What's new

Real Vs Sampled Piano, is the difference worth the effort?

chocobitz825

Senior Member
True, very-very true, but these things are sold with the assured claim that they can do what I want them to do: sound and behave like a well-recorded real instrument. And loyal adepts, of which there have been several in this thread, keep insisting that with these instruments the gap between virtual and real is as good as bridged.
None of this however is in any way justified, in my experience. Far from it, in fact. Hence the disappointment, and discussions such as these.

_
Guess we’ll have to go back to the days of the disclaimer.

“Buyer beware. Results may vary”
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
I wonder if we're just trying too hard to turn processed food into organic food here. I mean there is always room for improvement, but so much time and concern spent on trying to get virtual instruments to be a replacement for real seems like a fool's errand. These virtual instruments have come so far and to demand they do more than they already can seem like a stretch. It seems the more logical thing is to play to their strengths, and when they can't do what's needed, go with the real thing . . .
Ditto!
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
As advanced as sampled/virtual pianos have become, I continue to produce piano tracks of supplied MIDI files for musicians and producers by recording the MIDI enabled acoustic Hamburg Steinway Model D at the studio, and not just for solo piano. The most recent project we completed was a piano driven pop oriented album. The artist and producer had access to the best sampled pianos available, and still chose to remotely record the real thing.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
As advanced as sampled/virtual pianos have become, I continue to produce piano tracks of supplied MIDI files for musicians and producers by recording the MIDI enabled acoustic Hamburg Steinway Model D at the studio, and not just for solo piano. The most recent project we completed was a piano driven pop oriented album. The artist and producer had access to the best sampled pianos available, and still chose to remotely record the real thing.
That sounds like a great compromise!
 
  • Love
Reactions: CGR

Mr Greg G

Senior Member
One of my friends is graduated from the Pyotr Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (used to be run by some random dudes called Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff). She owns a Grand Piano. And you know what, when at home, instead of recording her Grand Piano and messing around with microphones, dealing with reflections and phasing issues headaches, she just records her Piano parts with Native Instruments Alicia's Keys. Most of these parts end up being the final takes for the projects.

So I'd say, what is good enough for her, is good enough for me and my Piano skills of a new born child.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
One of my friends is graduated from the Pyotr Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (used to be run by some random dudes called Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff). She owns a Grand Piano. And you know what, when at home, instead of recording her Grand Piano and messing around with microphones, dealing with reflections and phasing issues headaches, she just records her Piano parts with Native Instruments Alicia's Keys.

So I'd say, what is good enough for her, is good enough for me and my Piano skills of a new born child.
Yep - recording an acoustic piano in a home environment can be a real headache, regardless of the standard of the performer and quality of the piano.
 

cygnusdei

Active Member
In the quest to describe reality, philosophers have made a distinction between simulation (representation of original reality) and simulacrum (representation of a reality with no prior original). In this sense one could say that the connoisseur takes VI as a simulation, whereas to the lay people it's a simulacrum (they have no idea how a real piano sounds). Put it another way, who is your audience?
 
Last edited:

SupremeFist

Senior Member
In the quest to describe reality, philosophers have made a distinction between simulation (representation of original reality) and simulacrum (representation of a reality with no prior original). In this sense one could say that the connoisseur takes VI as a simulation, whereas to the lay people it's a simulacrum (they have no idea how a real piano sounds). Put it another way, who is your audience?
My audience is just Jean Baudrillard, and he's not even alive any more. ;)
 

Stephen Limbaugh

le nouveau 36 rue Ballu
In this sense one could say that the connoisseur takes VI as a simulation, whereas to the lay people it's a simulacrum (they have no idea how a real piano sounds).
Very shrewd comment. I would add that many VI enthusiasts have inaccurate thoughts about what certain instruments actually sound like if next to them in a room, as well. Or, simulacrum that everything recently sampled still sounds like things made 2006.

(…there is a discussion somewhere about live strings in a concert sounding “fake” that might be worth digging up.)
 

SupremeFist

Senior Member
Very shrewd comment. I would add that many VI enthusiasts have inaccurate thoughts about what certain instruments actually sound like if next to them in a room, as well. Or, simulacrum that everything recently sampled still sounds like things made 2006.

(…there is a discussion somewhere about live strings in a concert sounding “fake” that might be worth digging up.
There's some (maybe inverse) analogy here as well to the way some guitarists criticise the current generation of amp modellers for being eg "fizzy", without taking into account the fact that the signal from a 57 slung over the front of a cab will absolutely be fizzy too. I have for sure made some guitar recordings through modellers that I couldn't tell apart from amped guitars in a blind listening test. Would I still prefer to play through a raging amp? Absolutely! But one's satisfaction with the end result is all that matters.
 

cygnusdei

Active Member
One of my friends is graduated from the Pyotr Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (used to be run by some random dudes called Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff). She owns a Grand Piano. And you know what, when at home, instead of recording her Grand Piano and messing around with microphones, dealing with reflections and phasing issues headaches, she just records her Piano parts with Native Instruments Alicia's Keys. Most of these parts end up being the final takes for the projects.

So I'd say, what is good enough for her, is good enough for me and my Piano skills of a new born child.
That's amazing, considering that the product is from 2010 (unless I'm wrong, or she has upgraded to newer offering since).
 

Stephen Limbaugh

le nouveau 36 rue Ballu
The ones that can be downloaded from the VSL forum pages.
Ahh. Well how were you using it? For a solo concert piano work or contextual scoring? Also that was created before the velocity curve editor was added, the attack smoothing parameter, and also doesn’t have high polyphony by default.
 

re-peat

Senior Member
I’m not using any of those presets, Stephen. I only downloaded them to see if I could learn something from them. And you’re right, with the software since being updated — a very good update, by the way (although I wish more of the parameters, like the Smooth Attack or the Timbre Shift for example, could be applied on a per note level rather than globally) — those older presets have lost some of their interest.

_
 

Stephen Limbaugh

le nouveau 36 rue Ballu
I only downloaded them to see if I could learn something from them.
Uh… but did you play something? What was it? Or did you just look to see what was going on with the mics? What did you notice was done with the different registers on the edit page?
 

Mr Greg G

Senior Member
That's amazing, considering that the product is from 2010 (unless I'm wrong, or she has upgraded to newer offering since).
This piano library was well crafted and thought, it sounds great out of the box without the need to tweak anything. Yet you can tweak and turn knobs if you feel like it. Beauty and simplicity. Carlos Rafael Rivera also still uses it extensively like on the Queen‘s Gambit score. Check the recent Spitfire Audio on how he scored some scenes for this show (spoiler warning though), you will spot Alicia’s Keys for the Piano parts.
 

pinki

Senior Member
So having read this thread through the two posters arguing the "the public don't know the difference, don't care and don't know what the real instrument sounds like" have offered
1. A drumkit and
2. A guitar amp with a 57

as evidence in a discussion about high end pianos.

Oh and insulted a working LA composer for using one of those "tinny" C7 pianos in the studios.

I call VSL shill. Brown envelopes?
 

Ben

VSL
I call VSL shill. Brown envelopes?
You are kidding, right? We have a 14 days return policy, and on top of that you can get free 30 days demos during the current pianos sale to check out these libraries yourself.
Why should we pay for anyones opinion and at the same time make it so easy to test-drive our libraries / return them?!?
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom