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Re: VSL Steinway D - released
rach3master #2789187 12/08/18 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rach3master
How would you say it compares to the Garritan CFX?


Garritan CFX has been for a long time my go to virtual piano - till I switched to VSL CFX because of the superior playability. Still, I missed Garritan's luscious tone and longer sustain.
To me the VSL D has that - together with a great playability and responsiveness.
And a very natural tone - at least on my headphones!

I remember that Garritan had pretty good presets - not so with VSL D: I personally didn't like any of the presets. Probably they have been created for rendering - many are quite distant and have lots of ambient sound.
But it didn't take me long to create a piano that I enjoy playing. I use Tube at 0dB, Ribbon at -3dB and High-Surround at -12 dB for ambience. It sounds close enough on headphones, more or less like an acoustic grand - at a short distance in front of you.

Here is a quick rendering of it from a midi file:
Chopin nocturne

Originally Posted by Rychubil
I have also question to Erard - Is it possible to set warmer and more rounded sound than on official demos (which are too sharp for my taste)?

I think so - Synchron player has a very flexible (5 bands) parametric equalizer on each microphone - plus one parametric equalizer (3 bands) for each one of the 88 notes.


Yamaha C3M - Kawai Novus - VSL CFX & Steinway D - Garritan CFX - Pianoteq Pro - American Concert D - Ravenscroft 275
PC -> Sonarworks Reference 4 -> RME Babyface Pro -> Schiit Yggdrasil + Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD650 & HD800
Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789189 12/08/18 07:47 PM
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Thank you Erard. That sounds very impressive. I was a bit afraid that the pedal down resonances would be lackluster, but at least in the Chopin recording they sound very rich and beautiful. Is this the Standard or the Full version? Also the sound in the recording doesn't have that nasty room ambience anymore, at least not as badly as in the official demos.

Again I gotta wonder what makes them publish demos like that. Compared to the one in Erard's post, the ones on the site don't do a good job of actually showing the sound of the piano itself with less of the room reverb.

If you have the time, can you record some chords in the upper half with some bass notes and just let them ring for 10 or 15 seconds (with pedal down; edit)? I'd love to hear the resonance a bit better. Thanks for your review.

Last edited by Grazilerimba; 12/08/18 07:56 PM.
Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789195 12/08/18 08:08 PM
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Thanks Erard. I agree that this audio sounds very good. Convenient that I have the same piece recorded on a Garritan CFX so I can compare directly haha. It seems to me that this VSL Steinway has more "character" than the Garritan CFX, for lack of better technical terms.

I might just go ahead and buy it.

Last edited by rach3master; 12/08/18 08:10 PM.

Youtube piano recordings (classical music/video games/anime): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9N3Xirs86USDQXE1WiwXg
Kawai Novus NV-10 / Yamaha Avantgrand N1 with Garritan CFX VST
Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789249 12/08/18 11:50 PM
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I've been playing with this for the last half hour and I'll give a quick and preliminary opinion before giving it a proper outing in the morning. My first impression is not particularly favorable, although I note that I tend to say that about most new instruments, so tomorrow's opinion might be more informative. laugh

The good points are the same wide dynamic range and good dynamic control that we saw in the CFX, which is thanks to the many sample layers. All of the controls available for the CFX are also available here, which is worth noting, including the release sample controls and the per-note editing. Lastly, it does indeed sound like a German Steinway D.

The bad points from an initial impression: it sounds pretty lousy straight out of the box. It's possible to improve it a lot by playing with the mic settings, and I'll do more of that tomorrow, but the builtin presets are fairly unimpressive. Second, on some mics at least, the bass is quite boomy (and this is over headphones; I imagine that would be a lot worse on speakers). Lastly, it sounds like a Germany Steinway on steroids. By which I mean the distinctive bell-like timbre you get on American Steinway takes on a decidely percussive nature on German Steinways. On this instrument, at least as sampled, that characteristic is quite exaggerated and results in this actually being more percussive and even brighter than the CFX, if you can believe that. I can, because I like acoustic CFX as an instrument, but the idea that a Steinway is brighter and more percussive than even the best Yamaha will seem impossible to some people. I can only say try it for yourself in that case. YMMV.

Hopefully after sleeping on it, and having more time to play around tomorrow with some different repertoire (which is essential), I'll feel differently, but this is not the first impression I was hoping for.

Last edited by karvala; 12/08/18 11:54 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: VSL Steinway D - released
karvala #2789250 12/09/18 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by karvala
On this instrument, at least as sampled, that characteristic is quite exaggerated and results in this actually being more percussive and even brighter than the CFX


If this is true, it is disappointing. I expected less percussive sound than CFX. When I heard the demo, Steinway D sounded more round than CFX, which is strange..

Re: VSL Steinway D - released
karvala #2789270 12/09/18 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by karvala
By which I mean the distinctive bell-like timbre you get on American Steinway takes on a decidely percussive nature on German Steinways. On this instrument, at least as sampled, that characteristic is quite exaggerated and results in this actually being more percussive and even brighter than the CFX, if you can believe that.


After waiting for it to download for 36 hours and then playing it for the past few hours, I agree with the above statement.

I experienced some hearing fatigue pretty quickly after playing it. I'm looking forward to trying your presets once you get it all zeroed in. You make the CFX sound awesome and I'm sure you'll definitely come up with something nice for the Steinway.

God Bless,
David


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Re: VSL Steinway D - released
karvala #2789279 12/09/18 06:14 AM
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Karvala - thank you for your post - you made me realize how much I left out in my previous descriptions!
You are correct on the points you mention - I noticed them too - but, as you will soon find out tomorrow morning, they are easy to correct in the Synchron player and by tuning the midi velocity curve.
I don't know why they set the various default values this way - they are quite off, at least for playing - but that's how they see the piano and we can only work with what we have!
So - just to have a common starting point - this is what I did to get the piano preset you hear in the recording in my previous post:
I use three mics:
Ribbon @ -3dB no eq
Tube @ 0dB + see eq below
High-Sur @ -12 dB no eq

On the main screen (Play) set Dynamic to 90, Sympatetic to -6 and Volume at Max.

Originally Posted by karvala
[snip] ...on some mics at least, the bass is quite boomy (and this is over headphones; I imagine that would be a lot worse on speakers).

True for the Tube microphone, which is otherwise the best close mic imo. This is the curve (just a quick and dirty eq on the parametric equalizer for Tube mic) I used on the recording on my previous post:

[Linked Image]

Pretty wild eh?

Originally Posted by karvala
Lastly, it sounds like a Germany Steinway on steroids. By which I mean the distinctive bell-like timbre you get on American Steinway takes on a decidely percussive nature on German Steinways. On this instrument, at least as sampled, that characteristic is quite exaggerated and results in this actually being more percussive and even brighter than the CFX, if you can believe that. I can, because I like acoustic CFX as an instrument, but the idea that a Steinway is brighter and more percussive than even the best Yamaha will seem impossible to some people. I can only say try it for yourself in that case.


Yeah, that's because in the default velocity curve there is a strong slant towards the higher velocities (why VSL?? It's unplayable this way...). This is the velocity curve I used in MidiCurve for the recording:

[Linked Image]

I use a similar curve for the Novus. As you can see velocity 80 on the keyboard results in a velocity of 64 being sent to the VST! If you don't want to use midiCurve, you can try to set Midi Sensitivity around -24 on the main screen. That gives you an idea of what's possible but it's not as good as a specific curve set up for your keyboard. I think they should add something similar to midiCurve to the Synchron player!

I use the VSL VST in VSTHost, together with midiCurve - both are free to download and fairly easy to setup.


Yamaha C3M - Kawai Novus - VSL CFX & Steinway D - Garritan CFX - Pianoteq Pro - American Concert D - Ravenscroft 275
PC -> Sonarworks Reference 4 -> RME Babyface Pro -> Schiit Yggdrasil + Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD650 & HD800
Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789283 12/09/18 06:54 AM
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Quote
If this is true, it is disappointing. I expected less percussive sound than CFX.


A piano tone is' percussive' when the volume of the sustain drops right after the attack, which is usually the result of a recording technique. In this optic, Garritan CFX isn't percussive at all.

Last edited by Alex C; 12/09/18 06:58 AM.
Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789285 12/09/18 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Alex C

A piano tone is' percussive' when the volume of the sustain drops right after the attack, which is usually the result of a recording technique. In this optic, Garritan CFX isn't percussive at all.


Yeah, but I think the problem will be solved to some extent by changing internal settings and setting up the mics properly. It was possible in VSL CFX.

Re: VSL Steinway D - released
Erard #2789289 12/09/18 07:57 AM
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Erard: thank you SO much for posting that. I've just had a quick play using your settings, and it absolutely transforms it. I have some reservations in certain areas still (the sound stage is notably different from the CFX, and perhaps not for the better, but it might be possible to alleviate that by playing around with the mics further), but your settings make it playable and even enjoyable. The velocity curve is essential. Normally I use a straight linear velocity curve (i.e. no remapping) and except for the Ravenscroft, where I had to set one, it has always worked fine with my CA67. On the VSL CFX I reduced midi sensitivity slightly (in the -3 to -5 range usually), but nothing like this. Quite extraordinary that they would release it with the top 20 velocity layers given over to different levels of string-breaking bashing, but that seems to be the case! I hope other users realise that or they'll have a lot of disappointed people on their hands.


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: VSL Steinway D - released
David B #2789291 12/09/18 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by David B


After waiting for it to download for 36 hours and then playing it for the past few hours, I agree with the above statement.

I experienced some hearing fatigue pretty quickly after playing it. I'm looking forward to trying your presets once you get it all zeroed in. You make the CFX sound awesome and I'm sure you'll definitely come up with something nice for the Steinway.

God Bless,
David


Thanks, David. As soon as I have a preset I'm satisfied with I'll be happy to share it. For the time being, definitely try Erard's settings if you haven't already; he's dealt very effectively with some of the main problems and it's much improved as a result.


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: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789293 12/09/18 08:27 AM
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How’s half-pedaling and re-pedaling?


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Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789294 12/09/18 08:28 AM
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Regarding the Vouchers, seems like I was wrong. I misread it. I thought it meant "if you order 3 Vouchers with an order", but it says something like "if you order 3 Vouchers in the same order".

If that's the case, that would be a pretty sweet deal.

Does someone know what happens if you use three vouchers to buy something that costs 260? will the other 40 still be redeemable or are they lost?

Erard àre you using the Standard or Full Version?

Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789297 12/09/18 08:36 AM
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I'm thinking of buying the Steinway D Standard and the Imperial Standard which will be released later with 400 euro voucher.

Is there a big difference between Standard and Full?

Re: VSL Steinway D - released
Grazilerimba #2789298 12/09/18 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Grazilerimba
Regarding the Vouchers, seems like I was wrong. I misread it. I thought it meant "if you order 3 Vouchers with an order", but it says something like "if you order 3 Vouchers in the same order".

If that's the case, that would be a pretty sweet deal.

Does someone know what happens if you use three vouchers to buy something that costs 260? will the other 40 still be redeemable or are they lost?

Erard àre you using the Standard or Full Version?


It's a great deal!

You don't get any change BTW. I used two, and added 45 euro. I have two left for the Synchron Bösendorfer, when it arrives.

Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789299 12/09/18 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by angmyu
I'm thinking of buying the Steinway D Standard and the Imperial Standard which will be released later with 400 euro voucher.

Is there a big difference between Standard and Full?


There's no difference except for mic positions.

Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789302 12/09/18 08:51 AM
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I like the way the velocities are mapped out. I think it's representative of a concert grand. It's easy to get into the habit of playing with higher velocities on a digital, but with a real Model D, the higher velocities will rip your ears off -almost. I used to practise on a Steinway D on a regular basis, and had to wear ear protection. It was easy to make the piano whisper, but I needed to get used to playing at full whack, but my ears would hurt. This was in a studio, and not on stage, where things are different again.

Last edited by johnstaf; 12/09/18 08:54 AM.
Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789304 12/09/18 09:13 AM
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I think, for me at least, the issue is that it's too easy to reach the higher velocities on a many keyboards. To get to the equivalent level on my acoustic, I have to hammer the keyboard. It doesn't sound pretty. It's much easier to reach a velocity of 120 with my DP as a controller than it is to get the equivalent sound on a grand.

Last edited by johnstaf; 12/09/18 09:20 AM.
Re: VSL Steinway D - released
angmyu #2789334 12/09/18 11:16 AM
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Thank you. Ok, so that means I would have to use two vouchers and pay the 45 extra, and keep the other two vouchers. Thing is, I am only interested in VSL's pianos and already have the Imperial and the CFX. So that would leave me with either the upgrade to the full Steinway or with a possible Boesendorfer. And I don't like that to be honest. Effectively, for me it would be a sale of a Steinway & Boesendorfer "bundle", or a sale of the Full Steinway. This voucher stuff would have rocked if I wouldn't have gotten the CFX yet.

By the way, I'm always surprised when I read posts where people say they just edited a velocity curve within a few minutes. I always need at least an hour, sometimes several hours until I get a velocity curve that makes the instrument feel right. With that said, I agree. Why is there no velocity editor in the Synchron software? It was already inexcusable in the Viennal Imperial, considering Ivory had a (basic) one, and much more so today.

Quote
I used to practise on a Steinway D on a regular basis, and had to wear ear protection.


That's right, a lot of people underestimate the loudness of a real concert grand. I frequently had pain in my ears after long playing sesssions, and wearing hearing protection is definitely a good idea. That's one of the striking things for me when I play on a real grand after a while of playing VSTs. And I have to say, the Vienna Imperial and the VSL CFX are some of the only piano VSTs that do a really good job of bringing out that harsh higher level of loudness in their huge dynamic range.


PS: Looks like VSL paid licensing fees to Steinway for being able to use their name in the product. Or why else would they be able to actually call it Steinway, when other developers have to change the name to Concert D or similar?

Last edited by Grazilerimba; 12/09/18 11:20 AM.
Re: VSL Steinway D - released
CyberGene #2789348 12/09/18 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
How’s half-pedaling and re-pedaling?


Absolutely fine as far as I can tell; they were on the CFX as well. There is a half-pedal control to adjust the sensitivity if you need it, but I never needed to adjust it. Fundamentally, I pedal the way I would with an acoustic and I don't get any unexpected behaviour, which to me is the benchmark of a half-pedal and re-pedal that works as it should.


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
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