PMI was facing the limitations of what we considered the world leader in piano sampling software: GigaStudio. GigaStudio has a limited number of dimensions that can be used in programming a (piano) library. When you want a 16 velocity layer instruments with stereo samples and separate samples for the sustain pedal up and down and you want release samples for the ambience…you would need 128 dimensions. 16 x 2 (for stereo) x 2 (for sustain) x 2 (for release) = 128. GigaStudio offers 32 dimensions which is a lot for some applications but too litlle for piano ;-(
Just imagine how much more realistic a 16 velocity layer stereo piano with release samples would sound compared to one without these release samples.
We needed to solve these limitations. So we’ve developed a special software tool; GRANDIOSO FX. This is a software plug-in, a program that runs in the background while GigaStudio is functioning. It captures the midi data before it hits Giga and allows us to add some special tricks.
First trick is the enabling of true repedalling: on a real grand piano you can press the sustain pedal at any moment and the strings will start to generate extra harmonics caused by the singing of the non-truck but resonant strings. This occurs also when a note is already playing and the pedal is pressed AFTER the initial note start. In GigaStudio (and every other application for that matter) you have to press the sustain pedal BEFORE you play a note in order to get the resonant notes to play. This is insane for a real pianist. It’s like starting a vibrato before you start singing. GRANDIOSO FX lets you switch between the sustaining and non-sustaining samples in real-time. It gives a smooth crossfade between the two samples exacly on the moment you press the sustain pedal, just like with a real grand piano. The difference with the standard Giga piano behavior is amazing: you get more expression, more realisme and an overall more natural sound.
The second trick is the sound of the pedal itself: with the standard GigaStudio programs it is impossible to trigger a sample upon the activation of the sustain pedal. GRANDIOSO FX does just that: it adds a real sample of sustain pedal going down when the sustain pedal is pressed and it plays a sample of a sustain pedal going up when the pedal is released. Just like in the real situation. You can even adjust the level of the pedal sound. In cases where the pedal noise becomes too obvious you can decrease it’s volume to make the effect more subtle. In cases where you want to focus on the pedalling you can make the pedal noise extremely noticable, even to the point where it sounds like you had a spot mike near the sustain pedal! If you’re not afraid to open the editor and start tweaking you can also change the tuning of the pedal noise from low to a higher pitched pedal, making the pedal noise a little lighter (like from a smaller piano).
The 3th trick is something slightly more complicated. Bruce Richardson (senior editor of ProRec.com) pointed us at a major shortcoming in the sustain pedal behaviour in combination with release samples of GigaStudio; when you release the sustain pedal the notes that are playing at that moment are released but no release samples with the natural ambience are triggered upon the release of the notes. Obviously this is resulting in a big silence as the release samples are otherwise giving a very clear natural ambience to the piano sound. GRANDIOSO FX overcomes this issue by triggering the coresponding release samples when the sustain pedal is released. Simple and effective.
The 4th trick is adding release samples to Gigastudio patches that have already “eaten up” all of their dimensions. Take a 16 layer stereo piano. That uses 32 dimensions (16 x 2). There are no dimensions left for release samples. GRANDIOSO FX uses a special technique to trigger release samples even when there are no dimensions left. It does that by assigning samples to regions that are not used for normal playback. This way we can even add 8 layers of release samples to get the ultimate perfection in release triggered ambience control.
The program was written by Jeff Hurchella, who did a brilliant job there. GRANDIOSO FX is hosted by the Maple software. GRANDIOSO FX functions as plug-in in Maple. Maple is designed so that it does not disturb other tools like GOS Maestro tool.
Note that the GRANDIOSO FX is a free program, that we distribute to our GRANDIOSO users. On the other hand the program can enhance ANY piano library out there. When you want to experiment I can only encourage such efforts. Please let me know the results.
The links to the GRANDIOSO FX program, the needed GRANDIOSO library update articulations and installation help files are on-line. Just send us an email and we’ll provide you the links to them. For people with slow internet access (the full downlaods are 4 to 6 MB) we can provide a cd with the software.