Virtual Piano Software Recs?

with industry Pro, Nick Batzdorf

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

User avatar
Mixnow3
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:16 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by Mixnow3 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:47 pm

I originally had several returns due to my piano sound not being authentic enough and then in a return I received, the screener gave me really good advice. They told me to add a second vst piano. I originally was using only Ivory II American Concert D but then I bought Garritan CFX Lite and then layered both together. I mix them together so I can hear both of them. I also changed the velocity mapping on Ivory II so that the dynamic range is diminished. I also now put minimal reverb on my piano sound and just a touch of room ambience. Since I have made these changes, I have not received any returns due to unnatural sounding piano. I use an old Roland Digital Piano with weighted keys as my controller. Hope this helps.

User avatar
mojobone
King of the World
King of the World
Posts: 11695
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 4:20 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Up in Indiana, where the tall corn grows
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by mojobone » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:00 pm

Sometimes the complaints about the piano are not about the piano; if people are getting forwards and deals with the stock piano in Logic, it's probably not your instrument samples that aren't up to snuff. Sometimes, it's about the context; lots of sampled pianos work great in a busy pop mix, but might be missing some richness and detail in a solo setting. My Casio stage piano only has four velocity layers, but you wouldn't know it with drums, bass and guitars bashing away. Oddly enough, one of the big giveaways is a too loud sustain pedal release sample with no round robin.

Often you can find ways to build in more expression; there are 127 velocities in the MIDI spec, and that might seem like a lot but there's a ton of timbral variation between ppp and mezzo forte. What I like to do is reduce the dynamic range in Addictive Keys so my 127 velocity levels cover only the range between mezzo piano and double forte. Another useful feature is sample shift, which uses pitch-shifted octaves to change the formant of the samples in real time. Shifting up seldom sounds realistic, but downshifting can provide a certain sonority that's great for the dark, cinematic stuff.

Ambience is another critical factor; the mic distance/placement and room sound need to be appropriate to the genre. For instance, in Cuban jazz the standard mic placement is to drop a beat-to-death Unisphere down the top of an upright, hanging it fairly close to the player's left hand and closing the top. By itself, this technique sounds like a$$, but in the midst of horns, strings, congas, timbales, cacici, tumbas, shakers and clave, a really pointy piano sound doesn't hurt. A dead giveaway is having a different reverb on the piano than any other instrument in the mix. Turn off the VSTi's reverb and use a bus reverb for all the instruments, and don't use your sampled instrument's room mics, unless you can closely match the room with the bus reverb. Room mics can best be taken advantage of on solo pieces or very small ensembles where the piano is front and center.

Lastly, EQ and compression can do some heavy lifting or be used subtly and sparingly. Piano has a very wide frequency response and a very tall dynamic range; in a busy mix, you might want to band limit the piano to shoehorn it in; for a solo piece, maybe you'll want to compress to bring out more stringiness, chesty-ness or spank. Just be aware that too little dynamic range can sound plastic-y and fake. You'll want to curb the transients, without eliminating them entirely.
The Straight Stuff; Roots, Rock & Soul

http://twangfu.wordpress.com
http://twitter.com/mojo_bone

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests