It is currently Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:33 am
   
Text Size

Best piano sample library? especially Steinway?

For seeking technical help with Digital Performer and/or plug-ins on MacOS.

Moderators: James Steele, Shooshie

Forum rules
This forum is for seeking solutions to technical problems involving Digital Performer and/or plug-ins on MacOS, as well as feature requests, criticisms, comparison to other DAWs.

Best piano sample library? especially Steinway?

Postby Renaissance Man » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:16 am

I have a project coming up where my client wants a Steinway B brought in. I really have no problem doing this, but was wondering instead if there are any piano libraries out there that might be impressive enough change his mind.
I have a Kurzweil K2600 88 key weighted action keyboard and I don't think it's the controller he's dissatisfied with. It's the sound he's hearing and level of nuance available in the programs I have available- just the basic Orchestral, Contemporary, Stereo Dynamic Piano, and Vintage Electric Piano ROM Blocks and a few sample CDroms.
I've heard that Ivory is good, but have no experience with any of the available piano libraries.
Forgive my ignorance, but I play woodwinds- not piano.
Christopher
Mac Pro Intel 8-core 2.8, 16GB RAM, OS10.6.8, DP7.2.3; G4 MDD Dual 1.2, 2GB RAM; Waves Mercury V7r3 + SSL 4000 Collection, AutoTune 7, SyncroArts VocAlign Project, EastWest Quantum Leap Pianos, Nomad Factory Integral Studio Pack III, BBE D82 Sonic Maximizer, Slate Digital VCC RC Tube and Trigger, MOTU PCI 424 & PCIe 424, 2408Mk3 (3), 24io, MTP AV USB, Apogee A/D & Big Ben, CraneSong HEDD 192, bunch of outboard mic pres & comps, microphones, keyboards, house drums, instruments...
User avatar
Renaissance Man
 
Posts: 220
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: Ohio
Primary DAW OS: MacOS

Postby Dave Connor » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:24 am

I wouldn't think so if you really want to capture all the things that go into a piano performance. If he's asking for a Steinway B recorded live that's a very specific request that can only be approximated with samples. It would be like a race car video game versus driving around a certain town in a Ferrari.
2012 Mac Pro 12 Core, OS 10.8.5, 48 gigs ram; 2408 (3), 308, DP 8.05 http://www.daveconnor.net
Dave Connor
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 6:41 pm
Primary DAW OS: Unspecified

Postby KarlSutton » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:30 am

I really love Ivory, but it is not even close to the same as playing my Yamaha upright, let alone a Steinway grand.

For an inspired performance I can't imagine replacing the real thing with its virtual equivalent.
MPB 17" 2.66 i7/8GB RAM, OSX 10.6.8, DP 7.24, 828 mkII, Ethno 1 via Ultimate Soundbank, MX4, MSI, Komplete 9, Ivory, Stylus RMX.

for a time:MacPro6,1 3Ghz 8 core 32GB RAM
User avatar
KarlSutton
 
Posts: 505
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2005 10:01 pm
Location: Mount Juliet, TN
Primary DAW OS: Unspecified

Postby Dwetmaster » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:51 am

All that said, Ivory and maybe NI's Akoustik Piano are about as good as it can get...

I heard that for tracking MIDI performance, the yamaha s90 (yamahaq s90) is REALLY good. You monitor through the built in piano sound AND YOU RECORD IT FOR ANY REFERENCE but you use the MIDI data with the VI for playback.
MacPro 8Core 2.8GHZ 16GB RAM OSX10.8.3
MacBook Pro 17" Unibody 2011 OSX10.8.3
896mk3, BLA Modded 896HD, BLA Microclock, MTP-AV, Yamaha KX-8, CME VX-7 Mackie Ctrl, megadrum, Presonus C-S,
DP8.04, Bidule, M5 3, Ethno 2, BPM 1.5 Kontakt4, BFD2, SD2, Omnisphere, Wave Arts P-S5, Altiverb7, PSP VW & OldTimer, VB3, Ivory 2 Grand, True Pianos, Ozone 5, Reason 4, AmpliTube3, Bla bla bla...
A few El & Ac basses & Guitars, Hammond A-100.
User avatar
Dwetmaster
 
Posts: 3419
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:59 am
Location: Montreal Canada
Primary DAW OS: Unspecified

Postby Shooshie » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:49 pm

People say that hearing a real piano is different than hearing even the best piano sample, but they are comparing apples and oranges.* The real comparison is between the piano samples and a RECORDING of a real piano. The Ivory samples were very well-recorded. It would take some sophisticated mics, preamps, and a really good room to surpass Ivory. Not to mention a top-notch piano perfectly tuned. Factor in the number of takes and punch-ins, and then you're looking at a tremendous difference in cost, not to mention the possibility that Ivory's recorded samples may still sound better than your recorded piano.

Also, if you get Ivory's Italian Grand, it's going to up the bar even more. The thing to do would be to do a pair of test recordings where the client does not know which is which, play them for the client(s), and then let them choose the sound they prefer.

Shooshie

*a more accurate analogy is comparing apples with pictures of apples. In the end, it will be pictures of apples vs. pictures of apples, and you need to see whose pictures look more realistic.
|l| OS X 10.9.5 Beta |l| DP 8.07 |l| 2.4 GHz 12-Core MacPro 2012 |l| 40GB RAM |l| Mach5.3 |l| Waves 9.x |l| Nomad Factory Vintage Plugins |l| Altiverb |l| Ivory 2 New York Steinway |l| Wallander WIVI 2.30 Winds, Brass, Saxes |l| Garritan Aria |l| VSL 5.3.1 and VSL Pro 2.3.1 |l| Yamaha WX-5 MIDI Wind Controller |l| Roland FC-300 |l|
User avatar
Shooshie
 
Posts: 16807
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:01 pm
Location: Dallas
Primary DAW OS: MacOS

Postby Frodo » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:38 pm

Shooshie wrote:Also, if you get Ivory's Italian Grand, it's going to up the bar even more.


+1
2012 MacPro 12-core, 40GB RAM, OSX 10.8.5, DP8.05…
User avatar
Frodo
 
Posts: 15522
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: The Shire
Primary DAW OS: MacOS

Postby mhschmieder » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:14 pm

Shooshie is right -- as long as we are talking about recording something and playing it back through speakers vs. a "live" performance where a sample library is substituting for the three-dimensional sound of an actual acoustic piano in the room, a sample library or physically modeled or hybrid modeled/sampled piano can often sound better than a live recorded piano due to the expertise involved in properly miking and recording.

Many of us have developed a preference for modeled and/or hybrid technologies these past few years or so, such as Pianoteq, TruePianos (correct me if I'm wrong on that one being hybrid), and hardware-wise the extremely impressive hybrid sampled/modeled Steinway and Fazioli painos from General Music (especially PRP700/800, Promega 2/3, and RP-x module).

There are also some strong opinions by many that the timbre is not as realistic towards a specific piano when going that route. The GEM DRAKE-based pianos of course benefit from actual Steinway and Fazioli samples so do not tend to receive this criticism that is often levied towards Pianoteq.

Garritan has an upcoming Steinway sample library that has the blessings of the Steinway corporation itself, for whatever that is worth.

Luckily for you, most or all of these options allow for free trial downloads (in the case of software VI's) or very trustworthy on-line audio samples from General Music's digital piano hardware (I can vouch for this as I own the actual product and their audio demos are not processed to make them sound better than they do naked -- although realistically you would probably apply some processing in the studio anyway).

Let us know if you have trouble finding links for the above-mentioned products in these posting followups on your own -- including those mentioned by others, such as Ivory and Akoustik Piano (I own the latter but not the former, and should point out that both products are EXTREMELY CPU-hungry).

There is also a website that posts fine audio examples of just about every hardware and software digital piano in existence, but I have that link at home. It might show up in a Google if you search on "digital piano comparison" with maybe a few additional qualifiers. Bear in mind that MP3's even when using L.A.M.E. at the highest quality level will still degrade the low-end in particular (compression of longer wavelengths results in more artefacts and less recoverable detail).

The GEM PRP-700 (PRP-800 has built-in speakers that are truly horrible but "only" cost $60 more), might be a good long-term investment for your studio, as it also has excellent keybed action. The black keys are slick, but no keyboard is perfect -- everything out there in the digital piano world has one or two missing or non-ideal features, whether in the MIDI spec department or the area of action/aftertouch/etc., and we all end up having to make a compromise or two regardless of what we end up with. Fortunately these compromises are not as serious as in the past.

Hardware-wise, Roland also has a new RD700GX digital piano coming out in a few weeks, which has a new "ivory touch" imitative texture to the keys. Some people think their Steinway samples amongst the best, and they do keep improving. Ultimately most outboard hardware that is samples-only (as opposed to hybrid sampled/modeled such as GEM) is unlikely to be as detailed or accurate as an "unbounded" software library that can be much larger and require more CPU power.

Anyway, you will need something to enter the notes if you go the sample library or software VI route, so it is important to know the choices and to budget for either a separate controller (such as a Studiologic VMK188plus, which has no sounds but has a very authentic acoustic piano action -- as do the more expensive CME controllers), or a digital piano that is either used just for entering notes for later rendering from MIDI to audio, or is used simultaneously as the actual sound source (such as GEM PRP-700, Roland RD700SG, or a few other options -- but I specifically mention these two because you are going for a Steinway sound vs. a Yamaha or Kawai sound).
Last edited by mhschmieder on Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MacPro Quad-Core Intel Xeon (2.8 GHz, 16 GB), OSX 10.9.4, MOTU DP 8.07, iZotope RX 3.0.1
FireFace UFX, OctoPre Mk II, True Precision 8, AEA RPQ, Radial PZ-DI & Reamp JCR

Eugenio Upright, Dingwall Afterburner, BB-1025X, 50th T-Bird, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Warmoth Fretless, Viking Baritone
57 Goldtop, Firebird, Select Strat/Tele, G5422-12, X-175B Manhattan, 000-28, D-15M, J-15, M-120, ABT60
Yamaha WX5, Hammond 44 Melodion, XK-1c, Suzuki Andes, Minimoog Voyager, Prophet 12, MEK
User avatar
mhschmieder
 
Posts: 8511
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:01 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Primary DAW OS: MacOS

Postby blue » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:18 pm

I've been reading good things about a newish VI called the "Blüthner Digital Model One." They sampled a Blüthner Model One at Skywalker Ranch, but that's only part of the story. The VI comes with a ton of timbral impulse responses that gives the user a lot of options for sculpting the overall sound. I haven't played around with it yet, but I like the concept. Finding the right piano sound is always tricky for me.

Check out their site here. It might be one of the worst websites I've seen in a long while, but if you can get past that you'll find some audio and video demos that give you an idea of what can be achieved with this piano.
Last edited by blue on Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MP 2.93 GHz Quad :: 16 GB RAM :: OS 10.6.2 :: DP 7.11
User avatar
blue
 
Posts: 1905
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:01 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Primary DAW OS: Unspecified

Postby WSVP » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:21 pm

Shooshie wrote:Not to mention a top-notch piano perfectly tuned. Factor in the number of takes and punch-ins, and then you're looking at a tremendous difference in cost, not to mention the possibility that Ivory's recorded samples may still sound better than your recorded piano.

Also, if you get Ivory's Italian Grand, it's going to up the bar even more. The thing to do would be to do a pair of test recordings where the client does not know which is which, play them for the client(s), and then let them choose the sound they prefer.

Shooshie

*a more accurate analogy is comparing apples with pictures of apples. In the end, it will be pictures of apples vs. pictures of apples, and you need to see whose pictures look more realistic.


Very well put, I completely agree with Shooshie...

In addition I also like..

~ The Concert Grand D in Akoustik Piano by Native Instruments
~ Reason Pianos is also an excellent product (if you have Reason)
~ The Art Vista Virtual Grand Piano is also fairly decent

There is a slight latency when working with a virtual instrument. If the performer can get past this there are many advantages to using MIDI into a VI...

~ Editing (both velocity and timing)
~ experimenting with different pianos
~ And of course TRANSPOSITION.

Don't get me wrong a great sounding real piano is a wonderful thing. However there are ssssoooo.. many things that can go wrong when moving such a large and temperamental instrument.
WSVP
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:01 pm
Primary DAW OS: Unspecified

Postby Frodo » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:25 pm

blue wrote:
Check out their site here. It might be one of the worst websites I've seen in a long while, but if you can get past that you'll find some audio and video demos that give you an idea of what can be achieved with this piano.


Got a 404 with the link for some reason... Sometimes certain url's don't work on U-nation, like geocites and others.

See if this does it:

http://www.proaudiovault.com/
2012 MacPro 12-core, 40GB RAM, OSX 10.8.5, DP8.05…
User avatar
Frodo
 
Posts: 15522
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: The Shire
Primary DAW OS: MacOS

Postby Shooshie » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:36 pm

WSVP wrote:In addition I also like..

~ The Concert Grand D in Akoustik Piano by Native Instruments
~ Reason Pianos is also an excellent product (if you have Reason)
~ The Art Vista Virtual Grand Piano is also fairly decent

There is a slight latency when working with a virtual instrument. If the performer can get past this there are many advantages to using MIDI into a VI...

~ Editing (both velocity and timing)
~ experimenting with different pianos
~ And of course TRANSPOSITION.

Don't get me wrong a great sounding real piano is a wonderful thing. However there are ssssoooo.. many things that can go wrong when moving such a large and temperamental instrument.



Akoustik Piano is indeed excellent. After switching to Leopard there was a period during which Ivory was incompatible, so I had to go back to Akoustik Piano. It was fun rediscovering just how good it really is. I know more now than I did when I switched away from it, so I was able to tweak it until it was really a match for Ivory, just different.

Having said that, I still use Ivory (now that it works again), and I often use Ivory's Yamaha samples. I have the good fortune of having recorded tons of piano on a Yamaha Disklavier Grand (7 foot). Having recorded the audio, I also recorded the MIDI, so I've got both -- the audio and the MIDI from the same performance, which is kind of rare. So, I have often plugged in Ivory's Yamaha Grand sample, to find that it is virtually indistinguishable from my recordings of the grand itself. Sometimes I even think it sounds better.

Truly an amazing and often confusing time we live in.

Shooshie
|l| OS X 10.9.5 Beta |l| DP 8.07 |l| 2.4 GHz 12-Core MacPro 2012 |l| 40GB RAM |l| Mach5.3 |l| Waves 9.x |l| Nomad Factory Vintage Plugins |l| Altiverb |l| Ivory 2 New York Steinway |l| Wallander WIVI 2.30 Winds, Brass, Saxes |l| Garritan Aria |l| VSL 5.3.1 and VSL Pro 2.3.1 |l| Yamaha WX-5 MIDI Wind Controller |l| Roland FC-300 |l|
User avatar
Shooshie
 
Posts: 16807
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:01 pm
Location: Dallas
Primary DAW OS: MacOS

Postby blue » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:15 pm

Frodo wrote:
blue wrote:
Check out their site here. It might be one of the worst websites I've seen in a long while, but if you can get past that you'll find some audio and video demos that give you an idea of what can be achieved with this piano.


Got a 404 with the link for some reason... Sometimes certain url's don't work on U-nation, like geocites and others.

See if this does it:

http://www.proaudiovault.com/


It does. Thanks, Frodo. I just realized I screwed up the link. It's fixed now.
MP 2.93 GHz Quad :: 16 GB RAM :: OS 10.6.2 :: DP 7.11
User avatar
blue
 
Posts: 1905
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:01 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Primary DAW OS: Unspecified

Postby scooter » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:39 pm

I've tried Ivory and Akoustik Piano. I put in a vote for Akoustik piano.

scooter
2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Mac. Snow Leopard 10.6.8.12 gig memory. 2408 MK3 & MOTU 24 I/O. & 828mk3 D.P. 8.04 Lots of plug ins. Reading glasses
User avatar
scooter
 
Posts: 716
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:13 pm
Primary DAW OS: Unspecified

Postby Renaissance Man » Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:41 pm

The "Blüthner Digital Model One." is indeed impressive, but I don't consider myself qualified to make any comparisons. Now if it was a saxophone...
The responses to this thread are more than I could have hoped for. Obviously much study is called for, and I'm sure it will take weeks.

Again, I'm not a keyboard player and I have no experience with VI's. Most of the recording I've done is with clients using electronic keyboards (the client's or my studio keyboard rig) either directly connected or controlling a sound module. Whenever possible I record both the audio and the MIDI. This has been a tremendous help in cleaning the occasional clinker from an otherwise stellar performance.

Thanks guys for your valuable input. Any more links and ideas are greatly appreciated.
Christopher
Mac Pro Intel 8-core 2.8, 16GB RAM, OS10.6.8, DP7.2.3; G4 MDD Dual 1.2, 2GB RAM; Waves Mercury V7r3 + SSL 4000 Collection, AutoTune 7, SyncroArts VocAlign Project, EastWest Quantum Leap Pianos, Nomad Factory Integral Studio Pack III, BBE D82 Sonic Maximizer, Slate Digital VCC RC Tube and Trigger, MOTU PCI 424 & PCIe 424, 2408Mk3 (3), 24io, MTP AV USB, Apogee A/D & Big Ben, CraneSong HEDD 192, bunch of outboard mic pres & comps, microphones, keyboards, house drums, instruments...
User avatar
Renaissance Man
 
Posts: 220
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: Ohio
Primary DAW OS: MacOS

Postby Dave Connor » Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:55 pm

Being a piano player and sitting a few feet away from my Yamaha C7 (1996 model where more Steinway design features were implemented and two inches where added to the length 7' 6") I can get a better recording with a couple of 414's and a low end preamp in my living room than any of my Akoustic Piano samples. This by a factor of say 1,000 or more. By that I mean every concievable parameter you could think of will be exponentially better.

There isn't even a remote comparison. I know because I have both and use both. They are worlds apart. Piano samples are fine but if a guy comes along asking for a live recording of a B than your best hope would be that he really doesn't know what he's asking for. If I asked for the same and then was presented with samples I would merely repeat my original request (while glancing at my watch and studios phone book.)

edit: Let me add that piano samples do the job in countless ways and are extremely utilitarian. But you're not going to do Beethoven Sonata's or Bill Evans tunes in league with a good Steinway. Pop or film cues sure: Rachmaninov no.
2012 Mac Pro 12 Core, OS 10.8.5, 48 gigs ram; 2408 (3), 308, DP 8.05 http://www.daveconnor.net
Dave Connor
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2005 6:41 pm
Primary DAW OS: Unspecified

Next

Return to Digital Performer [MacOS]: Troubleshooting/Criticism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests


Who is online

In total there are 8 users online :: 2 registered, 0 hidden and 6 guests (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 151 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:07 pm

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests

Login Form