Software developer Sampleson (it prefers the term “Virtual Luthier”) has just released MetaPiano — apparently, this is the first-ever spectral modelled virtual grand piano.
MetaPiano can be used as either a standalone app for MacOS or Windows or as a VST3 or AU plugin for digital audio workstations.
Virtual instruments such as MetaPiano rely either on sampling or modelling. Sampling, as the name implies, creates the sound by replaying pre-recorded samples. In the case of a piano, this type of virtual instrument often requires thousands of samples which can occupy vast amounts of memory (30GB or more).
Modelling involves the re-creation of an instrument’s sound based on mathematical analysis. Complex formulae continually calculate the output waveform. And the advantage of modelling is that it uses far less memory, however, it may require a more powerful computer.
Spectral modelling synthesis (SMS), as used here, is a way of recreating sounds based on their harmonic and noise content. In simple terms, the sound of a piano is split into deterministic (harmonic) and stochastic (noise) elements.
The harmonic content is identified by detecting the regular peaks of the piano’s waveform. This is removed from the signal leaving the noise element. These two parts are then modelled separately.
The harmonic content is created by stacking sine waves. And a filtered white noise source re-synthesises the noise element. Finally, the two signal paths are combined to produce the overall output. This is all achieved mathematically.
Modelling is really difficult to get right. And for over a decade there have only been a couple of modelled virtual grand pianos around (Modartt Pianoteq, Arturia Piano V). Now Sampleson has come up with a third, and this is the least expensive of the bunch.
MetaPiano’s initial sound is based on a Japanese concert grand — Sampleson doesn’t reveal which one, but it looks like a Yamaha! Detailed analysis of the instrument took place in a remote Patagonian recording studio.
It would seem that MetaPiano is going to be the host for various other virtual acoustic pianos. A Get More Models link on the main screen brings up the message “More MetaPiano Models Coming Soon”.
The user interface is essentially a single page with three menus, Play, Browse and Settings. Play is for working with the piano sound and making adjustments, Browse is the library for storing various configurations, and Settings lets you control sample rates, input channels etc.
The result is a comprehensive virtual grand piano with full decay for every note (up to 1m 30s in the bass register) with no looping, no velocity switching or noise.
MetaPiano sits in just 60MB of memory and has an introductory price of $59 (normally $89).
• Spectral modelled 88 notes grand piano
• Low CPU usage
• Based on real samples
• Full decays
• No velocity-switching
• Scalable HD interface.
• Reverb effects
• Master gain
• Mechanics sound level
• Releases sound level
• Dynamic velocity adjustment.
• Standalone App, VST3 and AU included
• OSX 10.7 or later (Catalina, Big Sur and Monterey ready)
• Host must support VSTi or AU plugins
• 70MB HDD
• 4GB RAM
• 64bits Plugin and Standalone.
• Standalone 64 bits App and VST3 included
• Windows 7 or later
• Host must support VSTi plugins
• 70MB HDD
• 4GB RAM.
Note: Pro Tools is not supported.
For more information or to order go to the Sampleson website.