Today, I wanted to look back at one of the first libraries I reviewed on my channel : Frozen Piano by Herman Samples. Frozen Piano is a piano library designed for multi-layered / creative piano sounds. From gentle pads, to harder, sharper sounds, this library includes a good variety of articulations for you to build a complete arrangement with.
[Get 20% off Frozen Piano on hermansamples.com for a limited time with this EXCLUSIVE coupon code : THOMC]
In the first video, I go through my recording of the song 'Morse Code on The North Star' using the sounds of Frozen Piano exclusively. In the second video, you'll be able to listen to every single patch of the library, and in the third video, the mixed and mastered, commercially released song.
I hope you'll enjoy this article as well as the three video series :
- Frozen Piano by Herman Samples (pt.1) - Composition
- Frozen Piano by Herman Samples (pt.2) - Patch Walkthrough
- Morse Code on The North Star (Made with Frozen Piano)
Part 1 : Composition
Part 2 : Patch Walkthrough
Part 3 : Morse Code on The North Star (Official Music Video)
In the library you get 1 Main patch, 10 piano patches, 2 extra instruments and 3 miscellaneous patches including :
1 Main patch :
The main patch is the one that allows you to combine the provided piano sounds as well as the extras. It includes a dedicated volume knob for each one of the sounds, a built-in presets feature, a 3 band EQ, settings for attack and release, a space setting to add reverb to the signal and an intelligent pedalling option.
The interface is nicely presented without anything that unnecessarily clutters it up. You can easily turn the sounds on or off helping you get creative results quickly. It would have been nice to have a per-sound dedicated pan feature, but the sounds fit well when you stack them together without any weird phasing or panning issues.
The cleverly-picked selection of sounds allows you to create both soft, emotional pads and more percussive music-box or dulcimer-like sounds thus covering a wide array of composition applications.
10 Piano patches :
- Felt Piano : 3 velocity layers, 3 round robins, separate key and pedal noises. This 60+ year-old sampled upright piano isn't completely void of noise, which gives it more realism without making it impossible to fit into a mix (i.e. Morse Code on The North Star). The piano doesn't feel like it's lacking expression even with the three velocity layers.
- Felt Piano Softer : This patch focuses on the lower velocity layers of the Felt Piano. This can be pretty useful when you're working on a softer, more intimate piece or when you need a 'Lite' version of the felt piano for your compositions.
- Dreamer : Swelling short piano pad. This one is pretty useful when combined with other sounds, it builds a sort of halo around the lead sound that you're using, giving it more sustain within a mix.
- Icelander : Plucked piano strings (sharper sound). This can be a good alternative to a dulcimer or other sharp-sounding plucked instruments. Combined with other articulations, 'Icelander' gives a good amount of bite to your sound.
- Icelander 2 : Plucked piano strings (softer sound). Icelander 2 is pretty different from the first one, in that it has more of a sustained upright piano sound and isn't as transient-heavy as the first Icelander patch.
- Frozen Piano : Muted strings. This sound could be compared to a pizzicato string sound, it doesn't have much sustain to it but a good amount of impact and a great feel. This sound could be pretty useful when working on animation or comedy movies.
- Pad 1 : Frozen pad (more air). This first pad is very airy, and can be a beautiful addition to other pads to give them a dream-like feel. I personally love this type of sound, they have a beautiful melancholic touch to them.
- Pad 2 : Frozen pad (more harmony / less noisy). The second pad has a more classic-synth tone and less 'air' than the first one.
- Echoer : Sharp echoed struck piano. A very bity echoed sound that can be used as a sharp guitar-like sound.
- Everest : Very sharp dulcimer-like sound. Very similar to Echoer, without the echo.
2 Extras :
- Little Glockenspiel : Whole range glockenspiel instrument.
- Windspiel : This one is a unique glass-like instrument made for the library.
3 Misc :
- Key noise : Pretty useful when added to other patches to add more character and realism to your sounds. This can also be useful when combined with other piano libraries that feel a bit synthetic.
- Pedal noise : A good complement to the key noise, a useful addition to other libraries if needed.
- FX : Some pretty useful percussion sounds that can be combined with drum kits when you need high-pitched percussion.
Should I get this library?
Felt pianos have been a bit more popular lately, and while there are more and more alternatives on the market, Frozen Piano is still a great choice because of the vision of its developer Herman Samples. Just like when making a record as a producer, you can tell that this instrument (or series of instruments) has been shaped, recorded, built, edited to fit a particular place in some of the coldest places on our planet.
You will find other great felt pianos out there with more velocity layers, more complexity in the Kontakt scripting, more samples... but sample libraries are also meant to trigger your imagination, to take you to musical places you didn't expect to before. And this one surely hold its promise : To be a Frozen Piano, a collection of sounds that will take you closer to the glaciers while keeping the comfort and warmth of a great shelter in the winter. I've loved making music with this one, and will come back to it for more!
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Key Features :
- 10 pianos, 2 extra and 3 miscelaneous patches
- Felt piano: 3 velocity layers, 3 round robins, separate key and pedal noises
- Intelligent pedal: pedal that adapts to playstyle
- Custom preset system
- Felt piano features pedal down sample switch for a more realistic performance
- recorded stereo, 1 mic position
- 44.1KHz/24bit, 44.1KHz/32bit
- requires full retail version of Kontakt 5.5.0 and above
- Size: 9GB
Links mentioned in the video :
(Some of these links are affiliate links, if you decide to purchase a product, you'll also help me out to provide more content for you in the future. Thank you! :) )
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