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Synchron Pianos - Which is your favourite and why?

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
My only issue is that it didn't have an even further option than room, but it's enough room that a little altiverb worked. I had used main close and room but I might try hammer wide and room.

I just need it to be orchestral so it's going to be slight out of it's comfort but the general tone seems pleasant
 

SupremeFist

Senior Member
My only issue is that it didn't have an even further option than room, but it's enough room that a little altiverb worked. I had used main close and room but I might try hammer wide and room.

I just need it to be orchestral so it's going to be slight out of it's comfort but the general tone seems pleasant
3 mics is maybe ambitious but definitely try hammer + room or hammer + main.
 
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SupremeFist

Senior Member
I use a 128gb machine and the more layers the less you need round robin. I'll see either way, I had taken a few db off the first partial in my crude test using the website demo
iirc Embertone recommends leaving RRs off unless your piece specifically has a lot of repeated notes one after the other. I never use the RRs personally.
 

ptram

Senior Member
I've been after Scriabin's Etude in C# minor for decades, and I'm not yet there. However, I think it can work well as a comparison between pianos in a small hall/intimate concert situation.

This is the Embertone Walker (Close, Main/Middle, Room mics, added a touch of final algo reverb and compression):

Scriabin's Etude on the Embertone Walker

And this is the VSL Bösendorfer Imperial (Condenser/Hammers, Ribbon/Player, Tube/Inside, Decca Main, Surround, no final algo reverb); MIDI sensitivity reduced of -22, half-pedal increased to 60%, some low-cut on some of the close mics; no compression applied:

Scriabin's Etude on the VSL Bösendorfer Imperial

Very different pianos, for sound and response.

Paolo

(Please, note that the piece was originally recorded and edited with the Embertone; no optimization has been done for the VSL).
 
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ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
well i got outta bed to get a sneak peak of the thing and no dice, never finished the first mic. had some errors - im not sure if it's this new software "conduct" causing the problem or not.
 

re-peat

Senior Member
(...) it’s super deeply sampled, with 100+ dynamic layers, and it’s a pristine instrument in a beautiful hall with top of the line microphones. I don’t think that can honestly be called badly sampled. The truth is that it has no competition at all in the sampling world, because strange as it sounds not a single producer has deeply sampled a new, or at least fairly new Steinway D. Walker is (and totally sounds like) a vintage instrument, Noire is a niche library, Ravenscroft is no steinway and not too deep either. Garritan CFX is amazing, but has no “reedy” Steinway tone.

With the VSL pianos you get many mics, including tree,which is crazy that almost no other libraries has. (...)

Much-much-much more important than how much you sample, Pianolando, is what you sample. The Synchrons were captured from 10 different mic perspectives, but there’s not a single one among them that can make these instruments sing. Synchrons can’t sing. They can yap, they can quack, they can do a damn fine impersonation of a desinfected refrigerator, they can bark, growl and roar and their sound can pierce through armour, but they can’t sing. Isn’t that sad?

The Hammersmith is another example: countless velocity layers, but resulting in a piano that is frustratingly impotent at either side of the dynamic spectrum. Or take the Spitfire Studio Series: 6 microphone pairs half of which I find only useful — especially when considering the room these things were recorded in — to beef up the specs or waste disc space.

I’ve got drum libraries that have only 4 velocity layers and just one mic perspective but which are capable of more convincing and appealing sounding drum performances than some super-deluxe libraries that come with endless mic perspectives, various bleed channels and I don’t know how many velocity layers.

What does it matter if a piano has 100 velocity layers if all hundred of them were captured with the same flawed mic set-ups that resulted in that thin, cold and hard Synchron sound? These pianos might have had 2000 velocity layers and it wouldn’t have made the slightest difference as to the unpleasant character of their sound.

People shouldn’t be so quick to be in awe of impressive specs or to belief that impressive specs also automatically result in impressive libraries. That’s anything but a given. In fact, it is very rarely the case. Specs, on their own, mean absolutely nothing. ‘Deeply sampled’ is totally meaningless too, unless sounds were sampled that are sonically solid and musically meaningful, believable and expressive. And I fear I hear way too few samples in my two Synchron pianos that fit that description.

I never read specs, I’m not in the least interested in them. Because I’ve got too much proof on my sample HD’s of the fact that these numbers are in no way related to the actual musical quality of a library.

_
 

FireGS

Senior Member
The Synchrons were captured from 10 different mic perspectives, but there’s not a single one among them that can make these instruments sing. Synchrons can’t sing. They can yap, they can quack, they can do a damn fine impersonation of a desinfected refrigerator, they can bark, growl and roar and their sound can pierce through armour, but they can’t sing. Isn’t that sad?
I get what you're saying, but this is super hyperbolic just for the sake of it.
 

Stephen Limbaugh

le nouveau 36 rue Ballu
This is really nice. I didn't expect it to sound so similar, but there is a noticeable difference in the tone. Are they so dissimilar? Probably not.
Totally... and the goal was to not completely match it, but just get across the idea to that other guy that utilizing the tube mic can (shockingly!) add some warmth haha.

The other thing is that Olafsson's album is all Bach... thus it was engineered with that in mind. I'm sure if VSL wanted to sample a piano intended for only a single composer, perhaps those recording techniques would change, the choice of instrument, etc.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
D-274 "warm" Synchron. (I'm sight-reading this piece... don't @ me.) I could get even "warmer" with the Bosendorfer 280VC probably...
View attachment 44684
Interesting comparison. The VSL Synchron D holds up pretty well here, but those melody notes from 00:24 to around 00:48 in the 'VO Widerstehe' example Piet posted have a warmth, depth and clarity that would be hard to match with any sampled or virtual piano.

I only have the Lite version of the VSL Synchron Steinway D, but have the Standard of the Synchron Bosendorfer Imperial which I really enjoy (plus Standard Bosendorfer Upright & Bluthner Grand) as well as the older VSL Silent Stage Vienna Imperial (which has a warmer, rounder tone).

Great to have the two variations of the Bosendorfer 290 Imperial. When I need precision and clarity, I reach for the Synchron Bosendorfer Imperial, and when I'm after warmth and fullness I'll call up the Vienna Imperial. Also, apart from mic choice & mix, I've found the EQ and compression inserts in the Synchron Pianos GUI are a quick and effective way to add some body to the tone. The team at VSL really know their stuff and personal preferences & taste aside, are the leaders in sampled piano technology in my opinion.

Now - let's all just go make some music!
 

FireGS

Senior Member
Also, apart from mic choice & mix, I've found the EQ and compression inserts in the Synchron Pianos GUI are a quick and effective way to add some body to the tone. The team at VSL really know their stuff and personal preferences & taste aside, are the leaders in sampled piano technology in my opinion.
Yeah, I think this is kind of an important note - there is no way on earth a company like VSL can look at the task of sampling a piano and tailor it to one specific sound or use case. I believe the point of the method of recording is so that one has the ability to make it sound how **you** want it.

If it's by default a warm sounding library - you've cut off a large portion of your potential userbase. Not everyone wants a warm piano. Some may want to use it for pop, some for big band, some for orchestral - and I'd argue getting a sampled piano close to what you're after is far easier with a (i say this lightly) sterile sound that can molded into whatever you want than trying to take warmth out of samples. I could be wrong, but its always better to start with a good recording and make it better than fighting a poor sound and trying to make it sound good.

Then again, if you're opinion is that the out-of-the-box samples are a poor recording, this conversation is moot.

And @re-peat has been very thorough in saying how he doesn't like the libraries and that the recordings are poor (I don't see any actual evidence of this...), but I'm not hearing why he thinks the method of recording was wrong. What's wrong? The space? The mics? The mic placement? The polar patterns? What **is** it, in your opinion, that VSL failed at here?
 
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Stephen Limbaugh

le nouveau 36 rue Ballu
The VSL Synchron D holds up pretty well here
I think so too... and this is only f**kin' around for a few minutes. I could probably "match" after I spent a month with this piece and all that, but why? Better to do something different if I were to make a commercial recording of this piece. 😄
 
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The Synchrons were captured from 10 different mic perspectives, but there’s not a single one among them that can make these instruments sing. Synchrons can’t sing. They can yap, they can quack, they can do a damn fine impersonation of a desinfected refrigerator, they can bark, growl and roar and their sound can pierce through armour, but they can’t sing. Isn’t that sad?
_
I agree with re-peat that the Synchron pianos aren't perfect: The Steinway has one of the worst 'out of the box' velocity curves I've ever come across: It really shouldn't need so much tweaking to be playable in a way that gives a good dynamic response (and none of the Synchron pianos have needed this). At first, this was one of the most disappointing experiences I've had with a VI because the gap between expectation and reality was so large.

Across the board, I've also found that the presets do very little justice to what the Synchron pianos can do, at least in the mortal hands.

But, I want to respectfully disagree about these pianos' inability to sing. I've found them - particularly the CFX and Imperial for things I'm trying to 'read,' and the CFX and Upright for the bluesy style I usually play - to be (and I cringe as I say this) inspiring. For the first time in literally two decades, I'm motivated to practice pieces and arrangements I never thought I could read music well enough to learn. The dynamics are stellar, playability is up there with Garritan and Pianoteq, and I've had no problems getting the instruments to sound warm and full of life (though I've had to wring the room-sound out of them).

I don't want to sound like I'm discrediting any negative experiences with these pianos, and I *especially* don't want this to sound like 'if you don't like them, it's a problem with you and not the pianos.' But, I did want to offer a dissenting view and possible explanation for why some people might feel that the Synchron pianos don't meet their expectations. Even though it took a fair amount of playing with mic blends and ambience, I even managed to get the D274 to sound, well, spectacular, honestly!
 
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