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Shooting out with my soft pianos


DafDuc

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It was a very unscientific test, but I've picked up a couple of soft pianos lately: a lite version of The Grand, and the grand piano in the Garritan Personal Orchestra. I have a bunch of Acid tracks I've done using mdaPiano, a freebie (modeled?) VSTi that I particularly like.

 

I took a swampy bayou track I worked up a year or so ago, and started swapping VSTi's. I noted the following:

 

The Grand, in its default setting, is LOUD. Decent sound, but a bit static for my tastes: it doesn't unfold as nicely as the mda freebie. Not sure if I'll get much use from it or not, but it may be my second-best piano, and I'll definitely be trying it in mixes where the mda ain't cutting it.

 

The GPO piano was very bright, but VERY static. Maybe I respond to that more than most people? Anyhow, if I need to cut through a mix, this is definitely worth a try. It's not half bad, just not what I like. The Dr. Johnisms (I am SO not worthy...) that all sounded so lush on the mda just sound silly on the GPO. I think I'd fire up my SampleTank Free piano before this one. At least it's better than the GM piano Sony built in to Acid.

 

I'm going to try this in a few more mixes, too - I cover a lot of styles, maybe the Iko Iko thing ain't the best way to test them out. But the mdaPiano just keeps surprising me...

 

Daf

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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Hmm, surprise -- I find mda piano to sound pretty unnatural and unpleasant.

 

Try re-recording some of the pieces, using the new soft pianos. You see, we piano players don't play some arbitrary perfect & pure piano. We play the instrument at hand, and adjust our dynamics to the sound we're getting. Since dynamics can be very different from one GREAT piano to another GREAT piano, a MIDI file that sounds perfect on one could sound rather flat on the other -- and vice versa!

 

Piano shootouts using a single MIDI file can be interesting, but the only sensible way to audition a piano is to play it.

 

One of my favorite piano soundfonts is the 136MB Splendid Grand (which is pretty darn good for a freebie). The highest velocity samples sound very tinny, so I don't dig all the way in when playing it, except for occasional places where it works for one reason or another. If I play the piano shootout MIDI file at [hmmm, can't remember the site offhand, but a good piano shootout site] it sounds terrible. Yet I've made recordings I really like with it.

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Good point.

 

I recorded these on my old puter, using the mdaPiano. The new puter's crappy Audigy card is giving me higher latency on my VSTi's, so I can't record with them - I have to use the Audigy GM sounds, then swap in the VSTi's after.

 

I've got sound cards to install, and have been putting it off. Maybe it's time...

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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The ultimate test would be in a real setting, on a job, whatever, with other musicians playing with you. I have gotten burned several times when the piano sounded great in the store or in a mp3 file but sounded lousy or less than great in a real setting.

 

Are you planning on testing in a real live situation?

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Jeff,

 

I have it somewhere - probably downloaded on my old box. You're right, I should try it. Creative's ASIO drivers aren't making me happy...

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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Great subject! I'm trying to upgrade my pianos, considering my all date from around '96. I was interested in the new Premium Grand Piano from M-Audio. Turns out it's the same piano as the one that''s in their ProKeys 88 & the local music store has one of those. So I'm checking it out & I say to the salesman, do you have Reason 3 & he said yes. We called up it's best piano & guess what - it's the same one. Saved myself $100. But I would like something better & you guys have mentioned ones that I didn't know about. Thanks.

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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Originally posted by learjeff:

One of my favorite piano soundfonts is the 136MB Splendid Grand (which is pretty darn good for a freebie). The highest velocity samples sound very tinny, so I don't dig all the way in when playing it, except for occasional places where it works for one reason or another. If I play the piano shootout MIDI file at [hmmm, can't remember the site offhand, but a good piano shootout site] it sounds terrible. Yet I've made recordings I really like with it.

I downloaded the Splendid Piano, at least I think I downloaded it. It's only 72 megs. Sounds pretty good except when you play it too hard, the highest velocity samples are pretty hard sounding. I've come to the conclusion, there are no bad piano sounds out there, just different sounding samples. It's plenty big sounding! Thanks for the info!!

Steve

 

www.seagullphotodesign.com

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