Ivory Grand Pianos

If you love piano, you probably know that three of the top models are the German Steinway D 9’ Concert Grand, the Bösendorfer 290 Imperial Grand, and the Yamaha C7 Grand. If you would like to own one of these instruments, the problem would be having a room in your home large enough to accommodate them – not to mention affording the handsome asking prices.

One option is to downsize to a MIDI keyboard with a sampled piano running on your laptop or desktop Mac and get Synthogy’s new Ivory plug-in instrument – which includes samples of all three of these pianos.

Ivory is a virtual instrument designed to reproduce the sound of the grand piano using Synthogy’s 32-bit sample playback and DSP engine. Synthogy has sampled each note from these pianos – so held notes sustain naturally and decay to silence without using loops.

Every set of samples has controls for timbre, stereo width and perspective, velocity response, mechanical key noise, tuning and so forth. There is also a complete set of release samples for each key, taken at different key velocities and at different time intervals after the onset of the note. When the key is released, the playback engine automatically triggers the appropriate release sample. So the notes decay extremely realistically whether the note is stopped by releasing the key or by releasing the sustain pedal.

All this stuff demands lots of CPU power and lots of RAM for best results. Fortunately, you can disable the soft pedal or the release samples (or both) to conserve CPU power and RAM when necessary.

You can choose between stretch tuning (with lower and higher notes tuned progressively higher in pitch) and equal temperament tuning (with all the notes tuned to their theoretically correct pitches). Stretch tuning sounds better for solo piano, but the piano sounds wrong when played alongside instruments tuned strictly in equal temperament, such as the Hammond organ.


One of Ivory’s main competitors, the Galaxy Steinway 5.1, is optimized for surround sound and only features a Steinway. Many jazz players favour the Bösendorfer, and increasing numbers of classical players favour the Yamaha. Ivory provides all three and sets new standards for realism with its superb-sounding samples together with its very effective Sustain Resonance feature. Highly recommended.

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