Old 06-22-2010, 01:55 PM   #1
Guakingo
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Default The BEST piano VSTi?

Hi folks

Although I use synths and VSTis I┤m really a pianist at heart. I┤m preparing my Diploma and am working on all the classic litterature. I use a Casio Privia to trigger a Synthogy Italian Grand VSTi but I┤m getting more and more dissappointed with it, it has a metallic edge to it that is impossible to EQ. I thought it was my speakers but I┤ve upgraded to a couple of good near-field monitors and now it sounds worse than ever. So I┤ve got to consider a major software upgrade.

I am on the hunt for the very most realistic piano plug-in on the market. I┤ve tried the demoable ones such as Pianoteq and the like, but they sound simple. Good but nothing you would use to record a piano concert with a live symphony orchestra... now, THAT┤s the quality I┤m after. (Of course, that immediately dismisses free plugs such as MDA piano.)

It seems to me that the plug-ins all tend to offer a big selection of different pianos. That┤s not what I want and that┤s why I didn┤t get the full version of Synthogy Ivory. With a real piano it doesn┤t matter whether you play Bach, Chopin or Oscar Peterson, it always sounds great. I just want one single piano sound, but one that behaves as exactly as the real counterpart as it is possible.

So, any suggestions or comments?

Thanks
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:01 PM   #2
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Have you listened to the EastWest Quantum Leap libraries? :

http://www.soundsonline.com/product....oductid=EW-171

.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:31 PM   #3
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my favorite one i've ever tried is synthogy Yamaha C7 piano. I think i might wait a bit until ivory II comes out before buying a new piano VST. it will probably be very good. I think if you like the italian grand from ivory, but just didn't like that particular piano, then your best bet will probably be to try other pianos from synthogy, but like i said it would probably be best to wait for the new ivory II. should be out this summer some time.

http://www.ilio.com/synthogy/ivory/upgrade.html


me personally i love the Yamaha C7 sound the most. my favorite sounding piano. i think a boesendorfer might be nicer for classical music, but if i bought a real grand piano it would be a C7.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:30 PM   #4
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I did this years ago, when the choices were much more limited and the technology wasn't as advanced. I ended up downloading as many demos from as many pianos libs as I could, threw them into a big playlist and shuffled them around, and just listened for a while, noting which ones I liked the best.

I ended up getting Vint Audio Uprights (there were two included) 4 dynamic layers and release samples (advanced for back then) and I picked it mostly because of the "vibe" - it fit what I was doing at the time, and I also had a real upright so I probably favour that sound anyways.

The EastWest stuff sounds great. Still, compared this:

http://media.soundsonline.com/ip/mp3...in_Scherzo.mp3

to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A799HrP3POM

Even though the recording sounds better in the EastWest version, the real recording sounds much more like "music" to me, like one instrument as opposed to a bunch of individually recorded notes. One just seems to have soul and the other don't... (and this was just the first real recording I found, surely there are better for this particular piece)

So, I would do this as well, compared as much as possible to the real deal, preferably without knowing for sure what is playing - like I said, put them all in a big shuffled playlist.


Anyways, good luck on your search, I've recently heard good things about Alecia Keys and I know Garritan Authorized Steinway a bit. I also remember liking Galaxy II Grand Piano when it first came out. And, of course, Ivory II will be out sooner or later. I haven't done much comparison between all these though, but my tastes are probably different then yours. And of course, once you sit down and start playing them, you may like some more then others based on how they "feel".
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:48 PM   #5
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I like Akoustik Piano, particularly the Bosendorfer, but the Alicia's Keys also sounds nice. You may also want to check out Modartt Pianoteq.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:23 PM   #6
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Default Imperfect Samples

I bought the Upright from imperfect samples.

I actually really like it. The main reason i got it to begin with is that it sounds like i might have actually recorded it myself.

Friends have been quick to notice when they hear a perfectly recorded Steinway Grand in a concert hall that maybe it was sampled. but they didnt think twice when I used the imperfect samples.

Im about to upgrade from 8 layers to 14!

check it out

http://www.imperfectsamples.com/
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Old 06-30-2010, 07:58 AM   #7
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Default Galaxy Pianos Steinway D

Hello!

There's a very good article in this month's SOS about a new version of the Galaxy Piano VST, which has samples from a very famous Steinway D piano. The website is http://www.galaxypianos.com.

The additional tracks on the demo page really show it off. The Ragtime cut is very interesting for the sensitivity and richness.

It's a little bit pricey, $149, but that includes two other pianos in addition to the Steinway D, and a lot of controls on the VST to add additional capabilities to it, including evidently, pads that are derived from the pianos.

Later,
Hartley
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:45 AM   #8
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Don't forget to give Pianoteq a try:

http://www.pianoteq.com/home?section=home

It's actually a series of physically modelled pianos, so it'll save gigabytes of hard disk space!

There's a 25MB demo available so you can see if you like how it sounds before splashing the cash.

EDIT: Oops, I just read the OP again , sorry.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:51 AM   #9
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Pianoteq 3.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:03 AM   #10
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Pianoteq 3.
Hey, I only just saw that they do a 'Play' version for 99€.

All the standard pianos and settings are still there; you only loose the detailed model tweaking and microphone positioning - not bad!
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ubergod View Post

Even though the recording sounds better in the EastWest version, the real recording sounds much more like "music" to me, like one instrument as opposed to a bunch of individually recorded notes. One just seems to have soul and the other don't... (and this was just the first real recording I found, surely there are better for this particular piece)
You've hit it directly on the head. The issue with sampled pianos is that they ignore the fact that resonance between the strings and within the wood and metal of the instrument itself creates a world of overtones that drastically change the sound, all dependent on the minute differences of how loud each note is played (and all the frequencies contained in it). Sampled pianos simply cannot take this kind of mathematics into account. I would prefer a real piano to a sample every time, even on lesser quality real pianos.

That being said, I have always enjoyed the East-West.

-Mike
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:27 AM   #12
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Default Dimension Pro has some

nice Pianos plus you get Gigabytes of other top quality sounds.One of the best synths out there imho.I picked Dimension pro up on ebay for $60
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Old 07-04-2010, 12:20 PM   #13
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I've never tried any of these new hard drive size sampled grand pianos, but I really love 4Front TruePianos. It just has a playability that I finds missing from most sampled pianos I've tried.

Can anyone that has both TruePianos and Pianoteq comment on how they compare?

I also recently got Piano Collection2 for Sampletank, and while most of the pianos are very small in size, some work great in a mix (obviously not what the OP is looking for though) and for around $6, I can't complain!
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:00 PM   #14
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You've hit it directly on the head. The issue with sampled pianos is that they ignore the fact that resonance between the strings and within the wood and metal of the instrument itself creates a world of overtones that drastically change the sound, all dependent on the minute differences of how loud each note is played (and all the frequencies contained in it). Sampled pianos simply cannot take this kind of mathematics into account. I would prefer a real piano to a sample every time, even on lesser quality real pianos.

That being said, I have always enjoyed the East-West.

-Mike
they can but for the most part they don't. make no mistake sampled pianos and the such are not perfect imitations of these characteristics either. they are attempts at emulating them. and for me, they still fail miserably enough to be unplayable.

newer sampled pianos such as ivory II and alicias keys do indeed have sympathetic resonance. and the sound of the wood and whatnot is also recorded in the samples, and therefore they can also emulate the same effects in the wood and things like that.

the downside is that things like this, with samples of hammers resting, and pedals being pushed and velocity layers, and sympathetic resonance and convolution reverbs (which btw you can make for the sound of the reverberation of a piano itself.) are very cpu and ram intensive. this is the main drawback of sampled pianos imo. but i think as far as realism and all that goes they are amazing and will continue to be better. other sorts of pianos obviously will improve as well. but if you can play an incredibly realistic imitation of your actual favorite piano that actually exists, why would you bother with any other sort of imitation that merely imitates sounding like a generic piano? i'm not sure they will ever be able to recreate all the subtleties of the best actual pianos that exist. also every actual piano has its own character as well. so they'd need to go and find one specific piano and go and imitate it. as computers get more and more powerful i don't think there will ever be a reason to not use a sampled piano save for the ability to modify and shape the sound of your piano, which more some types of music would be real powerful. but if you want to recreate the experience of playing a real piano, imo the current best are sampled, and the future best will be sampled. even given that sympathetic resonnance isn't in many sampled pianos i prefer sampled over the alternative. of course this would need to be on a VST per VST basis. not all sampled pianos are better than all alternatives i don't find.

I do prefer real pianos over sampled ones like you do though. even lesser quality ones, and i think this will never change. most of it i think will be able to be emulated with sampled pianos. from a recording point of view i already have issues telling the difference. but for action, playability, and thereal sound of a piano, the loudness and sound it makes for the room you're in and all that i'm not sure will ever be duplicated.

what would be cool to try though is to have the latest sampled pianos with a powerhouse computer, and a convolution reverb of the exact room you're in for your sitting position and the position of your piano, and then see how that works out. would be a cool thing to try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
I've never tried any of these new hard drive size sampled grand pianos, but I really love 4Front TruePianos. It just has a playability that I finds missing from most sampled pianos I've tried.

Can anyone that has both TruePianos and Pianoteq comment on how they compare?

I also recently got Piano Collection2 for Sampletank, and while most of the pianos are very small in size, some work great in a mix (obviously not what the OP is looking for though) and for around $6, I can't complain!

I prefer the sound of truepianos out of the box. i like the sound the hammers make at least for the most part. if i recall i think i didn't like them in the high end as much. i also like the nice fullness of the bass of the piano. pianoteq is far more flexible though and you can really change many aspects of it to shape it to how you want it to sound and play. so taking that into consideration, if i spent a while tinkering with it, i might come to a point where i prefer it, but my vote goes to truepianos i think. still just a generic sounding piano though i find.

PS. i'm speaking from memory i haven't recently played these.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:17 PM   #15
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Well, I got to change my earlier opinion about pianoteq, I downloaded the demo and have spent some serious time with it. The string resonance is absolute fantastic, but what I feel is missing is the character of the sound. In this sense, TruePiano is fabulous, but on the other hand it is one-dimensional. (Can┤t they crossbreed?)

I am aware about the difficulties in creating a piano sound, and of course I share the opinion that nothing matches a good acoustic piano. However, out of experience I know that a good sampled piano can be a much better playing experience than a bad acoustic! For recording I will never use a sampled piano if I can avoid it, but for many live playing events, a real piano is simply not an option.


The imperfect pianos mentioned above sounded great on the demos, but of course you need to get Kontakt to play it. Hmmm. I┤m gravitating towards Pianoteq right now, but now I┤m having some problems with my laptop and must possibly consider getting another one solely for music first, so I┤ll just have to stick around with what I have for the moment. (It is always like that, eh? the day you win on the lottery is the day your car has a major breakdown)
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:59 PM   #16
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However, out of experience I know that a good sampled piano can be a much better playing experience than a bad acoustic!
ya, i guess it depends on what you call a bad acoustic, like how bad are we talking? and it depends on your speakers and the piano you're using as a controller.

but i think sampled pianos will never harness the power a real piano generates when you play it. so after a certain point, i'd prefer playing a less good real piano, over a Yamaha C7 sampled one. basically my point is, i wouldn't prefer to play a sampled piano of the greatest sounding piano on earth, versus a lesser real piano. as long as the action of the real piano is good, and it is in tune. but man, i love the sound of a C7. i can't imagine a more perfect piano sound. i'd loooove to play a real one.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:23 PM   #17
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i can't imagine a more perfect piano sound.
Like, really? B÷sendorfer? Fazioli? Shigeru Kawai? Especially this last one!
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:29 PM   #18
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After demoing Pianoteq, I definitely prefer TruePianos. I didn't do much tweaking (where I suspect the power lies), but TruePianos just sounded more 'natural'.

Pianoteq does sounds other than piano as well, so overall it might be better for a lot of people.
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:59 AM   #19
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I didn't do much tweaking (where I suspect the power lies)
ALL the power is there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
but TruePianos just sounded more 'natural'.
Heh, interestingly, I can still hear the sampled nature of TruePianos, it doesn't have smooth velocity ranges, and can even have timbral shifts between some adjacent keys, which is a clear sign that there's change of samples involved. To me, TruePianos definitely isn't playable in the same vein as Pianoteq, and its sympathetic resonance is a joke compared to Pianoteq's...


Just my $0.02
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:57 AM   #20
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With Ivory II around the corner, I would definitely hold off to see what the folks at Synthogy have to offer before making a purchase, if possible.

Sympathetic resonance is included in the upgrade, as well as half-pedaling, lid position, pedal noise, and a bunch of other new features.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:53 AM   #21
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Sympathetic resonance is included in the upgrade, as well as half-pedaling, lid position, pedal noise, and a bunch of other new features.
I presume not continuously variable in at least 127 levels. :P
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:28 AM   #22
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Like, really? B÷sendorfer? Fazioli? Shigeru Kawai? Especially this last one!
yes really.

I mean, i'm sure i would prefer different ones for different styles, but the one i prefer for my style is the Yamaha C7 easily. if i bought myself one piano it would be that one afaik right now. i've also never actually tried these pianos in real life.

i never heard of the shigeru kawai piano before but i find it sounds similar to the boesendorfer.

i find the Yamaha has some kind of buttery smooth characteristic, while still have a nice clean crisp and sharp attack. the attack of the boesendorfer and the kawai i find are more similar. but i've not really compared them much at length. i've only just heard the kawai once played on one recording just now. it does sound damn nice though don't get me wrong, i think i would cream in my pants if i got to play one, and that goes for all of those pianos you mentionned, but i still prefer the Yamaha C7 from what i've seen.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:50 AM   #23
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Don't mistake Kawai with Shigeru Kawai. Shigeru is on a MUCH, MUCH higher level. It is close to perfection, actually.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:20 AM   #24
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Don't mistake Kawai with Shigeru Kawai. Shigeru is on a MUCH, MUCH higher level. It is close to perfection, actually.
oh, oops, i was just abbreviating it, didn't realize there was a simple kawai version. i searched for shigeru Kawai though, so that's the one i heard at least.

but as for perfection, this is completely subjective. there is no perfect sounding piano. a favorite of individuals, sure, but no best in an absolute way. I think i still prefer the Yamaha C7, but i've never played them in real life. i find the shigeru kawai is boesendorfish, but the C7 has a different sort of character altogether. i love the low end on the C7 too. to me, the C7 is the closest to perfection i've encountered, to you, the Shigeru Kawai, so we have different taste, and probably different styles of playing too, in fact, i'm sure we have different styles of playing.

I agree with what you said about sampled pianos though too. it's true you can kind of pick out that they are samples, and slightly different from key to key, and i think that is aggravated by the lack of sympathetic resonance on most of them.

i still like synthogy C7 the most out of VSTs for pianos i tried though.

hey what will you do if they make a really good shigeru Kawai sampled piano with sympathetic resonance and everything? that would be quite the pickle for you huh? the sympathetic resonance on alicias keys is actually quite good too, i don't like the sound of the C3 as much though, it's kind of like the C7, but all like metallicish or lacking warmth i find. i'm sure the next gen of synthogy's pianos will be real good.


one thing that's for sure is you'll never get an attack anything close to that shigeru kawai with pianoteq. nowhere near. pianoteq 3 really improved their attack from pianoteq 2 though, i'll give it that. but still, nothing like the attack you get with good sampled pianos i find, and ya, those are still a ways from the real thing too but even at that, damn they're good.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #25
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one thing that's for sure is you'll never get an attack anything close to that shigeru kawai with pianoteq. nowhere near. pianoteq 3 really improved their attack from pianoteq 2 though i'll give it that. but still. nothing like the attack you get with good sampled pianos i find.
Wait for Pianoteq 4
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:22 PM   #26
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ALL the power is there.



Heh, interestingly, I can still hear the sampled nature of TruePianos, it doesn't have smooth velocity ranges, and can even have timbral shifts between some adjacent keys, which is a clear sign that there's change of samples involved. To me, TruePianos definitely isn't playable in the same vein as Pianoteq, and its sympathetic resonance is a joke compared to Pianoteq's...


Just my $0.02
I've never noticed the Timbral shifts with TruePianos.

However, after your comments I went back and played with Pianoteq some more.

Wow.

Just by pressing the random button I was quickly able to find some great sounds, I never would've thought possible from the presets.

Cheers!
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:24 PM   #27
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I've never noticed the Timbral shifts with TruePianos.
Some modules have it very slight, some more obvious, but it's definitely there.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:36 PM   #28
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Does anyone know if pianoteq or truepiano let you have the sympathetic resonance ONLY? no actual notes?

I was wondering if you could have one of them set up playing the same midi as a sampled piano but just mix in the resonance from the synth piano......


Thoughts?
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:01 PM   #29
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Wait for Pianoteq 4
I won't keep my hopes up. but anyways, Ivory II will have sympathetic resonnance, i don't want to tinker with software, i will hopefully have a beast of a computer soon enough. so pianoteq won't really be able to be in my arsenal. If/when i get Ivory II then all my piano needs will be met. i have a feeling anyways, i've not actually played with it yet.

sympathetic resonnance only from another piano won't sound very good probably. i'm not sure how they create it either, so it might not even be possible.

I never notice timbral shifts in truepianos either. with some of the other sampled pianos i've noticed a little bit. from key to key, but the velocity articulations are good. still. that doesn't bother me as much as a piano just sounding computer faked.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:52 PM   #30
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One thing I like with Pianoteq is that it loads fast and needs no bloody USB key thingie.

I am spending lots of time with the demo right now, most of the sounds do not really appeal to me but there is one or two that I feel I can play for a long time without getting ear fatigue or the feeling that the instrument is not responding well enough. I loved the sound of TruePianos, the attack sounds very good indeed, but then the sound just goes flat. With pianoteq you feel the strings, which is important for me because I rely a lot on the pedal.

Fascinating discussion about the best piano sound. I don┤t really care for Yamaha, I always found them overly bright. I thought that the 100-or-so year old Steinway grand they have at our local theatre was the best instrument I ever played, but then I came across a new Kawai. Clean, bright yet warm, immensely powerful, and with a super-precise mechanism. It just blew my mind. I have never played a Bosendorfer but would love to.

What do I mean with a bad upright? Well, out of tune, for one thing. An overly metallic sound, string buzz, badly regulated dampers so some keys either just keep on ringing or only sound muted, squeaky pedals, keys that stick or do not sound, missing ivory top on the key, tons of moisture in the instrument so the action is heavy, slow and just plain soggy... I┤ve encountered all these things, occasionaly everything on the same instrument. No matter how much I love to play a real acoustic, on these occasions I am quite grateful for my little digital piano.
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:32 PM   #31
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Try playing around with the random button with Pianoteq, I find its pretty easy to find nice sounds that way, and certainly more interesting than browsing through random presets.

As for TruePianos, I like the diamond model the best and have tweaked the release and dynamics to taste. I find its great for what I'm looking for which is a nice, natural sounding piano, which 'feels' like a real instrument, rather than a bunch of separately recording multi-samples.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:39 PM   #32
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One thing I like with Pianoteq is that it loads fast and needs no bloody USB key thingie.

I am spending lots of time with the demo right now, most of the sounds do not really appeal to me but there is one or two that I feel I can play for a long time without getting ear fatigue or the feeling that the instrument is not responding well enough. I loved the sound of TruePianos, the attack sounds very good indeed, but then the sound just goes flat. With pianoteq you feel the strings, which is important for me because I rely a lot on the pedal.

Fascinating discussion about the best piano sound. I don┤t really care for Yamaha, I always found them overly bright. I thought that the 100-or-so year old Steinway grand they have at our local theatre was the best instrument I ever played, but then I came across a new Kawai. Clean, bright yet warm, immensely powerful, and with a super-precise mechanism. It just blew my mind. I have never played a Bosendorfer but would love to.

What do I mean with a bad upright? Well, out of tune, for one thing. An overly metallic sound, string buzz, badly regulated dampers so some keys either just keep on ringing or only sound muted, squeaky pedals, keys that stick or do not sound, missing ivory top on the key, tons of moisture in the instrument so the action is heavy, slow and just plain soggy... I┤ve encountered all these things, occasionaly everything on the same instrument. No matter how much I love to play a real acoustic, on these occasions I am quite grateful for my little digital piano.
ya, the yamaha's are really bright, but also, you've had some good experience playing some real great pianos, me, i've only heard them as recorded and played them in VST format. one thing i've noticed about doing that, is that the action and feel of my one piano changes as i change the VST, and that really affects how the piano feels and plays to me, so ya, i find the yamaha's really bright sounding, and really crisp or smooth in the low end which i really like the sound of, but if you sat me in real life in front of these pianos, i could really see my opinion changing on which one i prefer. particularly that the sound of the piano in real life is directly related to the feel on the instrument, and action of a real piano is totally different and much better feel than just some weighted action. your experience with the kawai sounds interesting.

but ya, pianos in bad shape are less enjoyable than a VST piano imo as well. but as long as its well maintained and playable, i'll take a real acoustic over a VST, even though a VST might be of my favorite piano in the world, and the real piano, some brand i've never heard of.

but ya missing ivory, being out of tune and stuff like that is unplayable really.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:19 PM   #33
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Honestly, the most beautiful piano sounds I've ever heard came from EastWest libraries:
http://www.soundsonline.com/Pianos
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:31 AM   #34
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I bought the Upright from imperfect samples.

I actually really like it. The main reason i got it to begin with is that it sounds like i might have actually recorded it myself.

Friends have been quick to notice when they hear a perfectly recorded Steinway Grand in a concert hall that maybe it was sampled. but they didnt think twice when I used the imperfect samples.

Im about to upgrade from 8 layers to 14!

check it out

http://www.imperfectsamples.com/
thanks for this link, it seems to be the kind of pianosound that I am looking for...
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:06 PM   #35
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I just listened to some Shigeru Kawai recordings...

I've never heard lows with that much clarity while still retaining a deep, warm sound. so good.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:03 PM   #36
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PianoTeq is much more than Piano too.
I don't have the patience to list all of its cutomizable features, but it's the Piano of the past and the future, and also has sostenuto pedal.
Most sample developers know a real Pianist doesn't use sampled instruments, but expensive hardware stage Pianos, or even the real thing on the big jobs.
Knowing that they just skip over the sostenuto pedal thinking this is for indoor use as a VSTi where curves, loops and other various virtual techniques can be mimicked, ...maybe.

I await PTeq 4 too as each version, is usually a big step forward.
These guys aren't selling half baked instruments, and they seem to be their best critics too.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:45 AM   #37
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You've hit it directly on the head. The issue with sampled pianos is that they ignore the fact that resonance between the strings and within the wood and metal of the instrument itself creates a world of overtones that drastically change the sound, all dependent on the minute differences of how loud each note is played (and all the frequencies contained in it). Sampled pianos simply cannot take this kind of mathematics into account. I would prefer a real piano to a sample every time, even on lesser quality real pianos.

That being said, I have always enjoyed the East-West.

-Mike
First of all, I'm not a real piano player...I just plink around yet still come up w/ some ok stuff...I definitely lack any technique! You guys seem much more knowledgeable. So, I was wondering what you guys think about these ...

http://www.supremepiano.com/

I like the Ruby Piano which is like a C7 and the Blue - Steinway. They also have other fancy named pianos too. They have audio demos you can listen to and demos to play as well. To me they sound quite nice but I wondering what the real piano players thought? The key while playing the demos is to adjust the various resonance controls...too much and it brings out more of an artificial sound... adjusted just right and I like it!

What say you?
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:41 AM   #38
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Default best piano

For me the best Piano so far is the Bluthner Digital One
www.proaudiovault.com ...........

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