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Software Review: THE GIANT From Native Instruments

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THE GIANT is one of the latest instruments from Native Instruments. It is a sampled piano based on the world’s largest piano – the Klavins Piano Model 370. To get the kind of sound that the 370 produces you have two choices. First you can get Klavins to build you one these. It is an integrated version of the original 370 which means that it is mounted into a wall of the respective building you put it. The size of the piano can range from 9 ft. to 17 ft. tall, weighs around two metric tons, and will cost you in excess of €260,000 ($300,000+).

Now, if you don’t have that kind of money (not to mention the place to ‘install’ it), then the second way to get this kind of sound is through Native Instrument’s THE GIANT. THE GIANT features a huge sound, tight bass, a dynamic tonal range and tonal character that unite the character of an upright piano with body of a huge grand piano.

THE GIANT

THE GIANT is powered by either the free KONTAKT player that comes with the package, or by using the full stand-alone KONTAKT 5 product which also comes with the Native Instruments KOMPLETE 8 packages. THE GIANT is really two instruments in one. One is the standard GIANT piano and the second is the GIANT Cinematic Effects.

THE GIANT will let you create intense, dynamic sounds ranging from urban, pop, and piano ballads all the way to film score sound tracks. Straight out of the box you can begin to make larger than life sounds limited by your own imagination. THE GIANT was sampled by the sonic artisan Uli Baronowsky of Galaxy Instruments and with the same eye to detail that comes with al NI sample instruments.

As I said, THE GIANT is really two instruments. It comes as two NKIs and each one has their own sample set, graphical user interface, and detail controls. The first page (the ‘Day’ interface) is the sampling of the Klavis model 370i. Below the KONTAKT header you have two common interface controls on the right side. One that loads presets and the other is the Space panel that houses THE GIANT’s Convolution Reverb, which uses impulse responses of real acoustic spaces to simulate the acoustics of those rooms. These IR’s are a bit like the room’s acoustic fingerprint, or like recording a sample of a space. Convolution reverb is unbeatable in quality and realism when it comes to simulating real acoustic spaces like concert halls, churches or studio rooms.

THE GIANT

On the left side you have the Tone control panel on the top and the Anatomy panel on the bottom. The Tone controls gives you two main options. The first is the Color control. This changes the tone color or the timbre from soft to hard by readjusting the sample mapping. It’s a dynamic way of mapping, while balancing the volume differences between softer and harder samples. Turn to the right makes it crisper turn to the left makes it warmer. The XXL button makes the sound bigger with more sustain, more space and more liveliness using Native Instruments’ TRANSIENT MASTER effect. The XXL amount is controllable on the Tone Edit Page.

There is a little triangle on the Tone Control panel (as well as other panels that have edit options) that opens up the Tone Edit Page. Here you will find an equalizer that controls the bass, body, and air (low, middle, and high) as well as the XXL amount. You also have controls for low keys – changing the volume of keys below middle C, and a compressor control where you can manage the compression amount.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.