Hey, I had some time today and tested the D-274 today.
The MacBook Pro I got from a friend (2017, i5 2,3 Ghz, 16 GB RAM) works very well with a low buffer of 64 with the presets. If I add additional mics it starts to pop and crack, but it performs good enough for me with the presets.
I put the pianos on a SanDisk Extreme SSD (1 TB), works flawless as well.
It's a really generous and fair offer from VSL to test these VSTs 30 days for free. My first impressions so far:
The Steinway is way better and deeper sampled than the Blüthner and 280VC I had. I am sure there are plenty more sample layers for the Steinway, especially in the <mp dynamic range. With some tweaking I got a really good velocity response from the Steinway.
Still - it does not feel as good, immediate and natural as Pianoteq. Pianoteq feels like it reads my mind and hand and finger movements. And there is just a difference with sampled VST - something is a bit off and I can feel (or at least I imagine it) that these are play-backed sounds.
The Steinway sounds good. The dynamic and tonal range is really huge. From the softest and mutest pianissimos to the mightiest metallic fortissimos. It's certainly perfect for producing concert like recordings, but I think it is not the kind of piano I want to play on a daily basis. There is a warmth missing, it's very clean and transparent but a bit one the "cool" side. Maybe the Bösendorfer Imperial or even the Yamaha CFX suits my taste better.
The Pianoteq NY Steinway Classical (latest update) and the Steinway D really share a good amount of identity. But, as strange as it sounds, the Pianoteq Steinway sounds more warm and "pleasent" to me. The string and sympathetic resonance aren't as rich as I expected in the VSL and I really miss the beautiful complex resonances from Pianoteq.
So somehow the Steinway D is better than expected based on my experiences with the 280VC and Blüthner and yet has not won me over yet. But I'm looking forward to play it the next 29 days. 🙂