> you can better the sound quality of almost all but the best recorded pianos.
I agree, though I\'m sure people that haven\'t gotten it find it hard to believe.
> The \"weakest link\" is (...) the reverb and room ambience.
> What\'s needed is a dedicated reverb card that\'s compatible with GS.
John, if I remember your setup, you are getting fine results in a middle range home studio, but comparing your work to a professional studio, with probably both fine spaces and high end outboard gear. Of course you have a weak reverb link! You can\'t say reverb is weak until you are have used the better units out there, which IMO are moderate to expensive hardware units.
I\'ve got a couple of Lexicons built into my mixer (rumoured to be \'crippled\' pcm 91s) and while imperfect, I haven\'t heard a software reverb that can get close to that sound for certain kinds of good spaces (like a good sounding, slightly damped smallish room that\'s barely there but makes a big impact).
A few years ago when I was looking to ease the way I work and upgrade my sound I picked up a 328 mixer. Maybe the best audio tool I ever got, I\'ve seen these things go for $2000 used and they include lexicon reverbs, good parametric EQ, and a few places to put outboard processors. Plus it\'s cool for routing digital audio, so you could for example route GS output in real time back through software FX.
What I hope for, probably in vain, is a high-end effects sound card; or better, a high-end card devoted almost exclusively to reverb. Apparantly such cards exist (e.g., one by universal audio) but the card is not compatible with GS.
Alas... Some day, maybe.
Meanwhile, I can\'t bring myself to buy an outboard unit, although I know they\'re infinitely better than plugins. I would have to deal with digital in and out, among other things, to route the sound back into the computer. Too complicated for an inveterate technopeasant like me!
> What I hope for, probably in vain, is a (...) high-end card devoted almost
> exclusively to reverb (...) compatible with GS.
Well I dig GS but I wouldn\'t hold my breath that it will ever be a player in the FX dept. Fine with me anyway, that\'s not where I want my FX to be.
> I would have to deal with digital in and out, among other things, to route the sound back into the computer.
> Too complicated for an inveterate technopeasant like me!
Here\'s what I do, it doesn\'t feel complicated anymore... The 328 is my swiss army wonder box, it\'s a great digital patchbay, so any audio can digitally come back into the the computer with no latency in any of 8 group submixes plus on 6 FX sends, plus in the main mix with onboard FX.
I have a dakota + montana sound card so I have 4 lightpipes in and 4 out, that\'s more channels than the mixer can use so these cards also act as digital patchbays for other gear; anything coming into the computer anywhere can be routed through the mixer. That\'s just the digital side, I can loop analog everywhere too, so pretty much all my gear goes into and out of all my other gear. It\'s an awesome way to go if you\'re serious and not even too expensive anymore. I had some clocking problems when I tried to distribute word clock (that\'s the right way, go figure) but now everything\'s just clocked off lightpipes from the mixer and I have no problems at all. Nothing to be afraid of.
The NFX can be modified -- roll off the boomy bass, change the mix, etc -- to provide a decent piano enhancement. It\'s one choice.
I record piano digitally out S/PDIF to my Macintosh, record the audio in Digital Performer, and then use Preview to try out various algorithms. DP\'s eVerb (one of several available) is quite sophisticated for the small room, uncolored enhancement effect. Then there\'s the $500 Altiverb, which challenges theidea that hardware reverb is better.
On the PC side, rumor has it that Sonar\'s reverb is excellent.