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Topic: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

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  1. #1

    Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    I've spent some time now testing different ways of making smaller, but still great sounding pianos.
    We have done test recordings of several pianos, using both custom soft- and hardware, to get very accurate test data.

    We now are very confident in that we can build great sounding pianos that have very cpu-friendly size.
    The smaller pianos built around these new findings will be sold together with the Kontakt Player engine and feature stuff like real pedalling, sympathetic resonance and other goodies.

    Now, we will record new pianos, but I found that it's possible to re-build our existing pianos in this way.

    So, my questions to the forum are:

    1. Is smaller pianos something that sounds interesting, (if they sound great of course...)
    2. What would you like to see in these pianos when it comes to extras?
    3. Would it be interesting if we re-build our existing pianos in this way, and provide an upgrade path for those of you who already own the pianos?

    Any input are welcome.
    Oh, the prize? Probably not over $100.....
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

  2. #2

    Thumbs up Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    Quote Originally Posted by Worra View Post
    I've spent some time now testing different ways of making smaller, but still great sounding pianos.
    We have done test recordings of several pianos, using both custom soft- and hardware, to get very accurate test data.

    We now are very confident in that we can build great sounding pianos that have very cpu-friendly size.
    The smaller pianos built around these new findings will be sold together with the Kontakt Player engine and feature stuff like real pedalling, sympathetic resonance and other goodies.

    Now, we will record new pianos, but I found that it's possible to re-build our existing pianos in this way.

    So, my questions to the forum are:

    1. Is smaller pianos something that sounds interesting, (if they sound great of course...)
    2. What would you like to see in these pianos when it comes to extras?
    3. Would it be interesting if we re-build our existing pianos in this way, and provide an upgrade path for those of you who already own the pianos?

    Any input are welcome.
    Oh, the prize? Probably not over $100.....
    +1

    I would be interested!
    Marcelo Colina

  3. #3

    Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    How about a slightly different idea. Since many users have now got used to using huge libraries, instead of using your new methods to make them smaller, why not use them to create a 'superpiano' that may well be about the size of the libraries we've been getting accustomed to.

    In modern scores there are many new techniques asked for from pianists. Many have been sampled, but never in a library which also includes a 'straight' version of the same piano. So if I want to mock up something by Henry Cowell, which includes plucking the strings, zither effects, harmonics, and straight playing, I probably have to resort to four different libraries, and making it sound like a single performance is impossible. It's a bizarre situation. For every other intrument it's considered essential to include as many techniques as possible in a library, yet, for the piano, anything other than the most obvious articulation is still considered as an unessential novelty.

    How about a library that included:-

    • Straight piano, with sympathetic resonance, continuous pedalling, etc
    • Several harmonics on every string, with the degree of the harmonic controlled by modwheel
    • Zither effects at various speeds and dynamics - and the ability to hold down certain keys and have those notes sustain after the initial strum
    • Scrapes along the length of each string at various speeds
    • Effects created on the body of the piano
    • Plucked strings, both with finger pads and plectrum
    • Every string played with a variety of mallets
    • A convolution so that other sampled instrument can be played 'into' the same piano with it's dampers off.
    If you also wanted to create a John Cage preparation of the same piano that would be great, but the first priority should be having a single piano that can do all of the above in one performance, as can a real pianist.

    ...I'd also like to see the Seven Seas resurrected as a smaller library.
    David

  4. #4

    Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    I'd rather have a piano of any size that would just really NAIL it, which in my opinion hasn't been done yet. Although I haven't tested all piano libraries out there, I usually find a lot of problems in the release samples and ADSR envelopes of samples. Pianoteq from a playing technique standpoint "feels" the most pleasant but doesn't sound the most pleasant, to me, maybe because its not based on samples.

    BTW there's nothing CPU-unfriendly in pianos, it's the RAM.

  5. #5

    Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    Ivory Grand
    Ivory Upright
    Ivory Italian
    Ivory 2
    EWQL Pianos
    VSL Piano
    Tonehammer's Emotional Piano
    Garritan's Steinway
    Pianoteq Pianos
    Sampletekk's The Black Grand, Old Lady, Steinway D, 7CG, Forte E, Estonia, Bosendorfer 290, and on....
    Art Vista's Malmsjo
    Art Vista's Virtual Grand
    NI's Alicia's Keys
    NI's August Foerster
    NI's Akoustik Piano
    NI's Vienna Concert Grand
    Acousticsamples A-Pian
    Acousticsamples B-Pian
    Acousticsamples Kawia EX Pro
    Acoutsicsamples Old Black Grand
    Bluthner Digital Model One
    Imperfect Samples Braunschweig
    Imperfect Samples Fazioli
    Imperfect Samples Hohner
    TruePianos
    Musicrow Piano Trilogy
    Acoustica Pianissimo
    Steinberg's The Grand (1, 2, 3)

    With all due respect, don't we already have enough pianos?

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    May 2000
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    305

    Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simodeus View Post
    Ivory Grand
    Ivory Upright
    Ivory Italian
    Ivory 2
    EWQL Pianos
    VSL Piano
    Tonehammer's Emotional Piano
    Garritan's Steinway
    Pianoteq Pianos
    Sampletekk's The Black Grand, Old Lady, Steinway D, 7CG, Forte E, Estonia, Bosendorfer 290, and on....
    Art Vista's Malmsjo
    Art Vista's Virtual Grand
    NI's Alicia's Keys
    NI's August Foerster
    NI's Akoustik Piano
    NI's Vienna Concert Grand
    Acousticsamples A-Pian
    Acousticsamples B-Pian
    Acousticsamples Kawia EX Pro
    Acoutsicsamples Old Black Grand
    Bluthner Digital Model One
    Imperfect Samples Braunschweig
    Imperfect Samples Fazioli
    Imperfect Samples Hohner
    TruePianos
    Musicrow Piano Trilogy
    Acoustica Pianissimo
    Steinberg's The Grand (1, 2, 3)

    With all due respect, don't we already have enough pianos?
    It's not about quantity, it's about quality. Although piano samples have improved over the years, I still have yet to find a library that sounds as good as as a well recorded real piano. But it's getting closer and closer.

    Without developers continuing to want to produce and release better and better libraries, there wouldn't be an evolution to this.

    Jim McCarthy

  7. #7

    Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    Quote Originally Posted by user002 View Post

    BTW there's nothing CPU-unfriendly in pianos, it's the RAM.
    Larger pianos - more diskstreaming - more strain on CPU
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

  8. #8

    Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    Hey Per.

    As you may recall, I was a beta tester for both BG and WG. I love 'em both.

    That said, for the past two years, for my day to day composing, I use... Pianissimo. Why? For me, it has the best sweet spot between RAM usage, basic playability and FAST LOAD. The last is important.

    Some libs, take -minutes- to load on my quad core machine. Unacceptable for sketching ideas.

    What I want is something that sounds better than Pianissimo, but still loads FAST.

    And by 'better' I'll be more specific.. Pianissimo doesn't sound bad at all for pop/rock/background stuff. And it is quite -playable-. I mean, it responds in a fairly real 'Steinway' manner. It has the balls and strong attack in the low end that is often missing from cheap pianos--without sounding like a harpsichord (as does PianoTeq).

    But it could be more realistic in it's sound (especially at the top).

    So I always replace it before rendering with something like BG.

    Now... if you can get me 90% of the sound of BG but with 10% of the load time? I'll take two.

    Best,

    ---JC

    PS: @Pingu... I totally agree, mate. What I want is a keyswitch Prepared piano where I could flip a switch and go from 'Regular' to 'Rubber' to 'Paper' to 'Tack' to 'Strum' etc.... in one go. But that's another product.

  9. #9

    Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    ...RAM usage, basic playability and FAST LOAD. The last is important.

    Some libs, take -minutes- to load on my quad core machine. Unacceptable for sketching ideas.
    Agreed.

    Long load time is also disagreeable for sitting down a few minutes to practice, and it's yet worse for changing sounds between numbers on the bandstand.

    My own favourite is the Seven Seas Grand. If you could offer something that sounds more like that than the 7CG Junior does, capable of loading up in -- let's say -- 20 seconds or less, and nicely playable on last year's computer,.you'd have a salable winner. Well...it would be salable to me at least...

    Larry

  10. #10

    Re: Smaller, stand-alone pianos. Is that something you want?

    Would it make any sense to use an SSD only for the attack-portion cache, to a) speed up load time, and b) make the most of the still rather expensive SSD storage? This may still allow us to use the very large libraries residing on cheap rotating disks, but with a drastically improved load time. I guess with an SSD we may still need SOME pre-loading of attacks into RAM, though, and maybe the bulk of the pre-load time is consumed by file opening, rather than the actual reading of the sample data? Anyone done any testing?

    Greg.

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