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"Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
#2961182 03/28/20 06:32 AM
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Part of a series I've been occasionally posting here - this time, my first (overdue) test drive of the VSL Synchron CFX. Again, it's a piece you normally wouldn't attempt on a digital instrument - the aim is to see whether the video would be able to fool most people into thinking it was a real piano (headphones don't help the illusion this time):



For those familiar with my series, which piano do you prefer? Garritan (everything so far), or the VSL?

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961189 03/28/20 06:54 AM
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Great!

I love the VSL pianos. I don't think there's anything else that comes close in terms of capturing the range of tone colour of a concert grand. The playability and responsiveness are also the best in the business IMHO.

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961191 03/28/20 07:10 AM
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Wow! $589 for the VSL. That's a terribly expensive VI, eh?

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
MacMacMac #2961194 03/28/20 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Wow! $589 for the VSL. That's a terribly expensive VI, eh?


The Standard Library is half the price. The only difference is the number of mic positions.

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961197 03/28/20 07:42 AM
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Even half of $589 is $295 ... twice the price of my most expensive VI. It's tempting, but not that tempting. frown

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
MacMacMac #2961199 03/28/20 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Even half of $589 is $295 ... twice the price of my most expensive VI. It's tempting, but not that tempting. frown


I wonder if VSL would actually make more money by lowering their prices. (And get rid of their customer hating policy if you lose or break your dongle)

The high price in combination with this bad policy makes it a no go for me.

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961200 03/28/20 07:59 AM
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Hi Philip,

Your piano playing = absolutely fantastic!

The sound of VSL CFX...
1st.) This clip to me sounds like it's the first setting called "Concert" (or factory preset 01 "Concert Room-Mix") where the piano is panned to the right of the stereo image.
I've always found that annoying to have the sound coming from the right, not centre, if I'm actually playing VSL CFX myself, so would prefer preset 07 "Concert Centred Room-Mix" to correct that issue, but ironically watching somebody else playing on a YouTube video - especially when your piano is pictured on the right side of the video frame - it does work better in that context. I noticed it straight away, but it didn't bother me as usual because I'm seeing that layout in the video.

2nd.) I think YouTube audio codec has taken a layer of high treble clarity off the sound of the VSL CFX audio, compared to the actual software output. Sound seems much darker.

3rd.) The overall sound is pretty wet, too much room-mix mic and long hall reverb ambience - but this is a criticism of VSL's preset itself. If your video was filmed from 20 feet away from the piano with a wide shot, the audio would match the video in context, but seeing a close-up of your fingers on the keys and tight over-the-shoulder player position camera, my ear is expecting (or wanting) a rather dry, clearer, more close recorded piano sound. Although that juxtaposition of visual close proximity to performer vs audible distance from instrument is exactly what you see all the time in commercial classical footage, where you're seeing a tight camera close up of Yuja Wang's hands on the keys while you're hearing a distant-miked ambient Steinway and orchestra in the concert hall mix like you're in the 47th row seat.

4th.) Which is better Garritan CFX of VSL CFX? All your previous "real enough" videos sounded great with the Garritan CFX, although it's hard to pick a winner for your project unless you were to render the same piece with both softwares and make a direct A/B comparison video. Otherwise your ear usually accepts whichever piano sound the video comes with is probably the best one chosen for that piece.
Owning both myself, I would have to say Garritan is the better software piano than VSL, purely because VSL does not offer sympathetic resonance of adjacent strings (which Garritan does) and also VSL cannot play a silent note no matter how slowly you depress the key. Both are grievous faults IMHO and total deal-breakers for VSL and put me off. Although Garritan is not without faults too, like the back to front L-R image of the player pos binaural mic, and audible background hiss, but I seem to spend less time fighting the settings and more time playing with Garritan compared, to VSL where I'm endlessly fighting the settings trying to get rid of those occasional chorused / double-tracked effects you get on certain notes due to the mismatch of the numerous microphones and their delay offsets and relative phase shifts, varying from very bad to okay as you go up and down the keyboard, never able to find one perfect setting.

5th) It would be handy for you to post a screenshot of your particular VST settings for some of these videos too, so others can try those suggested settings for themselves, playing their own things they're more familiar with. You can never really comment on how a VST piano sounds until you've played it for yourself, and an out-of-this-world fantastic virtuoso performance by someone like yourself tends to sound ALWAYS impressive, whatever the VST in question, rather than show up and uncover all possible flaws in the VST behaviour like it does under the personal scrutiny of thousands of pianists experimenting at home with the same VST library.

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961225 03/28/20 09:52 AM
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Great playing and rendering Philip.

How do you compare the play-ability of the Garritan vs. the VSL?

Are you still using the internal Yamaha AvantGrand sounds live for performance of these pieces?

To my ears, the VSL sounds more dynamic and the ambience seems both bigger and cleaner. But I enjoy the Garritan recordings a bit more; lousy youtube compression makes it a bit more difficult to decide.

VSL just posted a 360* tour of the Synchron Stage on YouTube. The room visuals and speech sounds match what we hear in the VSL VIs IMO.

https://youtu.be/EMwxLVDjJAs

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
U3piano #2961233 03/28/20 10:36 AM
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So this is a dongulated VI? frown
Originally Posted by U3piano
I wonder if VSL would actually make more money by lowering their prices. (And get rid of their customer hating policy if you lose or break your dongle)

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
MacMacMac #2961240 03/28/20 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
So this is a dongulated VI?


Yup.. and if you lose it, you will have to buy new licenses for the libaries you owned for 50% of the price, plus a new dongle of course.

Let's not hijack this thread any further, and let's keep the discussion about the actual library but yeah, it is what it is.

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961292 03/28/20 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Philip_Johnston
Part of a series I've been occasionally posting here - this time, my first (overdue) test drive of the VSL Synchron CFX. Again, it's a piece you normally wouldn't attempt on a digital instrument - the aim is to see whether the video would be able to fool most people into thinking it was a real piano (headphones don't help the illusion this time):



For those familiar with my series, which piano do you prefer? Garritan (everything so far), or the VSL?




In my opinion VLS Yamaha CFX is more realistic and closer to acoustic piano than Garritan CFX. Great playing.

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961337 03/28/20 05:03 PM
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Great playing as always and excellent sound. I think the piano is a bit too distant for my taste though. Like I’m in the back of the concert hall. I prefer slightly closer sounding mic perspectives.

BTW, this is totally irrelevant and a tongue in cheek comment but since your goal is to fool people into thinking this is a real acoustic piano, why would you wear headphones if playing one 😉


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961439 03/29/20 01:14 AM
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Here's a demo of VSL CFX. Although this is Standard version, not the full version, it sounds clearer and closer.
Maybe a little more tweak will make it closer.


Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961459 03/29/20 04:47 AM
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Great playing! If someone woukd sneakily hid this in a playlist I would not have suspected a VI.

Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
MacMacMac #2961460 03/29/20 04:47 AM
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Excellent playing and lovely sound Philip. Really hard to say which is better - this or Garritan CFX. I personally prefer VSL CFX - especially the closer one that angmyu posted.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Even half of $589 is $295 ... twice the price of my most expensive VI. It's tempting, but not that tempting. frown

VSL is one of the few companies that offers sampled pianos with money-back guarantee if you directly buy from them. So, if you don't like it you can return it.

I have been using VSL Concert-D as my main piano VST and overall very happy with it. Best playability in all sampled pianos I have tried, with Garritan CFX being very close to it. Almost as good playability as Pianoteq. And, the sound is excellent if you like the room in which the piano is sampled.

Osho

Last edited by Osho; 03/29/20 04:53 AM.

Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: "Real Enough" demo - VSL Synchron CFX
Philip_Johnston #2961465 03/29/20 05:44 AM
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The problem I have with VSLs ‘money-back’ guarantee is that the customer is responsible for return-shipping. Their pianos are huge (some as heavy as 266GB), so yes, this could be costly, say, if you live in Savanna Larga! blush


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