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#2681516 - 10/12/17 10:26 AM Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31  
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Production Voices just announced release of the Production Grand Compact for Sforzando that runs in the free Sforzando player so full Kontakt is not needed. It is intro priced at $29 through Oct. 31. Upgradeable to the full version. More info at the link below.

https://www.productionvoices.com/product/production-grand-compact/

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#2681530 - 10/12/17 11:34 AM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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That sounds interesting. I see Production Grand 2 audio demos on that page. Are there any Production Grand Compact demos somewhere?

Thanks,
Osho

#2681595 - 10/12/17 04:45 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Not aware of any specific compact version demos. The outside mic is the same sample set as that in the full version, so any demos of that mic position should apply.

#2681596 - 10/12/17 04:47 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Apart from the demo video, probably not. Your best bet is to look for audio demos for the outside modern microphones, though I'm sure they're usually for the 96Khz 24 bit version. It should give an idea about the sound, nevertheless. There are some videos where Jason goes through the various microphone perspectives, but for the older Production Grand, so also these might not be accurate demos.


My YouTube channel

Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX. Production Grand 2 Gold, Estate Grand, Studio Grand LE. NI Giant. Galaxy II Blüthner Baby Grand. AcousticSamples C7. AK Studio Grand. Sampletekk Black. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
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#2681625 - 10/12/17 08:10 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Here is some more info from Jason's email announcement:

"Production Grand Compact is a high-quality piano sample library sampled from a Yamaha C7 grand piano in a world-class recording studio. Formatted for the FREE Plogue sforzando player, Production Grand Compact uses the same samples and keymaps as the Outside Tube microphone perspective from the larger Production Grand 2 LE. Production Grand Compact is approximately 11 GB* in size before lossless FLAC compression with 5355 samples!

Thanks to sforzando’s ARIA Engine, the performance and sound quality of Production Grand Compact is every bit as good as or better than Production Grand 2 LE, the Kontakt version, with the same same settings applied! Nothing has been watered down. Production Grand Compact is Production Grand 2 LE’s Outside microphone perspective for the sforzando player."

For those that don't know, development of the ARIA engine by Plogue was done in collaboration with Garritan and is the same one used for the Garritan CFX.

#2681652 - 10/12/17 10:05 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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thank you for letting us know about this.
I'm getting it.

#2681811 - 10/13/17 10:48 AM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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I did an experiment last night with some short performances, capturing the midi and rendering it with both the Production Grand 24/96 and 16/44 samples of the outside mic position. Playing both side by side and flipping back and forth, I was surprised that there was absolutely no difference in sound quality or noise floor. I also looked at the spectrums produced and they were identical. I rendered at 32 bit resolution in my daw at the highest settings directly to wav. I also double checked the samples in Kontakt because I was sure I made a mistake somewhere. Sure enough I got the same results when I repeated the renderings. So rest assured you are not missing anything by stepping "down" to the 16/44 samples.

I also went back and compared the inside mics to the Neumann M149 outside mic samples being offered here, and I have to agree with Jason that this is the best sounding of the mic's offered in the full version. The inside mic's come across with a much harder attack and more pronounced metallic overtones. The Neumann is warmer and smooths out the attack. Based on my testing, I'm going to pick this up as well so I have a flac set of samples and it is easier for me to tweak than in Kontakt. I already have Sforzando for the Estate Grand, Salamander, and can also run CFX lite in it. Jason did note an issue with the string resonance that may continue after note off, but is working on a fix. So there will be an update at some point.

#2681830 - 10/13/17 11:59 AM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Okay, I'll play, since I'm still mulling over the PG2 Gold possibility (put off primarily by Kontakt), and this will give me a much better insight for that decision than the limited demos available. Downloading it now. I'll leave a short review over the weekend once I've had a play around, and I'll warn you now, it will be an honest review, good or bad! smile


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
#2681834 - 10/13/17 12:04 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: karvala]  
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Originally Posted by karvala
I'll leave a short review over the weekend once I've had a play around, and I'll warn you now, it will be an honest review, good or bad! smile


Looking forward to it smile.

Osho

#2681837 - 10/13/17 12:24 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Originally Posted by bsntn99
Jason did note an issue with the string resonance that may continue after note off, but is working on a fix. So there will be an update at some point.


Yeah, and he's not kidding either. I just had a quick play through and this kills usability stone dead for many types of music. I sure as heck hope this isn't the case for the more expensive ones, or he's going to have a lot of angry customers at his door. Let's hope he fixes it soon.

EDIT: Another issue, not with PG itself but with Sforzando which affects PG in particular: the Effects don't have an, um, effect. ;-) I.e. I can change the ambience to whatever I want, ensuring it's switched on first, turn the dials to whatever, and it makes absolutely no difference to the sound. It's true for any plugin running in Sforzando (1.916 - the latest version), but matters for the PG because it doesn't seem to have any reverb option in its own controls (which others do). Am I missing something?

Last edited by karvala; 10/13/17 12:31 PM.

Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
#2681859 - 10/13/17 02:26 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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There is a send level (CC9) for the built in reverb, the top right knob, that is set to zero by default. Let Jason know of any findings so he can incorporate these into an update. BTW, should have said sympathetic resonance, not string as the issue. Once I can download it this weekend, I'll have a look at the script.

Last edited by bsntn99; 10/13/17 02:34 PM.
#2681924 - 10/13/17 06:38 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Originally Posted by bsntn99
I did an experiment last night with some short performances, capturing the midi and rendering it with both the Production Grand 24/96 and 16/44 samples of the outside mic position. Playing both side by side and flipping back and forth, I was surprised that there was absolutely no difference in sound quality or noise floor. I also looked at the spectrums produced and they were identical. I rendered at 32 bit resolution in my daw at the highest settings directly to wav. I also double checked the samples in Kontakt because I was sure I made a mistake somewhere. Sure enough I got the same results when I repeated the renderings. So rest assured you are not missing anything by stepping "down" to the 16/44 samples.


This would be fairly outrageous if it is true. Are you gonna open a support ticket about this? I'd love to hear what they'd have to say about it.

#2681961 - 10/13/17 10:29 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: Grazilerimba]  
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Originally Posted by Grazilerimba
Originally Posted by bsntn99
I did an experiment last night with some short performances, capturing the midi and rendering it with both the Production Grand 24/96 and 16/44 samples of the outside mic position. Playing both side by side and flipping back and forth, I was surprised that there was absolutely no difference in sound quality or noise floor. I also looked at the spectrums produced and they were identical. I rendered at 32 bit resolution in my daw at the highest settings directly to wav. I also double checked the samples in Kontakt because I was sure I made a mistake somewhere. Sure enough I got the same results when I repeated the renderings. So rest assured you are not missing anything by stepping "down" to the 16/44 samples.


This would be fairly outrageous if it is true. Are you gonna open a support ticket about this? I'd love to hear what they'd have to say about it.

I can only report what I hear and see. Both sample sets seem very clean. Maybe under certain circumstances with the highest end equipment, there might be a difference. Up to folks to decide what they need.

Last edited by bsntn99; 10/13/17 10:29 PM.
#2681963 - 10/13/17 10:45 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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So I downloaded the Sforzando version and it sounds identical to the Kontakt version, release samples, pedal noise, etc. The key noise and pre-attack at the max settings seem about 40% or so those of Kontakt, not that I would want these to be louder and dominate the sound. The sympathetic resonance issue is there. It seems to only arise if you press a key lightly, say C2, where there is no sound or the sound has decayed completely, and then hit other keys, you get the resonance, but it continues after you release the C2 key. The sound engine probably thinks the C2 is in a note off condition and so doesn't stop the sound when you lift off. One temporary fix is to turn off the sympathetic resonance, but there should be a way to fix it in the scripting. I loaded CFX lite into Sforando and it behaves correctly, so I think this is easily fixable.

#2682002 - 10/14/17 05:07 AM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: karvala]  
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Originally Posted by karvala
EDIT: Another issue, not with PG itself but with Sforzando which affects PG in particular: the Effects don't have an, um, effect. ;-) I.e. I can change the ambience to whatever I want, ensuring it's switched on first, turn the dials to whatever, and it makes absolutely no difference to the sound.

I noticed the same thing when I was playing the Estate Grand for Sforzando. I wanted to darken or muddy it up a little, and boosting the lows or lowering the highs in the EQ settings in Sforzando, seemed to make little or no changes to the sound.

Then I opened it up in Reaper, along with Cockos ReaEQ. With a low pass filter on about 1700Hz, I got that muddiness I was after. I haven't tried this with the Production Grand 2 Gold, but I'm assuming it's own EQ is decent, and I don't need Reaper, unless I'm rendering.

Last edited by TheodorN; 10/14/17 05:08 AM.

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Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX. Production Grand 2 Gold, Estate Grand, Studio Grand LE. NI Giant. Galaxy II Blüthner Baby Grand. AcousticSamples C7. AK Studio Grand. Sampletekk Black. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
#2682023 - 10/14/17 07:34 AM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Anyone know is there any way to adjust the velocity curve for Sforzando? I find that I need to bang on the keys just to make some sound on Sforzando, this is with the interface volume at max and speaker volume near max.

#2682072 - 10/14/17 10:20 AM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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There is a touch sensitivity control in Product Grand Compact that compresses the dynamic range so you would not have to hit the keys so hard. Lowering the slider will increase the volume. Otherwise, there is no other control built in to alter the velocity. Also check your soundcard and/or computer output volume settings.

Last edited by bsntn99; 10/14/17 10:21 AM.
#2682112 - 10/14/17 12:59 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: TheodorN]  
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Originally Posted by TheodorN
Originally Posted by karvala
EDIT: Another issue, not with PG itself but with Sforzando which affects PG in particular: the Effects don't have an, um, effect. ;-) I.e. I can change the ambience to whatever I want, ensuring it's switched on first, turn the dials to whatever, and it makes absolutely no difference to the sound.

I noticed the same thing when I was playing the Estate Grand for Sforzando. I wanted to darken or muddy it up a little, and boosting the lows or lowering the highs in the EQ settings in Sforzando, seemed to make little or no changes to the sound.

Then I opened it up in Reaper, along with Cockos ReaEQ. With a low pass filter on about 1700Hz, I got that muddiness I was after. I haven't tried this with the Production Grand 2 Gold, but I'm assuming it's own EQ is decent, and I don't need Reaper, unless I'm rendering.

The eq and damping settings apply to the reverb produced, not the main sound in Sforzando. I was confused at first as well. It's actually a fairly configurable reverb built it. You just need to adjust the send level on the top right knob. It is usually set to zero by default. There is an eq function available in the scripting, but it is not implemented in the PGC interface. CFX does take advantage of it.

#2682125 - 10/14/17 01:48 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Thanks for clarifying, I noticed some differences, and I can hear the reverb works just fine. Changing EQ settings in the CFX can really help dialing in that sound you're after, especially since it can be applied to each microphone separately, and adds variety to a virtual instrument that already had a lot of other tweaking options.

Last edited by TheodorN; 10/14/17 01:49 PM.

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Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX. Production Grand 2 Gold, Estate Grand, Studio Grand LE. NI Giant. Galaxy II Blüthner Baby Grand. AcousticSamples C7. AK Studio Grand. Sampletekk Black. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
#2682408 - 10/15/17 04:11 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Okay, so I've had a play with this now, and the short version is it's a bit of a mixed bag, in some expected and some unexpected ways. I'm going to try and keep this simple by giving a list of pros and cons and then a short summary.

PROS
- Buying, downloading and installing was quite straightforward, and it worked out of the box (I already had sforzando installed). That's good, and some companies could learn from that (Synthogy, please take note).
- The interface in sforzando is quite straightforward to use and very well documented; again some other companies could learn from this. I actually understood what all the buttons do from the start, which made a nice change.
- The sound is very rich, raw and authentic; it sounds as much like a real piano as anything out there.
- The piano is surprisingly well sampled, and the samples are very crisp. Individual notes are cleanly visible in fast passagework.

CONS
- The piano that was sampled clearly has some quality problems typical of a C7, which are showing up in the samples. The first of these is a very uneven tone across notes, especially in the mid and upper-mid registers. Compare, for example, C4 to D4, or F5 to G5. You will notice a strong, slightly metallic attack on one, and the complete absence of it on another; this is likely due to degraded hammers on some notes that have not been properly maintained (the notes with weak attack are indeed ones that are more commonly played).
- The other quality issue is a lot of metallic and mechanical noise, alongside some resonance even when sympathetic resonance is switched off, on some of the bass notes, e.g. C2. This makes the sound quite noisy and cloudy when a lot of bass notes are used.
- The upper register notes are noticeably weak in comparison to the rest. This is exacerbated by the lack of EQ on the main sound in sforzando, although it would be preferable not to have to use EQ anyway.
- For all notes, but especially those weaker upper notes, the decay slope is too fast. This again is probably an instrument limitation, but release decay time is a hugely useful parameter in some DPs (e.g. the Garritan CFX) which is not present here. Even with release volume (which is present) at max, the notes quickly decay to a level no higher than any other sounding note almost regardless of the initial amplitude, meaning some pieces that require an upper note melody over lower arpeggios (e.g. Chopin Etude Op.25 No1, Schubert Impromptu in Gb major) are essentially unplayable.
- There are two bugs in the software. The first is the sympathetic resonance bug described earlier in the thread; this can be worked around by turning SR off, and hopefully there is a fix in the works for this.
- The second bug causes some notes to be disabled for a short period of time. I suspect this is related to the pedal programming, but regardless it should be investigated and fixed asap, as it occurs during playing quite often. To reproduce this, play a trill for a few seconds on a pair of notes with the pedal, then release and play them without the pedal, the with the pedal again. Normally one or both notes will be disabled at this time, and then kick again after a few seconds. This occurs even with SR turned off, so it's not that bug showing up again, but it seems to behave similarly to that bug in the sense that it seems to be related to not registering note endings properly. I don't have this on any other software piano in sforzando, so this is definitely a PG problem.
- Outside mic perspective only; this is mid-ambient and not bad as perspectives go, and the stereo width (quite wide by default) can be adjusted as necessary, but it does make the instrument sound more like a recorded piano than a live instrument.
- The use of pre-attack samples with the consequent latency problems is strange. There is a way around this by using the live setting, but the pre-attack is actually not loud enough to sound through when played concurrently with the tone sample, so this idiosyncratic approach seems to be a pointless complication.
- By contrast, the pedal samples are so loud that even on the lowest volume they are intrusive and I found I just had to switch them off entirely.
- The key noises with pedal up and down are okay, but don't seem to make much difference again.

SUMMARY
That might seem like a long list of cons, and it is, but the overall picture is not quite as bleak as that. Fundamentally, there are some bad decisions in the software and sampling approach which is unfortunate, and there is a question mark over the quality of the instrument that was sampled which is also unfortunate, and there are a couple of bugs in the software which are annoying. But on the upside, this has been very well sampled (within the limitations of the choices made), and the result is a very real, raw, rich authentic piano sound. In this mic perspective, it's a recorded piano sound; in some of the other mic perspectives available in the full version, it could be just about the most real-piano-like sample out there, warts and all.

How does it fare against the competition? The closest competition is probably the Acoustic Samples C7, which is an instrument I have, and is beset by many instrument and sampling-related problems. Notwithstanding the two scriptings bugs in the PG, which I assume can/will be fixed in due course, I think the PG is substantially better, or at least I would say I much prefer playing the PG.

The other competition at the lower end is the Garritan CFX Lite. It's twice the price, so in a sense it's not a fair comparison, but it's still cheap by VSTi standards, is popular and is also a one-mic perspective version of a more expensive product, so it's a comparison worth making. The two could scarcely be more different; the CFX Lite has essentially none of the problems listed here, and such is a lot more playable, but the sound is also less rich and somewhat more processed (the comparison actually highlights the level of processing that has taken place on the CFX samples). In the end, playing the CFX Lite is like playing an instrument in Carnegie Hall, while playing the Production Grand feels more like playing a slightly questionable instrument in a local church. It's not as playable and not as pleasant, but somehow just that little bit more authentic.

Does this encourage me to buy the full version (or at least the Gold version)? Again, it's mixed. On the one hand I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the sampling and the clarity that is achieved in passagework - more so than the CFX in fact and arguably more even than the various UVI instruments including the Ravenscroft. On the other hand, the quality issues of the instrument have a major impact on playability, and I doubt that the other mic perspectives would really help to solve this. If it were just the $150 for the Gold version (at the moment) I might be tempted, although even then there would be a big question mark for me; add in the price of Kontakt as well, and possibly another SSD, and I'm leaning towards taking a pass, although still not entirely decided.

Will be interested to hear what TheodorN has made of the Gold version, though.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
#2682409 - 10/15/17 04:15 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Originally Posted by bsntn99
There is a send level (CC9) for the built in reverb, the top right knob, that is set to zero by default. Let Jason know of any findings so he can incorporate these into an update. BTW, should have said sympathetic resonance, not string as the issue. Once I can download it this weekend, I'll have a look at the script.


Thanks for this; I figured that one out after a bit of fiddling and you're absolutely right. There is another bug; see my post above for a description and suggest of how to reproduce it.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
#2682559 - 10/16/17 10:05 AM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Thanks for the detailed review karvala - very helpful.

Osho

#2682569 - 10/16/17 10:54 AM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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I looked into the missing notes issue and this is related to the polyphony being set too low for sample groups to accommodate fast repetitions on a note with the pedal down. I was able to reproduce the issue and it went away when I increased the polyphony in the script, basically only one number needs to be changed. I'll let them know.

#2682601 - 10/16/17 12:53 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
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Originally Posted by bsntn99
I looked into the missing notes issue and this is related to the polyphony being set too low for sample groups to accommodate fast repetitions on a note with the pedal down. I was able to reproduce the issue and it went away when I increased the polyphony in the script, basically only one number needs to be changed. I'll let them know.


Great, thanks for that; good to know it's an easy fix.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
#2682635 - 10/16/17 03:21 PM Re: Production Grand Compact for Sforzando - $29 thru Oct. 31 [Re: bsntn99]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 3,103
toddy Online content
3000 Post Club Member
toddy  Online Content
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 3,103
Portugal
I'm grateful to bsntn99 for announcing this €25 sale for Production Grand. I've bought this a few days after getting the Garritan CFX lite. They are very complementary and will probably mean I'll never need to get another piano. They cover a lot of ground between them.

Garritan CFX: restrained, dry, somewhat tame, beautifully sweet, woody upper mids. Polite. Everything works (though half/re pedalling is better with Pleyel on UVI and the Roland SN, at least straight out of the box).

Production Grand: compelling, wayward, wild, coloured, inspiring. More entertaining. Occasional instances of fractious behaviour.


Last edited by toddy; 10/16/17 03:28 PM.

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