We\'re releasing a new spectacular library, \"we\" is my new company Post Musical Instruments (PMI).
The new library is called:PMI GRANDIOSO STEINWAY D.
It is a carefully orchestrated concept based on a lot of input from this forum. We found the ultimate Steinway D (in absolute top condition) in the right studio. The studio is dead-quiet and has great acoustics. We took the best microphones and positioned them in a semi-distant way in the large studio room that was ultimately filled with the full piano sound. We recorded up to 6 velocity levels for pedal up, 6 levels for pedal down and 5 for release resonance. The piano was played by one of the most skilled piano technicians there is.
The result is a collection of Steinway D Gigasampler instruments of 5.1 GB.
The largest being a classic Steinway D Gig of 2.1 GB. This Gig has several instruments; one with 16 levels of velocity, two with 8 levels (one with release samples and one with sustain pedal samples), and one with 4 levels of velocity (with both sustain up, sustain down and release samples). Then we have a compressed piano set. It has the same instruments but each sample was carefully compressed for optimum sustain and decay curves. This instruments sounds very powerfull and close and avoids the need of compression on recorded tracks afterwards. Then there is the distant gig, as the name says; this is the overall distant recording which gives the instrument real space. It can be used in a 4 channel surround (or 5.1) set-up or in stereo (no phase cancellation).
We\'re in no real hurry with the release of the product but I\'m targetting for Febr. The last beta tests are almost finished.
I\'ll be at NAMM for talks and we\'ll have demo\'s on the PMI website by that time.
The ambience gig is separate and is not to be used alone. It sounds very distant! The mix between the two must be controlled using the GigaStudio mixer channels or giving them each a separate stereo pair of outputs and mixing these with outboard gear. This way the -extra- distant samples function as the dry/wet dimension on a reverb processor.
Thank you Bruce, I can assure you these samples sound very different than anything you ever heard before!
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About the Steinway D samples
We recorded the best grand piano we could find. Steinway is THE grand piano for most concert pianists. This instrument is in premium condition. Model Steinway D3 with serial number 393210 was revised by Steinway Hamburg in 1999. The instrument served the Rotterdam \'DOELEN\' concert hall for several decades, where 100\'s of famous musicians performed for both live audiences as well as in radio concerts. Amongst them are Claudio Arrau and the Rolling Stones.
We recorded in the best studio we could imagine. Bloomline Studio is both extremely quiet (you can actually hear the blood flow in your ears) and is very well suited for the grand piano sound that needs a large space to develop its full tone. The studio is owned by Leo de Klerk who keeps the Steinway D in optima forma with incredible efforts and attention.
We used the best microphones for the job. We wanted a microphone that was both extremely quiet for the best possible samples in terms of S/N ratio and was very flat in frequency response. After several tests we made our choice for the Senheisser MKH20\'s omni directional microphone that has a noise level of below 9 dB (A) weighted noise. We positioned the microphones in an ORTF setting (90 degrees at 30 cm) at an adequate hearing distance of 2 to 3 meters from the strings. The placement angle was very low -comparable to how a piano is perceived in a typical concert hall situation. The resulting piano sounds like sitting in a stage instead of suspended on a wall between the speakers. Furthermore we used the finest digital equipment available. The Prism Sound analogue to digital converter was used for a clean 24 bits signal. The Prism Sound bit splitter was used to record the 24 bit signal to Tascam DASH. From there we used a 24 bit ProTools TDM system with Mix+ card for the editing and post production. Waves processing was applied in this case to eliminate unwanted frequencies and to do some level optimisation. We have made up to 16 levels of velocity, true multiple velocity release layers, ultimate staccato, sustain pedal down notes with carefully chosen amount of resonance. The end result is tested by several concert pianists to meet their highest expectations.
There is no doubt in our minds that this is the best sampled piano ever.
PMI Classic Steinway D 2.1 GB
This instrument is the main instrument best suited for any musical context. It has more character and realism than any other sampled piano we\'ve heard. The recording was left without any processing other than level optimisation and a little eq, to remove unwanted frequencies, (no limiting, no compression or expansion) to ensure the purest piano sound. The samples have no loops, they have rich resonant pedal down samples, release-triggered soundboard resonance and an amazing wide dynamic range. Listen to the rich world overtones beautifully captured in these recordings.
PostPiano Steinway D Classic: This patch has 4 velocity groups (P, MF, F and FF) for sustain up, sustain down and release triggered samples. This patch offers additional control over the release triggered sample by the modulation wheel.
16 Layers PostPiano Steinway D Classic; This patch has 16 velocity groups. You hear the sustain pedal down samples only for a rich warm sound. The velocity ranges are chosen to allow smoother transitions between sample layers. Filters are used to make the transitions between samples even smoother.
8 Layers with release PostPiano Steinway D Classic: this patch uses 8 velocity groups and uses 4 dimensions for the release triggered soundboard resonance samples. The samples used are the sustain pedal down samples as they have more character and warmth.
8 Layer with sustain PostPiano Steinway D Classic: This patch uses 8 velocity groups and has both sustain pedal up and pedal down samples. This patch lacks the release triggered samples to allow for realistic sustain pedal play.
PMI Compressed Steinway D 2.1 GB
The individual samples in this instrument have been processed. A special compression ratio was applied to each individual sample to achieve a higher level of sustain. The decay of each note now better matches the acoustic behaviour of the piano. With these patches you no longer need to compress the output tracks. Such compression afterwards has many unwanted side-effects and is often very disturbing.
Post Steinway D Full Comp v1.5: This patch has 4 velocity groups (P, MF, F and FF) for sustain up, sustain down and release triggered samples. This patch offers additional control over the release triggered sample by the modulation wheel.
16 velocity layers Post Steinway D Full Comp v1.5; This patch has 16 velocity groups. You hear the sustain pedal down samples only for a rich warm sound. The velocity ranges are chosen to allow smoother transitions between sample layers. Filters are used to make the transitions between samples even smoother.
8 Layers with release Post Steinway D Full Comp v1.5: this patch uses 8 velocity groups and uses 4 dimensions for the release triggered soundboard resonance samples. The samples used are the sustain pedal down samples as they have more character and warmth.
8 Layer with sustain Post Steinway D Full Comp v1.5: This patch uses 8 velocity groups and has both sustain pedal up and pedal down samples. This patch lacks the release triggered samples to allow for realistic sustain pedal play.
PMI Steinway D Distant 1.2 GB
This instrument is made with the ambient samples from the same recording as the main two instruments. It\'s designed to be used simultaneously with one of the two 16 velocity layered pianos. The signal can be mixed on a stereo bus or -better- get two separate outputs and be reproduced on the rear channels of a surround set-up.
GigaStudio users can use the \"AMBIENT & 16 LAYER FULL.gsp\" performance file to layering the two instruments. The output settings of each stereo pair of the mixer should be set to the same (for stereo operation) or separate output channels (for multi-channel operation). In the latter case these samples should sound from Rear Left and Rear Right, while the main instrument should sound from Front Left and Front Right. This set-up will result in a very realistic ambient sound. Note that the combination of Ambient Steinway D and Classic Steinway D doubles the number of voices allocated for each note you play.
The Ambient Steinway D patch is using 8 velocity layers.
Note: the Ambient Steinway D patch is also very useful in masking any jumps in the velocity regions of the main instruments. Add it gently until it fills the room a little.
These patches have been designed using Fatar/Studiologic 990 and 1100 keyboards. We have chosen to make velocity switching points at the next values:
PP to P (if used) 37
P to MF 66
MF to F 97
F to FF 112
You may want to adjust your keyboards velocity response to match these values. When you play melody lines around velocity value 70 to 80 they will sound at mf. If you want to have mf sound when lower velocity values you must adjust the velocity curve of the master keyboard to get a \"softer\" response. Alternatively you may want to open the instrument editor and lower the upper velocity boundaries.
commercial break end here!
Yes, we do need some more beta-testers. Actually, I specifically would like some musicians who could produce some demo\'s with the sample set.
Send private email if interested: email@example.com with your details (adress, studio etc).
But first I\'m leaving Amsterdam for a few days of fresh Belgian air.
Happy NewYear everybody!