Everyone wants a Steinway in their tracking room, but most of us don’t have the money or square footage to own one. Luckily, Sound Magic have modeled the best of the best Steinway Grand Pianos for us.
BEIJING, CHINA: leading virtual piano software developer Sound Magic is proud to announce availability of Mega Steinway Special Edition — shipping a stunning collection of next-generation modelled virtual piano plug-ins based on eight legendary Steinway pianos on a custom flash drive — as of June 17…
As implied by name, Mega Steinway Special Edition is a magical musical collection of virtual instruments based on eight legendary pianos occupying a significant place in the hallowed history of prominent piano company Steinway, well known for making high-quality pianos (famed for their ‘Steinway singing tone’) and also for inventions within the area of piano development — namely, Steinway No. 483, modelled on the first piano made and sold by Steinway & Sons in the US — so called since founder Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (later known as Henry R. Steinway) had previously built 482 pianos in Germany before emigrating Stateside — as the earliest example of the Steinway sound (and now displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City); Anton Rubinstein’s Steinway, modelled on the piano played by revered Russian pianist, composer, and conductor Anton Rubinstein during his US tour during the 1872-73 season at the behest of Steinway & Sons, showcasing the 19th Century Steinway sound (which was already well on its way to becoming world famous by that time); 1927 Vintage Steinway D, modelled on a flagship concert grand piano built in 1927, representing the early 20th Century Steinway sound; Horowitz Steinway, modelled on the CD 443 — arguably the most legendary grand piano of all time, much loved by Russian-born American classical pianist and composer Vladimir Horowitz, representing the late 20th Century Steinway sound; Lang Lang’s Modern Steinway, modelled on the Steinway grand piano used in recent years by Chinese concert pianist par excellence Lang Lang, representing the latest Steinway sound in the early 21st Century; Steinway B, modelled on the best-selling grand piano, widely used as a perfect practice piano by many young musicians; Boston Home Upright, modelled on Steinway’s mid-level market budget brand, representing the most familiar-sounding upright piano in the world; and Duke Ellington Edition Upright, modelling the upright piano once played by big-band jazz originator Duke Ellington, which has a special Steinway sound all of its own.
Overcoming some serious obstacles during its three-year development, such as not being able to fully sample all 88 keys on some original instruments due to their current condition, Mega Steinway Special Edition’s aim is true, thanks in no small part to Sound Magic’s proprietary Neo Piano Hybrid Modelling Engine that combines the authenticity of sampling with the playability of a modelled piano — the best of both worlds, in other words, making for a virtual piano experience that has to be tried to be believed! At its core is an intelligent analysis system that evaluates a MIDI track or performance to determine the optimum balance between RAM (Random Access Memory) and DFD (Direct From Disk) usage. Using an older computer with low RAM? DFD works well. Using a high-performance 64-bit system with plenty of RAM to play with? Play the virtual instrument totally from RAM. Either way, the new Neo Piano Hybrid Modelling Engine has been totally redesigned with far less CPU (Central Processing Unit) consumption than before — around a tenth of the previous version — and also offers the best DFD performance possible (15mb/s requirement for hard disk speed, which is around a tenth of the capability of an average modern hard drive, and even less for a Solid State Drive, minimising the possibility of glitches and pops due to drive-reading issues). In all cases sound quality remains at the highest level.
Lest we forget, standard sampled piano sounds are always static with no interaction between the strings while playing, but the Neo Piano Hybrid Modelling Engine recreates those ethereal harmonic changes, generating subtle sympathetic resonances based on the notes being played at any given moment. In the case of Mega Steinway Special Edition, Sound Magic successfully captured the harmonics for all eight pianos — 15 harmonics per piano, no less, and built mathematical models for each piano based on this valuable information, using the Neo Piano Hybrid Modelling Engine to shape the timbre and dynamics to best fit the model. Moreover, the new user-defined damping system precisely emulates real damper behaviour, so users can decide whether they want to play a ‘tight’ brand-new piano, a typical bedded-in piano, or a ‘loose’ well-worn piano. Another major breakthrough is the resonance engine. Every grand piano has a large soundboard reflecting sound that then resonates with the piano’s wooden body. This is a continuous process and makes each and every note sound unique. In order to simulate this behaviour, Sound Magic first captures multi-angle IRs (Impulse Responses) from the soundboard, then applies groundbreaking technology to convert those IRs into resonance engine algorithms. In turn, this results in an amazing concert hall sound reproduction full of life! All told, then, there are almost 40 user-adjustable controls — lift the lid, alter the dampers, change the velocity response, apply a ‘style’ or resonance, adjust the player/audience perspective… the combination of options is truly astounding!
Apply all of this to Mega Steinway Special Edition and what have you got? Generally speaking, this comprehensive and detailed piano collection will leave users feeling that they are experiencing the development of Steinway pianos with a better understanding of the true meaning of the Steinway sound. You can clearly hear the improved dynamics from the 19th Century to the early 21st Century while discovering how the timbre changes throughout 160 years’ worth of Steinway’s hallowed history. However, at a more personal level, Mega Steinway Special Edition may even enable users to add a unique ‘Steinway singing tone’ to their own music. Make your own history while experiencing Steinway’s history!
Mega Steinway Special Edition is available to purchase as a custom flash drive featuring eight next-generation modelled virtual piano plug-ins (VST and AU 32- and 64-bit, as well as AAX 64-bit for Mac OS X and Windows) for $399 USD/€349 EURO/£240 GBP from here: http://www.supremepiano.com/megasteinway.html