Spectrasonics let us know that, in honor of International Piano Day (the 88th day of the year), they’ve released Keyscape 1.5 – a free update that adds a brand new instrument, Double Felt Grand.
v1.5 represents the first time that Spectrasonics has added a brand new instrument to Keyscape, and the company says that the “felt piano” has been the #1 most requested sound from users.
To demonstrate Double Felt Grand, Spectrasonics shared this performance video, featuring classical pianist and composer Olivia Belli, performing her works As I Was and Spiderwebs of Clouds.
Here’s what Spectrasonics shared about the new instrument:
“Creating the Double Felt
Normally, the highly coveted “felt piano” sound is achieved by draping a layer of felt vertically between the strings and the hammers of an upright piano. This softens the strikes and gives the upright piano an intimate, muted tone. Because of gravity, this technique is not feasible on a grand piano, since the hammers and strings are situated horizontally. The felt would simply lay on top of the hammers, preventing them from rising up to strike the strings. Attempts to attach the felt above the hammers, against the strings, yields less-than-satisfactory results and laying the felt on top of the strings mutes their sustain drastically.
Through careful experimentation, renowned piano technician Jim Wilson (creator of the unique Yamaha grand used in Keyscape for the LA Custom C7), discovered how to achieve this gorgeous muted sound on a world-class 7-foot grand piano. After a great deal of thought and experimentation, Jim ended up carefully cutting, fitting, and gluing two individually layered strips of a thick, natural felt to each hammer.
Once the acoustic piano was prepared in this special way, the acclaimed Spectrasonics sound development team (led by producer Eric Persing) then painstakingly sampled the instrument at the company’s newly developed private recording studio — which features some of the largest naturally ambient recording spaces in Los Angeles.
To complete the experience, the Spectrasonics software team developed lush new DSP reverb algorithms that are exclusive to this new Keyscape sound. The final result is the unique Double Felt Grand: a warm, soft piano with the best aspects of a felt upright, but with the body and the decay of a grand.
Pricing and Availability:
The new Double Felt Grand is now available and included with Keyscape. Keyscape is available for $399. All existing users can get the new piano as a free update, using the “Get Updates” button on the splash screen of the Keyscape user interface.
9 thoughts on “Spectrasonics Releases Free Keyscape Update With New Double Felt Grand Piano Instrument”
beatiful! happy piano day!
I wonder how it “felt” to play that piano? (cue rimshot)
For those not in the Keyscape world, Pianoteq also has felt versions of their pianos.
I notice the Spectrasonics has more “thfff” in the attack, which I quite like.
I’m in both worlds, but I have to say that the editing capabilities with any Pianoteq instrument makes them incomparable to anything that relies on samples. I haven’t updated Keyscape yet, but I doubt that there would be any “thfff” that I couldn’t get a similarly derived Pianoteq patch to produce.
If I’m not mistaken, Pianoteq does use some samples for its mechanical noises. I did explore the PT (v8 Pro) editor and wasn’t able to find ANY settings for the felt of the pianos, so I found no way to bring out any “thff”, even radical EQ showed that it’s just not part of the sound. That’s ok, as the tonal vibe of the PT is still pretty nice.
With this Spectrasonics sample set, it sounds like they close mic’ed it, and got the interactions of the felt hammers with the felt strips– which gives this a very special character.
Olivia Belli plays very expressively, including lovely sort of laid-back RH and we barely notice the crazy polyrhythms between her hands– as it flows so smoothly.
I’ve stopped buying expensive software a long time ago but if they released something like Keyscape in a sound module it would probably be an instant buy for me.
And here I thought this was the April fools joke article of Synthtopia. I went straight to this comment section and realized how serious you all were.
One question: How dare you? 😀