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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby Arthr2ShdsJcksn » 08 Feb 2024, 04:13

My favorites in order are the White, Bright, Studio Grand 2, Silver, and Imperial...

I actively dislike the Royal Grand because of the odd sound that D5 makes. I'm thinking of dropping it out completely in order to put in a larger version of the Studio Grand or Silver.
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples


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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby agcohn » 09 Feb 2024, 00:27

As I have grown more comfortable with EQ'ing the piano samples to my taste or for particular moods, I have settled on the following 4x acoustic piano samples that I feel give me the most range of usable sound options:
  • White Grand XL - my favorite for solo piano when I'm not trying to also sing. I do feel like it is a little loud / full sounding for me to sing over. I can but I think I sing too loudly when using this sample.
  • Royal Grand 3D XL - this one required EQ for me to brighten it up to my taste, but it has become one of my preferred pianos for accompaniment to my vocals. I'm not crazy about it for solo piano though.
  • Velvet Grand XL - also good for vocals with a different vibe from the Royal Grand
  • Silver Grand XL - still experimenting with this one, but it sits somewhere between the White Grand and the Royal Grand
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby Gambold » 09 Feb 2024, 20:58

AND....everyone continues to not like the Italian! Fazioli lovers, demand a new sample from Clavia!
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby maurus » 10 Feb 2024, 15:52

Actually, the Fazioli is presently in my "go to" list of four or five. These days I find myself playing these five, depending on purpose and mood, roughly in this order: Studio Grand 2 (very versatile in the new version, I prefer L), Imperial Grand (again I prefer L to the XL, and continue to use the old version), Fazioli XL, Soft Grand XL, Royal Grand L.

To me, the Fazioli XL does the "bright" piano very nicely, I prefer it to both the Silver and the Bright Grand. In my experience, finding the best EQ for your amplification setup is essential, for all of them.

Ask me again in half a year and my preferences may changed :)
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby Gambold » 10 Feb 2024, 16:16

You're a rarity in this group. I did an analysis for the forum awhile back (to much acclaim and gratitude, I might add)...and the Faz was at the bottom of the list. This was July, 2022:

Gambold wrote:RESULTS:

Thanks to everyone for taking part in this extremely informal "poll" of acoustic sample preferences. I know we do these all the time on this forum, but offerings, tastes, and participants change so frequently that it's always useful to see the current zeitgeist! Plus - some of us don't strictly "trust our own ears" and it can be very helpful to hear the opinions of others on the merits or demerits of certain samples.

The method was not very scientific - I assigned points based on how a user ordered their preferences. 3 points for the first piano, 2 for the second, and 1 for the third. If there was less than three pianos listed in a post, the first got 3 points, the second (if present) 2 points. A few posters were a little vaguer in their rankings but I went with what seemed to be the piano(s) they preferred, based on their comments.

White - 29 points
Royal - 15 points
Imperial - 10 points
Bright and Silver - 7 points each
Bambino - 5 points
Amber - 4 points
Italian - 2 points

Thoughts:

--White is the king by far. It's the newest sample, three years younger than the next one. Is it newness or quality that make it king - or both?
--Royal holds second place - after holding first for a long time. Yamaha samples dominate the digital keyboard world and this one is Nord's best
--Imperial was the big surprise. This piano has made a comeback! It's one of the "classic" Nord samples that appeared in 2011.
--Bright and Silver are now running neck-and-neck for dominance in the "I need a sample that cuts through the band mix" category.
--The Bambino edged out the Amber for favorite upright - likely because of its very distinctive sound.
--Ah, the Italian - once upon a time it was considered one of the best. This one fell out of favor quickly.
--No Grand Lady D! This one was on everyone's fave list for a long time - age has finally taken its toll.
--The elephant in the room - no love for the Velvet. A newer sample that wasn't a hit even when it was first released.

Thanks again everyone!!
--Gambold
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby maurus » 11 Feb 2024, 14:26

Gambold wrote:You're a rarity in this group.


So be it :)

Cheers, and thanks for your analysis, M.

PS. Your statistics was done before the new Studio Grand 2 (and the others) came along, by the way.
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby Gambold » 12 Feb 2024, 16:12

>Your statistics was done before the new Studio Grand 2 (and the others) came along, by the way.<

That's true, but I don't think it would change the rankings much. I remember when the Italian came out, everyone raved about it. But then everyone raves about every new sample...until they don't (except the Velvet, that one was dead on arrival). My sense is that most Nord users spend almost all their time on three Grands. They want a main one, which is mostly the White now, then a bright one like the Bright or Silver, and then a distinctive alternate to their main one, like the Royal or Imperial. The Italian just didn't have anything that stood out - it wasn't bright enough or distinct enough to make anyone's Big Three.

As for the new, improved Studio Grand 2 - it's a polish but it's not a new sample. All the enthusiasm is mostly because we are all starved for a decent new Grand and it's been years since the White came out. No, the Felt doesn't qualify. A decent new Grand becomes the A1 preset on subsequent new keyboards - the flagship. I guarantee that when the next Nord comes out, the Felt will be on there, but it won't be in the first preset.
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby Nordine » 12 Feb 2024, 17:59

Gambold wrote:>Your statistics was done before the new Studio Grand 2 (and the others) came along, by the way.<

That's true, but I don't think it would change the rankings much. I remember when the Italian came out, everyone raved about it. But then everyone raves about every new sample...until they don't (except the Velvet, that one was dead on arrival). My sense is that most Nord users spend almost all their time on three Grands. They want a main one, which is mostly the White now, then a bright one like the Bright or Silver, and then a distinctive alternate to their main one, like the Royal or Imperial. The Italian just didn't have anything that stood out - it wasn't bright enough or distinct enough to make anyone's Big Three.

As for the new, improved Studio Grand 2 - it's a polish but it's not a new sample. All the enthusiasm is mostly because we are all starved for a decent new Grand and it's been years since the White came out. No, the Felt doesn't qualify. A decent new Grand becomes the A1 preset on subsequent new keyboards - the flagship. I guarantee that when the next Nord comes out, the Felt will be on there, but it won't be in the first preset.


I would be really astonished about the release of the non-soft version (I mean just the regular version) of the Soft Grand, it's sounds ok for me, but I'd love to hear the bright regular version of this piano. I guess since they sample a soft version of it thye might alos have already sampled the bright version...who knows. :crazy:
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby Gambold » 13 Feb 2024, 21:53

MAKE COUNT FOR GRANDS:

Yamaha (5) - Soft, Royal, Bright, Studio 1, Studio 2
Steinway (4) - White, Lady D, Concert Ambient, Concert Close
Others (4) Velvet, Silver, Italian, Imperial

If you don't count the two old Steinway Concert samples, which never get mentioned nor are loaded on any board now, Yamaha is the clear winner. More interesting (and perhaps unsettling), is that Clavia has not offered a Grand sample that isn't a Yamaha or a Steinway since 2015, or for the past nine years.

They are much more varied in their brand offerings for the uprights, which is probably why several posters here have pointed out that this group is rich in character and variety. That said, here are some makes that Clavia could consider for future Grand samples, if they are interested in getting off the Yamaha train:

Bechstein - you would think the intense popularity of Queen would prompt them to sample Freddy's make of choice.
Bosendorfer - an improved version with better treble. People love this sample and would love an updated one even more.
Fazioli - is it worth it to give this make another chance? I wonder if they have any access to one, these are tough pianos to find.
Grotrian - they've made two upright samples - why not try a Grotrian-Steinweg grand?
Kawai - I know, the Silver is here and it's well-regarded. But Kawai is a BIG name in pianos - could we get one a little less icy?
Schimmel - many people have loved the Romantic upright. Schimmel makes grand pianos too.
Steinway - time for a definitive XL for the Model D?
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Re: Best Grand Piano Samples

Postby SteveNordP3 » 14 Feb 2024, 05:29

Gambold - I would love an updated XL D and Freddy’s fave. Since Yamaha owns Bosendorfer (since 2008) does that count as a Yamaha in your list?

As for unique grands, how about the Alexander 18’ 9” or Klavin’s 450i (in its own purpose-built chamber) with its 5 meter bass strings?

So many options - so little time

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