Thursday, October 3, 2019

REVIEW: ASCEND 'Modern Grand' by HEAVYOCITY





OVERVIEW

This is the Main Layout of the Interface

(Access to 2D Mixer, Controls, and Settings)


This is the 'Source' section and is the 2nd Sub-page

(Within the Source page you can browse and load different sounds into the three channels)



Modulate, Arp, and Echoes are the 3rd- 5th sections and FX is the 6th Sub-page

(A fully customizable effects chain that comes with 12 effects and can be loaded into four effect slots.)



This is the Final and 7th Sub-page called Convolve


 (The Convolve effects chain contains the following effects Highpass and Lowpass Filters, Tempo-synced Convolution effect, Delay, Algorithmic Reverb, and a Rhythmic Gater.)



REVIEW

Leave it to Heavyocity to revive the piano virtual instrument landscape with an library that breaks the mold in modern sound design. What they did to strings and brass is now applied to piano, and if you want to know what I think about it then please
 keep reading.

First off, Heavyocity sampled a Concert D Grand Piano for the creation of Ascend and recorded it at a historic NYC Studio. The main interface is clean with a white background and uses a light-colored font that was pleasant on my eyes.
In the center of the GUI, there's a 2D triangular mixer with 3 channels that allows you to blend between three different sounds.  

Heavyocity used several unusual techniques, and tools in the recordings of the articulations included. Inside the Sustained section, they recorded harmonics, plus a brush, twine, and an Ebow on the strings. In the Struck division, they used a metal and wood object to strike the strings. Heavyocity furthermore recorded the piano muted and also wrapped a light chain around the strings while playing it commonly. The other divisions on the grid are PPP (pianississimo) and the Piano mixes. The PPP is an Italian term for playing a composition very softly. Both of these subdivisions offer several mic positions including a Full, Close, Room, and Under the Piano mix.


There are several other options, like channel controls, automation, and randomization. Below the top section of the screen, you'll see the second half of the interface includes 7 sub-pages. These include Settings, Source (ability to load a variety of sounds into the 3 channels), Modulate (Add additional modulation to the mixer), Arp (Arpeggiator for creating rhythm), Echoes (Midi delay generator effect), FX (Master Effects), and Convolve (tempo- synced convolution effect). 


There are 110 snapshots with over 12,000 samples and a download size of 21.4 GB. The snapshots are divided into 5 categories which include Ascended, Core Concert D, Extended, Rhythmic, and Rhythmic Melodic. I first began playing the Ascended section and was simply blown away! 'Ascendant Wings' was the 1st preset that let me realize how modernistic this instrument would sound. It integrates a wide collection of diverse acoustic and hybrid designed presets that include lush pads, plucks, strums, and more. 


In the Core Concert D folder, you'll discover a polished collection of ten piano snapshots dressed with a variety of effects. There is concert, hard rock, dark, vintage, and ambient piano. These presets have plenty of depth and clarity to cut through the mix

The Extended section of presets, contains a variety of experimental, evolving soundscapes, that are both shimmering and ominous. 

Finally, let me cover the Rhythmic and Rhythmic Melodic category. There is host of melodious and dark patterns that encompass a balance of Ambience and delay effects. The Arps can be tailored to your preference by adjusting the arpeggiator or the Echoes Midi Delay Effect. For instance, one of my favorite presets that use the Echoes FX is a haunting piano found in the Rhythmic Melodic folder called Instant Chills and to me, it's true brilliance. 


Whether you're scoring a drama, crime, thriller, romance, horror, documentary, or video games, you'll find a crucial amount of tools you can employ on your next composition.


As far as the price goes, I was expecting the cost to be higher. Since the retail cost is under $150, I feel this makes ASCEND a commendable purchase and is even Kontakt player compatible.



Virtual Piano libraries is a fairly saturated market, and yet Heavyocity has proven once again a way to transform and reinvent such an important instrument. 

Composers looking for that extra spark of inspiration should pick this up without hesitation.


ASCEND by Heavyocity rises to the level of excellence in cinematic sound design and is remarkable as it is innovative!


5 OUT OF 5 STARS !
























Written by Steve Montgomery
(Infinite Mindscape and Darkmood)


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