this piano. The fact that a dude like John Grant can be equally thrilled, whilst producing quite different music / sound is a compelling example of the versatility of the PMI Bosendorfer.
I encourage anyone who owns this piano to experiment with the various instruments provided, as well as experimenting with your keyboard\'s velocity settings, to come up with the optimal sound for your requirements.
I must also comment that I discovered a couple of notes in the wet sample (at one velocity pont) that were bugging me. I emailed Michiel. He promptly emailed a reply, promising a fix. The fix was posted the following day, and it 100% addresses my concerns. Now that\'s superb customer service! Much appreciated Michiel.
I have two albums planned at the moment. One of them will be a solo piano album, which I feel I can now produce, using the PMI Bosendorfer. I\'ve never felt that confidence in a sampled piano before, even though folks have raved about how good my EW Steinway B sounds.
To get that awesome sound from the Steinway requried a ----load of editing. NOT FUN!
To get an awesome sound from the PMI requires NO editing, beyond a cosmetic velocity edit here and there.
I\'m going to be much more productive, making music, with this piano.
I\'ve cancelled my C7 rental for next month\'s recording of my new CD! I\'m shocked that I feel comfortable using the PMI Bos for my recording. I never expected to ever seriously consider this. I\'m saving big $$$, & don\'t have to worry about tunings & miking. The 16 layer dry update sound is the one I plan to use. A little TC reverb (M2000 hall) & TC finalizing(bass eq bump, lo-band compression, & stereo enhance) takes the sound to yet a new height! Trash the NFX verb & EQ... I\'ve played sample recordings of this for some serious piano pros & they laughed at me when I told them it was a sample. One just went & got Giga for himself! Keep tinkling the plastics!