Are there any "playable" piano samples?

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Are there any "playable" piano samples?

Post by adamjohnson » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:26 am

I have been using piano samples since the beginning, including the Ensoniq ESQ1, Eps16+, Kurzweil K1000, Gigasampler Old Lady, Kawaii MP9000 and finally Ivory Steinway D. I am a jazz pianist and have been looking for a satisfying piano sound for performance. Clearly Ivory is the best of the bunch I have tried, but it still does not work for me. I have tried a myriad of velocity curves, Eq settings, and controllers and it still sounds too artificial to be playable. My main controllers are the Kawaii MP9000 and Casio Previa PX 100. For amp/speakers, I have used (all in stereo) M-Audio monitors, FBT powered speakers, and Motion Sound KVR-3D. When I play through headphones it sounds great, but through speakers, it frankly sounds terrible. I find the built-in Rhodes sound on the Casio preferable (I realize a Rhodes is much simpler to sample than a Steinway). I have tried Pianoteq's latest version which is somewhat more "playable" (read- naturally responsive) but even more artificial sounding. I listen to the MP-3 demos of Garritan and others and they sound amazing, then I listen to the Ivory MP-3 demos and they sound great too! Am I alone in this quandry, or am I missing something? Thanks for any advice/opinions.

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Last edited by adamjohnson on Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are there any "playable" piano samples?

Post by fredbucket » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:25 pm

In terms of what you've looked at so far, the answer is no.

I think PianoTeq is the most "technically" advanced emulator out there at the moment, SoundsOnline also put out a very good one, but I don't think there is any way in which a "sampled" piano sound can ever replace the real thing. It's not just the sound, there is also the "feel" and response of the keyboard, and whilst there are many keyboards out there which up to a point will do, once you get to (obviously) your level their limitations become clear. In particular, most keyboards (and speakers) run up to 20kHz, but a significant part of a piano's output is above 20kHz.

There is also the problem of the venue you are playing in, a vast majority of which are not designed for good acoustics, plus other musicians playing with you like to be heard as well and this certainly does not help your sound.

I would suggest you take a nice grand piano with you to each of your gigs.

Helpfully yours,

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