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Topic: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

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  1. #1

    Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    From what I've read here and elsewhere, and those few demos I've heard by users, Ivory pianos seem like they might be the way to go for me. But obviously, demos aren't the same thing as playing the samples.

    IMO, the Synthogy website demos are mostly too fast and busy- I like to hear the piano ring out, hear the sonority of the instrument, know how chords sound, how well tuned the instrument is, etc..

    Can any owners of Ivory comment on whether or not they're happy with the libraries; which of the pianos they prefer and why; how well they record; and whether, in retrospect, they'd purchase something else instead?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    You might find this demo of interest it is the Bluthner Digital Model one versus several other competitors such as Ivory and many of the other well known piano libraries. Audio commentary by Dan Dean This example is a comparison of the sustain richness (pedal down samples) in the tone (5.1Meg's) http://www.proaudiovault.com/BDMO_Comparison_ex1.mp3


    Ernest Cholakis
    Numerical Sound/ProAudioVault
    www.numericalsound.com
    www.proaudiovault.com

  3. #3

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    michael,

    It's like asking what you like better: ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, Russian dressing, or A1 steak sauce. Each piano has it's place, and everyone's got their own subjective preference. I'm personally extremely pleased with Ivory, and mostly use it's Yamaha Studio Jazz setting. I feel it also plays very well under my fingers. Others here will tell you how they absolutely HATE it, and swear by other libraries.

    You've really gotta find a way to play it for yourself to make up your own mind.

  4. #4

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    Could you imagine having a software store with Mac's and PC's so we could audtion the instruments? That would be so convenient.

    Years ago I took a chance and bought a Creamware DSP card,....thank God I got lucky.
    JimmyV

  5. #5

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    No argument from me Journeyman, I wish I COULD get to play Ivory before buying. The same with other libraries.

    It's an ongoing problem, and I don't want to beat a dead horse, but the music stores are absolutely no help with trying out software. There are some truly wonderful libraries available, and it's only common sense that we should be able to try before we buy, since software is nonreturnable.

    So, maybe I'll come across someone locally who has Ivory, who's friendly, and will let me give it a test drive. Otherwise, it's hit or miss, get the best info I can, listen to demos, cross my fingers and go for it...

  6. #6

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    UPDATED August 3, 2008

    As far as hands on testing, I would suggest you try out the recent site www.try-sound.com. Here is a somewhat more thorough response, however.

    Ivory may be the piano for you but I personally find that the Bluthner Digital One, Quantum Leap Pianos, Galaxy II and Garritan Steinway seem a lot more appealing.

    Ernest Cholakis already gave you a link to some helpful comparison with the BDMO. They also have a longer video about their approach to the piano and the history of it at the site. Note that the BDMO and the Galaxy II are the only two of these libraries that sample a Bluthner piano. The BDMO is a concert grand while the Galaxy II is a baby grand.

    As for Quantum Leap Pianos, you can hear comparisons made both by them and an independent third party, including with Ivory using the same mic position, at Quantum Leap's product page. Just scroll down to "Comparison Demos" and "Third Party Piano Comparison Demos"

    Galaxy II can be tested "hands on" by going to the manufacturer's remote testing site at http://www.try-sound.com/ with full access to the full versions of the three included pianos. As noted earlier, this includes a Bluthner baby grand.

    I haven't heard any comparisons with Garritan Authorized Steinway Virtual Concert Grand against other pianos yet but you can hear the different microphone positions at http://www.garritan.com/steinway_demos.html by scrolling down to "Jazz Comparison Demos".

    These are sort of the "sexy" pianos of the moment. Note that many of them require a lot of resources.

    Quantum Leap Pianos: 263GB for a complete installatino of the 3 pianos with all mic positions. Individual installs for each piano are possible. Bechstein 73GB, Bösendorfer 87GB, Steinway 58GB, Yamaha 46GB.
    Garritan: 67GB for all the mic positions at 24 bit or 42GB for all the mic positions at 16 bit.
    Synthogy Ivory Grand Pianos: Over 40GB
    Galaxy II: Ca. 30GB
    BDMO: 6.4GB

    The Garritan, Synthogy Ivory and Quantum Leap libraries have multiple mic positions. The Galaxy II and BDMO have great tweakability of the timbral character within their mic position via IRs, etc.

    The Garritan and BDMO are single piano libraries. The others have 3 or 4 pianos each.

    On a somewhat more subjective note, out of the recording approaches, Quantum Leap Pianos were recorded with more ambience, consistent with their approach to orchestral libraries. The BDMO was recorded in the most isolated and driest fashion to enable maximum tweakability (the developers also strove to get the most accurate dynamics and pianissimo samples, though I have no hands on experience with that aspect). The others fall in between.

    Consider your desired warmth vs. brightness when selecting a library as this will be of utmost importance.

    Also be aware that these are not the only libraries at the highest level. Depending on your demands, consider also the following libaries, depending on your needs/desires. All of the following, save for the Piantoteq, are avaialble for significantly less than any of the pianos mentioned above. All of them are less than 5GB libraries as of my most recent checks.

    For maximum dynamic response to the keyboard with a great deal of tweakability and almost no hard drive or RAM usage, consider either Pianoteq or True Pianos. For some people, the most common criticism of these libraries is timbral but for some people that is offset by a more continous response and differing sound at every velocity.

    Regarding sample libraries (without bundled players) also consider Art Vista and PMI.

    Art Vista offers one of the warmest pianos ever recorded (at the expense of a somewhat narrower dynamic range) in the form of the Malmsjö Acoustic Grand.

    PMI (on the same site as SampleTekk) offer a wide variety of piano libraries for less than $50 a piece last time I checked, with the the newest ones being the Emperor (Bosendorfer), Old Lady (Steineway) and Hybrid Pianos. The hybrid pianos represent an unusual approach to segmenting the sound of the different parts of the piano that you can read more about at the site. Many people thought the idea was more interesting than the execution but it is unique among sample libaries

    So there you have a summary of many of the assets and weaknesses of the majority (though certainly not all) of the top sample libraries. I haven't mentioned the NI Akoustik Piano or VSL piano library because I know very little about them.

    Best of luck!

  7. #7

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    Nice wrap up on the pianos in question Per! I have to agree with most of what you've said here. For me, I've had Ivory in my music arsenal for YEARS. We just tossed it from the hard disc in favor of the EWQLSO pianos.

    I will admit though that the Italian Grand was a nice addition to IVORY.

    And there actually IS a way to compare Garritans Steinway with EWQLSO. Youll notice that both Garritan and EWQLSO have recorded a (Chopin) Scherzo on their pages waiting for YOU to compare!

  8. #8

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    wow, what a nice summary on the available choices!
    just out of interest: you did not mention the sampletekk libraries. would you consider them significantly worse than the others you mentioned, and if yes, in what respect?
    i just ordered their white grand and 7cg, in the hope of getting a very realistic piano

    best

    oxy

  9. #9

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxytoxine View Post
    wow, what a nice summary on the available choices!
    just out of interest: you did not mention the sampletekk libraries. would you consider them significantly worse than the others you mentioned, and if yes, in what respect?
    i just ordered their white grand and 7cg, in the hope of getting a very realistic piano

    Yes, Sampletekk libraries are among the best, especially White Grand and 7CG which I also have. I'd pick these two over Ivory (which I also have).

  10. #10

    Re: Ivory pianos assessment: which one is best?

    As for Quantum Leap Pianos, you can hear comparisons made both by them and an independent third party, including with Ivory using the same mic position, at http://www..com/EastWest-Quantum-Lea...pr-EW-171.html
    This link isn't working for me, even though I removed the double dot [..] after the www. Can you check that, and tell me the right link? Thanks.

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