For me it's Cinesamples Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos. There's probably no sample library I want more than these particular pianos (Mrs. Mills and Challen anyway) sampled well, but this isn't it. Problems with the library include:
1. Pianos are out of tune (I understand you don't want these perfectly in tune as the chorusing is part of the effect, but center frequencies are off)
2. Inconsistent sample start times. They kept some of the action noise at the start of each note, but the duration of the noise (pre-note) wildly varies from note to note so it just sounds sloppy and feel terrible to play. My guess? They didn't feel like editing each sample manually, so just loaded the recordings into a batch job, set a single volume threshold, then pressed the "Batch Process" button to automatically trim the samples and left it at that.
3. The biggest sin? The TERRIBLE velocity mapping and sample selection. These were just poorly sampled from the get-go by someone at Abbey Road (Cinesamples support confirmed that they did not make the samples), and Cinesamples put absolutely minimal effort into selecting good samples and mapping them for smooth playback. Every single key has the same number of velocity layers, that are distributed at the exact same velocities, indicating to me that the pianos were just put into some batch mapping program. So not only do you regularly trigger what's a poor sounding sample, they didn't do anything to smooth out the response.
It doesn't have any of the piano-specific features you'd expect to see in a $200 library either.
What does it do well? The pianos are THE exact piano sounds you hear on everything from The Beatles, and Zombies to Elliott Smith, which you just can't get from other libraries. And they offer a few microphone positions. But overall, I would not repurchase it. Wish someone who could do pianos well could work with Abbey Road to make a much better version of these instruments.
I never got around to buying these, so this is good to know, thanks. Since buying keyscape and having some great sounding uprights in there, I haven’t thought about it. But I know what you mean by “the” Abbey road sound. I wondering if tinkering with the key mapping in kontakt might help. It would take some time but starting at middle C and working your way down then up is usually a good way to go. Even root note tuning is possible. If there is ever a deep discount on it (like 50% or more) I might take a shot at it, but good samples are key. And if I found less than 6 dynamics on some keys it would seriously depress me.
Spitfire Solo Strings
Reminds me of the moment when I decided to put my money into the drain
I never understood the non looping thing with this library and arpeggio legato. Seems like If they just took the time to offer a folder with phrases that looped it wouldn't take much time at all and yet improve customer feedback about 8dio immensely, at least regarding these two libraries.Really sorry I picked up the 8Dio instant acoustic, even at $18 (or was it $28?). My first purchase that doesn’t get past the first few minutes of playing.
Sounded great in the walkthrough and demos but after playing it just a few minutes I find:
Strum not looping is a huge failure, perhaps it has to do with their engine/programming since the string arppegio is the same way, but really it screws both these libraries from being used much (maybe that’s the point and Troell’s owns he only versions that loop? Brilliant!)
Really? I've been pleased with the new Solo Strings so far. One major complaint though - way too much vibrato on the legato and sustain patches, and it's not a smooth transition from non-vib to vib. It's all or nothing, and the vib is about 1.5x louder than non-vib, so it's not ideal. I use the non-vib sound and if I need a moment of vibrato then it's a lot of tweaking and drawing midi automation until it sounds okay.
The short articulations are great. The long specialty artics are great (harmonics, flautando, etc). The mic position choices give a lot of flexibility in tone, but even the close mics are pretty roomy.
All in all, I see using Solo Strings a lot. Works beautifully for any cue that needs that quartet sound with pizz, harmonics, or soft sustaining chords. Which these days is very common.
Yes, really crap library to my ears. Have you tried Joshua Bell, CH Solo and Orchestral Tools solo libraries? They are leaps ahead. SPF is only good for texture and I am learning the art of playing chords on solo instruments with endless boring self evolving tone to death, in the name of creativity (or in other words, incompetence)