Soundpaint is a new source of deep-sampled instruments that claim to offer unheard levels of realism and unparalleled authentic content. It launches with a free Steinway grand piano – let’s check it out.
Produced by sample library makers 8DIO who is probably best known for providing the content for the Sequential Prophet X hybrid synthesizer. Soundpaint has been in development for 8 years with the aim to come up with a way to make sample-based instruments as perfectly authentic as possible.
Soundpaint goes to great lengths to assure us that these are painstakingly sampled instruments, exclusively recorded, expertly programmed and contain no software emulations or sample modelling – this is about how something realistically sounds.
They talk about real-time rendering and specifically around velocity layers. We typically deal with 128 layers of velocity when playing with MIDI and so that’s usually the limit of dynamic resolution. But Soundpaint says that they are MIDI 2.0 ready and support the full 65,536 layers of 16-bit velocity. They achieve this using velocity morphing where new velocity samples are derived from morphing between the layers. Their special algorithm allows Soundpaint to render those sounds in real-time.
And how does it sound? Beautiful, mesmerising, intriguingly, dynamically, soulfully good. This is a lovely piano. The Soundpaint sound engine software is completely free, and to get you going it comes with a free 1928 Steinway Grand Piano.
The piano has 32 preset programs that you can drop into the main window and they load up impressively quickly. Soundpaint has 4 parts, each one can hold an instrument although most of the programs use up more than 1 part. Programs are made by combining parts, adding effects and then applying modifications via the two “Racks”.
Soundpaint likes to morph and one of the main features is the ability of 2 parts to morph between each other. You can select the direction of travel so that one part is being morphed by the settings and functions of the other part.
Effects, on the other hand, are analog models and feature quite a range of interesting vintage and modern modulations, delays, reverbs and distortions. As you wander through the Piano programs you get a sense of how interesting and transformative these are.
Along with the free Piano, there is a range of instruments available upon release. So far they’ve sampled a Jupiter 8, a TR-808 drum machine, some Brass, 1975 Gibson guitar and a Palindrome. There are also some sound effects and cinematic emotions. All of them are reasonably priced and you can get the whole bundle for $300.
Soundpaint is impressive. The sound quality of the piano at least is excellent and the potential available within the 4-part engine, the synth-syle modulations and creative effects is vast and weighty. The interface is clear and relatively easy to navigate even without some kind of manual, or at least I can’t find one. There are plenty of tutorials though.
The only disappointment is that with a name so invoking as Soundpaint the interface is really very dull and uninspiring. It’s a bit weird because their marketing is very colourful and exciting. Anyway, get yourself the Piano, it’s free and you won’t regret it.
More information from Soundpaint
- Soundpaint website