Crudebyte’s have a number of sample-based iOS music apps now available including their flagship iSymphonic Orchestra which was update just a few weeks or so ago to include support for the AUv3 plugin format.
Amongst their various apps, the company already have a dedicated sample-based piano app – CMP Piano – which has proved very popular with some iOS musicians. However, this is an area with some competition from the likes of IK Multimedia’s iGrand and the piano sounds within Korg’s Module. However, they have now launched a new piano app; Colossus Piano.
As the name might suggest, Colossus Piano is big… and by that, I mean big is terms of the sample library (and, therefore, storage space required). The base app is, itself, free and comes in at a most 133MB but, if you actually want any sound, then you have to purchase one or more of the three IAP piano instruments; Concert Grand, Baby Gran or Upright Piano… and, if you want to hear what they sound like, then check out Crudebyte’s demo videos that I’ve embedded below.
So, size or price first? Well, in terms of price, Concert Grand weighs in at UK£39.99/US$49.99, so this is not going to be for the casual purchaser looking for a half-decent piano sound to while away a few ideal minutes. The price is, however, matched by the size; Concert Grand is built on 14GB of samples, recorded in 24-bit, 96kHz stereo and with 24 sample layers for each key. Ekkk…. this is seriously detailed sampling and would certainly not be out of place in a pricey (even more pricey) desktop virtual instrument.
Things scale down a little from there…. the Baby Grand is priced at UK£22.99/US$29.99, provides 6GB of samples and features 12 velocity layers, while the Upright Piano is UK£16.99/US$19.99, has 8 velocity layers and provides a 3.4GB sample library.
I have not yet had a chance to try any of these for myself… but the level of sampling and the price suggests Crudebyte are very clearly pitching these at serious piano players looking for a mobile sound source for studio or live performance. And, if the sounds in the three demo videos are anything to go by, then all three certainly sound very good indeed.
Given the detailed sampling, one would suspect that a fairly decent iPad or iPhone is going to be required (yes, the app is universal). an iPad Air 2/iPhone 6S/iPad mini 4 or newer are recommended although the app will apparently run on an iPad 3 or later. Clearly you are going to need a decent chunk of storage space to dedicate to the samples.
Audiobus, IAA and MIDI (including Bluetooth MIDI) are all supported. You also get a very respectable selection of effects, options for adding realistic release hammer sounds, and Crudebyte’s usual MIDI player/recorder environment. Perhaps the only disappointment is that, unlike the iSymphonic Orchestra update I mentioned above, Colossus Piano doesn’t offer AU support from the off. Here’s hoping that this is in Crudebyte’s plans though as I’m sure many users would really appreciate the option….
Of course, at Colossus Piano is not in the casual purchase category for the occasional use. However, if piano is absolutely your thing, then the detailed sampling offered here might be a very tempting proposition. Check out the video demos; the sound and performance dynamics are very impressive….