You are on page 1of 10

Operation Manual by Diod

Written by Fredrik Hgglund

Edited by Ludvig Carlson
Photos by Johanna Hanno
Additional photos by Adrian Nilson and Kristoffer Wallman
The information in this document is subject to change without notice and does not represent a commitment
on the part of Propellerhead Software AB.
2006 Propellerhead Software and its licensors. All specifications subject to change without notice.
Reason is a trademark of Propellerhead Software. All other commercial symbols are protected trademarks
and trade names of their respective holders.
Table of Contents
1 Table of Contents
1 Getting Started
3 Introduction
7 Using Reason Pianos
8 ReFill Folder Index
8 Credits & Thanks
Getting Started
System Requirements
When designing Reason Pianos, we set out to strike an optimal balance be-
tween sound quality and resource allocation. In other words, we wanted to give
you the best piano tool possible, but not at the expense of stealing the entire
RAM of your computer. Having said that, Reason Pianos is nonetheless a so-
phisticated ReFill for professional use, and is therefore not suited for low-end
Minimum system requirements:
Reason 3.0 or later
Intel P4 1.4 GHz / AMD Athlon XP
512 MB RAM
DVD drive
Mac OS X:
Reason 3.0 or later
Macintosh G4 1.0 GHz
512 MB RAM
DVD drive
Recommended system requirements:
Reason 3.0.4 or later
Intel P4 2.4 GHz
1024 MB RAM
Low-latency ASIO compatible soundcard
DVD drive
Mac OS X:
Reason 3.0.4 or later
Macintosh Intel, G5 or Dual G4 1.4 GHz
1024 MB RAM
DVD drive
DVD-ROM Contents - Overview
In the root directory of the DVD-ROM you will find the following:
D Reason Pianos - 16.rfl (file)
D Reason Pianos - 24.rfl (file)
These ReFills have identical content, with one major exception: The sample for-
mats - 16- and 24-bit, respectively. The two editions are 100% interchangeable,
however they cannot co-exist in a location Reason is aware of (meaning any lo-
cation which is listed on the Locations pane in the browser), so if you plan on al-
ternating between the two you must place the one you're not using for the
moment outside of your designated ReFill locations. More on this in the following
section, "Installation".
ReadMe.rtf (file)
A "Read Me" document, containing important last minute notes about the Rea-
son Pianos DVD-ROM.
Reason Pianos Documentation (folder)
Contains the Reason Pianos Manual in Acrobat (PDF) format.
RPi Demo Songs (folder)
Contains demo songs in Reason rps format.
RPi ReWire Demo Projects
Contains demo projects for a variety of ReWire hosts, showing how Reason
Pianos can be used together with a DAW application.
Other Propellerhead Products (folder)
Here you'll find demo versions of ReCycle 2.1, Reason Drum Kits 2.0 and some
additional info about other products by Propellerhead Software.
Acrobat Reader (folder)
This folder contains Mac OS X and Windows installers for the International En-
glish version of Acrobat Reader, an application required for opening PDF files
such as the Reason Pianos documentation. If you would prefer a localized ver-
sion, you can download the appropriate installer directly from
ReWire Installers (folder)
Contains ReWire installers for Mac and Windows. These install a new, improved
version of ReWire with significantly shorter sample loading times.
Simply drag the ReFill file of your choice (Reason Pianos - 16.rfl or Reason Pi-
anos - 24.rfl) from the DVD-ROM to the folder where you keep your ReFills.
Which one should I choose - 24 or 16 bits?
In order to determine which ReFill version to pick, you need to consider the fol-
lowing questions::
Is your computer powerful enough to handle 24 bits? (CPU speed, system
bandwidth, RAM size, audio card)
Do you have any practical and/or creative need for the 24-bit format?
Are you prepared to dedicate the extra disk space required for the 24-bit
Are you concerned about workflow issues such as loading and browsing
If the answer to two or more of the above questions is no, the choice is easy -
pick the 16-bit version. Conversely, if the answer to all four questions is yes, opt
for the 24-bit version. If you're still undecided, you may want to consider this so-
lution: Use the 16-bit version while you're composing, arranging and mixing, and
once you're ready and set to render an audio mixdown you can temporarily re-
place the 16-bit version with the 24-bit version. Since the above four questions
are non-issues for offline rendering, when Reason works at whatever pace the
computer can handle, this method gives you the best of both worlds - efficiency,
speed and power conservation during the creative stage, and supreme audio
quality at the mixdown stage.
Note: Since the ReFill editions are designed to be interchangeable, all data ex-
cept the sample resolution is identical - therefore they cannot co-exist in any lo-
cation where Reason scans for ReFills, such as the Reason program folder, the
Desktop, or any additional folders you have added to the Locations pane in the
Reason browser. If you plan on alternating between the two, the version not in
use must always be kept outside of Reason's view!
If you have a computer with lots of power and bandwidth, you can safely go for
the big version, and enjoy the Reason Pianos ReFill in glorious 24-bits at all
Acoustic piano recording is a true art form. Every engineer has his own favorite
methods and every style of music requires its own unique approach. For exam-
ple, rock piano is typically recorded by placing the mics inside the open piano lid
- close to where the hammers hit the strings - as this produces a bright and per-
cussive sound. For jazz piano, on the other hand, you'll want a more mellow and
warm tone - therefore you move away from the hammers and instead focus on
the rear of the piano and the soundboard, perhaps including a bit of room ambi-
ence as well.
Since the recording method is largely dictated by the type of music, sampling a
piano presents a dilemma: You can't squeeze a rock or pop piano sound out of
samples recorded with a jazz piano approach, and vice versa. One could of
course sample the piano employing two or three of the more common mic place-
ments, but again this limits the control and flexibility, and the end user will have
to use EQ:ing and other tweaks to approximate the desired sound - whereas the
engineer in the live recording situation would simply switch to other mics or po-
sition them differently.
Our solution was to record the pianos using ten microphones, covering practi-
cally every way in which a piano might be recorded. This allows you to be the en-
gineer and to pick and mix your favorite microphone combinations. We opted for
two mono mics and four stereo pairs: Two tube mics close to the hammers, two
pressure zone mics on the floor, two vintage tube mics capturing the room ambi-
ence, two vintage tube mics in the traditional "jazz mic" positions, one dynamic
mic under the soundboard bottom and one ribbon mic placed five feet out from
the waist of the grand piano (or the back of the upright piano).
Ambience Stereo Mic (AKG C24) Yamaha C?
Close Mics (Didrik De Geer M49)
Pibbon Mic (Poyer P122)
1azz Mics (Neumann M269)
Bottom Mic (Beyer Dynamic M380)
Floor Mics (Sennheiser PZM)
Ambience Mics (Neumann M250) Steinway D
Ambience Mics (Neumann M250)
Close Mics (Didrik De Geer M49)
Pibbon Mic (Poyer P122)
1azz Mics (Neumann M269)
Bottom Mic (Beyer Dynamic M380)
Floor Mics (Sennheiser PZM)
* XY configuration: Stereo mics placed close together in 'V' shape at a 90 coincidence.
** AB configuration: Stereo mics placed several feet apart and tilted slightly away from
*** Blumlein configuration: Similar to XY, except the microphones are bi-directional.
Featured instruments
Yamaha C7
Grand piano
7' 6" (227 cm)
Yamaha's finest "Concert Collection" grand, appearing on many famous concert
stages and classic pop albums. A very popular grand for studio recordings.
Steinway D
Grand piano
8' 11-3/4" (274 cm)
The Model D is considered Steinway's flagship, a $105.000 concert grand pi-
ano on which the company's reputation rests.
Steinway K
Upright piano
Top of the line Steinway upright model. The one we sampled was manufactured
in 1927.
Mic positions and characteristics
Mic and preamp brands and
Close mics (stereo)
Positioned in XY configuration*
approximately 8 inches above the hammers.
The close mics produce a distinct sound with
a sharp attack, ideal for uptempo pop/rock.
Didrik De Geer M49
(hand-made tube mics)
XY configuration*
Fairman TMA preamp
Jazz mics (stereo)
Two mono mics positioned just outside the
lid opening, one at the back, one at the
"waist". This gives a full bodied sound with a
wide stereo image and a less pronounced
Neumann M269
(vintage tube mics)
AB configuration**
API 312 preamp
Bottom mic (mono)
Mono mic situated 8 inches below the
soundboard, for the express purpose of
adding more low range. Works particularly
well in combination with the ribbon mic.
BeyerDynamic M380
(dynamic mic)
Fairman TRC preamp
Ribbon mic (mono)
Old school mono mic with vintage
characteristics and a narrow frequency
response with the emphasis in the mid range.
It's positioned 5 feet away from the middle of
the soundboard.
Royer R122
API 312 preamp
Floor mics (stereo)
These mics lay flat on the floor just behind
the front legs of the grand piano (and behind
the upright piano). They add depth and
richness to the sound and are best used as a
complement to the other mics.
Sennheiser PZM
(pressure zone mics)
Tubetech MP1A preamp
Ambience mics (stereo)
Capture the room ambience. For the
Steinway pianos we used an AB
configuration with the mics positioned 30
feet apart, roughly 15 feet away from the
piano. For the Yamaha piano we used a
stereo mic with a "Blumlein configuration",
meaning two crossed figure of 8 capsules
angled at 90 from eachother.
Yamaha C7:
AKG C24 (vintage tube mics)
Blumlein configuration ***
Steinway D/K:
Neumann M250 (vintage tube
AB configuration**
API 312 preamp
Split points
The bass strings are made of a steel core with copper wound onto it, the very
lowest notes being single strings while the higher bass notes have two or three
strings. The treble strings are made of plain steel and arranged in threes (tri-
chord), and the top 14 to 18 notes have no dampers. The illustration below
shows how the three pianos we sampled are configured. The dotted keys indi-
cate the sampled notes.
The studios
The Steinway D and K pianos were recorded in Studio 5 at Sveriges Radio,
Sweden's public service radio. In the early 1960s, SR built a number of large
studios to accommodate orchestras and big bands, for recording and live broad-
casts. The smallest, Studio 5, is known for its warm and pleasant acoustics and
soon became a favorite for chamber orchestra and jazz ensemble performances.
The Yamaha C7 grand piano was recorded at NordHansen Studio (formerly
known as Europa Studio), one of Sweden's oldest and most renowned studios
where artists like Bob Marley, Quincy Jones, Errol Garner, Sivuca, Refugee All
Stars and Jojje Wadenius have recorded music.
Steinway K pright
Yamaha C7
Copper wound Steel (trichord)
One Two ndamped
Copper wound Steel (trichord)
One Two ndamped
Steinway Grand D
Copper wound Steel (trichord)
One Two Three ndamped
Multisampling is the industry standard for digital representation of acoustic and
analog instruments. While the method has been refined somewhat over the
years, multisampling still has a few shortcomings:
1. The dynamic resolution is too low, failing to capture the subtle nuances
between the steps.
Reason Pianos use 4 velocity levels and 25 sampling points across
the keyboard.
2. Typically, a single microphone (or a merged signal from multiple micro-
phones) is used, leaving the recording distance, ambience and character
set in stone.
The Reason Pianos samples were captured through ten different
microphones (4 stereo + 2 mono), giving the end user complete
control over all aspects of the sound relating to microphone place-
ment and signal mix.
3. The strive for manageability and RAM efficiency often results in the omis-
sion of certain subtleties, for example the sounds made when strings or
keys are released. This negatively influences the realism of the multisam-
pled instrument.
Reason Pianos incorporate hammer noise and release resonance
samples, thus mimicking real pianos all the way from keystroke
through key release.
We call this hypersampling. We like to think of it as multi-dimensional sampling,
because it gives you complete control over many aspects of instrument repro-
duction that are normally off limits to the end user.
What is Hypersampling?
D Multiple velocity levels
Capturing the full dynamic range of the instrument
D Multiple microphones
Capturing and controlling distance, ambience and character
D Multiple variation sampling
Capturing the different techniques, grips and playing styles associated with
the instrument
Using Reason Pianos
Reason Pianos offers a wide range of entry points in order to accommodate for
different needs. Here follows a summary of the ReFill contents:
Piano Patches
Inside this folder you'll find five subfolders. Four of them contain Combinator
patches - Preset, Producer, Style and Template patches. The fifth folder, Sepa-
rate Mics, contains the NN-XT patches which the Combinator patches are built
D Preset Pianos
The basic Combinator piano patches, offering our favorite microphone com-
D Producer Pianos
Custom Combinator patches designed by professional music producers.
Some of these patches are quite large and feature elaborate configurations
with lots of effects, EQ etc.
D Style Pianos
The Style Pianos are inspired by the piano sounds on classic songs, as indi-
cated by the patch titles.
D Template Patches
Various Combinator templates where no NN-XT sampler patches are
loaded, the idea being that you can fill these with the mic combinations of
your choice. There is also a Combinator template designed especially for
use with ReWire.
D Separate Mics
These NN-XT patches make up the building blocks for the Preset, Producer
and Style Pianos. Each of the three sampled pianos have six different NN-XT
patches, one for each microphone spot. You can use these patches to build
your own combinations (optionally using a Template patch as the starting
point) or to add a mic to an existing Combi preset.
Reverb Patches
A number of RV7000 reverb patches tailor made for acoustic pianos.
RPi ReWire Template.rns
A template song for use with ReWire. Here, the output of each microphone
goes to a separate output in the Reason Hardware Interface, allowing you to mix
the sound completely in the ReWire host application.
RPi Samples
The source samples.
The Combinator panel
The Preset Pianos are all based on a principle patch, a uniform Combinator
setup comprising of six NN-XT samplers (one for each mono microphone or ste-
reo mic pair), seven 6:2 mixers (one main mixer and six submixers, one for each
NN-XT), an MClass Compressor and an MClass Equalizer.
The purpose of having one submixer for each NN-XT is to separate the different
piano sound components (release resonance and hammer noise) on individual
D Rotary 1 - Release resonance level
Controls the overall level of release resonance, i.e. the slight string and
soundboard resonance remaining after a key is released and the damper has
returned to its original position.
D Rotary 2 - Hammer noise level
Controls the overall level of the hammer noise. When a piano key is released,
the return action of the hammer generates a slight noise. We captured the
hammer noise and included it as separate samples.
D Rotary 3 - Presence amount
The presence effect enhances the "presence" of the sound by boosting cer-
tain frequencies in the 5000 Hz neighbourhood (the exact frequency varies
slightly between the instruments).
D Rotary 4 - Compression amount
Controls the compression ratio and threshold.
D Button 1 - Release resonance on/off
Enables/disables the release resonance.
D Button 2 - Hammer noise on/off
Enables/disables the hammer noise.
D Button 3 - Lo cut on/off
Cuts frequencies up to 100 Hz (varies slightly depending on instrument).
Use the low cut to make room for bass instruments in the mix.
D Button 4 - Compression on/off
Toggles the compressor between on and bypass mode.
ReFill Folder Index
A complete overview of the folder structure. Individual patches and samples are
not listed, only the folder/subfolder tree and Reason song files.
! D indicates a folder/subfolder.
Reason Pianos
D-Piano Patches
D -Preset Pianos
D-Steinway D Grand
D-Steinway K Upright
D-Yamaha C7 Grand
DRPi Light Versions
D -Producer Pianos
D -Style Pianos
D -Template Patches
D Separate Mics (NN-XT)
D-Steinway D Grand
D-Steinway K Upright
D-Yamaha C7 Grand
DLight Versions
D-Reverb Patches
DRPi ReWire Template.rns
DRPi Samples
D -Steinway D
D -Steinway K
D -Yamaha C7
Credits & Thanks
This ReFill was developed and produced by Propellerhead Software.
The Steinway pianos were recorded at Studio 5, Sveriges Radio, Stockholm,
The Yamaha grand piano was recorded at NordHansen Studio, Stockholm,
Producer and Project Manager: Kristoffer Wallman
Recording engineer: Niklas Flyckt
Sampling engineer: Per Larsson, SampleTekk, Sweden
Piano tuning: Mats Ferner and Carl Wahren
Sample editing: Per Larsson, SampleTekk, Sweden
Additional editing: Attila Cederbygd
Programming: Peter Grnvall
Additional Patch Programming:
Robert Qwarforth
Jesper Nordenstrm
Ian Duncan
Simon Price
Bjrn Yttling
Chris Griffin
Gran Elmquist
Dave Darlington
Erik Jansson
Pontus Winnberg
James Bernard