Review: Concert Grand by Light and Sound
Great sound and flexibility for the $149 price point.
Included presets that can help guide you with so many details to tweak.
Very long loading time - a stripped down version with only the mixed mic position would have been welcomed.
Huge graphic interface can be cumbersome even on a 1080p screen.
Light & Sound Concert Grand is a flexible and beautiful grand piano library that offers a very competitive content to price ratio. This library would be a solid purchase for anyone in need of a comprehensive sampled piano on a smaller budget.
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Review: Light and Sound Concert Grand
Concert Grand is Light & Sound’s second commercial product. Recorded at Windmill Lane in Dublin, this particular Steinway C piano was used by big names such as Elmer Bernstein, David Bowie, and Elvis Costello. With the goal being to capture every detail and nuance of this famous piano, Light & Sound took a deep dive into the art of sampling by including 12 mic positions and sampled releases and resonance. The results are a well sampled and realistic piano that, despite minor shortcomings, offers great value to the user.
Concert Grand sells for $149 from Light And Sound
Concert Grand keeps things simple and fairly minimal in its interface options, providing the user with only the necessary controls to tweak the included details.
Everything sits in one nice looking interface panel – however it’s by far the biggest graphic interface I’ve seen in a Kontakt library. It’s a bit cumbersome because even on a fairly standard 1080p monitor, you’ll have to scroll down to see the bottom. It’s not a big deal at all, but it takes some getting used to coming from the normal size of Kontakt interfaces.
The bottom half is lined with all 13 of the microphone faders. 12 separate mics, and one pre-mixed fader. The stereo mics include volume, panning, and width controls, while the mono options don’t include width faders (duh). Activating the different mics loads and unloads the samples from RAM, so you can keep this piano pretty lightweight by using only one mic. However loading this singular patch still takes a really long time. A smaller patch that only references the mixed mic position would have been welcomed for a lighter and faster option that loads reasonably fast.
The top left area holds CC11 (expression/volume) and Pedal Volume knobs, as well as a preset dropdown and a dynamic range slider, which raises the volume of lower velocity notes to match that of the highest. The calibrate button below allows you to set the maximum and minimum velocities based on your MIDI keyboard, which is a neat feature I’ve never seen before.
To the right we can control the volumes of the resonance, reverb, and release samples. Room tone can be toggled on or off, and if you click the “settings” button you’ll see this window…
… with velocity curve controls and toggles for silent key, sympathetic resonance, re-pedalling, and half pedalling. If you’re into the really nitty gritty details of what a piano can sound like, there’s a lot here for you to dig into!
If I had to describe this piano’s overall sound in a succinct manner, I would call say it is clean, pure, and bright. Of course with 12 mic positions and various other ways to tweak the sound, you can get just about any timbre out of this workhorse.
A little disclaimer – I am not an expert on pianos, so a lot of the descriptors of this particular sampled piano don’t do much for me. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Steinway B or a Steinway C, and I don’t know the characteristics of different mics that were used when sampling this one. I wouldn’t know where to begin when trying to find different styles/timbres with 12 mics. But thankfully the included presets take out a lot of the guesswork for people like me, so I can just click the “pop” preset and have my mics mixed for me.
All of the samples are recorded quite dry, which I find to be a good thing when it comes to flexibility. My personal favorite mix of mics included the “Decca”, “XY” and “Ribbon” mics turned up evenly for a very clear sound. Thanks to the inclusion of sympathetic resonance and release samples, it really does sound like you’re sitting at a real grand piano.
If you’re looking for a solid workhorse grand piano library, this seems to be a very good choice – especially at the $149 price point. This isn’t going to emulate the sound of a felt piano or a quirky old upright, but it reproduces the sound of a pristine and crystal clear concert grand with great precision.
Light & Sound Concert Grand is a deep sampled Steinway C grand piano featuring 12 mic positions, sampled releases, pedal resonance and sympathetic resonance. Installed, this library takes up 23.4 GB of disk space and runs in the full retail version of Kontakt 5.7.3 or higher.
Concert Grand sells for $149 from Light And Sound