Digidesign is shipping Velvet, a new RTAS instrument plug-in that delivers realistic emulations of favorite electric pianos—from classic to modern—in Pro Tools systems. Velvet emulates the nuances of the original instruments, both in sound quality and playing feel, and is based on four legendary electric pianos—the Fender Rhodes Suitcase, Fender Rhodes MK I and MK II Stage Pianos, and Wurlitzer A200.
“With Velvet, our goal was to bring the incredible sound, feel, and playing dynamics of legendary electric pianos to Pro Tools with such a high degree of authenticity, it would convince even the most discerning musicians who’ve played these pianos for decades,” says Peter Gorges, director of Digidesign’s A.I.R. group.
Dialing up the perfect piano sound is easy—just select one of over 100 presets—or tweak the sound to your heart’s content with unrivaled sound control. Velvet features precisely modeled emulations of classic tube overdrive, compression, EQ, wah/filter, chorus, tremolo, tape delay, and other effects to deliver realistic sounds of the highest quality. And its controls work virtually almost like the originals, allowing you to easily modify sounds at the twist of a knob or notch of a slider. “The sound of a vintage piano isn’t just what you record at its audio output,” Gorges notes. “It’s also shaped by the amplifier and speakers—or a preamp—and most sounds rely on effects such as chorus, phaser, wah, and tape delay.”
To achieve its electric piano recreations, Velvet employs proprietary dynamic modeling, a unique combination of sampling and modeling techniques. “We first recorded select original pianos with painstaking precision for accurate sound character reproduction, which no current modeling technique can cover convincingly,” explains Gorges. “Then we looked at the various behaviors of the piano as you play it, and trained the underlying engine to reproduce them.” This allows you to pull off sounds you’d normally only hear with a real electric piano—from the faintness of the lightest pianissimo to the note splat of the strongest fortissimo.
Having almost every electric piano sound imaginable available in the form of a plug-in has its advantages over the real deal, as Gorges attests to: “Even if you find four pianos that are as perfectly built and adjusted as the ones we’ve used, it would be hard to carry around four pianos with you.”
Velvet will be available soon for $249 US MSRP.
More information is available at the Digidesign site.