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  #1  
Old 11-20-2009, 09:31 AM
michaelm michaelm is offline
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Default virtual pianos

I am curious to hear opinions (and hopefully comparisons) from people having used various sampled pianos - Garritan Steinway, Synthogy Ivory Grand, Vienna Imperial Grand, EastWest, Steinberg Grand 3, any others? Quality of sound, ease of use, copy protection? what/if any additional players/software (requirements?) needed? (VST, RTAS, or other?)
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2009, 03:01 PM
nod25 nod25 is offline
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Default Re: virtual pianos

I pitted some modeling pianos against MiniGrand this week. Why? Because they were small to download and relatively inexpensive—if I liked one I could afford it.

I tried PianoTeq and TruePianos.

PianoTeq blew me away. Some really cool fine-tuning features for the tweakers out there. Lots of fun. Sounded good, but not entirely for my taste and needs.

TruePianos was simple and cool. As (I think it was UncleDuncan from Gearslutz) said TruePianos works well in a rock context. I agree.

In the end, maybe I favored MiniGrand (it cost me nothing right?). Ultimately I was just a little confused.

My needs are Rock/pop piano sounds like Nick Lachey's "What's Left of Me" and Backstreet Boys "Incomplete" etc. None of these came close
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2010, 10:46 AM
DanielJameS DanielJameS is offline
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Default Re: virtual pianos

I think Mini Grand sounds good UNTILL, you stack it up against some of the other piano plugs out there....I've tried just about all of them in a quest to make my purchasing decision...

Pianoteq - At first I was quite flabergasted at the attention to detail the folks at pianoteq implemented into this VSTi...especially for a non-sample based plug. The tweaks on hammer action, string length, pedal noise etc etc are exceptional. One fatal flaw I noticed with this one, is when you start tweaking, due to the fact that this is a virtually emulated plug-in...if you listen really close, you can hear various other instruments they used to achieve the sound..(vibraphones and things of that nature) but overall, this is a great sounding plug if you don't tweak the presets TOO much..I find that the close mic'd C3 with moderate tweaks sounds amazing.

Pianissimo - Too clunky and fake sounding for me, they integrated pedal noise and damper/hammer sounds...but you can hear where the sound sample dies...it's also a bit "gloomy" or jangly with too much low end for my taste...

TruePianos - I wish I could give an adequate review of this, but have had nothing but compatibility problems with the demo they offer....the demo's on their page sound pretty good, but haven't had the chance to actually play this one...It is however very affordable, so hard to lose on this one..

Ivory - Very realistic, but too dark for me. The price is pretty good, but for what it costs, I think I'd choose The Grand 3 over Ivory all day.

The Grand 3 - In the price range, to me...the most realistic sounding virtual piano out there. Downside, MASSIVE library that uses disk streaming, and quite a resource hog if your operating on an average system, your bound to have problems. The sound, playability, ringing out of notes, resonance, pedal sounds, damper/hammer sounds are all there...and it's hella bright and cuts through a mix extremely nice. If I had to purchase a piano plug in the 300-400 price range, it'd be this one.

NI Akoustik - I personally think again, this is too dark...sounds kind of clunky, and overall....noticeably fake. My whole goal with a Virtual Grand is to have it be as believeable as possible...isn't that the point?

Vienna Imperial Grand - Not talking about the actuall Bosendorfer plug, but the newer more extensive Vienna Imperial. Biggest downside, it's damn near 1k with tax, but for good reason. This plug is the king! It definately wouldn't be suitable for rock/honkytonk or bluesy piano bit's in my humble opinion...but for pop/country/contemporary etc. stuff with emotional jangly piano parts...think "here comes goodbye" by Rascall flatts, mixed right it's damn near impossible to tell that it's fake...excellent technology...MAJOR resource hog, definately not suitable for mediocre systems...you won't get it's full potential. I would never buy this for my studio...it's just too expensive for me to have, however I've played this at several studios here in Nashville.

Overall for best uses...I think Pianoteq is pretty darn good...with the right tweaking and EQ in a pop or rock mix, I think it would sit pretty nice. If I had to go sample based I'd go The Grand 3 for sure. As soon as I get TruePianos to actually work in PT, It may be a contender as well.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2010, 04:14 PM
aus scott aus scott is offline
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Default Re: virtual pianos

What about Concerto from The Air Users Blog?? Anyone tried that?

Scott
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  #5  
Old 01-09-2010, 01:04 AM
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Eric Lambert Eric Lambert is offline
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Default Re: virtual pianos

Pianoteq is impressive only because it is achieved through modeling, but it's not impressive sounding, and that's really the point. It's refreshingly low on CPU horsepower, but that doesn't make up for the fact that it doesn't sound enough like a real piano. Nice effort, but no thank you.

Vienna Imperial is king. I don't believe any others currently on the market even have a chance of competing with it.

NI's pianos are a joke. Run from them.

Ivory can be quite convincing. At times, very convincing. With a little TLC during the mix, VERY convincing.

And so can the MiniGrand, for certain things. Higher register arrangements into a long reverb sounds great.

EastWest is OK. Can't say more than that.

It's hard to see any reason to go beyond Vienna (other than cost).
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2010, 02:51 AM
Sofine Sofine is offline
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Default Re: virtual pianos

Quote:
Originally Posted by aus scott View Post
What about Concerto from The Air Users Blog?? Anyone tried that?

Scott
Hi Scott,

I have it and wrote a mini-review here: http://airusersblog.squarespace.com/...to-review.html

In a nutshell, it's highly playable - unlike some piano samples I've bought in the past, and sounds great. On top of that it's great value.

I am not a piano player so YMMV...

Cheers,

Simon.
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2010, 09:42 AM
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Rubicon Rubicon is offline
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Default Re: virtual pianos

+1 for ivory.

I am a keyboardist/piano player.

Ivory has the "right" contemporary sound for most projects, including solo piano work.

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  #8  
Old 01-10-2010, 12:46 PM
aus scott aus scott is offline
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Default Re: virtual pianos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofine View Post
Hi Scott,

I have it and wrote a mini-review here: http://airusersblog.squarespace.com/...to-review.html

In a nutshell, it's highly playable - unlike some piano samples I've bought in the past, and sounds great. On top of that it's great value.

I am not a piano player so YMMV...

Cheers,

Simon.
Perfect! Thanks Simon. Gotta love great value.

Scott
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2010, 02:45 PM
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Keybeeetsss Keybeeetsss is offline
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Default Re: virtual pianos

I only have Ivory, MiniGrand, Garritan Steinway & the REASON Pianos which I highly favor; then MiniGrand... I like Garritan but can only use it on very little... I have a couple in the MOTU SYMPHONIC ORCH plug which really sound good but I just don't pull that plug up just for a Piano...
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