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VSL Steinway & Sons D-274 as an accompanying instrument
Last post Tue, Jan 15 2019 by TCLG, 25 replies.
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Posted on Thu, Dec 27 2018 18:09
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 488

These days I finished a piece for violin and piano. A good opportunity to discover the accompaniment capacities of the new VSL Steinway. I take the opportunity to wish all the best for 2019 to all my fellow-forum members.
The piece I composed did me think of all the good things, that happened in the past time, so “Sweet Memories”. 

Sweet Memories

Posted on Thu, Dec 27 2018 20:34
by Guy Bacos
Joined on Sun, Jan 16 2005, Quebec, Canada, Posts 1996

Very nice MMKA! I really enjoyed listening to this, nice musicality and I appreciate the simplicity, I mean this in a positive way of course. Also excellent programming on the violin.

Posted on Thu, Dec 27 2018 23:58
by tchampe
Joined on Wed, Apr 25 2018, Posts 101

Beautiful piece! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Posted on Fri, Dec 28 2018 04:16
by David B.
Joined on Tue, May 15 2018, Posts 113

Very enjoyable to listen to and it also sounds very professional. Thank you for sharing.

God Bless,


Posted on Fri, Dec 28 2018 04:43
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5730

This sounds like a very good composition.  Also the dynamics and phrasing are really well done. 

However, I thought the violin sounded in its timbre somewhat artificial or at least - non-acoustic. In fact in several sections it sounds exactly like an electric violin - I was wondering how this was recorded.  Is this the Synchron stage? 

Posted on Fri, Jan 04 2019 22:23
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 488

Thank you, Guy, tchampe, David and William for your reactions.
@ William: I used a little MIR (Synchron wide) in the first version (only 13 %). 

Because of other work and making a new version my response is somewhat delayed, 
I made that because of what William wrote about accoustics, 
Bringing in more accoustics took a lot of time because the balance disappeared when I brought in more reverb.
I hope you enjoy it. 

Sweet Memories version 2

Posted on Sat, Jan 05 2019 03:23
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5730

MMKA I'm glad you're not mad at me - it is an excellent composition and I admire your work.   Is this the 1st solo violin?  

Posted on Sat, Jan 05 2019 08:13
by stefan_telser
Joined on Wed, Mar 14 2007, Nuremberg, Posts 134

Very expressive performance. The playing of the Violin sounds very natural and lively to me!

Best Stefan

Posted on Sat, Jan 05 2019 13:12
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 488

Thank you Stefan and William for your reactions.

@William I wasn't mad at all, but it was a challenge to me to use more accoustics. At this moment I don't know which version I prefer. But I learned from it, and that is always good. Perhaps one day I try something in the middle between the first and second one. The violin is the Emotional Violin.

Posted on Sat, Jan 05 2019 19:10
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5730

O.K. I see - that is what I was reacting to.  I definitely do not like that violin as much as either the Vienna Solo 1 or 2.  It may have a lot of articulations but the basic sound is not natural to my ears even with more reverb and space and reminded me EXACTLY of the electric violin used on Bernard Herrmann's own London recording of The Day the Earth Stood Still. That's what I instantly thought of when I heard it.   I wish you could do this with the Vienna, but that is probably way too much work as they are totally different libraries.  

Anyway I like your composition very much and your programming is extremely expressive. And of course the piano sounds awesome!

Posted on Mon, Jan 07 2019 14:43
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 488

This weekend I searched for a better sound of the violin. I think this is a little better than version 2. So for now this is it.

Sweet Memories version 3

Posted on Mon, Jan 07 2019 20:49
by synergy543
Joined on Fri, Apr 01 2005, Posts 135

Beautiful performanc by both you and Chiara. 

I assume you recorded both the voice and piano at the same time?

Thanks for sharing.

Greg (Gregory D. Moore)
Posted on Mon, Jan 07 2019 22:51
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 488

Hi Synergy, you posted your message in the wrong thread, I think...

Posted on Fri, Jan 11 2019 20:18
Joined on Mon, Dec 24 2018, Posts 7


Beautiful piece! I'm especially interested in what presets you used for the VSL Steinway. I find the upper registers sound like the hammers are almost metallic on my VSL Steinway regardless of what I do, but yours are much more mellow. What did you do to achieve that? Would you post your preset file, please?

Posted on Fri, Jan 11 2019 23:08
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 488


Thanks for your friendly words. When I have the opportunity in time I will send to you my presets. One important thing I always do is not using the high velocities. When I play on a big Steinway (last month I had the opportunity), I will never use the very loud tones. I don't use a lot of weight of my arm then. The instrument can be loud enough and can give a kind of fortissimo without using the very loud part of it. Other pianists can have other thoughts about this, but I know of several concertpianists they agree with this. Now I have to say that the music I always choose is music that needs a warm, deep tone. Of course there will be other music that need that aggressive sound. And I don't know what I should do when I should have to play with a big orchestra. (I played 2 times with an orchestra, but that were little ones). By memory I can say now, that I used the base of the intimite version surround to stereo, but I will send the presets to you.

Posted on Sat, Jan 12 2019 02:16
by littlewierdo
Joined on Sun, Apr 24 2016, Posts 243

I think the artificial part people are hearing consists of two things in the violin, and it may or may not be correctable, since I dont have any of Vienna's libraries outside of the special edition complete.

1. Its the vibrato on the violin. It is exactly the same for every note that is making this sound artificial. Also, the vibrato starts at the beginning of every single note... Vibrato should be expressive, and some notes should have it, some should not, and some notes should have vibrato added to the end of the note. In rare cases, vibrato at the beginning of the note and then moving into a straight tone even works. As I said at the beginning, I dont know if this is correctable with the library you have, I know with the special edition library, it is not, I have no way to control when there is vibrato and how much vibrato there will be (sadly).

2. Every note in each section of the piece has the same dynamic, each note has a soft crescendo and de-crescendo. This part you can fix, try having some notes without having the crescendo or decrescendo.

A bonus tip, EQ the violin if you can, bring the highs down a small bit and boost the mids a smidge, in particular, the lower mids. It will give the violin better tonal character.

It is a fantastic piece, and I dont mean to dump on it, absolutely wonderful. I particularly like the middle section, it has a bouncy, yet almost slightly somber tone to it. I almost wonder how this might sound bringing the ambient mic's up a bit on the piano and bringing down the closer mics a tad. The distant nature of the piano might add a sense of loneliness to it, as if the piano and violin were two friends that found each other. Thats kind of the impression I got...the beginning is two lonely instruments, like two lonely friends, and then the mid section, they find each other and they are so happy to have found each other..

Posted on Sat, Jan 12 2019 15:39
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5730

littleweirdo - 

it is not a VSL violin.  

Posted on Sun, Jan 13 2019 00:59
by littlewierdo
Joined on Sun, Apr 24 2016, Posts 243

Originally Posted by: William Go to Quoted Post

littleweirdo - 

it is not a VSL violin.  

I realize that, and the wording I used might have suggested otherwise. Some libraries have customizable vibrato, some do not. Im not even sure if VSL libraries have it, which is what I was trying to say (I know the Special Edition libraries do not).

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a solo violin that sounds as realistic and is as expressive as the real thing, and vibrato is the biggest issue with most solo violin sounds. Every note in most violin libraries has the same amount of vibrato (same amount of pitch bend), the vibrato starts at exactly the same time for every note played, and is identical in speed for every note played. Vibrato is meant to be expressive, and it is the thing that makes all solo violin soundfonts sound fake.

Not that I think this point needs demonstrating, but here is a video demonstrating this, the violin comes in around 30 seconds in, notice how each note she plays is unique, some notes having vibrato, some not, some having a delayed vibrato, some having vibrato through the whole note, and varying speeds of vibrato. I hate to use such a beautiful piece to demonstrate technique, as it is just a wonderful performance.

Schindler's List Theme

Unfortunately, we are working with the limits of sounds available today, and my comments were not to dump on the piece at all, I think it is a wonderful piece. I was merely trying to shed some light on what I think people were hearing, but not able to adequately explain, which is why the violin sounded "fake".

Posted on Sun, Jan 13 2019 01:30
by littlewierdo
Joined on Sun, Apr 24 2016, Posts 243

I figured Id go ahead and pull up the same piece (Schindler's List Theme) on the VSL Music page and give it a listen...

VSL music

The violin here sounds ok, but you can definitely hear that it isnt authentic. The identical vibrato exists for every note, but is carefully disguised once in awhile by some carefully placed portamento. Also, the transitions between certain notes also sounds fake, and I cant exactly describe why. Its not a knock on the piece, its that the piece would benefit from having a real violin player play it, if possible, unless a more realistic solo violin soundfont exists... I love the piece, I dislike solo violin soundfonts...

Posted on Sun, Jan 13 2019 02:48
by littlewierdo
Joined on Sun, Apr 24 2016, Posts 243

I dont have this library, but I did a bit of minor research, this library seems to have a significant amount of control over vibrato, and a huge selection of articulations. Its a $600 library of solo strings (violin, viola, cello, and bass) and can also be used for small ensembles as well. Might be worth a look... there is a video on this page that goes through all the settings pages, he doesnt spend time going through the features, so you'll have to pause the video to get a good look at the feature set, the vibrato page has about 20 settings alone.

Chris Hein Solo Strings

or, an even better more in depth look here (click the video button in the lower right corner of the solo strings library).

Best Service Orchestral Strings

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