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VSL Pianos 2019
Last post Fri, May 10 2019 by MMKA, 4 replies.
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Posted on Thu, May 09 2019 23:41
by Pyre
Joined on Thu, Jun 28 2012, Posts 149

Hi all!

I'm between album cycles at the moment, so haven't been doing much VSL-ing of late. But I saw the email come through a few days ago about the May special offer, and am thinking it would be a good time for me to snap up some products (also I'm in the UK, and with the way we're going politically, our UK-EU exchange rate is likely to continue to get worse!).

I had been planning to pick up the Keyboards Complete package, which includes Vienna Imperial and Bosendorfer Imperial. But there are now two (soon three, I think?) Synchron pianos to consider instead. It has to be instead, rather than as well, for simple but unavoidable price reasons.

So I am trying to compare Vienna Imperial with the two Synchron pianos, judging things like velocity layers per key and so on. I know Imperial mentions up to 1,200 samples per key, but the Yamaha CFX says 4,200 - but I presume the second number is higher as the Synchron pianos were recorded from a lot more microphone positions, which aren't so relevant to my needs. Would you be happy to provide a comparable figure for the Yamaha to how Imperial boasts having up to 100 samples per key please? ...Does the Yamaha not have as many, or is sampling that many the normal way of doing things now, and so not specifically mentioned?

I am thinking Imperial would be better for my needs, as all the rest of my libraries are VI series rather than Synchron, and my work involves much more out-there mixing conditions than the traditional classical approach I think the Synchron libraries are designed for? So having the drier piano would probably be more useful to me. Also, I have wanted Imperial for at least seven years, so that's definitely the one I'm biased towards.

Two further questions, please! I have Vienna Suite, complete with its convolution reverb plugin, as well as the first five MIR venues - can I load any of those into the Vienna Imperial Player instead of the Konzerthaus reverb samples? I usually use the Teldex setup, and I'm just wondering if it's possible to do that directly in Imperial Player when using it for standalone low-latency piano performance.

Also, are there any recommended circumstances in which I might realistically be better using Bosendorfer Imperial than Vienna Imperial? If I go with Keyboards Complete (which would be great for both Imperial and the Konzerthaus Organ), then the Bosendorfer Imperial is included anyway. It seems a shame to have it and never use it, so I'm just wondering if there are any things you think it's better suited for than Vienna Imperial.

Thanks very much,


AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core Processor, 3.59 Ghz
1 TB hard drive for audio, 4 TB hard drive for libraries, 1x 256 GB SSD for OS
Audient iD14 4-in 2-out USB interface
Korg Triton Extreme-76 master keyboard, M-Audio MidAir-25 lap keyboard.

Windows 10 Pro, Cubase 10.5 Pro
VSL Symphonic Cube (Full library), Vienna Choir (standard library), Vienna Solo Voices (standard library), Vienna Imperial, Konzerthaus Organ, and download instruments Recorders, Harpsichord, Basset Horn and Contrabass Clarinet.
Vienna Instruments Pro 2.5.18635 and Vienna Ensemble Pro 5.4.16181
Vienna Suite, Vienna MIR and room packs 1-5
Sibelius 7 and Komplete 8
All 64-bit.
Posted on Fri, May 10 2019 10:30
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 12788

Hi Pyre, 

You cannot really go wrong with the Vienna Imperial, for your approach, and especially if you like the Bösendorfer sound. Having said that, the Synchron Pianos both are highly impressive, also for dry recordings (especially if you go for the additional mics in the Full Library).  

Regarding reverberation: You cannot insert plug-ins or MIR into the Imperial software, but you could use VE / Pro as a host for standalone performance and use your plug-ins that way. 

BTW: The Bösendorfer Imperial is NOT included in the Keyboards bundle, and I'll have to add that it is really a low-budget option compared to the Vienna Imperial. No comparison there. 

I'll leave some space for others to comment, just wanted to add my 2 cents :)


Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Fri, May 10 2019 11:37
by daerp
Joined on Thu, Jan 18 2007, Toronto, ON CANADA, Posts 162
Hi. I have Vienna Imperial, as well as the Synchron Yamaha and Steinway. I have always liked the Vienna Imperial and used it in quite a few projects. But now that I took the step to acquire the Synchron pianos I find I use it (the Imperial) less and less. My favourite sound (personal preference) is the Steinway and have actually gone back and loaded all three pianos in my DAW and then use duplicate tracking with different routing so I can compare all three in a musical situtation. Frankly, I feel completely spoiled!

Now, a small comment regarding the diverse options we now have in the VSL instrument world. I learned to use the old (no longer in use) VI Sample Player and never liked it. The newer sample player is a big improvement and takes a lot of work and time (in my case) to learn. No shortage of complexity, but it allows a great sense of control over performances of the samples. I’m now learning the Synchron Player and find this ‘new’ player has some real advantages. But it is very time consuming to learn and re-learn the intricacies of each.

So I’m wondering if VSL is headed towards a Synchron Player model (maybe called something else) that will be a ‘universal ‘ player for all the libraries. I think that would be terrific in some sense, although maybe impossible.

I often feel there is me (performer, composer, orchestrator) and then there is this cumbersome giant wall of TECH that I must deal with before getting to the results on the other side. Slows down the process in my case, although I’ve really worked at it.

All this to say that choice of instrument (in this case piano) is also a choice of sample player and your comfort level with each workflow. Of course, the bottom line is sound, but I wanted to comment on the multiple choices we now have working with VSL/Synchron libraries.

Finally, after all these years, I am still astonished at the agility and speed of some users with the libraries (Jay Bacal and Guy Bacos come to mind).
Paul R
MAC OS X 11.5
Finale 27
Digital Performer 11
Many VSL libraries, MIR Pro and Vienna Suite Pro
VIP, Synchron Player, Synchron Pianos, EW Libraries, Broadway Big Band, Realitone Ladies, Superior Drummer, Audio Modeling Saxophones, Kontakt, etc.
Posted on Fri, May 10 2019 14:14
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 435

Hi Pyre,

Although I liked the Vienna Imperial very much, the Yamaha and the Steinway are a huge step forward. In sound, but also the easiness of placing them in a venue (they both also can sound very dry by using the closest mics).

I looked to your hardware, and I think that is another point to look at.
A ssd is very recommended for the Yamaha and the Steinway.
8 GB RAM is the minimum you need, 16 GB recommended, but if you want to use more instruments at the same time, I think you will need more RAM, especially when you use MIR Pro for the other instruments.
When I started to use the Synchron Strings 1, I noticed that 32 GB for a symphony orchestra is hardly enough.
Ok, the Yamaha or Steinway are of course less RAM consuming then the Synchron Strings 1, but for a smooth performance of this both instruments it is good to realize, that an investment in the hardware could be necessary probably.
Good luck in making a choice, that gives you a lot of musical pleasure!

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