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_)


Reviews for Jonah’s Surround Steinway

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • 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
  • So Warm for a Non Felt

    This piano is suuuuuuuper warm and characterful for a non felt. It might be my new to go for non felts. Its really cinematic too which i often dont feel with non felts. Its really playable and super dynamic which i value above almost anything in piano libraries. It does have a large wide sound which will be awesome in some cases but maybe not what you're looking for in others. If you want a super dry piano instead theres like 40 other pianos to choose from on the site. This piano does extremely well what it was meant to do. I remember this standing out to me when i first found pianobook but im glad im rediscovering it.

    septemberwalk14 November 2021
  • It’s a Steinway, it’s beautiful; and it’s clever…

    First of this is a wonderful piano, sampled beautifully in a wonderful “space”. Yes, it’s a large space - but it’s suits the sound perfectly and so it’s not a problem for me. Indeed it helps - because if I want this type of sound then it’s “oven ready”. The velocity to surround/space/width idea is a very clever one and works really well; as the playing gets more intense the sound grows in stature and space, yet it’s done in a subtle enough way that it’s never problematic - at least not for me. All in all, it does what it says on the tin and it does it very well.

    Mark Lord30 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
  • Playable, innovative, and sounds great

    I normally don't like sample libraries that have effects permanently applied, but I like the concept at play here. The harder velocities have more reverb and seem more distant while softer velocities seem closer and more intimate. It's cool idea, and sometimes cool ideas are unique but don't yield particularly interesting results. This is one of those occasions where the results are stunningly great.

    Sam Ecoff15 November 2021
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