IK Multimedia puts a piano on Mars (sort of), as it announces that its new Pianoverse plugin was created with the help of a “sampling robot” that has an almost human finger

OK, we got it slightly wrong - we assumed it was going to be called Modo Piano - but IK Multimedia has indeed released a new piano instrument plugin, Pianoverse.

We’re guessing that the Modo branding wasn't suitable here because of the way Pianoverse generates its sounds, which are based on a painstakingly captured set of samples. In fact, IK says that it went as far as to create a “sampling robot” to play the pianos being recorded. This is said to feature “an extremely precise and silent linear motor with an elastic actuator on top made to perform exactly like a human finger.” Blimey.

All the samples were recorded using proprietary software in a bid “to capture each piano's true sonic DNA”. The specific piano models that were subjected to this apparently forensic process include the Yamaha CFIII Concert Grand, a Yamaha U5 Professional Upright, a Bösendorfer 280 Vienna Concert and a Steinway & Sons New York D-274.

All of these can be accessed within Pianoverse - though they’re priced individually, we should say - and more, such as a Bösendorfer 200, a Steinway & Sons Hamburg D-274, a Fazioli F278 and a Koch & Korselt Upright, are on the way. 

IK Multimedia Pianoverse

(Image credit: IK Multimedia)

Pianoverse itself is based on a new engine that features redesigned round robin and voice management to aid authenticity. For each instrument, you can adjust the lid position, harp resonance, pedal noise and the noise of the piano mallets, and there’s three-pedal support.

And it doesn’t end there: each piano comes with two sets of mics, one of which has a ‘classical’ sound and the other a more modern, upfront tone. Both the piano and mic signals can be treated with EQ and compression, and there’s a final master channel with EQ, a VCA-style limiter and a stereo width control.

You can also choose to position your piano in one of a wide variety of virtual spaces - not only in a concert hall, but also a warehouse, a vault, on an iceberg, in a desert or even on the surface of Mars. Each space can be shaped in a variety of ways, and it sounds like there’s considerable scope for creating lush, ambient soundscapes.

And that’s before you get to the 12 new effects, which can be inserted on three simultaneous slots. There are four modulation sources, too - two envelopes and two LFOs - that can add additional movement to these processors.

Pianoverse runs on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats and is available for the introductory price of $100 per piano (regular price will be $130 per piano). Alternatively, you can sign up to a subscription plan that gives you access to all existing and forthcoming pianos. This costs $15 a month or $149 a year. 

Find out more on the IK Multimedia website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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