Music Composers Unite!
After MakeMusic/Garritan announced the CFX Concert Grand as coming soon last November it has finally been released!
At $300 it is one of the most expensive sampled piano libraries ever announced and the largest for sure. It's an enormous 150GB one piano library with 50GB for each perspective. A quad-core processor is required and a SSD is recommended.
Not for the faint of heart or light of pocket book.
I've checked out the Ravenscroft. PianomanChuck gave it a big thumbs up. Some people have said the mid is a little brittle and are sticking with the pianos like the Galaxy Vintage D. That's how it is with soft pianos I guess.
I've been picking up some of the SampleTekk pianos lately with special sales and added articulations like sympathetic resonance.
I found another new piano called the Production Grand that is 437.5GB in size. It has eight microphone perspectives. It also recommends a SSD and requires the full Kontakt.
The CFX Concert Grand and the Production Grand are a separate class of sampled piano libraries it seems.
MakeMusic had a error in the size of the CFX Concert Grand. It's total installed size with the three perspectives is 122GB not 122GB per perspective. Compact installation size with all three is 24.5GB total.
Here's a user demo of the Garritan CFX showing it's dynamic capability.
I am very interested in this thread. I mainly work with Ivory, and I am rather satisfied with it, but it may be an idea to test newer programs, since improvements of VST´s seem to go very fast. The examples you showed are quite impressive.
Another program, which I am extremely happy with, is the BDMO (Blüthner Digital Model One) from Pro Audio Vault. When playing piano on a digital keyboard, this program provides IMO the best sound and dynamics for expressive music in the pp and ppp range, (where so many other VST´s are quite useless). This program does not seem to be very well known, but have look at their site, and I would be glad to hear what you think.
I checked out the BDMO. The piano itself looks like quite the beast and the BDMO sounds very clear and full. I browsed the manual and it looks like it was a pretty advanced software piano for 2006.
I'd think about buying it if they have a sale but it's getting pretty old for me to pay the $200 but maybe it's worth it. I think the ability to play very softly has to do with the number of velocity levels. Most piano have about a 15, maybe more, maybe less. SampleTekk uses 31 in their two large pianos. I imagine the BDMO might have more also unless they just included a few softer ones for the pp and pop notes plus the standard 15 or so. I didn't see anything about number of velocity levels.
Thanks a lot Phillip for your reply. It´s true that $200 is a lot of money for this program. I bought it several years ago, and I am still happy with it, but as I said before, there may be many more attractive programs today, and these may provide better value for that money. I like to have the possibility to use different piano´s. The Steinway concert grand is for me the most allround sound ( and usually excellent), but for some music, the Bosendorfer Imperial, with it´s more nasal presence, may be more satisfactory. I also have the Fazioli but I am a bit disappointed with it. I have actually played on a real one, and even in that case, it was not my favourite. But it is the "house" piano of Angela Hewitt, so it may be due to my shortcomings. The Blüthner does not have the brilliancy as a Steinway, it is a bit more "muddy" and I would not prefer it for say the Chopin polonaise Op.53, but for example his etude Op 10 nr 6 is just fantastic for this instrument.
Your point about the velocity layers is well taken. It may well be that the more modern VST instruments are also good at the lower levels. I hope that they have managed to get rid of the "jumps" between the layers. I find this quite annoying but then, I find it still a thousand times better to play on a real piano (provided of course that it is well tuned and regulated).