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Topic: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

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  1. #1

    Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    I write primarily relaxing New Age solo piano material. I would very much like to record my next CD with a software synth piano. Because of the nature of the material I write, I need a piano with a full, vibrant sound with the sustain pedal-down. I've read several posts about Ivory, which are usually very positive. However, one review I read (which may have been at Sweetwater.com) said that the Ivory didn't really have real pedal-down samples, and that it only simulated the sympathetic resonance that naturally occurs in a real grand. Is that true? If so, does it still have a rich, full resonant sound that you would need for a piece that's soft and a slower tempo? Or are there other VSTi pianos that are better suited for this kind of material?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions and help!

  2. #2

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    Hi There,

    I have used Ivory for my latest new age solo piano CD's and it is awesome! I would say it is precisely what you are looking for. The sustain is beautiful and the sound is full and rich. Please visit my website (http://www.usfourmusic.com/music.html) for samples of the work I've been able to do with Ivory.

    Also note that my music has been included on Whisperings Solo Piano Radio ( http://www.solopianoradio.com ). David Nevue, the founder of Whisperings, absolutely loved the sound of my recordings and was convinced that I had recorded my CD's in a high end studio.

    For new age piano work, I'd say Ivory is the way to go.

  3. #3

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    Hi Jennifer,
    Wow, this is a small world! I too submitted my latest CD to David for Whisperings. He liked my material, but thought the quality of my recording was not quite up to professional standards. I recorded my own Yamaha baby grand with some good large-diaphram mics direct to a digital recorder, but obviously it's not as good as a pro recording studio. He mentioned to me that he had received some CDs recorded with Ivory, that he really couldn't tell from the real thing, and he recommended that I check into that. So, I was about to purchase it, when I read that it didn't really have pedal-down samples - which are very important to me. It's great hear that you are happy with it and I will definitely checkout your music this evening! Which of the three pianos did you use for your CD? I am pretty sure I will use the Yamaha, given the nature of my music. I'm considering re-releasing my Earthtones CD, produced from Ivory. My music is at http://www.vanmusic.com.

    thanks very much again for your help!
    Van

  4. #4

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    The Steinway in Ivory has very good ppp, p, p samples. I would recommend this for New Age soft playing.

    It is true that Ivory does not have pedal down samples but the soundboard resonance can be adjusted from "none" to "extra resonant" which is better than pedal down samples which have fixed resonance.

    It does not have sympathetic resonance, but who cares. I rarely use my other libraries with true sympathetic resonance for New Age.

    Ivory has true una corda samples, not simulated with low pass filtering.

    Ivory Steinway is heartily recommended for what you're after.

    Another Steinway recommendation would be Sampletekk Black Grand, either Close or Medium Ambient. This has also very good tone in the soft range. I love the way the tone, how should I say, "percolates"? Like coffee steam. Something like that.

    For a Yamaha, check out Sampletekk TSO or 7CG Jr. The TSO (The Small One) has a big brother (The Big One), but the velocity layer mapping of the TSO favors the soft ranges, which is what you want. I don't own the 7CG Jr but it's supposed to be a more ambient version of the TSO.

    With the ongoing summer sale at www.sampletekk.com, you can't go wrong. You'll need a software sampler, though, to be able to use these.

  5. #5

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    Hey Van,

    That's funny! Small world, like you said.

    As far as which piano to use, I highly recommend the Steinway. I wasn't impressed with the bosendorfer or the Yamaha for what I do. Steven Cravis, another Whisperings artist, used the bosendorfer to record some jazz that was out of this world. I just don't think it works as well for new age music. For me it's the Steinway all the way.

    I have to admit that I have no clue what pedal-down samples are, but I will say this, I can go from playing my upright Charles R. Walter to playing my digital piano/computer set-up without any trouble. I use my sustain pedal constantly and don't have a single problem...

    I do have my music professionally mastered before I release it (by John Scrip http://www.massivemastering.com ). I feel it's better to have a new set of ears listening to it and making it perfect before it goes to press, and that does affect the quality of the piano sound a little. So I would suggest doing that final step as well. Hope this helps!

  6. #6

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    One more thing... Nice music!

  7. #7

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    Hello:

    Great topic. Hi Jennifer and welcome to the forum. I liked the piece you posted, sounds quite convincing and well mastered. Makes me want to get the Ivory, but I am going to wait till Gary releases his Steinway. Hey Van, I listened to some of your stuff as well, Yes, Yamaha is a great choice, nice melody and creative but may need further mastering. Well it could also be the poor quality of CDbaby MP3’s as well. With recording a real piano, you have to go all the way (Best hall, best mics, recording knowledge etc) or no way at all. It’s all or nothing. This was the reason I chose the digital route instead of the real pianos route. But, still nothing beats a well recorded real piano.

    Even with mastered sounds, sometimes it comes down to preference. I've listened to Nevue, Lanz, Winston. Brickman, etc. And I’ve always preferred the mastered sound of Brickman. In my opinion, it’s the benchmark for new age style piano solos sound. I am only referring to the piano sound (Acoustic, mastering, etc). When I do A-B comparisons to improve my own sound. I always use a Brickman CD to benchmark to (For example: By Heart, by Jim Brickman). But I have never been able to achieve that incredible sound. I would die for a samples piano that could sound like that.

    I cannot say much about Ivory because I do not own it. Its about 40 Gigs and I currently do not have room for it.. But I do have a boat load of sampled pianos. I pretty much have most of sampletekk and PMI stuff and many others. Sampletekk has great selection of pianos, and with some tweaks, Scripts, EQ and verb, you can bring some life into the samples. Really like the sound of White Grand and TBO. Tried Akoustik and was not impressed. But again, it all comes down to preference and personal taste.

    Two other pianos to consider as well are ‘The BDMO’ http://www.proaudiovault.com/
    and the soon to be released Garritan Steinway. (This is the one I’ve been very curious about.) I really love the sound of a Steinway.

    Sorry for the long post
    Dd

  8. #8

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    Hey Jennifer,
    Thanks for the feedback! Your music is wonderful! It's perfect for Whisperings, so I'm not surprised you are on there. Thanks for the mastering tip. It's always good to get a recommendation on something like that rather than trying to find one on your own and hoping for the best.

    Believe it or not, I also know Steven Cravis. He and I were on the same top 40 charts during the early days of MP3.com. This would be around 1999 to 2003, when MP3.com was the center of the mp3 craze. He originally went by the name "Piano Magician". My all time favorite song of his is "Through the Kalidescope". If you've never heard it, look it up! David Nevue was on MP3.com back then too.

    Thanks again for the tips and info on Ivory! I have it on order. Sounds like it's a bear to install, with 10 DVDs?!? I remember when we thought it was insane that a program came on 10 floppy disks!

    take care,
    Van

  9. #9

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    electone2007,
    Thanks for replying. That is a really good point you mentioned that I hadn't thought of. Within Ivory, you can adjust the resonance, but with a fixed pedal-down sample, your really stuck with what's in the sample. It seems like Ivory has some nice advantages since it was designed from the ground up for piano.

    Yes, I have checked out many other piano samples. I have GigaStudio3, so I can load GS3 samples and VSTi's. That basic Seven Seas Piano for only $49 seems like a great deal.

    I'll probably want to run Ivory in Stand-alone mode for solo piano material. I have a pretty fast PC (3GHz) with dual 500gig type-0 RAID striped SATA2 drives, so I should be set there. However, I only have 1 gig of system RAM. Any idea if that will handle it or do I need more?

    thanks again!
    Van

  10. #10

    Re: Is Ivory good for pedal-down, soft, slow New Age work?

    Quote Originally Posted by VanMan
    I'll probably want to run Ivory in Stand-alone mode for solo piano material. I have a pretty fast PC (3GHz) with dual 500gig type-0 RAID striped SATA2 drives, so I should be set there. However, I only have 1 gig of system RAM. Any idea if that will handle it or do I need more?
    Van
    I have 2 gig RAM on a P4 3.4gHz dual core, which is my main machine and the one I play Ivory with.

    But I have another machine, a P4 2.6gHz processor with 1 gig RAM, in which I previously installed Ivory. Using the full 10 layer Steinway with 64 voices polyphony, I experienced no problem at all with slow New Age. But with fast classical pieces (think Rachmaninoff), it stalls. So you'll definitely be better off with 2 gig RAM.

    Keep in mind this is live playing I'm talking about. But if I render the MIDI file using VSTi host, then of course the wav file comes out just fine even on this slow machine.

    BTW, with the current sale at sampletekk, the 7CG Jr. (and other $49 pianos) can be yours for $24.95, after 50% discount is applied to the list price of $49.

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