I finally got to my father’s home to sample his piano (see Mason & Hamlin Model A for recap). I grew up with that piano, and it’s terribly out of tune, needs new strings, and serious regulation – or a new action for that matter. I only spent 2 hours preparing and sampling it. The first hour was used to make sure the 24 unisons that I was going to record were all correct. Tuning the entire piano would have taken too long, and I wasn’t going to be in my hometown for long. The second hour was used to record the 24 notes at three velocity levels. The 24 notes were out of tune, but I figured I could tune them in software as long as the unisons were ok.
People who know about piano tuning will realize that it would have been much better to tune the entire piano. I didn’t have the time, but had I done it that way, it would have brought out more sympathetic resonance and a better sound overall. Anyway, with the help of my teenage daughter, we hacked a Kontakt script to bring each key into tune – either using equal temperament, or the recommended stretch tuning for the small grand.
The default Kontakt instrument is untuned. Toggle the “stretch_tuning” or “equal_temp” buttons. For me, it’s fun to play it as recorded, play it tuned, and then play my Mason & Hamlin. It represents an evolution from the piano I grew up with to the piano that my kids now learn on. I love the “American tone” – my M&H has a thick tenor, and I can hear remnants of the same type of sound in the ABChase. It truly brings me back to my childhood when I play music that I learned as a kid on the Kontakt instrument.
SFZ files are also included, but the Kontakt v5.7 file gives much better control and blending between velocity layers.
Stereo recording was done using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and two Audio Technica AT2035’s. A brighter sounding Samson GoMic was used a bit further from the piano
Reviews for AB Chase
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This Piano Has Character
I'll say this piano definitely has character.
Even the slightly detuned notes tell a story.
I actually find the AB Chase piano to be a nice character piano for intimiate music.
Also would be perfect for a piano solo album.
Scooped Mids and Uneven Dynamics
This piano has that really bright scooped midi kind of rock and roll sound. Its the opposite of warm. I know some people are into these kind of pianos but i never have been, personally preferring warm felts. The sound is pretty old fashioned and characterful though which is always fun to have in a library. The Piano is fairly dynamic but as others have mentioned already the loudest velocity layer is un naturally louder than the others so its kind of jarring when it kicks in. Some of the sample cuts seem pretty abrupt too. This is an awesome first job at sampling but it could definitely use some work. The GUI looks really nice with decent controllability.
Open sound, troubles with playability
The samples which compose this piano have an open, airy, even friendly tone. Two different mics are offered, but the controls don't seem to work. The sound is o.k. without making any changes, though. What really holds this instrument back is the volume of the loudest dynamic layer. It's so much louder than the other layers that when you trigger it, the volume jumps significantly. It sort of upsets the flow of your playing when you accidentally trigger that layer. It's cool that an untuned version is offered, along with two different temperaments. When allowing samples to play to their ends, one hears a very abrupt cut off. The sustain is also somewhat unnatural, as though there's some kind of compression that's been applied to the samples. This is a valiant first attempt at sampling a piano, which is undoubtedly one of the trickiest instruments to sample. It's wonderful that the samplist chose to share with our community!
Needs some work!
This is piano has a nice sound, but it would really shine with some extra work. The dynamic layers sound a little weird because the volume just steps up instantly instead of smoothly for the inbetween velocities. The mic knobs along with the release trigger knob do not seem to work for me, and I also have to add that the background needs to be darkened since the knobs being white makes them sit very weirdly on it. I like the extra tuning options though, and the reverb is cool.