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Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

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Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 12:35 am
by RichardT
I’ve used Pianoteq 6 and 7 and I have to say I’m less impressed than previous posters. There’s something that doesn’t sound quite right, to my ears anyway. Maybe if I kept adjusting the settings I could overcome that, but so far no joy, in spite of a lot of fiddling around. The lack of velocity layers is good - from that point of view it responds more naturally.

I haven’t come across any libraries I’m completely happy with. The sound of NI’s The Grandeur is very good but on quiet notes there are occasional clicks, which several people have reported to NI, but they just deny there’s a problem. So although I use it, I can’t fully recommend it. The same problem appears in other NI piano libraries too.

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 1:02 am
by Eddy Deegan
RichardT wrote:I’ve used Pianoteq 6 and 7 and I have to say I’m less impressed than previous posters. There’s something that doesn’t sound quite right, to my ears anyway.

Interesting. Are you a pianist, out of interest? Not that it matters either way; I was just wondering if the 'ultra realism' in the modelling from Pianoteq may appear strange when compared to sample based stuff which, from those that I've heard, tends to have more character imbued from the location and microphone techniques used to capture it and which may be more palatable to the average ear.

I was raised on piano from a very early age (started at 5, got serious at 7 years old) and to me Pianoteq is (in terms of audio, the controller is another matter of course) the nearest thing to playing the real thing in terms of audio that I've ever heard.

I am a little fussy about finding the right tone for the task in hand and even then find it works best with a hint of high quality reverb/ambience and I prefer 2CAudio's Aether to the built-in FX in Pianoteq itself, but the dynamics under the fingers definitely float my boat.

Of course it could just be a personal preference thing and I'm overthinking it ;)

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 1:58 am
by tea for two
Eddy Deegan wrote:I'm a huge fan of Modartt's Pianoteq.

I used one of the Steinway models for the track 'Martin' .

I listened to this track as I felt it would be thoughtful uplifting and it was.

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:11 am
by mac.churchmouse
Eddy Deegan wrote:
RichardT wrote:I’ve used Pianoteq 6 and 7 and I have to say I’m less impressed than previous posters. There’s something that doesn’t sound quite right, to my ears anyway.

... I was just wondering if the 'ultra realism' in the modelling from Pianoteq may appear strange when compared to sample based stuff which, from those that I've heard, tends to have more character imbued from the location and microphone techniques used to capture it and which may be more palatable to the average ear.

I find that it's the 'perfectly tuned' aspect that grates with my ear - makes it sound unrealistic if you will.

Adjusting the 'condition' slider above the keyboard away from the 'mint' setting to allow a little tuning randomness makes the world of difference. Try settings between 15 and 25 for a start.

Once I discovered this I couldn't be happier with Pianoteq and I'm still on Version 5.

Cheers, Glenn

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:42 am
by RichardT
Eddy Deegan wrote:
RichardT wrote:I’ve used Pianoteq 6 and 7 and I have to say I’m less impressed than previous posters. There’s something that doesn’t sound quite right, to my ears anyway.

Interesting. Are you a pianist, out of interest? Not that it matters either way; I was just wondering if the 'ultra realism' in the modelling from Pianoteq may appear strange when compared to sample based stuff which, from those that I've heard, tends to have more character imbued from the location and microphone techniques used to capture it and which may be more palatable to the average ear.

I was raised on piano from a very early age (started at 5, got serious at 7 years old) and to me Pianoteq is (in terms of audio, the controller is another matter of course) the nearest thing to playing the real thing in terms of audio that I've ever heard.

I am a little fussy about finding the right tone for the task in hand and even then find it works best with a hint of high quality reverb/ambience and I prefer 2CAudio's Aether to the built-in FX in Pianoteq itself, but the dynamics under the fingers definitely float my boat.

Of course it could just be a personal preference thing and I'm overthinking it ;)

Yes, I am a pianist. I guess my feeling is that the Pianoteq pianos lack a little sweetness compared to the real thing. I think I may spend some time tweaking to see if I can overcome this. I use a little reverb with Pianoteq too. I agree that the dynamics in Pianoteq are lovely to play!

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:44 am
by RichardT
mac.churchmouse wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:
RichardT wrote:I’ve used Pianoteq 6 and 7 and I have to say I’m less impressed than previous posters. There’s something that doesn’t sound quite right, to my ears anyway.

... I was just wondering if the 'ultra realism' in the modelling from Pianoteq may appear strange when compared to sample based stuff which, from those that I've heard, tends to have more character imbued from the location and microphone techniques used to capture it and which may be more palatable to the average ear.

I find that it's the 'perfectly tuned' aspect that grates with my ear - makes it sound unrealistic if you will.

Adjusting the 'condition' slider above the keyboard away from the 'mint' setting to allow a little tuning randomness makes the world of difference. Try settings between 15 and 25 for a start.

Once I discovered this I couldn't be happier with Pianoteq and I'm still on Version 5.

Cheers, Glenn

Thanks, I’ll give that a shot.

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:01 am
by The Elf
Eddy Deegan wrote:I used one of the Steinway models for the track 'Martin' .
What a fabulous touch you have. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:17 am
by CS70
With such references, had another go at PianoTeq. Really like their "rewind" capability in the demo, it allows you to actually try things without much fuzz while, of course, keeping it a demo.

I've been replaying the part (it gets better the more you practice, doh) using PT and it works in the mix.

I am no piano player so I am unfamiliar with the timbres and differences of different instruments... but I know the piano works I like, and even more importantly I know exactly what I want to hear in this mix. Managed to get 90% there, this time using the Grotrian Concert Royal.

No processing other than a little hipass to keep the bottom clean and a little EQ at 5K to get the high notes competitive and the Prochannel console doing its magic together with the other channels.

The suggestion of moving away from "mint" was great (thanks mac.churchmouse), you get a much more realistic tone. Guess most real pianos aren't perfectly mint after all.

I love the higher registry - it has that delightful "click" of the hammer when you play a triplet just so, which I actually get from the Roland but was struggling to get right when replaying the MIDI in the DAW. It's very much like using a pick to vary the attack on a guitar string, it makes a lot of difference to the feel.

The lower registry (at least in that piano preset) is a little less convincing to me in solo, especially on longer notes.. have no idea how much a real piano can sustain but in the Roland I can get a note going longer without feeling synthetic (and not using pedals, I can just about use the fingers :) )

That said, it's 99% more likely it's the player than the instrument :lol:

But I'm liking this thing. I may end up buying it after all.

Is it worth to get the "Pro"?

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:33 am
by Tomás Mulcahy
CS70 wrote:Is it worth to get the "Pro"?
I think it is if you want to get the tuning just so. On the pianoteq forum users share their "models" made in Pro. The only thing that puts me off is the price! So I'm still on Standard.

Personally I find starting with the right model is the first step. I often go for the Pleyel (included in all versions) or the Grotrian (extra purchase). The Steinway and Yamaha models are often too perfect (but sometimes that's what we want).

Invariably I'll disable all of the effects too, and pick player's perspective. Next, tweak the amount of hammer noise. I leave the tuning as is, to my ear they have the stretch exactly right (this from a guy who is always looking over the tuner's shoulder!).

Usually, that's all I'd need to do to get what I like. All of the above can be done in the Stage version.

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 12:06 pm
by John Stafford
I have Pianoteq but I don't really like it. I just don't find it convincing. I didn't upgrade to 7 yet as the demos didn't really do much for me. I might do that later today.

I really like the VSL pianos, but a VSL habit can get very expensive very quickly. For me the experience is much closer to playing a real piano. I can't really afford to plonk down VSL money, but through various special offers over the years I've managed to get a few bits and pieces.

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:39 pm
by The Elf
CS70 wrote:Is it worth to get the "Pro"?
It did find it took quite a bit of fiddling around to get something I was happy with. The more you can adjust, the more likely you are to get something you'll be happy with, but then the more you may obsess with getting something you can never quite reach - that's my experience.

And there's still that surreal 'uncanny valley' sense to Pianoteq that I can never quite shake off.

But on balance - I'd say yes, 'Pro' is worth it.

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:50 pm
by CS70
You guys are making my life easy!! :D :D

Yeah I really liked the high end of the piano but the middle-low hand was not was I was expecting. And I'm not big into tweaking.

For the specific part on this song however, it does a heck of a good job (mostly the mid-lower chords are used as just reinforcement for the arrangement to give an extra edge, so masking in the mix works).

So a bit on the fence. It's 239EUR after all, not a house but not a bag of chips either.

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:54 pm
by CS70
John Stafford wrote:I have Pianoteq but I don't really like it. I just don't find it convincing. I didn't upgrade to 7 yet as the demos didn't really do much for me. I might do that later today.

I really like the VSL pianos, but a VSL habit can get very expensive very quickly. For me the experience is much closer to playing a real piano. I can't really afford to plonk down VSL money, but through various special offers over the years I've managed to get a few bits and pieces.

Ah, Vienna! Yeah had a look, saw the 1180EUR and thought at worst I ask my Russian pianist friend, she may even throw a dinner in :D :D

But cool to know they make special offers.

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:09 pm
by blinddrew
CS70 wrote:
John Stafford wrote:I have Pianoteq but I don't really like it. I just don't find it convincing. I didn't upgrade to 7 yet as the demos didn't really do much for me. I might do that later today.

I really like the VSL pianos, but a VSL habit can get very expensive very quickly. For me the experience is much closer to playing a real piano. I can't really afford to plonk down VSL money, but through various special offers over the years I've managed to get a few bits and pieces.

Ah, Vienna! Yeah had a look, saw the 1180EUR and thought at worst I ask my Russian pianist friend, she may even throw a dinner in :D :D

But cool to know they make special offers.
Presumably at that price you were factoring in your flights to Moscow and hiring the studio! :D

Re: Any good piano library that doesn't cost a house?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:12 pm
by The Elf
CS70 wrote:Yeah I really liked the high end of the piano but the middle-low hand was not was I was expecting.
Yep, that's where 'uncanny valley' is for me. There's a sort of resonant 'flatline' in the lower mids that reminds me of a Yamaha CP70, with its short bass strings. Whatever it is you will spend hours trying to 'fix' it and... you won't.

But I'm sounding really negative. As said, I do really like Pianoteq a great deal. Like all these things it's 'a' solution, not 'the' solution. ;)