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Topic: To all the Piano freaks...

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  1. #1

    To all the Piano freaks...

    Hello all,

    I'm just curious here, so don't read anymore into this that what it is but here goes my question:

    What is it about so many people here that purchase just about every piano library under the sun? I'm a piano player and I have 3 pianos that I use (a mellow, a bright and a pop) and I can't imagine needing any more than that. If I need to, I can use some judicious EQ to slightly change the character of the sound, but overall this is more than enough for 99% of my needs.

    Yet, I am fascinated by all the people here that rush out and buy more and more of these piano samples....sometimes it seems like Michiel and Worra can't make them fast enough....the white one, the black one, the pink one, the upright, the sideways....there is even one that's out of tune!!!

    Is this like some sort of baseball card collection to some of you, or is there more to this than I am not seeing?

    I would love to hear some thoughts from those "freaks" (you know who you are) about why they are so fascinated by so many pianos!

    Thanks,
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    Dude, you can never have too many pianos!. For what its worth I own 3 acoustic pianos and a recently purchased Fortepiano but having libraries gives me access to instruments and acoustic surroundings that otherwise just wouldn't be available. Ok, it might not be like playing the real thing (the action is always the same for one thing) but its pretty cool.

  3. #3

    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    When I finished the Bosendorfer290 Grandioso library I had a recording session with a very famous producer, let's call him X. X just had a million selling hit single out. He needed the best piano sound he could get and I offered my sounds. I installed my rack-mount PC's in his home studio and loaded up the Bosendorfer 290 and explained it was just finished, ready to go to the market. He played a few chords and started laughing me straight in the face. "Nobody will ever want to buy this crap! There is way too much reverb in this piano..." was his reaction.
    Now, after we sold almost 3.500 copies of the library, he callled me up just to say he hears our Bosendorfer 290 in every studio he works in and he loves the sound of it, he even assured me he always believed it was the best piano out there...

    Imagine that every piano library is:
    - a different fysical piano (Yamaha, Steinway - Bosendorfer)
    - a different studio (dry - medium - concerthall)
    - a different microphone plot (close A-B, medium XY, wide Omni's)

    Put these variables in a matrix (3 or 4 different pianos, each in 3 different studios, each with 3 different microphone plots) and you'll find that you need at least 27 piano libraries to cover all options with a sampled grand.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  4. #4

    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    The quality of todays sampled pianos are very, very good. This means that you, as a pianist or a producer, can have a choise from the top brands like Steinberg, Bosendorfer, Yamaha, Fazioli and many more at a fraction of what the real stuff costs.
    Can a sampled piano replace a real one? Well, I'd like to say "100% No" (really!), but I can't.
    A good sampled piano can and does replaces real pianos everyday in recording situations.
    Let me give you two examples:

    1. A big Swedish studio are using the White Grand on their new production with a new Swedish singer that will be released by a major world-wide company.

    2. Trevor Rabin/Paul Linford are using the White Grand on the score for "National Treasure" featuring Nicholas Cage.

    Let's say that budget isn't a big problem in both those cases. To get a real grand piano of any brand would be easy, but they don't. They use a sampled piano. Why? Because it sounds great and there's no need to get the real thing.

    Also, with the developing of samplers/hardware, you can do more and more. A couple of years ago a piano with 3-4 velocity layers would be considered top of the line.
    SampleTekk's pianos today has 32! You can imagin what that does to dynamic respons.

    Oh, and if you mean the Rain Piano when you talk about a sampled piano that's out of tune, I must correct you:
    The Rain Piano is tuned to give you more overtones and a unique sound (think Tom Waits...). The piano is in tune.
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

  5. #5
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
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    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    When you can have a new, (or old classic), Bosendorfer or Steinway delivered Fed-Ex overnight, why the hell not???

    I have (including the generous freebies):



    PMI Bosendorfer 290

    PMI Emperor (Bosendorfer 290) – a different and better one (imnsho)

    PMI Old Lady (1924 Steinway D) – (Play a Gershwin tune with a nice impulse and re-create history in 24 bit Stereo) –Plus, it cuts real good!

    Galaxy Steinway (a newer Steinway D) – great all-around piano

    Worra’s Black Grand – (Steinway D) – Nice and dark. I typically like Steinway for Rock and Jazz, and Bosendorfer for classical. This is a great choice if you want a Steinway Classical

    EW Steinway B (Full version) – Still a classic on its own, and useful for “mutant” piano patches (I use it as string resonance for Old Lady and Black Grand in Giga 3)

    Giga Piano 2 – Annoy the neighbors with nasty 80’s pop tunes.

    Worra’s Studio 88 – aint messed with it yet

    Worra’s Rain Piano – aint messed with it yet.



    Lot’s of guitarists use 10 or more guitars depending on the musical context – same deal.



    …2112
    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
    Hint:1.6180339887498948482 Φ

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    Quote Originally Posted by midphase
    Hello all,

    I'm just curious here, so don't read anymore into this that what it is but here goes my question:

    What is it about so many people here that purchase just about every piano library under the sun? I'm a piano player and I have 3 pianos that I use (a mellow, a bright and a pop) and I can't imagine needing any more than that. If I need to, I can use some judicious EQ to slightly change the character of the sound, but overall this is more than enough for 99% of my needs.

    Yet, I am fascinated by all the people here that rush out and buy more and more of these piano samples....sometimes it seems like Michiel and Worra can't make them fast enough....the white one, the black one, the pink one, the upright, the sideways....there is even one that's out of tune!!!

    Is this like some sort of baseball card collection to some of you, or is there more to this than I am not seeing?

    I would love to hear some thoughts from those "freaks" (you know who you are) about why they are so fascinated by so many pianos!

    Thanks,

    Hi Midphase,

    I own several piano libraries but use just one. I am always on the search for a better libarary because so far I am not aware of any that have been produced that sound just exactly like what I am looking for.

    I used to make a living rebuilding pianos so I probably am a bit more picky than the average piano library owner. I think there are excellent libraries that have been released in the last couple of years, but there is always something just a little off in one way or another with all that I have heard.

    In fairness to all piano library developers, I can appreciate just how difficult it is to get it right. Also, my ideal sampled piano is probably not what the average might be: it would be a new or fairly new Steinway Model B (not a Concert Grand). (Yeah, I have the EW Steinway B)

    So I keep waiting for the next release, listen to demos, occassionaly buy one and then wait for the next. At some point I'm sure my quest will end.

    After all, one real Steinway B would leave me with noting else to desire.

    Jim

  7. #7

    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    Quote Originally Posted by runamuck
    Hi Midphase,

    I own several piano libraries but use just one. I am always on the search for a better libarary because so far I am not aware of any that have been produced that sound just exactly like what I am looking for.
    Jim

    Well, don't you think that perhaps the fault is not with the libraries but with the playback medium? I mean, real pianos don't have speakers, I think pianos will keep on sounding "fake" to people who are used to playing the real ones as long as the sound is coming from speakers and is not produced acoustically.

    You and several others have spent in the thousands on these sample libraries to pursue the "perfect" emulation, but I have to raise the question of whether or not this is possible no necessarily due to the sampling techniques but actually due to the medium?
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  8. #8

    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    Hi Midphase,
    I think you are mistaking the sampled piano in it's nature. It is a recorded piano that can be played back to replace a recording of a real acoustic piano. It can not be used to replace real acoustic piano in an acoustic space since the acoustic instrument is from a totally different planet-it is live! But the sample can serve very well to replace the recorded acoustic piano. In fact it IS a recorded acoustic piano. That is a huge difference.
    Naturally when you play a real grand piano side by side with a sampled grand you will notice that the sample comes from speakers and the acoustic instrument (metal and wood) actually makes a different sound. But when you place two microphones above your grand piano and play the signal over studio speakers side by side with a sample you will find the true power of the sample.
    Many people who buy lots of sampled pianos do so because they are sick of setting up microphones, tuning the grand acoustic beast and finding the perfect settings on the mixing desk, adjusting the microphones etc. This process usually takes up hours. Simply loading a few pianos takes less than 10 minutes and brings you as many different piano sounds as you have libraries in your collection. Whith the sample you have virtual any piano right under your finger tips. So far the marketing talk.
    The other big issue is you can not hook up your grand piano to a sequencer and time-code. So replacing a melody line, chorus repeat or chord will force you to replace the whole acoustic piano track in the recording process. This is a major drawback when you're facing a deadline. With the sampled piano hooked up to midi you can change every little aspect of the piano tracks right until final mixdown phase with hardly any time loss - no more than it takes to perform the actual changes in the sequencer.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  9. #9

    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    Pianos are like guitars, or cellos, or bagpipes (ok, not bagpipes )- they are all different; they all have character. Until the sample revolution very few people had the luxury of choosing a piano sound for thier song. you bought a piano- THAT's your piano. Have fun. or you went into the studio and THAT's your piano. Have fun. At best, you might choose a certain studio for the piano that they had. So I totally understand why people here have 10 different pianos. I'm working on having about five probably at the end of the month:

    GIGApiano II (bundled with GS3)
    PMI Bos 290 demo (also bundled with GS3- a very wonderful and useable piano even in demo form!!!)
    PMI Old Lady (thank you group buy!!)
    SampleTekk Rain Piano (thany you online store!!)
    GPO Steinway (a terrific classical piano juding by the demos)

    Now we can pick our piano for a piece the same way a guitarist chooses a '74 Strat or the '59 Les pual Goldtop. I can imagine using them all here and there (well maybe not Gigapiano but whatever).

    And when Worra does the White Sister group buy I can see getting that one too. Just siting down and saying "hmmmm- what piano goes in THIS mix??"-- click!!- is an unbelievable luxury.

    And ok, going back to what Midphase said, maybe there's just a *little* collector-itis going on.

  10. #10

    Re: To all the Piano freaks...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Post
    Hi Midphase,
    I think you are mistaking the sampled piano in it's nature. It is a recorded piano that can be played back to replace a recording of a real acoustic piano. It can not be used to replace real acoustic piano in an acoustic space since the acoustic instrument is from a totally different planet-it is live! But the sample can serve very well to replace the recorded acoustic piano. In fact it IS a recorded acoustic piano. That is a huge difference.
    Spot on. I'd add that the pmi bos wet (with the verb that troubles some) is indistinguishable from a recorded piano. The very best classically trained ears will not be able to tell you the difference, listening cold, without any help, or "introductory remarks" like "oh, I'm going to play you two recordings: tell me which is sampled and which is a live recording." Invite a friend over with really good ears. Don't say anything, just play a good sampled CD of the pmi wet, and the listener, no matter how good his or her ears absolutely will not know that he or she is listening to a sampled piano.

    Sure, once you tell the listener the difference, they'll learn to spot the difference with a lot of listening and practice. But not before they train their ears. Many ears, trained and untrained, will never know the difference.

    I know of only two other sampled pianos that will pass that particular test or standard. There are other standards, of course, other sorts of things folks are looking for in a sampled piano, which is why not everyone will find the pmi wet suitable for their work.

    JG

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