Spectrasonics doesn’t release major software updates for its products very often, but when it does, it tends to get them right. And that certainly looks to be the case with Keyscape 1.5, which adds the Double Felt Grand piano. This is said to be “the number one most requested sound” among the plugin’s users.
Launched yesterday to coincide with World Piano Day, the Double Felt Grand is the first brand-new Keyscape instrument since the product was launched back in 2016 and comes as part of the v1.5 update. This is free for existing users.
Traditionally, the felt piano sound is achieved by draping a layer of felt vertically between the strings and hammers of an upright piano, creating the intimate, muted tone that we’re all familiar with. However, Spectrasonics wanted to create this sound using a seven-foot grand piano, in which the hammers and strings are situated horizontally.
In this case, the draping method wouldn’t work; the felt would simply lay on top of the hammers and prevent them from rising up and striking the strings.
The solution, discovered by renowned piano tech Jim Wilson, was to cut up, fit and glue two individually layered strips of felt to each hammer, which explains why this is a ‘double’ felt piano rather than a standard one.
The modified instrument was sampled at Spectrasonics’ LA studio. The company also developed new reverb algorithms that are exclusive to the Double Felt Grand, which promises the best aspects of a felt upright combined with the body and decay of a grand piano.
To celebrate the launch of Keyscape 1.5, Spectrasonics has released a performance video of Sony Classical artist Olivia Belli playing the Double Felt Grand. You can check it out at the top of the page.
Keyscape runs on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats and costs $399/€349. Find out more on the Spectrasonics website.