Following the completion of our cooperative sampling project with VI Labs to develop the Ravenscroft 275 Virtual Instrument, we needed to select a quality MIDI controller to premier our new VI for the 2014 Winter NAMM Show.

After carefully researching available controllers, we chose the popular Kawai VPC1, as this keyboard was receiving a lot of attention for its realistic piano action. One month prior the 2014 Winter NAMM Show, we ordered a VPC1. Out of the box, this controller performed beautifully.

Our objective was to digitally replicate the experience of a Ravenscroft acoustic grand piano. We carried it through the procedures necessary to replicate as closely as possible the feel and expression of the action of the actual 9′ Ravenscroft 275 Concert Grand Piano – the reference instrument that was sampled to create the Ravenscroft 275 Virtual Instrument.

We were pleasantly surprised when people familiar with both our Ravenscroft 275’s action and the VPC1’s action began commenting positively about how accurately we had reproduced the feel of the acoustic in our modified controller.

One player in particular sat down to try it for the first time.After playing a few passages, he asked what we had done to the action. His familiarity with the acoustic 275, and recognition of the changes that we had made, told us that we may be on to something that could bring greater value to enthusiasts of the Ravenscroft brand.

The overwhelmingly positive response we received at NAMM was the impetus for our decision to produce these unique modified VPC1s for the public. We presented the concept of modifying and selling the VPCs to Kawai and received a resounding positive response from their technical and sales staff. After sharing our process with them, Kawai confidently committed to carry their original factory warranty on keyboards that we modify.

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Ravenscroft Pianos are designed and built by Michael Spreeman at his company in Scottsdale, Arizona. After working with renowned jazz pianist and composer Bob Ravenscroft on a custom performance piano built to satisfy Bob’s highest demands and expressiveness, Mr. Spreeman formed Spreeman Piano Innovations to build the exclusive line of Ravenscroft Pianos, named after the composer. Each handmade Ravenscroft grand takes well over 1,000 hours to complete which is about four times that of a factory built piano, and each can be built specifically to a customer’s requests or for a specific design or location.
Mr. Spreeman had been seeing trends in how a large part of the piano world was becoming digital, and realistic sampling along with ever faster computers enable acoustic piano sounds to become easier to emulate. It was imperative for Mr. Spreeman to have his signature Ravenscroft voice captured for the most accurate ‘simulator’ possible. VI Labs worked with Ravenscroft Pianos at every step of the process to sample their 275 Titanium and do tests so we captured the perfect tone that satisfied the virtual and acoustic instrument makers both. A priority for Ravenscroft was finding the right team to sample their piano because of the expected level of accuracy and realism. With our detailed knowledge of acoustic pianos and recording methods plus complex scripting utilizing the UVI engine, we were able to create the officially licensed Ravenscroft 275 library that truly emulates the voice of the Ravenscroft 275 concert grand.

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Specializing exclusively in custom piano design, Ravenscroft Pianos produces the most exquisite limited-production performance pianos available in the marketplace.

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