Virtual Piano Software Recs?

with industry Pro, Nick Batzdorf

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

User avatar
Mixnow3
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 103
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: 11736
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, caxixi, 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.
Last edited by mojobone on Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Straight Stuff; Roots, Rock & Soul

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

wendylanders
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2015 6:52 pm
Gender: Female
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by wendylanders » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:10 pm

Thanks Mojo,

I can't get my piano cues to sound realistic, so I'm scouring the forums.

Best,

Wendy Landers

User avatar
Pvgeldrop
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:53 am
Gender: Male
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by Pvgeldrop » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:59 am

wendylanders wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:10 pm
Thanks Mojo,

I can't get my piano cues to sound realistic, so I'm scouring the forums.

Best,

Wendy Landers
Got something we could listen to? Where does it lack realism?

Most decent piano VIs sound pretty realistic; I use EastWest Pianos Platinum myself, combining 2-3 microphone positions. Nevertheless, even a piano VI will often need mixing afterwards to make it shine, as Mojo points out, and definitely be careful not to suppress the dynamic range on a solo piano too much (as Mojo points out).
Paul van Geldrop

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/paulvangeldrop
Twitter: @OhIsDatZo

User avatar
gabgar
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:50 am
Gender: Male
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by gabgar » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:16 am

teleluv71 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:26 am
Hi all.
I recently had a submission returned for a moody solo piano piece. The screener complimented the tune itself but took issue with the VI sounding inauthentic. I'm using Synthogy's 'Ivory' plugin which I think sounds pretty good but I guess not so much. ;) Any suggestions for an authentic virtual piano plug? I hate that this factor cost me a forward and need to get it up to speed ASAP.
Thanks in advance.
I don't understand this.
If you send them the MIDI of your piano, they can just use what ever virtual piano they want use.
So why would it be mentioned that there's an issue with your VI piano. :shock:

User avatar
Pvgeldrop
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:53 am
Gender: Male
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by Pvgeldrop » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:37 am

gabgar wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:16 am
teleluv71 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:26 am
Hi all.
I recently had a submission returned for a moody solo piano piece. The screener complimented the tune itself but took issue with the VI sounding inauthentic. I'm using Synthogy's 'Ivory' plugin which I think sounds pretty good but I guess not so much. ;) Any suggestions for an authentic virtual piano plug? I hate that this factor cost me a forward and need to get it up to speed ASAP.
Thanks in advance.
I don't understand this.
If you send them the MIDI of your piano, they can just use what ever virtual piano they want use.
So why would it be mentioned that there's an issue with your VI piano. :shock:
I suspect because no music supervisor has the intention of trying out different VIs on a MIDI track themselves, but want ready-to-use tracks.
Paul van Geldrop

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/paulvangeldrop
Twitter: @OhIsDatZo

User avatar
andygabrys
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 5371
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:09 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Summerland, BC by way of Santa Fe, Chilliwack, Boston, NYC
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by andygabrys » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:55 pm

teleluv71 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:26 am
Hi all.
I recently had a submission returned for a moody solo piano piece. The screener complimented the tune itself but took issue with the VI sounding inauthentic. I'm using Synthogy's 'Ivory' plugin which I think sounds pretty good but I guess not so much. ;) Any suggestions for an authentic virtual piano plug? I hate that this factor cost me a forward and need to get it up to speed ASAP.
Thanks in advance.
What I would do:

paste the entire listing text including the links to reference tracks into your post and a link to where your submission can be heard as it was submitted.

Screener comments need to be taken in context. If not you can end up spending a bazillion dollars on Alicia's keys or Addictive Keys or the Grand or East West or whatever. Sometimes its programming, sometimes its mixing, sometimes its an ambience choice - and sometimes the piece didn't feel right to the screener and they think its the programming but maybe they guessed wrong - and something else was bugging them more.

Like Mazz always used to say on this forum: Its the ear not the gear.

User avatar
mrdtman
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:27 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Columbus, OH
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by mrdtman » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:19 pm

I got Spectrasonics Keyscape not too long ago. Really nice Yamaha in there IMO.

DT

User avatar
ComposerLDG
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1609
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:49 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by ComposerLDG » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:55 am

My go-to pianos are NI's The Maverick and The Giant. I use The Grandeur also, but not quite as much since it lends itself more to classical (bright and projecting). I get pretty good results with those VI's.
Loren DiGiorgi
Uniquely piano-inspired Orchestral | Tension | Hybrid | Trailer
lorendigiorgi.com
www.taxi.com/lorendigiorgi
www.soundcloud.com/ldigiorgi
YouTube
Instagram

User avatar
keithl
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1266
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:12 pm
Contact:

Re: Virtual Piano Software Recs?

Post by keithl » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:41 am

You are fine wit Ivory. I suspect it has something to do with what the other guys are saying, maybe your MIDI velocities are too consistent from note to note, making it sound artificial.

Maybe find an example of a piano MIDI file online and import it into your machine. Compare yours to theirs? See how the velocities differ.
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests