Mini Grand by Air, $10 at PB

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRian

Topic Starter

1010 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Post Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:00 pm

The Noodlist wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:10 pm
Not bad, I'll give it a miss, there's also lots of good free
soundfonts.
Here's some free soundfonts.
https://sites.google.com/site/soundfonts4u/
My $0.02, I've tried pretty much all of those soundfont ones, and I'd take the Mini Grand over any of them.

Of the high quality ones, none is a concert size. IMO the only 3 good free soundfonts out there (high enough quality) are:
- Yamaha C5 ("Salamander", a mini grand)
- Steinway B (Piano in 162, another mini grand)
- Kawai GS60 (Estate Grand LE, another mini grand)

If you want a full-body piano you are not going to find it in the higher quality free soundfonts. And the concert grands in the smaller libraries are not good, most downright unusable in the face of modern libraries.

The Air Mini Grand library feels like a concert grand. The sample recordings are nicely done compared to some of the free ones. It is compressed but if you are not using it as a lead you would have given it that treatment anyway. And the interface with built in effects that lets you change its tone is also well done. For $10, you'd likely never look back at those free soundfonts unless you are doing something specific that calls for a non-concert grand with a very different tone.
Last edited by jochicago on Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KVRAF
4001 posts since 16 Aug, 2017 from Land of The Charity Shop

Post Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:59 pm

jochicago wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:00 pm
The Noodlist wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:10 pm
Not bad, I'll give it a miss, there's also lots of good free
soundfonts.
Here's some free soundfonts.
https://sites.google.com/site/soundfonts4u/
My $0.02, I've tried pretty much all of those soundfont ones, and I'd take the Mini Grand over any of them.

1. Of the high quality ones, none is a concert size. IMO the only 3 good free soundfonts out there (high enough quality) are:
- Yamaha C5 ("Salamander", a mini grand)
- Steinway B (Piano in 162, another mini grand)
- Kawai GS60 (Estate Grand LE, another mini grand)

If you want a full-body piano you are not going to find it in the higher quality free soundfonts. And the concert grands in the smaller libraries are not good, most downright unusable in the face of modern libraries.

The Air Mini Grand library feels like a concert grand. The sample recordings are nicely done compared to some of the free ones. It is compressed but if you are not using it as a lead you would have given it that treatment anyway. And the interface with built in effects that lets you change its tone is also well done. For $10, you'd likely never look back at those free soundfonts unless you are doing something specific that calls for a non-concert grand with a very different tone.
Thanks for the info.
Currently trying to turn noise into music. :neutral: Is boutique the new old?

KVRAF
2462 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:36 am

I got the Mini Grand and the 88 Ensemble with the bundle deals.

I agree that the 88 gets the edge on the Mini Grand, but that is most likely due to the larger sample library.

Lately I have been trying out the Addictive Keys Studio Grand 49 key free demo version, and I think it has a great sound. With the option to select microphone placements, mix and match microphones, you create a custom recording setup by tweaking the interface. Similar to Addictive Drums in that way, like you are setting up a virtual studio recording room.

The sound library for the 49 note demo weighs in at a little over 500MB, not sure about the full version size.

At $80 the full version is not as cheap as Mini Grand either, LOL!
https://www.pluginboutique.com/products ... udio-Grand
https://www.xlnaudio.com/products/addic ... udio_grand
Windows10; plugins from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample, Arturia, Cakewalk, Cherry, DiscoDSP, Fathom, IKM, Initial, iZotope, KV331, NI, PluginGuru, PreSonus, Surge, TAL, Tone2, Toontrack, Tracktion, u-he, UJAM, UVI, Vital, Waves, XLN ...

Banned
821 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Post Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:57 am

jochicago wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:00 pm

My $0.02, I've tried pretty much all of those soundfont ones, and I'd take the Mini Grand over any of them.

Of the high quality ones, none is a concert size. IMO the only 3 good free soundfonts out there (high enough quality) are:
- Yamaha C5 ("Salamander", a mini grand)
- Steinway B (Piano in 162, another mini grand)
- Kawai GS60 (Estate Grand LE, another mini grand)

...
There are actually more good free soundfont / .sfz AND Gigasampler format piano multisamples!! One that comes to my mind is the Maestro Grand:

http://sonimusicae.free.fr/matshelgesso ... ro-en.html
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

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KVRian
1186 posts since 24 May, 2006 from Our Amazing Oasis in Space - USA Section

Post Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:46 pm

jochicago wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:00 pm
The Noodlist wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:10 pm
Not bad, I'll give it a miss, there's also lots of good free
soundfonts.
Here's some free soundfonts.
https://sites.google.com/site/soundfonts4u/
My $0.02, I've tried pretty much all of those soundfont ones, and I'd take the Mini Grand over any of them.

Of the high quality ones, none is a concert size. IMO the only 3 good free soundfonts out there (high enough quality) are:
- Yamaha C5 ("Salamander", a mini grand)
- Steinway B (Piano in 162, another mini grand)
- Kawai GS60 (Estate Grand LE, another mini grand)

If you want a full-body piano you are not going to find it in the higher quality free soundfonts. And the concert grands in the smaller libraries are not good, most downright unusable in the face of modern libraries.

The Air Mini Grand library feels like a concert grand. The sample recordings are nicely done compared to some of the free ones. It is compressed but if you are not using it as a lead you would have given it that treatment anyway. And the interface with built in effects that lets you change its tone is also well done. For $10, you'd likely never look back at those free soundfonts unless you are doing something specific that calls for a non-concert grand with a very different tone.

I agree with Jochicago's thoughts! I recently purchased Air's Mini Grand for $3.99 on Plugin Boutique, after doing extensive listening and comparison tests (BenoniStudio has done several "Piano Wars" comparisons on YouTube). The other pianos give a knee-jerk feeling of superiority due to their "richer" sound, but they all seem to have muddied low mids and bass, IMO, and some may like that!? And I'll admit the Mini Grand could use a little gentle boost in the lower mids and bass, but it's never muddy, and has wonderful clarity and openness, that I just love!

For the lighter more pedally styles I tend to use piano on, I love Mini Grand's tone, and its very playable response. I suggest anyone looking for a wonderful grand give this Mini Grand a serious listen, and don't be fooled by other sample set's boosted lower end as "richness and full-bodied" at the cost of muddied bottom end. Everyone has their own tastes, but I love Mini Grand, and I'm thrilled I found it after playing scores of soundfonts (ALL of which suck, IMO), and other free and commercial sets, that just never felt "right".

The technical numbers may be less impressive than sample sets or modeling costing many times more, but I just care about the solo sound, which fits my desires! Mini Grand probably isn't the best, but it holds it own against many of the best (as shown in the aforementioned Piano Wars YT clips), and for the tiny current price and excellent CPU handling it's a must to investigate. I'm truly glad I found Mini Grand (and I wasn't looking, as I already had Ensemble 88, and others). Worth a serious look, IMO!

v1o
KVRAF
2814 posts since 2 Oct, 2004

Post Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:43 pm

jochicago wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:20 pm
v1o wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:29 pm
35 Gigabytes for a piano library? Waste of space. I think they look for ways to inefficiently capture pianos to justify releasing more expensive libraries.

I’d like to see someone do a controlled double blind test between let’s say a 5GB piano and 50+GB library of the same piano in the same room recorded on the same day.
We definitely need the quantity of perspectives. I wouldn't want for the Mercury to have any fewer of the 15 it comes with. In fact, they originally planned 3 more. It only has 8 velocity layers (the 88 Ensemble recorded 16 layers). Also, Mercury comes with 4 round robins, so each perspective and velocity is recorded 4 times so you can have more realistic micro variety for every key press. This level of detail amounts to 37,172 samples recorded off this one instrument. The amount of detail is what makes the Mercury sound so much more realistic than something like the Mini Grand, or even celebrated modelers like Pianoteq (we can have that argument all day long though :D, and I'd say the Pianoteq K2 is probably well enough in the ballpark to use that instead of a sampled one like the Mercury).

Can the 37 thousand files be smaller in disk size? Maybe if you use some sort of compressed audio format. But the Mercury already suffers of CPU abuse. If the files were compressed it may cost more CPU to use them on the fly. Could they be a loss-y format like mp3? Then when you apply effects on it you'd have less resolution to operate on, the effects would start sounding mangled faster.

Can 35gb worth of lossless wave files be made into 5gb of reasonably lower quality wave files without sacrificing so much quality that it would affect your ability to mix them anyway you want?
I guess it makes sense especially if you are a real pianist and can appreciate the nuances. But could you really tell the difference in a mix?
Orion Platinum, Muzys 2

KVRian

Topic Starter

1010 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Post Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:28 pm

I was thinking about that today. You probably can't tell much of a difference in a mix.

I was looking at a piano mix I'm working on that really puts a spotlight on the piano. By the time it exits the master I have 4 layers of compression, reverb, some saturation and eq. When you are done with all of that, the piano sounds very different than the fancy, delicate and hyper dynamic 35gb library.

If you look at the Mini Grand, it is already overly resonant, a bit slushy and heavily compressed. But guess what? If you are mixing it with other instruments then that's more or less the treatment you would give it anyway. That's why from the beginning I suggested that the Mini Grand is a great non-lead instrument. It's already "treated" as a secondary track and sounds great. With some compression and saturation already baked in, it's a great instrument for modern music that's easy to fit into your mix and versatile enough to dial it in without making you choose from a ton of settings.

In fact, to the untrained ear, I bet you if you make regular music listeners choose between the Mini Grand and a 60gb library with the FX turned off, you may find many prefer the sound of the Mini Grand simply because it will sound louder and fuller, because it is already treated. A pianist playing it will feel constrained - that the elegant nuance is all gone, but that doesn't matter to how the instrument fits in a mix.

KVRer
4 posts since 20 Sep, 2020

Post Sun May 16, 2021 3:10 pm

Very short release and can't find how to increase it.

KVRist
147 posts since 13 Jul, 2005 from Longview, WA

Post Sun May 23, 2021 7:07 am

I have it, like it and would always recommend... especially for the price.

Like most I collect piano libraries like my life depends on it! They all have their uses and times to shine. Like someone mentioned above, I will pull this up as it loads up quickly and can dial up many flavors fast. Depending on the situation, it may stay!

At first blush it can lack some heft of others, but then again in a dense mix, you need to carve all that heft out anyway. Sometimes this slides right into the mix.

It sounds like I’m gushing over it. :). I don’t love it, but I don’t dislike it either. If I had a piano I would call ‘utilitarian’, this may be it,

KVRist
147 posts since 13 Jul, 2005 from Longview, WA

Post Sun May 23, 2021 7:09 am

zdeniz wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 3:10 pm
Very short release and can't find how to increase it.
I don’t believe they offer much in the way of ‘under the hood’ tweaks. Would love to learn I’m wrong. :).

KVRAF
2462 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Sun May 23, 2021 9:11 am

Ever since I got the full XLN Audio Addictive Keys - Studio Grand bundled free with a Focusrite interface, I prefer that one. And it is tweakable.
Windows10; plugins from AAS, Ableton, AIR, Ample, Arturia, Cakewalk, Cherry, DiscoDSP, Fathom, IKM, Initial, iZotope, KV331, NI, PluginGuru, PreSonus, Surge, TAL, Tone2, Toontrack, Tracktion, u-he, UJAM, UVI, Vital, Waves, XLN ...

KVRer
20 posts since 13 Dec, 2017

Post Mon May 24, 2021 4:43 am

I've found that only the VIVO SX7 can capture emotion properly, and that's not even a plugin.

KVRAF
13019 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Mon May 24, 2021 4:51 am

Mini Grand has been $1 many many times at PB. It's ok, so are a lot of other pianos. I can' believe how many I own and how often I use them TBH. I will say though, that it's not just what you can hear in the mix. What also matters is how they make you feel when you are recording the part. I have a track that uses the 20Gigish Waves Piano and I futzed with the mics and the sound for a while until it sounded just right to me. Could someone else get the same sound with something different, probably, but I'm not sure that the path I took would have led to the same place had I tried something different. It doesn't even have to be rational, it can be complete cognitive bias, but if it gets you there, then it's the right choice in the moment.

Also, there is a free large piano library at AudioPluginDeals.com this week.

https://audioplugin.deals/apd-exclusive ... -download/

Go crazy!

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