Adam Monroe’s Honky Tonk Piano was sampled from a vintage Chickering upright piano – exact age unknown – primarily through a Neumann TLM 102 microphone. The piano had undoubtedly seem some action, and although it could be tuned (one note at a time) the tone of the piano was a bit on the “honky” side. The piano was sampled close-miced with lid open in mono, but each note was carefully panned to creat a stereo effect. An AKG D112 was used initially in order to capture the lower frequencies, but the TLM 102 did a fine enough job on its own.
We attempted to sample this piano deeply (10 velocity layers, 2 note round robin) but in the end, round robin was only partially captured, well the velocity goals were met. Unlike most piano libraries that just record one or the other, the piano was sampled with both sustain pedal open and closed, increasing the library’s size, but allowing for more expression well playing.
Once the notes were recorded, the laborious task of processing them began. Noise was removed and the piano was eq’d and compressed – yes, this is a heavily processed plugin. The end result is an EXTREMELY PURCUSSIVE and LOUD piano library that will cut through your mix. This is not a pristine, clean plugin, and the notes can be quite hard hitting! We feel this adds to the percussive nature of honky-tonk style piano playing. Although we’ve cleaned up the notes quite a bit since the VST’s initial release, we feel that too much cleaning-up starts to destroy the sound and feel of the plugin.
This piano plugin can be a great addition to your collection, as it fills a nice niche in the world of sampled upright pianos. If you need to make demos or recordings of ragtime music, or just need a generally purcussive piano, this virtual instrument is ready to become the newest member of your VST, AU, or Kontakt arsenal.
The Kontakt version of Adam Monroe’s Honky Tonk Piano is cross-platform, and is maintained by Native Instruments, all the programming and effects being done through them. Some simple scripting is done by us. The VST and Audio Unit versions are another beast entirely, and the programming falls entirely on Adam Monroe Music. The goal in any sample library that is also a VSTi (virtual instrument) or AU (Audio Unit) is to attempt to match the performance of the Kontakt Player. With this library, we feel like we have done just that.
The VST and AU versions include updated, high-performance algorithms that have been improving with each new virtual instrument released by Adam Monroe Music. For example, the buffering algorithm is double-buffered and multithreaded, which means that buffering performance is fast, even on slower computers, and even in lower latencies. Voices are held and iterated over in a pure, C-Style array. Memory use is comparable to the Kontakt version. Because of the solid VST/AU code base and – and compilation of the code to not need external .dll’s/objects/libs – you can feel confident that the VST and AU versions should work just as well as the Kontakt version.
Why develop VST and AU versions at all? Although a great piece of software, the Full version of Kontakt (required to run 3rd party sample libraries) is expensive. Developing VST and AU versions that anyone can use does not add significant time to the development of a piano sample library – most of the time is spent sampling and processing the samples – so it’s a real no-brainer.
Audio engineering is a large part of creating a VST or Audio Unit, and you will find some useful things like reverb, lo-fi, and chorus built into this plugin. The VST version is based on VST 2.4, and should work in nearly any modern version of 32 or 64 bit version of Windows. The Audio Unit version is compatible with, and will show up in, DAWs that still use the older CARBON resources, and is also compatible with 64 AND 32 bit DAWs running on Mac OSX. The download size for all versions is 2.9 GB, and unzipped the library takes up about 4.2 GB. We use Amazon for file serving, so you can rest assured your download will be fast and smooth!