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Jeff Hurchalla
05-05-2009, 12:26 PM
I thought people might like to know about the work we've been doing on the Steinway software pianos.
To me the biggest event lately was recording a Steinway B in January at Skywalker Sound. Gary posted about it on the main Garritan forum http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=64871 in late January if you'd like to read about it.
The current update of the Steinway D is v1.03, which I'd certainly advise getting if you don't have it, at garritan.biz. I've been working for a number of weeks on v1.04 which I'll finish and post sometime this month - it improves the sustain resonance feature primarily, plus makes one or two tweaks to samples, plus includes various improvements that have been made in the ARIA player over the last two months. We're planning to release the new pressing of Pro and Standard versions not too long after v1.04 is final. And after v1.04 we'll have more updates.
Fyi, I've been working almost exclusively on the Steinway new development and updates this year, and I'd expect I'll continue that way this year. Hopefully you'll all enjoy the work.

Jaybee
05-05-2009, 12:46 PM
Thanks, Jeff. Looking forward to the release.

Ranger
05-05-2009, 03:16 PM
sounds good, any chance of adding the ability edit the velocity curve

JohnF
05-05-2009, 03:33 PM
To me the biggest event lately was recording a Steinway B in January at Skywalker Sound.

What is the ambience at Skywalker Sound? How does it compare with the hall in Troy?

JohnF
05-06-2009, 09:26 AM
The current update of the Steinway D is v1.03, which I'd certainly advise getting if you don't have it.

Hi Jeff, Thanks for all the news.

I followed your suggestion and updated my Basic v1.02 to v1.03.

It is hard to judge realism because our ears get so accustomed to a particular sound, but my first strong impression was that v1.03 sounds substantially less realistic, less like a Steinway, than v1.02, especially in the lower half. Is that my imagination or did things really change that much?

Jeff Hurchalla
05-06-2009, 11:02 AM
My first inclination is to think it's a trick of the imagination, but I don't want to discount the possibility that something is wrong. The update has been out about two months and I haven't heard other reports of that, but again that doesn't automatically mean nothing is wrong. Do you have any older project files using the Steinway, along with wav (or aiff) audio files that you rendered from the older project? If so, you could compare the old rendered files with a new rendering which would automatically use v1.03. Or you could simply uninstall v1.03 and reinstall v1.02 - you can still get 1.02 from the website. That's a bit drastic though. Or better yet, simply reboot and then check all your settings in the preferences of the Steinway standalone if you're using it, or in your sequencer. It's possible your audio card driver is subtly out of whack, which a reboot would more than likely reset.

Jeff Hurchalla
05-06-2009, 11:48 AM
The acoustics at Skywalker Sound were amazing. First things first though - it's not a concert hall and so just by common sense the ambience is pretty radically different from the Steinway D's Troy Music Hall. That said, Skywalker Sound is one of the top studios in the world, and a large part of that is the scoring stage room. Perfectly noise sealed from the outside world and the control room, it really surprised me in this respect. From the control room we had a very large view of the room and the pianist, through I believe three special panes of glass. I started the first day talking in half whispers but needlessly so. The engineer said it would probably take something like a gun shot for even a trace amount of audio to leak into the room. To prove the point, while the pianist was playing forte notes he turned off the studio monitors which were providing us sound, and the control room just went dead quiet - I could see the pianist thundering away, but I couldn't even hear some small, tiny bit of it.
You may be more interested in the actual acoustics than the isolation. The most accurate description would come from a link http://www.skysound.com/sound_music.html - but I had a very good impression.
What I liked particularly about the room is that the engineers can adjust the room in a number of ways to change the characteristics. The most obvious adjustment is decay time which they can control via recessed walls on the sides of the room which can slide out to varying degrees (or not at all). These sliding walls have much more sound absorbent properties than the main walls, so one of the first things we did during setup day was to adjust the walls to a degree that gave a "liveness" that the engineers, the pianist, and myself and others, felt sounded best for this piano and for our aims. On a more subtle level, the engineers also placed an array of large but movable wooden sound diffusors on the far side of the piano, which I suspect both added complexity to the sound and added a slight bit of emphasis to near-field sound without losing any of the development that the room provides.
In the end though, it's a room that sounds good. We'd work up to 12 hours a day and still yet I'd stay an additional 2 hours afterward just to play. No one around, lights (mostly) off, 10pm, I'd just play a perfectly maintained concert-touring Steinway with great natural reverberation. If I was tired I didn't notice it.

JohnF
05-06-2009, 12:03 PM
My first inclination is to think it's a trick of the imagination, but I don't want to discount the possibility that something is wrong. The update has been out about two months and I haven't heard other reports of that, but again that doesn't automatically mean nothing is wrong. Do you have any older project files using the Steinway, along with wav (or aiff) audio files that you rendered from the older project? If so, you could compare the old rendered files with a new rendering which would automatically use v1.03. Or you could simply uninstall v1.03 and reinstall v1.02 - you can still get 1.02 from the website. That's a bit drastic though. Or better yet, simply reboot and then check all your settings in the preferences of the Steinway standalone if you're using it, or in your sequencer. It's possible your audio card driver is subtly out of whack, which a reboot would more than likely reset.

Thanks for your quick response, Jeff.

I had already reverted to v1.02, and I think I'll stay there until v1.04. Unfortunately I don't have old rendered files to compare. After I get a bit further and have rendered files to play with I'll revisit this and try to sort it out, comparing v1.02 with v1.04.

I'm glad to hear that you didn't expect this, because that means that v1.03 is not a redesign that intentionally changes the v1.02 sound.

Thanks.

JohnF
05-06-2009, 12:08 PM
The acoustics at Skywalker Sound were amazing.

Sounds like a terrific acoustic adventure you guys had. And that piano...

It will be fascinating to see how the Model B sounds.

Raymond62
05-06-2009, 06:22 PM
Where do you get the time to make the latest update for "our" Steinway?
A day has only 24 hrs., pity enough. Do you get anough sleep or are you spending the night in total silence (the Troy hall)?

Just kidding...

Raymond

tsbrim
05-12-2009, 08:41 PM
Would you say that the Steinway B is more suitable for jazz, and if so is that the focus of the new project? I have been holding out for a while because I have a very limited budget. I want the best piano for jazz, but should I wait? This year? Next year? Any hints?

Jeff Hurchalla
05-14-2009, 07:22 PM
Well to be really accurate, the main focus of the newest project was/is to capture the sound of the Steinway B - it has a very nice character which is distinct from the D. We also wanted to distinguish the project from the D by changing the recording venue from a world-class concert hall to a world-class studio. To an extent the engineers (by our request) chose mics and mic positions for the B which might be typical for jazz and pop projects, but they also used many other positions. All in all the impact of this request on the project is probably less than you might imagine. We had 20 microphones set up in positions that captured close sound, ambient sound and everything in between. I expect the B will sound very good and work very well for pretty much any recording style you have in mind.
For now I would strongly suggest taking a close look at the Steinway D Basic. It is the close miced version of the Pro/Standard (without soft or release samples). This position is probably the one people would normally use for jazz. I'm very happy with what we did for the D Basic regardless of price, and the Basic happens to be the most affordable.
We don't have a release date for the B set at this point internally or publicly. The development is in the early stages. My suggestion is to look into the Steinway D Basic edition since it may be much what you're looking for already. It's a great piano.

G.Spk
05-16-2009, 10:50 PM
My name is Lorenzo

My question has nothing to do with Steinway but I'm sure you could answer it

I wanted to know if this link was permanently closed or temporarily closed (http://www.marblesound.com/Maple_driver.html)
I just wanted to download virtual midi cables

Raymond62
05-17-2009, 03:42 AM
My name is Lorenzo

My question has nothing to do with Steinway but I'm sure you could answer it

I wanted to know if this link was permanently closed or temporarily closed (http://www.marblesound.com/Maple_driver.html)
I just wanted to download virtual midi cables



Don't know Lorenzo. By the way this is the wrong thread to ask this, better go to Technical or General. I looked at my system and hurray, I still had them. so for your sake I upoloaded them to Box.Net where you can download them.

The files are packed into one folder and are zipped. I don't have the descriptions anymore, as far as they aren't packed/archieved in those zip fles.

Here is the link: MAPLE LEAF RACK (http://www.box.net/shared/bdecmhiqc4)

Good luck,

Raymond

Leo Doerner
05-20-2009, 04:33 AM
"sounds good, any chance of adding the ability edit the velocity curve"

Very good idea! Very important. :hp:

Leo Doerner
05-20-2009, 06:44 AM
example velocity:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v155/hansgrubner/Wetter1/velocity.jpg?t=1243058609
(http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v155/hansgrubner/Wetter1/?action=view&current=velocity.jpg)

JohnF
05-20-2009, 11:04 AM
For now I would strongly suggest taking a close look at the Steinway D Basic. It is the close miced version of the Pro/Standard (without soft or release samples).

Does Steinway D Basic have the same number of velocity layers as Pro/Standard close miced? Is every note sampled in the Basic version?

We really appreciate these details. Thanks.

Jeff Hurchalla
05-20-2009, 05:16 PM
Hi Leo,
User-adjustable velocity curves would be nice for a future release. For the upcoming v1.04 the changes are most all in the sustain resonance effect. More choices in velocity curve options will be good in the future. Thanks for the input.

Jeff Hurchalla
05-20-2009, 05:59 PM
Hi John,
The basic version has 20 velocity layers (20 samples per note). Pro/Standard uses a different approach (intrinsically neither better nor worse) with variable layers and more dsp techniques for smoothing. Basic was a more recent release and it used our more recently developed techniques - they were very successful I felt. Fyi this virtual regulation and voicing in post production to create the Basic layers took about 6 months of work for me.
Pro/Standard is sampled every note, whereas Basic uses (from the same source material) pretty much every second note. This gives pro/standard a bit more detail, though the extra freedom in choosing samples did help for voicing Basic smoothly.
Hope this helps

JohnF
05-20-2009, 07:40 PM
Basic was a more recent release and it used our more recently developed techniques - they were very successful I felt. Fyi this virtual regulation and voicing in post production to create the Basic layers took about 6 months of work for me.

The care and attention to detail that you guys take is much appreciated. Our ears thank you.

Will these more recently developed techniques be applied to Pro/Standard in version 1.04? Or perhaps Basic will be the only version with these techniques?

JohnF
05-21-2009, 12:54 PM
Basic was a more recent release and it used our more recently developed techniques - they were very successful I felt. Fyi this virtual regulation and voicing in post production to create the Basic layers took about 6 months of work for me.

With such a large and successful investment in Basic, would you consider an upgraded version with release samples, so that it becomes a complete instrument?

JohnF
05-27-2009, 07:18 PM
For now I would strongly suggest taking a close look at the Steinway D Basic. It is the close miced version of the Pro/Standard (without soft or release samples).

So forget my previous questions on speculative future versions - they are pointless. Here is a real-world question:

As a very pleased user of Steinway D Basic, I am uncertain what "close miced version" means. The piano image in Basic migrates to what looks like the "under the lid" version, and some of the higher velocity notes above middle C are bright enough so that I could believe it is the "under the lid" version. Is that what you meant by "close miced" or did you mean what the website calls "close perspective"?

Jeff Hurchalla
05-27-2009, 10:03 PM
Hi John
Sorry for not answering your earlier questions. The thread sort of went off my radar temporarily when I read the earlier questions and couldn't answer them well. It's probably best for me to say there are no plans in the very near term for those things, and going out beyond a month my answers would be too speculative for me to be comfortable giving yes's or no's. It's safe to say all versions are constantly being further developed and improved.

Your last question is much easier! I was referring to the Basic version using the Under the Lid samples when I said it was close miced. That was probably a little bit confusing since as you noticed we have a perspective in the Pro version that is called Close (which is about 2-3 feet from the piano, not as close as under the lid :) )