I have finally had the chance to sit down and play the Garritan Steinway, and I thought I had to report that I think it is simply magnificent! I own most of the sampled pianos out there, including several Steinways, and I find that this is the most authentic and musical one. I still enjoy aspects of the Ivory Steinway and to some extent the Galaxy Steinway (as well as the venerable East West Steinway B and the Trachtmann Steinway C), but the Garritan Steinway is well worthy of being the only authorized sampled Steinway piano by Steinway & Sons.
First of all, it authentically captures the gorgeous tones and dynamics of a Steinway D, from the brassy loud tones to the mind-numbing dark soft tones. And the release samples are just exquisite, seamlessly and beautifully capturing the acoustics of the prestigious Troy Music Hall. When playing the Garritan Steinway, it is like I can almost hear the classic recordings of Alfred Brendel playing some Beethoven or Maurizio Pollini playing some Chopin! A truly inspiring and musical experience. My only real critique is that it does not seem to have real sustain pedal samples, just an emulation...although that emulation is better than some of the other ones out there like Ivory Piano's DSP sustain emulation. I am hoping that maybe real sustain pedal samples can be added in a future update. But besides that, I have very few complaints and would like to thank and congratulate Garritan and his team for their professionalism, dedication, and just pure musicality! It shines through and through.