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Vienna Symphonic Library releases "German Upright 1904" - Virtual representation of a historic C. Bechstein upright piano

Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL)

The Vienna Symphonic Library has announced the release of German Upright 1904, a virtual representation of a C. Bechstein upright piano, built in 1904. The instrument was captured at Stage B of Synchron Stage Vienna from eight microphone positions and comes with Vienna's powerful and free Synchron Piano Player.

The new product is currently available at an introductory price of $136 for the Standard Library (reg. $180), and $234 for the Full Library (reg. $316). The difference between the Standard Library and the Full Library is the number of available microphone positions.

To accompany the release of the German Upright 1904, the Austrian company offers all of their keyed instruments at promotional prices through July 18, 2022.

Vintage Character and Style

The C. Bechstein upright piano that was sampled for this brand-new collection was built in Berlin Kreuzberg in the early 20th century. Its distinctive vintage character, owing to its generous proportion of resonating wood, was captured with a multi-microphone setup at Synchron Stage Vienna's Stage B.

The upright's very smooth action allows the finest gradations from pianissimo to fortissimo. In the main playing range its sound is more reminiscent of a small concert grand than of an upright piano. With its clear and accurate tonal development it conveys the intimate atmosphere of a small concert hall. The instrument's mid range is very pronounced and focused, while its ageless character clearly asserts itself in all registers.

Brought to Stuttgart by pianoforte maker and dealer B. Klinkerfuss, Württemberg's sole representative for C. Bechstein and J. Blüthner, the instrument has always been in residence with families in the Stuttgart area. It was played by pianist and film composer Mick Baumeister, co-creator of the Hornberg breath controller, at different stages of his life. The upright was owned by Martin Friz who taught a young Mick improvisation on this instrument. Decades later, Mick purchased the piano from German actor Holger Daemgen's family, and – as Mick puts it – it never ceases to inspire him, and to find "the truth".

To capture the character of the instrument with all its subtleties, Vienna's engineers deployed a highly precise motion-control system based on a solenoid that controls a noise-free "robot finger". The micro-controller moves the finger with super-human precision, providing flexible curvatures for down-strokes and release movements, the latter corresponding with the preceding note length and various release speeds.

The German Upright 1904 comes with the free Vienna Synchron Pianos software that offers multiple options for shaping the sound of the piano and the user's playing experience. In addition to the multitude of options from mixing various microphone signals, the player provides a full-blown mixer with a broad range of effects, such as EQ, compressor, saturator, algorithmic reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, rotary, and many more. Users may also adjust the volume of body resonances, sympathetic strings and pedal noises right in the main Play window. In the Edit window users can even tweak EQ, volume, tuning, dynamic range, and more for each individual key.

A host of mixer presets offer a wide variety of characteristics, directly accessible in the main player window, from concert and intimate settings to pop, ambient and vintage sounds. Various signature and experimental FX presets round out the preconfigured sonic gems the German Upright 1904 has in store.

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