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The real deal

Garritan and Steinway unite
Virtual instrument developers Garritan have launched a new grand piano instrument in collaboration with Steinway & Sons, makers of the highly regarded Steinway pianos. Called Authorised Steinway Virtual Model D, the instrument, which is the first and only software instrument authorised by Steinway, comes in three versions: Basic, Standard and Professional. Basic gives the user the full piano with a single ‘listening perspective’, while Standard offers under-the-lid and classical recording perspectives.

The Professional version, however, gives the user five perspective options: player, classical, under-the-lid, stage and close audience. These, as well as parameters for a three-band EQ and ambience reverb, are selected using the Graphical User Interface (GUI), where you’ll also find controls for adjusting the pedal response, altering the amount of mechanical noises, and changing the sustain resonance of the instrument. The Basic version costs $99 and the Standard version is $199, while the Professional version is $399. UK prices were unavailable at the time of writing.

Also new from Garritan is a pipe organ collection. Virtual Pipe Organs contains seven different instruments, spanning from a circa 1587 Renaissance organ to modern-day models. Users can pull out all the stops, so to speak, as well as combine different stops to create a range of sounds. As with the Steinway instrument, there’s a three-band EQ, and parameters to add mechanical noises, for extra realism.

Both Authorised Steinway Virtual Piano and Virtual Pipe Organs work as plug-ins inside a VST 2.4 or 3.0, Audio Units or RTAS host, or run stand-alone on a Mac or PC. They both use a new sample engine called Aria, developed in conjunction with Plogue Art et Technologie Inc. It’s seemingly very powerful, with facilities for convolution, real-time morphing, MIDI processing and advanced synthesis. Interestingly, it uses ‘Graceful Copy Protection’, a system with no dongles or challenge and response methods: simply drag and drop your ‘personalised graphic card’ on to Aria’s GUI.

In other Garritan news, the company have launched a free on-line jazz arranging course (check out the Garritan
web site
for full details), and are joining forces with Yamaha, Steinberg and MakeMusic to form a music technology education alliance. Music Education Software and Hardware (MESH) aim to provide ‘solutions’ for music educators, to make purchasing equipment more simple.

Gary Garritan, President of Garritan, commented “MESH is greater than the sum of its parts. We will not only provide recommended systems tailored to individual educators’ needs, but also work in the future to advance integration between our software instruments, making it easier than ever for teachers to take advantage of music technology.”

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