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About the Bluthner Piano and Pro Audio Vault
Pro Audio Vault


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About Pro Audio Vault

Samplist Dan Dean from Dan Dean Productions and audio architect Ernest Cholakis from Numerical Sound have joined forces in creating the new "Blüthner Digital Model One" Grand Piano, announcing its release in Native Instruments Kontakt 2 Player format today. Priced at $299 (US) for the single DVD, this groundbreaking piano is packed full of new technologies and features never before found in the world of sampling.

Pro Audio Vault is the combined expertise of Ernest Cholakis of Numerical Sound and Dan Dean of Dan Dean Productions.

Sampled and edited by Ernest and Dan. Drawing from many years of combined expertise in digital audio and recording, the BDMO was created by Ernest and Dan. Every sample was recorded, edited, and processed by PAV. PAV designed the programming, the layout and worked on new features with NI directly.

Excerpt from a magazine interview:

Q: I know you two come from different backgrounds, how did the idea of a collaboration come out?

A: Over the years Dan and I developed a friendship. Obviously sampling and recording technology is something that we both have in common. We produce different content - Dan has released mostly orchestral and bass samples libraries where I have released drones, drum loops, DNA groove templates and reverberation impulse products.

We often discussed various sampling issues, both technical and marketing as well as the growing problem of piracy. When we started to consider the Bl? Piano sampling project we decided to pool our combined knowledge base because of the considerable technical challenges involved such as the signal processing required for noise reduction, recording procedures like how to record without any ambience etc. Because the piano is one of the most difficult instrument to record effectively, we decided our combined expertise could develop a better overall product than if either one of us took on the project alone.

Q: Before starting working on BDMO which were your general feelings about the available software pianos on the market?

A: We obviously thought that there was still room for improvement as most libraries had too much ambience in the piano samples and true piano dynamics were not accurately captured.? In 2005 I wrote an article in Sound On Sound on this subject - (issue Nov DVD 2). THe article points out that all the major samplers could not accurately reproduce the piano's dynamic range - even when the right tone was put into any given sampler, the dynamic range was inaccurate due to the sampler engine limitations. Most samples (even new releases) still cannot accurately reproduce the dynamic range of each individual note of a real world piano.

Q: BDMO really sounds like a labour of love (like anyone can guess having a look at the user's manual). How much time did it take?

A: Planning started months prior to the recording sessions which took place the end of October 2004. We released it April 2007 so about 2 1/2 years.

Q: Why did you choose a Blüthner? And, how did people at Blüthner collaborate with you during the making of BDMO?

A: After playing the Blüthner for 5 minutes at Annehein NAMM in Jan. 2004 we knew that the Blüthner Model One was the piano to sample - it has a warm and distinctive tone that was never harsh - even if you play fff. The other element that appealed to both of us was the evenness of the tone. This is clearly apparent as one plays up and down the keyboard. An another reason for choosing this piano is that is has a distinctive sound that is different from the Steinway and Borsendorfer which already have been sampled. We met Dr. Christian Blüthner formally at Musik Messe Frankfurt the following April.

Ours was the first sampled piano library to be officially endorsed by the piano manufacturer. For both Dr. Christian Blüthner as well as us, the most important criteria was quality. As well we all agreed that recording at Skywalker was our first choose as it has one of the quietest soundstages in the world and for a piano this is an essential consideration.

Q: This product, besides being an excellent sampled library, has many interesting additional features: the most important is the IR one, which really makes the BDMO unique. My only critic is: don't you think this important feature could be better implemented in the GUI, to be more explicit and user-friendly. Users could easily get confused with those cryptic preset names, and for some things they need to keep the manual always handy...

A: Yes it is a point well taken. There are two reasons. In the end one should listen to each timbral impulse get to know them individually then decide which one(s) work well in a composition. In a DAW a user can change the timbre without having to re-record.

Clearly RI users find it very appealing of obtain the impulse of a famous acoustic environment as well as a visual of the space. But in a musical sense why does this matter? I dealt with this same issue when I released both Pure Space Reverberation Impulse CDs - I refused to mention and include pictures of the spaces because too many people out there are listening with their eyes more that their ears. The purpose in audio production is to find the right type of ambience and adjust it if need be to compliment or enhance the music. Whether the space is well known, one's bathroom or a garage should be immaterial to the decision of selection. That is why I developed the bass, midrange,and treble numbers to describe the "character" of a space - because they actually make more sense in terms of describing a sound than a picture can ever do. In the end does anyone really think that if they have the Concertegedouw or Abbey Road RIs that is is going to sell more records.

Another reason I decided to withhold detailed information on the sources was for legal reasons.