Spitfire Audio have added 'Plucked Piano' to their definitive range of samples but how necessary is a plucked piano in your sample library?
Well personally a decent plucked piano has always been one sample that I have wanted for a long time but with Spitfire Audio calling any of their products just a sample does them a great disservice.
One might think that choosing something as ambiguous as a plucked piano is some thrown together afterthought cobbled together to make the most of studio time but that is clearly not the case here.
Instead what Spitfire Audio have presented us with is as serious an undertaking as any of the other quality products they offer and the attention to detail is there to prove it.
Spitfire Audio's very own Paul Thomson is the willing participant who (I am sure must have had a few bleeding fingers to contend with) performed the arduous task of recording take after take of plucked piano.
But this is no ordinary piano.
The value of the piano in question will buy you a 2 bedroom cottage with an acre of land in the Brecon Beacons and has been used in the scoring of some of the most famous soundtracks of recent times.
Couple with this Air Studio's famous Lyndhurst Hall as recording location and the signal passing from a Neve desk onto 2 inch tape and you are starting to understand the intricacy involved here in producing Plucked Piano.
Then of course there is the matter of numerous high;y controllable microphone positions available to chose from (close mics, outriggers, ambient and tree mics) in cultivating the sound you want for your mix.
Plus there is the superb inclusion Paul Thomson's varied selection of sample patches all taken from the plucked Piano.
So that's an overview of what is on offer here but returning to my original question, how necessary is a plucked piano?
To be honest and say that for the price and additional tonality it is almost vital for any serious composer or film scorer because it is more versatile than you might think and has the potential to lend itself to more than just film scoring and ambient backgrounds.
I have played around with it for a few days and my conclusion is I will probably be using it more than I use many of the other plucked instruments in my sample library and that is thanks to it's ambiguity and tone.
Plucked Piano is a wonderful plugin that I highly recommend to any serious composer regardless of the musical genre they inhabit because it gives you options and thanks to the numerous mic options the crisp sound cuts through the mix as much as you want it to.
And the price is right too.
In a word Plucked Piano is luxuriant.
I finish with two different versions of a piece of music I threw together quickly just to let you hear way it casts a proud and broad stroke of colour to the musical palate so I decided to play manual sweeps seeing as Paul Thomson himself does a lovely piece on the Spitfire Audio site which gives a better example of the Plucked Piano in a starker framework.
Neither of these are in anyway to be listened to as finished pieces but as tonal demonstrations with no additional EQ/effects (and no quantizing for that matter) added to the Spitfire Audio samples.
In the first video all sounds are taken from Plucked Piano (Plucked Piano and some of the accompanying synth patches) except for the rhythm loop which is made using my favorite Native Instruments's Vintage Drummer and a fair bit of effects.
The second is exactly the same as the first except for the addition of a Mini-Moog bass line and Native Instruments's 70s Drummer (sounds very Europop crossed with dark Abba) to showcase the different genre's in which Plucked Piano can sit in.