Ground-breaking composer Max Richter has announced the launch of SRM Sounds, a new company which has been created to produce a series of virtual instruments aimed at music creators. Their first product, Max Richter Piano, as its name suggests, captures the sound of Max’s Steinway Model D Spirio | r in the spacious live room of his Studio Richter Mahr facility.
The library has been recorded in great detail with a selection of vintage and modern microphone options, but focuses on the lower dynamic range — there are 10 dynamic layers covering a range of ppp to mf — resulting in a soft and intimate sound capable of delivering the level of detail required to access the level of emotion and atmosphere typical in Max’s work.
The release consists of two instrument versions: one recorded with its lid open, and another with a closed lid and the cover still in place to further dampen the sound from the top and sides of the piano.
The instrument features a simple GUI, with three large dials offering control over the level of three microphone positions, and a second row providing access to Reverb, Noise and Velocity sections. The reverb is based on Kontakt’s native engine, with Short and Long controls making it possible to introduce additional room ambience, whilst the Velocity section houses a Sensitivity control that adjusts the available dynamic range.
The Noise section then provides individual Action, Damper and Pedal controls that govern how much mechanical noise is present from each corresponding part of the piano. Finally, a Round Robin section makes it possible to configure the behaviour of the instrument’s five round robins, with a Random mode cycling through them in a pseudo-random way to enhance realism.
“For composers, sound is an incredibly personal and emotional thing. For many of us, the experience of falling in love with the physical and tactile aspects of sound is what got us into music in the first place, so working with sounds that aren’t quite right is really disturbing. Therefore, we decided to make our own Kontakt instrument collection, using the wonderful acoustics and technical resources of Studio Richter Mahr. These instruments have the colours that I love to use to tell the stories I want to tell.” - Max Richter
Each instrument version offers the following three microphone position choices:
- Vintage Ribbon: a stereo pair of Coles 4038 under the piano
- Modern Ribbon: a close stereo pair of SE Electronics RNR1 Rupert Neve Designs angled over the strings
- Pencil: a close pair of Schoeps MK4 placed near the hammers
- Vintage Ribbon: a pair of Coles 4038 under the piano
- Modern Valve: a pair of Neumann U67s under the piano
- Ambient: a pair of Schoeps MK2H high up in the corners of the room
“Max has a unique and revered relationship with sound. To collaborate with him and Studio Richter Mahr is a real privilege, and I’m excited to help share these inspiring instruments with the world.” - Will Evans, Song Athletics
Max Richter Piano runs in Native Instruments’ Kontakt Player, and requires version 6.8.0 or above, which is supported on PCs running Windows 10 or higher, and Macs running macOS 10.15 and above. The library occupies 98GB of disk space.
Pricing & Availability
Max Richter Piano is available now, and is currently (5 December 2023) being offered for an introductory price of $150£119 including VAT / €135, reduced from its full cost of $185£149 including VAT / €169.