Best piano kontakt library?

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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby ChocolateChicken » 07 Jul 2013 19:29

HMage wrote:Most standalone piano libraries have long realistic decays.

Galaxy Steinway: 22.7 seconds
Emotional Piano: 23.6 seconds
Vintage D: 32.7 seconds
The Giant: 27.7 seconds

With that said, emotional piano's decay is postprocessed — the amount of noise increases over time very noticeably — when I play sustain on low velocities noise becomes unbearable.


I'm glad you corrected me so that I can know that there are other options. But this raises the question, why would a sampled piano's decay need to be postprocessed to be realistic? Many pianos that I've used (FL Studio pianos, all the Logic Pro pianos, EWQL Pianos Gold) have extremely short processed decays of about five seconds, while actual pianos have decays up to 20 seconds or more.
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby Fimbulin » 08 Jul 2013 04:11

Most pianos do have a long decay because there is nothing to mute the string vibrations. They also get so quiet so fast that the sound starts to drop off in the recordings, creating the need for a tad bit of sound boosting here and there. Sound boosting at such a quiet volume creates artifacts. This way you can actually hear the natural decay, and although artificially boosted, it sounds real. The artifacts do create a small problem in music pieces where there are no other louder sounds to cover the processing noise up.

One thing I've done when working with live pianos is to do the boosting myself, thus raising the noise floor, EQing out the added noise, and adding a custom reverb patch that artificially adds extra string resonance over top to create as much of a realistic mood to the piano as possible while still retaining the authentic qualities of live recording.

http://calebfrench.bandcamp.com/track/the-end

This way the piano from the recordings can artificially hold out a note for over 20 seconds without any artifacting. In my recordings and production work in the link aforementioned, there was no need for the piano to sound for more than about ten seconds long at a time, so I gave the reverb a faster decay, which still sounded amazing with the live recording.

I do this with my own piano libraries. I do my own post processing, EQing, and then reverb over the top, and I can get 20+ realistic seconds out of a piano with a decay of about six to eight seconds.
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby Motivfs » 08 Jul 2013 22:03

Reading all of this.. I'm wondering if I should dip my wallet into Kontakt 5 & Emotional Pianos.. A big investment.. I love using piano in my pieces though considering how much effect/emotion it can add to that piece. I'm curious if it's worth it [Probably a rhetorical question].
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby ChocolateChicken » 08 Jul 2013 22:12

Fimbulin, I don't quite understand what you were trying to say. Real pianos have a very long decay. Sampled pianos are recorded from real pianos. Why are sampled pianos post processed to have long decay if real pianos already have long decay?
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby Fimbulin » 09 Jul 2013 03:12

ChocolateChicken wrote:Fimbulin, I don't quite understand what you were trying to say. Real pianos have a very long decay. Sampled pianos are recorded from real pianos. Why are sampled pianos post processed to have long decay if real pianos already have long decay?


Ah, I was afraid that would come out obscurely. I was stating that from my work with live pianos I know how to generate artificial decay that sounds absolutely real with no artifacting. Since I was working with real notes already sequenced and not individually sampled, I had a slight advantage: I didn't need to pick out a library to use and the piano was not already processed.

If you were a microphone and you were trying to record such a vast array of velocities and decibels, you would find that hearing the quietest vibrations of the strings to be extremely difficult- especially for sustained periods of time. I do believe they raised the noise floor to make the smallest vibrations audible (especially after the sustain became so quiet it is near-literally impossible to hear). That creates the artifacts. It has to do with all the digital recording devices and processing equipment used.

All of that being said, in my post I explained a little bit about how I got around that. I boost my piano, EQ my piano (and still do the same with my sampled piano libraries- my favorite of which has almost no post processing) to make the pianos louder and to rid the track of any artificial noise. Then, instead of super boosting the low volume sustains (after about six to ten seconds sustains are REALLY hard to hear on almost any recording) to make it audible (which would require more EQ'ing and work to make it sound OK, but the whole time you are also EQing out some natural piano sound) I add my own custom reverb patch that emulates string vibrations. The reverb patch sounds real, and it can be adjusted to make the pianos seem to have 20+ seconds of natural sounding decay.

I might be a noob at explaining things, but this worked excellently for me and continues to be the best method I have found for maximum realism in piano libraries.

What I look for in piano libraries:

Natural sounding note velocity changes.
As many different velocity samples per note as possible.
As many round robins as possible for each group of velocity samples.
Natural sounding resonance.
As little processing as possible on the samples.


One thing I wish that someone had with their piano library:

If a note is pressed then the next sample played should not resonate the same way as if the note was not pressed. That would make pianos seem VERY realistic because of the overtones and resonances the piano strings have with eachother, but would take an INSANE amount of programming and samples to work.
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby HMage » 09 Jul 2013 07:23

ChocolateChicken wrote:
HMage wrote:Most standalone piano libraries have long realistic decays.

Galaxy Steinway: 22.7 seconds
Emotional Piano: 23.6 seconds
Vintage D: 32.7 seconds
The Giant: 27.7 seconds

With that said, emotional piano's decay is postprocessed — the amount of noise increases over time very noticeably — when I play sustain on low velocities noise becomes unbearable.


I'm glad you corrected me so that I can know that there are other options. But this raises the question, why would a sampled piano's decay need to be postprocessed to be realistic? Many pianos that I've used (FL Studio pianos, all the Logic Pro pianos, EWQL Pianos Gold) have extremely short processed decays of about five seconds, while actual pianos have decays up to 20 seconds or more.


You're confusing several things into each other.

* Most stock pianos in multi-instrument libraries have short decay out of necessity for disk space. 5 seconds needs 4 times less space than 20 seconds -- 500mb instead of 2gb.
* When you press a note on, say, vintage D, you won't hear it after about 10 seconds, but it is actually there and if you crank up the volume you'll hear it.
* As for post processing -- dry recordings from microphones never sound aesthetically pleasing compared to pianos in commercial songs. To make up for that, some libraries have pre-applied effects to the recordings so you won't have to. While it makes piano sound better, it glues the sound to the specific type and you can't undo that.

Not that most producers need or care about, but I prefer to apply my own processing to totally dry pianos sometimes.
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby HMage » 09 Jul 2013 07:27

ChocolateChicken wrote:Fimbulin, I don't quite understand what you were trying to say. Real pianos have a very long decay. Sampled pianos are recorded from real pianos. Why are sampled pianos post processed to have long decay if real pianos already have long decay?


Because your audio reproduction equipment isn't good enough to play full palette of dynamics that real piano has. To make long decays audible, they need to be cranked up for 99% of audio equipment. Sounds good on cheap speakers, sounds bad everywhere else.
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby ChocolateChicken » 21 Jul 2013 20:04

So, if I'm not mistaken again, the reason why these Kontakt piano libraries are post-processed to have realistically long decays is because microphones, or any modern recording transducers for that matter, are not able to interpret and record the dynamics as well as our ears can hear them. Is this correct?
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby HMage » 22 Jul 2013 16:17

ChocolateChicken wrote:So, if I'm not mistaken again, the reason why these Kontakt piano libraries are post-processed to have realistically long decays is because microphones, or any modern recording transducers for that matter, are not able to interpret and record the dynamics as well as our ears can hear them. Is this correct?


1. Decay needs to be captured. No need to process that, just record that.
2. Decay needs to be louder for us to hear it after capturing it.
3. If there's no captured decay — no processing will make it appear.
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby ChocolateChicken » 24 Jul 2013 03:49

Keeping this in mind, as well as what HMage said about the amount of noise in the sustains of Emotional Pianos, which Kontakt library is the best? Would it still be Emotional Pianos or not?
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Re: Best piano kontakt library?

Postby lipebcampos » 11 Mar 2019 14:50

I think this is a very personal choice, but FWIW and Ivory 2 are my favorites.

Btw, for those who want to improve their piano skills, online classes can be found on this site.
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