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  MiniGrand At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: 1998  Specifications
arrowUser rating: 3.6/5 |  Read reviews (5)
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Mike C. (JD990Exp@aol.com) writes:
Here's an interesting piece. . . Oberheim's answer to Kurzweil's Micropiano, a dedicated 1/2 rack piano module. The Oberheim MiniGrand is a true stereo module with six presets (three acoustic pianos and three electric) and an elegant user interface that allows alteration of velocity sensitivity and effect types / parameters as well as the standard tuning and midi channel assignment options. To start with, this module - unlike any other of its type (NanoPiano, MicroPiano, ProFormance, P50M, SGX) uses a modicum of physical modelling synthesis techniques to simulate the resonant characteristics of a nine foot grand piano. The end result is the addition of higher 'sympathy' string harmonics with a depressed sustain pedal... they're all here... and a great amount of unobtrusive hammer and pedal noise. The electric pianos are not great, being one slightly overdriven Rhodes and two FM type pianos (the third electric piano is actually quite nice for R&B / pop recording), but they shape up considerably with the addition of a thick chorus and some reverb (both of which are built into the unit). There is a 3 band EQ available as well, and six memory slots for user configurations. I A/B'd this against almost everything including non-piano modules (K2000R, JD990 'Piano' expansion board, E3X '9 foot grand' sample, and all of the other piano modules) and it stands above all else as far as nuance of expression and breadth of image, with the Kurzweil MicroPiano coming close but not quite meeting it. This piece (which was jointly produced with Viscount Inc.) absolutely kicks the ass of the NanoPiano and P50M, although you do get a mess more presets with those two, and they cost less to boot. But if you want a piano - just a piano - this is the box. Small and very well made (the front panel appears to be a pretty cherrywood), very easy to read and edit and against the grain in that it does just this one thing (even the Kurzweil has Hammond and string section samples in it) - does it more expensively at that - this is a highly recommended piece. The biggest drawback is a reverse-pin wall wart that absolutely eats two outlets (even on an ETA-PD9), but that's it. If you're looking for a piano module, there you go. By the way, I record ambient, but I did give this to my union-keyboard-player girlfriend for rehearsal and a gig, and the band couldn't stop asking where the great piano sound was coming from. So it records well AND handles gigs also. And the 64-voice polyphony is TWICE that of the Kurzweil and Yamaha. Oberheim does it again. Highly recommended.

Comments About the Sounds:
The main stereo grand is the best I've heard in a dedicated module.

(Thanks to Mike C. for this info.)
and www.zzounds.com for the pic

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