Monday, September 15, 2014

Terrible piano

There are countless beautiful sampled pianos, but what if you're not in the mood for a nice, quality piano sound? If this is one of these days and you want some bad, broken, out of tune, lo-fi piano with eerie sound, I may just have something for you.

Yes, this is actual photo of the piano.
This set has been recorded by accident. I happened to need to wait some hours alone in a room with this old upright piano, which has been quite obviously kept there purely for decorative reasons. I started to play around with it, recording notes to portable recorder. To make it somewhat interesting I picked rater unusual microphone position, I placed it under the piano. It barely fit the space between the floor and the instrument, and so the recording has a sort of claustrophobic, creepy vibe. If you have ever wondered, how would piano sound from a cockroach perspective, this is it.

It has been cut to samples and patched into an instrument in Kontakt. The piano was way out of tune, surely it hasn't been serviced for decades, if ever. I made a rough attempt at fixing the tuning in Kontakt, it still sounds broken, just not as much as before. Kontakt patch offers both tuning versions, it also has an EQ, convolution reverb and mono/stereo switch. Here's how it sounds, once again murdering a classic for demonstration purpose.
First part is re-tuned version, then there's part with original (de-) tuning, then there's part in mono and finally mono + some reverb.

There are no velocity layers or round robins in this set. Not even all notes are sampled and the noise floor is noticeable. There are however release triggers. There are 41 samples for the range of 83 notes, totaling 87 samples with release triggers and some pedal noise samples. To save disk space and bandwidth, the original 96/24 stereo recording captured with Zoom H2n, has been down-sampled to 41,1/16 in SOX.

The download - 71MB zipped, is free to grab and use, contains 87 samples in wav format and patch for Kontakt sampler. You will need full version of Kontakt 4.2 or newer to open the patch. It will only work in demo mode in 'Kontakt Player'.

Update: Following a suggestion, I added 'fake random round robin' mechanism to Kontakt patch. It is using random different note samples to mimic round robin functionality. It can create some crazy sound variations at the cost of sound realism (as samples are being re-tuned in sampler). There is extra knob labeled 'fake RRR', when it's set to zero, the effect is off. If you already downloaded the whole pack, you can get new resource file here, as only the instrument script has changed.

Update 2: here are mappings for sfz, place them in root folder, along with Kontakt patches.


  1. Some digital pianos have 535 instruments! Others may solely have ten. Generally, you're buying the digital piano for its actual piano therefore so these different instruments might not matter an excessive amount of.

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  3. I have some Best digital piano reviews which are equipped with an effect function that recreates the warm, rich acoustics of a concert hall. So visit the website and we will guide you to choose the best digital piano.

  4. I'm not here to spam you, I'm actually going to play with this, and I thank you for your contribution to the musical freebie continuum!! Best regards!

  5. Ok, following up, this reminds me very much of 99 per cent of the real world pianos I have ever heard,which makes this UNIQUE AMONG SAMPLE SETS!! GREAT work, I love it!! It sounds so much like mom's Steinway Grand that's needed tuning for a zillion years. Fantastic!! It's fantastic!

  6. Seconding that this sounds a lot more real than most. Reminds me of the piano I learned to play using, it was a freebie too :D