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Topic: Getting the best piano sound from any sample?

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  1. #1

    Getting the best piano sound from any sample?

    I\'m fairly new to sampling (about a year in) and am trying to find information about how to get the best piano sounds from a sampler. Is there a good reference source (on-line or as a book), that would help me learn about the following subjects?

    --The best envelope curves for specific pitches. (Many piano samples seem to have about the same ADSR settings for every sample, regardless of pitch, but I suspect that bass, midrange, and high treble pitches behave differently.)

    --The best low pass filter settings for specific pitches. (Again, many piano samples can be made more Steinway-like by applying the same low-pass filter to the notes above middle C, but I suspect that the setting may be improved if adjusted for each sample.

    --Are there other settings that can provide a still better piano sound?

    --Finally, to demonstrate my lack of knowledge, how LFO\'s can be used in conjuction with sampled pianos. (Are they used at all? This feature seems to take up a lot of space in the samplers I\'ve seen. Is it only used to generate synthetic sounds?)

    I\'m aware that these first two items can be arrived at by trial and error, and that the answer may vary with each listener. On the other hand, are there general ranges for these settings that may help me reach a better sound faster?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Getting the best piano sound from any sample?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jake Johnson:

    --The best envelope curves for specific pitches. (Many piano samples seem to have about the same ADSR settings for every sample, regardless of pitch, but I suspect that bass, midrange, and high treble pitches behave differently.)

    --The best low pass filter settings for specific pitches. (Again, many piano samples can be made more Steinway-like by applying the same low-pass filter to the notes above middle C, but I suspect that the setting may be improved if adjusted for each sample.

    --Are there other settings that can provide a still better piano sound?

    --Finally, to demonstrate my lack of knowledge, how LFO\'s can be used in conjuction with sampled pianos. (Are they used at all? This feature seems to take up a lot of space in the samplers I\'ve seen. Is it only used to generate synthetic sounds?)

    I\'m aware that these first two items can be arrived at by trial and error, and that the answer may vary with each listener. On the other hand, are there general ranges for these settings that may help me reach a better sound faster?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    While tweaking commercially available piano sounds can result in a more playable instrument, you won\'t find books on the subject. It\'s all far too new, and far too esoteric a subject.

    In general, you won\'t find any hard and fast rules. People record the pianos differently, so each set of samples will have its own ideal mapping. All of the piano developers I\'ve met (and I have met most of them) take great care to play the instrument they\'ve sampled, and to try emulating its response curve as closely as possible. The reason you see a \"straight\" mapping across the sample, rather than customized curves for each note, is that while playing the samples in, they are already getting the individual note \"curves\" as a part of the performance. So, to further \"shape\" this already recorded shape would be essentially doubling the dynamic personality of the note.

    Exceptions apply. Some notes don\'t come out right, some notes are not played consistently, and all these things are individually tweakable. It is all really a matter of listening and responding.

    Hope that helps. If I knew of books on the subject I\'d sure point them out, but I was in Barnes and Noble last night for a couple of hours, and definitely the books about sampling and electronic music in general have fallen far behind the curve.


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