Bob Guido’s Reviews

  • Imaginative

    Pushing the limits of the imagination with the limitation of only a notebook

    Inspiring, useful and fun

    This library really starts to come alive when you apply the effects section which is brilliant and professionally tuned. No strange resonances here like in many of the other libraries that attempt to add effects and you end up just using your own third party plugins instead. The effects built in here are unique sounding and don't make me want to reach outside of the interface itself to process the notebook samples.

    The user interface is exemplary for pianobook and I would rank it among the highest. The creator of this library strikes me as a professional sample library maker.

    Tremendous work Edu Prado

    The Notebook03 January 2022
  • Sampling Artistry

    This library is filled with inspiring and highly useful atmospheric and textural sounds that I have been using as inspirational seeds for new music ideas.

    These are among the best of their kind, even compared to top products from top sampling companies because they are original. All of Joshua's samples and muti-samples are unique to him and have a sound that is Joshua's. He an original artist. It's as simple as that.

    I think Spitfire Audio should definitely collaborate with Joshua Meltzer to come up with an Originals product including and inspired by some of his best samples and multi-samples. Ambient Organic pads, drones, deep bass swells with an atmospheric Eno/Lanois-esque treatments "effects" section built right into the UI. This seems to be Joshua's wheelhouse.

    Joshua's artistic sampling work deserves to be presented in an elegant and inspiring UI.

    Thank you Joshua Meltzer!

    Joshua’s Hybrids06 January 2022
  • My Favorite Non-Felted Upright Piano on Pianobook

    Thank you for sampling your work Piano and offering for free Christian!

    As non-felted upright pianos go, this one is a bit darker and warmer but it has a beautiful rich tone and an intimate feel. Overall, I think it makes a wonderful solo piano instrument if you want something that doesn't have the felt preparation or the soft pedal pressed down but you still want a piano sound that is moody, emotional and dare I say... Spitfire!


    - Great rich warm tone - nice woody resonance in the lower register
    - Even sound across the keyboard
    - Microphone perspectives are a nice bonus, all mics on sounds best
    - Individual control over key release noise adds a lovely touch of cozy
    - Makes me feel like I'm at Grandmum's cottage watching the sunrise
    - Happy piano sound, suitable for children and youth, PG-13 Rated


    - Latency in playability brought to you by the sample top & tail master
    - Pedal noise could make this a more immersive playing experience
    - Limited dynamic range, though I don't feel entitled to more layers

    Christian has many sampled pianos and likely more than anyone else on the planet but this one is a true gift. It's free, it's unique and it has Spitfire quality infused into it as upright pianos go in the Spitfire catalog.

    Thank you Christian Henson!

    Spring Piano07 January 2022
  • My favorite mbira sample instrument

    Sam Ecoff's library has a more organic and open sound that embraces subtle imperfections that make this sound less clinical and robotic. Basically, this one sounds less like.... a sample library.

    One thing I really like about this library is that with the onboard controls, I can make it sound something like a pseudo-harp or pseudo-dulcimer. A little additional Valhalla reverb and delay can turn this into something magical. I like to manipulate the samples I use and with this one, the raw tone that I'm starting with is good. I can go far out there with it depending on what direction I want to go in. It's very adaptable to different situations where you might want something that is Kalimba-like but not exactly a kalimba. You can get creative with this because the pure tone is inspiring.

    Sam's work is among the best on Pianobook.

    Array M’bira06 January 2022
  • 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.

    The Emperor & King07 January 2022