UVI's latest UVI Player/Falcon soundbank draws on more than 47,000 samples of a 'tacked' Rhodes Mk I electric piano.
Tacking involves placing a brass tack on the striking face of each hammer, in order to harden and brighten the sound, so Attack EP88 qualifies as unique in the world of virtual instruments right from the off.
Five discrete signals were captured during the sampling process via a stereo pair of Bruel and Kjaer mics, a mono Neumann U67 mic, a contact mic on each tine, the DI output of the Rhodes itself and a tube pre-amp. The depth of the multisampling is extraordinary.
Up to eight velocity layers and five round robins per source were captured for every key, including for the sustain and release samples – all at three tine positions – then there are seven pedal-up/down round robins for each source.
The signals are grouped on three busses – Contact mic, Mono/Stereo mics, and DI/Tube – and each bus has its own set of mixing and processing controls.
These include a bank of stompbox effects (distortion, delay, chorus, phaser and reverb) for the Electric (Tube and DI) bus, and separate EQ, Delay and Reverb (UVI's Sparkverb, no less) processors for the two Acoustic (mic) busses, as well as amp envelopes and dynamics controls for all three, plus Stereo processing sections for the Electric and Contact busses. The Mono and Stereo mics can also be levelled and muted independently within their bus.
In the Voicing page, each note can be set to any of the three tine positions and detuned by up to 50 cents for stretch and custom tunings. One particularly inventive feature that we hope to see more of in future is Wheel Strum, which uses the mod wheel to 'strum' the notes of a held chord.
Given the number of samples involved and UVI's pedigree when it comes to classic instrument emulation, it should come as no surprise that the raw sound of Attack EP88 is nothing short of stunning – and genuinely different to every other software EP we've heard. Beyond that, the three busses and their dedicated effects offer plenty of sound-shaping potential, and the whole thing plays beautifully.