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)
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Noisy but cool
This is a weird one, because while it has some character and plays really well, you can really 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 is no way to reduce the key noise, but there 3 sliders, Piano, Felt and Strings - which the last one doesn't work at all for me in both patches.