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Spectrasonics Keyscape

Virtual Instrument
Published February 2017
By Dave Stewart

Spectrasonics Keyscape

Spectrasonics’ major keyboard collection combines classic vintage instruments with a gallery of unique rarities.

There’s something reassuringly solid about Spectrasonics. Based in Burbank, California, the company has been outputting state-of-the-art products since 1994, when co-founder Eric Persing released the ground-breaking Bass Legends library (chunks of which live on under the hood of certain keyboard workstations). Having successfully navigated the format upheavals of the hardware sampler era, Spectrasonics scored with their acclaimed Stylus, Trilogy and Atmosphere virtual instruments before hitting the jackpot with Trilian and the multi-award-winning Omnisphere synth, voted SOS readers’ Best Software Instrument in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

While technical innovation and sonic exploration have been a company hallmark from the start, Persing’s background as a session player and producer adds an important dimension to the story. This hands-on studio experience, coupled with a lifelong love affair with keyboards, helps account for Spectrasonics’ instruments being so playable and practical. It also explains the motivation behind the company’s latest offering, which looks set to create a new standard for vintage keyboard collections.

Overview

Spectrasonics’ Keyscape comprises no fewer than 36 keyboard models, ranging from iconic, sought-after ’70s instruments to contemporary retro-styled keyboards. An intriguing selection of hitherto-unsampled historical rarities is also included, along with a leading make of 20th-century concert grand piano. There are no organs or analogue synths in this collection, nor are there any licks or phrases: the focus is squarely on multisampled electro-mechanical and acoustic instruments, augmented by a handful of digital ’80s classics such as the ubiquitous and unashamedly synthetic ‘FM Rhodes’ sound.

Lossless audio compression reduces the large sample database (over 200GB in size) to a more manageable 77GB on your hard drive. You can install either the full 77GB collection or an optional 30GB ‘Lite’ menu of essential instruments designed for live performance. If you wish, you can run the full version in your studio DAW and use the Lite install on a laptop at gigs. The Lite version is not sold separately, and since many patches reference multiple parts of the library, you can’t install your own personal selection of instruments.

Keyscape is formatted exclusively for Spectrasonics’ STEAM sound engine, which runs as a plug-in on Mac and Windows systems in all...

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Published February 2017