In previous Garritan blog posts, Fred Flowerday talked about the Contemporary and Classic perspectives of the Abbey Road CFX Concert Grand. Today I’d like to share my experience with the Player Perspective, which really shouldn’t be overlooked: It’s my favorite when I want to practice or simply escape to my own Abbey Road Studio 1 sanctuary.
One of the elements that contributes greatly to the immersive nature of this perspective is the Neumann KU100 dummy head, the binaural stereo microphone seen above. Not only does it look like an automaton from Metropolis, it has microphone capsules built into its ears to create (for users of high-quality headphones) the illusion of actually being present at an acoustic event. In recording the player perspective the KU100 was placed directly behind the pianist’s head.
I currently have to use headphones most of the time when I compose and practice. The Player Perspective takes this experience to the next level – placing me within historic Studio 1.
To hear what I mean, go to the Preset drop-down menu (in the upper left hand corner of the CFX interface) and choose 01 – Full > Player > Edward’s Reflection (as seen below). This preset’s name pays homage to Sir Edward Elgar who first recorded in the room back in 1931.
Play some short loud notes to quickly get a sense of what it sounds like to be in this historic space.
In addition to the room sound of the KU100, the Player Perspective also uses a stereo pair of Neumann KM84 Microphones placed very close to the CFX and directly over the hammers. This provides an immediate sound of the piano with little coloration from the room.
To get a sense of this pair:
- Un-mute the KM84s – to do this find the three faders in the upper right corner of the interface. The left hand fader is for the “close” mics (in this case the KM84s). Click the MUTE button above this fader.
- Pull down the KU100 fader down all the way to get a sense of how the KM84s sound by themselves. For me the magic happens when combining both the close and ambient mics, so I recommend some experimentation.
One additional aspect I like to fine-tune is the EQ. To do so, click on the Studio button. I might start by decreasing the low end of the 3 band EQ section, especially for the close mics. To my ears this cleans up any muddiness, especially if I’m playing any fast passages.
To get an even more focused and dry sound from the close mics you can decrease the Release Crossfade and Release Decay parameters in the Piano Page. In the words of the User Manual: “Turn the Release Decay knob and the Release Crossfade knob down until you get the definition from each individual note that you need.”
I hope this brief introduction helps you enjoy the Player Perspective as much as I do. If you have questions, or would like to share your experiences with the CFX, please do so by clicking on “Comments” below.