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klausi6 #3123985 06/02/21 04:36 PM
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I can only afford one. Which is the best one?


Technical Editor for Mark Levine's The Jazz Theory Book and worked on The Jazz Piano Book. Studied with: Mark Levine & Mark Isham (1981-1990); Barry Harris (1993-2000)
RinTin #3123990 06/02/21 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by RinTin
I can only afford one. Which is the best one?


CFX or 280 VC...but there's a 30 day demo (currently for the 274/Bos Imperial...rotating each week, apparently!)

klausi6 #3124024 06/02/21 08:31 PM
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Hi... Just fresh from installing my first VSL demo and happy to report that my low-spec laptop handles pretty well a VSL giga-library. The myth goes that VSL libraries are computer-hungry beasts, and so I was waiting for a good opportunity to test the synchron pianos before buying, since I am not interested in updating my VST-dedicated laptop just because of a library.

Keep in mind that each computer performs differently and so your system may be better than mine on paper, and for some reason be useless for more demanding VSTs (I have another much better and recent laptop from the same manufacturer that is useless for any VST - crackle nightmare!!! Go figure...). It is always best to test than be sorry for a huge and useless expense. Nonetheless, I am thrilled that my computer can cope with it and I will certainly buy a few synchron pianos (either in this or in a future sale - I have garritan CFX so no need to hurry).

Details: my laptop is a somehow old Asus UX303 with an humble i5 4210U 1.7GHz CPU (benchmark score of only 2281; for comparison the lowest recent i3 10100 has a CPU benchmark of 8845... So my laptop is really low spec at this moment). A few months ago I upgraded the memory from 8 to 12Gb (4Gb onboard plus an 8Gb DIMM - cannot go higher than that) and changed the HDD to a 500Gb SSD Crucial BX500. I have no audio-interface: headphones go into laptop.

Installed the VSL Steinway D-274 standard demo on the internal SSD. Using ASIO4ALL at 64 samples with either 2 or 3 of the mics, caused no click or crackles in this system (I am not interested in the full versions, so did not even tried to install >200Gb for the 10 mics, so did not test it). Since I am a really begginner that cannot stress the VSL engine, I also played a few midi files of chopin etudes at 250 bpm (output thru LoopMIDI into the synchron player) and there were no significant crackles (I mean: at 250 bpm it is just a mess of blurred notes, but there were only occasional glitches in the sound). If I do the same test in pianoteq, I get far more crackles, as far as I remember.

So my take is: if you are intrigued by the VSL libraries (I am...) but are afraid that this will lead to neverending upgrades of your computer, benefit from this rare opportunity for demoing the libraries in your system. I was completely surprised because I was not expecting to go so smoothly: I did not even had to load multiple instances to split the mic loads.

Maybe tomorrow I will revisit this and have a terrible crackling surprise, but for the moment I am happy (although my wallet and garritan CFX won't be so happy in the near future).

klausi6 #3124028 06/02/21 08:58 PM
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Forgot one important detail: you NEED to have an USB eLicenser (from steinberg or from VSL itself) in order to run the demo. I had one already...

klausi6 #3124078 06/03/21 05:47 AM
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I already own the Bosendorfer Imperial and the 280VC and I've been very keen on trying out the others based on my experience with these two. I downloaded the Steinway, and I have to say I'm a little disappointed. The control is not as good as the 280VC (though I realise it's probably editable) and the sound is rather bright. I would be interested to hear other's thoughts on comparing all the grand pianos.

Does anyone have any recommended mixes for the Steinway (or any of the others)?

I think the 280VC is the best I've heard over the other grands by a longshot, though I think much of that is due to the room itself - I would love to see the other grands sampled in the smaller studio.

klausi6 #3124147 06/03/21 10:45 AM
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Hi all. Important update on my previous post: it seems I talked too soon frown

There was a mismatch between the Asio4all settings on the synchron player and the setting on asio4all itself, and my testing yesterday was not at 64 samples but at 512... When I set it correctly at 64 today, the crackling appeared... Big time crackling...

On the other hand, not all is lost. The crackling is somehow manageable by setting the number of voices per mic (edit window) so that max number of voices is kept under 300 (ie, 128 for 2 mics or 96 for 3 mics). With asio4all at 128 it is doable (occasional crackle). Slightly worse than garritan, but not terrible worse, and the tone is better (Bosendorfer Imperial; the d274 will probably need a ton of work to be tamed). Will try to split mics by opening several instances in Reaper or Cantabile and see if that improves the crackling.

Again, mine is a very old laptop by today's standards and so this is almost a stress test. All in all, it is faring better than expected.

vagfilm #3124151 06/03/21 10:58 AM
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Anyone can point out how to find the demos? Thanks


[Kawai VPC1 / ES100 - VSTs: VSL 280VC, Garritan CFX, Pianoteq 7 Standard & VI Labs Ravenscroft 275 - Ableton Live - Presonus iOne / iTwo - Sennheiser HD700/6xx - Presonus E5+T10, iloud micro monitors]
klausi6 #3124157 06/03/21 11:13 AM
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Go to the vsl website (vsl.co.at) , click on either the bosendorfer imperial or the steinway, and on the webpage of the piano, on the left side of the screen, there is a box with the info for standard price, full version price, and demo (0 usd or euros). But you need to be registered at vsl and have your usb elicenser also registered.

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Re these demos... VSL has a video explaining how to install the demos and it says to contact their email support, but if you are able to follow all the steps it will work without emailing them.

- Buy a Vienna key (Amazon is fine)
- Download and install 'eLicense Control Center' software from Steinberg
- Create a myvsl account on their website www.vsl.co.at
- Add your vienna key number to both the eLicense sw
- Add your vienna key number to the myvsl account;
- Go to the VSL product page for eg Synchron Steinway;
- Click to add the demo to your basket from the pricing panel on the left;
- 'Purchase' your $0 basket;
- In your myvsl profile, look in 'My Products' you should see your demo piano
- Click on product link and it opens a list of stuff to download and install
- Download and install Vienna Download Manager
- Download and install Vienna Synchron Pianos (this is just the player, not the piano samples)
- Under Synchron Library Downloads download the eg Concert D stereo file. This still isn't the samples, its a small instructions file used by the Download Manager.
- Double click on the downloaded file named eg Y08_Synchron_Steinway_D_Stereo_SPv2_w1.vsldownload and it should open into the Download Manager software.
- In the Download Manager, your piano sounds should finally start downloading. I think you have to manually start the first download and tell it where to download. You can download to a slow disk, because this is a temporary step.
- When download is finished (could take hours), install the download. These are the final files, so install to a fast disk, preferably an SSD.

Phew! Thats a lot of steps. Its possible to save some download time, install time, and disk space by NOT installing all the mic positions. The download is in two separate files 'stereo' and 'additional'. 'Stereo' is the standard library. 'Additional' adds to make the full library. You can just download the 'stereo' if you want, and optionally you can come back later and add the 'additional'. Once you get to the install stage, you can choose which mic positions to install, you don't need them all. So by downloading only 'stereo' and then by only installing 'close1' and 'room mix' or 'stereo main' you can save a lot of time and disk space. If you keep the download file you can come back later and install more mic positions.

My interest is practice with headphones and monitors, I like to use a dry sound. I downloaded the full Bose and compared all the mics. I only need close1. I listened to the other close mics from the full library, but they are quite similar so for me standard is the best value. The Bose close mics have some room sound on them so there is no totally dry sound. The Steinway close 1 mic has less room sound than the Bose, its really quite dry. The Steinway has won my over, its really tasty. I look forward to demoing some of the other pianos.


Roland FP90X, FP30, Pianoteq, Bechstein Digital, VILabs. Adult beginner. Get your personal pianist emojis: Emoji Me App
klausi6 #3124570 06/04/21 12:23 PM
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You can hear VSLs and Garritan play Bach. There are convenient time stamp links in the comments. I like the Garritan.



Technical Editor for Mark Levine's The Jazz Theory Book and worked on The Jazz Piano Book. Studied with: Mark Levine & Mark Isham (1981-1990); Barry Harris (1993-2000)
klausi6 #3124571 06/04/21 12:29 PM
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Another shootout with time stamps,



Technical Editor for Mark Levine's The Jazz Theory Book and worked on The Jazz Piano Book. Studied with: Mark Levine & Mark Isham (1981-1990); Barry Harris (1993-2000)
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Originally Posted by MarkOfJohnson
- Buy a Vienna key (Amazon is fine)
- Download and install 'eLicense Control Center' software from Steinberg
- Create a myvsl account on their website www.vsl.co.at
- Add your vienna key number to both the eLicense sw
- Add your vienna key number to the myvsl account;
- Go to the VSL product page for eg Synchron Steinway;
- Click to add the demo to your basket from the pricing panel on the left;
- 'Purchase' your $0 basket;
- In your myvsl profile, look in 'My Products' you should see your demo piano
- Click on product link and it opens a list of stuff to download and install
- Download and install Vienna Download Manager
- Download and install Vienna Synchron Pianos (this is just the player, not the piano samples)
- Under Synchron Library Downloads download the eg Concert D stereo file. This still isn't the samples, its a small instructions file used by the Download Manager.
- Double click on the downloaded file named eg Y08_Synchron_Steinway_D_Stereo_SPv2_w1.vsldownload and it should open into the Download Manager software.
- In the Download Manager, your piano sounds should finally start downloading. I think you have to manually start the first download and tell it where to download. You can download to a slow disk, because this is a temporary step.
- When download is finished (could take hours), install the download. These are the final files, so install to a fast disk, preferably an SSD.

Phew! Thats a lot of steps.

Hahahaha... are you sure these guys actually want people to buy their stuff? Sounds more like a torture test than a set of installation instructions.

I would have given up the piano before I got halfway through all of that! cursing


"I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel; a free man at the start of a long journey, whose conclusion is uncertain." -- Morgan Freeman's character, "Red", in The Shawshank Redemption
klausi6 #3124629 06/04/21 04:23 PM
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VSL pianos are worth the extra time (and money) !

Surely, with the download manager, there are some extra steps, but many VST have the account creation; purchase, download and activation steps.

I prefer this to lets say Air Music Technology products where the installation guide propose you to click the Velvet installer whatever the product you gave purchase... and finally you should guess you should seek the installer of your product not the Velvet which is another product.


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Originally Posted by SeaDrive
Originally Posted by MarkOfJohnson
- Buy a Vienna key (Amazon is fine)
- Download and install 'eLicense Control Center' software from Steinberg
- Create a myvsl account on their website www.vsl.co.at
- Add your vienna key number to both the eLicense sw
- Add your vienna key number to the myvsl account;
- Go to the VSL product page for eg Synchron Steinway;
- Click to add the demo to your basket from the pricing panel on the left;
- 'Purchase' your $0 basket;
- In your myvsl profile, look in 'My Products' you should see your demo piano
- Click on product link and it opens a list of stuff to download and install
- Download and install Vienna Download Manager
- Download and install Vienna Synchron Pianos (this is just the player, not the piano samples)
- Under Synchron Library Downloads download the eg Concert D stereo file. This still isn't the samples, its a small instructions file used by the Download Manager.
- Double click on the downloaded file named eg Y08_Synchron_Steinway_D_Stereo_SPv2_w1.vsldownload and it should open into the Download Manager software.
- In the Download Manager, your piano sounds should finally start downloading. I think you have to manually start the first download and tell it where to download. You can download to a slow disk, because this is a temporary step.
- When download is finished (could take hours), install the download. These are the final files, so install to a fast disk, preferably an SSD.

Phew! Thats a lot of steps.

Hahahaha... are you sure these guys actually want people to buy their stuff? Sounds more like a torture test than a set of installation instructions.

I would have given up the piano before I got halfway through all of that! cursing

It looks much harder than it really is.


Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. (falsely attributed to Plato)
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klausi6 #3124640 06/04/21 05:20 PM
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Has there been a Bluthner demo yet? I really hope VSL starts having demos available permanently. I know I can request one, but I feel a little guilty taking up their time if I don’t buy from them. Would LOVE to check out the Bluthner, though. I may wind up buying and then returning if I don’t like, which I suppose is almost the same as demoing.

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Originally Posted by SeaDrive
Hahahaha... are you sure these guys actually want people to buy their stuff? Sounds more like a torture test than a set of installation instructions.

I would have given up the piano before I got halfway through all of that! cursing

Haha, I think it's really much more straightforward than it looks with such a list.

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Originally Posted by Solasuke
I already own the Bosendorfer Imperial and the 280VC and I've been very keen on trying out the others based on my experience with these two. I downloaded the Steinway, and I have to say I'm a little disappointed. The control is not as good as the 280VC (though I realise it's probably editable) and the sound is rather bright. I would be interested to hear other's thoughts on comparing all the grand pianos.

Does anyone have any recommended mixes for the Steinway (or any of the others)?

I think the 280VC is the best I've heard over the other grands by a longshot, though I think much of that is due to the room itself - I would love to see the other grands sampled in the smaller studio.

At default settings, the Steinway *is* bright. Its velocity response is also not great without editing, IMO: You note that it's not as good as the 280VC, and my view is that the responsiveness of that piano is easily the best out of the box.

I have all the VSL pianos in standard editions and am trying to decide whether to upgrade any to full. I did find that I really liked the difference that the extra mics made (especially Tube and high surround) made on the 274. The big question is whether adding those would make me want to pull it up over the 280VC or CFX which are comfortably my favourites (I also like the Imperial a lot).

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Originally Posted by CraiginNZ
I have all the VSL pianos in standard editions and am trying to decide whether to upgrade any to full. I did find that I really liked the difference that the extra mics made (especially Tube and high surround) made on the 274. The big question is whether adding those would make me want to pull it up over the 280VC or CFX which are comfortably my favourites (I also like the Imperial a lot).

I think you can download the demo at the moment.

I think the 280vc full is really worth it, much warmer sound from the full mics.

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Originally Posted by MarkOfJohnson
Here are prices in USD for the Synchron pianos. I wrote this out to calculate prices for my own 'custom bundle', figured some of y'all might be doing likewise. (The prices fall short of 40% savings, but there are a few other pianos & keyboard bundles I didn't look at.)

[Linked Image]

BHPhotoVideo.com is also running sale prices, and they come in cheaper than buying in $ direct from VSL. But I guess VSL allows return. (BHPhoto does not? BHPhoto sale price savings calculated vs full price at VSL.)
I actually discovered a way to obtain bigger discounts at timespace.com...
Snaffled the CFX for £138.33 = USD $195!

(They removed the VAT at the checkout - perhaps because my billing address is not in the UK)

Last edited by Burkey; 06/05/21 08:20 AM.

Pianos are one of the best human inventions of the past 320 years - help evangelize the magic!
klausi6 #3124789 06/05/21 08:19 AM
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I love the VC280, it is very good, but it's sound is distinctive and doesn't work well for some music. I've also found an issue with it. I've got a piece which has a crescendo that peaks at quite a high register note at ff. It is a mendelssohn song without words and you don't want harsh and that top note only ever sounds harsh with the VC280, if I soften it I lose the volume that is expected. So I've switched to the Bösendorfer Imperial for it. Which is annoying because otherwise the VC280 sounds the right piano for it.

With the Bösendorfer Imperial my favourite close mike position is the ribbon mic and I think that is only available with the full version. I struggle badly to mix more than one close mic position because of crackling, so I find that ribbon mic especially important as it doesn't need mixing with anything else.

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