Hey hey, it’s Hidde, this time with a piano library.
So I’m studying composition for the media at the HKU in Utrecht, and one of the hallmarks of its Music & Technology department is that first years, regardless of which specific course they’re taking, all have to take the same classes. This means I’m also having to take classes in creative coding, sound design, and various other topics. A few months ago, halfway through the second semester, we started a new class called Production Technology: Recording -it’s here where I discovered my love for working with microphones, actually. Basically, during the course of this class we had to record three instruments for a self written track using various predetermined recording techniques: one instrument had to be recorded mono, one stereo by using two mics, one in stereo with support, and then a fourth in any way we wanted. Due to a small misunderstanding in the definition of “stereo with support,” which was meant to be two mics for a stereo recording with a third offering mono or room mic support, and the sudden addition of an additional fourth instrument, my group was lacking one of the required stems to pass the class. I decided to take this task upon myself, and booked 90 minutes in one of the school studios to record in. This studio, which was mainly used to record foley for film, didn’t have any instruments save for an old Ibach piano that had definitely seen better days. That said, it still sounded good enough, so it did the job just fine. In the end, I finished recording the final stem much faster than anticipated, and was left with a full 40 minutes before I would have to start dismantling the recording setup. Deciding to make good use of the time I had left, I decided to go ahead and sample the piano; the it was already mic’ed, after all!
I decided to follow the example of Christian Henson, whom I had seen sample a piano in a video I had watched a few days prior (I think it was the claustrophobic piano), and sampled the piano in fifths, filing the empty spaces by tuning the notes down. As this was only my second time sampling an instrument, coming just off of finishing the LaPaz guitar, I took it somewhat easy with this one as well. I tried recording four velocity layers for the piano, with no round robins.
The recording setup on this one might be a bit strange, I’ll admit. I had been reading “Mixing With Your Mind,” by studio engineer legend Michael Paul Stavrou, in which I had read about the idea of using figure eight microphones to not only capture the sound of the instrument, but also the sound of the air that surrounded it, and so I decided to give it a try. I used two figure eight mics, one on either side of the piano. For one of the mics, the one near the lower strings of the piano, I turned the sensitive side of the mic (figure eight mics, despite being supposed to pick things up equally on both sides, almost always have a more sensitive side) towards the piano, and did the exact opposite for the mic towards the higher strings of the piano. I then scoured the room for a good place to put the omnidirectional mic I wanted to use as room support, and eventually found it sounded best in a high corner of the room.
This experience turned out to be quite enlightening on what I like in terms of recording, and how mic position can drastically change the sound of the recorded instrument. It also helped further cement my interest in sampling.
Admittedly, this isn’t the best piano library on the site, but I still quite like how it turned out despite its flaws. Hopefully you guys can find some use for it!
Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!
Updating DS did it
I updated to DecentSampler version 1.2.3 (AU) and it seems that the problems I had with the Rickety Ibach have disappeared.
The lesson of this story: update… De moraal van dit verhaal, updaten…
Very useful, though problems in LogicX
It’s a bit of a strange review here, as I got the Rickety Ibach in the Decent Sampler only once at work. And that one occasion made me happy: the Rickety Ibach piano sound has a certain uniqueness that I want to keep and use. Those readers that do not have DS problems in other DAW’s will affirm.
Funny thing is, that you tenor saxophone, which is also very worthwile, when loaded in DecentSampler gives no problem at all in LogicX 10.5.0. But Logic chokes (quits unexpectedly) with a track with the DecentSampler that has the Rickety Ibach loaded. That one occasion I did succeed loading Rickety Ibach I can not replicate.
I noticed earlier unstable behavior of the Decent Sampler version 1.0.4 (AU), and that is not your department. But there must be some difference in your programming between the Tenor Sax and the Rickety Ibach, somewhere, somehow…
In the meantime I should inquire if there is a higher version of the DecentSampler…
Keep up the good work and all the best in Utrecht.