Playing piano – Symphony Orchestra jam pack?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Sijmen, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Sijmen macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    I have an M-Audio ProKeys 88sx keyboard. The keyboard is fine but I really dislike the piano sounds from GarageBand.

    Now I came across the Symphony Orchestra jam pack, and heard that it has some good piano sounds. Anyone have some experience with this jam pack? Also, are there any samples so I can check out the sounds before buying?

    edit: let me elaborate some more on the intended use. It's not for composing music, but for playing solo pieces and in a band. Solo I play all kinds of stuff, but the GarageBand 'grand piano' just didn't cut it as it doesn't have that mighty sound of a real piano.

    Or maybe I should invest in better speakers? Right now I'm just using those built into my (alu) iMac.
  2. foxx0775 macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2009
    i recommend you get mainstage, part of logic studio. its almost essential if you're playing in a live environment. you can assign all your m-audio knobs and sliders to different things and layer your sounds to how you like. check it out.

    i'm not sure about individual jam packs as there are thousands of samples and instruments to rifle through - but logic has all of them and there are much better piano sounds to choose from
  3. Sijmen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    Wow that app looks amazing. I'll hit an Apple reseller and see if they have a copy of that one running.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Try this experiment....

    Get a good recording on CD of a solo piano work. One this is well recorded. Now play it on your system, using your current speakers. Close your eyes and listen. Does it REALLY sound as if there is a grand piano in the room with you? OK, I didn't think so. So the problem is your sound system not the source material.

    Can you describe how the GB piano differs from a CD recording of a solo piano played on the same system?

    My ear is not so good, I'm a novice at this, but my opinion is that the Garage Band piano sound is about as good as the Jam Pack sound. Both are slightly better than my 1980's vintage Roland keyboard's internal piano sound.

    If you are very curious and have some time (couple days) to wait. I have the Apple Jam Pack and could render a midi file to Apple losses and let you hear it.
  5. Sijmen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    I listened to some piano perfomances but I find it hard to compare them. Most have reverb from the recording. They're completely different from the GarageBand piano which to me sounds a bit artificial. The Grand Punchy matches best, especially when I add a little reverb on the track.

    For the most part, the high notes sounded real. With the low ones I didn't really hear the 'power', tremble or however you would call it.

    And yes I'd love to hear a sample ;)

    I'll try to find a quiet time of the day to visit the Apple reseller, then I can compare the iMac sound with the sound system they've got set up there.

    Thanks for the help :)
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The lower notes on a piano really are low, they can get below 40 Hz. Very few speakers can reproduce 40Hz. Certainly no "computer speakers" can so I think all you hear out of small speakers is the second and higher hormonics of the low notes. Have yu tried a good pair of headphones, the kind use by engineers in studios. My K240 headphones go down to 18Hz. I can hear the notes. But you are right, it does not sound real.

    I might try an experiment. I have a chromatic tunner. I could place it near the speaker and play a low note. I bet it hears a note an octave or two higher than played. I'm guessing but I bet there are no low notes comming out of small speakers and we hear are the overtones
  7. butterfly0fdoom macrumors 6502a

    Oct 17, 2007
    Camp Snoopy
    The Symphony Orchestra pack has a piano sound with Steinway samples. Logic, which includes MainStage, has Yamaha samples.

    But it is more your speakers than it is the sounds; GB's default piano sound isn't too shabby.
  8. Sijmen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
    I'm not talking about the very lowest notes. I'm not educated on the numbering, but I meant notes around the C one octave below central C. They sound correctly but just… bland.

    I'll see if I can test with a set of better speakers.
  9. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 3, 2007
    Once you hear samples like EastWest Pianos, VSL Pianos, Ivory, NI's Acoustic Piano, etc. you'll think differently of GB's default. ;) EastWest includes 4 pianos (Steinway, Yamaha, Bosendorfer, Bechstein) and it takes up 250GB! There are something like 18 samples per note for each velocity level, more samples for repeated notes, and 3 different mic placements. And that's not counting any pedals! It's pretty incredible, but it's also $400 or so.

    That's C3 ;)
  10. clownjuggles macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009

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