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Topic: Garritan Steinway: what I like, what needs fixing

  1. #1

    Garritan Steinway: what I like, what needs fixing

    Dear all,

    yesterday, I have installed Garritan Steinway (Standard Edition). After playing the whole night with it, I would like to share my impressions:

    First, there is something unique about this library. Regardless of what I'll be saying a few lines later, I do not at all regret having bought it. Probably I'm too technically oriented to adequately describe what it actually is, but this library is special. I just like the sound and the feel of authenticy. It may be related to the ambience recording approach and it may be the piano itself. Congratulations!

    But I also have a wishlist for improvements:

    (1) How does it come that the piano appears to be not as perfectly voiced as one would expect from steinway's master technician? I am particularly referring to g" which falls out of the context. I think the samples for this note have to be replaced with those of one of the neighboring tones!

    (2) Noise floor: this has been mentioned before and I do not think it is a big issue. What might be disturbing under certain conditions, however, is that the ending of the release sample is audible (at least when listening rather load with headphones). In the release samples, there is an audible noise floor, and when the sample stops, the noise rather suddenly disappears. Probably a certain level of noise is inevitable with ambience recording and I can perfectly live with it, but, as I said, it may be irritating when this noise stops at the end of a sample. Probably one should loop the end of the samples and fade them out more smoothly!

    (3) Stretched tuning: how does it come that many tunings are offered (and described in detail), but the one I like most is missing (stretched tuning)? Does steinway consider this tuning to be sort of a fad? Or did someone simply forget to implement it?

    (4) The first thing that stroke me was a rather modest dynamic range (with respect to volume). I am not complaining about the range of character. Everything is there, from very light to majestetic. But the volume range is quite modest as compared to other libraries. I am not saying that this is bad. Indeed, I always considered the dynamic range of some other libraries to be somewhat unnatural. However, a compromise might be best. What about adding the option to enhance the dynamic range, so that samples with high velocity get slightly more volume?

    anyway, this i a great library!

  2. #2

    Re: Garritan Steinway: what I like, what needs fixing

    Glad you liked the Steinway. For voicing, the technician really had the piano in a fantastic state throughout the entire week of recording. It doesn't translate immediately to software, and so the imperfections in the G were likely introduced by me rather than present in the physical piano. The 'concert ideal' voicing done by the technician is something that has to be painstakingly recreated with samples, programming and software. It's just the way it is with a sampled a piano, but in my opinion faithfully recreating that voicing is the most important (and difficult) part of making a really good software piano. It helps hugely to have a great technician in the first place, but that's more of a first step than a last step. On the release samples, I think the noise level could have been optimized better, as you said. It's something where I need headphones on to really pick up the issue, but I agree. Stretched tuning I think is a nice feature to have. Mostly it's the way it is for technical reasons - stretch tuning isn't implemented quite the same way as historical tunings, and we needed at the time to restrict this particular feature in order to get the piano released. For dynamic range, yes I set the range to match as closely as possible the range of the true physical piano we recorded. I think it would certainly be a nice feature to have the ability to adjust the range.
    Going forward, you may be happy to know these are all things I've worked on for future Steinway releases, aside from the stretch tuning which I'll consider adding. In particular I think the voicing is becoming better and better. Thanks for the feedback and ideas.

  3. #3
    Thanks, Jeff for your quick and detailed reply. I'm glad to hear you are working on a future release. I hope you are talking about a future release of this Steinway D, because I really like its character and the troy hall ambience. And I hope there'll be an affordable upgrade option for those guys like me...

    Talking about fixing...

    ...surely you noticed that there are some strange effects in the ordinary key down samples, too. One that is particularly beginning to annoy me is one that you can hear, e.g. if you play "e" at a velocity of 33 or lower. From the beginning, there is audible noise (white, pink...? I don't know) in one ear, then there is a bright rattling sound (resembling a rainmaker) in the other ear and 2 seconds after keystroke, there is a click. These noises aren't particularly loud in terms of decibels, but at velocity 33, the note itself isn't very loud either, so the signal-to-noise ratio is, well...


  4. #4
    I should have said that the described artifact on "e" occurs in the classic perspective. In the "under the lid" perspective, the "rainmaker" and the click are missing. The noise, however, is also there.

  5. #5

    Re: Garritan Steinway: what I like, what needs fixing

    Adding my thoughts:
    I own Pianoteq and Garritan Steinway and enjoy them both, PTQ for its playability and versatility, and Steinway as the best recording piano I've dealt with or heard. There is truly something special about the sound, particularly when one is able to tweak velocities after the fact to avoid hearing any abrupt velocity layer changes. A great job all around!

    One issue I have:
    To this point I am using it in the "close" setting, and matching other instruments via Altiverb for acoustic concert music. I would like also to be able to use the under-lid version to remove as much room sound as possible when recording it in some ensemble situations. "Under the lid" presents a stereo field too wide for all but special effects use, in my opinion. I assumed I'd be able to pan the sides together to be able to place the piano where I wish, but there are serious phase artifacts when I do this. The result is that the piano is beautiful for it's primary purpose in simulating a piano played in Troy Hall, but apparently unusable for, say, pop or jazz use in a a virtual acoustic space different than the original hall. This is after the fact, but I would have loved either a mono mike set up for the original under-lid recording or a stereo mix that summed to mono better. Thanks for reading. Steve

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Ojai, California

    Re: Garritan Steinway: what I like, what needs fixing

    Regarding the previous post, I agree. I have yet to find a sampled piano
    that sums to mono without it sounding quite ugly.

    Jim McCarthy

  7. #7

    Re: Garritan Steinway: what I like, what needs fixing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hurchalla View Post
    ...Going forward, you may be happy to know these are all things I've worked on for future Steinway releases, aside from the stretch tuning which I'll consider adding. In particular I think the voicing is becoming better and better.
    may I ask for the status of the improvements? I still play the same version with the same problems and havn't heard about updates/upgrades yet. Now that the professional version has been sold out for some time, can I expect something in the near future? I am willing to pay for it as my library was already worth its money. But I want more and I expect more, especially from an "Authentic Steinway" that comes from Garritan!


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