Monday, August 17, 2009

Yamaha Behind the Scenes: If You Knew QC Like I Knew QC

Our resident PianoSoft insider Cathy is back to give you the inside scoop on perhaps the most important part of the PianoSoft production process - quality control.

Quality control. Those might be two of the most important words in the PianoSoft development vocabulary. I don’t mean this in a “we sure try to make a nice product” way, but rather that quality control is a serious stage in the development process. There is actually a QC staff at Yamaha and each collection is assigned to one of these excellent musicians/technicians.

In the PianoSoft creation process the performing pianist/programmer captures the best performance possible, the editor checks the musical integrity and once their jobs are completed, the data is transferred to one of the QC staff. (Look for performer and editor subjects in future blogs.) The data then undergoes a detailed technical checking process in which the QC specialist makes sure that the file is technically correct and will play correctly on your instruments. I would like to explain this process to you, but I can’t. I don’t mean I’m not allowed; I mean I don’t have a clue how it’s done. Fortunately, these three gentlemen do:


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Joel Plimmer: Joel is a talented pianist/composer/arranger and producer. He has been a valued PianoSoft developer for more than ten years and is a sensitive, intuitive pianist as well as a meticulous MIDI programmer. You will frequently see his name in PianoSoft credits but now you know that he is also working behind the scenes in “QC.” Joel lives and works in Lyons, CO.

Nate Tschetter
: Nate is well known as a technical guru but his musicianship is equally impressive. He started learning piano at age 5 and started hanging around a music store where his dad worked. He was a curious young man figuring out how everything worked and this interest propelled him into a successful career in sound design, composition, MIDI song development, performing and more. You can learn more about this fascinating, talented musician at his website.

Tom Zink: An extremely versatile musician, Tom is an equally marvelous jazz pianist who can just as easily switch hats and orchestrate a piano concerto. A talented and skilled MIDI developer, he has expanded those skills to work in the world of audio in his studio, Ming Dynasty. It was in Tom’s studio where the first Piano Plus Audio recording was made and a new format of PianoSoft was born. Tom has made dozens of contributions to the PianoSoft library as an artist, engineer and, of course, in QC.

Tom made an interesting comment about PianoSoft QC and I believe he speaks for the others:
Part of what's great about the QC process is that the performing artists are a big part of the team. Knowing that my colleagues will be the first to hear and review my projects puts a little more fire under me. I always want to play my best, but the high quality of artists in the Yamaha 'collective' gives me cause to 'ratchet it up' another notch.
Questions or comments? Leave a comment on this post, and I will reply.

Note: I will entertain all suggestions or comments you send but we cannot promise to develop every project request. Please only post musical content suggestions and not any concepts that could be construed as intellectual property (technical concepts and ideas).

Have a musical day!