There are plenty of sample libraries out
there created with the goal of capturing
a large, pristine grand piano in perfect
condition and flawlessly recorded.
Imperfect Samples takes a different
approach to libraries by going for natural
and organic character over sterility
and preserving the little imperfections
in the samples that signal to the listener
that they are hearing a real instrument.
Imperfect Samples currently
offers four pianos: Fazioli Concert
Grand (a large grand); Hohner White
Baby Grand (a small grand); Brasted
Broken Upright (out-of-tune honky tonk)
and Braunschweig Upright Piano.
The Braunschweig Upright Piano
(VST, AU, EXS24, Kontakt) is available
as Basic ($59.49, one 8-layer perspective
only) and Pro ($133.86, two mic
perspectives and up to 14-layers).
Perspective 1 (Basic and Pro) is recorded
two inches from the soundboard for
a very immediate, up-close and large
sound. Perspective 2 (Pro version only)
is recorded closer to the hammer position
for a softer but slightly more percussive
Depending on the style of music, a
big grand piano is not always the right
choice. I was very happy to find this
upright piano, an instrument that is
generally under-represented in the world of sample libraries. Many classic
pop recordings used upright pianos
instead of big grand pianos. In particular,
alternative, rock, singer-songwriter
and film recordings often benefit from
the character and intimacy of an
At first listen, the Braunschweig
Upright is a little shocking. It drips with
character, explodes with rich harmonics,
and is full of life. It is not tuned to perfection
to the point of being lifeless—
you can actually hear the strings beating
against each other in a single note.
To some, it may sound a bit too far out-of-
tune, but I think it sounds great. And,
unlike many piano libraries, it actually
sounds better when placed in a track.
As you add drums, bass, and guitars
around this piano, it sounds even more
realistic and full of character: Think
John Lennon''s “Imagine,” but recorded
better. It also handles EQ well, and it
doesn''t disappear and get mushy when
the stereo image is collapsed.
Like with most piano libraries, I had
to tweak the velocity response from my
keyboard controller and/or DAW to find
the sweet spot; but once I did, the
piano was very dynamic and responsive
to my playing. And if you really slam the
velocity, you can get a great, rockin''
Jerry Lee Lewis or early Elton John
sound. When played softly, the
Braunschweig is downright moody and
melancholy, even eerie.
Of the two perspectives offered in
the Pro version, I prefer Perspective 1,
which is included in the Basic version.
It is overall more dynamic and clear
and exhibits an extended frequency
response on the highs and lows compared
to Perspective 2, which is darker
and more distant. Perspective 2 would
be better suited for moody film scores
or background parts in a recording,
rather than being featured up front, in
my opinion; however, usefulness and
application are completely subjective.
I have also had good luck layering the
two perspectives together for an even
more involved sound, although the 10-
layer patches are the highest available
for both perspectives (Perspective 1
also has 12- and 14-layer patches;
Perspective 2 goes up to 11-layers).
I''m also not completely convinced that
the mapping is identical between the
two perspectives'' 10-layer patches
when layered; but, in practice, there is
so much chorusing already from the
“loose” tuning of the piano in general
that it probably would go unnoticed.
Overall, I find the Braunschweig Upright
Piano immensely useful. It is a great complement
to the other pianos in my collection.
I welcome the approach that
Imperfect Samples is taking by not sucking
the life out of their instruments. I love
an instrument that exudes character, and
the Braunschweig Upright Piano delivers
Overall Rating (1-5): 4
Imperfect Samples Braunschweig Upright Piano Product Page