Professional Sound - April 2017 - Page 24

PRODUCT TESTS Spectrasonics Keyscape Collector Keyboards Virtual Instrument By Adam Gallant K eyscape is a powerfully expressive software instrument from Spectra- sonics. Perhaps best known for their groundbreaking flagship synth soft- ware Omnisphere, the company is focused on making Keyscape an integral part of their product line. In January 2017, Spectrasonics released Keyscape Creative, a collection of over 1,200 Omnisphere patches for users who also have Keyscape. It was the marketing behind this launch that sparked my interest in the company and spurred this review. Keyscape Collector Keyboards’ sampled sounds are meticulously curated with an inspiring selection of unique and colourful instruments such as vintage electric pianos, toy pianos, plucked keyboards, vintage digital keyboards, wind keyboards, and much more. Alongside the rare and eclectic options are three of the best sounding and feeling acoustic piano reproductions I’ve encountered. The centrepiece of the acoustic pianos is a custom Yamaha C7 grand that has been captured with unmatched detail, precision, and realism. In total, there are 36 unique instruments with multiple preset patches for each. Each patch then has a tremendous amount of flexibility in terms of realism, dynamics, noise, effects, and touch-velocity. The full Keyscape library of 36 instru- ments is 77 GB but is also available in a Lite version with a select subset of instruments for those of us in need of a smaller palette or with hard disc limitations. I opted to install the full sample library and also had the chance to operate the Keyscape library within Omnisphere 2, a mind-bendingly 24 PROFESSIONAL SOUND powerful combination. First Impressions What initially struck me about the Keyscape package was its realism. All of the instru- ments have beautiful sounding and com- pletely controllable “performance” variables that come into play here. These attributes control things like the release noise (the mechanical sound of the keys themselves lifting back into position) and pedal noise (the sound of the foot pedal moving when depressed and thud of its release). These “noises” do not come across as sampled, either; they are clearly cycling through a bank of many round robins, are velocity in- formed, and display an impressive attention to detail. Each of the 36 instru- ments has its own personality and character in terms of these mechanical sounds, all of which are controllable, customizable, and savable. On top of the performance parameters, there are instrument and patch-dependant reverbs, EQs, “Color Shift,” amplifier settings, modulation FX, tremolo, reverb, and more. For me, this kind of one-stop shop for instru- ments and FX provides a fast and inspiring way to work. The reverbs can be very long and lush sounding, ideal for sound design and dramatic film scores. Playability Worth mentioning is the way this software responds to touch. Playing with a controller that has weighted keys is an ideal way to enjoy the level of work that went into the dynamics control. There are dozens of veloc- ity curves designed for popular controller keyboard models, which greatly enhances Keyscape’s response to the player’s touch on their chosen controller. It’s evident that this software was designed and tested by musicians. Each instrument in the collec- tion seems to have a very specific feeling and dynamic response. This level of detail heightens the player’s sense of reality and ability to perform. Interface The plug-in displays a beautifully illustrated image of the loaded instrument, some with playful backgrounds that are themed with the patch settings. All of the patch-specific settings are simple to understand, acti- vate, and manipulate. There is also a small amount of history about each instrument located in the info section, which some- times contains tips for creative use. The plug-in window is big, easily readable, and well organized for fast oper ѥѡ)͕ȵٕͅɕ͕́ٔѡȁݸե)ͥ́ѼɅ܁ɽɕд)ѽɕ͕́ͥѡ́)ݽɭ܁ͥѱ)-͍ݥѠ=ɔ)]$ѡ-͍Ʌ䁥=)ɔȰѡɔٕ݅́䁵Սѡ̃qt)Ёݡɔ$Ѽɕ锁ѡЁѡ)݅́ѡͽ݅ɔ͕Ѽٕѡ)Ёɽչɕͽչ́$ٔ)ɥQX=ѡ-)͍Ʌݥѡ=ɔɽ٥́)єչЁѥ́хѡ)չɕ́-͍э́ѽѡ)չɕ́=ɔэ̸ѡȴ)ѡ̰ѡ-͍ ɕѥٔ ѥ)́ѡȁѥȁɕͥѡЁ́չɕ)ѕݥѠٕȀİэ́ɕѕ)ѡMɅͽ́ѕ)Q՝)Q́ͽ݅ɔյЁ́ե)ѡЁхЁѽ)Ցé͕ȁͽչ͍ͥȴ)ȁ٥ͼ$͕-͍́ѡ)ͽѥȁəɵȁȁѡ)ѡѥɕͥٔḬ)]ɱȁͽչ́ɔѼи)QɽՍЁɕݽɬѡѕ)ЁMɅͽ̰́ȁ́'eɹ)-͍́ѡ܁ɬͅ))Ё́ݽɭ́х)ՑɽՍѥɽͥͥѥ)ѼѥЁՑȁѕ٥ͥ) !ɕѱ䁽ݹ́Ʌѕ́Q!)MչMՑ ɱѕѽݸA