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'Signature Grand' demo - Simple Sam Samples (Steinway Model D)

SAM CA

Member
I really enjoyed this relatively new Steinway Model D library. At this price range it feels and sounds really good! My only feedback was to improve the velocity transitions especially for the higher velocities. This library has a great potential. Also it requires Kontakt Version 5.6 + or 6. It doesn't work with the player version.

This is the only library that I own from Simple Sam Samples. I wonder if their other products are just as good. In any case, here's a piano piece based on Glinka's song called The Lark.

 
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johngrant

Member
A couple of threads now on the go on this vst. Since this one showed up FIRST on a search, I'll add my 2 cents here:

I ALWAYS draw a firm line between a piano sample's PLAYABILITY, on one hand, and a piano sample's "RECORDABILTIY", on the other.

I do this because many samples can be made to sound pretty good when "massaged" or "played with" to make a realistic recording. But you get a real shock, often, when you sit down and PLAY the sample AT THE KEYBOARD, "live," so to speak. The results seem so different. Recorded piano vsts are the "Demos" you hear online, and of course they're only there if someone in the company thinks they make the vst sound fantastic. So, although those "Demos" are useful to some extent, they don't really speak to the playability of a sample.

It's probably also useful to bear in mind the distinction between Steinway and non-Steinway vsts. Steinway vsts seem harder to do realistically, to me at least. That may be because I (like many folks) have ears that are used to hearing Steinways on most solo piano (jazz, pop, classical) recordings and live performances, and that becomes the aural benchmark for what a great piano, well-recorded, should sound like.

So with those provisos in mind, Simple Sam is a Steinway, so maybe a harder test to pass in terms of "realism." Seems to me, now I've adjusted my soundcard (RME 9632) to get a clean low latency result in live playing--I've done a LOT of playing with the sample on a RM3 Grand 2 KAWAI keyboard--that this is the current BENCHMARK against which all other Steinway samples can be measured.

Benchmark in playability, I mean. I say this aware of the fact that it doesn't have the vel layers of other much more expensive contenders. I won't say any more than this, except to note that your PC had better be up to the demands of the sample, or you're going to have problems. In my case, I had to check the BIOS settings on my ASROCK Pro 370, which (to my shock and horror) does not automatically distinguish between older hard drive technology and ssd drives. Once I made the adjustments I was getting imperceptible latencies.

Long and short of it: to MY ears and with MY playing, the SS is far and away the best Steinway for playability. As a sample for "recording" purposes, I can't comment yet. I'm still using the HZP, which has fewer vel layers than the SS, but which produces pretty convincing "recordings" as far as I'm concerned.
 

FlyingAndi

Active Member
Benchmark in playability
I love the Simple Sam Signature Grand for it's sound and it's probably my favorite (or maybe 2nd) piano library of the libraries I own.
I also find the playability very good, but I must admit that for me, the playability of The Grandeur feels even better. While The Grandeur sounds good it does't have that WOW-Effect that the SSSG has. But when I close my eyes and just play for fun The Grandeur feels even more like playing a real piano for me.
 

johngrant

Member
Yes... the SS Steinway has a few velocity surprises (which to be honest, also show up in my pricey HZP!) There's an amended version, which I'm guessing addresses those issues and other issues.

The "Stones Ultima" track at your SC site: is that the Grandeur? I'm an unrepentant verb freak, and I really like the verb on that track... the piano sounds great too.
 

Cory Pelizzari

(Solonoid Studio)
The Signature Grand has become my go to - with all the effects under Kontakt's hood stripped out and using just the raw sound. I recommend keeping a patch for the default instrument and a patch for the raw sound.

For me, when I'm playing around with the close and far mics and adjusting the response and feel, I get the flexibility I need for damn near anything I'm making. Personally I think it's superior to the HZ Piano. It can cover intimate pieces as well as concert pieces with an orchestra and anything in between.

So far I've used close to a hundred piano libraries over the last 8 years and the Signature Grand is the one I've ended up using most. Solid investment.
 

Wunderhorn

Senior Member
The Signature Grand has become my go to - with all the effects under Kontakt's hood stripped out and using just the raw sound. I recommend keeping a patch for the default instrument and a patch for the raw sound.

For me, when I'm playing around with the close and far mics and adjusting the response and feel, I get the flexibility I need for damn near anything I'm making. Personally I think it's superior to the HZ Piano. It can cover intimate pieces as well as concert pieces with an orchestra and anything in between.

So far I've used close to a hundred piano libraries over the last 8 years and the Signature Grand is the one I've ended up using most. Solid investment.
Can I assume that among your other hundred piano libraries you also have Embertone's Walker D? I would be interested in hearing your take on the difference between the Walker D and the Signature Grand if you have any information on that.
 

Cory Pelizzari

(Solonoid Studio)
Can I assume that among your other hundred piano libraries you also have Embertone's Walker D? I would be interested in hearing your take on the difference between the Walker D and the Signature Grand if you have any information on that.
The Walker D is great but it definitely has its own "sound" whereas the Signature Grand sounds more like it's ready and willing for anything.

Two things about the Walker that can cause problems - the mic positions are all separate patches and the loading times/CPU usage can be severe. Also, it takes up heaps of space if you're using the full library.

I find the Walker is good for that felt-y kind of piano sound, with it's mics being more focused on the instrument as a soloist instrument and the una corda samples being good for more cottony sounds. But for my workflow, it just lacks the flexibility/quickness of use and doesn't have the great room sound the Signature Grand has (Air studios has a great sound after all).
 

Wunderhorn

Senior Member
The Walker D is great but it definitely has its own "sound" whereas the Signature Grand sounds more like it's ready and willing for anything.

Two things about the Walker that can cause problems - the mic positions are all separate patches and the loading times/CPU usage can be severe. Also, it takes up heaps of space if you're using the full library.

I find the Walker is good for that felt-y kind of piano sound, with it's mics being more focused on the instrument as a soloist instrument and the una corda samples being good for more cottony sounds. But for my workflow, it just lacks the flexibility/quickness of use and doesn't have the great room sound the Signature Grand has (Air studios has a great sound after all).
Thanks for that. I am asking because I switched from The Grandeur to the Walker D. One reason was the fact that Walker D has that extra staccato articulation. Besides that I am always interested in finding the next best thing. That said, my focus right now is rather virtuosic style concert stuff (sometimes going crazy wild and loud) in an orchestral context but also exposed passages. I did like the bright sound of The Grandeur as it cut through every purgatorial mayhem nicely, but it doesn't have those staccatos and I wanted more RRs (Think minimalism on crack). I got Walker to sound very close to it (it has quite a lot of options to tweak the sound) but of course, there might be other options as well, so I am curious.
 

FlyingAndi

Active Member
The "Stones Ultima" track at your SC site: is that the Grandeur? I'm an unrepentant verb freak, and I really like the verb on that track... the piano sounds great too.
No, that's Impact Soundworks Pearl which might be my favourite piano lib (if it wasn't for the messed up hall mic samples). The playability on this one is also good, but I don't feel as connected as with the grandeur.
The reverb is Sandors Hall from the free Bricasti IRs:
 

stargazer

Active Member
The Signature Grand has become my go to - with all the effects under Kontakt's hood stripped out and using just the raw sound. I recommend keeping a patch for the default instrument and a patch for the raw sound.

For me, when I'm playing around with the close and far mics and adjusting the response and feel, I get the flexibility I need for damn near anything I'm making. Personally I think it's superior to the HZ Piano. It can cover intimate pieces as well as concert pieces with an orchestra and anything in between.

So far I've used close to a hundred piano libraries over the last 8 years and the Signature Grand is the one I've ended up using most. Solid investment.
Have you compared it to the new VSL line-up?
 

Jett Hitt

Senior Member
Have you compared it to the new VSL line-up?
$50 vs $350. Signature Grand is a whole lot of piano for the buck. It really has become my go-to. I have purchased the VSL Bösendorfer and requested a refund after a couple of weeks. It’s really nice, but it’s not $300 nicer than Signature Grand. I own others like the Walker D and Noire, but it seems like Signature Grand always wins out.
 

johngrant

Member
$50 vs $350. Signature Grand is a whole lot of piano for the buck. It really has become my go-to. I have purchased the VSL Bösendorfer and requested a refund after a couple of weeks. It’s really nice, but it’s not $300 nicer than Signature Grand. I own others like the Walker D and Noire, but it seems like Signature Grand always wins out.
The SG's got PRESENCE, more (for my ears) than any other piano vst out there, included the expensive biggies. It's certainly convincing enough under the right hands, or with the right sequencing, to completely fool the best ears.
 
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SAM CA

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Sorry about the extended delay to participating in this discussion. I've been using this piano pretty consistently since recording the video posted at the top of this thread and my opinion hasn't changed at all. I still haven't spent enough time with the rest of the presets but that piano preset alone is worth the price.

I'm not aware of any updates at this point, but if there's anything that I would expect from an update? It would be a smoother transition between some velocity layers. It's still a very playable library and sounds good. There are a number of more expensive libraries that don't really offer anything more.

The reason I don't log in these forums often is that every time I do that, I end up buying something. :)
 

tc9000

Absolute Member
this is by far my fave piano vst!

here's the unofficial fix for the inconsistency someone with better ears than me spotted:

 
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SAM CA

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this is by far my fave piano vst!

here's the unofficial fix for the inconsistency someone with better ears than me spotted:

Cool! I'm not an advanced Kontakt editor but I'll definitely try this. Thanks for sharing this!
 
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SAM CA

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$50 vs $350. Signature Grand is a whole lot of piano for the buck. It really has become my go-to. I have purchased the VSL Bösendorfer and requested a refund after a couple of weeks. It’s really nice, but it’s not $300 nicer than Signature Grand. I own others like the Walker D and Noire, but it seems like Signature Grand always wins out.
That's the question I ask about gigantic and expensive piano libraries. I mean it's nice to have control over mic positions and ton of other parameters ,but sometimes you just want to play!
 

srh

New Member
Hey guys, sorry to bring this thread back from the dead but I have a quick question.

I recently got SSS Signature Grand, and wow - it is spectacular. The only issue I have is it seems to be incredibly CPU intensive. I'm not on the most powerful system ever, but it becomes unplayable if I'm playing lots of chords, I mean like 75%+ CPU usage in Kontakt. Is this something others are/have experienced? Or maybe it's just time to upgrade my PC? - Thanks
 

CeDur

Active Member
I haven't found Signature Grand to be particulary CPU intensive. I would even say it's less demanding than my other libraries. There might be many reasons. What's your DFD setting in Kontakt? Are you using SSD? Do you have CPU throttling disabled in your computer settings/BIOS?
 

Markrs

Complete Beginner
Hey guys, sorry to bring this thread back from the dead but I have a quick question.

I recently got SSS Signature Grand, and wow - it is spectacular. The only issue I have is it seems to be incredibly CPU intensive. I'm not on the most powerful system ever, but it becomes unplayable if I'm playing lots of chords, I mean like 75%+ CPU usage in Kontakt. Is this something others are/have experienced? Or maybe it's just time to upgrade my PC? - Thanks
That seems odd to me, I use SSS Sig Grand on a Dell XPS with 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8520U in Reaper and I don't get anything like that CPU usage.
 

srh

New Member
I haven't found Signature Grand to be particulary CPU intensive. I would even say it's less demanding than my other libraries. There might be many reasons. What's your DFD setting in Kontakt? Are you using SSD? Do you have CPU throttling disabled in your computer settings/BIOS?
DFD Settings should be default, at least I haven't changed anything in the kontakt settings. I am using an SSD with only kontakt and other plugins on it. I checked my BIOS and I do not have any CPU throttling on.

The laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad T470, Intel i7 7600U (dual core), 16gigs of ram. It's super odd this is the only library that absolutely kills my CPU. Is it possible I installed it wrong? The download had 5 different zip files and I'm not sure if I may have not properly installed it.... I might just reach out to SSS customer support.
 
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