At the end of April, I installed the Vienna Symphony Library’s Fazioli 308. At around 400GB for the full library, they say that “the F308 is not only the jewel in the crown of Fazioli’s acclaimed series of concert grands, but also of Synchron Stage Vienna’s exclusive collection of pianos.”
Like with any VST, it’s taken a bit of fiddling with the various presets and mic settings to find sounds that seem to work. I’ve found one that I like so far and thought I’d share.
Here’s your MIDI file for “Laura” played through the F308. I thought you might find it interesting. (You should boost the volume.) Enjoy!
How do you like the VSL Fazioli compared to other Synchron offerings. I have the Steinway D274; it’s taken some getting used to, but I like it a lot for certain things. I tried the Boesendorfer but couldn’t find settings I liked and returned it.
The 3 VSTs that I use now (and occasionally layer) are the Ravenscroft, VSL D274, and Garritan CFX. The Garritan was the one that I fiddled with the most, and is also the most unique.
As you know, I also have the VSL D-274. I’ve found its sounds to be amazing, and it’s been my go-to piano for some time.The Fazioli 308 is also an incredible instrument. Which is better? Sound is subjective. I’m starting to favor the F308. (And its 4th pedal is intriguing.)
As with any VST, it takes getting used to. I’m still feeling my way around, but I’ve come to like it very much. I don’t know any technical terms, but it seems a bit more warm, gentle, and full-bodied than the D-274, but nonetheless it shines in solos. The sampling is the most extensive of all the Synchron pianos, and it shows in the resonance. It’s the most “real” sounding VST that I’ve heard.
Explore the VSL Forum to find various user presets for the D-274, if you’re interested. At the end of this post, I’ve included an example of the one that I find the most useful. It’s called “Angmyu.” I’ve shared a PDF of its mic positions.
The samples on the VSL website give an idea about the F308’s sound, but you can’t really appreciate its depth until you start playing around with it. The Ravenscroft is a great piano, but for me, when you start working in the C5/C6 range, it sounds a bit tinny. (Again, all subjective.)
At any rate, thought I’d give you a bit of a comparison. I’ve included me mangling the opening bars of “Christmas Time is Here” using the factory stereo preset “Player to Sur” for each instrument so that you can hear the differences. And as I mentioned above, it’s followed by an example of a user preset.
First is the F308, then the D-274. The last clip is of the D-274 user preset. Again, boost the volume to hear it better. Enjoy!
Here’s a clip of “Georgia on My Mind” played on the F308. Most of the examples on VSL’s site are classical pieces. This gives a better idea of how it would work for jazz. I forgot to add it to my last post. Enjoy!
Thanks, Scott! I agree–the Fazioli is warmer than the Steinway. I like the warmth, so maybe I"ll treat myself to an early VSL Christmas present!
I’m about to share a version of Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, recorded with the Garritan CFX. To my ears, it has even more warmth. It also has a lot of (to my ears, unappealing) reverb and a little too much resonance in the default setting.
I’m still learning about the range of sound available in the VSL Fazioli F308. It’s fast becoming my favorite, as it’s one of the most versatile VST’s out there. The depth of the sampling is incredible.
Here’s a quick exercise exploring the upper registers. Enjoy!
Wow…that was really nice, Scott. I went back to look at (and listen to) your earlier posts; I think you captured it perfectly: “warm, gentle, and full-bodied”. I suspect I’ll end up with it on my hard drive later this year (which means I’ll need to delete something else because I’ve run out of space)!
Did you get the standard or full version?
And can you share your favorite presets for the F308?
Don’t know if I mentioned it previously, but I had the opportunity a couple months ago to spend a few hours at an amazing piano store (in Birmingham, Alabama) where I was able to play a Boesendorfer 270 Imperial, a Shigeru Kawai SK7, and, yes, a Fazioli F308!
The extra keys on the Boesendorfer seemed like a gimmick but I really liked the fourth pedal on the Fazioli. With regard to tone and playability, I preferred F308 > SK7 > Imperial. If I win the lottery one day I know how I’ll spend it!
Your experience with the pianos sounds like a dream. I’m intrigued by the Fazioli’s fourth pedal as well. It’s available on the F308 vst, but I haven’t figured out how to map it to my pedals (or if it’s possible).
For both the Fazioli F308 and the Steinway D-274, I have the full library. The chief difference between the standard and full libraries is the number and type of microphones available. I don’t recall the exact specs but I believe there are five in the standard and 10 in the full. The mics, their placement, and the mix are central to shaping the sound. More mics, more options.
The F308 works well with some of the available presets. My favorite is the Player Surround to Stereo. The Intimate Surround to Stereo is also nice, perhaps a bit more muted. The example I posted is the Player Sur.
Back in June we were talking about the Fazioli F308 and its sound. I recently came across a video of Herbie Hancock putting a Fazioli through its paces at an Australian jazz festival. Thought you might find it interesting. Enjoy!
@scott1 Thanks for sharing! Pretty amazing to see Herbie at 83 years old playing a such a high level.
Honestly I think different high-end pianos have a much greater difference on the player than the listener experience. Regarding VSTs (may have mentioned this previously), I’ve continued to fiddle with settings on the VSL D-274, and have settled into something that I really like a lot. It’s pretty simple–I’m using only the player microphone, and I lowered the velocity curve a little bit. (attached). Will try and share something later this week–I’ve been working on some perpetual motion-style songs.
It’s been awhile since we were talking about the Fazioli.
Just came across a video of Jovino playing a Fazioli F278. It’s a tune from his pandemic album Luz. The Spotify link to the album follows. It’s an offering that you need to take advantage of. Please enjoy!
Thanks @scott1 that was great! Amazing tone is apparent from the video; now I have to go listen to the whole album!
Can’t remember if I mentioned in another thread, but I tried the VSL F308 for a month using their promo (in fact, Scott, you may have alerted me to the promo!); both the tunes that I recently shared in the “practice inspiration” section (Fotografia and What is this thing called love) were done with the F308 VST.
But…even though I liked the F308, I decided not to buy the demo, in part because I really enjoy the Steinway VST already, in part because of the expense, and in part because I’ll have my own acoustic piano to play by the end of the year (a Kawai GL30). Wish I could afford a real Fazioli!
P.S. I recently arranged a perpetual motion version of Beautiful Love; will post that on the “practice inspiration” forum.