The Experience is a Mason & Hamlin Model A recorded binaurally from 3 player perspectives, so it is best to use headphones. Modulation wheel controls the “panning”. Additionally, using a smartphone and some free apps to enable headtracking, you can, for free, create a virtual piano soundboard that keeps the soundstage in front of the controller keyboard, just like a real piano.
I made The Experience to be the most realistic piano sample library ever. This sampled piano not only recreates the piano’s soundstage from the player’s perspective, it also keeps the soundstage presence in the same position as the player moves his head. That is, the piano strings stay in the same place regardless of where you look.
I set out to create a sample library for pianists after being inspired by Christian’s videos about binaural recording. Thinking about how to take the concept further, I realized that I could create a “virtual reality piano” by sampling different head perspectives and using a smartphone to monitor the player’s head angle. All for free.
I settled on a free smartphone app called Phyphox, which can take the sensor data that your phone creates (head angle) and send it to your computer. All I had to do at that point was write a python utility that maps and sends head angle to the modulation wheel, which controls the “binaural panning”. The result is my Phyphox-midi-bridge app, that can be downloaded from the links below. Introduction video and how-to video are also linked below.
I made an effort to remain true to the real instrument, and I can truly say that playing The Experience is almost exactly like playing the real instrument (sans action feel). To remain true to the real instrument, the Kontakt instrument doesn’t have any controls. If you think the releases are too loud, or the sound is too bright or dark, well, that’s how the real piano is. If you think the library sounds too dry, well, that’s how my living room sounds.
Make sure you start with mod wheel at 50% to get the center perspective
If you are using Sforzando, turn up the polyphony as every key press triggers many samples
Introduction Video with Demo:
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Are you Experienced?
I haven’t done Dore’s ‘The Experience’ justice, not being by any stretch of imagination a pianist, but playing this instrument is probably the closest I’ve been to playing a real grand piano. I hope, however, that my demo at least shows how naturally ‘The Experience’ sits in a mix. You may find it isn’t as live as you’re used to or that the sustain is a little lacking if compared with, say, Christian’s binaural ‘Family Grand’, but on headphones it’s a treat for the ears. The samples are impressively clean and bright. Dore, you’re a fine samplist.