The Model 7 grand piano was sampled from a Yamaha C7 grand coda piano. Our first idea was to sample a CFIII, but when we went to the rental-house we totally fell in love with this one and chose it. This particular piano has been in constant use since the ’80s in two highly praised concert halls in Torino (Italy) and has been played by artists like Michel Petrucciani and Chick Corea along the years. This piano is under constant maintenance by highly-skilled italian technicians. We sampled this little-big monster of a piano in a medium-size hall surrounded by a smorgasbord of microphones.
Macro-phones 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 Royer 121 matched-pair placed inside the open-lid but at a healthy distance from the soundboard to pickup both the direct sound and the reflections from the lid thanks to their figure-8 patterns
a modded Oktava MK-012 spaced matched-pair, placed right above the strings
a pair of matched Neumann M149 mics to pick up the sound from a medium distanceThese 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.Mixing a-la-carte 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 to tweak 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. Preset-galore 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.