Kawai UST-7

A Kawai upright recorded with a range of microphones...

The story

This piano was purchased for me around the age of 5 (in 93′), but the story of how it was selected is a bit more interesting. My father walked around to every single piano on the show floor in Austin, TX hitting several keys on each until he found one that had truly ‘distinct’ character. Even between the same models on the floor, this particular model had a timbre that made it stick out.

After another few years, I got busy with school and sports and stopped playing the piano. For another ~20 years, the piano went unplayed at my parents’ house. In 2018, I relocated the piano to my house, but it wasn’t tuned until the mid-2020, when I decided to pick piano back up again as an instrument. Because of how little the piano was played, its sonic character seems to have remained intact.

For recording the piano, I put up sound blankets on each side and recorded it with 6 mics from my podcasting and video kit.
– 1x Sennheiser MKH 8050 ambient spill mic
– 1x Blue Baby Bottle SL center mic
– 2x Samson C02 L/R stereo hammer mics
– 1x Shure SM57 L soundboard
– 1x Electovoice RE20 R soundboard

I recorded all the mics into separate tracks and mixed them down to respective levels in a single file, trying to keep the mix and timbre close to what effect I get at main seating position. True to form for pianobook, I decided to record only 2 velocity layers for this initial pianobook instrument, with mf and f layers being used.

Reviews for Kawai UST-7

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Hard and harder

    This is an instrument with a lot of unrealized potential and possibility. If you add an ADHSR envelop modulating the volume within Kontakt, and then turn up the release time, this instrument becomes far more playable. However, this should really have been corrected before the instrument was released. The other issue at hand is the fact that there's nearly no dynamic contrast available via velocity here. It's just kind of loud and louder. To me, it would have been more playable if there had been some softer dynamics sampled. Even so, this is a worthy submission, and a great piano if you need to rock out.

    Sam Ecoff06 November 2021
  • A bit of a 'midi' sound

    Looks to me like you had a great recording setup, and I think for those who like bright pianos, this one has a lot of potential. I think if you want to record just 2 velocity layers, you probably need to do piano-forte and then program the blend between the sounds to fill the in-between areas. I don't mind it being louder, but it can give it a midi or computerized sound when more dynamic range isn't heard.

    Ada Maskil11 November 2021
  • Not enough dynamics

    The actual sound of the piano is ok but personally i usually go for more detailed warm and full felt pianos so i probably wouldn't use this anyway. As mentioned by others this piano doesn't get soft enough. Even at the softest dynamic layer the timbre is still pretty bright and loud. This leaves it feeling like there's not really any dynamic range.The piano in general is also a little bright and thin for my taste but others might like it. It kind of resembles an elton john rock and roll piano

    septemberwalk09 November 2021
  • A little unnatural way for note releases

    This is one of those cases that one simple setting may not let an instrument like this shine. There is literally no release sample, which makes every note disappear without a trace as soon as you raise your finger - even with the reverb to the max! If you manage to control it some way, like with the sustain pedal, you will really like the sound it has to offer. If you do that you might notice just a little white noise inside the samples, but it's really not something you will notice in a full mix. The GUI looks nice, but I'd really appreciate a release knob.

    Alex Raptakis27 October 2021