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Pianos that inspire

Casiquire

Senior Member
I know you've already tried Pianoteq, but it really is very inspiring...there's even a "random" button that gives you a brand new instrument every time. Took me a minute to warm up to Pianoteq myself but what really changed my view of it was the discovery of the Condition slider at the bottom. By default it's set at "mint" condition, but I've never in my life heard a real piano that sounds like that, even freshly minted. Around 75-85% starts to sound real and despite being synthesized it gets some character too.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
I know you've already tried Pianoteq, but it really is very inspiring...there's even a "random" button that gives you a brand new instrument every time. Took me a minute to warm up to Pianoteq myself but what really changed my view of it was the discovery of the Condition slider at the bottom. By default it's set at "mint" condition, but I've never in my life heard a real piano that sounds like that, even freshly minted. Around 75-85% starts to sound real and despite being synthesized it gets some character too.
Hmm, this sounds good. I'm also interested in their harp.
 

Fleer

Feeding the Trolls
Back to OP’s request, don’t judge Embertone’s Walker based on YouTube. You have to try all six mic positions and only then decide which one(s) work(s) for you. If you’re asking for color and character, a huge part of what you like is in your head. Very personal indeed.
 
OP
chillbot

chillbot

Sock Muppet
I know you've already tried Pianoteq, but it really is very inspiring...
People that love pianoteq REALLY LOVE pianoteq, I've found. I just don't think it's for me. And to be clear I'm not looking for more pianos that sound like pianos I'm looking for pianos that have an interesting combination of sonic character and playability that just make my hands do happy hand dances. I'm sure pianoteq is that for some but I'm not getting it.
 

PaulBrimstone

Far, Far Away
People that love pianoteq REALLY LOVE pianoteq, I've found. I just don't think it's for me. And to be clear I'm not looking for more pianos that sound like pianos I'm looking for pianos that have an interesting combination of sonic character and playability that just make my hands do happy hand dances. I'm sure pianoteq is that for some but I'm not getting it.
Well, you asked...
 
OP
chillbot

chillbot

Sock Muppet
Well, you asked...
Asked and answered and much appreciated.

I love the sound of the 8dio Passionate Piano but as mentioned, 8dio has trained me to never pay full price for anything.

And now I'm thinking that with the response about the Embertone Walker piano I should re-consider that but the sheer size of it is very off-putting to me. Does anyone think there's any use in trying the "lite" version (*only* 12GB)?
 

PaulBrimstone

Far, Far Away
Asked and answered and much appreciated.

I love the sound of the 8dio Passionate Piano but as mentioned, 8dio has trained me to never pay full price for anything.

And now I'm thinking that with the response about the Embertone Walker piano I should re-consider that but the sheer size of it is very off-putting to me. Does anyone think there's any use in trying the "lite" version (*only* 12GB)?
You know, despite all the time spent (wasted?) on these virtual pianos, I also miked up my Yamaha U1 and I've never been happier, really. Dunno why we bother with the imitations. Okay, the VIs are easier, but there’s nothing like the real thing reverberating under your fingers. Pianos, too.
 

Fleer

Feeding the Trolls
People that love pianoteq REALLY LOVE pianoteq, I've found. I just don't think it's for me. And to be clear I'm not looking for more pianos that sound like pianos I'm looking for pianos that have an interesting combination of sonic character and playability that just make my hands do happy hand dances. I'm sure pianoteq is that for some but I'm not getting it.
Demo the Steingraeber E-272.
That’s a very special grand, considered the best by many, but especially its Mozart Rail and sordino options make for its unique character.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Asked and answered and much appreciated.

I love the sound of the 8dio Passionate Piano but as mentioned, 8dio has trained me to never pay full price for anything.

And now I'm thinking that with the response about the Embertone Walker piano I should re-consider that but the sheer size of it is very off-putting to me. Does anyone think there's any use in trying the "lite" version (*only* 12GB)?
At $39 the Lite version is a real bargain, and I'm glad to have it in my collection. Lite has 12 velocity layers and a good all-purpose mic perspective (AKG C414 XLS, ORTF Stereo just outside the rim, so a nice mix of hammer attack & a bit of room ambience).

I haven't had the feeling I should have gone for the full version & extra mic sets, but then again I have plenty of other multi-mic perspective sampled pianos. Although . . . I am curious about how the full 36 velocity version feels & responds compared to the 12 velocity Lite version (which is very impressive anyway) and the full version adds real una corda samples too!
 

LamaRose

Gato Mighty!
@chillbot Have you tried the ribbon mic on the Ólafur felt? Has a real Nils Frahm vibe to it... something different. I haven't gotten it yet, but I thought the Sonixinema London Boyd has a unique upright vibe. Any feedback here on that would be cool.

But really, man, I think you may be asking the wrong question. Maybe you should chill on a couch/recliner and then ask yourself: how was my childhood? was it a happy childhood? did I like my mother?

It worked for me anyway, and I discovered that I was always searching for the sound of that old out-of-tune upright my Mom had, and the hours of fun I had not really learning how to play a piano... yet loving to play nonetheless. CH's freebie - The Playel - is perfectly out-of-tune and note-perfect for me.
 

tmm

Senior Member
Unless I want the super soft/felt sound, I use Soniccouture's Hammersmith for almost everything. It's fairly neutral, character-wise, but I've stumbled across lots of nice ideas with it and it seems to fit in wherever I ask it to go.
+1 on that. I also have way too many piano libraries, but I use Hammersmith for just about everything. I also like 8Dio's Studio Upright, too, for a really good light touch piano, and SoundDust Ship's Piano for something with a different sort of character

Agreed w CGR, too... the Hammersmith default sounds a little stiff / flat for me, but there's a lot of great tones that come from tweaking.
 

Tice

Active Member
If I'm just talking sampled pianos, I used to only have VSl's Bosendorfer Imperial, which I honestly really disliked. I wanted something a bit more indulgent so I went for HZP, and I've never needed any other sampled piano. That said, I grew up playing on a Bluthner piano who's sound I just know through and through. No matter how great other pianos might be, I'll never be quite as attached to their sound as I am to my Bluthner...
 

jmvideo

Senior Member
The bottom line is that all piano libraries suck, and at this point it looks like they always will. All of us are always impressed whenever a new piano library is released, thinking.... ooooooh, this could be the one! Then we play it for a while, and ultimately realize it still sounds like samples. It never sounds juuuust right. (Pianoteq fanbois... this means you too, sorry.)

Recently I pulled up a piano recording I made in 1995 with my Kurzweil K2000 and a 16MB (yes, that's right - megabytes) Steinway library. My jaw dropped at how good it sounded. It actually sounded better than all these multi-gigabyte libraries I've been buying for the past 20 years.

I've been bamboozled. You've been bamboozled.

Solution... get a Kurzweil K2000 and the 16MB Steinway Grand, or a real piano and some really good microphones. Ok not a great solution.... but...

Seriously folks.. there's a reason why people like Hans Zimmer and Olafur Arnalds would never use their own sponsored sample libraries on their own records.

This of course spawns a much broader and controversial topic: Sample Libraries Have Plateaued.

(cue dramatic music swell)
 
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