By David Christiansen
When it comes to high-class piano libraries Synthology has been on top for several years. I’ve loved the possibilities of Ivory but then changed to other pianos because, in my point of view, they had more realistic samples.
ANOTHER PIANO LIBRARY?
Like most composers I had virtual pianos and was quite happy. Mainly I was using Alicia Keys and the Steinway piano included in Native Instruments KOMPLETE. When a composer friend came to visit me he checked out all of my installed libraries. When it came to pianos he told me about his friend who just has won an international award for best piano composition. The composition was realized with American Concert D. I listened and watched all the demos of American Concert D and the other Synthology Libraries and finally decided to order. I really had to give it a try!
Synthology has sampled a 1951 New York Steinway D selected by Steinway & Sons for artist promotion. The library consists of 49 GB data and includes 20 velocity layers and needs an iLok-Key. This library comes as 7 DVDs and takes some hours to install.
A very special feature is the Harmonic Resonance Modeling for True Sympathetic String Resonances. This is virtual modeling on top of a sampled library. Very interesting. It’s really possible to hear the resonating piano strings, like they would do in a natural piano. This can be heard when playing with pedal and I have to say, that this is the most important features of this library for me. It’s possible to turn this feature on and off and this changes the overall sound a lot.
As well it’s possible to change many options in the VSTi itself. Point of view (player, audience), reverb (mostly impulse responses are used here) to name just a few. The library comes with 16 presets, so that after installing it’s easy to browse different options. After checking some out I found lovely presets I will use a lot. One special thing, which I find very useful, is that it is possible to use a “soft” and a “hard” presets. Sounds strange first, but it totally makes sense, if you test it. For a soft ballad the “soft” preset works excellent. It’s possible to work on the dynamics much more detailed. Fantastic.
Other interesting features are half-pedaling, if you have a pedal which can make use of it. Adjustments of velocity response can be made very easily. As well it is possible to have no sound played, if you play extremely soft. A nice feature for effects especially when using Sympathetic String Resonance.
It’s possible to adjust the key and pedal noises, the dynamic range, stereo width and the position of the lid. It’s possible to add release and soft pedal samples. As well there are eight Synth Pads which can be layered with the real piano sound.
It’s possible to load velocity Map Presets, which you can edit and save. With the maximum voices option Ivory can be adjusted your computer power (RAM & CPU).
The sound of this piano is extremely realistic. Especially the samples with pedaling, combined with Sympathetic Resonance they are top notch. The low end is fantastic. Press the lowest key and enjoy 30 seconds of sound. I would say it must be hard to find a piano in the real world. which has such a wonderful low register sound. The highest register can be very hard. If you love to have it a bit softer you can adjust this with all the Ivory-options easily.
For me the sound is much better and realistic than every other digital piano or vsti I’ve played. Of course this is highly personal and one has to love the sound. Check out the demos and decide which piano is your favorite. Definitely check out Synthology’s libraries. For me American Concert C was one of the best library buys ever. It’s a very inspiring tool and feels like the real thing. I love to play and compose with it every day.