Addictive Keys Studio Collection Review
What’s good MM fam? It’s your roving reporter BeatzGalore with another product review for ya! This one’s for XLN Audio’s Addictive Keys and let me say this Vsti is as addictive as the name suggests. XLN Audio is the Stockholm, Sweden based team of producers, engineers and programmers behind the award winning Addictive Drums Production Studio. Well they’ve done it again with their sophomore offering Addictive Keys.
Addictive Keys Studio is a collection of high quality key based instruments such as the Studio Grand which features a classic Steinway Model D concert grand piano. Recorded from six microphone perspectives and three ExploreMaps with producer presets. The Modern Upright which features a Yamaha U3 that is regarded as a modern classic among pianists. It was recorded from seven microphone perspectives and includes three ExploreMaps with producer presets. The Mark One features a Fender Rhodes MK1 73 electric piano with a warm and intimate tone reminiscent of 70’s style music. It has seven selectable mic/line perspectives and includes three ExploreMaps with producer presets.
The first thing that I noticed when I opened the program was the beautiful presentation. The GUI (graphical user interface) is slick and very easy to navigate. Each of the instruments have a visual representation of themselves that displays the instrument itself, the room, mic positioning, foot pedals for sustain and dampening and other knobs and buttons for further sound design. I found this to be just as effective as having the “real thing” in front of me when it came to making adjustments to the instruments. The next thing was the incredible sound quality! Each one of the instruments were recorded using a combination of natural room ambience, and an array of rare vintage microphones at different perspectives. The results of this painstaking recording process are nothing short of astonishing. I’m very happy to know that there are companies out there such as XLN who take sound design so seriously.
I love the fact that each one of the included instruments had their own exploremaps which offered presets suitable for any genre of music. The ExploreMaps are broken down into 3 sections. Producer: A great selection of producer presets with macro controllers for different effects. This is great for fast and easy editing without having to go to the Edit page, as recorded which features presets with preselected combinations of microphone perspectives as they were recorded with no processing, and selections which features presets ranging from all natural to all weird. They each have quite a few musical previews included with them which help you better understand how to use each instrument to it’s full potential. Once you’ve “toyed” around with the sound you can save your custom preset quite easily and upload it to a service they provide called “MyCloud” for later recall from anywhere.
As I loaded and explored the possibilities of each instrument. I found myself listening to the musical previews and then trying to replay them with the same expression. I’m no Beethoven but boy I sure felt like him momentarily. Each preview I demoed literally “begged” me to learn it, dissect it, and include it in my own composition. It actually made me a more competent musician because I could now visually see what I could only hear prior to this experience. XLN hit the “nail on the head” with this one. This baby can be used stand alone (perfect for live musicians) or as a Vsti (perfect for studio musicians). Each sound loads up at near supersonic speeds so it won’t impede your “workflow” and they have a growing list of add-on libraries. They even took it a step further by offering a free version of their “amazing” Studio Grand which automatically made them my heroes. It’s easy to upgrade to the full version if you like and each of the instruments can be purchased individually to make it easier on the pockets. Wanna check it out? click here
In conclusion I’d like to thank the good people of XLN for “giving a damn” about sound design and providing starving artist such as myself with an affordable alternative for our music production. I would definitely recommend this product as I already have to all of my friends in the music community. It has a sound quality unlike anything I’ve heard in recent years and I am impressed. if you’d like to have an “Addictive Keys” experience click here