The Experience

A Mason & Hamlin Grand Piano recorded binaurally with 3 player perspectives

The story

The Experience is a Mason & Hamlin Model A recorded binaurally from 3 player perspectives, so it is best to use headphones. Modulation wheel controls the “panning”. Additionally, using a smartphone and some free apps to enable headtracking, you can, for free, create a virtual piano soundboard that keeps the soundstage in front of the controller keyboard, just like a real piano.

Backstory

I made The Experience to be the most realistic piano sample library ever. This sampled piano not only recreates the piano’s soundstage from the player’s perspective, it also keeps the soundstage presence in the same position as the player moves his head. That is, the piano strings stay in the same place regardless of where you look.

I set out to create a sample library for pianists after being inspired by Christian’s videos about binaural recording. Thinking about how to take the concept further, I realized that I could create a “virtual reality piano” by sampling different head perspectives and using a smartphone to monitor the player’s head angle. All for free.

I settled on a free smartphone app called Phyphox, which can take the sensor data that your phone creates (head angle) and send it to your computer. All I had to do at that point was write a python utility that maps and sends head angle to the modulation wheel, which controls the “binaural panning”. The result is my Phyphox-midi-bridge app, that can be downloaded from the links below. Introduction video and how-to video are also linked below.

I made an effort to remain true to the real instrument, and I can truly say that playing The Experience is almost exactly like playing the real instrument (sans action feel). To remain true to the real instrument, the Kontakt instrument doesn’t have any controls. If you think the releases are too loud, or the sound is too bright or dark, well, that’s how the real piano is. If you think the library sounds too dry, well, that’s how my living room sounds.

Important notes:
Make sure you start with mod wheel at 50% to get the center perspective
If you are using Sforzando, turn up the polyphony as every key press triggers many samples

Introduction Video with Demo:

Installation Notes:

Downloads:
Phyphox: https://phyphox.org/
Phyphox-Midi-Bridge: https://github.com/dorem-midi/phyphox-midi-bridge
LoopMidi: https://www.tobias-erichsen.de/software/loopmidi.html

Reviews for The Experience

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • Simply Genius

    I only have good things to say about this instrument. it is both a brilliant instrument and an awesome experience. The fact anyone on Kontakt can simply grab it and use it is pretty mental. While it is very much a player's piano and experience, And what an experience, It is by no means not also great for a producer. I can say confidently I would pay money for this, And I can only imagine the same is true for others who use it.

    Kiko13 October 2021
  • Another Great Piano!

    Another great piano library from the sampling genius Dore Mark.

    Having demoed literally hundreds of pianos, Dore's piano libraries remain in my mind because of the character and playability they have.

    Because...of...(wait for it)...(wait for it)....

    The Experience!

    dafingaz14 April 2022
  • A trully unique idea!

    I have reviewed so many pianos in Pianobook, but I haven't seen anything close to this one. The idea is that you can bind the modwheel to a head-tracking software, so the panning changes in order to have a more real-life experience. This is meant to be more of a performance piano, created for the players themselves, since the additional unique idea will be pointless in programming - not that you can't really use it without it! If you leave the modwheel at the middle you get a default panning position, although it's not that dramaticly panned as other pianos. The execution, the sound, and pretty much everything else are simply amazing. There is little to no audible white noise, and the dynamics are very nice. Kudos for the idea!

    Alex Raptakis01 December 2021
  • Really interesting idea

    As said by others, this is a really interesting idea but since most of the time we use sample libraries to write music, not just to play, this technology isn't really useful in that respect. Im fortunate enough to have a real piano so if i want to actually play or practice piano i just do that but for people who only have a midi keyboard and they use that to play and practice piano this could be really awesome. I usually prefer more dark cinematic felt pianos as opposed to bright ones like this but i still think this sound is pretty good and i plan on keeping it around. The instrument is pretty dynamic and playable as well. Its awesome and appreciate how much time and ingenuity you put into this free instrument

    septemberwalk07 November 2021
  • Realistic Sound

    For me, this is one of the best pianos on Pianobook because the sound is real and the instrument is definitely playable. Also, the timbre is such that it would suit a range of styles by adjusting the effects and eq. For instance, it has a mildly bright tone. A bright tone can be dulled but the reverse is not true. Dore has created an instrument that responds to the head movements of the player. It was an interesting feature but one I do not require. I used the free Sforzando player by Plogue Art for this piano. All the other pianos I tested were played on the Decent player. The GUI on Sforzando allowed changes to be made to the volume, pan, reverb, eq and damping as well as a number of other parameters eg polyphony. The quality of this virtual piano is such that it could be used for commercial work.

    Lester05 November 2021
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