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IK Multimedia Pianoverse

IK Multimedia Pianoverse

IK’s sampled piano instrument aims to be more than just world-beating...

Boasting ‘robot‑assisted sampling’ of the world’s finest pianos, IK Multimedia’s Pianoverse aims to be ‘the only piano instrument you’ll ever need’. Full marks for ambition, then, but in a world that’s not exactly starved of sampled pianos what does Pianoverse have to offer that others don’t? Except for robot assisted sampling, of course...

At the time of this review there are five piano options available with three currently in development and more planned for the future. The pianos currently available for Pianoverse are the Concert Grand YF3 (sampled from a 9‑foot Yamaha CFIII concert grand piano), the Royal Upright Y5 (from a Yamaha U5 upright), the Black Diamond B280 (a 9‑foot Bösendorfer 280 Vienna Concert grand) and the NY Grand S274 (sampled from a 9‑foot Steinway & Sons New York D‑274 concert grand).

The most recent release at time of writing is the Gran Concerto 278, sampled from a 9.5‑foot Fazioli F278 concert grand piano. Scheduled for release are the Hamburg Grand S274 (a 9‑foot Steinway & Sons Hamburg D‑274 grand), the Liberty Upright (sampled from a rare Koch & Korselt upright grand piano) and the Black Pearl B200 (a 7‑foot Bösendorfer 200 concert grand).

You’ll need to download the IK Product Manager for installation, adding Pianoverse itself from the Software tab and then installing your purchased pianos from the Sounds tab. These pianos are not small due to the immense detail that has gone into creating them — they currently range in size from 24GB to 32.6GB (which required investing in yet another external drive).

Upon opening you’re met with the browser menu, showing your installed pianos on the left and the presets to the right. There are 25 presets for every piano and each is tagged according to mood, genre and various other characteristics so that you can use the filter in the centre column to quickly find your perfect sound. You can also mark your favourites here for faster recall. User slots are only limited by the space on your hard drive.

In order to accurately capture the full dynamic range of each piano, IK Multimedia developed a robot ‘finger’ to press on the keys at different velocities...

The Robot Finger

The first thing that strikes you about the main piano samples is how dry the recordings are. All pianos were sampled using close‑range miking, either using DPA or AKG microphones. A mid‑distance or coincident option was also captured using either Schoeps or DPA mics.

In order to accurately capture the full dynamic range of each piano, IK Multimedia developed a robot ‘finger’ to press on the keys at different velocities, with the data being fed back into their own, specially created software. The robot had to strike the key in a manner that achieved maximum realism while fully capturing the dynamic curve of each note. This is a technique...

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