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)
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!