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SupremeFist

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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!View attachment 22580
Oh cool, does that mean you can dial out the noises you weren't liking?
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Here's some softly played notes in the treble with the Imperfect Fazioli, with separate Perspective 1, 2 & 3 mics. You can hear the key mechanism noise in the lowest velocities on C6 and more prominently on E6:
 

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CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
The Imperfect Samples pianos require the full version of Kontakt, so you can get "under the hood" and tweak the sample mapping & velocity switch points. Here's the same 3 examples but with a modified .nki where I deleted those lowest velocity samples in each mic perspective, and stretched the neighbouring sample down in Kontakt's Mapping Editor. NOTE: No added reverb on any of these samples here or above - just some mild EQ & compression.
 

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CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Just a heads-up: while I was editing the .nki I noticed that each mic perspective (in the Complete version) has 8 sustain velocity samples per key, plus 6 release samples per key. The website lists it as 14 layers, which can be misunderstood to be 14 VELOCITY layers. Attached is a screen shot of the Mapping Editor showing the sustain sample mapping (you can see my stretched sample regions in the treble).

Imperfect Fazioli Complete - Mapping.png
 
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SupremeFist

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Just a heads-up: while I was editing the .nki I noticed that each mic perspective (in the Complete version) has 8 sustain velocity samples per key, plus 6 release samples per key. The website lists it as 14 layers, which can be misunderstood to be 14 VELOCITY layers. Attached is a screen shot of the Mapping Editor showing the sustain sample mapping (you can see my stretched sample regions in the treble).

View attachment 22595
Thanks so much for taking the time to provide those demos! I see what you mean about the noise & it's good to know it can be tweaked out if necessary; I'm not sure I would need to for my purposes.

I do agree that saying "14 layers" when it's only 8 velocity layers is a bit misleading!
 
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SupremeFist

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Well, of course I'm biased but "warm", "thick", "intimate" and "character" sound like Lekko! https://feltinstruments.com/Lekko
Already bought it and love it! :) But I'm looking for something different right now…

So my new shortlist is C. Bechstein DG, Imperfect Samples Fazioli, and now also the Ivory II Studio Grands (turns out I prefer a Steinway B to a D). Everyone loves the Ivory IIs, right? But I'm also intrigued to hear CGR's promised comparison of the Pianoteq Bechstein to samples…
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
But I'm also intrigued to hear CGR's promised comparison of the Pianoteq Bechstein to samples…
OK, here's some random playing (arpeggios, chords, single notes etc.) comparing:

1. Chocolate Audio's Model D (Close + Room mics)
2. Cinesamples CinePiano (Close + Room mics)
3. Garritan's CFX Classic (Close & Ambient mics)
4. Soniccouture's Hammersmith Pro (M49 Close + Decca Tree mics)
5. Imperfect Samples Fazioli Complete (mix of all 3 mics)
6. Pianoteq's C.Bechstein (a modified 'C.Bechstein DG D 282' preset with 'Stereophonic' output)

I played it in using the Pianoteq C.Bechstein (still the best 'hand to sound' connection for me).
All have the same mild compression & EastWest Spaces Hamburg Cathedral TrueStereo 2.0 sec reverb applied on the master bus.

NOTE: I can only attach 5 files at once, so the Pianoteq C.Bechstein file is in the following post.
 

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SupremeFist

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Thanks very much for doing those! There's still something in the attack of Pianoteq that I don't quite like, but I'm surprised to like Cinepiano so much among that company.

Any other comments on Ivory II in general or the Studio Grands in particular?
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Thanks very much for doing those! There's still something in the attack of Pianoteq that I don't quite like, but I'm surprised to like Cinepiano so much among that company.

Any other comments on Ivory II in general or the Studio Grands in particular?
No problems - hope they helped clarify your decision. CinePiano is really solid. The Cinesamples guys know how to capture the character of a piano (Piano in Blue, Abbey Roads Uprights) and sampling it on the Sony Scoring Stage really gives a lot of natural air & depth to the sound.

One area where Pianoteq needs production work in my opinion is in placing their pianos in a realistic acoustic space, and for me this means using external reverbs. I've heard some really good & realistic demos of Pianoteq running through Valhalla Room, which helps gives the decays a bit of movement and randomness. The playability and control of nuance with Pianoteq is superb - it gives back what you put in, and their latest C.Bechstein is my favourite Pianoteq model by a considerable margin.

I have the Ivory 2.5 grands (German Steinway D, Bosendorfer Imperial 290 & Yamaha C7) and the American Concert D. I prefer the American Concert D - it's more deeply sampled and more alive to my ears. The ACD is very dynamic and playable, with no inconsistencies in any of the samples. They chose a top notch piano to sample - a very well maintained Vintage New York 1951 Steinway D (which I think had the German Steinway hammers fitted to it). If I were to be critical, it can sound a little 'airbrushed' for want of a better term. It uses modelled sustain resonance (not separate full length sustain pedal down samples) so doesn't really 'open up' resonance-wise like a real piano (or like Garritan CFX, CinePiano or the Hammersmith Pro) when you plant your foot down on the sustain pedal, but the trade off is good flexibility in controlling the tone, and superb response to pedalling and keyboard touch. Also like all Ivory pianos, it just has a single stereo mix of mics (no control over individual close/room/hall mics like many others). Really happy to have it in my collection.

I don't have the Studio Grands, as I already have a few really solid sampled Steinway Bs (Fluffy Audio's Scoring Piano and EZkeys Studio Grand) and the Ivory Studio Grands sound a little flat and 2 dimensional to me in all the demos I've heard.

FYI, here's the same bit of playing from above using the American Concert D :)
 

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Jonas Hallstrom

Active Member
Here is a short improv i did a couple of years ago using the Ivory Studio Grands. The preset is called Jazz Bose, and it features the Bosendorfer 225. Only the internal reverb is used.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Here is a short improv i did a couple of years ago using the Ivory Studio Grands. The preset is called Jazz Bose, and it features the Bosendorfer 225. Only the internal reverb is used.
Nice work Jonas! I can hear you're able to clearly articulate your ideas on this piano - sounds great. The best sounding demo of the Studio Grand Bosendorfer since I heard "Piano d'amore" by Alan Steinberger on the Synthogy Soundcloud playlist.
 
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SupremeFist

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Thanks very much guys! But ah, I hadn't clocked that the Ivory pianos don't offer different mic positions, which I will definitely need.

Now the new VSL Blüthner is on my shortlist too. The price is a bit ouch but it looks amazing....
 
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SupremeFist

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Update for all you fine folk who offered helpful suggestions... In the end I bought two brand-new libraries: the Experimenta Due (Yamaha C7 and C3), which has a beautiful, rounded, very realistic sound; and also the Heavyocity Ascend. This is another Steinway D (!), but the core piano is gorgeously mellow and three-dimensional and has some excellent tone-shaping possibilities. A mix of the close and "underneath" mics is just what I want. (That's without even playing with all the cool arp/fx stuff.)

No disrespect to any other libraries/developers: of course it's really hard to know just from audio demos whether a given product will make the sound in your head when it's under your fingers. Peace!
 
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