of sound design
West Coast Cool
I am a fan of laid-back 1960s pop-jazz trio styles. The pianos don't have a lot of stereo mic treatment or modern high-frequency content, but have a playful warmth to them. I occasionally need this slightly "vintage" sound for various projects, and it can be hard to find. I was immediately impressed with how easy it is to get such a sound from Piano V3, exactly as it sounds on classic pop-jazz records! This preset is my ode to a prior era.
Joshua Fielstra - on Piano V
To me, the most inspiring thing about Piano V is its extreme flexibility. Normally piano instruments are very targeted for classical, pop, or film. If you want a bright tack piano for example, you might find an instrument that does that - and that only. With Piano V, there is no such limitation. If you want a concert hall grand that's been moved to a bar and is so out of tune it's about to break, you can definitely do that.
Above all, I picked styles that were important to me personally. But I also took inspiration from the capabilities of the instrument itself - the extreme flexibility of the engine led me to create sounds that I otherwise might not have thought of. I let the features excite me!
I worked on the base models for close to a year and then recruited sound designers to cover various genres and styles. Honestly, what these designers came up with just blew me away. From Percussive Chic Corea patches to evocative tones perfect for film scoring, it was inspirng to hear how the Piano V3 worked for them. Of my own presets I like Antarctica the best as I tried to create a wide open sound with power and depth for my style of playing.
Jonathan Leonard- on Piano V
I like that the instrument loads so fast instead of waiting for samples. I also enjoy the selection of instruments that I modelled including German, Japanese, and American Grand Pianos. Besides the incredible expression possible with Piano V, I was surprised by how good the effects are and how they help me shape and set a context for the instrument.
My approach is to work against targets and references with this kind of sound design that includes samples and musical recordings. As with Stage-73 V, I would never just use my intuition first. I start pragmatically by researching and recording and then matching against the desired target. I am the equivalent of a digital piano technician.
Studio Ballad Piano
This type of sound is the fundamental of solo piano playing for me, when I’m playing jazz and freely improvising. It is warm, rich, and responds nicely to my dynamics, especially when I play softly. It is my go-to target when looking for a piano sound. I was looking to create a very warm, natural and dynamic sound, but I didn’t want it to get too bright. To sound “real” and detailed I needed to explore the various resonances, to bring the extra complexity and character to the sound.
Jerry Kovarsky - on Piano V
Modeling an acoustic piano is a very complex thing, and it is only recently that the technology has progressed enough to pass muster to my ears. This approach is very intriguing to me, because I can go in and regulate and re-voice so many aspects of the sound that are impossible to do with sampling. By working with the hammer hardness, the dynamics, and the velocity curve, I can get a sound to respond perfectly to my touch. And I can get such a wide range of timbres from a single model, which I find very exciting as a sound designer.
Initially, I listened to my favorite pianists and tried to capture as much of their tone and touch as possible. I wanted to get the warm touch of Bill Evans, the crisp articulation and brighter sound of Chick Corea, as well as some more processed rock and pop sounds. Depending on my target I first would pick the model that came closest, and then I would just go back and forth between the many parameters until I found the sound. The range of sounds that encompass the world of piano from classical to pop, including mic’ing technique is so wide, so the possible targets are plentiful.