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#3171027 11/15/21 02:45 PM
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I am comparing the Garritan CFX vs the VSL CFX at the moment. However, I read somewhere that VSL pianos need a Vienna license USB key in addition to the software. Is the USB key only needed for the initial/first time downloading and running of the program or does the USB need to be plugged into the computer anytime you want to run the VSL?

Thanks.

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Hello,

@Pachi, You'll need the dongle (which stores your license(s)) every time you want to use the VSL software.

Cheers and happy comparing,

HZ

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It needs to be continuously plugged in, but the computer does not need intermet connection (only once when installing the license).
Btw, it is a steinberg dongle (the same as cubase).

Last edited by vagfilm; 11/15/21 03:03 PM.
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I see. Thank you.

@HZPiano
What is the minimum or recommended intel CPU and RAM spec for the standard library?

Last edited by Pachi; 11/15/21 04:02 PM.
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Hello,

@Pachi

All you need can be found here:

https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Synchron_Pianos_Bundle/Yamaha_CFX#!System_Requirements

Cheers and happy research,

HZ

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The specs depend on the number of active mics... I have the d274 standard, and like to use only a combinatioon of 2 mics: either the close and the mid, or the close and the decca.

With these 2 mics, it runs well in a 7 years old i5 entry level win10 laptop witb only 8gb ram (and ssd).

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@vagfilm

Do you (or anyone else reading this) happen to know of any links to raw mp3/wav to VSL CFX vs Garritan CFX recordings (ideally of the same pieces)? The thing is all the demos and comparisons I've heard are through YouTube. With the compression from YouTube, I really can't tell much difference between the two. I was hoping to listen to .wav or .mp3 links of both of them to help compare.

Last edited by Pachi; 11/15/21 05:48 PM.
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Even with the problems related with compression, the YouTube comparison video by Gamma1734 (of which you are certainly aware) is still your best option because it is live played in each piano (rather than being rendered from a generic MIDI file, in which the playing - particularly the pedalling - may not be optimized as in live playing).

In alternative, I have made a series of 6 comparative videos based on MIDI renderings. Each video compares 3 VSTs out of 8 in total (4 of the VSL pianos, Garritan CFX, Pianoteq (demo), Cinepiano, NI Grandeur). You can access them on vimeo (the interesting to you is number 4: https://vimeo.com/563110838).

The following is a direct download link to the webm file: https://we.tl/t-Nfss6gW92t

Unfortunately, I don't have better quality files, and cannot render it again because the VSL CFX was a 30 days demo that VSL did many months ago.

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@vagfilm

Thank you, the Vimeo blind test was actually really helpful. I ended up picking piano B which was the VSL CFX. The difference between the VSL vs Garritan in your video was much more noticeable compared to Gamma's video. In his video, the VSL did sound more clear but I did kind of like the warmer of the Garritan (I'm not sure if the warmer sound is b/c of the more reverb in the room they recorded or if it is truly because there is more background/muddy noise in the Garritan recording, I'm assuming it is the latter). But your video the VSL was definitely more clear. Was the VSL CFX used in your video standard or full version? And I am assuming the Garritan and VSL were both in their default setting?

For the pieces I play, I definitely think I prefer a piano to lean on the bright side which is why I ultimately narrowed it down to the CFX. I know Gamma loves the 280VC and is currently his favorite one atm. Do you have an opinion on the VC280 vs the VSL CFX? Which one do you like better?

Also what CPU and RAM is your computer that you use to run your VSTs?

The only thing that bothers me about the VSL is not the price (the standard versions are reasonable) but that it must be used with a USB stick every single time. I intend to download this on my personal M1 air, which I use for other things and will not be a dedicated piano VST laptop. This means I have to plug and unplug the USB every time...I guess I am being picky but it does seem like an inconvenience...

Last edited by Pachi; 11/16/21 12:15 AM.
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@HZPiano
I think you are affiliated with VSL if I am correct. Do you know of any talks of making it so the VSL software does not need to be authenticated with a USB every time? (I am doubtful but I thought I might ask.)

Last edited by Pachi; 11/16/21 12:21 AM.
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Originally Posted by Pachi
@HZPiano
I think you are affiliated with VSL if I am correct. Do you know of any talks of making it so the VSL software does not need to be authenticated with a USB every time? (I am doubtful but I thought I might ask.)

VSL has announced that at some unspecified time they will be moving away from the current Steinberg dongle and switching to iLok.

Ilok will offer the choice of using a dongle or having your computer need to "phone home" to the license servers when you run it ("the cloud").

https://www.vsl.co.at/community/posts/t57384-Moving-from-eLicenser-to-iLok#post302591


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@JaneF

Thank you for the info. It's unfortunate that the new offering is connected to the cloud and would need a internet connection. The cloud option would definitely be better for my setup since I would be using it with my personal laptop. Though if I do purchase the VSL, I think in the long run I would have just have to buy a separate dedicated machine to run VSTs and so leaving a USB plugged in all the time would be fine for that setup.

Ideally, I do wish it was like the Garritan as it seems authentication needs to be done only once and the software can be used regardless of internet connection.

But I am glad the company is taking steps to offer more flexibility, that's nice to hear.

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Hello,

Originally Posted by Pachi
@HZPiano
I think you are affiliated with VSL if I am correct.

😄 That is a first for me. No I am not related to VSL in any way. I am interested in one or two VSL pianos but don't own any and will not for some time to come -- if at all.

Cheers and happy research,

HZ

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@HZPiano

Oh, haha, my bad. I don't know why I thought that. You replied to my original post pretty quickly and I thought "oh, maybe this is a representative for VSL or something." I guess your post sounded pretty professional, so that was my immediate thought.

Can I ask what is your current favorite VST that you use currently?

Last edited by Pachi; 11/16/21 03:48 AM.
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Oh... I can answer that for HZPiano because he recomends it all the time (along with many others that habe the same high opinion of it...).

VILabs Modern U - a VST of a yamaha U3 upright.

Last year VILabs run a special promotion at the end of november.

@HZPiano: working for VSL? That was a good one...

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Hello,

Originally Posted by Pachi
@HZPiano

I guess your post sounded pretty professional, so that was my immediate thought.

Nice compliment 🙂.

Originally Posted by Pachi
@HZPiano

Can I ask what is your current favorite VST that you use currently?
Originally Posted by vagfilm
VI Labs Modern U - a VST of a yamaha U3 upright.

Spot on. It actually is the only one I use, it is my daily study/practice/play piano. Love it to bits.

Originally Posted by vagfilm
@HZPiano: working for VSL? That was a good one...

😄

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ

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Pachi Offline OP
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@vagfilm
@HZPiano

I think I've made my decision to go with the Garritan. I watched a Gamma 2021 review of all his VSTs. He gave good reviews of the Garritan as well as his current favorite, the 280VC.

Gamma noted the long attack on the Garritan, which is not for everyone as it makes it sound like it has a longer reverb. This probably leads to what some might call to be more muddy and not as clean as say the VSL samples. And I think I agree with that. But since I'm only a late beginner/intermediate, I think I do like the extra reverb/warmth that comes from the Garritan, at the cost of it sounding a bit muddy for faster pieces.

Plus it doesn't require a USB to be plugged in, which currently for me is a better setup since I only have one laptop (which I use for everything) at the moment. With a possible discount coming during the holidays, I think picking the Garritan up for less than $200 USD is a really good deal and great bang for my buck.

- Thanks all.

Last edited by Pachi; 11/16/21 03:48 PM.
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Garritan Full can be had quite cheaply through Sweetwater. I first got Lite on sale and then bought upgrade to full. I think around ~110$ total.


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Hello,

@Pachi, You're welcome and congratulations on reaching your decision. Nice to know!

Yes, that video by Gamma1734 is truly excellent; I learned useful things from that one as well.

The Garritan CFX is so well loved by many (I have no personal experience with it) and is quite likely more resource-friendly compared to the VSL 'beasts', that I hope you'll be happy with it as well.

Cheers and the happiest playing,

HZ

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I second what AlphaBravo said... Buy the Lite from Sweetwater.com and then the upgrade. I did that... It's the cheapest way, well below the official price.

And play with the microphones. I max the close mic and then slowly add the room mic until the room reverb is good for my taste (for me it's like 1/3 of the close).

Last edited by vagfilm; 11/16/21 06:33 PM.
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