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A new Piano appeared! 'The Upright' by Audio Brewers

AudioBrewers

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Hi everyone, we are the Audio Brewers, and we launched as a company focused on creating Sample Libraries recorded, mixed and delivered in Ambisonics!

We are thrilled to announce that our flagship product, 'The Upright' is now available!

Upright-Feature-Right.png
'The Upright' is a 1989 vintage upright piano with a unique and intimate feeling, thanks to our recording and mixing techniques, the result is a rich sound that makes you feel completely involved with the music you're playing.

'The Upright' comes in Ambisonics! Meaning that if you have a head tracker, you can hear and feel the piano as if you were sitting right in front of it!
It also means that you can decode the signal to Stereo, any type of Surround (including height channels and Atmos), Binaural and even keep it for VR applications natively. No need to use baked microphones and reverbs to achieve realism.
Finally, The Upright also comes mixed in native Stereo, so if you have a workflow in which you want to remain, you can absolutely use the beautiful and mellow sound this vintage piano offers.

'The Upright' was recorded in Sustains, Una Corda, Felt Keys, and an ambitious amount of Prepared articulations - a total of 100GB (Compressed to 49GB) @ 24/48.

The first volume of this unique library (Sustains) is available now at an intro price.
New volumes will come out through this and next month, and regardless on when you decide to get 'The Upright', you will receive all five core volumes as they come out, at no extra cost!

If you want to listen to The Upright in 360-degree, we've prepared some demos where you can experience its magic (best viewed at 8K). The demos below use EXCLUSIVELY 'The Upright' and its engine, there are no third-party sound processors or effects! What you hear is what you get!



If you have any doubt about Ambisonics, its compatibility or want to know more, please do not hesitate to visit our official site, where we have prepared a large amount of documentation and tutorials! If you still have doubts, you can drop us a line. We are a small boutique company and our main aim is to connect with you and try new things that could help you achieve beautiful music.

We also offer additional discounts to students and educators! So don't hesitate to reach us if you are either! :)

The Upright is available at www.audiobrewers.com

EDIT: Click here to download the Demo "After The Fall" in RAW Ambisonics and decoded to Surround 5.1 and to Surround 7.1.4, no processing done, simply decoded with Nuendo.

Channel assignments are Nuendo's default:
5.1: L R C LFE Ls Rs
7.1.4: L R C LFE Ls Rs SideL SideR TopFrontL TopFrontR TopBackL TopBackR


If you cannot download by clicking, try right-click "save as..."
 
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Rory

Amateur Auteur
Hi, could you provide some details about how you did the ambisonic recordings? I didn't see that information on your website, but perhaps I missed the page.
 
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AudioBrewers

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Great question - so the Ambisonics recordings were preceded by an in-house months-long research on how we could achieve pristine sound but at the same time, staying "decent" in size, as there would be no point on releasing a several-hundred-gigabyte unplayable library (looking at 2nd order Ambisonics and above, where each sample would have been humongous in size, and that, multiplied by hundreds of voices, would kill any average computer).

Clearly, the easiest way would be to simply place an Ambisonics mic at players' head, but we felt that killed the balance on the instrument's harmonic richness. The Piano is not only what comes first as direct sound, but it emits sound all around, it fills the room, above an instrument, it's an art installation, it connects the brain and the heart to music like no other instrument, and this was exactly our dogma. Our team doesn't only have sound engineers, but also musicians, and they are picky when in control, and we had to obey :P

Additionally, there was the option to simply use "spot" mics and then place them in a virtual 3D environment, but that would have been an easy way and kinda pointless.

So we grabbed the best parts from each world (what the musician needs to hear, what the sound engineer wants to express, the Ambisonics mics, the traditional mics), and recorded the piano using several Ambisonics microphones along with several traditional microphones to capture dozens of channels.

Oh also to mention, we tried using machines to sample the piano but we felt the human touch was unbeatable - trust me, we tried dozens of methods, but although machines would have given us twice the velocity amount, they made the attack sound hollow, it was a completely different sound - so we went the traditional path of "play each velocity and meditate for the next 60 seconds".

Now - how to translate those hundreds of gigs into a product? Traditionally "acoustic" libraries have usually had microphone positions, but we felt that for this approach, the user would spend many hours having to tweak the sound to get something good, and people have different setups, different speaker-arrays, different needs - when you leave the Stereo spectrum and join the three-dimensional one there are many things to consider.

So we went with the "Mixes" approach instead of the mic positions - we mixed the Piano so that it sounded great not only in several environments but also with several speaker arrays - be it binaural, stereo, 5.1-7.1, and even including height channels like 7.1.2 and in infinite-perspective for VR applications... every decoded environment had to sound rich and beautiful, so our mix was monitored constantly on each.

We aimed to offer composers something that simply worked, we know how musicians sometimes have to spend hours tweaking the sound to achieve what they're looking for - yes, you can do that too with 'The Upright', but the important thing is that as you load the library, it works!

So that's more or less the approach we followed, we joined both worlds to try and offer something interesting and full.

We're unveiling pictures of the sessions throughout the days in our socials, so feel free to follow us to keep updated! :)
 
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AudioBrewers

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Thanks for explaining the recording approach. Which mikes did you use?

So for the mics arrays we used a combination of Rodes, a couple of pairs of 414s, CM4s and B&Ks. Finally we used a custom array of microphones that we are still experimenting with for a future product so we cannot give much details as of yet (but don't worry, we will :) ). Everything ran through RMEs as well as Sound Devices pres directly to the DAW.

Although extremely important, mixing also played a massive role in translating into a unique environment! We hope you like what you hear :)
 

Rory

Amateur Auteur
...... and backordered as well ! :P

Here's some background...

In 2016, Sennheiser launched its AMBEO VR microphone as a cost-effective way for people to record ambisonically. That mike sells for US$1295:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1288520-REG/sennheiser_507195_ambeo_3d_vr_microphone.html

In 2018, RØDE launched an ambisonic mike to compete with the Sennheiser at a lower price point, currently US$999: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1403003-REG/rode_nt_sf1_soundfield_ambisonic_microphone.html

Both of these mikes contain four microphone capsules and are what are known as "first order" ambisonic microphones. There are a number of other "orders", but you are quickly talking about a lot more money.

I took the photo below while testing the Sennheiser AMBEO VR last spring. As you can see, the normal orientation of these mikes is vertical.

AudioBrewers notes above that they used a Sound Devices audio recorder. Sound Devices has a plugin for its recorders that decodes an ambisonic recording into a number of components. The blue bag in the photo contains a Sound Devices MixPre 6 II recorder with the plugin installed.

A good place to explore what ambisonic recording is about is Sennheiser's AMBEO pages at https://en-us.sennheiser.com/microphone-3d-audio-ambeo-vr-mic


ambeo.jpg
 
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sostenuto

NKS Fan !
Here's some background...

In 2016, Sennheiser launched its AMBEO VR microphone as a cost-effective way for people to record ambisonically. That mike sells for US$1295:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1288520-REG/sennheiser_507195_ambeo_3d_vr_microphone.html

In 2018, RØDE launched an ambisonic mike to compete with the Sennheiser at a lower price point, currently US$999: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1403003-REG/rode_nt_sf1_soundfield_ambisonic_microphone.html

Both of these mikes contain four microphone capsules and are what are known as "first order" ambisonic microphones. There are a number of other "orders", but you are quickly talking about a lot more money.

I took the photo below while testing the Sennheiser AMBEO VR last spring. As you can see, the normal orientation of these mikes is vertical.

AudioBrewers notes above that they used a Sound Devices audio recorder. Sound Devices has a plugin for its recorders that decodes an ambisonic recording into a number of components. The blue bag in the photo contains a Sound Devices MixPre 6 II recorder with the plugin installed.

A good place to explore what ambisonic recording is about is Sennheiser's AMBEO pages at https://en-us.sennheiser.com/microphone-3d-audio-ambeo-vr-mic


View attachment 41704

Recall this pic from earlier post(s). Applications are many, but is VR the main driver in recent times ?
 
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AudioBrewers

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So the thing with ambisonics is that unlike traditional recording methods, where a microphone represents a speaker signal, in ambisonics the signal recorded is a three dimensional sound field, much like the MS technique doesn't represent the left and right channel but instead, it's a two dimensional (to some degree) representation of a stereo signal.

So this makes ambisonics absolutely suitable for vr, because no mater how you rotate your head, the three dimensional sonic sphere gets decoded to your ears position in a way where it follows your head rotation (rotation on the x y and z axes).

However, in music this also means you can hear how an instrument sounds depending on the rotation of your head as a listener (or interpreter), meaning you can really translate an organic panning without it being "hard", but also meaning you can listen to the sound frequencies as they approach the listener from every corner. This means that if for example you had rear speakers, or height speakers, you could listen the way the sound of the instrument reaches you as it resonates and interacts with you in real life.

The beautiful thing about The Upright, for example, is that when you decode it, say to a binaural signal and "rotate" the signal (or rotate your head if you have a head tracker) you can feel the piano on your side just as if it were really there, it's hard to explain, and this is why I invite you to listen to our demos using a mobile and good quality headphones: while you rotate the mobile, YouTube will relocate the signal of the sonic sphere using the gyroscopes of the mobile itself.

Its a beautiful and realistic approach and all you had to do was play the library 😊

And the best part is that you don't even have to have any equipment or special set up, composing in a traditional stereo setup and then decoding the same project in any other speaker array, will adapt the signal automatically!
 

Rory

Amateur Auteur
Applications are many, but is VR the main driver in recent times ?

I think that video games are the main market for ambisonic recordings. It's also being used for 360° films, but the market is limited. The audience has to be wearing headphones to experience the effect, and ambisonic sound is labour intensive during both recording and post production. As AudioBrewers points out, one can turn an ambisonic recording into a stereo recording, but the question is, do you have an audience that justifies ambisonic recording and processing? That said, I think that ambisonic sound is interesting and worth exploring.
 
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AudioBrewers

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I think that video games are the main market for ambisonic recordings. It's also being used for 360° films, but the market is limited. The audience has to be wearing headphones to experience the effect, and ambisonic sound is labour intensive during both recording and post production. As AudioBrewers points out, one can turn an ambisonic recording into a stereo recording, but the question is, do you have an audience that justifies ambisonic recording and processing? That said, I think that ambisonic sound is interesting and worth exploring.

You don't have to be wearing headphones...
you only have to be wearing headphones if you are decoding to binaural. But in reality you can decode to anything, even to 7.1.4 and above, and the signal will always keep faithful.

EDIT: To expand a bit, unfortunately YouTube is limited to two channels so we did the 360 videos, in our page you can hear the same demos in stereo (SoundCloud) but we could get some of the demos decoded in surround 5.1 for you to experience, too.
 
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Rory

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You don't have to be wearing headphones...
you only have to be wearing headphones if you are decoding to binaural. But in reality you can decode to anything, even to 7.1.4 and above, and the signal will always keep faithful.

EDIT: To expand a bit, unfortunately YouTube is limited to two channels so we did the 360 videos, in our page you can hear the same demos in stereo (SoundCloud) but we could get some of the demos decoded in surround 5.1 for you to experience, too.

The experience of ambisonic sound requires either headphones or a room designed for ambisonic playback. Binaural sound*, surround sound and stereo aren't the same thing, and decoding ambisonic sound to those formats does not result in an ambisonic experience. This is why ambisonic sound works with video games. The players are wearing headsets.

Ambisonic recording has been around for almost half a century. There are reasons why it is not widespread, starting with playback requirements.

* People who record binaural sound are likely to take the view that decoding an ambisonic recording to binaural does not in fact result in a binaural recording. Indeed, Sennheiser's own position is that one should use its Neumann KU 100 microphone for binaural recording. You can see what the Neumann mike looks like by looking at my avatar, which comes from a photo that I made while recording with the Neumann.
 
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AudioBrewers

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So the thing is that any room is designed for ambisonic playback as long as you decode it's signal to your setup 🙂

Clearly if your deliverables are in stereo, quad or 5.1 that is what you're going to decode to.

Anyway, I'll just jump in with the demos decoded to 5.1 so that people can hear the same demos in their setup if they have it :)

If you want, we can open a discussion in another forum to talk deeper of Ambisonics, our findings and exchange ideas, it would be our pleasure! That way, we can keep this thread on-topic.
 

Rory

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So the thing is that any room is designed for ambisonic playback as long as you decode it's signal to your setup 🙂

Clearly if your deliverables are in stereo, quad or 5.1 that is what you're going to decode to.

I think it's great that you guys are doing this. If I recall correctly, there's an Ontario, Canada producer of piano sample libraries that has also released an ambisonic library, and I applaud that too.

However, I think that it's also important to be clear about how this works, and I can't concur with your first sentence.

If you decode an ambisonic recording to another format, such as surround or stereo, it is no longer an ambisonic recording and what you are hearing is not ambisonic playback. That kind of decoding actually removes the ambisonic qualities. Your Sound Devices recordings present a clear example. As you know, Sound Devices's plugin, when it makes a stereo decode, turns a four channel recording into a two track stereo recording. I know this because I've used a Sound Devices audio recorder, and the Sound Devices plugin, to make ambisonic recordings myself.

I certainly agree with your second sentence. Then the question is, if your deliverable is a stereo recording, do you have a reason to make and process a four or more channel* ambisonic recording?

* Higher order ambisonic recordings, with more channels, are used to get greater spatial resolution. My understanding is that ambisonic sound recording for a game might involve 16 or more recorded channels. Note that ambisonic recording is a method, not a type of microphone. The Sennheiser and RØDE mikes discussed above were created to make ambisonic recording reasonably inexpensive.
 
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AudioBrewers

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Of course it's not an ambisonics signal that you deliver, but it's an ambisonics signal that you work with.

So that would be up to the composer's desire to play with the signal XYZ rotation, its sonic field, its proximity - there are many properties that come into play when you have an ambisonics signal. The sound and its mix can benefit greatly when you start messing about with the spheric field, and of course, this is an extra tool. The Upright also comes mixed in Stereo for those who don't need this approach.

It all comes down to the sound of the Piano, it's got a beautiful touch and was sampled and mixed through experimentation to achieve something we believe can offer musicians a new perspective to approaching music. In the end, we're all suckers for beautiful tones, why not having another one Hahaha 😉
 

sostenuto

NKS Fan !
Despite 'reasonable' Intro @ Eur 99, would enjoy Demo/Trial, or Lite version, a la Embertone -Walker 1955 Concert D.

Important to experience all aspects of ambiosonic offerings. in homestudio environs.
 
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