Heavyocity Uncharted 88: What is it?
Though no strangers to audio brutalisation, cinematic sample library stalwart Heavyocity has taken things to the next level with Uncharted 88.
Tearing apart and re-moulding the internal organs of the piano into an impactful rhythmic instrument, Uncharted 88 is less ‘prepared’ piano and more ‘traumatised’ piano. It can deliver thunderous impacts, snarling scratches, evocative atmospheres and metallic force.
238 different Percussion Sources
36 Unique Damage Piano Hits
288 Creative Loops
91 Custom-Designed Presets
3 Unique Engines
Buy at Plugin Boutique
Leaning on the versatile engine and design aesthetic of Damage 2 (and flagged as an addition to the ‘Damage’ family), Uncharted 88’s three main sections grant the ability to perform, mix, shape and loop these unique, often startling sounds.
The Ensemble Designer brings us a top-down representation of the soundstage (Damage 2 users will be right at home here), wherein you can move specific sample elements around a 360 field, and harness the amalgamated tones of five distinct mic channels to find the right character.
Heavyocity Uncharted 88: Performance and verdict
Browsing through the preset ensembles gives us an immediate flavour of Uncharted 88’s widescreen potential. The first thing to triple-underline is that if you were expecting the sound of this destroyed piano to resemble other prepped piano packs, then you’ll be shocked.
The emphasis is on cinematic-scoped rumbles, scratches and interlocking, earth-shaking impacts, though ghostly trace elements of the deceased piano’s character often resurface, adding a subtly pained quality.
Among the Wood, Iron and String Strike ensembles, there are options for both organic and hybrid percussion as well as pre-curated rips, glisses and transitions.
• SoundIron Struck Grand
SoundIron’s take on prepared piano samples, with the 1926 Steinway Model L undergoing similar abuse.
• VSL Prepared Piano
VSL roughed up a Bösendorfer in order to get mix-ready plucks, tones and impacts.
While we approached the Ensemble Designer with a musical mindset, before too long we find ourselves abandoning any pretence of rhythmic pattern-looping and getting submerged in murky, horror-aligned tension-building.
It’s clear that the three core elements of Uncharted 88 are designed to be used holistically, so we head over to the Kit Designer. Here is where we can start building up a 16-pad drum machine instrument that we can control externally via our pad controller, and see how Uncharted 88 handles a few of our pre-arranged grooves.
There’s a heap of creative fun to be had layering up the numerous effects (labelled under EQ, Transient, Compression and Overdrive) on various individual pads, and stretching this bizarre instrument in directions it really doesn’t want to go in!
The most satisfying section of Uncharted 88 comes with the thrills of the nifty Loop Designer, which encompasses 288 tempo-locked loops in both straight and triplet forms.
While the previous sections may have nudged us more into the realms of creepy sound design, in Loop Designer, things get more musical. We can trigger the team’s carefully curated loops on-the-fly while enhancing the animation of our performance with a series of sweet stutter effects and swooping transitions. Each loop also has a distinct effects send matrix, so we can modulate the wet/dry mix of effects as we play.
Dig a little deeper and every element of this butchered piano is at your disposal, including the ability to customise flams, crescendos, swells and more via the Performance section.
Over on the Master FX page, the Heavyocity-familiar will be delighted to see the company’s USP; that great big, satisfying ‘Punish’ dial, which scales the proportion of crispy saturation and compression to the sound. Underneath this, a handy signal chain overview allows us to stack up both effects, delay and reverb to taste.
Take that to the bank
One area of Uncharted 88 that lent us particular expressive freedom was in its Source page, wherein you can load in one of 36 pre-curated banks into your playable key range.
You’re also afforded the ability to chop and change each individual source per-key. Simply satisfyingly dropping a drum source onto an image of the keyboard arms the chosen notes with those samples.
This can lead to all manner of multi-faceted Frankensteins. The best of the resulting concoctions were those that relied on a combo of the individual texture-based hits within some of the Hybrid Piano Hits and Rips and Glissandos, all of which incorporate booms, impacts and tempo-synced rips, as well as the time-synced reverses and transitions.
So, what we have here is a library and performance instrument the like of which we’ve not really encountered before.
Industrial and horror-angled sound designers will be delighted in these immaculately recorded sounds, but there’s also plenty here for those who might want to add resonant throbs, and punchy atmospheric undercurrents to their tracks.
This ain’t like no piano you’ve ever heard before, it’s a modified wrecking ball of power.
MusicRadar verdict: With bone-shaking intensity, Uncharted 88’s sounds are ripe for the cinematically-inclined’s production libraries.
Heavyocity Uncharted 88: The web says
"Damage Uncharted 88 is a dynamic percussion library that evokes emotion and intensity. It drives tension and lures the listener in like a spell. "
Sample Sound Review
Heavyocity Uncharted 88: Hands-on demos
Sample Library Review
Martin Heidenreich Music
Heavyocity Uncharted 88: Specifications
- macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11 or 12 (latest update). Apple Silicon Macs (via Rosetta 2 & natively on ARM in Standalone or in hosts that support it): macOS 11 or 12 (latest update).
- Windows 10 or 11 (latest Service Pack), Intel Core i5 or equivalent CPU, 2 GB RAM.
- 26.7GB uncompressed (11.65GB on Disk with NI lossless compression).
- Powered by the Kontakt 6.7 Engine. Kontakt 6.7.1 (Player) or later. Komplete Kontrol integrated (NKS-ready).
- Available as direct download only.
- Stand-alone, VST, VST3, AU, AAX.
- Buy at Plugin Boutique