Free Patch Collection for Ivory II: "Secret Piano"
For the first time ever, ILIO is proud to introduce a patch collection for Ivory II accentuating the versatility of its engine. "Secret Piano" is a free pack of 21 presets specifically crafted for Ivory II - Upright Pianos and is available now for download from ILIO.com/free-secret-piano.
To design the presets of this pack, ILIO stretched the boundaries of what is a traditional piano. Heavily inspired by certain ambient artists of today such as Jon Hopkins, Ólafur Arnalds, Hammock, and more, Secret Piano includes soft, mellow, dark, and bright piano tones, with liberal use of warping reverb, a few synth layers, and even includes some sounds decidedly un-piano. You can also pair these presets with any of the other Ivory II collections for even more exploration!
Sound Design Process
ILIO is made up of an eclectic group of musicians, composers and sound designers. The Secret Piano collection is a collaborative project by multiple musicians/employees at ILIO in an effort to demonstrate just how versatile Ivory II can be. With the naturally beautiful sound of Ivory II pianos it's tempting to make conservative adjustments to preserve the piano's authenticity. We discovered that making "grand" adjustments in Ivory II's GUI actually accentuated the character of the pianos. There are plenty of adjustments within Ivory II that made a massive impact on these sounds. Let's check out a few that stand out:
Timbre is a fancy word for the character or quality of a musical sound or voice. Simply, the Timbre Shift feature in Ivory II allows you to "borrow" the timbre of adjacent keys without changing the key's root pitch. Check out the settings of the "Soft Piano" patch made by Product Support Specialist and video game composer Austin Haynes:
Most notably, this patch uses Timbre Shift to essentially "shift" the keyboard down an octave (notice it's set at -12 semitones) while keeping the same pitch of the struck key. This results in a soft, dark tone that feels as if it has weight to it. Alternatively, you will find a patch from ILIO's Roger Mawer titled "Banjichord", where Timbre Shift is used in the opposite way to turn a conventional piano sound into that which resembles a banjo or harpsichord!
Curved Space Reverb
The curved space reverb in Ivory II is a remarkably special type of reverb that creates movement. Take sound designer Mike "MIDIhead" Babbitt's patch "Hopkins Bright Ambiance" where this ethereal reverb is liberally applied to the Modern Upright from Ivory II's Upright Pianos collection. This reverb coupled with a band boost in the 1.5k and high shelf boost at 2.8k allows the higher frequencies to echo and dance within the space provided by the reverb.
The Shimmer Effect
Shimmer is a powerful feature in Ivory 2.5 that provides unique control over the decay/sustain part of the piano note. Positive values extend the decay of the higher harmonics of the piano notes played. More extreme positive values can also yield some interesting exaggerated effects. Negative values will shorten the decay of the higher harmonics while extreme negative values produce a muted effect. In the patch "Forgotten Dream", ILIO's co-founder and passionate pianist Mark Hiskey utilizes the "extremeness" of the Shimmer effect. This combined with a synth layer transposed an octave higher and the curved space reverb generates a glistening tail at the end of each keystroke that feels like you have an ultra-high soprano choir doubling every note!
Of course, the above parameters and effects are only a few of the features to utilize when sound designing in the Ivory II engine. Download the completely free "Secret Piano" patch collection for Ivory II and try these patches out for yourself! Experimentation with other Ivory II pianos is highly encouraged.
We hope that you enjoy these free patches and you have as much fun playing them as we had making them for you.
Yours in Music,
Your ILIO Sales and Support Team