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Vienna Symphonic Library releases Steinway D Synchron Stage


Mark Schmieder

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https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Synchron_Package/Steinway_D

 

I can't listen to the demos until tonight, but the recent Yamaha CFX in the Synchron Stage series is magnificent and many levels beyond what they did years earlier with the Vienna Imperial.

 

The price seems reasonable for what it is. I likely will buy it; I have some vouchers backed up anyway.

 

 

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Bought the 4-for-3 vouchers to add to the one I already have, which will carry me through most of the full library purchase (glad I went that route with the Yamaha vs. the standard package, but I stick with standard for everything but pianos).

 

They haven't shown up yet as a processed order, so I'll have to wait before purchasing the piano library.

 

I listened to all the demos twice. A bit too roomy overall, as demos are wont to be, but it seems possible to dial the room out for a more intimate sound. The jazz demo was particularly impressive. I didn't notice any anomalies in the piano sound itself, pedaling, etc.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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I have the product code now, but am working from home today and our IT department forces all traffic to go through our company's network even if we set things up to where local computer based stuff doesn't do that (not sure how they managed to override that, but they did). So I have to wait until I log out of my work session before I can start downloading.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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The real shocker is how fast it is downloading and installing! I'm almost done after only a bit over an hour!

 

Good thing I moved unused stuff like Steven Slate Drums to another drive ahead of this, as I was 160 GB away from filling my big library drive.

 

One note about Synchron Player, as these libraries all say they require an SSD. That isn't true, and is probably just protection against a demand for a refund should someone's system not be up to the task.

 

As I couldn't wait for another MacPro to be released when my 2010 model died last summer, and didn't want the trash can version (which anyway required external drives so defeated the purpose), I'm not sure if it makes sense to buy an external UCB-3 or USB-C/Thunderbolt based SSD to hold my Synchron libraries.

 

We'll see how this one performs. I've had no issues with CFX so far, or the percussion or strings.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Yeah, I was too tired to check it out by the time the final installation was done last night, as I lost a couple of hours downloading and installing the second part to the earlier CFX library, which I hadn't noticed I had failed to do earlier!

 

I hope to get to this after dinner tonight -- with winter daylight hours being so limited, I prioritize stuff that needs to be done outdoors, or indoors in sufficient natural light. But I definitely will be doing a shootout vs. Hammersmith on several songs tonight -- mostly jazz, but some pop/rock, and maybe even some classical as well.

 

As the interface has a lot going on though, I'm not sure if I'll have time to thoroughly tweak all the possibilities with the mic mixes etc., so I may just start with some presets, and turn off the reverb and room mics, knowing that Vienna Instruments' team usually does a good job with their settings.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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But I definitely will be doing a shootout vs. Hammersmith on several songs tonight -- mostly jazz, but some pop/rock, and maybe even some classical as well.

 

THAT.....should be interesting. I have Hammersmith and a lot of sampled pianos (Ivory 2, Garritan, etc) including Pianoteq Pro and every time I go the 'compare this to that' routine, the Hammersmith comes out on top ('ain't' close) with its realism to the Steinway acoustic grand and warmth (with high-end speakers, of course). I still can't get a near warm piano with Pianoteq Pro but will continue to tweak. I do like the Pianoteq model concept and they will do a 'dead ringer' one day soon, imo.

 

I am tempted to buy this myself. Awaiting to read more....and I have a Surface Pro 4 i7 16GB Ram with a 512GB drive full USB3 to a Focusrite (top that with your iPads, iPad people) that can handle the size, to use a VPC1.

 

WH

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It takes almost as much time for the samples to load in the player, as it did to install the library. :-)

 

I've been waiting almost 20 minutes so far, and it's barely over half done loading. I've forgotten what I was going to play now!

 

This is probably why they say "requires" an SSD.

 

Should I move it to my internal hard drive, which is an SSD? I generally thought it was deprecated to have data on the system drive, and we can't partition the one in the 2017 iMac even if we do a fresh OS install at the same time (I tried at the time I bought it, but maybe there's a workaround).

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Wow, that really was two hours ago that I started working with this library! Hopefully I can speed up other people's experiences by writing up all the quirks and bugs that I ran into.

 

My system isn't up to the task, so I could only use it to render MIDI (and edit the MIDI to correspond better with this library). I only had the chance to use it on one tune so far, due to the steep learning curve and how many combinations I tried. Due to how long it takes to load, I thought I'd better write up my experience so far, before opening another project.

 

For reference, I have the $2700 top-of-line 2017 iMac, and haven't yet upgraded from the stock 8 GB of RAM. The user manual states that Synchron Pianos needs a minimum of 8 GB of RAM available specifically to the player, so I am clearly under the minimum requirements currently.

 

The "requirement" for an SSD is likely related specifically to load time, but perhaps also to latency if playing live (I couldn't test that as it choked up).

 

The two bugs that I noticed, cost me a LOT of time, as the learning curve meant that I didn't notice the cause at first, and kept misdiagnosing it. And as it takes so long to load either piano, I would forget important details if I reloaded toe CFX first to see if the more important bug is specific to the new Steinway or not:

 

1. Continuous Damper is off by default, even if the check box in the Settings panel says otherwise! You have to toggle it twice for it to REALLY be on. And when it's off, you get all sorts of note stoppages at mid-way levels, which of course I thought meant it was exhausting polyphony or hitting CPU limits (especially as the CPU monitor was flashing red constantly).

2. Less critical as long as you have the user manual open: the user hints on the presets don't show up until after you've loaded them, defeating the whole purpose of the tool tips. But the user manual has the same info.

 

I didn't really get a usable rendering until ten minutes before taking a break to let everything soak in and then write it up here. Primarily because I immediately threw it a continuous damper challenge and it failed miserably.

 

Once I figured out the toggle bug for the continuous damper preference check box, I was able to edit the Half Pedal sensitivity from its default of only 50% to a full 100% scaling. Of course, since I couldn't edit it initially, I assumed "50%" meant CC=64 triggers half-pedaling vs. on-off. Nope! You can even scale it beyond 100% (whatever that would do).

 

Nevertheless, I think the remedies I tried earlier were necessary anyway -- especially if you have more than one mic loaded. I set the maximum voices per key to 32 (its max value) and the maximum voices per mic to 1024 (its max value). Otherwise I also got choked notes and silence half the time.

 

Strangely, the Reverb -- which I despise (at least in the jazz context I was using it in tonight), but which I forgot to turn off sometimes as it re-defaults every time you load another mic preset -- seems to contribute to the "number of voices" monitor on the bottom panel strip of the interface.

 

I will write a separate post about the sound itself, as this is already a long one. But my main recommendation is to skip the full library and only buy the standard, unless you have a super-duper computer, even though the introductory sale means this is the best time to do the full package. Give that some thought before deciding; even the standard package is a big challenge for most computers, unless you defeature considerably (which I do anyway for intimate jazz work).

 

Feature-wise, it's very full and close to Pianoteq in many ways, as you can "reshape" the piano's "size" (I didn't try; I was on the edge of crashing as it was), amongst other controllable parameters. The Body control is quite powerful and useful and probably would be the main one to play with, when trying to idealize your settings to work in the context of a specific song.

 

The presets are not to my liking at all, and I feel they obfuscate what this library can do, so aren't necessarily a good starting point for making your own custom settings. But I'll get into that more in my sound quality review.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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OK, so how does it actually sound? Fabulous, and PROBABLY better recorded overall (or maybe a better Steinway specimen, better mics, better room, or whatever) than Hammersmith -- but you'd probably need two computers side by side with both loaded, tweaking as many things to match as possible, to REALLY do an A/B comparison.

 

In the end, I found that Synchron Steinway B wasn't cutting through the mix as well when quieter (even if changing MIDI velocity) -- regardless of which mic combinations and Body settings I chose -- and was perhaps a bit honky in the low mids in the mp to mf dynamic range and quickly gets "brassy" in the forte range and beyond.

 

It is, however, a "warmer" sounding Steinway than Hammerklavier (and I would have expected the opposite, from a Hamburg build of the D-274). This is clearly how the piano itself sounds, as it comes through in every single mic.

 

I have no question in my mind that this is the library I would use for solo piano work, as well as orchestral piano. I can't yet guess how things would play out in the pop/rock context, but have moved over to mostly Bechstein pianos for that stuff anyway of late. It's the jazz arena where I keep finding myself coming back to Steinways after experimenting with other brands (and for classical, it's just about the only brand I like, except for Mason & Hamlin, which no one has sampled yet).

 

My recommendations are to set the Body between 1-20%, MIDI Sensitivity at 100%, Half Pedal at 100%, Dynamic at 100%, and Reverb all the way off, and stick to just the close mics (which are condensers, and the second column in the Mix window), for minimum hit on CPU and memory and for the most intimate sound for jazz as well as for comparing against Hammersmith.

 

After trying many presets and tweaking them heavily, I ultimately wound up using the simplest one available, which is the Player Room Mix under the Room Mix Presets, and then turning off the Room mic altogether, as well as making all of the other edits I suggested, including the ones about voice count.

 

I did not experiment with Pedal Noise at all, or Sympathetic vibrations, fearing a crash if I did. I turn those on with VI Labs stuff; I can't remember (until I re-load my preset) which features I turn on or off for Hammersmith.

 

I am fairly confident that someone with a powerful system and a large internal SSD drive with lots of internal RAM, can probably make this library sound better than Hammersmith in every context, and even be responsive enough for live use with as many features enabled and mics as desired.

 

Having said that, the character of the piano recorded, is a bit different. There is a bit more heft or weight to this one, and it is simultaneously darker and warmer (not incompatible traits; the Hammersmith is brighter and has a more focused mid-range with no trace at all of that Pianoteq-like low-mid honk). A comparison of the close mic choices between the two libraries however, might reveal that to be the main reason. I haven't checked yet.

 

All of this took almost half an hour to write up, and now it's almost 2am, so I probably don't have time, energy, or concentration to try Synchron Steinway D on anything else tonight.

 

For context, the piece in question is one that I wrote in tribute of Dave Brubeck's style, and it goes back and forth between medium-size percussive (not staccato) chord clusters, and background chords that are held and sustained during melodies in the horns.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Thanks for the insight and detailed review - it sounds very promising. I will likely pick this up in a few months. The intro sale isn't significant enough to demand immediate action. I do think that the piano recording quality is state of the art. The piano preparation and care in micing it up are immediately evident. There are very few commercial recordings that have that good of a prep and recording. The raw sound is stunning. I haven't played it, so no opinion on that from me, but the technical quality of the samples is very high.

 

I'm sure it will run better on SSD and with 16 or 32GB of RAM. I don't miss the cost and hassle of dealing with Apple for desktop computers. Still a very happy user of their laptops, however.

 

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The Piano World forum has some very detailed advice and feedback, and user demos more in line with what many of us here want, which is a drier up-close experience. I am going to try some of the hints I saw there, right away, now that I'm back from a five hour jazz gig.

 

Most agree with me that the presets are AWFUL and unusable even as starting points, and for the same reasons, so I feel vindicated now as I thought maybe I just hadn't given them enough time yet.

 

Apparently the "reverb" is neither MIR nor an algorithmic reverb, but rather the high-surround mic blending into the mix. That would explain why it cuts into the polyphony.

 

The audio demo I like the best so far, has settings similar to what I described earlier, with a few differences: Tube Mic at 0 dB; Ribbon Mic at -3 dB; High-Surround Mic at -12 dB for ambience -- for a fairly close experience that doesn't necessarily need any downstream reverb during production.

 

Many point out that the demos leave Body Resonance and Sympathetic Resonance turned off, making some suspicious that the developers know they aren't very good. The person who has spent the most time with the library so far turns down the Body to 0% and Sympathetic to -6 dB.

 

Another person tweaked those recommendations to replace the High-Surround with the Mid 2 Mic, and many recommend turning off the Delay on the non-close mics.

 

As for MIDI tracking, every keyboard is different, but everyone has noticed what I did about things getting metallic and overly aggressive as low as Note On Velocity = 80, which is the start of mezzo-forte and DEFINITELY not the point at which a real piano starts behaving like it's being abused.

 

So, the recommendation is to set MIDI Sensitivity to -20.

 

I am going to work with these recommendations now, on a separate piece from the one I spent so much time on last night. This piece probably has no half-pedaling as it was written before I had a Continuous Damper Pedal and I don't think I re-tracked the MIDI after that point. It is New Orleans Stride style, more or less, and Hammersmith was the first library that rendered it in a way that it blends, keeps its energy and percussiveness, and doesn't go ultra-aggro or lose its delicate timbre and warmth.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Holy cow! Those settings did the trick; for the stride piano piece, the results with this new Steinway library are at least 10x better than Hammersmith, with in turn is more than 4x better than Galaxy Vienna D (my previous top library for Steinway Grands).

 

I used all of the tweaks mentioned above, plus the ones I came up with on my own and described earlier. I didn't bother trying the High-Surround mic, instead opting for the Mid 2 Mic at -12 dB.

 

Due to performance issues, I simply can't tweak the settings very much, and especially if I want to maintain any continuity of thought or of aural memories. But these settings are so amazing for jazz, that I doubt they can be improved upon, so I saved this as a jazz piano Audio Unit preset (but not yet as a User Preset within Synchron Pianos).

 

I will now try these settings on the Brubeck influenced piece that I gave up on last night and kept assigned to Hammersmith.

 

The thing that such percussive playing styles brings out, is how realistic the Vienna library sounds: it makes other libraries sound like libraries vs. a piano that you're sitting at and playing. The upper mids in particular, have a dynamism and clarity that also helps the low and high notes be distinct and not get muddy.

 

Unfortunately, I will have to do some computer upgrades before I can use the Vienna product though, as I still get CPU spikes and when that happens the sound cuts out, sounding choppy. It can happen with Continuous Damper when that setting is off, but I only have on/off sustain switches in this piece, and even after removing them, the choppiness happened now and then. It's quite specific: when the total voice count goes up to around 210 or so, the SPU indicator goes red and the sound cuts off briefly.

 

For those who are jazz players and want a similar sound and experience to what I have described, look at the specs to see whether the fukll edition is required in order to gain access to the three mics I am using: Tube; Ribbon; Mid 2.

 

Last night, I had dumbed it down to just a close mic or two, but using the Condenser Mic. The Piano World forum member who came up with this other mic combination had spent a whole weekend trying every mic combination and setting. I'm not sure I would have come upon this triad on my own.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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If anyone thinks the CPU spikes will diminish or go away if I upgrade to more internal RAM (vs. the default 8 GB that cheap-skate Apple gives us even on their high-end models), let me know, but the OWC price has remained steady for two years now with no drop, so I keep waiting, as it would be $400 to $500 to upgrade to 32 GB .

 

I really wanted to finish my album by New Year's, but now I feel compelled to wait until I can render certain piano tracks over again using Synchron Steinway D, and I simply can't do that at the moment due to the cutouts I get when the CPU spikes.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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I did another pass on the stride tune, and the CPU spikes and cutouts happened at slightly different points this time, as well as not being directly related to "difficult" pedaling challenges.

 

As for the Brubeck inspired tune, with the constant half-pedaling, I pulled every trick in the book to maximize available CPU and RAM, to no avail. It starts choking quickly and just gets worse; it only recovers during breaks in the playing.

 

I did confirm that the preferred mics are all available in the standard edition. But I do think I'll use the Advanced-only mics, when doing orchestral work.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Reading the user manual, it is no surprise that the specific three mics chosen by the guy at Piano World are also the ones I prefer, as they are the ones I would choose if I was miking a piano myself.

 

The ones I listed correspond to Close 2 (Royer SF24 Ribbon), Close 3 (Neumann M-149 Tube Condenser), and Sennheiser MKH 8040.

 

For the five close and mid mics, here's the descriptions:

 

Close 1, MK 4:

The two Schoeps MK 4 microphones are arranged in an ORTF setup and are on option for your close set of microphones. They were positioned as close as possible over the strings in the hammer area. These microphones will be essential when going for a modern sound as used in all kinds of popular music.

 

Close 2, SF 24:

The 2 ribbon figure-eight capsules of the Royer SF 24 are arranged in a classic Blümlein setup, creating a great alternative sound to the Schoeps MK4. Their position is in the players area, resulting in a very natural, reactive sound (with the typical fast responding sound characteristics).

 

Close 3, M-149:

Steinway D only: ORTF setup of a Neumann M-149 stereo pair, capturing the beauty of the Steinway D with the analog warmth and richness only a legendary tube microphone can provide.

 

Mid 1, MKH 800:

The two Sennheiser MKH 800 microphones are also arranged in an ORTF setup, resulting in a warm, bright and wide sound. The Piano is centered in this microphone set.

 

Mid 2, MKH 8040:

Compared to the Mid 1 set, the two Sennheiser MKH 8040 provide a more focused and harder (direct?) sound. Once again, the piano is in the center of this microphone set, arranged in an ORTF setup.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Looking at the Hammersmith manual and their mic choices and placement, it's a big step up from Galaxy Vintage D and other previous top choices, but really no comparison to the Synchron Steinway D -- nor is the price. :-)

 

There are probably still going to be songs where I prefer the Hammersmith, but once I can get my system to handle the Synchron library, I will always put time into trying to make it work for the song first, due to the extra detail and crispness, and it just sounding like a real piano vs. a library.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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If it is not on an SSD, I'd do that first. Being on an SSD will directly affect how quickly it can stream samples from disk. I'm surprised it works at all on a traditional HDD. It's the single largest upgrade you can make if you haven't yet.

 

RAM prices haven't moved for one simple reason - they are selling everything they can make. There is no supply glut to move prices lower, and a factory was destroyed about 2 years ago in a typhoon in East Asia. RAM just costs what it costs. It is down a bit from 6 months ago - I just bought 64GB for $500 for a new DAW build. 16GB shouldn't be that bad and will likely solve your issue, but I've yet to want less RAM in a music computer...

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I had an SSD in my 2010 MacPro, for the system drive, and the Fusion drive in the 2017 iMac is "sort of" an SSD (I printed out a detailed write-up on what it "really" is, and many consider it a really bad decision on Apple's part). I should probably review that material before assuming that moving the Synchron Pianos to the internal drive will help at all.

 

I looked at RAM prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and there was only a $10 discount, which wasn't enough to have me prioritize it over acoustic instruments (my main priority the past two years) whose prices will skyrocket and whose availability will quickly diminish as one wood after another becomes unavailable.

 

My 2010 MacPro had 32 GB as I recall. It wasn't expensive either, but I also waited a few years and it was right before the typhoon. The type of RAM needed by the 2017 iMac is pretty pricey. But it makes sense to buy the larger blocks, and maybe just one at first and wait on the second one, as that is still a big jump from 8 GB. Also, the new iMacs let you mix and match, so I wouldn't have to throw out the 8 GB RAM during the initial upgrade.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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In this situation, would running this library off an external SSD with a fast bus (like a latest generation 3.1 USB) do the trick? This is assuming that you also have plenty of RAM -- at or above 32GB would be my preference.
Dennis
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External SSD's in enclosures are WAY too pricey still, for the amount of space required by Synchron Pianos, much less any more of my project data or sample library collection! It would cost me upwards of $12,000 or more to switch to SSD's.

 

As for memory though, OWC/MacSales has lower prices now than two weeks ago, so once I am home and reconfirm the EXACT model of iMac that I have (not worth taking a chance on what I THINK it is, as there are no returns), I will likely order 32GB for $274. That would give me 40GB total, and I could add another 32GB later. This could probably turnaround in a week or less, luckily.

 

I still have my SSD/PCIe setup from the 2010 MacPro as I forgot to sell it -- I was going to make an ad yesterday but it was too dark all day for non-flash photos and I hate what flash does.

 

The last time I priced an enclosure for this setup, it was $300, and it's not all that big of an SSD anyway. I forget the size but I think it's 160 GB. So even though I've now waited over a year, there's probably still more value in selling it, except it might only work in 2010 MacPro's and most people have had to abandon those by now.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Maybe not. So many specifics when you're on a Mac though. I'm nervous about buying from anywhere but MacSales/OWC as places like New Egg and Amazon (or even Best Buy) aren't so good about their awareness of Mac compatibility.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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I certainly can vouch for an ssd with piano library helping a ton...and I'm only talking the relatively small CFX Lite by Garritan. Granted, I did upgrade the laptop which I'm sure helps, but it was "just" a 2012 to 2016 macbook pro. I was using the old internal drive on first machine and it took 2-3 minutes to load the high quality samples. On the new machine with internal ssd it takes 1-2 SECONDS.

 

I have an external 500 gb ssd as well, but dang it's hard to think about filling it up halfway with one piano. It would have to be a lot better than the garritan for me to consider it (I expect it is to some degree or other).

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Maybe not. So many specifics when you're on a Mac though. I'm nervous about buying from anywhere but MacSales/OWC as places like New Egg and Amazon (or even Best Buy) aren't so good about their awareness of Mac compatibility.
Don't be. The drives are all the same. OWC charges a premium for their branding. There are only 3 manufacturers of the chips in the world. So, the drives are all the same. Stick with Crucial, Samsung, etc and you will be fine. I've used many of each in both Macs and PC. Macs are not magical - despite the marketing. They use the exact same parts as PCs. Any external enclosure will be USB3 or some standard interface and will work fine. The drive won't say Mac compatible because it doesn't need to. USB class compliance has solved all these things. You will need to format the drive when it arrives, but that is hardly a big deal. If nothing else, try it. Amazon will take anything back. Order a 500GB SSD for $100-ish dollars and an enclosure. If it works, you will never look back.
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I have over 9 GB of sample libraries altogether. Some I would love to sell (see my ad, but it's only a partial listing as selling is an extremely time-consuming pastime). So I would only prioritize the Synchron Player stuff for an SSD.

 

For my first iMac in 2002, I was very independent, and had so many problems that I began to believe the hype about OWC and switched to them starting with the 2010 MacPro. I stopped buying Crucial RAM at that point, and the problems went away. I also switched from Glyph drives, with noisy fans, to internal drives and backups drives that are just internal drives temporarily loaded into a TrueDock brand host. I still have one drive hooked up that way to the 2017 iMac. I switched from eSATA to USB3 with the new iMac, when doing backups, due to compatibility of connectors and busses.

 

I am far more concerned about the libraries actually working (they don't currently) than faster load times, unless the two are related, which I don't think they are as it seems it loads everything it might need right at the outset, into RAM, and that takes 0.9 GB for my slimmed down mic choices.

 

So I have to be very careful from a timeline and budget point of view, to address what is most likely to make these libraries usable, meaning no CPU spikes and thus no audio hiccups that prevent me from producing a complete audio track. I can't possibly do multiple takes and figure out where to comp takes based on weak memories of where the hiccups occurred, not all of which will be where there is unintentional audio silence.

 

I haven't visited the VSL forum since this product came out, so I'll check there now and see if there have been some practical recommendations for those who are experiencing the glitches.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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