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Posted By: Andrew_G Summer sale: Beautiful PEARL Concert Grand - 07/10/20 07:43 AM
https://impactsoundworks.com/product/pearl-concert-grand/

Today this is my favorite among more than 40 VSTi and hardware piano plugins I have. This is a carefully tuned, sampled, programmed, and well playable Yamaha C7. Its (natural) sustain resonance is beautiful, with distinct sounding of the non-damped upper register strings, as it should be in a natural grand. Its only drawback is some bug in re-pedaling (it is discussed in another thread), but the re-pedaling function can be turned off; just now the company works to eliminate this problem.

In my experience, Pearl is outstanding for both pure piano and piano & orchestra work.
That's my kind of sound! I don't think I've listened to this one properly until now. Thanks.
(re-pedalling is important for me though, simply so I can pedal a bit late)

Greg
I think you'd really enjoy Pearl Concert Grand Greg, based on other comments of yours about sampled pianos. The re-pedalling works fine, but when activated, you lose the note release samples for some reason. I've brought this to the developer's attention, but not sure if it will be fixed in the soon to be released v2.2 update. It is a very beautiful & resonant sampled piano with a lot of depth & realism.
Oh I wouldn't mind losing release samples.

Btw, I already have a similar sounding piano - the EWQLP Yamaha C7. (just referring to the main characteristic - a bright, clear, twangy sound). If it wasn't for it's fatal flaw - bass notes that are simply too quiet, I'd be quite happy with it, despite it's other warts.
EDIT: I forgot that it doesn't even TRY to do re-pedalling though. So yeah - might be time to replace it. laugh laugh

Greg
Posted By: VladK Re: Summer sale: Beautiful PEARL Concert Grand - 07/10/20 12:46 PM
It looks very nice on paper (dynamic range is probably the only limitation), and demo sound nice as well (except they are too distant, but this is true with most demos).
Might be a nice lightweight 'vintage' choice based on sound. I assume that with claimed pp-ff range, it also allows silent key.
But I am afraid of buying without few in-depth reviews by actual players.
Tired of wasting money on 'lovely' libraries (such as Simple Sam) to get disappointed just minutes after installing.
To my ears, listening with headphones, the demo tracks often have an excellent closely mic'd sound, but also with added ambience. (but I hear one or two quite dry ones too). Definitely not too distant for me, anyway.

Craig: if you have time, I'd be interested if you could play the beginning of "Take The Long Way Home" (Supertramp), so I can hear the crescendo of the bass notes, and whether it's balanced with the chords of the right hand.

Greg
Posted By: VladK Re: Summer sale: Beautiful PEARL Concert Grand - 07/10/20 01:45 PM
Originally Posted by sullivang
To my ears, listening with headphones, the demo tracks often have an excellent closely mic'd sound, but also with added ambience. (but I hear one or two quite dry ones too). Definitely not too distant for me, anyway.

You make me think that this is 'feature' of my laptop sound card. Probably need to switch to dac / headphone amp to listen for all demo then.
Listen to the first track sounded nice.

Opening note in second track, pitch seems very unstable. Am I just hearing things?

https://impactsoundworks.com/product/pearl-concert-grand/
Originally Posted by VladK
You make me think that this is 'feature' of my laptop sound card. Probably need to switch to dac / headphone amp to listen for all demo then.

I'm no golden ears by any means, but I've been very happy with laptop & smartphone headphone outputs for a very long time, IF the headphones are sensitive enough to allow sufficient volume. I had first listened to these demos with very good headphones, using the internal audio interface of my DP (and it's headphone output), but I am now listening with different headphones, which aren't as good, plugged into my laptop. It still sounds very good - a different tone, but still great.

You may just have different taste to me - I'm just offering a counter opinion. Different headphones can sound very different, too.

Greg
Craig: you're off the hook - I've just ordered it. I'm confident that it will play fine.

Greg
Posted By: VladK Re: Summer sale: Beautiful PEARL Concert Grand - 07/10/20 03:17 PM
Originally Posted by sullivang
Craig: you're off the hook - I've just ordered it. I'm confident that it will play fine.

Greg
Please share your findings here!
Yep, but I'm mainly a dinker. (winks at Bruce)

Greg
Initial impressions from a dinker:
Very good indeed - I'm very happy I got this. I mainly like playing pop music, and this will be superb.
I actually don't think the playability is excellent out of the box, but I'm confident that the per-note adjustments will allow me to remedy the problems, for the most part. I get the impression Craig is a serious pianist, so I'm not sure whether you agree Craig, but some notes just don't respond naturally with velocity, and it's hard to play with the desired expression. (again - I think it will be fixable). Anyway that's my opinion - if serious pianists don't want to fiddle around with the settings, I don't think this is good enough.

I can't get re-pedalling to work reliably yet, even with the release samples disabled. The problem is dangling notes.

This is VERY important - you need to make sure it's easy to get to 127 - easier than normal, if you want to be able to easily get to the fantastic FFF samples. This is only 8 layers, so we have to be able to use all 8 layers easily.

The mellow samples are also excellent - it's a very expressive instrument, going from very mellow, to extremely aggressive.

I have not explored all the settings yet.

Greg
Posted By: VladK Re: Summer sale: Beautiful PEARL Concert Grand - 07/10/20 08:53 PM
They say samples are pp to ff, no ppp or fff samples, so there should be velocity curve stretching involved if you want better dynamic range. Not sure how it is implemented though. Have you checked their velocity curve in Kontakt? Not all Kontakt instruments have it.
Sorry for probably dumb question, what is dangling notes, multiplied echo or what?
Well I'm comfortable referring to it as ppp to fff - that's how it sounds to me.

Re velocity curve, I'm playing the full dynamic range, and overall, it's pretty natural. I feel the need to tweak individual notes though.

Dangling notes - notes that keep sounding, after they should have stopped. (this problem doesn't occur with re-pedalling disabled)

I also hear subtle problems, on occasion, with the way notes sound when they are dampened.

Btw, when I say "serious pianists", that includes anyone who is practising, even beginners, that need an instrument that responds authentically. It's simply not as well behaved as a digital piano, IMHO.
I'm not bothered by this very much.

Greg
I will of course contact support about any problem I have.

Just another little observation - whilst it has some quite advanced adjustments per note, it doesn't have a simple per-note volume adjustment, I don't think. That would have been nice.

Greg
The EWQLP C7 is definitely getting 404 Not Found-ed on my drive.
And this Pearl is definitely my no 1 piano now. It's the wonderful sound I heard on the radio growing up. laugh And it's still capable of extremely soft and delicate playing.

Greg
In this very old review, he talks a lot about the problem I'm finding regarding expression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5l-BYlkfGI I'd imagine that it's been improved since then, but this is definitely an issue I have, and as I said, I will be doing some editing.
I find that review very frustrating though - he seems to be zooming in with a microscope on the soft layers a lot. Also, I don't always even hear those "MP3-like" defects he mentions, and if they're in mine, then I'll throw my hands up and declare that I'm blissfully ignorant - I haven't heard any at all yet.

Greg
I think there is a bug with the velocity curve editor. It works fine when I use the control knob, but I can't for the life of me get the freehand drawing method to change the velocity for all notes - it only affects a single note, and that is the last note selected with the "choose a single note with MIDI" mode. (I don't have that button on, and I do have the "Effect all notes" button on)

I've reported this issue, and the re-pedalling issue, to Impact Soundworks.

Btw, I wondered whether perhaps my triple sensor keyboard's MIDI output might have been confusing it, but I have written a real time translator that converts the contiguous Note-Ons to standard Note-On/Note-Off pairs - this hasn't fixed it. (I used the BOME Midi Translator for this - seriously good piece of software)

Greg
This is another one of those "if it wouldn't have this one flaw it'd be a great piano" libraries. It has the same problem as the production voices concert grand. There's a range, here it is somewhere in the center, where the keys are noticeably weaker, or softer, or as if they're more dampened than the other ones. Even when using the note editor, I can perhaps make them louder, but I can't change their timbre. Shame, because the sound is really pleasant.
Just out of curiousity, what technique do you use, to adjust the relative volume of different notes? Just the velocity curve?

Greg
Posted By: Fleer Re: Summer sale: Beautiful PEARL Concert Grand - 07/12/20 12:43 AM
Wonderful grand indeed. And recently updated to boot.
Originally Posted by Grazilerimba
There's a range, here it is somewhere in the center, where the keys are noticeably weaker, or softer, or as if they're more dampened than the other ones.

For playing scales this may distract one. But consider this as an additional salt, or peculiar imperfection of the instrument. Once you know and predict this peculiarity while playing, you can use it for inserting additional color into your performance.

Concerning velocity curve, additional mics, dynamic range etc, I find default settings the best (I use VPC1). The only thing, which seriously bothers in Pearl, is the re-pedaling bug. The re-pedaling per se sounds beautiful when played, but after releasing the sustain pedal completely some notes sound almost forever and spoil the performance. That's why I have to disable the re-pedaling function.
Originally Posted by Andrew_G
For playing scales this may distract one. But consider this as an additional salt, or peculiar imperfection of the instrument. Once you know and predict this peculiarity while playing, you can use it for inserting additional color into your performance.

I agree - sometimes it can just be considered "additional salt", but if the result is REALLY not what you want, then no, there's a real problem. And I can assure you it is a real problem for me - the issues are just too big to ignore. Having said that, I still think this is an excellent instrument, and I have no regrets whatsoever purchasing it.

Greg
It occurs to me that just perhaps, they've given us a very accurate reproduction of how the piano actually behaved. laugh

Greg
Posted By: VladK Re: Summer sale: Beautiful PEARL Concert Grand - 07/12/20 03:36 PM
There are bugs and there are features.
Re-pedaling behavior is a bug, but the sound is a feature. Slightly uneven velocity or out of tune, some notes dumpened or muffled, short sustain, etc. - these can be fixed, of course, but can be considered features, like with real acoustic piano, or even with venue it was recorded in or you are playing at.
I consider the unevenness to limit my artistic expression, and therefore, a defect. I agree that it can probably be improved. (I have the full version of Kontakt, so I could presumably edit at a low level if I had to)

If I couldn't do any per note editing at all, by any means, I would then be less satisfied with the purchase, but I have to say - just the experience of the wonderful sound is probably still worth it.

Greg
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