I stil use the Premier Sound Factory Cembalo Harpsichord. But I think it isnt availiable anymore (?). Mayb they overhaul it or something.
The demos are really loud and show off very little dynamic range...Hi guys! I've just released a new harpsichord, XPERIMENTA Harpsichord
Made from a beautiful Italian harpsichord sampled in Helsinki SiBa Studios with the best gear.
Here's a demo!
Check out more at:
Hi,The demos are really loud and show off very little dynamic range...
Learnt something new today. The previous demo was a little too loud for my taste. This one is nice.Hi,
Harpsichord has no dynamic range...there's some techniques to imitate the velocity but is quite hard and nearly impossible to sample. The XPERIMENTA Harpsichord has still the possibility to simulate the velocity, has Round Robin, resonance samples and IR, accurate recorded release samples and plenty of mic positions to imitate the sound as close as possible.
I'm sorry if you didn't like the demos, maybe I had not a good environment where to make them and I'm still searching for demo composers. Please consider the SoundCloud compression and the fact that all the demos usually are full of reverb, that make the instrument more apparently "dyanamic".
I changed the demo, maybe this one fits better to what you are searching for:
In the website you can find also the dry version.
You have 24 libraries and Cinesamples isn't one? That's incredible..LOL I also had no idea there were so many choices...however, I have it and love it..but that's all I have. I do want to get the Soniccouture's at some point, but were a bit pricey if I recall. I get EDU discount with Cinesamples.I have 24 harpsichord libraries. And that's not counting specialty libraries like Realsamples Lute-Harpsichord (a recently discovered instrument that had no survivors, but which was recreated based on notes and plans, and then sampled -- Bach wrote for it, but as no one knew the instrument existed, people interpreted his designation as meaning "lute OR harpsichord").
Broadly-speaking, I have a preference for French vs. Flemish designs -- but this is not universally the case, as will be seen in my rankings of software libraries. Italian comes close behind French.
When searching for libraries, remember that the term Cembalo is often used. It's a language thing.
Much to my surprise, the Spitfire Steven Devine Harpsichord is one of the best-sounding ones, as well as having a very complete set of manuals and stops (4', 8', mechanical mutes, and all combinations thereof), but frustratingly is recorded at Lyndhurst Hall (Air Studios) so can't be made very dry.
VSL's Cembalo is well-recorded and dry, but is crippled by only providing 8' stops, and no muting. Sometimes this is OK, but I use it less and less now that the newer libraries have superseded it.
Modartt Pianoteq, also surprisingly comes out near the top, above sampled libraries, so I often use theirs during mock-up stages until I am certain which "model" I want, and then I go to sample libraries for better detail and accuracy. I especially like their Blanchet, but also the Ruckers and Grimaldi are excellent. They offer every manual and stop combination, but no direct muting (though you can emulate that with some of the editable parameters).
And now we come to the one I use the most -- especially for continuo work, where it blends so well with its partners, the Theorbo and Baroque Guitar. Soniccouture's Conservatoire Collection is simply a must-have. Buy it for the phenomenal Theorbos, if for nothing else! I use them a lot!
The French Harpsichord in that collection is amazingly versatile and rich in texture, and responds well to specialized playing techniques. It includes every stop and manual combination, as well as muting (in harpsichord parlance, this is referred to as "buff stop"). Many temperaments are available as well -- an issue with a lot of the other libraries. As expected, the Flemish has two 8' manuals; no 4' stop.
There is some weakness in that library that I don't remember off-hand; I can't think at the moment what feature is missing. Perhaps it was addressed in an update and that's why I've forgotten.
Before that collection was released, my go-to was the Precisionsound Blanchet (French) -- their older Cembalo library is a Ruckert (Flemish/Dutch) model and not as much to my liking timbrally. It's not an essential library anymore as it is missing almost every important feature; it's an old library with no scripting or GUI and does not cover the range of stops or manuals that most of us depend on.
For the Realsamples libraries, I rank the French the highest, then English, Italian, Italian II, Dutch, and German (the latter is a rare model by Christian Zell from 1741). The programming is inconsistent and the libraries often have flaws (missing files and mappings) that I alert the vendor to, sometimes specific to one of the sample rate or bit depth choices (they are now limiting these choices for new purchases). They are primarily musicians and don't have much time for marketing etc. But they're very friendly and responsive, and do great work. It's more of an academic nature though; I own these mostly to remind myself of the differences between the many design concepts that have come along.
Just to reiterate, as those libraries have been released over a lengthy period of time, only the newer ones have any scripting or much control over the manuals and stops (if at all). But the raw sound is quite good, and the user manuals are incredibly informative.
Fluffy Audio's Rinascimento is an affordable library that gets you a few hard-to-find instruments. I probably need to spend more time with it before formally ranking it below the other choices, for Harpsichord, which isn't what I bought it for. It's kind of a moot point though, as it is so low on features and sampling resolution and depth.
Similarly, Wavesfactory's Demonic Virtuoso (overhaul of W-Harpsichord) has no harpsichord-specific features to speak of, but is a deeper sample set than some of the others, so sounds nice enough.
Older libraries such as Sampletekk's and PMI's, and even Precisionsound's Cembalo library, were sampled at intervals of a third or more, so don't sound remotely realistic unless you write pentatonic music that only uses the notes that were actually sampled. And of course Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra and Goliath, as well as near-freebies like Boldersound's historic collection, the stock sounds from Falcon/etc., and SONiVOX Harpsichord, aren't worth bothering with anymore.
The main library that I do not own and which is often commended, is Cinesamples, which someone above gave praise to. I almost bought it during a sale, but read the user manual and decided I'm done with harpsichords due to the excellence of Soniccouture's offering (and other top choices). But I might find I need it at some point anyway, if the others don't blend well with Cinesamples Viola Da Gamba.
Thanks again for your always interesting insights on these forums!It helps to have studied and played the harpsichord. I also had the privilege of a half-day tour of a harpsichord factory, seeing each stage of the process, as the luthier (also a music school professor) was a friend of my best college mate. I will never forget ANY of the details I learned that day, as I am passionate about the instrument and absorbed everything he had to teach.
Most harpsichord libraries are pretty bad. In some cases, only a few notes were sampled, and the others were derived from the ones that were. There's a lot of naivety about the instrument, such as velocity not mattering. Technically this is sort-of true on paper, but the best players have some very interesting techniques that eke out some differences; I learned some of them myself from my instructor.
Be aware that there are two major schools of harpsichord, and then there's the related but different virginal (best known in England, but there are other varieties as well). The majority of harpsichords follow the patterns of one of those two major schools of harpsichord construction and design.
For me, it is critical to have dual manuals, and stops. But there are times when a simpler design -- even a Virginal -- can fit the music better, or blend better with other instruments.
It is frustrating to me that some of the best-recorded harpsichord libraries are missing critical features. I then have to make a compromise and decide which aspect is most important to the piece.
I will itemize the top libraries in a separate post, lest this one become too difficult to follow.