David Michael Tardy
Fracture Sounds: MIDNIGHT GRAND PIANO
Midnight Grand is a stunning concert grand piano, expertly recorded in a concert hall with a layer of cotton between the hammers and strings, to create a delicate, cinematic tone.
This is not ‘just another sampled Steinway’ – it is a carefully crafted virtual piano full of nuance and character, perfect for intimate drama and rich cinematic passages alike.
As with all our products, Midnight Grand was developed with ease of use in mind, so you can jump straight in and start writing music. We are confident it will become a staple in many composers’ sample collections.
The instrument was recorded in a modern concert hall environment using a selection of top-shelf microphones (from DPA, Coles, AKG) placed close to the piano and further back in the room. We carefully blended these microphone signals into a single stereo mix. The result is a well balanced and versatile sound – spacious enough so as not to sound boxy or claustrophobic, yet dry enough to offer the flexibility of adding as much or little reverb as you like.
We recorded true pedal up and down samples, for authentic sympathetic resonance when the sustain pedal is held down. Some of our beta testers loved the sound of the pedal down samples so much that we decided to include an additional patch, ‘Midnight Piano (Alt).nki’which uses only these samples. This patch has a rich, full sound even when the sustain pedal isn’t engaged.
Mechanical Sounds and Room Tone
With Midnight Grand, we went far beyond sampling the notes themselves. Our sonic vision for this library was for it to sound like you are sat at the piano, capturing the feeling of being alone in an empty room with nothing but the piano in front of you. A huge part of achieving this (aside from the microphone placement) was capturing the mechanical sounds of the piano – the sound of the hammers returning to their resting position when a key is released, and the sound of the dampers lifting when the pedal is pressed. Both of these sounds can be dialled in to your taste, for enhanced realism.
The Room Tone control adds the natural sound of the air moving around the hall, as well as subtle creaks and clicks. When used sparingly, the room tone can really bring the samples to life, giving the impression the performance is taking place in a real acoustic space.
Once again, we have brought back our popular ‘Atmosphere Layers’ – playable pads and textures which blend together with the raw piano beautifully.
The ‘Haze‘ layer adds a smooth, dreamy sustain.The ‘Shivers‘ layer is a textural pad, created from processed live string recordings.The ‘Eclipse‘ layer is a rich reversed granular delay effect, which lingers behind the raw piano.
These layers can be dialled in to taste using the Layer Mixer. Additionally, the global ‘intensity’ of these layers can be controlled using the ‘Atmosphere Intensity‘ dial, or automated in real-time using the mod wheel.