Making a Sampled Piano Sound Real

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kittonian
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Making a Sampled Piano Sound Real

Postby kittonian » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:59 pm

Everyone wants to have a gorgeous piano sound at their disposal but so few of us have a Steinway Grand in a great room with a perfect set of mics and pres, along with an incredible talent that has a magic touch on the keys.

So, what do you to create a realistic piano sound using soft-synths?

Well, here's what I do.

I use an M-Audio Keystation Pro 88, weighted MIDI keyboard controller with a MIDI sustain pedal, along with IK's SampleTank 2XL software using the "Acoustic Grand 2" patch.

I play in my piano part and edit it accordingly. Once I have the MIDI where I want it (velocities, notes, etc.) it's time to make it sound real.

When listening back to a sampled piano, although the SampleTank patch sounds great in my opinion, there's a vibe missing that would normally be there if you recorded an actual piano. To me, that has to do with the sustain of the strings and the attack at which real microphones would pickup the sound.

I use my DBX 160SL stereo compressor, into my SPL Transient Designer 4. The 160SL is in stereo mode with a ratio of 4:1, Overeasy off, Auto attack/release in the On position and a threshold that takes off 2-3db max. I turn the output up a little bit because I love the sound of that box and then send that straight into the TD4. On the TD4 I have channels 1&2 set in stereo and I turn the Attack knob down a bit and turn the Sustain knob up a bit.

The piano now has a realistic sound to it (and it's funny because I have been asked by both listeners and engineers "How did you record that fantastic piano?"). I just smile and explain that it's not a "real" piano at all. Then I tell them how I did it.

So, once you are at this point you are ready to perform any EQ necessary to get the piano to sit in your mix. You might want to add a bit of top end via a hi-shelf and take out some of the low mid area where the kick and bass live. This way the mix won't end up muddy.

Best of luck on your piano recordings!
Joshua Aaron
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AudioLot / AudioLot Studios
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alfonsosebaq
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Re: Making a Sampled Piano Sound Real

Postby alfonsosebaq » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:54 pm

Thanks a lot. Just a question, isn't there some "soft vst" that could try to emulate 160SL? I ask this because I don't have an 160SL, and I think lot of people are like me. I know, soft vst would NOT be the same, but maybe near :-)

Thanks again for your big tip

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kittonian
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Re: Making a Sampled Piano Sound Real

Postby kittonian » Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:25 pm

Thanks a lot. Just a question, isn't there some "soft vst" that could try to emulate 160SL? I ask this because I don't have an 160SL, and I think lot of people are like me. I know, soft vst would NOT be the same, but maybe near :-)

Thanks again for your big tip
I'll be honest and say that there is nothing that will emulate a real 160SL, nor the real deal Transient Designer from SPL. You can certainly try plug-ins and get good sounds but if you consider the cost of a real baby grand piano and the appropriate mics, not too mention the room, treatment for that room, etc., the cost of a TD4 and a 160SL pales in comparison.
Joshua Aaron
President/Chief Engineer
AudioLot / AudioLot Studios
512.686.2899 - Direct Line
http://www.audiolot.com

Follow AudioLot on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/audiolot for the latest gear news and specials!

jj547190
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Re: Making a Sampled Piano Sound Real

Postby jj547190 » Tue May 10, 2016 11:37 pm

thanks a lot for the big tips.....
Graduated from Soran University with First Class Degree with Honours in Computer Science.


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