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Topic: Help me choose a Piano

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  1. #1

    Help me choose a Piano

    I'm looking for a piano that can be used mostly for symphonic orchestra, new age styles. The tone I'm looking for is something that sounds thick, upfront, dark, warm soft, but not muddy sounding - almost dreamlike.

    I am leaning on a Steinway D piano, but I am very much open to suggestions. I've listened to all sorts of demos but I am no piano expert, nor am I one who has heard every single demo.

    From what I have heard I am leaning towards Galaxy Piano. Any suggestions are welcomed and very much appreciated.

    PS. I own GigaPiano 2 so I think I have the pop/bright side of things covered.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    I'd suggest looking into the Black Grand. It is pretty much everything you're describing, and it is quite lovely in its Giga 3 form. 16 up, 16 down, 16 release. Three mic perspectives. I was in love with the ambient one for a while, but the close one has really got my attention now. With the GPII resonance model (set to a perspective range between 0 and 50, it certainly does it for me.

  3. #3

    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    Thank you Bruce for the suggestion. Is that Worra's Sampletekk line? That is actually one that I have not yet heard the demos of. Looking into that one...

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    Yes, it is. He is really doing some excellent work.

  5. #5

    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    I'd suggest looking into the Black Grand. It is pretty much everything you're describing, and it is quite lovely in its Giga 3 form. 16 up, 16 down, 16 release. Three mic perspectives. I was in love with the ambient one for a while, but the close one has really got my attention now. With the GPII resonance model (set to a perspective range between 0 and 50, it certainly does it for me.
    PMI and sampletekk have demos of the adagio from the Pathetique for the Old Lady and Black Grand respectively. I have just listened to them several times and they are clearly quite different. Roughly speaking, to me it seems that the Black Grand is softer/mellower and the Old Lady is brighter, more hard edged to borrow from the visual arts.

    Here is the question for you: for those of us who are only marginally involved in these technologies but do have access to them through the samplers, etc, how can we tell whether the differences are really inherent or whether, in fact, either piano could be made to sound like the other with relatively little manipulation of available parameters.

    For example, the Old Lady demos are said to be dry, free of eq and rev; both are close miked; the old lady performance seems to me to use greater dynamic range so the highs are almost piercing if your volume is turned up...etc.

    Thanks much,

    Ed

  6. #6
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    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    Speaking of PMI, you might want to check out the Bosendorfer 290 that they have. I was looking around at different sampled pianos and this one really stood out at me. On top of everything else, you might still be able to get it at about half price (if they still have the Giga 2.5's in stock). Look here:
    http://www.mijnwinkel.nl/shop8272/c5/

    But, of course, before you buy anything listen to the demos.

    James W.G. Smith

  7. #7

    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    Quote Originally Posted by Edi
    PMI and sampletekk have demos of the adagio from the Pathetique for the Old Lady and Black Grand respectively. I have just listened to them several times and they are clearly quite different. Roughly speaking, to me it seems that the Black Grand is softer/mellower and the Old Lady is brighter, more hard edged to borrow from the visual arts.

    Here is the question for you: for those of us who are only marginally involved in these technologies but do have access to them through the samplers, etc, how can we tell whether the differences are really inherent or whether, in fact, either piano could be made to sound like the other with relatively little manipulation of available parameters.

    For example, the Old Lady demos are said to be dry, free of eq and rev; both are close miked; the old lady performance seems to me to use greater dynamic range so the highs are almost piercing if your volume is turned up...etc.

    Thanks much,

    Ed
    One of the Black Grand's perspectives is close miked, yes, but you also get two more. Ambient and Medium Ambient. The Black Grand is recorded with 16 true, (actual samples recorded), velocity layers pedal up, 16 pedal down and have 16 matching release samples (Due to limitations in the software, Gst 2 version have 4 layers of releasesamples). The samples in the Black Grand are not EQ'ed or have any reverb added. The only thing done with the samples are noisereduction and normalization.
    We are currently preparing a loads of new demos that will demonstrate the Black Grand's perspective in a better way then done now.
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    Quote Originally Posted by Edi
    Here is the question for you: for those of us who are only marginally involved in these technologies but do have access to them through the samplers, etc, how can we tell whether the differences are really inherent or whether, in fact, either piano could be made to sound like the other with relatively little manipulation of available parameters.

    Ed
    Pianos tend to sound very different from one another, because they're such individual instruments--sampling aside. Even two identical Steinway D pianos could sound different as night and day, according to the way they're set up and voiced.

    But microphone placement also makes a tremendous difference.

    One of the most difficult things I find in listening to piano demos is the almost universal practice of using "stock" MIDI files to demonstrate them. Frankly I wish sample developers would not do this, because it tends to make their instruments sound TERRIBLE compared to how actually wonderful most of them sound. But I understand why they do it...most of them are not concert/pro pianists, and it's hard to hire one to play demos on each and every piano you release.

    The inherent problem is this: Because every sample library is mapped differently, a real player is going to instantly adjust his touch to the instrument, and play according to what's coming out of the speakers. If a demo is performed on a sampled piano where you really have to lean into the keybed to get a fortissimo, and then this performance MIDI file is subsequently played on a piano that gets an "easier" fortissimo, the resulting "demo" will sound bright and harsh--when in fact, the sample library might be very well balanced.

    To me, the Purgatory Creek demo is one of the worst offenders. It makes every piano sound horrible, yet it gets used over and over in the guise of offering a "true" comparison.

    Sorry to get off topic a bit, but my main goal is to say that most of the good sampled pianos out there actually sound BETTER than their demos would lead you to believe. The only way to truly demo a sampled piano is to have a good pianist actually playing the piano in question--otherwise, at best, the demos are misleading...and usually in the negative sense.

  9. #9

    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    You may also want to check out the Bardstown Bosendorfer Imperial Grand Model 290 at www.bardstownaudio.com and also Franky's Yamaha C7 at www.vintaudio.com

    Both of these are excellent top notch pianos that most accurately capture the true sound and playability of the Bosendorfer Model 290 and Yamaha C7 in the pure raw natural sounding state, which makes both of these pianos ideal for achieving high quality results with effects processing with EQ, filters, reverb, and room simulation, if desired.

    I would like to say that both of these pianos are perfect right out of the box without the use of any additional processing whatsoever and have much more accurately captured the true sound of the real pianos that were sample recorded than any other sampled pianos available, but one can very easily achieve a customized sound with additional processing of these two pianos if desired.

    Kip McGinnis
    Bardstown Audio
    www.bardstownaudio.com

  10. #10

    Re: Help me choose a Piano

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    P

    One of the most difficult things I find in listening to piano demos is the almost universal practice of using "stock" MIDI files to demonstrate them. Frankly I wish sample developers would not do this, because it tends to make their instruments sound TERRIBLE compared to how actually wonderful most of them sound. But I understand why they do it...most of them are not concert/pro pianists, and it's hard to hire one to play demos on each and every piano you release.

    The inherent problem is this: Because every sample library is mapped differently, a real player is going to instantly adjust his touch to the instrument, and play according to what's coming out of the speakers. If a demo is performed on a sampled piano where you really have to lean into the keybed to get a fortissimo, and then this performance MIDI file is subsequently played on a piano that gets an "easier" fortissimo, the resulting "demo" will sound bright and harsh--when in fact, the sample library might be very well balanced.
    This is very, very true!
    No, I'm NOT a qualified pianist and if I would make my own piano demos, I think that SampleTekk would be known for the worst demos around...
    There will be demos produced by "real" pianists actually playing the "real" Black Grand and you can hear one played by Sue Keller in this thread: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=24535
    But eventually, we will get more "live" demos.

    If anyone feel that they could be a great piano demo maker, drop me a mail including a midifile or mp3 file with an example of your work. per@sampletekk.com
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

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