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Re: Your Top VSTs
Groove On #2870909 07/20/19 12:43 PM
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piano's :
Garitan CFX full (for playabilty and sound as replacement for a piano solo)
Embertone Walker 1954 (for any piano parts in a mix)
Super Grand, Ravenscroft, Hammersmith full, my piano and some others that i don't use anymore.....

electric piano's :
Scarbee EP88 (perfect for anything Rhodish, they did an amazing job with this one)
Neo souls deleted and some i don't even remember from Waves like Wurli and electric grand 88

Organ :
B5 V2.02 (almost perfect don't need another one)

Synth :
OP-X (all the Oberheim emulations i'll ever need)
Kontakt 6 synths (analogue dreams etc.) and Cubase 10 synths.

I don't really need anything now, very happy at the moment...focussing on playing more instead of the next even better plug in.

Last edited by pianistje; 07/20/19 12:44 PM.
Re: Your Top VSTs
Groove On #2870922 07/20/19 01:06 PM
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Something i forgot to tell about the Embertone. The Walker 1954 sustain is one of a kind and i solely use the hammer mics and the liquid sonics ''illusions'' reverb plug-in for a bit of reverb. I have never experienced a more ''alive'' piano in a pop mix. All the warm piano characteristics without eating up the tonal qualities of other instruments. The intro of ''always a woman to me''/Billy Joel is a great Steinway intro that the Walker can mimic easily.
Most other piano's end up the same, loosing their character in the mix and this ''Yamaha'' lifeless eveness/brightness is dominant no matter what brand the sampled piano was supposed to be..
Not so with the Embertone, still a bit wanting for solo piano, but it is so good in a mix.
Try to layer only piano with a string patch and most vst's muddy the result to some extent .
The Embertone reveals it's organic qualities even more so than in isolation. It's o so slightly thin and tacky character (because i use the hammer mics) becomes it's strenght and the sustain does the rest.

I'm a huge fan of it and if i had to pick only one, the Embertone would be the one for sure, also because i frequently play along with records to maintain perfect pop/rock timing.

Re: Your Top VSTs
Tyrone Slothrop #2870925 07/20/19 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

(BTW, johnstaf, after my chat with you last Sunday, I told my custom builder to crowbar into my custom build a RAID controller with a pair of NVMe M.2 PCI-e 512GB SSDs in a RAID-0 configuration for my non-boot drive D. I'd rather kick VSL Synchron Concert D's ass than vice versa! wink Let me know if there are any other tweaks I should be having him include. This build already has an RME Babyface Pro 24-Channel 192 kHz USB Bus-Powered Audio Interface.)


Tyrone, that sounds great! This isn't the first VSL instrument to tax the most up-to-date systems. Their Dimension Strings (2013), in which every string player in the orchestra is sampled separately, is probably the most demanding sample based instrument in existence -depending on the size of your orchestra.

With your system, you'll probably be able to load all mic positions of the Synchron D together with tiny latency.

The Baby Face Pro has great low latency drivers for Windows. It sounds like your system is going to fantastic!

Re: Your Top VSTs
Erard #2870926 07/20/19 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Erard
Originally Posted by CyberGene
What do you mean there’s no velocity curve control? Is this serious? So you can only use your controllers curves or some MIDI automation in the DAW?

I know, it's hard to believe, but you cannot control the velocity curve in the Vienna Synchron Piano VST sofware (the VSL software for the CFX and Steinway D samples - 500€ each!).


For people who aren't familiar with VSL pricing, the standard versions usually have less playable content than the full versions. However, the pianos only differ in the number of mic positions. They are otherwise identical, but much cheaper.

There's only a singe version of Vienna Imperial, but a Synchron Imperial is expected soon, which will presumably have a cheaper standard version.

Re: Your Top VSTs
MacMacMac #2870941 07/20/19 03:12 PM
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I just got the Garritan CFX ... and I'm thinking I need to add it to my top choices.
I did not expect to like a Yamaha grand. And I haven't touched one in over twenty years.
I expected it to be bright and harsh. But upon trying the Garritan I think I'm becoming a fan.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Pianos only: Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Kawai EX Pro

Re: Your Top VSTs
MacMacMac #2870952 07/20/19 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I just got the Garritan CFX ... and I'm thinking I need to add it to my top choices.
I did not expect to like a Yamaha grand. And I haven't touched one in over twenty years.
I expected it to be bright and harsh. But upon trying the Garritan I think I'm becoming a fan.


Welcome to the club! There are a lot of good suggestions for curves and mic settings on here for CFX, if you feel the need to make adjustments.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Your Top VSTs
Groove On #2870960 07/20/19 03:42 PM
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And the repedaling fix wink

Last edited by CyberGene; 07/20/19 03:42 PM.

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Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Your Top VSTs
johnstaf #2871005 07/20/19 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Tyrone, that sounds great! This isn't the first VSL instrument to tax the most up-to-date systems. Their Dimension Strings (2013), in which every string player in the orchestra is sampled separately, is probably the most demanding sample based instrument in existence -depending on the size of your orchestra.

With your system, you'll probably be able to load all mic positions of the Synchron D together with tiny latency.

The Baby Face Pro has great low latency drivers for Windows. It sounds like your system is going to fantastic!

A controversy has erupted with my custom builder, which seems to be a point of stubborn pride for him. Perhaps it has less meaning from the MacBook Pro power-user perspective however.


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Re: Your Top VSTs
Gombessa #2871011 07/20/19 06:49 PM
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I'm sure I'll want to make adjustments. Is there a condensed summary available? (Said the lazy one.)
Originally Posted by Gombessa
There are a lot of good suggestions for curves and mic settings on here for CFX, if you feel the need to make adjustments.

Re: Your Top VSTs
MacMacMac #2871041 07/20/19 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I'm sure I'll want to make adjustments. Is there a condensed summary available? (Said the lazy one.)
Originally Posted by Gombessa
There are a lot of good suggestions for curves and mic settings on here for CFX, if you feel the need to make adjustments.


The Garritan CFX also works well in contemporary/pop tracks, such as Tracks 029 and 033 on this album of production music I produced recently:

http://www.motionfocusmusic.com/album/mofom%20222/mofom-222-Sentimental-Journeys

Here's some screen shots of my CFX settings:

https://imgur.com/a/ZFSAWIZ

I've only ever owned the full version, and I always include some amount of the ambient mics in the mix (which aren't available in the CFX Lite version). No extra reverb added to the piano, but there is a touch of Valhalla Room (Large Room) on the master output to help gel everything. Guitar is Hephaestus sounds Spanish Guitar from Sampleism, and Strings are the free Pocket Blackus Solo Cello.


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Re: Your Top VSTs
pianistje #2871045 07/20/19 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pianistje
Something i forgot to tell about the Embertone. The Walker 1954 sustain is one of a kind and i solely use the hammer mics and the liquid sonics ''illusions'' reverb plug-in for a bit of reverb. I have never experienced a more ''alive'' piano in a pop mix. All the warm piano characteristics without eating up the tonal qualities of other instruments. The intro of ''always a woman to me''/Billy Joel is a great Steinway intro that the Walker can mimic easily.
Most other piano's end up the same, loosing their character in the mix and this ''Yamaha'' lifeless eveness/brightness is dominant no matter what brand the sampled piano was supposed to be..
Not so with the Embertone, still a bit wanting for solo piano, but it is so good in a mix.
Try to layer only piano with a string patch and most vst's muddy the result to some extent .
The Embertone reveals it's organic qualities even more so than in isolation. It's o so slightly thin and tacky character (because i use the hammer mics) becomes it's strenght and the sustain does the rest.

I'm a huge fan of it and if i had to pick only one, the Embertone would be the one for sure, also because i frequently play along with records to maintain perfect pop/rock timing.


That's really interesting to hear, and I know exactly what you mean about the Billy Joel 'Always a Woman' piano intro - that tone, character and aliveness is hard to emulate with any sampled piano. Always admired the piano sound Billy's producer Phil Ramone captured on 'The Stranger' album which that track was from, but thought the piano they used on that album was a Baldwin concert grand. Not sure, but it's a huge, resonant sound I really like.

The Embertone Walker D has a tone & character unlike any of the other (90+ would you believe) sampled/virtual pianos I own. The closest sonically to my ears would be the Cinesamples Piano in Blue (not surprisingly, the same Steinway D, but from 1949). I only have the Lite version of the Embertone Walker D, but my first impression was of it being a more detailed version of Piano in Blue, with that same clear hammer attack & complex swirling harmonics & sustain. I've been considering upgrading to the full version, and adding the hammer mics (the clarity of which really appealed to me in the demos). I am concerned about the pedalling & performance problems detailed here and on VI Control, and the promised update is still a work in progress it appears.


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Re: Your Top VSTs
Craig Richards #2871112 07/21/19 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Craig Richards


That's really interesting to hear, and I know exactly what you mean about the Billy Joel 'Always a Woman' piano intro - that tone, character and aliveness is hard to emulate with any sampled piano. Always admired the piano sound Billy's producer Phil Ramone captured on 'The Stranger' album which that track was from, but thought the piano they used on that album was a Baldwin concert grand. Not sure, but it's a huge, resonant sound I really like.

Ah thanks ,that Billy Joel piano has many similarities to the hammer mics in the Embertone + the resonance... i thought it was a Steinway.
I must say that the Embertone does not sound like a new Steinway though.... and Steinway over the last century ( both Hamburg and New York) have such varying exemplares soundwise....
Quote

The Embertone Walker D has a tone & character unlike any of the other (90+ would you believe) sampled/virtual pianos I own. The closest sonically to my ears would be the Cinesamples Piano in Blue (not surprisingly, the same Steinway D, but from 1949). I only have the Lite version of the Embertone Walker D, but my first impression was of it being a more detailed version of Piano in Blue, with that same clear hammer attack & complex swirling harmonics & sustain. I've been considering upgrading to the full version, and adding the hammer mics (the clarity of which really appealed to me in the demos). I am concerned about the pedalling & performance problems detailed here and on VI Control, and the promised update is still a work in progress it appears.

I also happen to have the CinePiano which sounds great, but it’s a bit jumpy in some velocities.
I don’t know how many velocity layers the Embertone light has, but in the full version i use all 36 layers.
It’s definitely enhancing the dynamics of the Embertone.
Yes it doesn’t play as smooth as the Garritan CFX with the better pedal behaviour.
But i didn’t have the experience as some others that the playability was bad.
Compared to some other libraries it plays pretty good and I use a Kawai MP11SE and have no problem playing the Embertone from that keyboard.

But i suppose that a demanding classical repertoir requires something else.
Which i always find a bit amusing.
Two weeks ago i played a brand new Steigraeber C-212 and Bösendorfer Imperial, Yamaha S6 ( second hand) and the new Bechstein B-212 .
Besides their haunting real sound, the action was able to perfectly execute up to the smallest details imaginable.
I fully onderstand money issues and a certain limited environment at home , but if i were to play a demanding classical repertoir i would try to play on A catagory grands if it were remotely possible.
The Yamaha N3x is a slap in the face by comparison.
It was a long time when i played an S6, but all what you are missing in the Yamaha Avant grand series immidiatly presented itself at the very first passage on the S6.
I know most sampled versions of an S6 ( most Yammy digitals have also a S6 onboard) they never come close to the real thing.
It was an eye opening experience how good an S6 actually plays and sounds.

Sorry for the derailment, but i do not use piano vst’s to mimic the experience of a real grand....it would frustrate the heck out of me.

Re: Your Top VSTs
Groove On #2871128 07/21/19 06:41 AM
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I use the Pianoteq (latest version as of 7/19) Steinway B, fed by a Kawai MPSEII as the silent complement to my acoustic S&S B. It took a good bit of adjustment over a period of about a month to get it just the way I like it, perhaps because I have the "real" B to compare it with, but I really like it. Obviously not exactly like the real one, but it's way better than any crappy acoustic would be. A student could grow with this combo for quite a long time. I also find it extremely convenient for listening to myself because it's always recording recent MIDI output. I just forget it's on record and sometimes snag some pretty decent (for me anyway) passages .

Re: Your Top VSTs
MacMacMac #2871232 07/21/19 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I'm sure I'll want to make adjustments. Is there a condensed summary available? (Said the lazy one.)

Don't think there is a single thread, but folks like Cybergene and Philip Johnston have posted their settings. Anyone the common settings I've seen and have used:

1. Don't bother with reverb. The ambient mics (in Full version) give you everything you need and more.
2. Most users default to the Classic perspective.
3. Update the program to get (and enable) half and partial pedaling support.
4. Set ambient mic eq/volume to about 60-70%,, higher for more reverb, lower for a more dry sound.
5. Increase the dynamic range from 50 to 60-70 or so.
6. Try Cybergene's repealing fix.
7. Drop the pedal noise, it is super distracting.
8. If you have trouble with some pops/skips, disabling EQ-Limit may help.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Your Top VSTs
johnstaf #2871259 07/21/19 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
[
There's only a singe version of Vienna Imperial, but a Synchron Imperial is expected soon, which will presumably have a cheaper standard version.

Has VSL said officially (or non-officially) something about it ?

I suppose the Synchron version will be a record from the concert room, then ready to be mixed with an orchestra, while the old Vienna Imperial uses other perspectives.

Since I play only with the player perspective, I suppose the Synchron to be redondant with the Vienna Imperial.


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Re: Your Top VSTs
Frédéric L #2871268 07/21/19 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L

Has VSL said officially (or non-officially) something about it ?

I suppose the Synchron version will be a record from the concert room, then ready to be mixed with an orchestra, while the old Vienna Imperial uses other perspectives.

Since I play only with the player perspective, I suppose the Synchron to be redondant with the Vienna Imperial.


They hinted at it many times on their forum. I think everybody knew the Steinway was coming, after they linked to their video showing the pianos in the Synchron studio. I believe they've all but confirmed a further instalment.

I wonder if there will be a Synchronized version of the original Imperial. They've done this with many instruments where they use their own software to attempt to "place" their dry recordings on the Synchron Stage. I would prefer this option, as it means they would have to clean up the original Vienna Imperial, and bring it up to date. A new Synchron version would have to be pretty spectacular to beat Vienna Imperial.

Re: Your Top VSTs
Erard #2872382 07/24/19 08:33 PM
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A little late to this particular party, but just wanted to add another vote for the VSL CFX and Steinway D. I have a lot of the most popular piano VSTs these days, and these are my top two. Honorable mention for the Garritan CFX as well, which is somewhat different but also very good. Wouldn't bother with any others, unless you're a specific fan of the Pianoteq approach.

Originally Posted by Erard
Originally Posted by JJHLH
Do you have a favorite between the VSL CFX and VSL Steinway D?


As I said, at the moment I slightly prefer the CFX - but I also like the Yamaha flagship better than the Steinway D on the real instruments.


Ditto; I also prefer the CFX and also partly at least because I prefer the underlying CFX acoustic instrument as well. I originally disliked the Steinway D for the reasons rach3master gives - it was excessively bright in its original velocity curve and even after that was fixed by VSL it still felt somewhat brutal - but I must admit it's grown on me. Rather like a very complex and bitter coffee that just feels harsh originally but that you eventually come to appreciate. The smooth-drinking CFX still takes the crown for me, though.

To also support other answers given: sostenuto works fine and as expected. Half-pedalling is generally excellent; best thing I can say is that I generally don't notice or need to pay attention to the pedalling implementation - it just works, which is how it should be if it's done properly.

Yes, no velocity curve in the VSL piano VSTs, which has been repeatedly criticised but to no avail. Having said that, it needs to be hosted in a DAW anyway (or something like SaviHost, which I use and is very convenient as well as free), which will usually have a velocity curve facility, so it's not a major problem.


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: Your Top VSTs
Groove On #2872625 07/25/19 12:27 PM
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Hi all,

as thread opener I now have decided with which VST I will start the adventure. Your recommendation which VST to buy was clear cut - so I bought both!

The discussion was generating lots of detailed information and advice, which I hadn`t found elsewhere. Very helpful. For me especially the hint about the differences between Full and Demo was important.

Now if I only could find that software version of the almost unknown SK.

Thanks again.

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