Synthogy has announced that it will begin shipping Ivory II – Grand Pianos through its distributor ILIO and retail stores on September 13, 2010.
Ivory II – Grand Pianos will be the first of Synthogy's new products to feature the all-new Ivory II piano DSP engine. It is the first major upgrade to all of its Ivory pianos since they were first launched. Significant improvements have been made to both the piano DSP engine and to the integrated sample libraries that come with the products. Following the release of Ivory II – Grand Pianos, the Ivory II upgrade to Synthogy's Italian Grand will be available near the end of September, while the Ivory II upgrade to Upright Pianos is expected later this year.
The Ivory II piano DSP engine includes many new features Synthogy customers have been requesting, including Harmonic Resonance Modeling for Sympathetic String Resonance, Half Pedaling, Pedal Noise, Lid Position, Timbre Shifting, Parametric EQ, Tuning Tables, and New Synth Layers with controls.
Synthogy says that its Harmonic Resonance Modeling technology represents a true breakthrough for realistic Sympathetic String Resonance in a virtual piano. Harmonic Resonance Modeling is not based on sampling, but rather on a DSP technology that excites the harmonics of the held, un-damped notes, just as in a real piano. Only notes struck that are harmonically related will cause the notes held to ring "in sympathy", and because the actual harmonics of the notes held are being excited, the sound and imaging are completely natural. Additionally, the amount of harmonic ringing also varies naturally with the dynamics of the user's playing; strike a note harder and overtones on the held notes ring louder. Striking a different note that is harmonically related will excite different overtones in the same held note.
Another major enhancement to Ivory II is the greatly expanded Sound Library. Starting from the foundation of Synthogy's sample recordings, each of Ivory's pianos has been expanded to include up to 18 velocity levels. These new velocity levels are further enhanced through the use of Advanced Timbre Interpolation technology, for ultra smooth velocity response and playability.
In addition to the held samples, Ivory II provides an enhanced set of Release Samples for each key. These Release Samples were originally recorded to respond to both velocity and note duration, and Ivory's engine triggers them in the same way. The result is the most natural and realistic key release whether the note is staccato, or held for any length of time during the tone's decay.
Ivory II's Soft Pedal Samples have also been enhanced for more natural "una corda" playing. Additionally, each Ivory piano now has a set of damper Pedal Noise Samples, to further provide the subtlest details to the user's performance.
Additional new characteristic Piano features also include Half Pedaling and Lid Position. Half Pedaling supports the use of a continuous control damper pedal, rather than just a switch style pedal, to emulate the continuous behavior of an acoustic piano's damper pedal. If the user's MIDI controller supports a continuous damper pedal, he or she can now explore the expressive capability of this style of pedaling by activating this feature on the Session Page.
Lid Position is a new feature to the Program page that emulates various positions that a grand piano's lid may be set to, from fully open, half stick, to fully closed, and other positions as well. For Ivory II – Upright Pianos, a different set of lid positions is included to address the various lid or front cover options available on vertical pianos.
The Ivory II engine also includes powerful sound shaping features such as Timbre Shifting, and Parametric EQ. Timbre Shifting opens up a whole new sonic palette by allowing the user to 'borrow' the timbre of a different note, without actually changing its pitch. The Parametric EQ has been added to the EQ section of Ivory II's Effects page. With an adjustable center frequency, Q and gain, the Para EQ provides greater control and flexibility to tweak the piano sound to the user's taste, or to the user's mix.
New Session features have also been added, such as Tuning Tables, and Silent Key Velocity. Tuning Tables gives the user the ability to create and save alternative tunings for the pianos. Silent Key Velocity allows the user to set a threshold under which a sound will not be triggered by the keyboard controller. This is to emulate the action of a real piano, which will not trigger a hammer strike at the softest velocity. Silent Key Velocity can also be used to explore Synthogy's Sympathetic String Vibration technology, by holding down silent keys and exciting their harmonics with other key strikes, a technique that began to appear in modern music of the 20th century.
For popular music production, Ivory II offers new enhancements to the Synth Layer feature. Several new Synth pad sounds have been added to layer with the pianos, or to play by themselves. In addition, the Synth Layer section of the Program page now offers new ways to shape the sound of those synth pads with the Synth Decay and Synth Release controls.
All of these features and more in Ivory II are now supported with a New Graphical User Interface. While maintaining the look, feel and familiarity of Synthogy's original Ivory interface, the new Ivory II interface accommodates all of the new features and makes a few key organization changes to greatly enhance ergonomics. The Session Page replaces the old Velocity Page in the interface. The Session Page now includes all Session parameters, including all of the velocity map parameters that were always a part of the Session presets. You'll also notice a Preferences Page has been added to include user customizable settings, and a Navigation Bar has been added to the top of the interface to quickly and easily move between pages.
Dozens of new presets are offered that take full advantage of these powerful new enhancements. In addition, all of the Ivory 1.x presets are included. For older user presets, Ivory II is fully backwards compatible. All of these improvements have been designed and implemented to make Ivory II more flexible, expressive and realistic than ever before.
Pricing & Availability
The new Ivory II product line will consist of:
- Ivory II–Grand Pianos $349
- Ivory II–Italian Grand $179
- Ivory II–Upright Pianos $299
Anyone who has purchased a Synthogy product on or after November 1, 2009, will be eligible to receive a free upgrade to the Ivory II version of that product (customer pays shipping and handling).
Anyone who has purchased the Ivory - Grand Pianos 1.7 Upgrade for $149 at any time, will be eligible to receive a free Ivory Grand Pianos II (customer pays shipping and handling).
Anyone who has purchased any Ivory 1.0, 1.5, or 1.7 product prior to November 1, 2009, can upgrade to the Ivory II version of that product for the following price (tax, shipping and handling charges apply):
- Ivory II–Grand Pianos Upgrade $89
- Ivory II–Italian Grand Upgrade $45
- Ivory II–Upright Pianos Upgrade $79
All upgrades include a new set of DVDs with the newly expanded sample libraries, the Ivory II engine software, and an Ivory II manual.