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feature suggestions for Synchron Pianos
Last post Sun, Jun 14 2020 by gderreck, 16 replies.
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Posted on Sat, May 30 2020 02:10
by davidlai
Joined on Sat, May 09 2020, Posts 8

Hi Paul, the splendid development team and friends!
As a student learning classical music, I've been addicted to the Synchron Steinway ever since owning it and solving technical problems, and since yesterday I've been loving my experience with it... except one thing...
Yesterday I asked if there are separate una corda samples, because to my ears, when I press the soft pedal, all I get is the main samples toned down (having the higher frequencies turned a bit off). That is not the standard way for a Steinway's una corda to react. A real Steinway's una corda, when engaged, really has one to two strings vibrating, creating a muted sound, and providing extra tone colour for the classical / jazz pianist.
I would think for this library and the price I'm paying, I would get a complete and faithful representation of the Steinway D down to every detail. And yes, the samples do give us this promise. And yet, due to my extensive testing and confirmation, I can sadly say that all we get in the library is an emulation of what an upright piano might do, and not the grand. I will provide specific links below, two of them are my clips of playing, and another a video published by VSL showing the Steinway!
I find it sad that both Ravenscroft 275 and Garritan CFX Concert Grand have soft pedal samples, and even the Galaxy Vintage D has an emulation of the una corda sound. If Synchron Pianos used such extensive techniques to record the pianos, the una corda is a feature that should also be especially noted. I find it hard to do variances in the interpretation, and the music of Chopin, Debussy, even Mozart and Bach would be so much enriched if at least an emulation of this special muted tone is present!
Also, of equal importance would be the sympathetic resonance and silent key features -- when one holds some keys silently while pressing others exciting the strings of the pressed keys to vibrate in the harmonic way. Also, the keys above G6 have sympathetic resonance by default, as they are notes with no dampers. This resonance and extra vibration would make the samples without pedal sound more rich and realistic.
What I'm suggesting above are not decorative features, but I would argue they are equally important as the main samples themselves to really make the Synchron Pianos the best of the best in sampled libraries!
OK, I conclude with the links.
1. Steinway piano "una corda" tone, amplitude boosted to 0DB in Audacity after recording: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BqgmgIav8QKtbdCJv797sisdxZvEJvC7/view?usp=drivesdk
2. Ravenscroft soft pedal, a simple clip of it would suffice: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pCnFQGLGMvVIIcZ66ieb51z48sfHiS4X/view?usp=drivesdk
3. The Concert Grand Comparison video, in which Maestro Stefan Mendl demonstrates the 3 concert grands that the Synchron Pianos have sampled, and the una corda is included. The Steinway demonstration is at 5:09: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2GYYV8JSqM
I hope you can really seriously consider doing this -- this library needs to live up to the price it demands, and I think right now the lack of these features are limiting my playing possibilities.
Sincerely,
David

Posted on Sat, May 30 2020 13:26
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 12121

Hello David, 

I have already answered to your mail to our support team. 

Una Corda is an interesting option in the hands of a profesisonal piano-tuner - you can manipulate many parameters here, and adjust it to each player's preference. 

We have decided to emulate the effect internally, without too much interaction with the original sound, to offer this rather rarely-used option for everyone interested - without doubling both our recording and editing efforts and also the sheer data size of the already huge piano. 

I'm sure that you understand this decision, the feedback we have received over the last 5 years (since the first Synchron Piano, the Yamaha CFX) indicated that pianists out there are happy with the current solution. 

As you have probably already seen, our software is a subject of continuous improvement - let's see what else we can come up with. There's always room for improvement!

Best, 
Paul

Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Sat, May 30 2020 15:28
by davidlai
Joined on Sat, May 09 2020, Posts 8

Hi Paul!
Yes, I did reply your email this morning my time. And I think it would be possible to explore these options:
1. Lossless sample compression for better footprint. You might know that Ravenscroft 275 was 35 GB, but VI Labs managed to pack it into a 6GB actual usage space so it becomes very efficient to use;
2. An adjustable filter for the una corda so you won't have to record the samples. This filter basically determines how muted the desired sound would be. There is a huge difference between what the una corda behaves in the library VS the una corda in the video in my main post, and I hope you can somehow bridge the gap so the library really reacts like a true acoustic piano. This filter idea wouldn't need extra samples, just some careful computer programing;
3. sympathetic resonance when a key is pressed down silently, pressing other keys would excite the strings of the pressed key to vibrate harmonically. This can either be sampled or modeled, but I don't know how to do it well because I'm not an engineer;
4. silent keys -- related to the sympathetic resonance, and also in conditions where keys must be sustained minus the sustain pedal, like the cadenza in the first movement of Grieg's Concerto in A Minor, there is such a moment before the end of the cadenza that the score draws a pedal off, but the left and right hands are still sustaining two keys that make up an octave. Hope that was clear enough. :)
Thanks,
David

Posted on Sat, May 30 2020 18:14
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 12121

Hi David, 

Thanks. We'll look into it!

Best,
Paul

Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 01:15
by davidlai
Joined on Sat, May 09 2020, Posts 8

Great! Hope you can keep me posted about this, and I do hope that these things can be added in the not-so-distant future!
Sincerely,
David

Originally Posted by: Paul Go to Quoted Post

Hi David, 

Thanks. We'll look into it!

Best,
Paul

Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 12:02
by johnstaf
Joined on Thu, Apr 21 2011, EI, Posts 216

Originally Posted by: Paul Go to Quoted Post
.... to offer this rather rarely-used option for everyone interested - without doubling both our recording and editing efforts and also the sheer data size of the already huge piano.

Rarely used?😳

Cubase (OS agnostic). Various VSL bits and pieces.

Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 12:43
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 12121

Hi John, 

You are right, I didn't pick the right wording. It is of course used by professionals a lot. 

Let's see what we can come up with. 

Best, 
Paul

Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 13:04
by buz1984
Joined on Tue, Nov 26 2019, Posts 8

Probably a matter of taste, but I find the implementation on the D-274 really helpful.  Some of the real instruments are still very expressive and powerful on a single string.  Horowitz by the way advocated for its use to help colour louder sections, and this explains his hallmark crashing fortissimo when he finally lets it off.

I definitely don't oppose the possibility of even greater realism.  Just wanted to say I use it a lot and appreciate the general way it is balanced.  (I'm worried if it simply gets muffled I'll hardly use it any more)

Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 13:27
by bbelius
Joined on Sat, Mar 14 2015, Posts 769

Hi everyone!

We are currently evaluating your feature request regarding una corda.
Just a thought for an immediate solution: Use the Vienna Ensemble Pro 7 Standalone as host and insert an EQ to shape the una corda sound. Then set automation up to control the EQ's bypass via the soft pedal.

Best, Ben

Ben
Technical Support - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 16:08
by davidlai
Joined on Sat, May 09 2020, Posts 8

Thanks Ben for posting this work around! I will need some exploring to do for now. :)
Meanwhile, looking forward to the features being implemented and getting excited!!! :)
Best,
David

Originally Posted by: bbelius Go to Quoted Post

Hi everyone!

We are currently evaluating your feature request regarding una corda.
Just a thought for an immediate solution: Use the Vienna Ensemble Pro 7 Standalone as host and insert an EQ to shape the una corda sound. Then set automation up to control the EQ's bypass via the soft pedal.

Best, Ben

Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 17:26
by VladKo
Joined on Tue, Apr 07 2020, Posts 26

Is Pro 7 required for this, or free 6 is enough? Oh, it looks like I found the answer (I would need Pro) here: https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Vienna_Ensemble_PRO/Product_Comparison

I would assume this can also be implemented with a third party free host and separate EQ plugin.

Another thing to consider is how hard the EQ plugin may increase latency.

Vlad
Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 17:45
by davidlai
Joined on Sat, May 09 2020, Posts 8

Yeah, it would be a shame if such things can't be done for free! Meanwhile hoping they would do something to complete the puzzle of the una corda!!!

Originally Posted by: VladKo Go to Quoted Post

Is Pro 7 required for this, or free 6 is enough? Oh, it looks like I found the answer (I would need Pro) here: https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Vienna_Ensemble_PRO/Product_Comparison

I would assume this can also be implemented with a third party free host and separate EQ plugin.

Another thing to consider is how hard the EQ plugin may increase latency.

Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 18:39
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 12121

Hi guys, 

It's a sunday where I am right now. Please be kind and decent human-beings and allow us to breathe a little, so we can come up with good solutions .

Best,
Paul

Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Sun, May 31 2020 20:13
by MangoD
Joined on Sat, Jan 05 2019, München, Posts 17

Personally, I find the sound of the pianos wonderful, the CFX more so than the Steinway (and I haven't tried the Imperial yet, I will probably buy it soon). However I think the reason why I like the CFX more than the Steinway is that the touch response just harmonizes way more with my MP11. This is why a velocity curve editor is highest on my wishlist. The Synchron pianos definitely take the crown of piano software but a velocity curve editor is a feature a lot of other libraries feature and I think it would really up the value one step further.

That being said, these are wishes. I am very happy piano VSTs on this level exist in this day and age :)

Best,

Mango

Posted on Mon, Jun 01 2020 02:51
by davidlai
Joined on Sat, May 09 2020, Posts 8

Yeah, that would be really amazing, and what you say is quite wonderful, I agree completely! Personally though, the Steinway tone is pretty unique in my opinion, and I'm very happy with what the Synchron Pianos have achieved with it. It's really wonderful and responsive to play for me, who play classical music most of the time!


Originally Posted by: MangoD Go to Quoted Post

Personally, I find the sound of the pianos wonderful, the CFX more so than the Steinway (and I haven't tried the Imperial yet, I will probably buy it soon). However I think the reason why I like the CFX more than the Steinway is that the touch response just harmonizes way more with my MP11. This is why a velocity curve editor is highest on my wishlist. The Synchron pianos definitely take the crown of piano software but a velocity curve editor is a feature a lot of other libraries feature and I think it would really up the value one step further.

That being said, these are wishes. I am very happy piano VSTs on this level exist in this day and age :)

Best,

Mango

Posted on Sun, Jun 14 2020 00:23
by gderreck
Joined on Tue, May 26 2020, Posts 5

Greetings,

I am new to this forum, so if this has been requested elsewhere, please forgive the inconvenience. I understand why most of your parameters are per preset. The perspective of each preset presents a unique set of sounds.

Would it be possible to have a global setting for pedal noise and perhaps key noise. I acknowledge that the levels vary with the physical position. I was thinking more in terms of percentage. In other words, if the pedal noise were set at 50%, it would be 50 percent of each preset's default volume. Same with key noise.

I would also like to add my voice to the request for a velocity editor. I have an SL88 controller, which has an excellent velocity system (curve and note by note). Others' mileage may vary.

Notwithstanding the above, I would like to add that I am very impressed with the sample library (Bösendorfer Imperial).

Graham

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