Jonah’s Felted Grand
I’m James, a FOH Engineer and Composer from Berkshire, I put this library together while doing live sound – a keys player was after a specific felted piano sound; and thought I should share it with this community.
I’ve used these samples on every project needing a delicate and close sounding felted piano. I was given the quietest dynamics of these samples by a friend and mentor, Jonah, before he passed away last month. This ‘piano’ is a mixture of three different sampling sessions; The quietest (and main) layer is ‘Jonah’s Piano’, a 2014 Kawai Grand in Los Angeles – Sampled early last year with a pair of U47’s, and a central frankenstein of a tube mic, running through Neve pre’s – It was recorded quickly and in suboptimal conditions, and through my DiGiCo console as the samples were needed for a project quickly after!
This has a smooth and dark tone as it had been felted for this occasion (thanks to Christian for the inspiration!). The low end and upper register sounds great, and the midrange is a little muddy but fits well with strings scores.
To achieve the other dynamics, I recently sampled my own 1897 Bechstein Grand with the same mics and pre’s – my piano has different tone, although I felted it for a closer match. The retriggers for this piano are from a 1900’s Broadwood Pianola, recorded for the good sounding mechanism (as mine is near silent and had the Kawai recordings didn’t contain any).
I develop DSP software for live audio which provides a virtual 3D mix space – allowing channels to be allocated by zone to a pseudo-surround area, providing a consistent and immersive listening experience in challenging concert venues. I brought this custom linux OS into use when recording Jonah’s piano – purely to see what would happen – assigning each recording its own spatial area at that stage, and treating them as normal files from that point on, giving the image of a more accurate listening position for the samples. This worked surprisingly well, and I think would be even more effective with orchestral sampling if it catches on to developers. Let me know how you think it worked out, or if you’re interested in it for your own projects!
The samples here aren’t in traditional form, and aren’t scripted – I’ve worked with what I was left with among many other of Jonah’s recordings and projects- and my additions more recently; I hope you enjoy using it and let me know of quirks that I can take a look at in the future!
Take a look at ‘Jonah’s Ambisonic Rhodes’ too; these sound great as a multi!
James Kedwards (Instagram @_jkedwards_).
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