Walker 1955 Steinway 'D'
Embertone's flagship piano VI is a unique 9' Steinway Model D built in 1955 which made its way to a beautiful rural private concert hall in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Model D is a renowned model - one that an overwhelming number of professional pianists around the world prefer. This epic instrument has its impressive reputation due to it's beautiful tone and highly responsive action, providing a powerful level of musical expression.
The owner of the concert hall, John Walker, is a brilliant software engineer who pioneered the idea of "re-performance" with his company Zenph. Zenph developed a way to analyze old recordings in order to create live re-performances of them. Along with the help of Sony recording engineers, they were able to capture and reproduce every nuance of performances by some of the greatest pianists in the world, including Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, and Rachmaninoff. Although Mr. Walker is no longer involved with Zenph, he still houses a collection of one-of-a-kind pianos in his personal music hall, and holds regular performances at his home.
Because this instrument is equipped with a proprietary system for re-performance, Embertone was able to capture an incredible amount of sample content: 36 velocities on every note for each combination of pedals totaling 13,000 samples.
Additionally, Embertone captured more than 10,000 discreet samples at various lengths, implemented in two of exciting features: Adaptive Releases, which triggers authentic recordings upon note release based on held length. And True Shorts, which allows you to play real staccato samples in real-time without having to use any extra keyswitches or controls. Users also have the option to play only the dedicated set of real staccato samples, with all of the subtle mechanical sounds and intricate instrument resonances built right in.
This instrument comes in two versions: 1955 Steinway D ($99), and 1955 Steinway D Lite ($39).
The full version of the instrument offers every pedal combination at 36 velocities per note, along with the option to purchase additional microphone positions for $15 each. If you decide to purchase ALL the mic positions and the full instrument at once, there is a 20% discount for doing s. ($149)
The Lite version has a smaller sample set, featuring only the Sans Pedal and Sustain Pedal samples at 12 velocities per note. (It's worth mentioning that 1955 Steinway D Lite does not feature additional mic positions). For more information about the differences between versions, see the comparison chart on our website.
The 6 mic positions represent the piano in vastly different ways, and you can hear those differences in the demos on our website. Here's a brief description of each position:
- Mics: AKG C414 XLS, ORTF Stereo.
- Position: 2 ft off the side lip at the curve of the piano.
- Qualities: Balanced piano/room tone with a beautiful twinkly high register and tamed low end. Vibrant and hearty with enough air space to breathe.
- Mics: Neumann U87, A/B Stereo (Omni).
- Position: 6 in off the strings.
- Qualities: Extremely intimate and warm with very little room ambience. Rich with string reverberance while capturing all the subtle mechanical sounds.
- Mics: Superlux S241/U3, X/Y Stereo.
- Position: 1 ft above pointed directly at the hammers.
- Qualities: Punchy and percussive dynamics, great for pop/rock music.
- Mics: Schoeps CMC 6, A/B Stereo (Cardioid).
- Position: 6 ft away 8ft high, pointing towards the inside of the lid from the audience perspective.
- Qualities: More room ambience and reverb coloration while allowing the piano to fully resonate into the room. Great for achieving a traditional/classical sound in a concert hall or recital setting.
- Mics: Modified Oktava Mk012, A/B Stereo (Omni).
- Position: 1 ft from the piano at the player's perspective, spaced at the full width of the keyboard.
- Qualities: An experimental mic pair capturing an ultra-wide stereo image with a unique and enveloping character.
- Mics: Stereo binaural dummy head (affectionately named Bruce).
- Position: 2ft from the the keyboard at the player's perspective.
- Qualities: Realistic spatialization, especially when listened through headphones.
Another aspect that makes the 1955 Steinway D unique is the depth of user control offered. Since some people do not need 36 velocities per note, whether it's because of the style of music or RAM limitations, this instrument allows for full sample sets and specific velocities to be individually disabled, and thusly purged from memory. Embertone also offers a number of customized effects such as EQ, Compression, Dynamic + Velocity Control, and some custom mastering coloration should you chose to use it. This allows you ultimate control over your sound.
For more information, including demos and mic position comparisons, head to Embertone's website: embertone.com/instruments/steinwayD