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FFVII - Interrupted by Fireworks

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@ Jared Hudson, I really like how that piano sounds. I'll try to get a piano that sounds as lovely as that

Jared's had a good ear for sample libraries since before "multi-mic" libraries became the norm, so it's no surprise he steered you right. :) I'll add a few more notes just in case anyone else is exploring the same area in their piano work.

Anyway, there's really only 3 libraries that are geared toward that sort of sound: Malmsjö Acoustic Grand (Art Vista), Bluthner Digital Model One (Pro Audio Vault) and Emotional Piano (SoundIron).

Here are the links to each. The Bluthner Digital Model One link also has a lot of comparisons with other libraries (like Ivory and Quantum Leap Pianos, both of which sound very different).




All three of these libraries are small in size, give you samples from one microphone set (as opposed to mult-mic libraries like Quantum Leap Pianos) and can be very warm in tone. Each of them has specific features that set them apart. Note, my observations are based on at least two years of experience with the libraries in question, except for Emotional Piano (where it is based on the demos and product pages).

Malmsjö Acoustic Grand samples a piano by a Swedish manufacturer that has (to the best of my knowledge) not been covered by any other library. It is warm, gentle and very easy to play, in part because of its more limited dynamic range. If you want it to sound anything but warm and smooth, you'll need to put a lot of effort into the mixing work. The library does not come with a player, so you need to have GigaStudio, Kontakt or EXS 24.

Bluthner Digital Model One has full, warm and smooth tone by default, but has an entirely different approach to dynamics and has been sampled more extensively. This means you could use it for everything from the general warm timbres on to concertos brighter pop if you wanted to, without having to use external EQ. It is more expensive than the Malmsjö Acoustic Grand, but also more recent, more flexible and more comprehensive. It also features several impulse responses by Ernest Cholakis, whose convolution libraries normally sell for hundreds of dollars.

Emotional Piano is the only library out of the three that features repetition samples. I haven't had a chance to hear for myself how big a difference that makes in the sound in this specific case. The library seems to have more in common with Malmsjö Acoustic Grand than Bluthner Digital Model One, but has been updated more recently than either of the other two.

I used Malmsjö Acoustic Grand the most for my work with Joanna St. Claire, Bluthner Digital Model One the most for my own and am curious about Emotional Piano.

Current U.S. street prices (at the time of writing)

Malmsjö Acoustic Grand $99

Emotional Piano $149

Bluthner Digital Model One $278-299

MAG: Foolproof - hard to screw up the sound.

BDMO: Flexible - great sound with great control.

Emotional Piano: Repetition samples - remains to be seen how big a difference these make.

So there you have it: my unsolicited guide to the three pianos best suited to getting that warm sound without extra mixing tools. ;)

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Piano sounds "tinny" like in a telephone. We lose the warmth of the piece, there's no bottom end. Sounds almost like a toy piano in some places. The piano still needs some mids nearing the lower range to get that blanket warm sound. If anything, I'd almost prefer to pull the highest frequencies down a tad, and boost the low, giving it less bite.!

I completely agree with everything Jared said. You might want to take him up on sending him the MIDI file. :)

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Thanks PerLichtman, it feels like an age since I uploaded this haha, just about forgot about it >.>

I took Jared's suggestions to heart, and got the Malmsjö Acoustic Grand sample, which I've been using now with a brighter sounding piano to get a balance which I'm happy with.

I still haven't submitted this yet for a few reasons

- I thought there was no rush, and the longer I wait the better things will sound both in regards to samples like the piano, and real life instruments

But yeah, that's a really great summary, hope it can help myself as well as others. I'll definitely have to check out those libraries given how much I love using piano =)

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Yeah, you pretty much can't get me to stop talking about pianos. :) I've carted across the L.A. area, driven for an hour at a time, just to play different (live) pianos. Luckily, one of the most evocative ones I've encountered is less than a 20 minute drive away, easily surpassing the sound of a certain $200,000+ piano I played nearby (as well as all the ones I've heard in concert halls to date). That helped back when I was dating a concert pianist, but now I get to keep it to myself... whenever I visit that place. ;)

But in terms of the sampled pianos, best of luck with your continued work. I love the instrument and always want to hear people get the most out of it.

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First of all, this is beautiful, absolutely amazing. In fact, it's possibly one of the best Final Fantasy 7 remixes i've ever heard. It's just so pretty.

You've absolutely nailed the violin, it just makes this piece.

Contrary to popular belief i actually like the piano in this. The guitar, violin and piano just all work together really well.

I was wondering though, how would this whole track sound without the support strings in the background? I'd really like to hear that, because they sound a little overbearing and i'm wondering how a minimalistic approach might sound.

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Thanks Algamest, I can't think of a higher compliment than the ones you gave - and I'm still surprised about how much people liked this song =)

This track only has 4 non-live instruments, the strings, piano, french horn and chimes so I thought it was pretty minimalistic already - I can upload a version without strings if you're curious though.

Anyway, I updated this with the settings that I use, the main changes are to the piano and violin, different sample/settings for both.

I'm not sure when I should sub this - since every time I work on a song, I learn so many new things >.> And even the tone of my violin changes as I find a setting for reverb/etc that I like better haha

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Very nice update. Things I hear about the piano still though......do you have EQ running on it? As in, did you slice all the bottom end? It doesn't feel as warm as Malmsjo should sound. Don't chop out that bottom end, or at least give it more! Adding a smooth base line with the piano also adds tons of warmth. I also feel you could run the pedal on the piano a little more for smoother lines, but that will be a delicate touch to make sure it doesn't wash altogether. My 2 cents. Sounds great!

Side Note: Experiment with the velocities on the piano. Sometimes lowering a note from 80 to 70 can give you a whole different attack or feel, depending on the sample set. Then you can bump the volume a tad if needed.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 8 years later...

This just came up on a playlist I was listening to and I realized I never saw it posted.  It's been a long time since I kept up with these forums regularly, but I had to drop in to say this has been one of the gems that always comes to mind when I think of the WIP board.  It's a gorgeous piece, and if you're still around, Chris, thanks for sharing it. (Also, it's still not too late to submit!)

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