I think that this Piano forum is an excellent idea. The quest for the best piano will be around for years to come.
Personally I feel the sounds, and velocity layers issues have been covered in recent years rather well. Performance features are the ticket for me. I am researching these threads and find they are very useful. I am only waiting to see what Gigastudio 4 has up it's sleeves, and also Garritan's Steinway collaboration sounds really exciting. I currently do not own any Garritan libraries other than the Giga Harp, which is ancient, but well done. So I anxiously await these two developers.
On a different note, I use the Scope DSP Platform, and also intertwine that with different apps for recording, and live work. Cubase 4, Creamware's VDAT 32bit integer app are my virtual recorders, and Bidule is my live VST shell, which BTW is super stable considering the different apps I use live.
Using the DSP and VST gives me the best of both worlds, I simply choose which sounds best, and use that particular approach.
Recently my DSP developer made a Mid/Side style EQ. I do not know if there are similar EQ's in a VST format yet, but this type of recording and EQ'ng are incredible. I like my analog, and virtual synths to be in your face, front and center usually, and rarely need EQ's, but rather filters. But my samplers are used mostly to reproduce acoustic instruments, and this style of EQ makes a decent sounding Piano library stunningly wide, as if it were recorded for 5.1, or used several mics. It's called the DAS DynaPara EQ, a dynamic parametric Mid/Side style device, and it makes samples sound so much more alive, I can never use my current libraries ever again w/o it. It will also notch in areas that you might not like, for instance, I have this old but well recorded Steinway Upright from Vintaudio, I love the way it sounds old and dirty, but well tuned, a real bluesy, jamming style piano, but the left hand comps had a mid range that was a little overbearing when doing comps with the left, and solos in the upper registers. This EQ turned this oh so-so Upright into my main jammer w/ those styles now. It really took all of my old content, and extended it's life a little longer, all while adding such a wide new sound.
Does anyone here know of a VST equivalent. I always like having multiple choices. Just the way I use DSP and VST, I also have more choices by using Gigastudio, and K2. Variety is the spice of life.
I love the idea that this is a niche platform. No marketing ploy. Just cheap, great custom made devices.
I have recently purchased this developers recording and mastering app. for Scope DSP cards. It also can be used with VST recordings as well. But it's really best to record originally with this in mind.
He has signed on with Digidesign recently, as ProTools guys were probably P.O'd that us lowly Scope guys had such developements.
The DAS DynamicParametric MS EQ can be considered a side chained re summing of the original signals. Where you can EQ the mid, and side separately.
It is different from Brainrox's device, where mastering a finished product, that was hopefully recorded with the M/S mic explanation.
The DAS EQ is a fast fix on already sampled content, that was recorded in the conventional stereo way.
I could get all scientific, but that is boring actually.
If you pm me, I will give you the Flying Frenchmans email address, where he can surely descibe the particular atoms in the DSP programming that he did, and the intentions of their particular uses.
All I know is that my ancient Upright collections from Vintaudio, and his Yamaha C7, are old. But with the Lexicon PCM91 doing the ambience, and Gigapulse doing the pedal down IR's, and the DAS DynaPara MS attached. Those libraries will remain my jammin' Pianos. I have added the DP MS EQ to other libraries as well. Your American Zither through the Lexicon, and the MS sounds really extreme also. There are such devices for DSP Platforms, so surely Brainrox and others have VST versions somewhere. I personally think VST recording apps could use it. No offence, but the summing in those big guys just sounds brittle and cold compared to DSP recording. Since this a re summing of sorts, I think it would help in C4, Sonar, etc.etc. I have those and find my 32bit integer easier to achieve the results I like in the mastering of the finished product. I just can't wait to use Brainrox's app., with the prescribed mic techniques. I would buy his hardware. but for 25,000 USD, I would rather pay down my Mortgage !!
I am still shopping for the REAL PIANO instrument or library. I want a well recorded sound, with sostenuto abilities like a REAL PIANO, and I will choose my ambiences myself, as I still prefer the hardware reverbs over virtual. But I do love the pedal down from GigaPulse, so anything that comes near to what I have described, I will buy, and brag about as well. That Piano will be used for my solo piano gigs, where I actually will use the sostenuto. You cannot play certain Chopin, Debussey, or New Orleans Barrelhouse styles w/o one. I have bought many Piano Libraries and they all sound fine, they sound even better with the DAS M/S EQ, but I really need performance features these days. I pray that Garritan, or Gigastudio 4 will help me in this endeavor.