The story

“The Emperor and King

C. Bechstein Upright – Hof-Lieferant Sr.Maj.des Kaisers u.Königs (supplier of the Emperor and King).

Our Bechstein dates back to the late 1800s, is in wonderful condition and has an incredibly warm tone. Having had the piano for around six months I decided to sample it for the PianoBook as it has given me a new creative pallet.

The mics have helped to capture a depth to the piano and consist of a pair of Sontronics Orpheus in a spaced close mic position as well as a Sontronics Apollo 2 stereo ribbon mic using the Gary ‘Barlow’ technique, positioned just above my head; thanks Christian and Gary! The signals go through a UA Apollo 8p interface without any processing applied.

The felt is attached to an old curtain rail using double sided tape. A small corner of felt is also tagged to each end of the rail to reduce any vibrations from the piano.

I would love to know if some of you can make use of it as I’m considering re-sampling with more velocity layers, with and without felt.”

Reviews for The Emperor & King

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • takes me back

    This reminds me of where I grew up, Asheville NC...absolutely Beautiful ..:)

    ule06 April 2023
  • top

    I only know the chords and just noodle about with tracks to give the impression I can play piano. This is lovely

    Steve09 November 2022
  • Perfectly Awesome!

    As a pianist, samplist, and as someone with a tiny little bit of knowledge about piano maintenance, thing, and repair, I'm pretty picky about piano samples -- as my other reviews will attest. I can find almost nothing which could be changed or improved about this library, however. It's immaculately recorded, it sounds beautiful, and it's so very playable. I will admit that there are some very tiny inconsistencies in the trimming of the starts of the samples. I love this library so much that I went through and edited them to be all consistently tight because I love this library so much. This is probably my all-time favorite felted piano on the entire site.

    Sam EcoffSamplist 09 November 2021
  • The Workhorse Pianobook Felt Piano

    This piano instrument came by personal recommendation from professional composer, Pianobook samplist and reviewer extraordinaire, Sam Ecoff.

    Sam recommended a few pianos to me and I tested them all out, next to other top felt pianos including the OA piano, Noire, Spitfire Felt Piano and all of the others on Pianobook that I personally think are sonically superior.

    What stands out to me about this piano is how well recorded it is and how even the sound and playability are. This felt piano works in the context of actual music better than any of the other Pianobook felt pianos because of it's frequency response. The low end isn't so bloated and overpowering like a lot of other felt pianos are.

    I understand the need to position the microphones close to the hammers in order to get that really intimate sound quality where you can literally feel the mechanics of the piano working. It definitely adds to the kinetic experience that connects a person to the sample instrument as if they were really sitting on the piano bench playing it. I think some of the sampled pianos suffer because not everyone is a recording engineer and knows how to equalize the samples to keep the instrument sounding even both in volume and frequency response.

    This instrument has a nice balance between capturing the intimate sound you get with super close mics but keeps the mics far enough away to capture a sound where the sound waves are more evolved and have had time to fully develop in terms of frequency content. It's a fine line that professional engineers search for to find balanced mic placement. At least, that has been my experience.

    This piano has a very thick tone and very rich resonance but retains enough clarity to work in the context of a mix. It balances itself easier with less of a need to start carving things up with an equalizer compared to other felt pianos that are very bass heavy. Bass heavy pianos can work beautifully in solo piano music but if you need something more versatile, this is your best option currently on Pianobook for the soft felt sound.

    Compared to something like Christian Henson's Claustrophobic piano, this piano sounds more "vanilla" and less characterful and immersive with the nuances of piano imperfections that Spitfire are the masters of. Naked, the Claustrophobic piano is more impressive but when it comes time to have a working instrument for a piece of music, The Emperor and King is going to surprise you with it's usefulness.

    I personally prefer the 162MB Kontakt version. You have to turn up the volume of the mics a bit but overall, I find it plays and sounds better than the 172MB version when comparing the two.

    Thank you Chris Cook for creating this instrument. Well done on the recording and preparation of the samples.

    And thank you to Sam Ecoff for pointing me to it.

    Bob Guido07 January 2022
  • Beautiful and inspirational sound

    Really beautiful and so inspirational piano sound. Chris said that he is considering to re-sampling with additional velocity layers, that would be awesome. I will be the first to get it, even if becomes a commercial piano library!

    Eram18 July 2023
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