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...)