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Reevaluating piano samples when your amplification improves

Postby OrpheusNY » 08 Jan 2019, 20:58

Yes, I know, just what this forum needs, another thread about "which piano samples do you use?"

I've recently started playing through an improved (especially for Nord's acoustic piano samples) amp setup, a stereo pair of QSC K 8.2s. I realized recently I formed my opinions of the many acoustic piano samples Nord offers on different equipment, so I decided to devote a couple hours to taking some previously discarded samples for a spin.

What I've come to realize is that for me there are four basic categories of acoustic piano I want to have at my fingertips (excluding special effects like tack piano etc.), which I'll shorthand as warm solo, warm ensemble, brighter solo, and bright ensemble. I don't know if anyone else would find this exercise useful, but I thought I'd post my initial results:

Warm solo: in a comeback, the Velvet Grand. I really wan't too fond of this one when it came out, but through better amplification it sounds much better to me. If I keep it I'll delete the Warm Upright, which covers the same ground but now sounds almost like a pad compared to the Velvet through the QSC's. Will likely also keep the Amber Upright for solo stuff as well.

Warm Ensemble: Royal Grand. still warm but with more definition than the Velvet.

Bright ensemble: Silver Grand. My favorite cutter, more naturally piano-like than the Bright Grand to me, despite the sheen.

Bright solo- Italian Grand. Another comeback where it sounds much better to me now through better speakers. Bright but more natural, less overwhelming a sound than the Silver.

Random thoughts on a Tuesday.
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Reevaluating piano samples when your amplification improves


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Re: Reevaluating piano samples when your amplification impro

Postby 23skidoo » 08 Jan 2019, 21:09

Interesting - my feelings are pretty similar, although I'd sub the Imperial for the Italian in the bright solo category. To me, the Italian feels very "recorded" and the Imperial still retains a bit of the sparkle, while keeping a laid back grandeur that the Silver lacks. For some reason, I really really like the Rain upright, too. It's my "moody solo" go-to.
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Re: Reevaluating piano samples when your amplification impro

Postby NordNerd431 » 09 Jan 2019, 05:41

Nice post. I discovered new favorites as well since I bought my 8.2’s. Great sound for the $$!
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Re: Reevaluating piano samples when your amplification impro

Postby Spider » 09 Jan 2019, 11:09

Yes it's generally recognized that Nord pianos benefit more than other brands from quality amplification, it really lets all the nuances of each sample shine through!

I never liked the Italian (too cold and harsh for my tastes) but for the rest I agree with you, Silver and Velvet are my favorites.

The Velvet IMHO is a a hidden gem: it's easy to dismiss it as muffled and lifeless, but at the higher velocity levels it can sing and sparkle as well as the others. I usually play it with the 1 or 2 velocity curve to exploit more easily its full dynamic range.
(I always use curve 0 for all other pianos)


These are my go-to sounds for "classic" bright and soft piano sounds, then I use the uprights as "character" pianos: there is an unbelievable amount of variety in the upright library, much more than among the grands!
I dearly love the Rain, Black, Baby and Bambino. I know the Amber gets a lot of love but for whatever reason I never warmed up to it.
The Queen and Grand uprights are amazing but almost too good, they sound almost like a grand piano, so for those kind of sounds... I'll just use a regular grand. ;)
Last edited by Spider on 09 Jan 2019, 11:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reevaluating piano samples when your amplification impro

Postby alexmarinojR » 09 Jan 2019, 23:43

I concur also. Seems there's a pattern for most of us.
Velvet is great for soft stuff. Very nuanced.
Love the silver to cut through a rock band and as an all rounder.
Imperial really does it for me it has a very bright and forward upper register for solos, and the best lower register , feels like the real grand bosendorfer I used to play in college. I use an EQ for the mids, just to cut the excessive overtones, or maybe I should just download the M/L when I think of it.
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