Version: Kontakt 4.2.4 / NCW / V1
Four tine-based electro-mechanical pianos
Download Method: Kontakt Hub
The original piano was manufactured in the 1965. Unique to the Sparkletop series was the use of traditional felt hammer heads rather than the neoprene tips found on later models. In addition, it used Raymac tines for a very full tone. These elements, combined with its unique electronics, provided a tone unlike any other tine-based piano.
The Purgatory Creek Soundware Sparkletop was sampled at 18 velocity levels recorded for the full duration, so you will hear neither loops nor artificial envelope decays. Nearly every note of the piano was sampled, and eight velocity layers of note-off release samples are included.
Mark I (1975)
This instrument was manufactured in 1975, a year considered by many to be the golden era for pianos from this manufacturer. It featured the coveted Torrington tines, neoprene hammer tips and partial wood hammers. The tone is rich, full and expressive.
It was sampled at 19 velocity levels recorded for the full duration, so you will hear neither loops nor artificial envelope decays. Nearly every note of the piano was sampled, and eight velocity layers of note-off release samples are included.
Mark II (1980)
The Mark II piano was noted for its modular action and Schaller tines, which gave it a somewhat different tone than the earlier models. The bass is rich with the treble section more bell-like.
Deeply sampled at 16 velocity levels for the full duration of the note, it provides an accurate sound with no artificial decay envelopes or sample loops. Nearly every note of the piano was sampled, and eight velocity layers of note-off release samples are included.
Mark V (1984)
The Mark V piano, introduced in 1984, was the last revision of the famous tine-based piano produced by this electric piano manufacturer. It included many enhancements that resulted in a truly excellent instrument.
The Purgatory Creek Soundware Mark V was sampled at 20 velocity levels for full duration, providing an accurate sound with no artificial decay envelopes or sample loops. Additionally, 20 velocity layers of release samples are included.
The layout of the Kontakt instruments is similar. You will find a three-band equalizer, volume for the release samples and a velocity curve dialog box which allows the user to adjust the instrument to respond to touch. In addition, each has controls for the stereo vibrato, phaser and reverb effects. Finally, a number of amp simulations are provided.
In all, you have four deeply sampled tine-based electro-mechanical pianos in a single collection at a very reasonable price.
This is such an incredible value. I've had the Sparkletop library (bought it directly from Purgatory Creek) for almost two years and I have used it extensively. I also have the Native Instruments Scarbee (which is excellent, btw), so I thought I was pretty "covered" on Rhodes. But this is so affordable that I decided to give it a whirl, and I'm glad that I did.
Each of these four libraries definitely has its own distinct character - none make the others superfluous. Now what I tend to do early in a song is just grab whichever one suits my fancy at the time, knowing that later, after my song is more developed, I will most likely sit and swap them out and see which one sounds best for that particular song. I LOVE having the ability to do that. Last night I was really pleased with how the Mark V was sounding until I swapped in the Mark II and it was hands down just better for that song. I also sometimes use more than one, especially using one for the lower end, and one for the mids / highs (and having that separation can also help quite a bit for EQ, and bussing / routing). In fact I often use ONLY the low end on these for basslines.
The onboard effects (tremolo, EQ, reverb, cabinet emulation) are decent enough, and sometimes I do use them, but more often than not I turn most of them off and use 3rd party effects. They're serviceable, but not fantastic.
Last thing to note - don't pay too much attention to the Purgatory Creek demos. They are all pretty much "funky" / Stevie Wonderish, which is fine, I like some of that kind of music, but don't take that as being indicative of what these great libraries can sound like. I definitely use them more along the lines of how you might hear a Rhodes in a song by Radiohead, Spoon, Elliott Smith, The Doors etc. They're quite versatile, especially once you start getting creative with your plugins (EQ, reverb, distortion, tremolo, delay, filters etc).
Versatile collection, but number of layers/physical modelling not really up to date
Great variety and value for money
This selection has provided me with another great selection of Rhodes sounds. Very playable too.
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