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Topic: Which sampler for piano libraries?

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  1. #1

    Which sampler for piano libraries?

    I currently use GS2.5 for playing piano libraries (my current favourite is the Black Grand) and am wanting to upgrade my Sampler and PC, but can't decide between GS3 and Kontakt.

    I'm wondering if anyone who has used both for piano can give me an idea of their relative strengths. I'm particularly interested in latency, and whether people really notice GSIF2 being better than ASIO(2?) in this regard.

    I like the sound of the Kontakt Sympathetic Resonance Scripts but wonder how much pressure they put on your CPU.

    And looking to the future (I know, pure speculation) - is GS4 likely to have scripting potential similar to kontakt? And will the upcoming Garritan Steinway will have it's own player, be multi-platform, or require Kontakt like the Stadivari?

  2. #2

    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    I have both and created a lot of the pianos that are available for these formats. Based on my experience and your concern with latency and CPU stress I would use Giga3. It responds faster to the incoming midi data and is rock solid under normal playing. The lack of sympathetic resonance is subtle.
    You could listen to some demos (if you search this forum fo symp res) to find out how subtle it is.
    K2 has some CPU issues and is known to cause trouble when you use the K2 scripts for sympathetic resonance on piano. They bump up polyphony by 100 voices or more while playing and that is bad for stability, unless you have the fastest pc, 3 GB RAM and an array of RAID-1 disks.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  3. #3

    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Post
    [...] K2 has some CPU issues and is known to cause trouble when you use the K2 scripts for sympathetic resonance on piano. They bump up polyphony by 100 voices or more while playing and that is bad for stability, unless you have the fastest pc, 3 GB RAM and an array of RAID-1 disks.
    I play the Black Grand using Kontakt2 on an AMD 4400+ X2 with 2 GB RAM from a single harddrive that's shared with the operating system (yeah, I know this is bad - but I thought I'd start with one disk and build from that) and I'd say sympathetic resonance and polyphony up to 200 voices coupled with a convolution reverb (4s IR) works quite well for me at 6ms latency. It might work even better using a dedicated harddrive for the samples. So to me Michiel's description seems a bit exaggerated, but then again the performance of K2 seem to vary a lot between different systems and he's the one with most experience regarding these matters.
    What might also be of interest is that I did some testing, and K2 doesn't always seem to take full advantage of dual processor/core systems when it comes to effects. On the other hand voices seem to be balanced quite well, so a dual processor/core system might prove helpful when using sympathetic resonance, which generates a lot of voices.

    I haven't used GS3 so I cannot make a direct comparison.

    Best,
    Nils

  4. #4

    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    Well, I created a Steinway piano for the K2 sound library that you get with the K2 installation disks. It turns out the convolution engine is not working the same on all CPU's, sometimes it brings systems to its knees. For example a dual CPU Mac G5 owner reported his CPU's overloaded while playing just a few notes. Others (mostly PC users) have reported that they can play over 200 voices. The cause of these problems has not been found yet.

    Giga however seems more stable, if your system runs Giga (...IF...) it works more efficient. Most people who have both Kontakt 2 and Giga3 on the same machine tell that Giga squeezes more voices out. Same here.
    Off coarse each system has it's specific idiosyncratic problems and your experience may vary.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  5. #5
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    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    Regarding latency and stability, GS3 is the best... if you can dedicate a PC for it...
    I use K2 now, and I'm quite happy with piano lib.
    For piano behavior programming K2 is really great.
    OK, demanding scripts can cause trouble, but remember GS3 doesn't offer this.

    Another point to take into consideration : many developer here are using GS3 to develop their libraries. A piano lib. can sound better in its native sampler...

    I have spent a lot of time adjusting K2 version GS3 native pianos to get closer to the "original" GS3 touch and feel. It's small things (velocity/volume modulation bias, release behavior), but it can make some difference. Sometimes there is more obvious translation mistakes !

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tom Crowning's Avatar
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    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Post
    Well, I created a Steinway piano for the K2 sound library that you get with the K2 installation disks.
    [...]
    Slightly off-topic: how did you record the K2 library?
    I have some other libraries with good Steinway sounds but for most
    of my work I prefer the included K2 sound over the others, but
    can't exactly nail WHY this is the case.

    Regards,
    Tom

  7. #7

    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    Trade secret!
    =============> Years of experience.
    No, just kidding. It was a carefully selected set of layers from the PMI Old Lady with some special programming that takes full advantage of the latest Kontakt 2 feature set.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post


  8. #8

    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurent
    Regarding latency and stability, GS3 is the best... if you can dedicate a PC for it...
    "... if you can dedicate a PC for it..."

    Is this because you can't have GS3 running at the same time and on the same machine as a VSTi? So for instance I couldn't run the Black Grand on GS3 at the same as a plugin like GPO, but I could do this with Kontakt?

  9. #9
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    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    Well, it is recommended to use a dedicated PC for GS3. You can have it installed on your main DAW but you can experience stability/configuration problem (and need to unistall/reinstall it many times, depending on what you are doing on you computer !)

    You can use GS3, in rewire mode, together with other VSTi in your sequencer, but you lose the benefit of GSIF drivers.

  10. #10

    Re: Which sampler for piano libraries?

    I use flawlessy Kompakt for big pianos.

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