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Demo new soft synth pianos
#3034637 03/23/20 01:56 AM
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I’ve been using Alicia’s keys Yamaha as my main piano for the past 8 years, and I still love it. But I think it’s probably time I got some new ivories for some variety, but a piano is a very personal sound, and it would be nice to try out a piano VI before I buy it, and most don’t seem to offer that. Pre-made Demos are okay, but they only go so far.

Also, looking for suggestions on great pianos for heavy fusion jazz stuff. Herby, Chick, Tygran, Hiromi, etc. So most likely Yamahas. Gonna be in doors for a while so might as well get some new kit.


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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034645 03/23/20 03:20 AM
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Demos... hmm, they tend to be large installs and of course developers worry about their content being hacked.

On things to try... depending on your needs, there is a lite and full version of Garritan’s Yamaha CFX library recorded at Abby Road studios.

https://www.garritan.com/products/cfx-concert-grand-virtual-piano/

There’s also a very gig friendly sounding Yamaha C7 included with Spectrasonic’s KeyScape.

https://www.spectrasonics.net/products/keyscape/

Also a Yamaha C7 in the UVI Piano Collection
https://www.uvi.net/en/pianos-keyboards/324-key-suite-acoustic.html#specs


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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
ElmerJFudd #3034658 03/23/20 04:25 AM
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Modartt let's anyone demo Pianoteq for as long as you like. 8 notes are disabled and must be restarted after 20 minutes. Small price to pay to see if you like it. Some don't care for modeling. Would be curious what you think.

https://www.modartt.com/


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Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034660 03/23/20 04:37 AM
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One of the few who’s not a fan of PianoTeq. I have a lite version that came with one of my controllers, and it just felt wrong to me. I usually love modeling, particularly the concept of modeling, but something about the attack felt off. I know it’s popular and I’m alone in this. Maybe I’ll give it another shot. Maybe the single-model lite version really is inferior to the full thing or something.

Keyscape and UVI have both been on my radar. As well as Piano in Blue/Black, which many jazzers love.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034661 03/23/20 05:02 AM
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I love Keyscape....not for acoustic piano but for EVERYTHING else. You might want to look into Embertone Walker 1955 Steinway as well. Version 1 had pedal issues, but I think they fixed them with an update. I've yet to download and install the update myself.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGLSCLM7PwQ

Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034662 03/23/20 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by EricBarker
One of the few who’s not a fan of PianoTeq. I have a lite version that came with one of my controllers, and it just felt wrong to me.
You're not alone. I have been digging Bechstein's Bechstein. Bright in the bottom end, as compared to about everything else I have, but it feels/sounds like I am playing a real piano of course YMMV.
Cheers M


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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
Michael Wright #3034679 03/23/20 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Wright
I have been digging Bechstein's Bechstein. Bright in the bottom end, as compared to about everything else I have, but it feels/sounds like I am playing a real piano of course YMMV.
Cheers M

It (the Bechstein) is really quite amazing. I have played it a lot over the last couple weeks.

Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034690 03/23/20 02:21 PM
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My "piano progression" went:
Logic's pianos (eh) > Addictive Keys grand and upright (good) > Garritan CFX Lite (great IMO)

Since then I've gotten some of the Native Instrument pianos by getting Komplete: Maverick, Grandeur and Gentlemen, and I really like Una Corda because it's so different.

I dislike iLok and similar protection schemes so that narrows my choices quite a bit. Garritan was very friendly when I contacted them to ask a few questions (about installing on different computers etc) and I am very happy with their product. Eventually I may upgrade to CFX full. Of course, that is a Yamaha piano and so is Alicia's Keys, though from what I've heard they don't sound the same.

Also there is a thread on Fluffy Audio's sale on "My Piano", which is a very intimate and full-of-character upright I believe. I bought it but I have yet to install. It's now only 10 bucks and proceeds go to charity in Italy to help with the virus.

Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034747 03/23/20 10:43 PM
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I just bought Garritan's CFX Lite last week and liking it a lot so far. At $60 USD through retailers like Sweetwater, this is definitely a bargain.


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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034750 03/23/20 10:55 PM
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One note...CFX Lite was the first piano I got with enough size to it to make loading from my system hard drive a pain. It took 3-4 minutes to do the high-quality samples. I got an external SSD specifically to hold audio libraries--now it loads in 5-10 seconds.

Last edited by Stokely; 03/23/20 10:56 PM.
Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
Stokely #3034754 03/23/20 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Stokely
Also there is a thread on Fluffy Audio's sale on "My Piano", which is a very intimate and full-of-character upright I believe. I bought it but I have yet to install. It's now only 10 bucks and proceeds go to charity in Italy to help with the virus.
At $10 (until April 15), FluffyAudio's My Piano is a worthy addition. Here's the thread I started about it:

FluffyAudio My Piano $10: Proceeds Fight Covid-19

My approach is to have both a main piano that I use and a set of character pianos that I turn to for contrast. My main piano is Production Voices Production Grand 2. I really like the tone I'm able to sculpt with it. Here's a video that shows what you can do with it:

Production Grand Piano 430 GB Sample Library Sneak Peek

You can hear audio examples of it on my album as well. Here's the thread I started about that:

My First Solo Album

As for character pianos, like Stokely, I'm a fan of Una Corda. Other great options include Spitfire Audio's free Soft Piano and Production Voices Death Piano.

My main choice for upright has been Synthogy Ivory II Upright Pianos, but I'm really looking forward to throwing FluffyAudio My Piano into the mix.

Best,

Geoff


Enthusiasm powers the world.

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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034791 03/24/20 09:07 AM
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Yeah, I kinda have the same setup with Alicia's Keys (main) and The Giant (secondary). I love the way The Giant sounds on some material, but it's typically too complex for a full band mix or in a live setting.

Is Keyscape under a physical iLok? I guess I could go check. But I don't use any physical dongles live, and I hate to get synths that I only use in the studio, since I'm mostly live these days (or was until… ya know).


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034886 03/24/20 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by EricBarker
Is Keyscape under a physical iLok? I guess I could go check. But I don't use any physical dongles live, and I hate to get synths that I only use in the studio, since I'm mostly live these days (or was until… ya know).

No. Once you install it and authorize it thru their many factor authorization system online, you're good to go. No physical dongle or anything. Just like Kontakt, Arturia, P-Teq, etc..

Speaking of PianoTeq: I found it's really hard to judge the overall suitability with just the demo, or cheap version. A while back they had an upgrade sale, so I got the pro version in which you can really go in and tweak every little nuance.

As far as Keyscape, once I added Omnisphere, so I could use Keyscape Creative, I am liking the LA Grand Piano a lot. The electric piano are already stellar.

RIght now I use P-Teq as my main piano, Arturia for most of my synths (until I get a handle on learning Omnisphere), and Keyscape for all my electric pianos.


David
Gig Rig: Casio PX-5S | Komplete Kontrol S61mk2 | Mac Mini | Gig Performer

Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034904 03/24/20 09:33 PM
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Eric, like many here, I used to assume Yamaha for cutting through a louder and/or larger mix, but I have almost completely abandoned that brand in the studio at this point, in favour of C. Bechstein for most material, and the VSL Synchron Pianos on a case-by-case basis. I find the Bechstein very versatile and balanced overall, cutting through at all levels. I use it for Chick Corea arrangements as well.

Wavesfactory Mercury is an interesting choice as well. I have switched pianos so often on so many projects by now, that I'd have to open up Digital Performer and canvas a bunch of projects to really double-check where I use it, and where I apply various VSL Synchron Piano choices, but I am so well covered by these now, that I have sold Pianoteq and every resellable sample library.

For Yamaha though, I still own ISW Pearl, and may withdraw my ad as the free update is such a huge step forward. It's a C7, which somehow sounds better to me than any of my CFX's and seems to cut through more evenly. Could be the miking choices, the room, or the specific piano size. I don't know which Yamaha model Chick is using these days.

All of the listed libraries are super-intensive when it comes to resources; I have to put them all on an SSD. So for those who use computers for live work (I don't), Pianoteq is still likely to be the best option for versatility, cutting through the mix, and resource management for the best player response.


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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3034928 03/25/20 12:18 AM
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It doesn't have to be a Yamaha per se. Just wanted to use that to let people know the direction I'm going. I've never tried a C. Bechstein before, I might have to give it a test drive if possible.

Yeah everything I use is on SSD. I got a 1TB internal SSD for my new MBP which is only half full, so I've got enough for a good piano library or two. Got an SSD for my studio computer as well. I won't do samples on anything else at this point.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3035108 03/26/20 03:23 AM
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My recollection is that C. Bechstein has a demo version.


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, G5422DC-12, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3035176 03/26/20 03:31 PM
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You old turds just figuring out the advantages of Solid State Drives.
Maybe you should spend some time at Gearslutz PC builder thread


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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
Throbert #3035280 03/26/20 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Throbert
You old turds just figuring out the advantages of Solid State Drives.
Solid State Drives are possibly the greatest advancement in computer processing for VIs in the past 20 years. Particularly samplers. Here's how it works:

Sophisticated sample engines test the drive read speed, if it can reliably start streaming a sample off the drive in 100ms, it buffers 100ms of the sample into RAM so it can start playing immediately, and then switches over to the drive later. If it can reliably start streaming in 10ms, it only loads 10ms into RAM. The faster the drive, the less it loads to RAM. When I switched to SSD my RAM use plummeted. Additionally, SSDs have VERY consistent read times, since there's no variable travel distance for a drive head. With an HDD, sometimes the drive lags behind and doesn't catch up in time; you get a glitch. With an SSD, there are no glitches, because the buffer time is extremely consistent. I also suspect these variable calculations are quite taxing on the CPU. I have no proof of this, but I think the CPU is hit less too.

With SSD, RAM limitations are not what they used to be. Much more data is cached to the drive for lower priority tasks that used to go to RAM.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3035283 03/27/20 12:26 AM
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SSD's are great but are uber-expensive, for someone who has many terrabytes of sample libraries. Even though I've sold a lot (and have still more to sell), I have not been successful in getting everything critical onto SSD yet. The prices have remained constant for two years now, and do not scale to size. So I still only have a 2 TB SSD in Thunderbolt 3 format, from Glyph. It holds my remaining top-choice piano libs, a bunch of other stuff from preferred vendors Soniccouture and ISW (Impact Soundworks), and the newer Syncron stuff from VSL (Vienna Symphonic Library).


Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, G5422DC-12, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
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Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3035316 03/27/20 06:18 AM
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Thankfully, I've been fairly frugal about my sample library purchases over the years. I'm still fine with a TB. I gig with software, and I try not to use patches in the studio that I wouldn't use live, so that keeps me from racking things up.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3035331 03/27/20 01:18 PM
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I used spinning platter drives in external enclosures for years with zero issues. Get an SSD for reliability, not because you think you need the speed. As I understand it, SSD memory cells wear out when you write to them, not read from them – so dedicating one to sample streaming is a great idea.

I always used external drives to store sample libraries, even when I went to SSDs. That's a holdover from the days where one was told not to keep your samples on the same drive as your system software. Recently I upgraded from a 256GB to a 1TB in my MacBook Pro and have slowly started migrating essential libraries to the internal, stored in a separate APFS "container", and it's working our fine so far.

Re: Demo new soft synth pianos
EricBarker #3035359 03/27/20 04:20 PM
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For quite some time now the norm is to not have any internal HDDs because of noise heat and of course speed.
External/mobile HDDs are now used for backups and storage of non essential files. Prices of SSDs have come
down considerably in the last few years and the norm is currently changing from SSDs to M.2 NVME drives.

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