Testing Imperfect Samples Virtual Piano Library

Have you ever heared about “Imperfect Samples”? If you are searching for a realistic sound of a virtual piano you might want to take a closer look.

Imperfect Samples currently offers five piano sample libraries: Braunschweig Upright Piano, Hohner White Baby Grand , Ebony Concert Grand, Steinway and Sons Walnut Concert Grand and Brasted Broken Upright Piano. There are diffrent quality models for each of them. From Basic-Edition, that has less samples and layers till Extreme-Edition that comes on a own hard disc because of the huge amount of samples (54 GBytes) which is probably too much for download. The prices differ of course between the Basic, Pro, Complete and Extreme editions.

I was impressed of both, Steinway & Sons Walnut Concert Grand and Ebony Concert Grand, but unfortunately I don’t have the money to buy both and I wanted to have at least the complete version, so that there are at least 16 velocity layers for each key. The Steinway and Sons seems to have the more natural sound, at least from their samples.

Steinway & Sons Walnut Concert Grand

The price has a huge difference between the Basic and the Extreme edition. Also it seems that the extreme Edition is not working as VST Plugin.

  • Steinway Concert Grand (Basic) (VST | AU | EXS24 | Kontakt)
    • 8 layers of this rich grand with 1 mic position
    • £39.99 ( ~ $59.49)
  • Steinway Concert Grand (Pro) (VST | AU | EXS24 | Kontakt)
    • Up to 15 layers and 2 mic perspectives of this rich grand
    • £89.98 ( ~ $133.86)
  • Steinway Concert Grand (Complete) (VST | AU | EXS24 | Kontakt)
    • Up to 16 layers and 3 seperate mic perspectives of this rich grand
    • 129.97 ( ~ $195.24)
  • Steinway Concert Grand (Extreme) (EXS24 | Kontakt)
    • Up to 100 layers spread across 4 mic perspectives (Up to 25 layers in each perspective), hard drive included
    • £199.96 ( ~ $299.99)

Buy or not to buy

Here are some facts you might want to know before you buy an Imperfect Sample product.

The sample library comes with a VST plugin which is basically a wrapper to their AU plugin. The problem is that you really can’t setup anything, no velocity curves and not even all of their sample libraries will work. Simple say you don’t want to use VST or AU plugin, its crap. The only integration that works is the one that makes use of NI’s KONTAKT Sampler to process the samples. Unfortunately you cannot use the free KONTAKT Player, since the Imperfect Sample Library is not a NI-Licensed Product it needs the full version of NI’s KONTAKT Sampler. The price of $299 for NI’s KONTAKT Sampler is quite high, though. Also you might want to consider to order NI’s KOMPLETE package, which includes KONTAKT Sampler. KOMPLETE is a huge library it self containing more than 60GB of samples, virtual synths and instruments. KOMPLETE 11 is currently about $599. But you might have luck getting KOMPLETE 10 on ebay for under $200.

If you want to record any note you probably want to have Logic or Cubase too. So here is what you probably need to record and edit piano music with the Imperfect Sample Library:

  • $60-$300 Imperfect Sample Library
  • $200-$600 Kontakt 4 or higher (You might want to consider to buy Komplete 9 or higher)
  • $200 Logic or Cubase for recording

Here are some sound examples I made with it:

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