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Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library #2543793 05/27/16 12:52 PM
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Wavesfactory Offline OP
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Hi there,

This is my first post and I'm not sure if I'm posting it in the right subforum, so please, if you're a moderator and you can move it to the right location it would be great smile

I'm Jesús from Wavesfactory. I develop sample libraries for Kontakt and audio plugins.

Back in November, I flew to London to record the Freddie Mercury's personal Fazioli Grand Piano at Metropolis Studio A.
Before actually recording it, I wanted to be sure of what people were expecting from a library like this. Since I'm a huge Freddie's fan and this was the biggest and most ambitious project that I have ever done I wanted to get it just right. So I did a survey with 10 questions, some technical and some non-technical: how many velocity layers, how many mic positions, how many round robins, what do you think that lacks in most piano libraries, what's the best piano library you've heard and so on.
At the end, I had a pretty good image of how to approach the recording. 6 mic positions: ultraclose, close, vintage mono, player perspective, mid and far.
There was a problem with the player perspective so I had to drop that down. 5 mic positions when most piano libraries have only 1 to 3 at the most.
8 velocity layers, checked.
4 round robin with optional neighbour borrowing, checked.

Here you have a preview of me playing the actual piano at the studio.
https://soundcloud.com/wavesfactory/mercury

And this is the library itself after all the editing, programming and scripting.
Note: all mics at 0dB, no effects.
https://soundcloud.com/wavesfactory/mercury-1

Since this project started with lots of feedback from the community, it should continue to be the same until its release. I care a lot about this so feel free to post whatever you feel like.

I'll be posting more technical demos like staccatos and velocity testing on different keys.

The design is done and it's fantastic.
As a side note, this library will be a Kontakt Player one, no need for the full version of Kontakt.

I would like you to send some feedback in order to improve the library to make it just perfect.

Can't wait to read your comments smile
[Linked Image]

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Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543812 05/27/16 01:46 PM
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phacke Offline

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Greetings,
Piano seems to lack overtones even when played with moderately firm keystrokes in the middle of the scale, to my ears.

Best wishes-


phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Toccata (G minor) BWV 915
(and trying not to forget the other stuff I know)
Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: phacke] #2543824 05/27/16 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by phacke
Greetings,
Piano seems to lack overtones even when played with moderately firm keystrokes in the middle of the scale, to my ears.

Best wishes-


Interesting observation. Someone here posted the other day that Faziolis are engineered to produce fewer overtones. I don't know if that's true, but it seems consistent with the above.



And still I dream she'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: phacke] #2543830 05/27/16 02:30 PM
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Wavesfactory Offline OP
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Originally Posted by phacke
Greetings,
Piano seems to lack overtones even when played with moderately firm keystrokes in the middle of the scale, to my ears.

Best wishes-

Is this behaviour on both demos? In that case, that's how the actual piano sounds and there isn't much I can do.

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543832 05/27/16 02:35 PM
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Retsacnal Offline

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Originally Posted by Wavesfactory
Originally Posted by phacke
Greetings,
Piano seems to lack overtones even when played with moderately firm keystrokes in the middle of the scale, to my ears.

Best wishes-

Is this behaviour on both demos? In that case, that's how the actual piano sounds and there isn't much I can do.


If the "Engineering" observation is accurate, then that's probably the way it should sound.



And still I dream she'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543837 05/27/16 02:46 PM
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Wavesfactory Offline OP
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Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543848 05/27/16 03:10 PM
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pyropaul Offline
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Originally Posted by Wavesfactory


There's some strange low level hiss gating on and off in the background, otherwise, it sounds very good.

Paul.

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543857 05/27/16 03:25 PM
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joe80 Offline
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This piano came to him quite late in his career (obviously since the factory only started producing in 1982 or something and Freddie died in 1991), so it would be interesting to know which recordings Freddie Mercury used it on. I know he left it to the studio after he died, and it's still used there to this day. It would be interesting to hear for a comparison.

It's a cool project, Freddie would be tickled pink I'm sure.

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543870 05/27/16 04:14 PM
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Mark... Offline
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Clarity without noise...I like it!

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543892 05/27/16 05:10 PM
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DiarmuidD Offline
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Regarding the engineering of Fazioli pianos this is a quote from Stephen Hough who had one for a while:

"I'm afraid I sold it a couple of years after buying it. The Fazioli is a beautifully designed instrument with many positive qualities, particularly a long sustain and a powerful, clean treble. But for me, its sound is a little monochrome and lacking in complexity of overtones. It's actually part of the Fazioli design that the sympathetic part of the upper strings can be tuned. This results in an exact, pure note, but for most Romantic repertoire, I want the rich complexity of overtones. Too pure a note can sound synthetic and thin. Bach and much contemporary music works wonderfully on the Fazioli but in Chopin, Debussy, etc. I don't like it at all. I'm much more excited by the newer Yamahas, which I'm seeing. I just made two CDs on one and it was glorious."

Great project by the way. I love Faziolis, thanks for sharing this. I think the early Faziolis have had a few design changes to produce the current range but that's a very foggy memory of something I read once. Freddy's one is quite possibly an early model, it's certainly from the early days of Fazioli production as Joe mentioned.

Last edited by DiarmuidD; 05/27/16 05:20 PM.
Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: pyropaul] #2543894 05/27/16 05:19 PM
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Wavesfactory Offline OP
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Originally Posted by pyropaul
Originally Posted by Wavesfactory


There's some strange low level hiss gating on and off in the background, otherwise, it sounds very good.

Paul.

This is actually the sustain pedal releasing the damper on the strings. That's controllable from the GUI (settings menu):
[Linked Image]

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543903 05/27/16 05:46 PM
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Does the library support Variable Sustain, Sostenuto, and Soft Pedals?

Just noticing the settings UI, very clean and concise. A nice addition being able to control the min & max velocity samples within the library UI. Also appears we can control the overall hammer hardness and attack?

Looking forward to more demos.

Kind regards,
Rick Tucker

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80] #2543904 05/27/16 05:46 PM
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Wavesfactory Offline OP
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Originally Posted by joe80
This piano came to him quite late in his career (obviously since the factory only started producing in 1982 or something and Freddie died in 1991), so it would be interesting to know which recordings Freddie Mercury used it on. I know he left it to the studio after he died, and it's still used there to this day. It would be interesting to hear for a comparison.

It's a cool project, Freddie would be tickled pink I'm sure.

In fact, Metropolis Studios opened in 1989. Queen did record "Innuendo" and "Made In Heaven" there. "Headlong" video was recorded there:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhyaAPsT1LU

Unfortunately, there is not a piano driven song in that albums... except for "It's a Beautiful Day". "My Life Has Been Saved" and "Let Me Live" also feature a piano but I think they come from older recordings from 1988 (The Miracle) and 1982. Who knows, maybe they re-recorded the pianos too and they used this beautiful Fazioli.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3LcpCTiy-w

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: rtucker55] #2543910 05/27/16 05:53 PM
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Wavesfactory Offline OP
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Originally Posted by rtucker55
Does the library support Variable Sustain, Sostenuto, and Soft Pedals?

Just noticing the settings UI, very clean and concise. A nice addition being able to control the min & max velocity samples within the library UI. Also appears we can control the overall hammer hardness and attack?

Looking forward to more demos.

Kind regards,
Rick Tucker

Yes smile

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543921 05/27/16 06:15 PM
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joe80 Offline
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Diarmuid, it would have to be an early model because it would have to have come from the first 5 to 8 years of Fazcoli's production. While I don't know what design changes have taken place with Fazioli over the 30 years they've been producing, I do know that many pianists in the first ten years were brimming with praise for the instrument, Freddie Mercury being just one of many. Actually I didn't know he owned a Fazioli until very recently. His PA told me that he had a Yamaha at home, and of course if you watch any concert of Queen from the 1980s he's using a NYC Steinway that looks like it came through both wars on the front line!

There is a video somewhere of Tatiana Nikolayeva playing a Fazioli in a recital somewhere in Europe, dating from around 1988 (she died in 1992), and Angela Hewitt has used them for at least 25 years now.

I agree with Hough's description of the sound of a Fazioli, but I don't agree that it's unsuited to the romantic repertoire. In a funny way Blüthner and Fazioli share a lot in terms of purity of tone, although they're coming at it from completely different angles, and Bösendorfer too is a very pure sound but perhaps not as crystalline as Fazioli. The thing about the romantic period is that there were so many different kinds of pianos kicking around, from the straight strung Grafs, Erards, Pleyels of the earlier part, to the larger iron-barred Broadwoods (still straight strung), right through to instruments resembling our modern concert grands that I feel (just a gut feeling) that while piano music was probably written with an ideal sound in mind (varying from composer to composer and decade to decade), everyone knew their music would be performed on all sorts of pianos varying in quality.

Anyway sorry to completely derail the thread with that little nugget of guff there. Jesùs, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand? I think you've done a fairly good job in capturing the piano, of course you're going to go back and refine it, and I can't tell the exact quality of the tone through my computer's speakers. What keyboard do you find works best with the sample?

I'll go and dig out my old Queen albums now.

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80] #2543931 05/27/16 06:33 PM
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Fazioli concert grands, F278 and F308 have gone through at least 2 major changes in the design of the plate, with countless, continuing improvements and changes.

The biggest change perhaps is between the first and the second generation, in the late 1990s. In the first generation, there were four segments, each with roughly 20-25 notes.

Here's the first generation plate:

http://www.weschenfelder.eu/images/product_images/popup_images/127_5.JPG

Here's the second generation plate:

http://www.fazioli.com/sites/default/files/f278-04.jpg

And the third generation plate:

http://europianosnaples.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/RAN_8614.jpg

The plate until the late 1990s have four segments. I don't know whether the scale design actually changed, but subsequent ones have 5 segments.

Design improvements are being made constantly, and it is fair to say that no two Faziolis are alike. Yet, it is remarkable that they are far more consistent from one to another compared to other manufacturers.

Last edited by Ken Iisaka; 05/27/16 06:33 PM.
Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543932 05/27/16 06:38 PM
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Thanks for that Ken, that's very interesting.

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80] #2543933 05/27/16 07:03 PM
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Wavesfactory Offline OP
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Originally Posted by joe80
Jesús, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand?

What I heard (not 100% sure) is that the studio needed a grand piano and, since they had Freddie Mercury there, they asked him what piano did he want. And he said that one in particular, so he hand picked it. But you're right, we don't know if it was older.
It's a Fazioli F228.

Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: Wavesfactory] #2543936 05/27/16 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Wavesfactory
Originally Posted by joe80
Jesús, just because the studio opened in '89 we don't know if Freddie bought the piano in '89 or if the piano was made in '89. Is it a full concert grand or is it a smaller grand?

What I heard (not 100% sure) is that the studio needed a grand piano and, since they had Freddie Mercury there, they asked him what piano did he want. And he said that one in particular, so he hand picked it. But you're right, we don't know if it was older.
It's a Fazioli F228.


Did Freddie actually buy the piano? Or did the studio buy it? Good choice though!

Diarmuid, I meant to ask you, are you a recording engineer?


Re: Freddie Mercury's Fazioli - Sample library [Re: joe80] #2544012 05/28/16 04:15 AM
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Wavesfactory Offline OP
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Originally Posted by joe80

Did Freddie actually buy the piano? Or did the studio buy it? Good choice though!

No idea... sorry!

By the way, here I leave you two velocity tests. The first one was done yesterday and the feedback was that, although the volume increases, you can still definitely hear how the velocity layers change abruptly.
https://soundcloud.com/wavesfactory/mercury-velocitytest

Now, I've introduced a seamlessly morph filter between the velocity layers so you shouldn't notice where the edges are. Does this sound better to you?
https://soundcloud.com/wavesfactory/velocity-test-2

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