Wavesfactory has released a huge and lovingly created sample library instrument for Kontakt. It’s called Mercury and is based upon Freddie Mercury’s favourite Fazioli F228 grand piano. The piano was hanging out at Metropolis Studios in London where it is regularly used in recordings. Most recently it featured on Adele’s track Hello. It was spotted in a photo by Queen fan and Wavesfactory founder Jesús Ginard:
“I’ve been a Queen fan since I was a little boy. I remember listening to the Made In Heaven album on cassette and being absolutely amazed by it. That album totally changed my musical perspective. Fast-forward to 2014, I saw that Metropolis Studios had uploaded a photo of a nice Fazioli piano in one of their studios, stating that it’s ‘…the Freddie Mercury piano.’ I know Queen recorded their last albums there, so I asked, ‘Is this a regular piano named after Freddie Mercury or was it actually his piano?’ ‘This was his piano,’ they answered.”
Jesús was compelled to travel to London to sample this legendary piano.
80GB worth of sample content was recorded and reduced down to 60GB after editing. The samples were then squeezed down to 34GB in Native Instrument’s compression format. The Kontakt scripting alone took 9 months to complete. They’ve gone into enormous detail and down to the minutest of parameters. The intention, as these things are with labours of love, was to make it the perfect piano library.
The GUI is a gorgeously rendered image of the piano complete with Freddie’s cape and crown. Not a whole lot goes on here, it just gives you a couple of buttons to access the actual parameters. There is an HQ button which turns on velocity morphing. The idea being that it’s a higher quality mode that allows for seamless transition between velocity layers. The piano was sampled with 8 dynamics from soft to hard, but with HQ on this increases to 127 so that each step will sound different. They really have gone to town on this piano.
When you click on the mixer button the background render sort of moves like a 360-degree virtual reality image. The lady on the walkthrough video tells us how to disable those animations because she says “they can get annoying very quickly”. Evidently, some labours of love are more annoying than others. In the mixer you can set levels for the 5 microphones positions. They have what they call individual “perspectives” so that the settings will be different for the player, or for the listener and so on.
In the effects section you have the Metropolis Plates reverb based on two EMT 140 plate reverbs sampled at three time positions. Then there’s compression, EQ and chorus.
The settings page offers control over the round-robin for each key, velocity curve, lid and mechanical noises. All the settings and options are available directly within the Native Instruments NKS keyboard series.
This is a fabulously sounding piano. In all the sound examples and videos there’s definitely a quality about it. The lengths and details gone to in order to capture this piano are amazing. Jesús Ginard wanted to do something special with Mercury and I think he achieved it.
Mercury, from Wavesfactory, is available for €99 for a limited time before going back up to €149. More information, sound examples and videos about the making of this sample library on the website.