The Model D grand piano was sampled from a Hamburg-made 1939 Steinway D274 grand coda piano. This particular piano has been in use in various venues in Italy and has been played and praised by many top-level international classical and jazz players. This piano’s age definitely guarantees it the vintage moniker, nonetheless it went through proper maintenance and restoration over the years by highly-skilled italian technicians. It totally resonates with all of the great music played through it. We sampled this piece of history in a medium-size hall surrounded by a plethora of microphones.
We didn’t settle for a single pair or a limited selection of microphones from the start, we wanted to make sure that the piano, after the sampling and editing process had the best chances to preserve its soul, something which can be hard to achieve. For this very reason, we used many more microphones than the ones we ended up with.
Choice of Microphones
These are the Mics we carefully selected after multiple playing and listening sessions on the edited samples:
a Schoeps CMC6 with MK4 cardiod capsules matched-pair placed at the player’s position
a Neumann KM184 matched-pair placed right on the edge of the open-lid with a listener’s perspective
a single AKG C12 tube mic picking up the sound from the lid, listener’s position
a pair of matched Neumann M149 mics to pick up the sound from a medium distance
These microphones, by themselves or combined, give you the widest possible gamut of tonal colors you might need from a top-notch concert piano. To preserve tonal balance, we even carefully phase-aligned all of the microphones.
One might think that having four different choices and combinations of mics plus the reverb would make finding the perfect balance impossible.
It is not.
This Instrument, we believe, easily opens up many different sonic worlds by using its on-board mixer. This tool is focused on easy-to-get results with a few tailored controls:
Panpot, places the sound in a specific direction
Mute and Solo
Width, controls the width of the stereo signals
Reverb Send, amount of signal for each microphone that gets processed by the on-board IR Reverb
Master effects are a 3-band EQ with cherry-picked frequency centers, a Preset Compressor & Tape Emulation and the IR Reverb
On each single channel you might use a simple but very effective 3-band EQ
Optimal resources management
Dealing with a piano Instrument featuring four microphones at the same time can bring an heavy load on system resources. The amount of playback voices for the CPU and Disk Streaming, preload in RAM and load times could suffer.
A click on Purge Muted simply removes from memory all muted channels, not anymore weighing on RAM, CPU and streaming resources.
Simplicity, with depth
Our approach to sampled Instruments is to let the musician in you fly free of any technical burden. Fast, full satisfaction is guaranteed: you just need to play, the fastest possible learning-curve is always kept as a reference when designing our Instruments. At the same time, when there’s that techie-need totweak and fine-tune, our multi-layer user interfaces allow for it, giving you the best of both worlds.
Advanced sampling and scripting
We believe the real break-through in these ages is creating advanced, high-quality Instruments which don’t require you to earn a master in computer programming before you start making music with them. Making matters easy for the musician always means introducing more and more layers of complication for us developers. First of all we are musicians, and we don’t want you to end up putting our products on a virtual shelf and forget about them because they are too hard to learn and use.
Our effects section doesn’t require a degree in audio-engineering to make the best out of it.
This is our job.
Just select one of the 34 main Presets and fine tune it using a few carefully selected parameters.
The Compressor & Tape Emulation section, usually hard to grasp for the inexpert in audio tweaking feature no less than 22 + 22 (for when using a single Mic only, marked with a + sign) presets with a simple Amount knob to rule it to your taste.
The Reverb section, so critical for acoustic pianos in particular, features an in-house developed collection of 17 carefully selected high quality Impulse Responses coming from both real spaces and revered vintage and contemporary studio hardware.