• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Best Piano Recordings

JoachimStrobel

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
260
Likes
148
Location
Germany
#42
That's true, but most piano recordings also sound "wrong" in the midrange too, and they sound just as wrong on my speakers, as on my headphones.
I remember that solo piano recordings where difficult to listen too in analog times. The wow&flutter would add a graininess even when being below 0.15% with a good LP player (relating to the German Gleichlaufschwankung from the Din45500, the corresponding wow&flutter was typically 5 to 10 times lower). Cassettes never saw values below 0.2% which made them useless for solo piano, even reel tape decks needed at least 9.5 ips.
For classical music, with short notes, vinyl then was just ok, but solo jazz piano like Keith Jarret’s with longer notes being held, sounded mostly awful. And even with turntables being well below 0.1% GLschw, the eccentricity and non-flatness of LPs made things worse.
Since the digital age, jazz solo piano has taken a tremendous boost in popularity and I attribute that to the better sound of it. The only way that I can reliable tell if a recording is a MP3 compression or a true CD quality is still solo piano. And yes, a real grand piano still sounds much better than any reproduction in any audio system.
 
Last edited:

majingotan

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
862
Likes
785
Location
Laguna, Philippines
#43
2019's recording technique on this album surely is a masterpiece. I haven't heard anything better piano rendering than this to my subjective ears. Most lifelike sounding piano recording IMO so far

Capture.PNG
 

MickeyBoy

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
44
Likes
35
#44
I remember that solo piano recordings where difficult to listen too in analog times. The wow&flutter would add a graininess even when being below 0.15% with a good LP player (relating to the German Gleichlaufschwanung from the Din45500, the corresponding wow&flutter was typically 5 to 10 times lower). Cassettes never saw values below 0.2% which made them useless for solo piano, even reel tape decks needed at least 9.5 ips.
For classical music, with short notes, vinyl then was just ok, but solo jazz piano like Keith Jarret’s with longer notes being held, sounded mostly awful. And even with turntables being well below 0.1% GLschw, the eccentricity and non-flatness of LPs made things worse.
Since the digital age, jazz solo piano has taken a tremendous boost in popularity and I attribute that to the better sound of it. The only way that I can reliable tell if a recording is a MP3 compression or a true CD quality is still solo piano. And yes, a real grand piano still sounds much better than any reproduction in any audio system.
Thanks for your comment. (Btw, I think you mean Schwankung, not Schwanung.) I agree with you about the depredations of wow & flutter . Have you gt any opinion about the German software company, Celemony? Andrew Rose used their product in his remasterings of Schnabel's Beethoven from the 1930s. The removal of wow & flutter gives his tone - always considered to be particularly beautiful - a solidity that was lacking. You can listen to a snippet of it here:

https://www.pristineclassical.com/products/pakm039

A comment from the peanut gallery: There are three variables in our evaluation of recordings, not just two: the recording and its technique (room, mics and their positioning, mastering) the piano itself, and the pianist. The third may well be the most significant one in most of the recordings we consider to be outstanding.
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
1,225
Likes
1,124
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
#45
Thanks for your comment. (Btw, I think you mean Schwankung, not Schwanung.) I agree with you about the depredations of wow & flutter . Have you gt any opinion about the German software company, Celemony? Andrew Rose used their product in his remasterings of Schnabel's Beethoven from the 1930s. The removal of wow & flutter gives his tone - always considered to be particularly beautiful - a solidity that was lacking. You can listen to a snippet of it here:

https://www.pristineclassical.com/products/pakm039

A comment from the peanut gallery: There are three variables in our evaluation of recordings, not just two: the recording and its technique (room, mics and their positioning, mastering) the piano itself, and the pianist. The third may well be the most significant one in most of the recordings we consider to be outstanding.
I've got the Naxos set. The "Pristine" set has awful noise gating, really obvious. Over the headphones, one gets the impression that the noise ( that rises and falls depending on the treble content ) is in stereo, with a vague center image for the piano. I turned the Pristine transfer off after about two minutes. It was a relief to go back to the Naxos transfer. I've heard most remasters of this set. If my memory serves me well ( doubtful ), the EMI UK LP transfers, 1980ish, are the best. Naxos is second best. The unfiltered Pearl transfers are too noisy but the EMI CDs are worse, no-noised to death. But what I just heard from Pristine might be worse than that. Honestly, noise reduction software has to be more sophisticated in 2020 than what I just heard.
 

JoachimStrobel

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
260
Likes
148
Location
Germany
#48
Thanks for your comment. (Btw, I think you mean Schwankung, not Schwanung.) I agree with you about the depredations of wow & flutter . Have you gt any opinion about the German software company, Celemony? Andrew Rose used their product in his remasterings of Schnabel's Beethoven from the 1930s. The removal of wow & flutter gives his tone - always considered to be particularly beautiful - a solidity that was lacking. You can listen to a snippet of it here:

https://www.pristineclassical.com/products/pakm039

A comment from the peanut gallery: There are three variables in our evaluation of recordings, not just two: the recording and its technique (room, mics and their positioning, mastering) the piano itself, and the pianist. The third may well be the most significant one in most of the recordings we consider to be outstanding.
I looked at that software that you mentioned:
https://www.google.de/amp/s/www.soundonsound.com/reviews/celemony-capstan?amp
Very impressive. I perceived wow&flutter to be disturbing when it happens below the audible pitch change range as it then modulated the piano sound in a non-pleasant way. I am not sure how this software handles that. I read that low reverberation time helps as the ear has less to compare to - I need to go back to the said Cologne concert from Keith Jarrett to check how they did the trick to make it sound decent on vinyl.
 

dasdoing

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
538
Likes
218
Location
Salvador-Bahia-Brasil
#49
this got me to this data base: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rHcXP7PExksxZfkif3Rv2CT1Y_ESpNSv2b0nkKlBySk/edit#gid=0
there is a $125000 DAC? who the f_ck buys something like this, and why? lol

on the subject: are there any piano records wich sound more like a live piano? I mean, those recording are great but don't match the much narrower "stereo field" of a real piano
 
Last edited:
OP
M

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,277
Likes
1,213
Location
Pacific Northwest
Thread Starter #50
...on the subject: are there any piano records wich sounf ore like a live piano? I mean, those recording are great but don't match the much narrower "stereo field" of a real piano
Two that come to mind have been mentioned in this thread:
https://play.primephonic.com/album/00028946097526
https://play.primephonic.com/album/054536902529
To my ears, these are among the best in terms of sounding natural and lifelike, capturing the timbre of the piano really well. They must have had a great room and set up the mics perfectly. Yet they aren't necessarily the best in other aspects. Somehow they still sound great despite the fact that you can hear the limitations of the original analog recording. Some modern digital recordings that are "cleaner" just don't sound as natural or lifelike to me.

In the Wilson recording (second link above) I can hear something funky in the tape hiss, some sort of non-random correlated noise, probably created by flaws in the A/D conversion process. And just a hint of wow/flutter/warble in the sustain. But it's low enough level not to interfere with enjoying this otherwise great recording.

I'm not saying I prefer euphonics to accuracy. More that getting the room arrangement & mic setup is far more important than whether you record it analog or digital and what bit rate or format you use.
 
Last edited:

dasdoing

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
538
Likes
218
Location
Salvador-Bahia-Brasil
#51
Two that come to mind have been mentioned in this thread:
https://play.primephonic.com/album/00028946097526
https://play.primephonic.com/album/054536902529
To my ears, these are among the best in terms of sounding natural and lifelike, capturing the timbre of the piano really well. They must have had a great room and set up the mics perfectly. Yet they aren't necessarily the best in other aspects. Somehow they still sound great despite the fact that you can hear the limitations of the original analog recording. Some modern digital recordings that are "cleaner" just don't sound as natural or lifelike to me.

In the Wilson recording (second link above) I can hear something funky in the tape hiss, some sort of non-random correlated noise, probably created by flaws in the A/D conversion process. And just a hint of wow/flutter/warble in the sustain. But it's low enough level not to interfere with enjoying this otherwise great recording.

I'm not saying I prefer euphonics to accuracy. More that getting the room arrangement & mic setup is far more important than whether you record it analog or digital and what bit rate or format you use.
this is how piano, at least solo piano, should be recorded; very nice. piano sounding like it is 30m wide is strange
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
61
Likes
48
#52
Here is a brand new album that I have been enjoying this weekend it is an intimate and very melodic solo album from Toots Thielemans' pianist Mike Del Ferro.
Superbly well recorded. Highly recommended and on introduction offer at this moment.
Skylark - Mike del Ferro

"In my mind's ear I hear my ideal piano sound. It’s a round, dark and full sound, with a singing quality. It's almost like a symphony orchestra hidden inside the piano, able to produce as many musical colours as possible. The danger with the piano is that if you don’t take care of your touch, it can sound very harsh and mechanical while with the right touch, dynamics and intention you can make a simple triad sound like an orchestra."
 
OP
M

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,277
Likes
1,213
Location
Pacific Northwest
Thread Starter #53
Based on the samples, that album is exceptionally well recorded. I have many piano recordings and is among the best I've heard. The striking chords opening track 7 "resonating piano" are particularly impressive. Musically it's a bit too "mellow" for my taste and the electric piano detracts more than it adds, but for $10 (for FLAC 96-24) it's a tempting purchase just to have such a well recorded piano.
 

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
10,148
Likes
8,726
Location
Riverview FL
#54
Two favorites, piano and electric bass.

1600101345548.png


1600101392602.png
 

ahofer

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
689
Likes
1,048
Location
New York City
#55
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
61
Likes
48
#57
Top Bottom