XLN Audio Addictive Keys (Mac)

XLN Audio Addictive Keys (Mac)
  • Publisher: XLN Audio
  • Product: Addictive Keys
  • Version: 1.1.8
  • Format: AU, VST
  • Operating System: macOS 10.9 or later

XLN Audio Addictive Keys VST plugin has been around for a couple of years at this point and has increased numerous dedicated fans. Presently the Swedish organization has set out determined to develop their Addictive marking. Addictive Keys (otherwise known as AK) diverts its consideration from sticks and skins to ivories and strings — and in fact sleds and tines — with an item that expects to give keyboard players broad innovative command over its sounds.

AK has no worked in library of style-based expressions, licks, circles or other computerized melodic help — it’s everything down to you and your fingers. Like Addictive Drums, AK’s example library isn’t thrown in stone; AK itself is simply the host player for whatever instruments XLN produce for it. For this underlying discharge, three instruments are accessible: Studio Grand and Modern Upright acoustic pianos, and a Mark One Fender Rhodes electric piano, which are available independently or as a pack with a value break. A free demo of the Studio Grand can be downloaded from XLN’s site. Note that the AK player itself is unreservedly downloadable, the instruments you need to pay for. The demo is limited to a 49-note range and three mic points of view, in any case it’s completely utilitarian and gives a full taste of the sound-creation capacities of the AK player. So is Addictive Keys simply one more piano example library, adding to the terabytes of existing inspected pianos grieving on the world’s hard drives, or does it have something one of a kind to offer?

The Instruments

It’s not uncommon for inspected pianos to offer diverse mic points of view, ordinarily right up front, mid and far positions. Addictive Keys, be that as it may, addresses the subject in fastidious detail, utilizing a determination of very good quality boutique and vintage mics to give up to seven mic viewpoints for each instrument. Since utilizing all the mics at the same time would be unnecessary needless excess, exhausting your PC harshly and causing the Dowager Lady Grantham to bring an eyebrow up in shriveling scorn, AK takes into account up to three points of view to be stacked at once. (See ‘Receiver Perspectives’ container for additional subtleties.)

The Studio Grand is a Steinway Model D, recorded in a huge studio from six mic viewpoints. Four sound system sets spread close, mid and surrounding positions, with two mono mics to catch side and body tones. The impression is of a genuine instrument in a genuine space, with a lot of mechanical enumerating and reverberation. The characteristic recorded tuning is sufficiently blemished to confer life and development, and, while it’s maybe not Deutsche Grammophon flawlessness, the general impact is satisfying. There’s a lot of body and support, so you don’t feel constrained to add pressure to reinforce it, despite the fact that that alternative is available to you! An astonishingly wide scope of tones is conceivable basically via cautious blending and coordinating of the mics, even before including some other preparing. For a profoundly nitty gritty, in-yer-face tone fit to shake and pop, the nearby X/Y pair blended in with a pinch of the nearby wide pair conveys the products; adding some top-end EQ to the X/Y pair truly causes it slice through. By method for differentiate, a cautious mix of mono body, wide mid and wide mood makes for a mellower, old style sound, especially while boosting thoughtful reverberation over its characteristic level.

The Modern Upright is a Yamaha U3, recorded in an assembly hall room in seven mic viewpoints, covering the front, the sides, beneath, behind and mood. This piano came as something of a disclosure, having been frustrated by other examined uprights experiencing an absence of body and continue, alongside the fantasy that conflicting tuning is an essential for uprights. Not so right now: the Studio Grand, it’s emphatically overflowing with detail, and with a lot of support. Low-end tuning and clearness can frequently be an issue with upstanding pianos, however here everything stays concentrated, directly down to the low A. The upper registers are an express pleasure, with the perfect measure of effect and a delectable, ringing quality. I could tinkle away groggily up there for a considerable length of time…

I claimed what I viewed as the ‘great’ Fender Rhodes Stage 73 for a long time, and have consistently been flabbergasted at how drastically unique any two instances of these pianos could sound. The Fender Rhodes MkI examined for AK was recorded in an enormous studio from seven mic points of view, albeit, carefully, it’s two direct information sources and five mouthpieces. It has an overwhelmingly dull and plummy tone, a sound I partner with the late ’70s, and as being particularly famous with American keyboard players. Not wishing to discourage matters (no joke planned), it’s likewise the total absolute opposite of my own ‘optimal’ Rhodes! Individual taste regardless, there are some consistency issues here. Speed exchanging between layers is frequently horrendously self-evident, however the tone over the keyboard — especially in the medium speed go — differs drastically. The exceedingly significant mid-extend from C#3 (C3 being center C) to C4 and the F#2 to A#2 bunch are unmistakably quieted, with next to no timbral variety, loaning a too much springy feel, while certain notes (C3, B2, F2, E2, D#2, D2, B1) stick out like sore thumbs, even at respectably low speeds. These issues could be ascribed to the way this piano was set up; the supple notes recommend that the tines are excessively far from the pickups; the tines may likewise should be vertically re-adjusted to coordinate the symphonious substance of the more grounded notes. The ‘sore thumb’ notes sound like the tines are somewhat excessively near their pickups, so even delicately played notes sound like a pooch with laryngitis. There additionally give off an impression of being no discharge tests for this instrument, which is a disgrace — it’s that milk-bottle pitched ‘zhupp’ of dampers carrying tines to rest that describes the Rhodes sound so a lot — and it’s missing here. I can’t resist the urge to contrast this MkI and the Native Instruments Scarbee variant (likewise a MkI), which ticks all the cases for mechanical detail, tone, consistency and dynamic range.

User Interface

The fashioners of AK’s GUI plainly didn’t need anybody to get lost: two of its screens are given to exploring around the instruments and their presets. The first of these is the Gallery, from where instruments are chosen. The Gallery has two elective perspectives; each showcases one instrument in turn, different shows all introduced instruments together. Choosing an instrument loads it quickly — and I truly imply that: it takes not exactly one moment to get playable! In either Gallery see, each instrument has three thumbnail symbols that take you to one of three Explore pages. The Explore pages are fundamentally a method for introducing a choice of all set presets in three unique classifications: Producer, As Recorded and Selections. The Producer class contains a bunch of presets outlining a scope of various medicines. Names, for example, ‘Envision Grand’, ‘Parlor’ and ‘Honky Lady’ show their expressive expectations. Four full scale controls offer further tonal varieties: Tone, Soft/Hard, Timbre and FX macros are accommodated the two acoustic pianos, while the Mark One Rhodes has Tone, Drive, Reverb and Tremolo. The presets in the As Recorded class, as its title proposes, are the common, unadulterated accounts with no preparing or impacts — the presets depend entirely on various mic equalizations and setups. The Selections classification gives a bigger determination of presets, flaunting a portion of the more extraordinary and incidentally trial impacts and medicines conceivable with AK.


As fascinating for what it’s worth to investigate the presets, nothing beats getting your hands grimy with a screwdriver, a few pincers and a heavy wrench. The Edit page is your virtual tool kit, and is separated into three segments. The upper segment administers everything to do with test playback, starting at the upper left with an instrument determination box. The parameters on offer rely upon the right now stacked instrument. Both acoustic pianos share a similar parameter set, beginning with a handle for changing how much the Una Corda pedal mellow the tone. Continue pedal clamor is completely flexible from none to +10dB above recorded level. The Sustain box has two controls: Body changes the measure of thoughtful reverberation when the continue pedal is squeezed, Noise modifies the measure of string reverberation under similar conditions. The impact of the Body reverberation is extremely stamped, however I was unable to hear any distinction while modifying the Noise level, to the point that I question whether it was really working! Next up is the speed scaling fader, an exceptionally valuable device for confining the most noteworthy and least playable speed layers, while as yet holding the full speed to volume go.

The Pitch, Filter and Volume tabs bring us into blend an area. On the Pitch tab are octave-move catches, vibrato rate and profundity handles, and a discretionary pitch envelope. The envelope can be utilized to extraordinary impact on the Mark One, setting a high beginning pitch with a close moment drop to ordinary (around 7ms) includes a forceful assault similar to the Rhodes Dyno-My-Piano alteration mainstream in the late ’70s. For the individuals who do like their pianos inadequately tuned, the Dissonance control includes irregular tuning disarray, going from inconspicuous to ‘hitting the bottle hard meeting’ levels. The most fascinating parameter is Sample Shift. This moves the example mapping by up to 12 semitones up or down, while at the same time transposing the other way. The outcome is a timbral move, adjusting the character of the instrument to such an extent, that it’s practically similar to having 25 distinct pianos in one. Incredible stuff in reality.

The Filter tab offers instruments well-known to any synthesist: 24dB and 12dB per octave low-pass and high-pass channels, cutoff and reverberation, keyboard following and a switchable ADDSR (two rot stages) channel envelope. All AK’s envelope slants profit by movable bends, so you can truly tailor them into shape.

The Volume tab gives a switchable ADDSR envelope. Its discharge organize is just dynamic if the discharge tests (if present) are deactivated. Speed to volume reaction can be packed with the goal that all speed layers play at the greatest volume, or extended to give the largest speed to volume run, while keyboard level scaling adjusts the general degrees of the upper and lower keyboard go.

The lower region of the Edit page is the blending area, where the mic signals, impacts returns and Master yield channel are adjusted, panned, solo’ed and quieted. Inquisitively, it’s impractical to control the channel levels or Master yield level with the standard MIDI CC messages. Nonetheless, every one of the six channel levels can be mechanized, however by utilizing computerization control in your DAW. The panning controls additionally take into account the sound system width to be limited, and even transformed in the event that you need. Each mic channel has impact sends to FX1 and FX2. There is one tangle, however: the impact sends are pre-fader just, so when a mic’s level is changed, the impact level doesn’t change with it. There are, obviously, utilizes for this conduct, yet not constantly! A pre-/post-fader choice would not go out of order here. Additionally, when you solo a mic, it doesn’t quiet the impact sends from the other two channels — you despite everything hear the all out impacts return of each of the three channels — and that is simply untidy! Notwithstanding choosing mics from each mic channel’s tab, there is a realistic portrayal of the piano and its mic situations — simply click on a mic to choose it for the present channel.

The center zone of the Edit page is tied in with handling on a for each channel premise; each mic channel has its own processor chain, with a comparative chain for the Master channel to apply worldwide impacts to the composite sound. Signal stream runs from left to right, beginning with one more spot where you can choose a channel’s receiver! Following on are four switchable modules. First up is the Noise module, offering seven sorts of clamor in case you’re of a psyche to return so as to less perfect sound days. Its level is flexible between – 78dB and – 30dB, with rot (all the more accurately, the discharge time) going from zero to 20 seconds. Next is the pre-EQ multi-impacts module, offering a decision of either Tremolo, Compression and Distortion, Chorus or Phaser. The following module is a three-band parametric EQ, with each band offering up to 24dB lift or cut with variable Q, and is indistinguishable from the EQ type found in Addictive Drums. A post-EQ impacts module adjusts the channel strip, with indistinguishable specs to the pre-EQ module. At last, the Master divert strip contrasts in having the Noise module set after the post-EQ impacts, with a switchable low-pass/high-pass ace channel as the last component of the sign chain.


The pessimistic may rush to transfer Addictive Keys to Room 101 as simply one more tested piano. In any case, investing some energy investigating its highlights uncovers exactly how pliable it is. I can’t think about another inspected piano player that can modify the essential character of the instrument so a lot and still stable common, or that offers anything like a tantamount arrangement of miking choices. By and by, I’ve truly appreciated playing both acoustic pianos, and would joyfully think about them as a first port of call for recording. I’m not exactly so excited about the Mark One, at the same time, as it’s been said, limited’s meat… I anticipate perceiving how AK creates, and what items XLN concoct straightaway: Addictive guitars, basses, washboard, spoons… who knows?

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