Upright 4-Mic Experiment

Yamaha C108 Upright Piano recorded in a living room with vintage mics in its slightly out-of-tune glory and imperfection.

The story

For this instrument I sampled our Yamaha C108, which is now over 30 years old.
It’s in our living room and is played by all family members every day.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it hasn’t seen a piano tuner for a long time.
The C7 key has also been broken for years – miraculously it works again in its virtual existence.

My wife bought it as a new piano when she was still a pupil. She has saved five D-Marks every month since first grade for several years.
At some point, her grandmother and her parents said that she could be proud of having saved so much and that they would give the rest.

RECORDING DETAILS

For the recording I was lucky to borrow rare and outstanding equipment:

For the player position (stereo) I used two Neumann TLM 170i (cardioid).
This mic position is supplemented (in mono) by an original Neumann M49 (tube, 1950s).
A Neumann USM 69 was used as a Blumlein pair for the room signal.
And finally a Neumann U269C (tube, 1960s) was placed directly in front of the soundboard next to the pedals.

Noise was removed from all recordings (where needed), but no EQ adjustments were made.

POSTPRODUCTION UPRIGHT 4-MIC EXPERIMENTAL

For this bonus Instrument I used the monoliths of the original recordings and transformed them into something new.
Each mic received a treatment with an individual set of effects.
It’s fun to play around with different mixes of this 4 signals.
To save spaceI, I only created a Kontakt version with compressed samples.

CREDITS

I recorded all signals using Christian Henson’s monolith system. Thank you Christian for Pianobook!

Without Stephen Tallamy I would not have been able to finish the instrument in this form!
Thank you for your endless patience with all my questions and ideas, Stephen!

Many thanks also to Hanjo Gäbler for his encouraging and very helpful feedback.

FORMAT

Kontakt 6 (full version) (pre-assigned to CC 14 – 21 for the knobs on a Komplete Kontrol keyboard)
Decent Sampler (1.0.4 or above for multi-mic support, and four separate instruments, one for each mic) (https://www.decentsamples.com/product/decent-sampler-plugin/)
SFZ (experimental support)

Thomas Schimmack (December 2020 – May 2021)

Interface

Reviews for Upright 4-Mic Experiment

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • An Absolutely Incredible Piano

    I think so far in my 4-5 years of producing this has to be one of my favorite piano plugins I have ever used. Being able to mix all 4 mics gives you so much control over the piano and each mic still even sounds good on its own. I have had no issues using this plugin and I'm excited to use it more in the future. The unique sound of this piano immediately gave me so many different ideas and It's been a blast!! Keep up the great work! :D

    catherine13 December 2021
  • Just Upright! Stunning sound!

    A beautiful piano in the tool kit alongside the many good libraries on the market. However, this is special. A soul of its own, a homely sound that is reminiscent of home. For me as a film musician, an indispensable spirit that cannot be found in mainstream samples. Thank you Thomas for the traditional sound of a great instrument.

    Hanjo16 December 2021
  • Perfectly detuned

    I've always loved the sound of slightly out-of-tune piano, so it's probably no surprise I liked this sample pack as well. The quality is great, the piano feels responsive, and I like the tonal possibilites of the four mics. The experimental version is well... experimental, in the best possible way, though I would liked to have seen a filter. Nothing one can't add externally though! Fantastic, suits my tastes very well.

    Kelmeri13 October 2021
  • A very balanced piano sound

    This is a very well made piano patch with a lot of settings to configure in order to find the right sound for you. All four mics sound very nice to me, and each one has to offer a much different sound. I found that the "Player" and "Board" ones have the least amount of noise, and the Vintage has the most, as expected. Some samples in the higher registers might add more noise in general, but it's definitely not a dealbreaker at all.

    You will find 2 Reverb knobs - plate and room, one to reduce pedal noises and one that handles the release triggers, though they are very subtle featuring just notes, not the hammer sounds that most other instruments feature.

    In general it's a very nice patch and I recommend it for sure.

    Alex Raptakis01 December 2021
  • Well executed upright sound!

    This is a really strong contender in the realm of upright pianos. It's really well recorded, and mic selection and positioning couldn't be better. The GUI is very strong and gives you just the options you'd be looking for. The piano is out of tune, but in a characterful sort of way. The extreme upper register is kind of out there, but let's face it; you're not going to play there much. The sampling from note to note is generally pretty even, but there are some dynamic inconsistencies. As a pianist, they didn't bother me. I wouldn't want to play Mozart using this library, but that's not the point. This library has character and it's super playable. I see this as a must-download library, and one of the best on PB.

    Sam Ecoff02 November 2021
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