Jonah’s Surround Steinway

An immensely detailed recording of a Walnut Steinway....

The story

Jonah’s Surround Steinway – James Kedwards.
Velocity / Distance based virtual surround.

Another of Jonah’s projects he never had chance to complete before he passed away in May, this is really interesting as is velocity / distance based surround.

This one is fascinating in that in the process of trying to create pseudo-surround samples, we came up with the idea of velocity based distance purely acciedentaly.
I’d been developing a DSP server for live sound, to allow for virtual mixspaces, so we put this to the task of sampling and put all these samples through very lightly,
but never had chance to compile it until I found it in archive.

It ended up being formatted so the quieter dynamics sound much closer and more intimate, and as the velocity increases, it will become more distant and much wider, while still maintaining a volume increase.
The same happens very mildly with the horizontal axis, lower notes being assigned further back and left, higher further forward and right.

I feel it worked well, almost dampening the quieter notes but with a destinct difference in space when played louder, giving a brigher and glassier tone.
It means the instrument is surprisingly expressive in both tone, dynamics and distance.

The piano is a Walnut Steinway from the early 20th Century, it’s had strings and action replaced since but has a good tone which made it perfect for this, sadly it wasn’t recorded with retriggers.

It was recorded using:
-Pair U67 LR 1.5′ above Lid off axis vertical.
-Pair PZM Boundary mics a metre away at either end of the fallboard on the floor.
-Pair Neumann KM84 at horizontal M/S.
-Single custom tube mic (similar to telefunken in tone) below piano.
-Single modded Coles inside mechanism at front of fallboard for added warmth and mechanical noise.

All run through Neve pre’s into Avid A/D into PT. Quite an overkill mic setup but sounds brilliant.

It can be a little harder to discern on some monitors, and is generally more obvious on headphones, as it was only processed very mildly as is basically a test of an idea!

It’s a really enjoyable sample library to play – especially with the velocity/distance DSP, which I feel came out well, but could be added to greater degree when not testing, with new recordings.

Let me know how you get on with the lightly added velocity/spatial processing, It’ll be interesting to hear if it’s worth picking up again!

Apologies for the lack of labelling on the samples. My DSP server had a moment, but they’re still assigned as they should be in Kontakt, I didn’t want to mess anything up renaming post processed samples now.

James Kedwards (Instagram @_jkedwards_)



Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • A very natural piano. That sounds just as you'd imagine...

    It's very Ambient, but of course that depends on how hard you play. that's comes down to the clever spin on the programming of the instrument. As you play louder the ambience increases. Which funnily enough creates quite a naturalistic feel.

    R.Treves20 October 2021
  • One of my favourites!

    Even though there are no options to tweak at all, this piano is full character and emotion. It is sampled perfectly, there is absolutely no noise at all, and the sound is simply magical. I highly recommend it to everyone that wants a cinematic and emotional piano.

    Alex Raptakis14 October 2021
  • Nice Piano

    Lovely piano sound, very niche style, but it does it well, so you really can't argue with that. I would love if there was a little more control over the settings, but I suppose that would defeat the purpose of the sample, so its all about finding the right place for it in your music.

    Extraplanar Music13 October 2021
  • Exemplary sampled instrument

    Really beautifully sampled piano. I love it's timbre and it's playability. It does one thing extremely well. You can't get rid of the reverb but that's just part of this instrument. No knobs for tweaking on the GUI but then again you can't tweak a real piano eather.

    Boag112 October 2021