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Dry Piano VSTs

Robert Lund

New Member
Hello. After investing in several piano VSTs I have come to the conclusion that I prefer those which provide the option of drier samples / sounds. Vienna Imperial and Pianoteq 7 Standard with reverb disabled seem to do the trick. The samples in Ivory II American Concert D, although not completely dry, do seem to be less wet than some other sample libraries. I have all of the Vienna Synchron libraries but no matter what I do with the mic settings the samples all seem too wet to me. I also have Garritan CFX, Ravenscroft 275, several of the Native Instruments pianos and Addictive Keys Modern Upright. Any advice on how to achieve the driest results with my existing libraries or suggestions of other libraries would be greatly appreciated.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
The Garritan CFX can be made fairly dry with the Close mics only (Classic or Contemporary Perspectives) and pulling back the room release tails and resonance controls in the GUI (from memory they are set fairly high by default).

As for other suggestions, checkout Soniccouture's Hammersmith Pro and the C.Bechstein Digital Grand (which can be bone dry if needed). These are both high quality sampled pianos with 20+ velocity layers and very good playability/response. They both run in the free Kontakt Player.
 

SupremeFist

Senior Member
I have similar taste! @CGR's recommendations are excellent as always; I would add that Xperimenta Due (Second Piano), Piano In Blue, and Audiobrewers Pianoforte can also be lovely and dry.

Do you have the Full versions of the Synchron libraries? With the alternative close mics they can get drier than the standard libraries. Also I find it can help to turn down the releases and the sympathetic resonance.
 
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Robert Lund

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Thank you for the recommendations. I should I have stated that I have tried disabling all of the reverbs in the instruments but the "room" seems to be baked into the samples - even the close mic'd ones. I do have the full versions of the Synchron libraries (CFX, D-274, Blunther, Bosendorfer Upright). I have tried playing around with those mic positions; perhaps I need to revisit it. Also, I have just recently come across this C.Bechstein Digital Grand. I had never heard of it before. I am encouraged that it could be dry. I will also try the Garritan CFX settings suggested by CGR.
 

Zoot_Rollo

Throbbing Member
Xperimenta Due - C3 + C7: $99
Audiobrewers Pianoforte (Stereo) - Fazioli F212: $79
Bechstein Digital Grand: EUR 209,24
Bechstein Digital Grand Essentials: EUR 108,40

Pianoforte RAW - very nice. I like EARS

 
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Robert Lund

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Zoot_Rollo - Thanks

I downloaded the C. Bechstein DG yesterday. I will check out the others as well.

I also downloaded the Modern U which sounds quite dry as well.

I just spent the better part of yesterday trying to find the optimal mic settings for the VI Synchron D -274 and CFX to see if I could come up with the dry sound I am looking for (I have the full libraries). I found a preset from someone on another forum to see if that would do the trick as well as downloading some presets from the VSL forum. I'm still not feeling it. Does any one have dry presets they are happy with for the D-274 and CFX that they would be willing to share? I am trying to see if I can preserve my investment.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Zoot_Rollo - Thanks

I downloaded the C. Bechstein DG yesterday. I will check out the others as well.

I also downloaded the Modern U which sounds quite dry as well.

I just spent the better part of yesterday trying to find the optimal mic settings for the VI Synchron D -274 and CFX to see if I could come up with the dry sound I am looking for (I have the full libraries). I found a preset from someone on another forum to see if that would do the trick as well as downloading some presets from the VSL forum. I'm still not feeling it. Does any one have dry presets they are happy with for the D-274 and CFX that they would be willing to share? I am trying to see if I can preserve my investment.
If you want to "warm up" the VSL Synchron pianos, try lowering the dynamics dial on the main GUI screen to around 70-75, and insert a compressor with a setting of 2:1, 45-50ms attack and 90-100ms release, and + 1.5db gain in the channel strip of the mixer. Really helps to bring out the body in the pianos.
 
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Robert Lund

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CGR - Great. Thanks. I was watching Paul over at VSL play with the Dynamics Control and thought that was interesting. It hadn't occurred to me to reduce the dynamics.
 
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Robert Lund

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Wow. I just loaded up the Bechstein DG default player preset. This may be what I have been searching for. The samples are dry. With the sustain pedal it adds all of the "ambience" I need. Plus it is quite a bright piano which I think I prefer. Thank you for this recommendation.
 

Zoot_Rollo

Throbbing Member
Wow. I just loaded up the Bechstein DG default player preset. This may be what I have been searching for. The samples are dry. With the sustain pedal it adds all of the "ambience" I need. Plus it is quite a bright piano which I think I prefer. Thank you for this recommendation.
Pianoteq Bechstein or Bechstein Bechstein?
 

Casiquire

Senior Member
I don't have that same experience with Synchron libraries. I find they can get very dry but none of the presets are particularly dry. Using the close mics and only one of the room mics, I've been able to get fairly close to Pianoteq's level of dryness, and i don't have the full library either
 

Casiquire

Senior Member
Casiquire - Interesting. Would you be willing to share your presets?
Ot course! I haven't had it long so i don't have many options. I just honed in on a sound I really liked and after so many years of using Pianoteq, it naturally wound up being informed by that sound. I'm not sure if it makes any difference but the Synchron piano i have is the Bosie 280VC. My understanding is that all of them are recorded in the same space so even if you don't have the same piano i can at least tell you how i got there. It'll probably be a few more hours until i get home and am able to get more details
 
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Robert Lund

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Great. I have the D-274, CFX and Blunter - all full libraries. I have downloaded user presets from other sources but the search continues.
 

Casiquire

Senior Member
Alright I've attached the preset I use. Bear in mind that the velocity curve is heavily adjusted to my piano so definitely change that, as well as certain settings like pedal noise or sympathetic resonance which might not translate well to your products or your tastes.

If it doesn't let you use this preset on other pianos, you can remake my settings pretty easily. First, disable and/or remove *every* effect that comes pre-loaded in the Mix tab. This is a common "less is more" approach I take with most of my libraries. Then I have the Condenser mic, which is the closest option available in their standard libraries, set to 0dB, the Mid 1 set to slightly less at -1.6, and the Main set to -4.3. The exact numbers aren't terribly important but that's the main idea. It might not be anechoic, but it's pretty dry, roughly the same ambience to my ears as my Pianoteq preset.

 

Scalms

Active Member
The bechstein was recorded at Teldex, correct? Does it have mics capturing the room? I think i read somewhere it was only close mic’d, which would be disappointing to me. I’m looking for a good Teldex piano
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
The bechstein was recorded at Teldex, correct? Does it have mics capturing the room? I think i read somewhere it was only close mic’d, which would be disappointing to me. I’m looking for a good Teldex piano
It was sampled at Teldex Studios, but in a space with very few reflections or room ambience. It was an intentional choice of the developers so the piano could be more flexible in being placed into various environments/spaces.

It does take very well to adding reverb - I've found both the Relab LX-480 (Lexicon emulation) and Exponential Audio's Nimbus Algo reverbs pair very well with this piano.

PS: I'd love to have an equivalent deep sampled piano captured in the Telmex Scoring Stage. Love the sound of that space from the Orchestral Tools libraries, but the Steinway D piano they sampled only has 4 velocity layers!
 
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