the next generation of sampled pianos

KONTAKT 2 PMI PIANOS


PMI is using the latest developments in sampling software to bring the sampled piano to a new level of realism and expressiveness.

All aspects of the piano sound, that were previously impossible to recreate with samples, are now available to the pianist:
-
Sympathetic resonance;
- Sostenuto and softpedal;
- IR-based ambience and stereo imaging;
- IR-based body resonance;

- Seemingly unlimited dynamic range and responsiveness;

- 24bit samples for pristine audio quality;

- Total freedom of tuning;
- Surround Sound Mixing

 

Free Update packs and update notes are on-line.


Sympathetic resonance: the holy grail of piano sampling

"And all strings
Which are touched in Love
Must sound."

Mechtild of Magdeburg (8 centuries before Steinway made it's first grand piano)

 

PMI finally has the technology to make accurate reproduction of the sympathetic resonance of the non-struck piano strings possible. By using scripting technology this very important effect that was missing in sampled piano libraries until now has become “unleashed”.

 

The principle behind sympathetic resonance is simple enough:
When a key is pressed on an acoustic piano, the strings for the keys which are already pressed vibrate sympathetically. The fundamental and overtones of the struck string generate vibrations in the corresponding non-struck strings that start to "sing".

Every note played is going to excite all the other open strings and change their overtones very dynamically. Previously every note on a sampled piano always used to stand alone and play the same every time.

The resonating of non-struck strings is called sympathetic resonance and adds the brilliance and life in a real piano. Sympathetic resonance in PMI piano libraries is achieved by using scripts in Native Instruments new Kontakt 2 flagship sampler. A set of resonating string samples is "activated" by a piece of artificial intelligence that reproduces the sympathetic resonance phenomena with extreme accuracy. 

For this effect 2 components are used:
- one is for the
sympathetic resonance of the non-struck strings using a script that triggers the resonances;
- one is for the body
resonance of the piano. A convolution engine excites a resonance model of the ENTIRE piano harp, exciting the string resonances that have a harmonic relationship with the keys struck. Pushing through a "chromatic" piano body impulse, the tone exciting the impulse will determine which of the chromatic resonances will have impact on the sound. If you play an "A" you only hear resonances related to "A" up its overtone series. The frequency components which go "un-excited" will simply disappear underneath the overall sound and be unnoticeable.

The sympathetic resonance is using Kontakt 2’s unique scripting possibilities. These scripts (like the one pictured below) have an interface which allows ultimate control over each generated harmonic as well as integration with sustain, sostenuto and soft pedals. The script below was created by Olivier Frappier (www.audiolivepro.com). Olivier has a video on his website demonstrating the sympathetic resonance on a real grand piano that clearly demonstrates the effect: http://www.audiolivepro.com/resonance_pedal_up_between_keys.wmv


Sympathetic Resonance Script Window

 

Listen to the demos on the full dedicated Gold Bundle Demo page


Convolution-based and recorded “sustain” resonance

All ‘pedal down’ and ‘release/staccato resonance’ elements are created with convolution impulse models (i.e. more than half of the traditional digital samples can be left unused!) and with traditional sample based recordings. Overall responsiveness is greatly improved. The traditional limitations of sample based pedal dynamics, continuously varying note release have been transcended, with far greater dynamic accuracy, playability and sonic detail.

 

Dynamic Range

An amazing dynamic range and responsiveness is achieved by using multiple velocity layers. The Gold Bundle pianos (EMPEROR and OLD LADY) use up to 26 recorded dynamic nuances for each key! Instead of sampling a piano by capturing a single overtone series for that strike velocity and then using a lowpass filter for lower velocities, PMI piano libraries have all velocity variations recorded. The use of Low-pass filtering does not capture the way the overtone series really progresses with strike velocity and also does not capture degrees of sound from the transient of the hammer strike, which is the loudest part of the sound. The big multi-strike sample sets created by PMI are giving an incredible smooth response that is almost un-distinguishable from a real piano. This ensures a seemingly unlimited dynamic range and responsiveness.

 

IR-based ambience and stereo imaging
Convolution technology makes it possible to “sample” a room or hall, a microphone or even an effect processor and “impose” that sample on other sounds. This is done by using Impulse Responses. An
Impulse Response captures the true acoustics of a performance space. Convolution reverbs, also known as "sampling reverbs", let's you put any audio signal inside an acoustic space of your choosing, such as different concert halls, a performance club, a soundstage, a church, an intimate room or other spaces. It also allows precise control over an instrument's position on stage and the listener perspectives in the audience. Kontakt 2 comes with a convolution unit that can be placed on the output channel or inside an instrument for flexible control over the ambience and stereo imaging. Impulse responses from microphones “impose” the typical characteristics of these microphones on any other signal. This enables the user to –say- change a piano recorded with an AB set of omni-directional tube  microphones into a piano sound recorded trough a MS-set of condenser microphones. Impulses from existing hardware processors “impose” the exact effect as the actual hardware effect would do. The creative possibilities are limited by the imagination of the user only!

 

24bit samples

24 bit samples are used for pristine audio quality. All PMI piano libraries are available in true 24 bits audio quality. The increased bit depth results in a much wider dynamic range than the 16 bit cd-audio quality previously used in sampling. 

 

Total freedom of tuning

One of the most important aspects of piano technology is perhaps the tuning of the instrument. Piano tuning is like a science of it’s own and piano tuners have years of experience and knowledge that were used while sampling PMI’s pianos. Additionally NI Kontakt2 offers extreme new possibilities. Non-traditional tunings are as simple as selecting them from the tuning menu. Individual tuning systems can be set up using either a special script or using a graphic editor. These two options combined with PMI’s extreme attention to every detail during the recording process ensure that PMI pianos are always “in tune” with your music.

 

Sostenuto and softpedal

All 3 pedal are now fully implemented. Having all the pedals available at all times gives the pianist complete control over his performance.

 

 


UPDATING

Existing PMI users in any sample format are offered many ways to cross-grade to the Kontakt 2 platform.

1/ Disks: There are cross grade and update disks available for all pianos in the PMI on-line store @ www.postpiano.com/products/shop.php . Disks cost $40 each.

2/ Free update packs are available on the PMI update website: http://www.postpiano.com/support/listUpdates.php. The update pack contains IR-samples and the necessary Kontakt instrument files. Users who have Kontakt 1.x, HALION and EXS already have the wavepool of the piano in a folder on their system. They can add the update pack next to this wavepool folder and start working. Giga users have to export the wavepool using GigaEditor and can then use the updates.

Please read these instructions when using the on-line updates.

3/ Importing the EastWest Bosendorfer 290 Plug-In version in K2 is no problem as all NI Kompakt Plug-Ins can be imported in K2.

 

 

 

Prices and availability

 

Old Lady

$ 145

Emperor

$ 145

Steinway D

$ 145

Bosendorfer 290

$ 140

Yamaha C7

$ 100

Estonia

$  75

 

The Kontakt 2 versions of Old Lady, Emperor, Bosendorfer 290, Grandioso Steinway D and Yamaha C7 are available in PMI’s on-line store and through selected dealers/distributors. The Estonia and the a 96kHz piano will follow shortly. For more information check www.postpiano.com

 

All the new PMI piano Kontakt disks will ship as full K2 versions and will come with K1.5 compatible nki´s, which simply lack the scripts and convolution.

PMI will also release the
SRP-disk (Sympatethic Resonance Piano Disk) that will have a KONTAKT 2 program that can be added to all existing piano libraries (PMI and other vendors) that adds realistic Sympathetic Resonance and additional sustain pedal down resonance. Details will follow.

 

 

Recommended System

Mac OS 10.2.6, G5 1.8 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 7200 or faster hard drive

Windows XP, Pentium IV/Athlon 2.8 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 7200 or faster hard drive

 

About the libraries

 

 

 

 

The PMI grand pianos: PMI Bosendorfer 290, Yamaha C7, Steinway D and the EMPEROR (Bos290 SE) and the OLD LADY (model 1923 Steinway D). All these pianos received rave reviews in Sound On Sound, Keyboard, Electronic Musician and other leading music magazines and are now available for the popular Kontakt 2 software platform for a attractive price.

 

The Emperor is reproduction of a unique Bösendorfer 290 SE Imperial Grand Piano, The Old Lady is reproduction of a Model 1923 Steinway D Concert Grand Piano. Both recorded pianos were equipped with an advanced computer operated playback mechanism that was designed by mathematician, scientist and inventor Wayne Stahnke. The mechanism actually operates the piano keys and pedals with over 1.000 steps accuracy for inverse hammer velocity. The Stahnke computer system enabled Amsterdam based sample library producer Michiel Post to capture each velocity layer for these libraries with absolute velocity levels. These levels guarantee a totally even response across the whole keyboard for all velocities.

 

The incomparable Imperial Concert Grand Bösendorfer 290 is is arguably the finest piano available anywhere today. Acclaimed by the World’s top artists, it is a joy to hear and play. The Imperial has one of the largest sound boards of any concert instrument, being some 30% larger than most typical recital pianos. This helps to produce the immense dynamic range for which the piano is famous. No matter how loudly it is played, it responds without loss of sound quality, and there are always great reserves and a vast range of tonal colours and expression. PMI Bosendorfer 290 is regarded as the best sampled piano available today.

 

The Steinway D is THE grand piano for most concert pianists. This particular instrument that was recorded for the Grandioso Steinway D was in premium condition, a Steinway model D3 with serial number 393210 which was built in 1965.  It was fully refurbished by Steinway Hamburg in 1999. This piano served the Rotterdam 'DOELEN' concert hall for several decades, where hundreds of famous musicians, from Claudio Arrau to the Rolling Stones, performed for live audiences and broadcast concerts.

 

The YAMAHA C7 is appearing on famous concert stages, international competitions and prestigious music events throughout the concert world. The Yamaha C Series grand piano is by far the most popular piano that is versatile enough for pop, jazz and rock recording, yet is arguably expressive enough for successful traditional and classical recordings. The 7-foot, 4-inch model is the favourite pop piano, with a bright tone, strong overtones and a moderately strong bass.

 

PMI K2 UPDATES

 

The updates for all PMI pianos are online at www.postpiano.com in the support section.


This example is for the OLD LADY but all other titles use a similar folder structure. See here for Bosendorfer 290 K2 notes.

 

Instructions: Simply unzip the update to your Old Lady folder. The assumed sample location for the patches is one level above the folder “xxxxx Samples”.

See picture below. In case you encounter the error SAMPLE NOT FOUND! proceed with the suggested auto-find procedure and select the default folder location. Remember to save the patches once the samples have been successfully loaded to ensure you can open them the next time you use them without problems.

 

The main multi for OLD LADY is called “OLD LADY HARMONICS RELEASES.nkm”. It loads 3 instrument files:

Old Lady K2 Small IR, Old Lady releases and Harmonics.

1/ The Old Lady K2 Small IR file is encoded with the special body impulse sample Soundboard3.wav that is used to create the soundboard resonance when the sustain pedal is pressed. The convolution effect can be adjusted to taste in various ways.

 

Rechthoekige toelichting: Select the reflections you want to edit here. Both HP and LP filters can be used to alter the characteristics of the body resonance to taste. 
* TIP: you can also drag and drop one of the longer IR’s from the IR sample folder in the screen to use a different or longer body resonance.
  

You can adjust the overall sound of the effect by adjusting the Early and Late Reflections frequency spectrum and IR size separately. You can adjust the overall volume of the resonance in the MIDI AUTOMATION window.

 

 

Rechthoekige toelichting: The sustain pedal (midi cc 64) controls the Return level of the convolution effect and it’s levels are set in the lower corner. Setting a higher To % will increase the level of the resonance. Setting the From % sets the default soundboard resonance when the pedal is not used.

 

NOTE: The current version of Kontakt 2 leaves the convolution process working after the sustain pedal is released. This can cause strange effects: when you play a chord, press the pedal and then release both and rapidly use the pedal again you will hear an echo of the previous convolution resonance. This will be fixed in the next update of Kontakt2. For this moment we suggest that you change the IR size of both Early and Late resonance convolution to a lower value (for example 60) when this echo is disturbing for your music.

 

 

HARMONICS.

The sympathetic resonance of the piano let’s you hear the non-struck notes that are sympathetically singing when other notes overtones induce vibration. This patch uses a script that can be Bypassed and adjusted to taste.

The development of scripts for Sympathetic resonance is taking a rapid acceleration.

The Scripts have to placed to the next folder:

>Applications(MAC) or (PC: Program Files>Native Instruments) >Kontakt2>Presets>Scripts>

Please check our support section for the latest versions of the Kontakt 2 Sympathetic Resonance scripts that are provided to us by Xavier Bidault, Olivier Frappier and Kornel Mezo. Download the most current versions of the scripts from here: http://www.postpiano.com/support/listUpdates.php

 

To insert the script: Open the script slot in the instrument editor screen and load the script in the first slot. We don’t support loading multiple scripts on one instruments as we cannot guarantee that the scripts performs as intended when  more scripts are active.

 

PMI also supplied the Steinway D Grand Piano that comes for free with the Kontakt 2 installation DVD’s. You can always use the HARMONICS nki that is in the Steinway D folder. It uses the standard 9 overtones script that is installed when Kontakt 2 is installed the first time on your system.

 


 

To adjust the release and attack time of the harmonics samples please adjust the ADSR settings all the way down in the editor.

 

 

 

 

SOSTENUTO AND SOFT PEDAL

 
The most recent versions of the scripts provided above contain special settings for sostenuto and softpedal. Additional programming will be added in future PMI updates to bring smooth filtering and other effects under the same controls.

This is a variation of the K2 B290 DRY ENHANCED and FULL MODELLED nki’s.
You must download the most recent version of this patch from our website’s update section :

http://www.postpiano.com/support/allUpdates.php?id=9

It uses a different way to control convolution, opening the sustain resonance convolution engine only when the sustain pedal is down.

Again please combine this nki with Kornel’s Sympathetic Resonance Script or with our HARMONICS nki.