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|The Grand Piano. Why have we never experienced a truly inspiring
sampled grand piano? Is it the sampling environment?...microphone
placement?...the sampler itself? It always seems that sampled pianos
come up short. Let's think about the way people play pianos and the
way people sample pianos. When a piano is sampled, the keys are simply
struck and allowed to decay over time. But the fact is that nobody
plays a piano like that. A performer almost always depresses the
sustain pedal. And when the sustain pedal is depressed, something
wonderful happens to that piano. All the resonance and overtones
magically interact. They generate harmonics that are truly amazing.
But have you ever sampled a piano note with the sustain pedal depressed?
Pretty muddy, pretty thuddy and way too many overtones to work over a multisampled
keyboard. Northstar has discovered that by depressing the pedal just
after the initial strike, all those wonderful overtones can be gently employed
in the sample; therefore the term RST is used to define that sampling technique.
All the life and wonder come back into the sample.
The entrance of another program has also greatly enhanced the current technology to take advantage of Northstar's RST. That program is Infinity Looping Tools by Jupiter Systems. Northstar has looped each note with Infinity thereby allowing the resonances generated from the overtones to be seamlessly integrated into each sample. Additionally, each sample has been denoised with Digidesign's DINR plug in module.
The miking technique for each piano generally employs eight microphone sources. Two from the players perspective, two from the audience perspective, two over the action, a monophonic mike and a bass mike. Microphones include B&K SASS, Neumann U69, Sanken CMS7, Microtech Geffel, Neumann U87, KM84's and others. Each source is mixed to the whole to capture a true encompassing reality of sitting at the piano. All 88 notes were recorded at six different velocities. The pianos were dithered from 20 bits to 16 bits through the Lexicon 2020 digital converter and recorded to Panasonic DAT. Four velocities of 31 notes with 7-9 second loops were retained for the final product. The availability of four levels further adds to the realism of the piano strike as the harmonics and brilliance change with each velocity. In addition, we have included 3 levels of all 88 notes of Gino Vannelli's piano (shorter loops for this). The pianos featured are Gino Vannelli's amazing harmoncally rich, deep and warm 7 foot 6 Yamaha C7, a nine-foot Steinway, and Northstar's own bright 6 ft. Yamaha G3.
*Northstar offers four versions of Grand Gold for compatibility. The 128/32 meg version for the EIV contains 4 position full bandwidth velocity switch banks. The 64/32 meg version for the EIV/E64 contains sample rate converted 4 position velocity switch banks and full bandwidth single layer banks. The 32/16 meg version for the EIIIX/ESI contains sample rate converted 2 position VSW and full bandwidth single layers. The 16/8 meg version for the EIIIX/ESI/EIII contains 16 meg sample rate converted banks and 8 meg mono banks. There's nothing that can compare to this product. It is truly inspiring.
*Grand Gold Pianos CD-ROMs are available $249 each for the two larger versions, and $99 each for the two smaller versions. Click Purchase This Title, or contact Northstar for complete information and shipping details. Northstar accepts VISA/Mastercard/Amex/Discover, check or money order. (503) 760-7777.