Autodafe has announced today the release of Pianowa, a free piano instrument for Native Instrument Kontakt.
This name was picked by joining “piano” with “Iowa”. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain what is a piano, but regarding the second term used, I think I owe you an explanation. It comes from the University of Iowa, more specifically, from a collection of samples recorded by their music school. These public domain piano samples were used and abused by many plugin and patch developers. Pianowa uses Steinway and Sons Model B recordings/samples with three velocity levels.
Now that we’ve cleared the sound source, let’s talk a little about the interface. From my point of view, it looks pretty good and is quite readable and simplistic. Pianowa offers controls for sample attack and release and a knob for cutoff, in case you want to achieve a softer sound. Next, you can arrange your custom pedal setup and map the pedals as you wish (default keys are 67, 66, 64).
You can also simulate the open/closed lid (cutoff mimicking piano lid) and add a touch of room and size from the included reverb processor with dry/wet and size controls.
Pianowa requires the full version of Native Instruments Kontakt, version 5.6 and above. The free Kontakt Player version isn’t supported (or at most will play 15 minutes in demo mode with every opening).
If you want a simple piano that’s not too picky, I recommend this plugin. With some processing, you can achieve a great sound. Enjoy!
Note: Pianowa is 100% free, but requires “add to cart”, then at checkout you will be asked for an email address.