A documentary approach. An approach after my own heart felt opinions regarding proper recording technique. So much time has been spent talking about the Absolute sound of real music in real space as a reference. The problem is without recordings like PlayClassics has made available you have no chance of accurate appraisals of your playback accuracy. Someone pointed out there is little energy above 15 khz. Yet from an audience perspective without close miking on these instruments that is usually the reality. I have read of people speaking of natural sounding unforced detail in good playback. Here you have the real thing, no need for uptitled response or close miking, plenty of detail and naturally unforced.
These were excellent. The word that comes immediately to mind regarding the sound is "natural." There is not a sense of a recording being made so much as listening in on a performance. I don't know whether you choose the artists, they choose you, or both, but someone chose well, because the performance is beautiful.
I had no problem adjusting my volume so that the piano sounded natural at realistic concert level volumes on my Focal studio monitors. At this point, I began to appreciate just how superb an artist Luis Grané was. Every detail of musical phrasing, pedaling, and selection of piano tone was in perfect service to the music. The loud portions were brilliant, without any harshness. In summary, I don't believe I've heard a better recording of a piano.
Tony Lauck (audiophilestyle.com)
An intimate but not overclose, very stable realistic size image where one does not have to listen to all the clutter and mechanical noises of the instrument but still get all the wonderful rich sonority of a grand piano very close to how it sounds live. For those who don't know it yet: this is a Demonstration Quality Recording.
I'm very impressed by this recording of Luis Grané's Iberia. Iberia is a beautiful piece of music that Grané plays with aplomb. An absolute treat. Very engaging. I would agree that it is a very fine piano recording that I'm sure I'll enjoy for years to come.
Haven't even listened to all of the Debussy Preludes yet, but I must say again how impressed I am by the recording. Most piano recordings today have some harshness, which I assume comes from putting mics inside the piano. That also makes the piano sound too big and too close. These recordings sound natural, like what you hear when you are in a room with a piano. IMO, there's no loss of detail vs. other methods, just a better, easier to listen to sound.
Another thing I like very much about this whole series of recordings on the PlayClassics label is that these performances (from musicians whom I never heard of previously) are so highly accomplished. I've believed for a long time that many musicians the world over are capable of attaining of incredibly high levels of performance - and it's by no means just the highly marketed names who attain these levels. The musicians on this PlayClassics series are, for me, virtual proof of that belief - and this Iberia set by Luis Grane is a specific instance of that proof!
Chris from Lafayette (audioasylum.com)
I received the "Iberia" recording yesterday and listened last night through speakers and headphones. Impressive in every way, and it's like being in the same room as the piano. I think Albeniz would be delighted with this recording technology!
The recording quality is superb with a realistic sense of the decay of the piano along with a very spacious sound. Unlike many other "audiophile" recordings I am also pleased that the quality of the performance and the skill of the artist are also very apparent.
The piano is unusually natural sounding - one of the few recordings I have that simply put a piano 15 or 20 feet in front of you. The soprano is even more natural. At first, I missed some of the throat and chest sounds that closer miking has gotten me used to. But, as her voice swelled and filled the room, it had that "harmonic float" that I get at live performances. It's all of one piece, the pianist and singer, in the smallish venue. And the performances are beyond the "nothing to fault" classification, they are both top notch.
I received the Iberia and the songs of Tosti. The recordings are magnificent! More than any other recordings I have, it is very easy to visualize being present at an actual musical event. I was very struck by this quality.
What a great recording, perhaps the best piano recording I have ever heard. I really liked how all the subtle nuances were not lost in the loud sections, and how the quiet passages were so delicate and rich. Lovely, beautiful music.
All i can say is wow! It's amazing to truly feel like you were there in the room with the performer. The naturalness of the sound, experiencing the body and vibrations from the piano, and the beauty of the playing were eye-opening for me!
These are without a doubt the best piano recordings I've ever heard, and I have quite a collection as piano is, by far, my favorite solo instrument. Your perspectives are perfect, the piano stays "put" right in center stage, yet the "gestalt" of the piano fills the room from wall to wall. This is how a piano sounds playing in a real room, and when I listen to these recordings, I am always impressed by this realistic imaging. Also I am much gratified by the fact that you used a much lower than usual record level, thus taking full advantage of the dynamic range afforded by 24-bits. It might result in a slightly lower than average playback level, but the fact that you were able to capture the piano's full range without gain-riding or compression merely adds to the realism and to this fellow recordist, that is very gratifying!
Very interesting interpretation. The pianist allows for a great deal of intimate detail to emerge without sounding overly detailed to the extent that the piece sounds mechanical. As far as sound quality I'd give it a high rating. Piano is very hard to portray realistically. One often hears "30 foot keyboards" or recordings where the resonance of the piano is lost. This sounds like you would expect a piano to sound in a rather intimate venue. The decay of the notes is perhaps the most realistic I've ever heard.
Your "controlled recording environment" is working very well. You are taking very clear sonic photographs. Startling real recordings.
This is an excellent, honest, un-hyped piano recording. The performance and recording quality are such that when I begin listening I quite naturally listen all the way to the end. It is un-fatiguing, engaging and enjoyable. An excellent example of unprocessed recording done well with a good musician and someone who knows how to place their microphone. A piano recording you can play at realistic sound levels.
Amazing sound, talented performers; what not to love? I also am intrigued by the approach toward recording the hall and not the performer. I like how this establishes a baseline of familiarity. Similar to how I enjoy listening to Chicago Symphony Orchestra recordings made in their space, because I am so familiar with its sound that I can recognize it and critique a recording by how well it reproduces that space's sound that I know so well. I can see myself learning the sound of this recording space with a similar familiarity.
The naturalness of the sound of the piano is truly great. Closing my eyes while listening, I felt closer to the actual performance than on any other piano recordings I have.
This "Iberia" recording is certainly one of the best and most natural ones I have heard. It is very close to "live" concerts especially at realistic sound levels.
I am listening through Devialet 200 and Focal Aria926: simply stunning! Mr Cabrera sits with me in my room and plays for me; never heard anything like that before.
Probably one of the best solo piano recordings I've ever heard! Perfectly centered piano that sounds like it's in the room with you and is the size of a real grand piano with lots of airy ambience on the sides, behind the piano and above it. Just delightful! Thanks.
In addition to the pieces being brilliantly composed (of course) and interpreted, I was very impressed with the liveliness of the sound - very natural and powerful, truly giving the impression that the singer is in front of the listener. IMO what differed from some highrez master recordings was that it truly lacks the "digital" flare that can sometimes be a bit annoying.
Bernaldo de Quirós's playing is impressive: Not only does he have the requisite technical proficiency, more important, his interpretation is thoughtful and extraordinarily expressive. I think the recording is terrific. I get a real sense of the physical instrument in a natural space. This is my new go-to version of Préludes, Book 1, and one of the best solo piano recordings I've encountered.
Puedo dar fe de que PlayClassics mediante su tecnología de Grabación Veraz ha logrado un sonido sorprendentemente diáfano. Es como si el que lo escucha estuviese presente en el set de grabación o en una sala de conciertos. Me imagino el alto número de ensayos realizados por los ingenieros y técnicos para lograr esa calibración. De todo corazón los felicito.
Muy curiosa la distancia de captura, ya que se aprecia absolutamente la reverberación de la sala y da credibilidad al sonido. Aún sin ser un experto, me atrevo a decir que el sonido se muestra muy, muy relajado, con una dinámica apabullante y silencios absolutos. Un piano de timbre impecable, con mucho peso y con unas notas agudas que nunca taladran los tímpanos. Escena muy amplia aunque ligeramente difusa, quizá por la posición de los micrófonos con respecto al instrumento. Aunque parezca una crítica, lo cierto es que esta relativa falta de definición en la escena, junto con la rever de la sala, ayuda a creerse que el piano está sonando delante nuestro. Gran sensación de realidad.
Mi opinión es absolutamente favorable, la calidad de la grabación es excelente. Destacaría sobre todo una enorme naturalidad que sin embargo no implica (como sucede con otras grabaciones naturales) que suenen en absoluto "sosas". Al contrario, es un sonido natural pero adictivo. Tanto los pianos como las voces transmiten una sensación de realidad absoluta y sincera, sin ningún tipo de exageración ni incoherencia.
En principio me quedé en shock y completamente descolocado por lo que escuchaba. Creo que no he escuchado nunca una toma de sonido de un piano como ésta. En Iberia, la dinámica es tremenda y los temibles martilleos en la zona aguda, que en otras grabaciones te taladran el tímpano, no son para nada hirientes. Vamos, que mi primera impresión no ha sido de algo "normal" o típico de marketing. Esto hay que digerirlo poco a poco.