Q Up Arts California Keys [Exciting, Deep] Review
California Keys is not a single instrument. In addition to the acoustic grand piano – which was sampled in configurations ranging from stereo all the way through to 7.1 surround – Q Up Arts has stuffed in a collection of beloved, vintage organs and e-pianos. Albeit, Q Up’s take on some of the instruments is a little off-the-beaten-track, the “Cali Keys” bundle has quite a lot to offer.
The MSRP is a rather ambitious figure of $499 (USD), but the bundle is offered on sale occasionally, and Douglas Morton is conscious of making Q Up products available to students for amiable rates. Quite frankly, this helps Doug and his company stand out from the crowd; well-deserving to be duly commended.
ToonTrack EZkeys Essential Pianos Review
I was more than a little ‘jazzed’ when I first heard that Sampling giants, ToonTrack, were adding pianos/keyboards to their industry-leading product line-up. I had already been a more-than-satisfied ToonTrack customer for a couple of years. I rely on various “EZdrummer” modules as my drum sample/construction software of choice. As soon as I’d heard the early release news about the original, ground-breaking “EZkeys Grand” Piano sample library/sequencer, I anticipated that song writers and home producers would be elated with the news. I don’t mean to come across as pretentious, but my assumption was absolutely correct.
The initial release of “EZkeys Grand” created no small ripple in the sampling pool. Not only did “EZkeys Grand” hold up extremely well against its large, multi-gig competitors sound-wise, but it gave something to non-keyboardists that no other competing piano sample library could – built-in midi phrases and song construction tools. ToonTrack serves up first-rate piano sounds, assorted musical styles, transposition, drag n’ drop song construction and an attractive, photo-realistic GUI. The EZkeys line-up will empower novice song-writers and non-keyboardists with professional-grade piano compositional parts, while providing professionals a means of creatively fast-tracking song ideas; quickly and easily.
This review will be an exhaustive inspection of the cross-platform “EZkeys Essential Pianos” collection. This wonderful suite of pianos is comprised of: EZkeys Grand, an impeccably sampled Steinway “Model D”; EZkeys Classic Keyboards, a totally vibe’n set of Wurlitzer “A200” and Rhodes “Mark I” electric pianos; and EZkeys Upright, a harmonically-pleasant, old-time, upright piano. Any one of these packages retails for €139/$179 by itself, with any additional EZkeys library available for only €69/$89. As a bundle, the EZkeys Essential Pianos suite rings in at €249/$325. Just for grins n’ giggles we’ll also get introduced to a truckload of EZkeys midi libraries in the styles of: R&B, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Blues, and Pop.
4Front Technologies’ True Pianos Review
In the seemingly never-ending quest for glorious tone, authentic playability, and modest system requirements, many pianists are left disillusioned with many of today’s ITB offerings. Few musicians have either the physical space or the bankroll to actually invest in a baby grand; or even a high-end “Digital Grand”.
Many keyboardists struggle to keep their computers afloat in the sea of multi-gigabyte sample libraries; with each new library promising to deliver finer sound and greater piano realism.
I own a few substantial piano sample libraries, and for the most part, they are all very good. However, they consume a great deal of precious hard drive space, and available system memory. For those who own up-to-date computers housing fast hard drives, and large denominations of blistering-fast RAM, this isn’t as much of a concern . . . ‘ yet’; wait another year or two and maybe the newest sample libraries will be even that much more demanding.
But all is not lost! We can thank God and the good folks at 4Front Technologies for finally making the dream a reality. For the gracious price of only £121.55, or $180 (USD), 4Front’s suite of five modelled pianos is nothing shy of spectacular and splendorous. Furthermore, True Pianos is ‘truly’ multi-platform in that it is available for Windows PC (32 bit & 64 bit), Mac (Intel & PPC), Receptor, and vMachine!
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