Spitfire Audio has released Originals Mrs Mills Piano in partnership with Abbey Road Studios, capturing a unique piece of music history. They tell us that, expertly recorded in Studio Two, the legendary home of pop and rock'n'roll, the inimitable sound of this piano was made famous by The Beatles, featuring most prominently in Penny Lane and With A Little Help From My Friends. A spokesperson told us, "A 1905 Steinway vertegrand full of character, charm and nostalgia, it offers a bright, metallic tone owing to its lacquered hammers, with a slight chorus sound. Meticulously sampled and presented in Spitfire Audio's award-winning, easy-to-use and affordable plug-in this truly iconic instrument and recording space is now accessible to musicians of all levels, all over the world."
Sir Paul McCartney had this to say about it, "Really exciting for me to hear Spitfire's sampling of what we used to call Mrs Mills piano from Abbey Road. It's great to have it on my computer."
Here's the full story direct from Spitfire Audio...
Built in 1905, this Steinway vertegrand has been at Abbey Road Studios since 1931. Its distinctive sound owes to 1950s engineer Stuart Eltham, who sent it back to Steinway to achieve an older sound: the 2hammers were hardened with lacquer to emulate the bright, slightly metallic tone of a tack piano, while certain strings were detuned to create a subtle chorus effect, for that distinctively old-time bar-room sound that cuts right through any mix. Still in use today, the piano has featured on countless records and film scores, but has been affectionately known for decades by Abbey Road engineers as the 'Mrs Mills Piano', in homage to British pianist Gladys Mills, the majority of whose popular music hall, singalong-style records were recorded on this piano throughout the 1960s and '70s.
ABBEY ROAD, STUDIO TWO
Abbey Road Studios is the home of countless landmark recordings. Indisputably the most famous recording venue in the world and a global music icon itself, it has been at the heart of British music for almost 90 years. Today, it is a multi-faceted business brand, making a musical mark on everything and everyone it touches.
The studio is famed for innovation in equipment, technology and recording techniques, following EMI's research and development division's custom-built mixing consoles, outboard gear and microphones built to meet the needs of studio engineers and artists -- equipment which was only available to EMI studios, and never sold commercially. Combined with the expertise of engineers and the unique acoustic properties of the studios, this facilitated what has come to be known as the "Abbey Road Sound".
In contrast to the film scoring legacy of Studio One, Studio Two is known for producing some of the most popular pop and rock recordings of all time. It is synonymous with the legendary work of The Beatles, who with EMI / Parlophone producer Sir George Martin recorded 190 of their 210 songs at the studio. A versatile room which has changed very little since the '60s, it has a warm acoustic which was originally built for smaller string sections and big bands. It was soon taken over by Parlophone and used to record comedy, early rock'n'roll and later, various landmark records by The Beatles and countless other iconic artists including Shirley Bassey and Pink Floyd, through to Kate Bush, Oasis and Radiohead, while more recent sessions include Kano, Celeste, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith.
SPITFIRE AUDIO ORIGINALS SERIES
This library follows the pioneering British music technology company's recent releases made in collaboration with Abbey Road Studios. The Abbey Road One range features full orchestral sample libraries exquisitely recorded in Studio One, the home of blockbuster film scores.
Originals is a series of inspiring sample libraries that makes rare and classic instruments accessible to all for just £29 $29 29€ -- meticulously sampled in authentic detail, with no compromise on recording quality. NKS compatible and lightweight at under 5GB, users can tailor the piano to suit a range of styles and genres -- from pop, to jazz and cinematic scores -- through a range of carefully curated signals, presets and controls.
Alongside the Close and Room signals, a Vintage signal, recorded using the original 1960s equipment -- including the rare AKG D19 microphone recording using the valve J37 tape machine via the REDD.47 mic pre-amp -- authentically captures the iconic Abbey Road sound and the character of the songs that made the piano famous. The five presets range from close and clean to spacious and reverberant, while the six effects offer even more control -- Expression, Dynamics, Reverb -- taken from Abbey Road's 1950s EMT reverb plates and Tightness, as well as hammers volume control and sustain pedal volume control for extra detail and realism.
Close – a pair of Neumann U67 microphones for a crisp, defined sound
Room – A pair of omni condenser microphones, giving a spacious image of the piano and the room
Vintage – The classic '60s Abbey Road recording chain. Now extremely rare, the AKG D19 was placed above the strings in the middle of the piano and recorded using the all valve J37 tape machine via the REDD.47 mic pre-amp
Close: A dry and upfront mix of the close microphones with the mechanical sounds of the hammers and pedal
Clean: The Close and Mid signals balanced for a controlled yet spacious sound. Minimal mechanical noise from pedal or hammers
All Together: A blend of all three signals providing a versatile and characterful sound.
1968: The vintage signal, the famous sound of The Beatles classics
Distant: The Mid and Vintage signals with the reverb turned up
Reverb – One of Abbey Road's 1950s EMT Plates with the decay set to 2.5 seconds
Tightness – This cuts further into the note to make it tighter
Hammers – Controls the volume of the piano's hammers
Pedal – Controls the volume of the sustain pedal noise
Pricing and Availability:
£29 / 29€ / $29
A very early preview of the upcoming filter and Envelope modules
Analog multi effect unit with real tape delay and oodles of dirty character
Limited edition black synth plus a new audio interface and four FX pedals
OP-Z Expansion, FC Pro Audio Mixthesizer
Three new compact creation tools
NAMM 2003, Ed Sheeran, Wingie 2
Urs Heckmann, Howard Scarr, Viktor Wiemer - talk