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Best Piano Vst?
Old 7th February 2018 | Show parent
  #601
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zephonic's Avatar
 
13 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed with both VILabs and UVI. I already had TrueKeys, but just copped the Ravenscroft (on sale for $99) and these are hands down the best I've played.

I own Keyscape, Galaxy Vintage D, Garritan Steinway, Cinesamples Piano In Blue, and the NI stuff (Grandeur, Maverick etc.)

No contest, for acoustic piano samples, VILabs is where it is at. Other libraries sound great, too, but VI Labs wins big with playability. Very responsive, even intuitive.

I love both the Ravenscroft and their Italian Grand, the former for warm, smooth and velvety Jazz tones, and the latter for brighter and more dynamic Latin and Pop timbres. I also love that they feel and sound great straight out the box. No need to tweak velocity curves, mic positions, damper noise, or string resonance (although you can if you want to).


And like I said before ^^^,The UVI player is super-efficient; the pianos load quick because they use less than 200MB of memory each, and the streaming is unnoticeable. And it remains stable and smooth at low latencies. This is not always the case with other libraries.

In a way, I regret that Spectrasonics needed to do their own engine. When they were using the UVI engine (Atmosphere, Trilogy), their instruments weren't all 50GB+. I l still love their sounds, but sometimes I wish they had stuck with UVI. Keyscape is unusable on my 2015 MBP, and even on my 6-core MacPro it is not all that smooth or stable.
Old 7th February 2018
  #602
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Fleer's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Here’s hoping for that 10-core iMac Pro to land soon. Getting it with 64 gb ram. Doubling that would cost as much as an extra MacBook. Yikes.
Old 7th February 2018 | Show parent
  #603
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zephonic ➡️
Keyscape is unusable on my 2015 MBP, and even on my 6-core MacPro it is not all that smooth or stable.
Oh..? No issues with Keyscape here. Have you tried changing settings under System?

System - Keyscape - 1.1
Old 7th February 2018 | Show parent
  #604
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loopy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zephonic ➡️
I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed with both VILabs and UVI. I already had TrueKeys, but just copped the Ravenscroft (on sale for $99) and these are hands down the best I've played.

I own Keyscape, Galaxy Vintage D, Garritan Steinway, Cinesamples Piano In Blue, and the NI stuff (Grandeur, Maverick etc.)

No contest, for acoustic piano samples, VILabs is where it is at. Other libraries sound great, too, but VI Labs wins big with playability. Very responsive, even intuitive.

I love both the Ravenscroft and their Italian Grand, the former for warm, smooth and velvety Jazz tones, and the latter for brighter and more dynamic Latin and Pop timbres. I also love that they feel and sound great straight out the box. No need to tweak velocity curves, mic positions, damper noise, or string resonance (although you can if you want to).


And like I said before ^^^,The UVI player is super-efficient; the pianos load quick because they use less than 200MB of memory each, and the streaming is unnoticeable. And it remains stable and smooth at low latencies. This is not always the case with other libraries.

In a way, I regret that Spectrasonics needed to do their own engine. When they were using the UVI engine (Atmosphere, Trilogy), their instruments weren't all 50GB+. I l still love their sounds, but sometimes I wish they had stuck with UVI. Keyscape is unusable on my 2015 MBP, and even on my 6-core MacPro it is not all that smooth or stable.
I feel the same way. Right out of the box Ravenscroft 275 is set up perfectly for my style and use. I increase the polyphony and that's about it. I also like the UVI player interface. Simple, stable and it works.
I own most of the top tier piano VSTi.

I purchased Garritan CFX full during the sale in December and I'm still tweaking it to get a sound I like.
Old 7th February 2018 | Show parent
  #605
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zephonic's Avatar
 
13 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui ➡️
Oh..? No issues with Keyscape here. Have you tried changing settings under System?

System - Keyscape - 1.1
Yeah, I didn’t qualify that very well. No, Keyscape works fine on the MacPro, but my sample library disk is a spinner and it takes forever to load a patch.

Next I’m disappointed with the acoustic piano. The tone is nice, but it is no fun to play, which is odd because that is usually one of Spectrasonics’ strengths. Also, they limit polyphony to 64, which is enough for a monotimbral instrument, but a little surprising in this day and age (not to mention it defaults to 32).
Finally, while it uses the same engine as Omnisphere, it is noticeably heavier on resources.


But the Rhodes/Wurly/Clav and classic Digitals are phenomenal. Love those, nothing is better for playing chords.
Old 8th February 2018 | Show parent
  #606
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Quantum7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Ravenscroft and the Production Grand Gold are my 2 current favs.
Old 17th February 2018 | Show parent
  #607
Here for the gear
 
Guys, I currently own the Galaxy Vintage D and Garritan CFX Lite Piano VSTs. Which do you all think is better between these two?
Old 17th February 2018 | Show parent
  #608
Gear Maniac
 
keepitsimple's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy ➡️
I feel the same way. Right out of the box Ravenscroft 275 is set up perfectly for my style and use. I increase the polyphony and that's about it. I also like the UVI player interface. Simple, stable and it works.
I own most of the top tier piano VSTi.

I purchased Garritan CFX full during the sale in December and I'm still tweaking it to get a sound I like.
Ditto, exactly the same here. You'll really know how good the Ravenscroft is when you venture away from it and buy/play other vsti. I bought the CFX Full as well and like you i'm still tweaking it to sound the way i want.

Nowdays i reach exclusively for the Ravenscroft. I use the iOS version as well and it's fantastic, they used the same samples but chopped them a bit obviously.
Old 20th February 2018 | Show parent
  #609
Gear Addict
 
Dzilizi's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn of War ➡️
Guys, I currently own the Galaxy Vintage D and Garritan CFX Lite Piano VSTs. Which do you all think is better between these two?
I am going to preface this and say I don't have either of these. But my collection includes 6 Steinway D's. Among way too many others.

It really depends on what sound you are going for. I've got a cheapo Sonnivox Eighty Eight that sounds better in some of my pop mixes than my Imperfect Samples Steinway Walnut. The Walnut sounds great on its own, so there is nothing wrong with it. And I tend to use my Addictive Keys Studio Grand more than any other piano due to ease of use.

So what it comes down to, is what sounds best to you?
Old 20th February 2018 | Show parent
  #610
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dzilizi ➡️
I am going to preface this and say I don't have either of these. But my collection includes 6 Steinway D's. Among way too many others.

It really depends on what sound you are going for. I've got a cheapo Sonnivox Eighty Eight that sounds better in some of my pop mixes than my Imperfect Samples Steinway Walnut. The Walnut sounds great on its own, so there is nothing wrong with it. And I tend to use my Addictive Keys Studio Grand more than any other piano due to ease of use.

So what it comes down to, is what sounds best to you?
So I have tested the Galaxy Vintage D and it is a beautiful piano but man, among other things, the reverb and resonance on the CFX Lite had me blown away! My preference is now the CFX Lite. I am sad I missed out on the sales for the CFX Full and Ravenscroft 275. Really keeping my eye out for those whenever they go on sale again!
Old 20th February 2018 | Show parent
  #611
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syntonica's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn of War ➡️
Guys, I currently own the Galaxy Vintage D and Garritan CFX Lite Piano VSTs. Which do you all think is better between these two?
Are you using them as solo instruments (or way to the fore), or are they going to sit down in a mix? There's plenty of pianos that sound great on their own, but turn to mud when they're competing with other instruments.
Old 20th February 2018 | Show parent
  #612
Gear Addict
 
Dzilizi's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn of War ➡️
So I have tested the Galaxy Vintage D and it is a beautiful piano but man, among other things, the reverb and resonance on the CFX Lite had me blown away! My preference is now the CFX Lite. I am sad I missed out on the sales for the CFX Full and Ravenscroft 275. Really keeping my eye out for those whenever they go on sale again!
Go pick up PSP's free Piano Verb. It will help any piano sound just a bit better. It adds the string reverb sound/piano resonance. Just the perfect amount. And if you like it, the full version isn't that much, especially when it is on sale.

Also, Audioplugin.deals has a store now. The Ravenscraft is $199, but every time you buy something from them, you get a credit. You can use these credits to lower the price down to the original deal price - in this case $99. Of course, you have to buy things to get the credits. The other thing to keep an eye out on is VSTBuzz. A lot of times after Audioplugin.deals has something, VSTBuzz gets it a few months later. Not always, but it doesn't hurt to keep an eye out for it. Shop - Audio Plugin Deals

But there are a lot of great pianos out there that go on sale every so often.
Old 21st February 2018
  #613
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Ravenscroft and a VPC1 here. Heaven. I've edited the basic Ravenscroft sound quite a bit for my tastes, but this is a great combination.
Old 21st February 2018 | Show parent
  #614
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syncussion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn of War ➡️
Guys, I currently own the Galaxy Vintage D and Garritan CFX Lite Piano VSTs. Which do you all think is better between these two?
Why do you want to know if you already own both?

Anyhow, I have owned the Galaxy Vintage D but have to go by memory, and currently own the CFX Lite.
The CFX is ofcourse a Yamaha and the Vintage D is a Steinway. They have a different timbre.
I prefer the timbre of a Steinway, but I don't consider the Vintage D to be a very good sampeled Steinway D. It's quite uneven and has many 'wrong notes' etc if my memory is correct. I did not find it very nice to play.
The CFX Lite has a few nice demo's and it's much better sampeled than the Vintage D, very even. But I was dissapointed / unimpressed when playing it myself. I found it sounds rather flat and too processed and wasn't very inspiring or fun to play.

My personal preference for a Steinway would go to the new Concert Grand Compact by Production Voices for a Steinway D (and second place to the Ivory American D). It is much nicer to play and more impressive sounding than either the Galaxy Vintage D or the Garritan CFX Lite.
And my preference for a Yamaha is definitely the Production Grand 2 by Production Voices (I own the Silver version). It's amazing! Especially V2. But it's not a Steinway D but a Yamaha C7
At times it can be a little bit thin sounding though depending on the microphone mix (but always very high end), but it responds to eq very well I boost the low mids a little with a wide Q when needed. I guess this may be the result of recording in a well damped studio, those absorbers sucking out the low mids / high bass on any reflections.
Old 21st February 2018 | Show parent
  #615
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by syncussion ➡️
Why do you want to know if you already own both?

Anyhow, I have owned the Galaxy Vintage D but have to go by memory, and currently own the CFX Lite.
The CFX is ofcourse a Yamaha and the Vintage D is a Steinway. They have a different timbre.
I prefer the timbre of a Steinway, but I don't consider the Vintage D to be a very good sampeled Steinway D. It's quite uneven and has many 'wrong notes' etc if my memory is correct. I did not find it very nice to play.
The CFX Lite has a few nice demo's and it's much better sampeled than the Vintage D, very even. But I was dissapointed / unimpressed when playing it myself. I found it sounds rather flat and too processed and wasn't very inspiring or fun to play.

My personal preference for a Steinway would go to the new Concert Grand Compact by Production Voices for a Steinway D (and second place to the Ivory American D). It is much nicer to play and more impressive sounding than either the Galaxy Vintage D or the Garritan CFX Lite.
And my preference for a Yamaha is definitely the Production Grand 2 by Production Voices (I own the Silver version). It's amazing! Especially V2. But it's not a Steinway D but a Yamaha C7
At times it can be a little bit thin sounding though depending on the microphone mix (but always very high end), but it responds to eq very well I boost the low mids a little with a wide Q when needed. I guess this may be the result of recording in a well damped studio, those absorbers sucking out the low mids / high bass on any reflections.
Really appreciate the feedback, will look into those. I am really amazed by the amount of progress that piano VSTs have made along the years. I'm really liking the price of the Concert Grand Compact (I think I might be a Steinway fanboy ). I am actually going into the field of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 5 months time so hopefully, I'll get the chance to work on something in the field of virtual instruments!
Old 21st February 2018 | Show parent
  #616
Gear Addict
 
syncussion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn of War ➡️
Really appreciate the feedback, will look into those. I am really amazed by the amount of progress that piano VSTs have made along the years. I'm really liking the price of the Concert Grand Compact (I think I might be a Steinway fanboy ). I am actually going into the field of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 5 months time so hopefully, I'll get the chance to work on something in the field of virtual instruments!
I'm in no way affiliated with Production Voices. I'm saying this because of what I'm about to say.
In my opinion the Concert Grand Compact is the best piano out there at any cost right now. It just has THAT sound.
Perhaps if one does only pop or something like that this could be your piano but perhaps the Production Grand or some other piano could be your thing instead.
But I can say that for classical there is nothing better (or equal) in my opinion than the Concert Grand Compact.
There is one thing missing though. There is no authentic pedalling / repedalling. Not sure what to call it, the response where you put the pedal up a bit but then repress before it has died out. Hope this will be added at some point or otherwise it is sure to be in the full Concert Grand but that one will cost a lot more I'm sure..

If you want I can do a quick render of the same midi with both the CFX Lite and Concert Grand Compact so you can hear the difference?
Old 21st February 2018 | Show parent
  #617
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by syncussion ➡️
I'm in no way affiliated with Production Voices. I'm saying this because of what I'm about to say.
In my opinion the Concert Grand Compact is the best piano out there at any cost right now. It just has THAT sound.
Perhaps if one does only pop or something like that this could be your piano but perhaps the Production Grand or some other piano could be your thing instead.
But I can say that for classical there is nothing better (or equal) in my opinion than the Concert Grand Compact.
There is one thing missing though. There is no authentic pedalling / repedalling. Not sure what to call it, the response where you put the pedal up a bit but then repress before it has died out. Hope this will be added at some point or otherwise it is sure to be in the full Concert Grand but that one will cost a lot more I'm sure..

If you want I can do a quick render of the same midi with both the CFX Lite and Concert Grand Compact so you can hear the difference?
That would be excellent! About the pedalling you have described there, I think that's partial pedalling but I could be wrong.
Old 21st February 2018 | Show parent
  #618
Gear Addict
 
syncussion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn of War ➡️
That would be excellent! About the pedaling you have described there, I think that's partial pedalling but I could be wrong.
I imagined that partial pedalling is with a pedal that does continues values instead of just on/off so you can do "half pedal down/up". That's not what I mean here, but maybe I'm wrong about this definition. In any case Production Grand for Kontakt does have the feature I meant and there it's called authentic pedalling and it works perfectly there.

In any case here a comparison. Also one which demonstrates the lack of "authentic pedalling" very well. Probably the best example for this as the performance uses this pedalling technique throughout. The result is that with Concert Grand Compact the sound cuts out all the time. Better alternative would have been to let the pedal stay on for longer but leaving it like this as demonstration.
Both piano's are without EQ or reverb and set to full dynamic range / velocity response. With Concert Grand Compact I set the stereo width to 50%.





Btw I find the difference much more noticeable when playing the piano's myself. CFX sounds a bit more processed and distant in this example but OK, but when playing it myself I don't like it as much..
edit: to avoid confusion, the CFX Lite does have authentic pedalling / repedalling and it's switched on so the performance is much better here of course.

Edit2: Btw, here's the MIDI file I used.
http://www.piano-midi.de/midis/godow...n_op10_e01.mid
If anybody else wants to do a clean rendering (no EQ or Reverb and with full dynamic range) with their piano and post it here that would be fun.

Last edited by syncussion; 21st February 2018 at 06:13 PM..
Old 22nd February 2018 | Show parent
  #619
Gear Maniac
 
@ syncussion - that sounds great.

Could you outline what settings you are using with Production Voices Concert Grand Compact?
Old 23rd February 2018 | Show parent
  #620
Gear Addict
 
syncussion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vanallen ➡️
@ syncussion - that sounds great.

Could you outline what settings you are using with Production Voices Concert Grand Compact?
Preset 'Classical Recital' with the reverb turned off.
It a basic preset that does nothing to the sound (no EQ, compression or saturation etc), has velocity response set to 100% and has stereo width set to ~50%. I like the stereo width set to this with the Concert Grand Compact, the sound comes together more and is more natural to me.
Old 24th February 2018 | Show parent
  #621
Here for the gear
 
Garritan CFX Lite MIDI Render

Hey guys so I just rendered this MIDI file using the CFX Lite. I added a bit of reverb and saturation to make this sound closer to the original soundtrack. The MIDI file I used can be found here Again - Performed by TheIshter Sheets by Bomb & Kou Revised by Jeremy Plott | Sheet music for Piano and Keyboard | MuseScore

MIDI Render using Garritan CFX Lite below
Old 24th February 2018 | Show parent
  #622
Gear Addict
 
syncussion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn of War ➡️
Hey guys so I just rendered this MIDI file using the CFX Lite. I added a bit of reverb and saturation to make this sound closer to the original soundtrack. The MIDI file I used can be found here Again - Performed by TheIshter Sheets by Bomb & Kou Revised by Jeremy Plott | Sheet music for Piano and Keyboard | MuseScore

MIDI Render using Garritan CFX Lite below
Here is the Production Grand LE v2 (Yamaha C7):

Could probably get it nicer if I'd put an external reverb on it and perhaps some EQ but this is all by the plugin itself.
Old 24th February 2018 | Show parent
  #623
Gear Maniac
 
The Production Grand LE sure sounds like some of the anime Piano CDs which I have only found in Japan. Superb. I can't comment on how it plays as I don't own the software. How does it play????

The CFX Lite plays well and sounds OK (althought the CFX Full sounds much better than CFX Lite and is a easy recommendation IF you like CFX Lite - no brainer). I don't think Garritan should have released CFX Lite with one mic pair.

Likewise, I don't think Production Voices should have released the new Concert Grand in Compact form with one mic pair. That said, I am in line for the upgrade lol.
Old 24th February 2018 | Show parent
  #624
Gear Addict
 
syncussion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vanallen ➡️
The Production Grand LE sure sounds like some of the anime Piano CDs which I have only found in Japan. Superb. I can't comment on how it plays as I don't own the software. How does it play????
The Production Grand LE plays great for me.
In fact it's probably the best playing virtual piano I've ever played.
edit: btw this may be because it's a Disklavier that's sampled. Playing exact velocities by probably MIDI. It does have a very large dynamic range. I personally like reducing my MIDI verlocities a bit (instead of reducing velocity response in the plugin itself which works differently)

But the sound. It's very good but also can be a bit bright / thin when rendering audio. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. It's not good for classical music. For pop etc it can be very good of course.
But if you compare the original video:

It's very smooth and warm in a way. Large part of that sound is the reverb of course. But I don't think I could get the Production Grand to sound like that even with the perfect reverb for this.
Maybe I'll have a long sit some day to see how close I can get it..
That said. It's not necessarily specific to the Production Grand, I don't know of any sample lib that can give that sound. (if someone does please upload an example

edit: ohh wait a minute.. I can get pretty close with the Production Grand! Just thought of a little trick.
Make a different microphone mix specifically for the reverb! Just occured to me that in real life the reverb comes mainly from sound radiating all around the piano before bouncing off / reverbing. This is quite different from the best sounding direct path of course. So I just made a mix of the stranger mics like the PZM under the piano and the head at player position and the ribbon room and the hammer mics and fed only those to the reverb (internal, haven't even tried using extra outs and an external reverb yet), while using the modern room mic for the direct sound without any reverb on that mic. And this is just a first try and without any EQing yet and it already sounds amazing! So much better than reverb on the direct mic! With some practice I can already tell amazing sounds can be had.
^really take note of this one. Very good find if I may say so myself

Last edited by syncussion; 24th February 2018 at 08:12 PM..
Old 24th February 2018 | Show parent
  #625
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by syncussion ➡️
Here is the Production Grand LE v2 (Yamaha C7):

Could probably get it nicer if I'd put an external reverb on it and perhaps some EQ but this is all by the plugin itself.
The Production Grand 2 sounds magnificent! I like the CFX Lite and will consider upgrading to the CFX Full but definitely looking at Production Voices' instruments as well.
Old 24th February 2018 | Show parent
  #626
Gear Addict
 
syncussion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by syncussion ➡️
edit: ohh wait a minute.. I can get pretty close with the Production Grand! Just thought of a little trick.
Make a different microphone mix specifically for the reverb! Just occured to me that in real life the reverb comes mainly from sound radiating all around the piano before bouncing off / reverbing. This is quite different from the best sounding direct path of course. So I just made a mix of the stranger mics like the PZM under the piano and the head at player position and the ribbon room and the hammer mics and fed only those to the reverb (internal, haven't even tried using extra outs and an external reverb yet), while using the modern room mic for the direct sound without any reverb on that mic. And this is just a first try and without any EQing yet and it already sounds amazing! So much better than reverb on the direct mic! With some practice I can already tell amazing sounds can be had.
^really take note of this one. Very good find if I may say so myself
Ah and since audio says more than words, here a quick render of my very first try:

Can get this much better still, didn't even try on this one. And all done internally.
Will spend some time soon to get this trick down also with external reverb. Pretty sure I can get a very hi-end, smooth and real sound this way.
In any case, even this quick example is probably the first time a sampled piano sounds like a real recording to me! What do you guys think? (nevermind that I have the pedal noise too loud and that there are better recordings possible, will get there next, but still it has the smoothness of a real recording right?)
Old 24th February 2018 | Show parent
  #627
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by syncussion ➡️
Ah and since audio says more than words, here a quick render of my very first try:

Can get this much better still, didn't even try on this one. And all done internally.
Will spend some time soon to get this trick down also with external reverb. Pretty sure I can get a very hi-end, smooth and real sound this way.
In any case, even this quick example is probably the first time a sampled piano sounds like a real recording to me! What do you guys think? (nevermind that I have the pedal noise too loud and that there are better recordings possible, will get there next, but still it has the smoothness of a real recording right?)
Holy cow, that's insane! Guys, compare it to the YouTube video. It sounds like a real recording. Maybe we are transcending the sampled piano boundaries
Old 25th February 2018
  #628
I'm a bit confused, am I missing something? Production Voices was teasing with some Steinway D full blown VI, like the Yamaha one, but Steinway, long ago, so anyone have any idea when it is actually going to be released?

Added: ah, I see:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Concert Grand Compact is a high-quality piano sample library for the FREE Plogue sforzando sampled from a Steinway D concert grand piano in a world-class recording studio. Concert Grand Compact contains samples from the larger Concert Grand (soon to be released) without the need for the Kontakt sampler.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Also that pedal issue is VERY important. From what I was able to understand the CGC lacks this feature when you can release a key and then press the pedal a milliseconds after, or catch it at further stages when the sound is almost gone, so it won't be just cut off. I.e. you need to be able to "catch" the keys with the pedal.
Old 25th February 2018 | Show parent
  #629
Gear Addict
 
syncussion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKM ➡️
Also that pedal issue is VERY important. From what I was able to understand the CGC lacks this feature when you can release a key and then press the pedal a milliseconds after, or catch it at further stages when the sound is almost gone, so it won't be just cut off. I.e. you need to be able to "catch" the keys with the pedal.
Yes, this is missing in Concert Grand Compact. It is in the Production Grand and will also be in the full Concert Grand though.
No idea when the release date is for the full one, but can't be too far from now it seems..
Old 27th February 2018 | Show parent
  #630
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I'll put in for Production Voices, but I don't own the rival Ravenscroft to compare it with. Certainly the demos seem comparable, but (as we all know) demos provide only a tiny glimpse into any sample.

Playability, getting to try the piano out next to the others you already own, and in the kind of music you're going to be using it for... that's the real test. Which costs all of us a lot of money. (Unless you're just using the sample to "produce" solo and in-mix stuff that's supposed to sound a certain way to a target audience. Then the demos can, if well-done, provide a somewhat useful guide to purchasing.)

Production Voices does both (it's playable AND it can be used to put out an actual "recording" that rivals a decent recording of a decent Yamaha grand.) In fact, because it's sampled super-quiet, in a solo piano context, the recording will in fact come out much cleaner than a comparable Yamaha recorded in a real hall.

Mind you, if you don't like the Yamaha sound, then the sample may not be for you. Depends, in the end on personal taste. As always.
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