There is no single ‘perfect’ piano sound. Your choices depend greatly on personal preference and musical context.
A rich, concert grand piano sound which is ideal for a solo or orchestral piece may not be the best choice for a piano driven vocal contemporary song, or multi-track instrumental production.
All Demo A audio samples below have been created using the same MIDI file for a direct comparison of how each sampled piano responds to identical MIDI velocities and data. Demo A is a series of musical phrases including chords, sustains, single notes, arpeggios, and staccato playing, intended to showcase each piano’s tone, characteristics and dynamics across the keyboard range. Demo B is a short excerpt in a style suited to the piano, and are a suggestion of the types of uses for each piano.
Category A – Concert Pianos
Suited to classical & contemporary solo piano, piano trio, film scoring, etc.
2. Hamburg Steinway Model D Concert Grand (8’ 11 3/4”) – (mixed mics – concert hall stage sound)
3. Bosendorfer Imperial Concert Grand (9′ 6″) – (clear & resonant tone with huge dynamic range)
Category B – Studio Pianos
Suited to contemporary solo piano, pop & vocal accompaniment, acoustic trio & jazz
5. Yamaha C7 Studio Grand (7′ 6″) B – (bright & airy, loose & resonant tone)
7. Kawai Studio Grand (bright attack, dynamic & wiry tone – great for cutting through a mix)
Category C – Character Pianos
Suited to intimate solo, vocal accompaniment, film scoring, acoustic trio, blues etc.
9. Vintage New York Steinway Model D Concert Grand (warm, intimate tone, focussed stereo image)
These are grouped as a suggestion for the various genres & uses. Personal taste and musical context will be the deciding factor as to which is the best choice for your music. All demos have their customised reverb settings applied. All demo tracks composed and ©2016 Craig G Richards, except the Hamburg Steinway Model D Concert Grand Demo B (Prelude in G, Op. 23, No. 5 Rachmaninoff) and Yamaha C7 Studio Grand A – Demo B (Trad. Arr. Craig G Richards). No unauthorised use, copying, lending or distribution allowed.