Just got Akoustik Piano from NI. Installed 24-bit version. So far I tried mostly Steinway D and these are the first impressions:
- 10 velocity layers are really 5+5. I'm guessing 5 for pedal down and 5 for pedal up
- very good quality piano was sampled (not just because they said so, but because it really sounds as it was in good shape)
- EQ that is provided works good
- it has a nice way to adjust resonances (both sustain and release)
- good sounding convolution reverb with 4 different spaces
- microphone position can be adjusted but it's just simulated, not real samples
- dynamic range for the attack portion of samples was not what I expected based on the marketing information (only about 15-17dB range between loudest and softest samples for pedal up and about 8-9dB for pedal down)
- only white keys were sampled
- there is a good review in Keyboard magazine December 2005 issue (they didn't figure out that it has only 5 layers and that dynamic range is not that great as a consequence...)
In summary, this is very good piano that has only one problem. The dynamic range is too narrow. The pp or ppp velocities sound as mf with turned down volume (if pedal down) or p with turned down volume (if pedal up). The timbre of the soft notes is not satisfactory. So, if you play pp or ppp and switch pedal up and down as you go, it would sound bad.
However, it was very well tuned and with very solid mechanics.
If you use this piano within a recording that has more instruments, most of these little problems would be masked anyways.
If you use it as a solo piano, you should play only at or above mp or mf. The p and below will not be that good. So, it will not work that good for soft played Jazz trio or similar combos.
This library is worth having.
But, I'm still looking for one that would have all that this one has plus better dynamic range that is real, not simulated by turning volume up or down.
This piano is so far the closest to the real thing. It's a shame they did not do a bit more balanced sampling and did not provide more real velocity layers rather than only 5 loudest ones.
P.S. I'll create another thread regarding piano velocity layers in general to check what you guys think about some ideas that crossed my mind recently.