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

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

  • 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 Raptakis21 October 2021
  • 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