After over 2 years of contemplating, I finally bought a software piano sampler. In case you are wondering what’s that, a software piano sampler is basically a software piano. Nowadays, you don’t need to buy a hardware synthesizer to get the instrument sounds you need: just buy the software in DVD and install in your PC and voila! You got more instrument sounds loaded in your PC. Definitely more space-saving and cost-effective. But if given a choice, I’d prefer hardware synth, because there is no delay in accessing the sounds. For software synth, you need to load the sounds into the PC memory which takes anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds. So if you are looking for sounds, it may take a long while.

OK, so I bought a piano sampler, called Akoustik Piano. Funny spelling, that’s because the maker of this sampler is from Germany. It comes with 4 authentic piano sounds – the Concert Grand D (created from Steinway Model D), the Boesendorfer 290 Imperial, the Bechstein D 280, and the Steingraeber 130. Buying all these piano costs over several hundred thousand dollars, not to mention the space it occupies, and not forgetting the hassle of doing a recording with these instruments. So paying less than S$500 for all these is so worth it.

It took me so long to decide to spend this money, because I’m doing more and more solo piano works, and I can’t hide the awfully unrealistic piano sounds that I am using now. Well, it’s not that bad, but it still sounds fake. But the new toy I bought ain’t gonna make it sounds really real, but at least it’s that much closer to the real thing.

How does Akoustik Piano make it sound more real? Firstly, the software generates key noises, then it generates pedal sounds. Next, it creates resonances for sustain and note releases. Finally, it lets you adjust the piano lid and mic position. And all these settings can be customised for each recording to your liking.

In other words, I don’t have to spend money to rent a studio/concert hall/cathedral/jazz club, and spend time setting up the mic and recording gear, besides getting the real piano on-location. I can do everything at home.

The sound is still not real enough? For all the time and cost savings, it is worth the compromise.

Remember I uploaded some cover songs few months back (search under label “MP3“) ? I’ve re-recorded using the new Akoustik Piano sounds. Listen and compare yourself and see if you think the new piano sound is more realistic.

Tian Ya Hai Jiao (Akoustik Piano: Concert Grand D)
Tong Hua (Akoustik Piano: Concert Grand D)

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