Looking for musical inspiration? You might just find it in Cubase 12’s Verve felt piano.
For many Cubase Artist and Pro users, a highlight amongst the new toys in Cubase 12 was Verve, a sample‑based virtual instrument library for HALion Sonic SE (and, of course, the separately available full versions of HALion Sonic or HALion). Verve is built from a deeply sampled (nearly 9GB of samples) soft‑sounding felt piano, alongside a range of textural sounds, and it allows the user to blend these two elements. The sound set provides some inspiring options for ballad or melancholic song styles, but it can work equally well in music‑to‑picture contexts. Interestingly, Steinberg have also made use of HALion Sonic’s integrated chord pad feature, and each of Verve’s 70 presets is populated with a set of chords. So if you’re looking for some instant musical inspiration, Verve’s sounds and the HS chord sets could be a great resource.
You can quickly go from singer‑songwriter ballad territory into something more suitable for some gentle film‑score suspense.
The piano sounds great on its own, with a beautifully soft tonality. You also get options of both close and distant mics, adjusting the overall tone, compression, elements of mechanical noise (for added realism) and adding reverb and delay. This is joined by a collection of nearly 70 texture types, spanning various sustained string, synth, metal and electronic sound types, the idea being to make it easy to blend a pad‑like element in alongside the piano. And that choice can instantly transform the musical mood! For example (as demonstrated in the accompanying audio examples on the SOS website: https://sosm.ag/cubase-0323), take the same simple chord‑based performance and swap out an analogue string texture for one of the mysterious‑sounding electronic textures (eg. Transmission), and you can quickly go from singer‑songwriter ballad territory into something more suitable for some gentle film‑score suspense.
It’s worth exploiting the Focus Quick Controls (see the SOS November 2022 column for a discussion on these as part of the new MIDI Remote feature set) for hands‑on control of Verve’s main sound‑shaping options. This includes the Balance control, to adjust the blend between the piano and texture elements (on FQC 1). Usefully, Verve’s FQCs are also preconfigured with the Texture’s Variation (in general, higher values seem to result in greater complexity in the sound), Contour (a filter effect), Attack and Release assigned to FQC 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively....
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