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Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: karvala] #2734370
05/05/18 06:24 PM
05/05/18 06:24 PM
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dbudde Online content
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Originally Posted by karvala
A few more questions to current owners of this if that's okay.

1. Is there any sort of global tone control, i.e. a timbre or character control, global EQ or anything like that? Or is it only per-note?

2. What (other) global controls are there apart from tuning and microphone mixing? I.e. anything about release samples? Choosing to use or not use sustain samples? Room reverb settings? Sympathetic resonance? Sustain resonance? Any info would be good.


If you email Paul Kopf at support@vsl.co.at he'll send you a manual. But in general the images on the product info page answer most of your questions. There are EQ, pan, reverb and delay options per mic as shown in the mix image. The room reverb and some of the other controls are shown on the Play image.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by dbudde; 05/05/18 06:35 PM.
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Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: dbudde] #2734454
05/06/18 06:08 AM
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Thanks for that. I've e-mailed him to ask about the manual. I've looked at everything on the website, and couldn't see anything about tone or timbre control other than EQ per mic, and your screenshot above seems to confirm that. Unusual to have no explicit control of tones or release samples at a global level.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2734833
05/07/18 12:44 PM
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I have purchased it and I am worry about the breath noise.

I was expecting an improvement on Garritan CFX (which has a little noise) and it is even worse.

Then I will use mainly Garritan CFX with some EQ (or VSL Vienna Imperial which is very good)


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: Frédéric L] #2734835
05/07/18 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
I have purchased it and I am worry about the breath noise.

I was expecting an improvement on Garritan CFX (which has a little noise) and it is even worse.

Then I will use mainly Garritan CFX with some EQ (or VSL Vienna Imperial which is very good)

And how do the two compare soundwise in your opinion, both the CFX from Garritan and VSL....?

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Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2734848
05/07/18 01:31 PM
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The first difference is that the VSL Player preset blends multiple sounds from different distances, then I have tuned Garritan CFX with a little bit of reverb to make the sound less dry and more comparable.

The second difference is that Garritan CFX is warmer, and VSL CFX brighter (but not too bright... I really dislike too bright pianos like many C7). I suppose this is due to the Close1 perspective just above the strings. My version is Standard. Perhaps the Full version uses the Close2 which is closer to the player to produce a sound more like Garritan. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other about the timbre, they are just different.


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2734872
05/07/18 03:27 PM
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Note: I have just seen the reverb knob... and the player preset put it on -9dB. I need -Inf if I want a dry sound !!


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735099
05/08/18 12:44 PM
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Here is the 27 page PDF user manual for VSL CFX... (latest version v1.02)

VSL CFX manual.pdf
(...direct download link, 3.32MB file size.)


Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735142
05/08/18 04:12 PM
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I must say the more I play this instrument the more attached I get to it. It has a really nice touch, and the dynamic range is mighty. And I didn't even change anything about it, it's at 100 (factory default) and you can crank it up even higher, I think up to 200 or something. This is wild.

But I strongly dislike the ambience, the more I play it. The room just doesn't sound good to me. I found it helps to turn off the predelay from the mix window. That makes the sound a bit less artificial. And then also it helped to turn down the reverb knob. But then the instrument also loses some of its character. The Abbey Road Studio room of the Garritan CFX sounds a lot more natural to me.

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735149
05/08/18 04:27 PM
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Can you remove the ambience and make it just close mic'd? And perhaps use convolution reverb from an external source instead?


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: karvala] #2735175
05/08/18 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by karvala
Can you remove the ambience and make it just close mic'd? And perhaps use convolution reverb from an external source instead?


Yes if I turn down the reverb, it's almost entirely dry. I have no experience with external reverb software. Do you have any recommendations?

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735180
05/08/18 06:33 PM
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I usually use the builtin stuff, but if I have to go external I'll use Reflektor or Replika because they come as part of Komplete. However, people say good things about Valhalla reverb, so that might be worth a look though I haven't tried it myself.. It will all be artificial so inherently inferior to the Abbey Road Studio One reverb in the Garritan. Might be better than an unpleasant natural room, though.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735240
05/09/18 05:01 AM
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Grazilerimba... the Abbey Road Studios and Synchron Stage Vienna are two of the best rooms in the world!!, but, you could try with Altiverb or Valhalla room. I honestly think it's a matter of setting, also depends if you listen to it with headphone or through the piano speakers and the acoustic interaction of your room.

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: Grazilerimba] #2735248
05/09/18 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Grazilerimba
I must say the more I play this instrument the more attached I get to it. It has a really nice touch, and the dynamic range is mighty. And I didn't even change anything about it, it's at 100 (factory default) and you can crank it up even higher, I think up to 200 or something. This is wild.


That's great. After the initial impressions, it's all about how it feels for you to play it. Do you feel at home, inspired by the sound, amazed by it? That's all that matters when you make comparisons.

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735300
05/09/18 10:47 AM
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Would love to hear from anyone who pony'd up for the full version. If I were going to invest, I'd get that as I like a fairly dry sound and it seems like you'd want the additional close/mid mics in the mix. It's a lot of cash to gamble with.

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735338
05/09/18 01:28 PM
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@karvala, thank you. Valhalla is something I read often around here, should check it out. And I agree, it will probably not replicate the experience of Garritan's natural hall reverb, but it's something I always wanted to try so I think now would be a good opportunity.

@pold, yes that's true. I do feel inspired when playing it. I think both the Vienna Imperial and the VSL CFX have great dynamic ranges which makes for a really authentic playing experience in that one regard. I'm still struggling with the other flaws, but perhaps they'll improve some stuff too.

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735344
05/09/18 01:44 PM
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I bought a new Samsung 860 pro 512 GB SSD today....just in case. grin
The posts untill now still not convince me the VSL CFX is what i need and like based on the few demo's ,but i'll wait some more until more reviews come in.
Sound and recording stage are the most important aspects to me and outweigh pedal behaviour and the last percentages of near perfect playability.
The Garritan CFX plays so smooth and sounds gorgeous, the VSL really needs to be an improvement to spend that amount of money.....


Last edited by pianistje; 05/09/18 01:46 PM.
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: jfl] #2735351
05/09/18 02:29 PM
05/09/18 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jfl
Would love to hear from anyone who pony'd up for the full version. If I were going to invest, I'd get that as I like a fairly dry sound and it seems like you'd want the additional close/mid mics in the mix. It's a lot of cash to gamble with.

Well, against my better judgement and in spite of the disappointment I had with Vienna Imperial I got the full version.
I got the standard library first, I liked it and couldn't resist buying the whole shebang!

Out of the box, the piano feels difficult to control - I discovered that the Dynamic at 100, the default, is way to high for playing IMO, so I set it to 80 (after going back and forth with the acoustic) and the piano is now much more controllable and smooth. I believe it could go even lower.
I didn't feel that there are notes sticking out (with Dynamic at 80) only the normal slight unevenness common to all pianos - this is way, way, way better than Vienna Imperial, but not as heavenly smooth as Garritan CFX.
Compared to Garritan, it's difficult to say which one is better for playing - they are very different rendition of the same instrument.
Garritan is smoother, has better tone but lacks ppp and fff - VSL is real fun to play because of how it responds to any nuance - it's the best VST I've ever played in that respect - although the tone is less full, but still good.

To respond to your request, I recorded a short staccato piece from a midi file (from Yamaha International Piano-e-Competition), to show how dry it can get (and how wet).
The difference form default are: Dynamic 80, Body 40% (this doesn't change the tone, just brings the piano together)

Some examples with single mic positions in isolation:

Close1
Close2
Mid1
Mid2
Main
Surround

They mix very well together.
This is Close1 0dB + Main -7.5dB 21ms delay
Close1_Main

This is four mics mixed together: Close1 + Mid1 + Main + RoomMix at various levels and delay - only Close1 is at 0dB and 0ms, the others are at a lower level and different delays.
It is the one I've been using for playing in the last few days.
Composite


Yamaha C3M - Kawai Novus - VSL CFX - Garritan CFX - Pianoteq Pro - American Concert D - Ravenscroft 275
PC -> Sonarworks Reference 4 -> RME Babyface Pro -> Schiit Yggdrasil + Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD650 & HD800
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735356
05/09/18 02:51 PM
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Wow, Erard. Just noticed your signature - that is quite the collection! smile
Coming from all of that, your impressions are definitely high praise.

I'm not in any danger of buying another VST soon, but just out of curiosity, between Garritan, VSL and Pianoteq:
1. Which is the best to play? Which is most immersive when playing?
2. Which is the best sounding from a player perspective when playing?
3. How does the pedal work? Is it fully functional? And what about the resonances?

I'm really looking forward to hearing recordings done with it.

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735398
05/09/18 07:09 PM
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Thanks very much indeed for the demos Erard. Exactly what I was looking for.

VSL should take note and add this sort of comparative sampling on their site.

I too like both the mixes, more than any of the individual mic samples. They're fairly dry with just enough presence for a pleasing sound.

Both mixes were apparently made with the standard option mics. The two close mics are pretty similar sounding to my ear, with close-2 having just a bit more air. But it seems like you can get there with the Close-1/Room mix.

Have you found a mix you like more that uses the additional voices in the full package that stands out from the standard package mixes?. I'm now thinking I'd be happy with the standard package and save some money.

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735408
05/09/18 08:08 PM
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Indeed very much appreciated Erard !!
That was very good sounding and i liked your personal choice very much.

It does sound so different compared to the Garritan CFX.
Better details, less warmth and smoothness.
Choices,..... choices.....

I am hesitating after three recent purchases that didn't worked out at all ( Grand Rhapsody, Ravenscroft and Hammersmith). but it says a lot more about me i guess.....
Luckily all the info is very helpfull and the more critical aspects are also mentioned.
I guess within a week or two just before the cheaper deadline ends , we will have some rounded overall opinions after users have found their ideal settings and things that won't get any better.

I will keep my eye on this topic for sure.
Over at VI Control some user did mention the thin and digital sounding upper octaves,.... that is indeed a major concern !

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: Erard] #2735461
05/10/18 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Erard


<snip>



Thanks for these, thanks to sorrownightingale for earlier demos as well; these are all much more helpful than the official demos.

It sounds very good, generally. It's striking how much clearer the Surround is compared to the main. I also get some slightly strange spatial effects on the Composite mixture.

Do you have any demos from the High mics? Some people have said they're very good?


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735524
05/10/18 11:53 AM
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Okay, so I've had a play with this now, and I must say my 10-minute exposure initial impressions are not very positive overall. That might well change with more exposure.

The Good:-

1. Dynamic level is terrific. Even on the default of 100% there is a real sense of dynamic contrast; the fact that it can be increased beyond that is amazing. Definitely the widest dynamic range of any piano VST I've played.
2. Dynamic control is similarly impressive; it promotes a good feeling of connection with the instrument. It seems that a high number of dynamic layers really can help.
3. Timbre. It's not actually to my taste, being rather too bright for me, and the sound is not without its flaws (see below), but it sounds very clearly like a proper piano.

The Bad:-
1. Stability/compatibility. It comes with no player of its own, which is a bit clumsy. I normally install my software pianos to the C: drive initially and then farm things out to various drives using Junction links in Windows 10, which normally works fine; software is supposed to see it seamlessly as still in the original installation path and it means things can be moved around with needing to reinstall. This is the first and only VST of any type I have come across that does not support that (specifically, it crashed when the files were like that, and only stopped crashing when I moved the actual files back to the original drive). That's annoying. The need for a hardware USB dongle to be attached is similarly annoying. There also remain silly bugs, e.g. in Edit mode, the on-screen keyboard is incorrect by one key, i.e. if you press 'A', it claims the central frequency of that is 415Hz. This just speaks of a lack of proper testing.
2. Controls. I read the manual fully before testing, and still to actually make any meaningful adjustment to the sound in a predictable way is unnecessarily difficult. If people thought the controls in the Garritan CFX were opaque (and I didn't; I actually thought they were quite straightforward) I can only imagine what they'll think of these.
3. Mistuned notes. More accurately, mistuned strings, since it's not that the note as a whole is mistuned, but one of the strings, leading to a rather sour sound. That's careless maintenance during sampling.
4. Long load times. It's not a huge deal, but this are by far the longest load times for me, even on a newish Samsung SSD. Think Garritan x 2 at least.

The Ugly:-
1. Space. Grazilerimba wrote above about a dislike of the space, and I can entirely see what was meant by that. I don't mind an ambient sound, in fact I play the Garritan with stronger ambient than close mics normally, but this is just horrible. In the first place, with the numerous ambient mics and reverb settings all over the place, it's pretty much geared up for ambient sound. If you want a close piano sound, it could be said that isn't what this instrument is about. You can make it dry by cutting all the reverb and all the ambient mics, but it doesn't sound great; it's quite dead and clipped. However, my first impression of the key problem with the ambient sounds is:-
2. Phase problems! OMG, do VSL not believe in phase-matching? This makes True Keys pianos (which suffer from this problem a bit) look positively professional. There are ugly phase shifts all over the place; I feel almost dizzy while playing. I'm quite sensitive to that because of a background partly in psychoacoustics, and maybe other people won't notice as much, but to me it completely destroys the illusion of playing an actual acoustic piano and makes it really quite unpleasant and highly distracting after a while. The rather eccentric mic placement (including the close mics - just how were they positioned?)

On the basis of the ugly, I can completely see someone would want to cut out the room and replace it with something that does the job properly or at least gives your ears a break. I'll test it more, and maybe I'll get used to that, but somehow I doubt out. It's a real shame, as the ugly completely spoils what could have been a nice alternative to the CFX.

Last edited by karvala; 05/10/18 12:15 PM.

Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735534
05/10/18 12:27 PM
05/10/18 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mcoll

I'm not in any danger of buying another VST soon, but just out of curiosity, between Garritan, VSL and Pianoteq:
1. Which is the best to play? Which is most immersive when playing?
2. Which is the best sounding from a player perspective when playing?
3. How does the pedal work? Is it fully functional? And what about the resonances?

Well, I don't know which is the best to play - I personally like Garritan and VSL CFX best - and that might even change in a month time!
About the pedal - as far as I can tell, the half-pedalling is not working at the moment in VSL CFX - it's not following at all the speed of the pedal when stopping the sound. On the main screen there is a Half Pedal but that only makes the transition shorter or longer - but always fixed - again, it doesn't follow the sustain pedal.
On the other hand Garritan CFX pedal is very good, Pianoteq pedal is absolutely perfect IMO.

jfl, pianistje and karvala - you are welcome!

Originally Posted by karvala

Do you have any demos from the High mics? Some people have said they're very good?


Here you go:
High
High-Sur

And another mix with Close1 (0dB), Main (-16dB, 21ms) and High (-6dB, 16ms)
Composite2

Please keep in mind that these samples are not normalized.


Yamaha C3M - Kawai Novus - VSL CFX - Garritan CFX - Pianoteq Pro - American Concert D - Ravenscroft 275
PC -> Sonarworks Reference 4 -> RME Babyface Pro -> Schiit Yggdrasil + Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD650 & HD800
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: karvala] #2735580
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Originally Posted by karvala

On the basis of the ugly, I can completely see someone would want to cut out the room and replace it with something that does the job properly or at least gives your ears a break. I'll test it more, and maybe I'll get used to that, but somehow I doubt out. It's a real shame, as the ugly completely spoils what could have been a nice alternative to the CFX.

I like your critical approach and evident expertise karvala.

I am curious what your favorite top three piano vst's are and why, considering all things involved that make up for the total playing experience.

I reloaded the Garritan CFX this afternoon on a Samsung SSD 860 pro, after i had to remove it a couple of weeks ago ,due to several loading errors.
It works flawlessly now, but i don't like the sound as much as what i remembered it sounded like.
A very strange experience, but maybe something worthwile....by implementing some distance to have a fresh ''ear''.

Last edited by pianistje; 05/10/18 04:59 PM.
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: pianistje] #2735758
05/11/18 01:07 PM
05/11/18 01:07 PM
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karvala Offline
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Originally Posted by pianistje
Originally Posted by karvala

On the basis of the ugly, I can completely see someone would want to cut out the room and replace it with something that does the job properly or at least gives your ears a break. I'll test it more, and maybe I'll get used to that, but somehow I doubt out. It's a real shame, as the ugly completely spoils what could have been a nice alternative to the CFX.

I like your critical approach and evident expertise karvala.

I am curious what your favorite top three piano vst's are and why, considering all things involved that make up for the total playing experience.

I reloaded the Garritan CFX this afternoon on a Samsung SSD 860 pro, after i had to remove it a couple of weeks ago ,due to several loading errors.
It works flawlessly now, but i don't like the sound as much as what i remembered it sounded like.
A very strange experience, but maybe something worthwile....by implementing some distance to have a fresh ''ear''.


Thanks, I appreciate it. A fresh ear is definitely useful. I find it's definitely possible both to get tired of a piano VST over time, and to like them more, and sometimes it even seems cyclical. There aren't many that stand the test of time.

My top three VSTs (it's too early to include the VSL CFX yet) is actually quite a difficult question for that very reason. The top one is fairly clear and constant, but the other two vary quite a bit over time, so this is only the current version. Next month it could be different. From my point of view, what I want is a piano VST that I play and that gives me either (a) the impression of playing an acoustic piano, such that I can almost forget I'm playing a sampled instrument; or (b) gives me the impression that I'm listening to a recording of the piano. Both of those essentially mean that it must be relatively free of problems, because problems distract from the illusion. It turns out that there are surprisingly few that meet that requirement. In reverse order.

3. Bechstein Digital Grand
You might describe this as a singular taste. It's quite unforgiving in playing, which means if you're a lazy pianist like me it's not as enjoyable as it might be. It also suffers from a notable lack of sustain in the high notes (an all-too-common problem unfortunately), and it has performance issues which means it requires a decent setup. But the sound is authentically Bechstein, and the sound customisation options are impressive; you can genuinely change it quite a bit. It's useful for certain repertoire, and if you're willing to put in the time, you can make it sound fairly decent. It's a very clean sound, with decent optional sampled room resonance (which sounds a lot better than the algorithmic stuff they also include as an option), and it's reasonably responsive. The sharp attack and lack of sustain mean that you can forget about using it for big romantic pieces, or jazz/blues; it might be alright for some pop although it would a slightly eccentric choice. Good for C18th music, though.

2. Ivory II Studio Grands - Steinway B
I'm actually quite embarrassed by this one, which is diametrically opposite to the Bechstein, and it requires some explanation. When I was a child, I noticed that I quite liked playing the piano when there was a vacuum cleaner on in the background. I later read that Glenn Gould also used to like that (sadly, the similarity ends there!), and I think the reason was alluded to by Krystian Zimerman in an interview a few years ago, where he complained that modern digital remastering has meant that old recordings which were supposed to be purely about the music were now being critically evaluated in terms of sounds (which he thought was unfair). There is something to be said for a piano which genuinely sounds like piano, but a piano which isn't terribly good, so you focus not on the gorgeous sound, but on the actual music instead. This one fits that bill surprisingly well. It sounds like a slightly clapped-out but decent piano that your average piano teacher might own (which is why I previously described it as a comedy piano, which was a bit harsh!). It also sounds, like the Bosendorfer that is packaged with it, remarkably two-dimensional, but which I mean it seems to lack all depth. But it is hugely playable and responsive, and if you don't mind the imperfection in the underlying instrument, there's actually not much wrong with it.

1. Garritan CFX
This is the only one that isn't a difficult choice and is unlikely to change in the near future (although I live in hope!). It's not perfect - there is noise in the samples and it is cumulative, but I find I'm able to ignore that in the way that I would ignore the hiss of a poor amplifier turned up too loud. There is apparently a memory leak, as well, though I don't keep it open anyway so that doesn't affect me. This was recorded with room resonance, and my guess is that, unlike most other VSTs, release sounds are part of the main samples and the room/release controls are actually designed to reduce that rather than add it. If that's true, it's an inspired decision because it has by far the most convincing and frankly gorgeous release sounds of any VST I've played so far. It does have one weakness in the sound as a result of that as well, however, which is that very short staccato playing, which something like the Ravenscroft does superbly, doesn't sound very convincing on the Garritan. That's a fairly minor problem, however, and doesn't stop it being perfectly usable for that type of music. For big Romantic works, it's unbeatable. The sound in itself would make it a contender for the top spot, but it comes out top in several other ways as well. The spatial location of the notes are spot on, without any of the issues seen in others. Similarly the tone and amplitude are remarkably even across the keyboard. That means there are no major popouts and you can play relatively undistracted. There are sensible design options, notably including separate sustain samples which can be turned off if required. It's the only piano I can think of which offers that, and it's so necessary for some pieces. The pedal support, after their update and Cybergene's additional fix, is also excellent. so again you're not distracted by things not working the way they're supposed to. Finally, the mic choices, locations and options are a terrific bonus. If it only had the Classic perspective, it would still easily be top choice. The fact that you get others as well, and can mix and match genuinely close and genuinely ambient mics in a way that sounds authentic, is terrific. With a primarily close-mic setup, I feel like I'm playing an acoustic instrument. With a primarily ambient setup, I feel like I'm listening to a recording. I don't get either of those senses to the same extent with any other piano. For the combination of sound, playability, sensible options and minimal flaws, it's an easy winner for me.

Honorable Mentions
I've bought some real turkeys in the past (Waves Grand Rhapsody, anyone?!), but also some others that are respectable. The Ivory II ACD is decent; the instrument is slightly flawed and the single mic perspective not ideal, so I don't use it much, but there's not a huge amount wrong with it. Similarly, the True Keys American Grand I now feel is the best of those three. The German Grand is more interesting but the sound is just so poor that I couldn't recommend it. The American is fine, though; it's a bit weak and sounds like the hammers were not properly cut in at the time of recording, and the all the True Keys pianos sound to me like they had a bit too rigorous a clean in the production process, but there's no denying it's very even, there are good control options, and as long as you turn the dynamics range WAY up from the default value, it's moderately playable, so it doesn't do too much wrong. Completing the hat-trick of usable Steinway Ds is The Grandeur. In some ways, that is the nicest sounding of the three, with that authentic Steinway bell attack, and the playability is okay, but the Kontakt problems (release samples louder than the attack, weird pedal effects including notes coming back from the dead etc.) are far too distracting to make me want to play with any regularity. Grudgingly, I'll also put the Ravenscroft 275 here. The flagship of the VI pianos, and it does feel like a premium product with great playability, evenness, relatively flawless and a good range of options, so there's not much wrong with it in truth, but I can't get past that bitterly cold and slightly booming sound. Ravenscroft apparently thought this would be a good advert for their pianos. In fact, it makes me want to avoid them if this is any indication of what they sound like.

So that's that. Interesting to hear yours, and indeed anyone else's. smile





Last edited by karvala; 05/11/18 01:07 PM.

Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735795
05/11/18 04:17 PM
05/11/18 04:17 PM
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propianist Offline
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Hi Karvala,
I'm surprised you didn't give an honourable mention to Vintage D, since you did for Grandeur - because they're both so very, very similar to each other, both Steinway D's running in Kontakt with almost identical player engine and parameters, and both sampled and produced by Uli Baronowsky with a similar approach and style. They're practically interchangeable on paper, except for the subtle differences in each instrument's unique voicing and timbre. Like you, I also own both, and many others of those same software pianos you mention, so I'd agree with all your comments. For me, the Vintage D (although it's a few years old now - well it is vintage!!! haha) is still one of the best Steinways - I'd say better than any of the Synthogy or UVI TrueKeys offerings. (I've got them too.)

The other interesting tit-bit which was pointed out by someone in VSL's user forum, was that VSL's new CFX comes under a "Synchron Pianos" moniker, ie. "Pianos" = plural, so the implication is that VSL might well be adding other piano titles to the Synchron range in the future, and given the Synchron Stage Vienna recording facility owns a Bosendorfer 290 Imperial (with CEUS automation) and a Steinway D, that's quite feasable. The Steinway would be the obvious one to do next, because VSL already have other Bosendorfer titles in their product lineup already. So hopefully a Synchron Steinway D will be in the works sometime soon...!

Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735798
05/11/18 04:38 PM
05/11/18 04:38 PM
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I like the Vintage D and I agree they're quite similar; I got it at the same time as The Grandeur and I think it's timbre is actually more interesting. The two reasons I didn't include it are that it's half-pedal support is quite poor, which I interferes with playing a bit, and it lacks sustained tone in the higher registers (if you try playing something like Chopin Op.25 No.1, it sounds a bit silly), which is the one area in which I think The Grandeur is notably better. That's undoubtedly due to the substantial age difference of the instruments. They're both good, though.

Yeah, a VSL Steinway would be very interesting and well worth a look.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735825
05/11/18 06:26 PM
05/11/18 06:26 PM
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Thank you for the very detailed descriptions karvala. I was looking forward to hearing what the more technically versed users would have to say. So this mistuned strings and phase matching stuff could probably be the reason why the instrument feels a little bit 'out of tune' in general, but not in the same way as a badly out of tune note would. VSL wrote on their site that they had tuners present at the sampling sessions, so it's surprising to me that this seems to be an ever bigger issue than what I had already thought it would be.

What surprises me, is nobody else noticing the notes that stand out or feel bothered by it? Especially the g5, g sharp 5 (and I think also a 5), if you play them within melodies or chords. Also how about d5 sounding out of tune?

@karvala, that's a great list of piano VSTs you have. I would really love to like the Bechstein and I could probably find a way to deal with the extreme system requirements, but the sound is just very unpleasant to me. The recording (player perspective) sounds like it comes from an old radio, for the lack of a better description. I can't stand the sound for more than a few minutes. How did you get it to sound good to your ears? Also the multi instrument is a chore to use. The velocity curves are set up in a weird way so that certain samples (belonging to individual mics) are only triggered at certain velocities, and if you want to change a setting in one mic, you gotta repeat that for the other two

The ACD has great playability, it's among the most real feeling instruments, but the sound is not satisfying to me. Something is wrong with their resonance engine, it worked nicely in the German D from Ivory II, but for some reason the decay of the resonances is so much steeper in the ACD to the point where it has an impact on the enjoyment. This is also the reason why I didn't get the Studio Grands, because I had this issues with the Italian Grand as well and figured it's just gonna be that way for everything that isn't German D.

As for the Grandeur, I would really love to play it, but those phantom notes you mention ruin it for me. It's fairly reproducible as well: press down a note, press down the pedal. release the note. Now quickly release and push down the pedal, as if you wanted to repedal. You'll end up with a weird "re-pedalling of the resonance" where you'll get a sound as if the string was being plucked. This can be avoided by turning down the resonance knob, but then you get an instrument that's as dry as a fata morgana in the desert. I had no idea the Vintage D and the Grandeur were made by the same guys. That's awesome. I wonder what they're up to next.

re: VI Labs pianos, I find it hard to configure them. They have this weird seit of knobs and curves and I can't get them to feel natural to play at all. If I remember correctly it's something about sensitivity curves, but there's also a velocity curve, and then another knob with something else. Very unintuitive when compared to Garritan CFX. The Accousticsamples VSTs have the same thing, especially the C7 grand which gets some acclaim on here but which I just couldn't get warm with at all.

Last edited by Grazilerimba; 05/11/18 06:27 PM.
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735909
05/12/18 07:01 AM
05/12/18 07:01 AM
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New 30 min walkthrough video by Paul from VSL.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xs-b_mBIpY

Too bad my Vienna key is still in transit and can't arrive soon enough so i can test this thing.

Last edited by tdwctdwc; 05/12/18 07:02 AM.
Re: New incoming Yamaha CFX vst from VSL [Re: slobajudge] #2735922
05/12/18 08:20 AM
05/12/18 08:20 AM
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Back to VSL - I have to say - I'm having a great time with this piano.
I've been working with it quite a bit as I wanted to make the tone warmer and more pleasing in general - out of the box it's a little on the cold side and has not enough body IMO.
Yesterday I managed to get a more satisfying result - and I couldn't stop playing. I love the responsiveness and playability - they are really first rate.
Here is another example - Chopin's Scherzo n. 3 - a piece that exploits almost all the characteristics of the piano:

Chopin - Scherzo n. 3

I also tested the sustain pedal again, and actually the piano does respond somewhat to the velocity when you go up - it stops faster if you pull the pedal up faster. If you go slower it follows till a certain speed - you cannot do a real half-pedalling where the note is stopped slowly or lasts a shorter time, like you can on Garritan or a real piano. Hope this makes sense.

@Grazilerimba - Yes, I was bothered by the some notes sticking out - I use a free VST call VeloScaler. It allows you to scale back (or forward) the midi velocity of a note o a group of notes, up to five notes/groups (or more if you chain them). I got a better uniformity this way. I used it also on Garritan CFX to make it really even.

Originally Posted by karvala
The Bad:-
1. Stability/compatibility. It comes with no player of its own, which is a bit clumsy. I normally install my software pianos to the C: drive initially and then farm things out to various drives using Junction links in Windows 10, which normally works fine; software is supposed to see it seamlessly as still in the original installation path and it means things can be moved around with needing to reinstall. This is the first and only VST of any type I have come across that does not support that (specifically, it crashed when the files were like that, and only stopped crashing when I moved the actual files back to the original drive). That's annoying. The need for a hardware USB dongle to be attached is similarly annoying. There also remain silly bugs, e.g. in Edit mode, the on-screen keyboard is incorrect by one key, i.e. if you press 'A', it claims the central frequency of that is 415Hz. This just speaks of a lack of proper testing.
2. Controls. I read the manual fully before testing, and still to actually make any meaningful adjustment to the sound in a predictable way is unnecessarily difficult. If people thought the controls in the Garritan CFX were opaque (and I didn't; I actually thought they were quite straightforward) I can only imagine what they'll think of these.
3. Mistuned notes. More accurately, mistuned strings, since it's not that the note as a whole is mistuned, but one of the strings, leading to a rather sour sound. That's careless maintenance during sampling.
4. Long load times. It's not a huge deal, but this are by far the longest load times for me, even on a newish Samsung SSD. Think Garritan x 2 at least.

The Bad:
1. I agree - it should have a standalone mode. Fortunately it's easy to remedy the lack of a dedicate application using SaviHost, which is free and works well. VSL CFX in SaviHost
About the soft links and the crashing: you don't need to use them - it's possible to move the sound files wherever you want them (even in more than one place) and then change the path the VST will search, or add new paths (Click the gear, then Database). I did it, it works.
The USB dongle: ahh - I hate it! But we knew that before buying, so...
About the frequency of the A key: if you are referring to the 415 that appears under the equalizer after Frequency - that is the frequency of the control in the equalizer that has the focus, not the frequency of the note. If you move the control in the equalizer it will show a different frequency.

2. I agree on this too - it's a very complex piece of software - but also you can do a lot with it. You can edit the volume, the dynamics and equalize with a parametric equalizer each single note! Edit the volume, equalize, delay, pan, apply reverb (and modify dynamically each parameter of the equalizer following the velocity or other MIDI parameters, with Learn function) - all separately for each mic position. And more. I quite like it.

3. Notes out of tune: that's not good at all - fortunately they are very rare - I heard one once on a sample in this thread - but it hasn't happened to me yet while playing.

4. Long load times - on my computer it takes a time proportional to the GB it has to load (makes sense, right?). Try changing the Default Preload Size. I use 3172 samples, and it takes the same time as Garritan (where I use the maximum pre-load size) to load into VSTHost. (15 seconds more or less using NVME drive)

The Ugly (duckling? smile )
Re: the space - not as good as Garritan's, but I find it definitely usable.
Re: phasing - I'm curious if you hear phasing in the sample above? Probably I'm not very sensitive to it - and in any case I try to avoid anything that sound strange while playing with the knobs in the UI.


Yamaha C3M - Kawai Novus - VSL CFX - Garritan CFX - Pianoteq Pro - American Concert D - Ravenscroft 275
PC -> Sonarworks Reference 4 -> RME Babyface Pro -> Schiit Yggdrasil + Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD650 & HD800
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