Waves Grand Rhapsody Piano | Reverb Software Pick

As virtual instrument technology continues to progress, the line between analog sound generation and digital emulation continues to become less defined. But there are a few instrument classes where the verdict still seems to be out on whether or not the virtual counterpart is or will ever be even close to the original in regards to timbre, hi-fidelity polyphony, and overall sonic character. And the piano has long been one of the major instruments where digital simulations fall short.

Enter Waves Grand Rhapsody Piano

After using the Waves Grand Rhapsody Piano plugin for around a year now, I can honestly say that these shortfalls are no longer true. Waves Audio, a more than two-decade-old pioneer in DSP effects processing, has really changed the notion of what a virtual piano can and should be with its Grand Rhapsody Piano.

Most notably, the company avoided recreating models of the obvious legacy brand favorites such as Steinway & Sons, Bösendorfer, or the Claude Debussy-endorsed Bechstein, in favor of the less than 40-year-old Italian maker Fazioli.

Having played many pianos all over the world, I truly have not fallen in love with an instrument at first sight and play, such as I have with the Fazioli Pianoforti—in particular, the Fazioli F228. A $160,000 handmade piano from the northeast region of Italy, this masterpiece of craftsmanship uses wood from the same red spruce forest where Antonio Stradivari cultivated his rare and celebrated violins.

The F228 modeled for this plugin is the one located at London's Metropolis Studios, the exact piano used on Adele's GRAMMY-winning recording, "Hello," from the album 25.

We covered the Waves Pianos & Keys Collection launch last year in which we demoed the whole collection, but for this demonstration, I want to shed a light on just this wonderful Fazioli emulation.

Recorded with eight pairs of mics, including B&K 4007, Shure SM57, Neumann U 87, Royer R-121, SE RN17, Neumann KM84, Coles 4038, and AKG C451, the Waves Grand Rhapsody Piano allows you to reverse polarity, blend, mix, and match these mics and placements with three selectable placements on each patch within the plugin.

Offering a host of other features such as key up and pedal volume controls, sympathetic sustain resonance, formant, velocity curve, compression, limiting, EQ, delay, and reverb based on the H-Reverb algorithm, this is the piano plugin we have all been waiting for.

Having loved the action of this virtual instrument since I first got my hands on it, I wanted to create an authentic expression of a couple of my favorite piano tones that I have achieved on it, within the best musical idiom for displaying such emotional sonic character—the jazz ballad.

Jazz Room

For this demonstration, I created two distinct piano tones on the Grand Rhapsody Piano. The first, used on the track "Jazz Room," is a slightly brighter room sound with one set of Neumann U 87 close-mics, a set of Neumann KM84, and Coles 4038 room mics. Using very little compression and EQ bumps in the mid-range of the overtone series, gives this piano a large, bright, roomy tone that brings out the upper registers of the piano.

Jazz Lounge

The second piano tone I created for the track "Jazz Lounge," is a darker, warmer tone using one set of Neumann U87 close mics, a pair of SE RN17 mics halfway down the soundboard, and a set of Coles 4038 room mics. This gets heavily compressed, more sustain resonance added, and the EQs dialed further down the overtone series to boost the low end.

Listen to the demo above, download the free Reverb exclusive presets to get the tones I made for these tracks, and click here to buy Waves Grand Rhapsody Piano on Reverb now.


Waves Grand Rhapsody Piano
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Jazz Lounge Exclusive Presets
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