I just loaded up Garritan Professional last night & played it for a couple hours & have some observations to share. For starters, I am a professional pianist & I compose/record at home on my Kawai RX-7 grand... so yes, I am comparing this library to such, perhaps this is unfair as I have been spoiled by such a fine instrument, & I haven't played samples for years. I decided to have a sample system so I could play a wonderful sounding instrument when I travelled, vacationed, & when my tinnitus flares up from too much time at my rX-7.
By the way, I installed it on my new Dell Optiplex 330, XPSP2, 2.4 core2 Duo, 2GB ram, two 7200rpm drives, Echo MiaMidi soundcard, Yamaha P-140 piano. Runs flawlessly in 24 bit w/o the release samples, occasional staggers when release samples are loaded. Just a tiny bit of latency, which I can live with.
Anyways, I play pretty mellow, original stuff, nothing too complicated, I suppose some might call it "New Age"... whatever!
My previous experience with data streaming samples was, well, never really impressed by the 'playability'. The samples were great, but the layers jumped out obviously to me & my computer could never handle the music reliably. this was 4+ years ago. now I'm back!
I found the sound in the Garritan Steinway to pose some concerns to me. I primarily played the "under the lid perspective" as that was closest to the sound I seek. I can handle the very slight noise floor, no problems there. The three things that jumped out at me were:
1) the two octaves below middle C... very dark, almost muddy (sorry).... I'm guessing the piano was voiced this way. I really had to wail on these areas to get any sort of balls/clarity from the sound. Felt like this area of the piano was unnatural & distracting. (see my post below regarding the controller)
2) high upper registers... unnaturally loud & bright, perhaps not to a fault, but I had to really pay extra attention to this when playing up there. Couldn't get the soft tone I was looking for. (again, see my post below regarding the controller)
3) melody range... some notes truly lacking natural sustain, very "un-Steinway D-like". They really sound 'pinched off'. I found myself playing around some of these notes. Mind you, I like spaced music with lots of natural sustain.
The sample layer transitions were better than the libraries I played four + years ago, but still caught my attention pretty frequently. The more I played, I was able to adapt, but found myself playing with less dynamics & expression than normal... something I was really hoping I wouldn't have to do. I guess I had higher hopes for more 'evolution' in this department during my hiatus form vitual pianos.
I messed around with the velocity curves (wish there were more) and didn't find any relief there.
Shortly into my playing session I shut off the onboard reverb & routed to my favorite Lexicon patch, which I preferred.
It doesn't appear as though there is any editing I can do to attend to the issues I have, please instruct if I have missed anything!
I did get the chance to play Ivory rather extensively at NAMM & plan to purchase it with hopes of finding an instrument that suits my taste a little better. I was so impressed with the Garritan samples at the site that I jumped that way first... but I can't get the instrument to play/sound like what I heard there...
I'll hit it again tonight though, not giving up yet : )