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VSL Steinway una corda samples?
#2985517 05/29/20 04:49 PM
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Hi friends!
So I've been playing with the VSL Steinway, this time truly loving what I'm hearing!
But one thing always seems to get me -- when ever I press down the soft pedal (can't remember what CC number it sends, but mine is truly the una corda because I have a 3-pedal unit), the soft pedal effect is not that strong. In fact, to my ears it's just the main samples toned darker or the higher frequencies taken off. If you would like, I can post an audio clip of my findings later. But if you have this instrument, would you also help me confirm this?
Compared with this video, starting at 5:09 for the Steinway example, you can clearly hear a difference.
I tried reaching out to VSL support, and so far they haven't responded directly to my doubts.
What do you think? Or am I missing something as I loaded the samples? Please let me know!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2GYYV8JSqM

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985535 05/29/20 06:10 PM
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I had my first chance to play with my new Concert D this evening.

I did find that una corda is subtle, but I didn’t explore further.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
KevinM #2985547 05/29/20 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I had my first chance to play with my new Concert D this evening.

I did find that una corda is subtle, but I didn’t explore further.

Did you get the standard or full library? And is it possible for you to maybe come up with a bit of a demo of how it sounds like? Thanks! smile

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
KevinM #2985549 05/29/20 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I had my first chance to play with my new Concert D this evening.

I did find that una corda is subtle, but I didn’t explore further.

More importantly, do you think it's the same as what the video shows or sounding different?

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985551 05/29/20 06:45 PM
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I got the standard. I can do a recording over the weekend but please do not not expect anything like your skill.

I have got the impression different pianos una corda varies a lot. Some it is subtle while others quite distinctive. So I didn’t think much of it, more accepting that subtle is how it is for Concert D.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
KevinM #2985559 05/29/20 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I got the standard. I can do a recording over the weekend but please do not not expect anything like your skill.

I have got the impression different pianos una corda varies a lot. Some it is subtle while others quite distinctive. So I didn’t think much of it, more accepting that subtle is how it is for Concert D.

Haha, it's OK, I just wanted to make sure that I'm not missing anything. So far though, I don't hear too much of that una corda, but the video I linked in the main post (supposedly I believe this is the Steinway they sampled from) has a more distinctive una corda sound, muted but full of character. Watch from the 5-minute and 9-second mark.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985581 05/29/20 08:35 PM
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Hi friends!
So I created a test of the una corda on Steinway. You will hear the same selection played twice, once without and once with the soft pedal engaged. To my ears, they are just the same samples toned down a bit, instead of that special muted sound that the una corda provides (see video in the main post or the link following this one for comparison).
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BqgmgIav8QKtbdCJv797sisdxZvEJvC7/view?usp=drivesdk

I know this may not be a fair comparison, but this is the Ravenscroft 275 and how the una corda behaves there. That's the kind of tonal change I was expecting to hear when engaging the una corda.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pCnFQGLGMvVIIcZ66ieb51z48sfHiS4X/view?usp=drivesdk

Let me know if your Steinway reacts the same when engaging the una corda, thanks! smile

My preset is the mid microphone plus the Decca tree main LR. The amplitude for the Steinway file has been boosted in Audacity to 0DB, but the Ravenscroft has not.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
KevinM #2985591 05/29/20 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I had my first chance to play with my new Concert D this evening.

I did find that una corda is subtle, but I didn’t explore further.

Kevin, is it running without hiccups or other PC problems?

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
20/20 Vision #2985599 05/29/20 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 20/20 Vision
Originally Posted by KevinM
I had my first chance to play with my new Concert D this evening.

I did find that una corda is subtle, but I didn’t explore further.

Kevin, is it running without hiccups or other PC problems?

Mine is running OK without any hickups. Note that I have two microphone positions up, which is enough for me. But I have tested extensively and concluded that we don't have a correct una corda emulation in the VSL concert grand libraries. Instead we are treated to an upright piano's pedal shift function.
I have just posted on the VSL forum as well as writing an email to VSL support. I remember last year someone posted there about velocity and playability and they listened and made changes. I hope they can listen again from a classical musician's point of view.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985612 05/30/20 12:17 AM
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Is it possible that the hammers were just new when recorded? The piano was chosen directly at Steinway factory.
I may be wrong, but the older the hammers are - the more Una Corda changes the timbre?


Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. (falsely attributed to Plato)
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Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985628 05/30/20 03:29 AM
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Sometimes companies record out of tune notes and call it ‘authentic’ when people start to complain....as if they knew all along and the piano technician fully supported the ‘authentic’ approach.
The Una Corda is simply adjustable and you have always 1 mm extra when pushed to the limits. When notes start to sound weird because the hammer comes to close to the neighboring halftone you crossed the line while adjusting the Una Corda.

It happens that even new grands have not all spacings between the hammers but foremost angle towards the strings 100% correctly regulated. This can also happen after the well regulated piano leaves the factory due to changes in humidity and climate. This immediately limits the amount of keyboard travel space to the right, because certain notes start to blend quicker with a neighboring halftone ( unwanted of course) than others. And the bad ones limit the amount of overal space you have to move the keyboard to the right when pressing the left pedal.

With a brand new top grand ..a good regulated Una Corda should be very noticeable indeed.

Last edited by pianistje; 05/30/20 03:30 AM.
Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
20/20 Vision #2985631 05/30/20 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by 20/20 Vision
Originally Posted by KevinM
I had my first chance to play with my new Concert D this evening.

I did find that una corda is subtle, but I didn’t explore further.

Kevin, is it running without hiccups or other PC problems?

I got crackles when running at 64, at 128 I haven't had any issues.

I do find something odd with the b5 key and slightly less so with the half tones either side. They need to be played fairly loud for the odd sound to ring out. I might even try filtering out some of the other frequencies for that note. But I'll leave it as is for a couple of days. Perhaps my playing will adjust. Happens with headphones and speakers.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985638 05/30/20 04:39 AM
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Just tried playing with una corda on and off, but honestly I am struggling to hear when it is on or not.

Una corda recording

I start with it off, and play the same bar twice, before pressing the pedal and playing for two bars. But after the first cycle of doing that I mussed the sequence up I think. But I can't then decipher exactly when it is on or not.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985639 05/30/20 04:52 AM
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Maybe someone (paul kopf?) from vsl could tell us if there are real una corda samples or not.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985644 05/30/20 05:08 AM
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Just looking at the UI of the player and I've realised that the indicator for the una-corda pedal being pressed or not does not say una-corda, it just says soft.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985651 05/30/20 05:57 AM
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It's common in parts of Europe to set pianos up like this. The hammer just shifts a little bit to the right so all strings are still stuck. The part of the hammer that now strikes the strings is needled a little bit, and with the bit that strikes the leftmost string being needled a little bit more. The effect is a slight softening of the sound.

I prefer the sound when only two strings are struck in the treble.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985652 05/30/20 05:57 AM
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Kevin, how are you finding it?

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
johnstaf #2985662 05/30/20 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Kevin, how are you finding it?

I am enjoying It but I wouldn’t say wowed. I think VI is a more spectacular piano. I could almost imagine I am playing a big powerful beast of an acoustic piano with VI.

Concert D has its own distinctive sound, but at the same time I think will work well with all classical repertoire. There is something odd about b5 and I am wondering if it is just my setup, I get a metallic sound if I play loud enough.

I can’t see me using ACD that much now with Concert D, and I think VI blows Garritan CFX lite away.

Concert D is very playable, and I noticed I can stop and just listen to the sound of an individual note being played. There is beauty there.

So, not yet wowed like I was VI. But I need to get more a feel of it.

Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985664 05/30/20 07:07 AM
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That B5 is just the way it is I'm afraid.

It has taken me a while to really "get" the Synchron concert grands. I think it's because the room is such a big part of the sound. I just use the close pair as the main mic and a touch of the main room pair if I want ambience.

Yes VI is beautiful and quirky. I don't think I'll ever replace it. I'm really getting into the new Imperial, but they're so different.

Last edited by johnstaf; 05/30/20 07:07 AM.
Re: VSL Steinway una corda samples?
David Lai #2985688 05/30/20 08:30 AM
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Update: so I contacted VSL tech support, and their reply is that yes, they are doing an emulation in the mapping, as recording samples would double the piano size.
I suggested that their emulation is not enough, because the soft pedal / una corda is now doing what an upright piano would do instead of a concert grand. If anything, if the filter can be adjustable, then we can tune it to be either subtle or more defined (normally I think Steinways have a more defined character when it comes to una corda). I hope they will hear my cries for something more convincing!!!

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