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*Price & Size : 165 USD, 15 GB
*Sampled Piano : YAMAHA CFX
*Sampler : Kontakt
*Rate : Aver. 8.0 (Volume 6 / Sound 9 / Body 9 / Response 8 / Dynamic 8)

Hello piano lovers. I think NI's NOIRE is the hottest piano VST in 2019. It is a perfect output of NI and Galaxy Instruments' years of perspiration.

It sampled YAMAHA CFX which I like a lot of its tone and character. I think one of the best YAMAHA CFX samples are ones from Garritan and Synchron VSL. As I'm a huge fan of Garritan CFX, I'm going to compare it with NOIRE throughout the review.

People say YAMAHA CFX has a very unique tone somewhat between Steinway Model D and YAMAHA C7. I fully agree with that. Basically, CFX sounds warm, soft and clear. NOIRE is also very warm and has a full body sound. I think NOIRE sounds much warmer than Garritan CFX, but about the clarity, Garritan CFX wins IMHO. If you are interested in my reviews of Garritan CFX, please check the below links. FYI, there are 2 versions of Garritan CFX, Full & Lite.

Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand Full
Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand Lite

There are some new features in NOIRE, but the most remarkable feature is "Particles Engine". It functions like a Synth Loop engine but it sounds more unique than typical synth engines. Instead of loops made of pads, NOIRE creates the loop with the sounds that the piano makes such as string scratch noise and damper sounds. But I'm going to review this in a separate review in the future as I want to focus on the pure piano sound solely in this review.

When you open the library, you will see 2 patches. One is "Pure" and the other is "Felt". If you are a scoring musician, this might be the one you are looking for. You can just play normally with "Pure" patch with great dynamic range and tone maneuver. And if you need a special felt sound, you can just open another patch. 149 EUR looks quite attractive for those who are looking for both normal and special purpose pianos.

About the dynamics, I can't believe how a 15GB library has such a good dynamics. If you are a classical piano player, you may not have any interferences about the dynamic while playing. Also, the response is quite quick so that I didn't feel any latency when playing.

Let's talk about the sound again. As I mentioned earlier, it sounds warm by default, I guess it is suitable for cinematic scores. But if you maneuver some knobs in the settings, you would get clear tones also for pop music. As I'm a solo piano player, I tried to keep the warmth of it and added little more clarity through "Tone" knob. And with lower velocities, it sounds like Steinway D, but with higher velocities, it sounds crystal clear like Yamaha C7.

Comparing with Garritan CFX, I think NOIRE has better close-mic sound. But about the sound with room mics, Garritan CFX wins as Abbey Road Studio's perfect hall sound is fully intermingled in room mics. But anyhow both of them have a very unique tone and they have totally different characters with each other.

And are you a fan of NI's "Una Corda"? NOIRE is like a brother of UNA CORDA. Their UIs look very similar to each other and also some features. If you are thinking of buying NOIRE and UNA CORDA but have a limited budget, I would recommend going for NOIRE due to its FELT patch and Particles Engine.

Of course, there are some cons to this library. But I want to say this is all about personal preferences. I pretty much prefer long sustained piano sounds. That's why Garritan CFX is one of my favorite and most played piano VST. Comparing with Garritan CFX's sustainability, NOIRE's tone decays a little faster. And throughout the high registers, I think sounds are not rigid enough so that I needed to play somewhat harder than I intended to get the firm tone and sound. Apart from these, I cannot find any more cons of this VST.

For the demo, I played "I see the light" from Disney's Tangled. I played with "Wide Open" preset and changed the other setting a little. Please check the images below for the detail settings of the demo I played. Honestly, NOIRE's great dynamics and the response made me play the song very comfortable and I didn't have any difficulties expressing my feelings for the song. Finally, the track was mastered with Waves L1 Ultramaximizer FYI.

Do you want to check out more reviews of Piano VST from me?
Pianist Keunyoung Song's all VST reviews

How did you like it? Please feel free to leave some comments for more talk. It is always my pure joy to talk with piano lovers at any time.

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Posted By: Nor Re: Native Instruments NOIRE demo & short review - 09/22/19 08:00 AM
I purchased NI NOIRE piano, I must say that it's a warm piano tone, I also own the Garritan CFX FULL Grand but not sure if we can customize it to sound like NOIRE... NOIRE has a unique tone, I love the NOIRE FELT but I'm actually only interested by the NOIRE PURE version due to disk space usage. However, is there a method to save disk space by only saving/exporting the NOIRE Pure? I won't use the FELT and I want only to keep PURE on my disk along with its presets and samples.

Thank you.
I’m afraid I don’t own the NOIRE so take my advice with a grain of salt. If you locate the actual SAMPLES for the piano you DO NOT want you should be able to delete them to save space. BUT , if the FELT and the PURE share samples then that would be asking for trouble. I’m afraid I just don’t know what the folder structure looks like for those N.I. products.
Or maybe buy some more disk space. Storage has become VERY cheap.
The time-cost of working around problems cause by skimpy storage is higher than the cost of a new drive.
It's crazy but it's true.
Posted By: Nor Re: Native Instruments NOIRE demo & short review - 09/23/19 09:59 AM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Or maybe buy some more disk space. Storage has become VERY cheap.
The time-cost of working around problems cause by skimpy storage is higher than the cost of a new drive.
It's crazy but it's true.

haha! Yes, actually I thought about buying another SSD.
This is undoubtedly an interesting piano, but the comparison with Garritan CFX is incorrect.

Garritan exposes tiny details of the sampled grand. Post-processing of the sound generally preserves such details, therefore it is suitable for almost any piano pieces and for piano solo in classical, romantic, impressionistic and modern music.

Noire's sampling is poorer, and it sounds more processed and artificial. For example, if you play a complex chord, its separate notes are better discernible in Garritan CFX than in Noire.

More processing is not necessarily bad. It may sound beautiful as an addition to a video sequence, especially in combination with "particles". But I do not think that Beethoven's sonatas will sound in Noire as good as they sound in Garritan CFX.

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