Curio: Cinematic Toy Piano Review

impact soundworks curioI’ve come to be wary of new libraries with either the name “cinematic” or “epic” in the title. Not that I dislike the words per-se but some developers are simply squashing every little ounce out of the name. Why? I guess it sells.

So I approached Curio Cinematic Toy Piano with some skepticism. Come on, a “cinematic” toy piano? Download and installation was a breeze, no problems there whatsoever. I glanced in the manual while Logic booted up and found this little line on the first page:

“When someone mentions a Toy Piano, the last things you would think are 50Hz Booms, sub drops, eerie textures, bows and big percussive hits. But have you ever actually pondered the cinematic qualities a toy piano might have?”

The line asks a legitimate question. I have never thought of the qualities it “might” have. Ok then, Logic has started, time to create a fresh project and load up Kontakt.

There are quite a few patches in this library. Twenty three if you want an exact count. I started with the more basic patch “Curio Chromatic Plucked”. It has a nice sound to it, like a toy piano has. Delicate is a good way to describe it. But “cinematic” it is not. I guess you could score “cinema music” with it but the sound in itself is not very cinematic. It’s a toy piano.

Now, before you start thinking that I’m negative and that I have gotten the word “cinematic” stuck in my head, I must say that this library is much more than just a toy piano. It’s so much more! Loading up another patch called Curio Chromatic Lucid Dreaming. Yes! Inspiring is just the foreword. I really enjoy going through patches that instantly triggers my imagination and my lust for creating something with that specific patch. I have a habit of saving inspirational patches in a special Kontakt folder where I easily can find them again. Quite a few from Curio will end up in that folder. Many more than I expected.

Curio toy piano

It’s scary how they have made such a small thing sound so huge! There is a patch called “Curio Deep Hits”. It’s deep alright. Wow! And the patch “Curio Tapping Ambience” is scary! And the lowest C in the patch “Curio FX Textures” you could just hold it like forever and have the perfect start for a desolated, kind of lonely/scary scene. As I said before, the patches are very inspiring and almost all give me some kind of imagery in my head. In my world that is a big plus. Now it’s just for me to save those patches in my special folder with the correct description so they are ready when I see that kind of images with my eyes as well.

If you have heard the other libraries available from Impact Soundworks you know that their sound design skills are very good. Listening to the sounds in this library makes me like them even more and hold them in even higher regard. Here I know what they have sampled and to create such diverse sounds from a little toy piano is nothing short of amazing. And the sounds never sounds “created”, “mangled” or “re-sampled”, just sampled. Hard to describe but all sounds are in a way their perfect representation of themselves. Makes sense? I hope so, it’s hard to describe. I really like the palette of sounds though, and there are many sounds to choose from.

Some of the patches are keyswitched, meaning that they have more than one sound in them and that you can switch between them with a keyswitch. If I could wish for anything it would be that some of the patches were grouped into one bigger patch, keyswitched. Perhaps that’s just the way I like to work. The library is unlocked so you can edit or create new patches yourself if you like.

Speaking of editing, there are a few things you can play with in the interface. Effects like EQ, reverb, filter, delay, chorus, phaser and a lo-fi effect is available to play with. I guess it’s nice to have them in the patches ready to tweak but I never use the onboard effects, I add my own in the DAW if need be. But again, to each his own.

Take a listen to the demo songs on their site, they represent the library in a very good way. If I had listened to the demos before I made my judgement about the name I never would have made that judgement.

Get “Curio – Cinematic Toy Piano” from Impact Soundworks at http://impactsoundworks.com/products/tuned-percussion/curio-cinematic-toy-piano/ (introductory price of $59)

I’ve come to be wary of new libraries with either the name “cinematic” or “epic” in the title. Not that I dislike the words per-se but some developers are simply squashing every little ounce out of the name. Why? I guess it sells. So I approached Curio Cinematic Toy Piano with some skepticism. Come on, a “cinematic” toy piano? Download and installation was a breeze, no problems there whatsoever. I glanced in the manual while Logic booted up and found this little line on the first page: “When someone mentions a Toy Piano, the last things you would think are 50Hz Booms, sub drops, eerie textures, bows and big percussive hits. But have you ever actually pondered the cinematic qualities a toy piano might have?” The line asks a legitimate question. I have never thought of the qualities it “might” have. Ok then, Logic has started, time to create a fresh project and load up Kontakt. There are quite a few patches in this library. Twenty three if you want an exact count. I started with the more basic patch “Curio Chromatic Plucked”. It has a nice sound to it, like a toy piano has. Delicate is a good way to describe it. But “cinematic” it is not. I guess you could score “cinema music” with it but the sound in itself is not very cinematic. It’s a toy piano. Now, before you start thinking that I’m negative and that I have gotten the word “cinematic” stuck in my head, I must say that this library is much more than just a toy piano. It’s so much more! Loading up another patch called Curio Chromatic Lucid Dreaming. Yes! Inspiring is just the foreword. I really enjoy going through patches that instantly triggers my imagination and my lust for creating something with that specific patch. I have a habit of saving inspirational patches in a special Kontakt folder where I easily can find them again. Quite a few from Curio will end up in that folder. Many more than I expected. It’s scary how they have made such a small thing sound so huge! There is a patch called “Curio Deep Hits”. It’s deep alright. Wow! And the patch “Curio Tapping Ambience” is scary! And the lowest C in the patch “Curio FX Textures” you could just hold it like forever and have the perfect start for a desolated, kind of lonely/scary scene. As I said before, the patches are very inspiring and almost all give me some kind of imagery in my head. In my world that is a big plus. Now it’s just for me to save those patches in my special folder with the correct description so they are ready when I see that kind of images with my eyes as well. If you have heard the other libraries available from Impact Soundworks you know that their sound design skills are very good. Listening to the sounds in this library makes me like them even more and hold…

Impact Soundworks Curio

INSTALLATION

PATCHES

INTERFACE

SOUND

VALUE



8 / 10

Don’t let the words “Toy Piano” fool you, this isn’t a toy, it’s a tool. It is a very well made tool for the cinematic composer.

80

Written by: Thomas Mavian

Thomas Mavian is a Swedish composer, producer and record label owner with a soft spot for virtual synthesizers (which he has too many of already). He is currently involved in leading the design and development of a new music sharing service.

  • Dave

    Thanks Thomas for the great review. Yes, the samples do sound pretty inspiring! I would have just bought it, but I’m not a Kontakt user… hope this will come out as a vst-plugin!

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