This is an instrument recorded from my Hoffmann 114. Bought new, 38 years ago when living in France, it has been my constant companion ever since. Always looked after (never misses its annual tune), it has followed me around Europe, survived umpteen removals, two children and periods of storage, and is now safe at home in The Netherlands.
The history of W.Hoffmann pianos is a long one, beginning in Berlin in 1904. By the time I bought my piano they were being made in Langlau in Bavaria. Since then, it has been acquired by the famous Bechstein group and its manufacture relocated to Saxony and the Czech Republic. Interestingly, the “W” in W Hoffmann is for Wilhelmine. Thus, the founder of the company was a woman with a vision.
I initially sampled the piano’s felted position (activated by an admittedly ugly little handle) as this appears to be all the rage at the moment. To be honest, I’ve never been keen on the sound as I find it uneven to play. Nevertheless, I did my duty with two round robins of mf and ff. I took the opportunity whilst the microphones were in place to sample the piano as it was intended. My technique was to mount two Rode M5s (placed hard left and hard right) low down with the base-board removed thus exposing the strings from below.
I cut up the samples in Reaper and employed a gentle noise reduction using RX7 from iZotope. For the final Kontakt instrument, I decided to load both felt and non-felt samples with bus-mixing controls to mix between them. Just because I could, I added a simple string sample that can be mixed to taste and modulated by the mod-wheel.
Voila, that is the Hoffmann 114.
ps. The 114 is the height of the piano, namely 114cm. They are now only available new in that format as the Professional Series (P114). If anyone is thinking of buying a piano, I can highly recommend them.
Regards, Glenn Colvin (May 2020)
Reviews for Hoffmann 114
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Noisy but certainly cool!
This has quite some character and plays really well, but you might be able to listen to some white noise in the samples, especially on the higher register and when you go harder on it. With that said, this can play beautifully, especially in some vintage or lo-fi situations. There 3 sliders, Piano, Felt and Strings - which unfortunately the last one doesn't work at all for me in both patches.
Very Mid Rangey
This piano has a really pristine, warm and beautiful sound. Its a bit mid heavy but this doesn't really take away from the instrument and you could always eq it if you wanted to . The noise reduction here is pretty good, alot better than some other pianos on pianobook. Im not in love with this piano, there are ones on the site that immediately inspired me, but i still think its really good. It would have been nice to have more dynamic layers and round robins but this is still a pretty quality piano library.
With the right balance of the pads this creates a great haunted piano. The sharpness of the sound seems to enhance that effect.
The upper registers of this piano really sing in a delightful way, and the addition of the string pad which the mod wheel bring in is a nice bonus. Unfortunately, the overall recording has a rather boxy tone to it. I'm not sure if it's the mics that were used or if it's where they were positioned. The stereo image also seems really narrow. The zone which runs from C3 to F#3 doesn't match well dynamically. Notes in that range are significantly brighter than the adjacent zones. There are many places this piano would be useful, especially in a mix with a bunch of other instruments since it doesn't suck up inordinate amounts of space. It isn't my first choice for a solo piano sound, though.