New pianos library for Kontakt (Player), Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos. Recorded at the world famous Abbey Road Studio Two in London, and mixed by our very own Tim Starnes, the Abbey Road Pianos library brings two of the record industry’s most iconic upright pianos — and the legendary studio where they reside — right to your fingertips.
INTERFACE & FEATURES
Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos features three mixes, which can co-exist in any ratio at any time without any phasing problems.
Utilizes the same microphones and techniques often used on the Challen and the Mrs. Mills pianos at Abbey Road Studios in the 1960s: the AKG D19c (dynamic mic) – via REDD.47 valve pre-amp, the Neumann U67 (valve condenser mic) and the AKG C12 (valve condenser mic).
Utilizes a pair of Coles 4038 (ribbon mic) over the hammers and a pair of Neumann U87’s (condenser mic) placed in front of the sound board to create a full, warm sound.
Utilizes a Decca Tree (three Neumann TLM50s) in addition to a pair of ambient mics (DPA 4006) to capture the sound of the famous Studio Two at Abbey Road.
The Velocity Curve portion at the top-center of the GUI can be used to fine tune how the piano responds to your personal playing style.
The FX section on the right side of the GUI presents more options for the user to sculpt the sound of the instrument. The included FX: EQ, Stereo Width, Saturator, and Filter all can be set individually per mix by selecting the corresponding buttons above the drop-down menu. Additionally, the three knobs on the left side of the GUI provide further flexibility in all three patches.
THE PIANOS Challen Studio Piano
This piano (model number 861834) was built in the 1930s by Piano Works, London. The Challen has a very mellow sound compared to Mrs. Mills, more attuned to a typical house-hold upright piano.
Challen Tack (“Jangle Box”)
The Challen also has a tack option, which can be engaged by pressing a pedal to lower brass-tipped strips of felt that drop down between the hammers and the strings. Because of the distinct sound made by the brass tips, Abbey Road engineers often referred to this piano as the jangle box.
Unlike the Mrs. Mills, the Challen is always kept properly (traditionally) tuned and provides a warm, midrange tone, as an alternative to Miss Mills or a full concert grand. This piano was used extensively on the Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘The Beatles’ (White Album).
The “Mrs. Mills” Piano (1905 Steinway Vertegrand)
Purchased by EMI in 1953 for £404, the ‘vertegrand’ was modified in the late 1950s at the order of Abbey Road pop engineer Stuart Eltham. Eltham requested the piano be kept slightly out of tune and had the felt on its hammers hardened with lacquer to create a distinctive, bright and percussive sound.
Still in use at Abbey Road today, the Steinway has played an integral part in countless recordings. It became known as the “Mrs. Mills” piano in homage to Gladys Mills, a regular user who created more than 40 albums of jaunty piano music for EMI in the 1960s and ‘70s. But the Mrs. Mills piano was most famously played by The Beatles, featuring prominently in many of their recordings including “Penny Lane” and “With A Little Help From My Friends“.
ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS
Abbey Road Studios is an iconic symbol in the international music industry. The studios have been at the heart of British music for almost 80 years and been the home of countless landmark recordings and innovative techniques, equipment and technology.
Probably the most famous studio in the world, Studio Two is certainly Abbey Road’s most recognizable room and has changed little since its 1960s heyday. Originally constructed for the exclusive use of EMI’s Columbia label, Studio Two grew to be regarded as Abbey Road’s home of pop and is synonymous with The Beatles. But Studio Two has also played host to countless landmark recordings by an array of artists including Kate Bush and Pink Floyd along with TV shows such as Live From Abbey Road. Capable of comfortably accommodating up to 55 musicians, Studio Two can be altered to produce the perfect acoustics whatever the nature of the recording. Between the original parquet floor and high ceiling, Studio Two’s walls are draped with long acoustic quilts stuffed with wadding to dampen the acoustics while tall isolation baffles can be swung out from the wall to screen off instruments or change the sound of the room. The studio’s distinctive stairway to the control room is not, in fact, an original feature, having been added in 1957 when the control room was raised a level from the building’s lower ground floor. Recording artists and producers have been known to reflect on the room’s unique atmosphere but while Abbey Road embraces Studio Two’s past by offering vintage apparatus to its inhabitants, they also have access to cutting-edge equipment. All analogue and digital recording formats are fully supported and the control room currently boasts a 60-channel AMS Neve 88RS console.
Artists who have recorded in Studio Two include: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fiona Apple, Kate Bush, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, David Gilmour, Dido, Green Day, Groove Armada, Idlewild, Muse, Oasis, Underworld, U2, Radiohead, Kanye West, and a wealth of film scores.
Recording at Abbey Road
The sound of these classic pianos was captured by a team of highly experienced Abbey Road recording engineers, each contributing decades of knowledge in recording pianos for a variety of applications.
02: Challen Tack
03: Mrs. Mills
Kontakt Player 5.3.1 or higher
Kontakt Player 5.3.1 supports: Stand-alone, VST®, Audio Units, RTAS® (PT 9 + 10), AAX® (Pro Tools 11 and higher), ASIO, Core Audio®, WASAPI
32-bit and 64-bit support for stand-alone and plug-in versions on both Mac & PC
Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos is compatible with all major DAWs and with other music notation software
PC: Windows 7®/8® (32-bit/64-bit), Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2, 4 GB RAM