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I'm aiming to use the Maestro Grand piano multisample with Bitwig's sampler. It is in GigaStudio/Gigasampler (.gig) file format. I tried putting it in $HOME\AppData\Local\Bitwig Studio\installed-packages\1.0\multi-samples\Bitwig\Test but Bitwig didn't manage to find it, so I'm guessing this format is not supported. How can I convert this file into a format that Bitwig can use?

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    Judging by this - kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=522786 - it uses its own proprietary format, which someone has managed to reverse-engineer to work with WAVs. – Tetsujin Dec 1 '20 at 14:28
  • I've just discovered that the .multisample format used by Bitwig is just a ZIP file with an XML file included, so it's easy enough to get the data into that format; now I just need to find out how to pull .WAVs out of the .gig file. – intuited Dec 1 '20 at 16:34
  • Ahh, cool. That looks like quite an easy task - google gave a lot of hits, though idk which might be your best bet. – Tetsujin Dec 1 '20 at 16:41
  • @Tetsujin: Yeah, that was pretty easy—I just used gigextract under linux. But the work of this conversion is writing the XML file. What's needed is a way to compile the other information from the .gig file, for example which sample file represents which note at which velocity range, into an XML file to be included in the .multisample. I think I'll most likely end up just using another instrument like the Salamander piano. – intuited Dec 3 '20 at 14:00
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Bitwig loads SFZ formats, you can download many pianos like 162 Piano (http://ivyaudio.com/Piano-in-162) which is several gigabytes big. Then just click it, make sure samples are not in FLAC format - although Bitwig reads FLAC loops the multisampler instrument ignores FLAC SFZ. But the device is not a streaming sampler, so big pianos loads some time. For pianos, I like Pianoteq plugin the most, it sounds great. Also the default piano shipped with Bitwig sounds fair.

Edit: AFAIR Salamander loads just fine: https://sfzinstruments.github.io/pianos/ and it also has the piano you want! See here: https://github.com/sfzinstruments/MatsHelgesson.MaestroConcertGrandPiano/ just convert samples from FLAC to WAV and edit the SFZ file and change extension.

Anyway, expect Bitwig to load these huge pianos very slow. Also there are some SFZ featues it will ignore, e.g. multi-layered blending pianos.

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  • Thanks for the helpful suggestions! I'm already downloading Salamander so I'll report back once I have a chance to test it. I tried using the piano in Bitwig but it seemed to have random weird noises in it—like about 4 seconds into D4 it sounds like somebody dropped a pen or something. I asked about it on Reddit but haven't seen a lot of activity. – intuited Dec 2 '20 at 17:53
  • Do you happen to know how Bitwig loads SFZ formats? The only results I'm getting for Bitwig and sfz are programs to convert sfz multisamples into Bitwig's format. – intuited Dec 10 '20 at 23:09
  • @Izap: Hi again! I tried the Ivy Piano in 162 and discovered that it doesn't play right because Bitwig's multisampler doesn't appear to support using different volumes for different samples. For example, the Piano in 162 .sfz sets a volume of -13 for all of the forte samples. So the velocity curve is very skewed, with forte being verrrry forte and everything else being too quiet. Of course it would be possible to fix this by editing the .wav files with ffmpeg or such, but it seemed like a lot of work and I ended up figuring out how to get Salamander running properly. – intuited Jan 1 at 22:58
  • Note that the Salamander I used was not from an .sfz file, but rather from a VST. – intuited Jan 1 at 23:00
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Bitwig's multisampler appears to be quite limited—it lacks many features commonly used in multisample formats, like assigning different volumes to different samples. Because of this, an sfz multisample like, for example, the Ivy Audio Piano in 162 will not play properly even though it will load successfully.

Other features present in the Piano in 162 .sfz are also not supported, like using different samples for pedal on and pedal off states; and randomly selecting from a set of samples suitable for a given velocity/pitch range.

Because of these shortcomings I decided to avoid using Bitwig's multisampler altogether and am using the Salamander Grand Piano VST.

Note that, for some reason, the default release value is a bit too low (it needs to be moved about 20º clockwise) and the pitch is an octave lower than normal. This last can be remedied by inserting a Note Pitch Shifter into the MIDI chain ahead of the Salamander and setting it to raise the pitch of all notes by an octave.

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  • Yeah, I can recommend PianoTeq 7 which is a stunning piano plugin all made by physical modelling (just the pedal squeak is a sample). Some hate it, I love the sound. And it is like 50MB download, MacOS, Windows, Linux... insane. – lzap Jan 11 at 16:03

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