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Dark, thick piano

styledelk

Active Member
There's a distinct lack of great character upright pianos in the sampled world. But I think with the right effects chain even NI's The Gentleman will get you there. You could layer that with the key, pedal and hammer noise from Noir or the Embertone Walker perhaps?
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
- Ivory American Concert D.
- 8dio Passionate Piano in some context.
- I was lastly surprised in a good way by the sound of the Pleyel in UVI augmented piano.
Don't forget EQ and saturation (tape or preamp) are the keys to make it warm . . .
Good suggestions. The 'standard' patch of the old Pleyel Grand in UVI's Augmented Piano is very warm & woody - well suited to simpler solo tracks. The Acoustic Samples Old Black Grand (another 1920's era Pleyel) is also worth checking out. As Francis said, EQ & saturation are really important.
 
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WhiteNoiz

';...;'
Not quite sure what you mean by "dark". I figure not overly "cinematic". Maybe something more muffled or grittier. Then you say not classical, but also mention Chopin. You probably mean something not overly piercing with mellow highs and gritty and heavy lows. And overall with rich harmonics and character. Jugding by what's been said, I'd add another vote to Imperfect Samples. Quite rich in... imperfections and also quite traditional sounding. They're also quite malleable, although usability-wise they leave something to be desired. But apart from that I think they're really good.

I can also recommend the Fazioli from Imperfect Samples.
Yes, the Steinway is also quite gritty sounding. Here's a couple of examples (first is dry/just the library, second has some compression and reverb):
https://mega.nz/#!Md4miAAC!1B7Wq29vDUrlk0x4CVMKlN8gLG6GuHPP3X9Z19QC3UU
+
https://mega.nz/#!BcIXySLY!vgC3liyCZsC9JKezm3UmvwH3_b9uY61TjepvC8N0-HY
https://mega.nz/#!pQBlBAAa!PjEdlA7vdvyMyBkbH0plgA1IcOW2zeRsINU7iYOgu7E

(The NI ones are also quite good on the 'noises' part)

Maybe I'm totally off and this is not what you're looking for, but anyway, hopefully it helps a bit.
 
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SupremeFist

New Member
Not quite sure what you mean by "dark". I figure not overly "cinematic". Maybe something more muffled or grittier. Then you say not classical, but also mention Chopin. You probably mean something not overly piercing with mellow highs and gritty and heavy lows. And overall with rich harmonics and character. Jugding by what's been said, I'd add another vote to Imperfect Samples. Quite rich in... imperfections and also quite traditional sounding. They're also quite malleable, although usability-wise they leave something to be desired. But apart from that I think they're really good.



Yes, the Steinway is also quite gritty sounding. Here's a couple of examples (first is dry/just the library, second has some compression and reverb):
https://mega.nz/#!Md4miAAC!1B7Wq29vDUrlk0x4CVMKlN8gLG6GuHPP3X9Z19QC3UU
+
https://mega.nz/#!BcIXySLY!vgC3liyCZsC9JKezm3UmvwH3_b9uY61TjepvC8N0-HY
https://mega.nz/#!pQBlBAAa!PjEdlA7vdvyMyBkbH0plgA1IcOW2zeRsINU7iYOgu7E

(The NI ones are also quite good on the 'noises' part)

Maybe I'm totally off and this is not what you're looking for, but anyway, hopefully it helps a bit.
It's (post-)classical music but I don't want the clean and bright sound of a classical piano recording. Your characterization of the tone sounds like what I'm looking for. Will check out all the new suggestions, thanks!
 

halfwalk

Active Member
There are some great free "character" pianos at the Pianobook website. They aren't the most deep-sampled, as it's more of a free community thing, but there are some lovely and unusual pianos there. In my opinion, tons of velocity layers and advanced scripting aren't always necessary for a good sound.

There's a distinct lack of great character upright pianos in the sampled world. But I think with the right effects chain even NI's The Gentleman will get you there. You could layer that with the key, pedal and hammer noise from Noir or the Embertone Walker perhaps?
I've gotten some nice results stacking The Gentleman with Una Corda with a touch of EQ. We can be sticklers for "realism" or whatever, but at the end of the day, it's sample-based electronic music, so why not try some unusual methods?
 
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SupremeFist

New Member
There's a distinct lack of great character upright pianos in the sampled world. But I think with the right effects chain even NI's The Gentleman will get you there. You could layer that with the key, pedal and hammer noise from Noir or the Embertone Walker perhaps?
I’ve definitely had success layering noise from one piano (often Una) with another, but I never really looked properly into the Gentleman even though I have it as part of the NI bundle, will play it and see!

another one to try: ISW Pearl Grand... only 8 vel. layers, but rather uniform. There's a preset called "emotional" which is very warm. Here's a modified version of that with just a touch of reverb (I have disabled saturation here, too full mid-lows for my taste)
That is beautiful but not quite as dissimilar from what I already have. (It’s sweet but not growly.)

In my opinion, tons of velocity layers and advanced scripting aren't always necessary for a good sound.
That's definitely true but of course it depends on the material. For the more "cinematic", minimalist pieces you can get away with flatter sound but I also have some pieces that are more pianistic and so require smooth timbral variation.

Cinepiano, without a doubt.

I can also recommend the Fazioli from Imperfect Samples.
Oh damn it, the Imperfect Samples Fazioli is now one of my favourites too. I also like the Steinway that WhiteNoiz kindly posted audio of, but the Faz might be just what I'm after. And the “Complete” version seems quite reasonably priced… Any gotchas I should know about?
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
. . . Oh damn it, the Imperfect Samples Fazioli is now one of my favourites too. I also like the Steinway that WhiteNoiz kindly posted audio of, but the Faz might be just what I'm after. And the “Complete” version seems quite reasonably priced… Any gotchas I should know about?
I have the Complete versions of both the Imperfect Samples Fazioli & Walnut Steinway. The Walnut Steinway is more consistent to play and with less 'jumpy' velocities & inconsistencies (it's the newer of the 2) but the Fazioli has a huge, dark resonant tone, and sounds very convincing, even on reasonable detailed/complex playing. There are some intrusive key mechanism sounds baked into the samples up in the treble which is frustrating, so be prepared for some post tracking MIDI editing. The demos on their website are accurate to what you get out of the box.

Also, the 8dio 1928 Steinway is an interesting, darker toned vintage Steinway. A really interesting balance of clarity and warmth (great hammer attack tone), and the updated version is pretty consistent to play velocity wise.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
You could try out the Bechstein DG demo in Pianoteq. It's what sold me.
I've been a long time Pianoteq customer (since V2.0), beta tested some models and provided some demos, and the C.Bechstein is a noticeable jump in accuracy of tone. Playability and response to touch has always been Pianoteq's big strength, but with their latest C.Bechstein model, the tone & realism is able to compete with the best sampled pianos in my opinion. Playability & pedalling accuracy is unmatched. Check out how it sounds in the hands of a good player:


I'm about to do a comparison in the next week with the Pianoteq C.Bechstein and some sampled concert grands I have.
 
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SupremeFist

New Member
I have the Complete versions of both the Imperfect Samples Fazioli & Walnut Steinway. The Walnut Steinway is more consistent to play and with less 'jumpy' velocities & inconsistencies (it's the newer of the 2) but the Fazioli has a huge, dark resonant tone, and sounds very convincing, even on reasonable detailed/complex playing. There are some intrusive key mechanism sounds baked into the samples up in the treble which is frustrating, so be prepared for some post tracking MIDI editing. The demos on their website are accurate to what you get out of the box.
That’s really useful, thank you! Do you know if there is a demo out there that has these treble noises in the Fazioli so I could tell whether they would bother me or not?


That is really nice! But between Una, Olafur, and Noire I have that kind of thing covered. (As also for the very nice-sounding Midnight Grand, and, I have decided, Cinepiano.)

A bit of shameless self promotion, but here's the UVI Augmented Piano solo:
. . . and the Soundiron Emotional Piano:
Neither library is quite ballsy enough to fill the lack I currently have, but those are beautiful pieces!

I've been a long time Pianoteq customer (since V2.0), beta tested some models and provided some demos, and the C.Bechstein is a noticeable jump in accuracy of tone. Playability and response to touch has always been Pianoteq's big strength, but with their latest C.Bechstein model, the tone & realism is able to compete with the best sampled pianos in my opinion. Playability & pedalling accuracy is unmatched. Check out how it sounds in the hands of a good player:
I'm about to do a comparison in the next week with the Pianoteq C.Bechstein and some sampled concert grands I have.
Oh man, I should wait for that! Playing with the Pianoteq demo I do like the way I can get closer to the sound I want with many of the presets by altering hammer attack etc… The demo you kindly provided is still a bit bright for what I want but obviously that can be changed. Now I am going to be waiting for your comparison thread…
 
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MWMelis

New Member
You might want to try Imperfect Samples Braunchsweig Piano. It's an older library but has worked well for me as a warm upright piano. The Fantasy Piano preset (low-velocity darker samples) might be just the ticket for you. However, in my experience, it doesn't layer particularly well in a busy mix as the tuning isn't particularly precise.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
That’s really useful, thank you! Do you know if there is a demo out there that has these treble noises in the Fazioli so I could tell whether they would bother me or not?
OK, just reinstalled the Imperfect Fazioli after not using it for a few months, and remembered an update which was released and I had neglected. It now means the Fazioli Complete version has an improved multi-mic GUI in line with the later released Walnut Grand (see attached pic) and new samples were included. Just had a quick play and it's much improved!Imperfect Fazioli update.png
 
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