December 5, 2023

Palm-Mute Piano and Sample Magic AB Testing


It’s time once again to take a look at some of the interesting new products that are available to enhance your home recording studio. This time, we’ve got a wide variety of software products, ranging from a new piano sound to a tool to assist you in A/B testing during your mixing phase.

Computer music

PSI Palm Mute Piano

You’ve likely heard of a palm-muted guitar, which is relatively common in guitar playing, and is even employed on some bass tracks. But a palm-muted piano is much more of an anomaly.

Typically when we hear of new virtual pianos for MIDI controllers, the new software is just a sample of a different model of piano, or it has more control abilities including miking, tone and other aspects that let you influence the final sound. However, the Palm Mute Piano is the first instrument from Paper Stone Studios (PSI), andis nearly an entirely new instrument, which is likely why it is getting such abundant notice in music recording circles recently.

The instrument is exactly what it says on the tin, and samples were recorded on a Danemann Grand Piano with each note “dampened” by placing a finger on the string. Three different articulations are available for every note: staccato, sustained and pedal. The latter two present the unique sound of a staccato, muted note that still sustains for up to 10 seconds on sustain, and longer when using a pedal.

The instrument certainly won’t be for everyone, but it uniquely provides a natural and organic sounding instrument that still sounds like little else in recordings today. Check out what a palm-muted piano sounds like in the introduction video below from PSI:

Sample Magic AB

Are you using a reference track to help your mixes? If not, you’ll likely want to check out that linked article to find out just how these tracks can be useful to you. But even if you are, finding a simple and effective way to switch back and forth between your reference track and the track you created can be a little tricky.

Sample Magic has attempted to ease this process with its new AB program. The company says the goal of the product was simplicity, and describes AB like this:

An easy-to-use but powerful utility plugin that allows you to switch between the audio you are working on in your DAW and up to nine reference tracks with the click of a mouse.

The ease and quickness of switching between tracks with one mouse click seems to be the highlight of the program, though it does offer additional features such as “go-to” playlists you can save for future references. Additionally, many home studio engineers will be intrigued by the ability to simply compare multiple mixes.

There are a variety of AB programs available, and which one you choose usually depends on your preferences and workflow.

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