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#668595 - 07/23/03 12:50 AM Piano sample/sound  
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 20
SJ_dup1 Offline
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SJ_dup1  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 20
I have an older Clavinova (CLP 550) which I have done some composing on. I recently upgraded my composing software to Sonar 2.2. I was wondering what would be a good way to drive some new piano samples to produce a better piano sound than this digital piano can produce. Are their piano samples and/or modules that I can add to play a better sounding piano? For example, newer "high end" clavinovas have mega samples (80 meg with each key sampled from a 9' Yamaha grand). Thanks for any help. SJ

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#668596 - 07/23/03 06:00 PM Re: Piano sample/sound  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 200
JimM Offline
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JimM  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 200
Northern California
IMHO the best "add-on" piano sounds come from soft samplers like GigaStudio. This software runs on a fast PC and "streams" gigabyte-sized samples off the disk in real time as you play the keyboard. A wide variety of samples is available, mostly of high-end pianos (Bosendorfer, Steinway, Yamaha, Malmsjo etc.) although there are some nice uprights as well. Although GigaStudio can record as well as play samples, I just use it as a sample player, connected to my CVP via MIDI. It isn't cheap - the hardware would run you about $1,300, software $400, samples $100-$200 each - and it can be somewhat complicated to set up. But it's the best you can do short of an actual acoustic.

For more information, look at www.northernsounds.com, Samples forum, search on "piano" and you'll get tons of information. I wrote a "primer" on GigaStudio on the CVP user group site - www.cvpug.com, search for "Gigastudio" in the MIDI forum.

jim


=========
Jim
Mason and Hamlin BB, Clavinova CVP900
#668597 - 07/23/03 08:59 PM Re: Piano sample/sound  
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,820
SteveY Offline
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SteveY  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,820
NJ
Don't be fooled by manufacturer's claims about how they create their samples. There are a whole host of factors that work together to make a great piano sample. ANY of these factors could be a weak link rendering that sample inferior -- even if the other factors are of high quality. Here are some examples of the various elements that create a piano sample:

quality of piano
how is the piano mic'd?
what kind of microphones are used?
how many microphones?
what kind of room is the piano in?
what kind of preamps were used?
how were the signals mixed?
was there any EQ or compression added?
any other digital effects?
what was the sampling rate?
what was the bit depth?
was the sample dithered or truncated?
what bit depth is the sample played at?
how many samples were taken across the keyboard?
how many volume levels were sampled?
at what velocity points do the samples switch?

As you can see, the planets need to line up to create a great piano sound!!!

As for giga-sampler, there are a few good sounds. But unless you really want to get into professional software, it's probably not your best bet. I highly recommend the grand piano samples on Roland's Concert Grand expansion board. It can be used with tone modules like the XV2020 (less than $600) or the XV5050.


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#668598 - 07/23/03 09:39 PM Re: Piano sample/sound  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 200
JimM Offline
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JimM  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 200
Northern California
Steve's right, and even if all of those parameters were "as good as they can be," the piano can still not play or sound right. Bad sample programming can ruin good raw samples. Your ears have to be the final judge!

GigaStudio is more complex and expensive than hardware midi modules or sound boards. However, it gives you a wider choice of pianos (and other instruments) with more coming all the time. It's used by a lot of professional composers, sometimes in lieu of live musicians. If you only use it as a sample player it isn't all that complicated. But dedicated hardware is usually cheaper and certainly easier to set up and use.


=========
Jim
Mason and Hamlin BB, Clavinova CVP900
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#668599 - 07/26/03 11:04 AM Re: Piano sample/sound  
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 20
SJ_dup1 Offline
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SJ_dup1  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 20
Thanks for all the feedback. I also have an old Kurzweil K2000 that I also use as part of my studio. However, I have never been able to find really good piano samples for it.


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