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Topic Options
#1685442 - 05/27/11 09:47 AM Best virtual piano for classical pianist?
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Sweetwater is recommending Ivory Grand II. Any thoughts? I'm looking for top-notch concert grand sounds.

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#1685444 - 05/27/11 09:50 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
pianoxcape Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Cape Cod
_________________________
- Gary Girouard
Consultant for Viscount ("Physis" Physical-model piano; http://www.physispiano.com)
Pianist/Composer of "The Naked Piano" series (Free Music Samples http://www.garygirouardmusic.com)
Teacher, Entrepreneur...Parent

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#1685447 - 05/27/11 09:53 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
Qbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 328
Loc: Italy
Galaxy Vintage D is great and v2 is coming in the next few weeks.


Edited by Qbert (05/27/11 10:47 AM)
_________________________
GEM Promega 3 (sold) - Yamaha CLP 170 (sold) - Acuna88 (sold) - Kawai VPC1 + BK7m

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#1685525 - 05/27/11 12:21 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
Providence Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 135
I second the Garritan Steinway...I tried many before but this one I love the best..
Good Luck!

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#1685562 - 05/27/11 01:43 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: Providence]
craig son of berg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 134
Loc: WPB, FL, US of A
sry I meant galaxy. was reading the posts and not thinking.


Edited by craig son of berg (05/27/11 04:53 PM)
_________________________
play that one again sam

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#1685618 - 05/27/11 03:33 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
composingkeys3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/24/10
Posts: 11
Ivory II Grand Pianos is a stellar product. Here is a great review from Keyboard Magazine here: http://www.keyboardmag.com/article/synthogy-ivory-ii/March-2011/127985



Edited by composingkeys3 (05/27/11 03:33 PM)
_________________________
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Sales and Technical Support
ILIO

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#1685642 - 05/27/11 04:55 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
funkycornwall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 76
Loc: Cornwall. UK
The Vienna instruments Imperial grand is a very fine virtual piano for classical playing. Needs quite a powerful computer to handle it.

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#1685646 - 05/27/11 05:01 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Thanks for feedback everyone.

Well, I listened to the Garritan samples and just wasn't as impressed as I was by the Ivory Grand II samples. I almost decided to try it out anyway, being only $100 for basic version, but decided to go the other way - just ordered Ivory, figuring I can always try the Garritan later. I appreciate everyone's comments.

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#1685676 - 05/27/11 06:16 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
ilychy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/10
Posts: 64
Loc: USA
Forgive me for the novice question, but if I purchase a "virtual piano," does that mean I can change any MIDI file to that sound? Is it a relatively easy process? What free programs will allow me to do that? Thanks for the help.

And just out of curiosity, are there more Ivoury or Garritan users on this forum? Or is it one of those hotly contested debates?
_________________________
Practicing:

Brahms' Intermezzo in E flat minor
Chopin's Nocturne No 1 in Bb, Op 9 No 1
Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte
Satie's Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes

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#1685798 - 05/27/11 11:53 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 562
Originally Posted By: JerryS88
Well, I listened to the Garritan samples and just wasn't as impressed as I was by the Ivory Grand II samples. I almost decided to try it out anyway, being only $100 for basic version, but decided to go the other way - just ordered Ivory, figuring I can always try the Garritan later. I appreciate everyone's comments.

The Garritan and Ivory II Steinways are my two favorite virtual pianos. I jump back and forth between them depending on what I'm playing. FWIW, I think listening to the samples/demo of virtual pianos is less than worthless if you are going to play them live, because they are misleading (even when not doctored after the fact) and give you no idea what they are like to actually play. It just happens that some of my favorite sounding demos are from EWQL, which are by far my least favorite to play (and least favorite sound) virtual pianos.
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, Ravenscroft 275, True Keys American D, Garritan Authorized Steinway, Alicia's Keys, EWQL Pianos, MainStage, iPad/forScore/PageFlip Cicada, Custom Mac MIDI/Audio Software Design, Macs Everywhere

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#1685820 - 05/28/11 12:24 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: Macy]
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Originally Posted By: Macy

The Garritan and Ivory II Steinways are my two favorite virtual pianos. I jump back and forth between them depending on what I'm playing. FWIW, I think listening to the samples/demo of virtual pianos is less than worthless if you are going to play them live, because they are misleading (even when not doctored after the fact) and give you no idea what they are like to actually play. It just happens that some of my favorite sounding demos are from EWQL, which are by far my least favorite to play (and least favorite sound) virtual pianos.


I got the distinct feeling that what you are saying is true, Macy. So many recommendations for Garritan must mean it is better in person than my impression of it from their online demo. My decision to start with Ivory is based not just on their demo, but also on the recommendation from the Sweetwater salesman who seemed to have a lot of experience-based knowledge and a strong opinion, reinforced by some positive comments here. I'm glad to see that both Ivory and Garritan are recommended. For the relatively small cost, I'll probably wind up getting the Garritan as well at some point. Thank you for your input.

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#1829898 - 01/22/12 07:01 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
johnlewisgrant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 394
Loc: canada
Key.... "best" most enjoyable to play?

Or "best" sounds most like a professionally recorded piano?

Can't have it both ways, at least, not yet. Nothing on the market accomplishes both. There's a patch in a very dated sample set "wet" pmi bos which is not great to play, but which is profoundly convincing as a recorded piano sound.

We listen, of course, to all these "demo" classical pieces reproduced on the various piano vsts out there, trying to decide which sounds, I guess, the most "lifelike."

In my view, NONE of the most current samples "sounds" like a well-recorded BOS or Steinway or Yamaha. But some are pretty fun to play all the same.

JG

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#1829902 - 01/22/12 07:11 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Interesting to see the PMI B290 mentioned - is that the same one in QL Goliath? I tried it for the first time yesterday, but I prefer the Bosey in QL Pianos - there seems to be more timbral dynamic range in QL Pianos. I also found a pitch error in the PMI (Wet) within minutes - bizarre. (Note A0 in a certain velocity range, with the sustain pedal, is playing at pitch B0! Maybe there's something wrong with my copy/install of the product. Applied the update but didn't fix it)

EDIT: I've just realised - I would be missing out on the convolution resonance that the PMI has in Gigastudio - correct? Probably not completely fair to use the Goliath version for comparison.

I think some of the demo recordings of sampled pianos sound absolutely fantastic - QL Pianos (I've got this one - it doesn't PLAY well, but it sounds very good), Vintage D, & Artvista VGP for example. I also think some DP recordings sound excellent.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/22/12 08:25 PM)

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#1829932 - 01/22/12 08:50 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hmm. Bit of an older thread. Some posters may not be around any more.

Anyway, the Ivory suite is definitely quality. I'm quite curious to hear their new American Steinway, which appears to have the best specs of anything they have done to date. Galaxy is quality, especially my favorite, Vintage D. Garritan is quality, though I think they must either be thinking of discontinuing or coming out with a new version as the "standard" and "pro" versions are no longer for sale.

EWQL apparently does not support half pedal (can anyone verify this?), which is kind of required for a decent VST in my opinion. I've definitely heard it has playability issues. VSL definitely does not support partial pedal. I would steer clear of both (though they may make great recordings, as johngrant sort of mentioned...depends on how clean your pedal technique is).

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#1829935 - 01/22/12 08:53 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Yes, my understanding is that EW QL Pianos does not support half-pedalling, however I have never tried it. I can confirm however that it does not support RE-pedalling.

Greg.

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#1830073 - 01/23/12 04:27 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: sullivang]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
Could always try them at http://www.try-sound.com (at least Galaxy and Ivory are there). It's laggy of course, but to get an idea of how it sounds like it's usually enough.

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#1830085 - 01/23/12 05:36 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 1803
Loc: Rocky Mountains
I can't comment of which is better? You won't be disappointed with Ivory II. You can actually change the piano so much that you create your own piano sound. The amount of settings is mind boggling to a beginner.
_________________________
Ron
Ingrid, my beloved VPC : "Play it Sam....For old times sake...Play it for me...I'll sing it with you...Play me again, Sam."

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#1830095 - 01/23/12 07:16 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: Providence]
jivemutha Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Providence
I second the Garritan Steinway...I tried many before but this one I love the best..
Good Luck!


How does it work? Presumably you use this software with a keyboard that then produces the sound of the Steinway, but what keyboard--any digital? certain special digitals? Disklaviers? Forgive my ignorance but I'm lost here . . .

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#1830097 - 01/23/12 07:20 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: rnaple]
Olj Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/06/10
Posts: 7
I found pianoteq very good too, very easy to use, a lot of customization and v.4 should come out soon ...

Moreover, since it's pure model (no samples), it can run on very modest setups.

Regards

Olivier

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#1830109 - 01/23/12 08:01 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
CyberGene Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
For a serious classical pianist there are some mandatory piano features such as:
- half-pedaling
- repedaling
- string resonance
- damper resonance
- silent replay

There are currently only three software pianos to support all those: Ivory II, Galaxy Pianos, Pianoteq. (I am not sure if Galaxy and Ivory support silent replay though, but I believe they do). Pianoteq is great in playability but arguably suffers in sound, to me it sounds artificially metallic and boxy. Galaxy is OK, however there is no true repedaling, only "first-time repedalin" which is kind of buggy. This leaves only The Grand II. I have never actually tried The Grand II, but I have The Grand 1 (no half-pedaling and no string-resonance) and I am in love with it, mainly with the Steinway sound. I strongly believe version II would be even better. And they have just announced there will be a newer American Steinway.

In summary: I would recommend only Ivory II as the only software piano with convincing sound, great playability and realistic piano features for a classical pianist.
_________________________
http://www.myspace.com/evgenykumanov
Current DP: Kawai ES7
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#1830133 - 01/23/12 09:28 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: jivemutha]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
Originally Posted By: jivemutha

How does it work? Presumably you use this software with a keyboard that then produces the sound of the Steinway, but what keyboard--any digital? certain special digitals? Disklaviers? Forgive my ignorance but I'm lost here . . .


Any keyboard with a midi out connector will do. You connect it to your PC and the midi data (pitch, velocity etc.) will then play the software piano. The sound per se will come from the software and will be heard from the soundcard of the PC.

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#1830188 - 01/23/12 11:56 AM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: CyberGene]
Csillag Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/10
Posts: 249
Loc: Hungary, Europe
Originally Posted By: CyberGene
Galaxy is OK, however there is no true repedaling, only "first-time repedalin" which is kind of buggy.


Are you sure that this is still true, with the new versions?
(I have read that several improvements were made recently.)

Thank you:

Kristof

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#1830212 - 01/23/12 12:26 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
CyberGene Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
I haven't tested the new version, maybe they've fixed it indeed. I don't own it, I have only demoed the first version.

If you have Galaxy 2, you can test it easily: hold a loud bass note with the damper pedal, then quickly release and depress the pedal again. You should be able to do that many times with the sound slightly decaying each time, however if you're quick enough, you may be able to do it for 5-10 times before it looses its velocity. Note that this is working on each digital piano I've tried so far without an exception. Probably because they're looped. However software pianos aren't looped and that makes them difficult to implement for repedaling.

What Galaxy supports in version 1 is: press loud bass key, release it and immediately after that press the damper pedal. However it works only this way. If you "pump up-down" with the damper, it doesn't work.
_________________________
http://www.myspace.com/evgenykumanov
Current DP: Kawai ES7
Previous DP-s: Kawai MP6, Kawai CA63, Roland RD-700SX, Roland FP-5, Yamaha P90, Korg SP-200, Casio CDP-100

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#1830409 - 01/23/12 04:04 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: CyberGene]
johnlewisgrant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 394
Loc: canada
It's a pain. I'm at the Galaxy site listening to the Vienna sample demos: all pretty convincing from a LISTENER'S standpoint, EXCEPT the little bit of Bach they put up at the end which, I'm afraid, sounds totally artificial. Now take the Wet pmi Bos... very old now cheap sample... or even the Black Grand... you can pump some of the poorest midi versions of solo classical piano through the wet pmi and the result from a LISTENER's standpoint is impossible to distinguish from a live 70-80s vintage classical piano recording... plenty of nasty verb, but totally beautiful and convincing sound. Listeners who hate verby recordings won't like the sound... but realistic? Yes, completely and totally. From a player's standpoint? NO NO NO... the pmi wet Bos is NOT a player's sample. Not by a long shot. The Black Grand? A sort of half-way house. Kinda playable and pretty convincing as a "recorded" piano sound. You can't tell it from the real thing, if carefully recorded.

Galaxy II? Still checking it out. I own all the others, or most of them... none are really good "convincing" from the listener's standpoint.

Let me add that Vintage d, ewql, and Garritan are all quite playable with enough power, but NONE of them is like a professionally recorded piano from a LISTENER'S standpoint... which is why I'm revisiting Galaxy 2. Looking for more good, slow, revealing classical solo piano demos from this company. Can't really tell based on what's at their site.

Maybe someone could post something here!



JG


Edited by johngrant (01/23/12 04:37 PM)

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#1832427 - 01/26/12 04:38 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
Csillag Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/10
Posts: 249
Loc: Hungary, Europe
Hi all,

I am really close to pull the trigger on Galaxy Pianos.

Could someone please confirm that from here, one can buy each of the four pianos individually?

(I am asking this, because most places only list the Vintage D as a separate package, and the other pianos in a bundle.)

If I buy from SoundsOnDemand, do I get the latest and greatest version? (Or can I update it to the latest version, free of charge?)

What exactly is the meaning of the Download Edition? And there is also an option called "Upgrade from DE" - what would that mean?

Thank you for your help:

Kristof

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#1832437 - 01/26/12 04:51 PM Re: Best virtual piano for classical pianist? [Re: JerryS88]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally I believe Galaxy had a download version that was cheaper and watered down relative to the boxed version. As i understand it they later changed their mind and let the downloadable version be equal to the boxed set. Purchasing the upgrade would upgrade those people who bought before they change their mind about what the downloadable version is. Someone else can hopefully verify this for me (I think I heard it in the Galaxy forum).

With Vintage D the download and boxed version have always been the same.

In either case, you will download the update to the latest version for free through Native Instruments Content Manager.


Edited by gvfarns (01/26/12 04:54 PM)

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