- superbly sampled toy piano with lots of character while staying impeccably in tune.
- free to Soniccouture customers.
Soniccouture has given all of it’s customers a free gift – the Grand Toy Piano, during the 2013 Christmas Holidays. It should be noted that this is only available to Soniccouture customers and not to the general public. The download is in their account page.
Luckily for me, I have bought some of their instruments and use them all the time. So let’s dig into this free instrument, the Grand Toy Piano.
This is a kid’s toy piano with 25 keys that hit metal tines. There are a lot of these toy pianos that have been sampled recently, but let’s take a look at what sets Soniccouture’s offering apart.
The Grand Toy Piano has 2 different mic options. You have control over the spaced pair of omnidirectional mics as well as some contact mics. There is a ‘Key Off’ volume control as well which adjusts the level of key release noises for both of the mics. The interface also has controls for attack and release, stereo width, cutoff and resonance, envelope depth, a high pass filter and when you click ‘FEG’, you can adjust the attack and release of the filter envelope.
The included custom reverbs are quite nice as well. There are 9 room impulses and 7 SFX impulses with only one knob to control the wet/dry mix.
So how does it sound?
Like I have said, there are many toy piano sampled libraries out there, usually with some degree of detuning which makes them sound more beat-up. What I like about Grand Toy Piano is that it is impeccably tuned and recorded. If what I see in Kontakt’s Mapping Editor is true then there are around 20 velocity layers for each key! Incredible attention to detail. Instead of doing a detuned-type of sound they’ve added character and texture with the contact mics. They add a lot of key noise and internal mechanism sounds. The ‘Key Off’ sounds are really nice too. Dial in some of that sound to add even more texture. So the instrument has a lot of character to it while staying pristinely in tune.
For those who like to get into sound design and start playing around with the envelopes and filters, there are plenty of options there as well.
All in all, this is a beautiful instrument and a wonderful gift from Soniccouture! I will definitely be using this a lot.
Dylan Powell’s Kawai 1106 Mini Grand Piano is quite an expressive instrument. There are 25 keys that play metal pipes, which are very accurately tuned. The lid opens just like a real grand piano, although there are no foot pedals.
We recorded it simultaneously with spaced Earthworks omnis and the new Trance Audio Stereo Inducer contact mic system. The contact mics give a lot of thud and key noise to the signal, allowing you to adjust the amount of physicality in the result.