AVANT Modern Keys By Heavyocity
In this innovative & expanding series, the classic sound of the MK II Electric Piano is now the third and latest instrument to find itself processed through the Heavyocity Ascend Kontakt engine, and now takes it’s place in the Heavyocity portfolio alongside Ascend Modern Grand & Aspire Modern Mallets.
Naturally being Heavyocity, it is of course wise to expect the unexpected, so rather than this merely being a more purist MK II sample library, there is a veritable bounty of sonic interventions that manage to transform those vintage tones into a wealth of new atmospheric presets, whilst somehow still retaining the flavour of the original source machine.
AVANT Modern Keys requires either Kontakt 6.7.1 or the free Kontakt Player, and is compatible with Komplete Kontrol.
The library is supplied in the NCW lossless compression format, and requires 4.73GB of disk space for installation.
There is one master Kontakt NKI file, with a further 109 NKSN snapshot presets which we see within the Komplete Kontrol browser.
Download & Installation
Download is courtesy of the Heavyocity Portal where your supplied license key allows you to download your library.
The same license is then used within Native Access to authorise your product. Browsing to, and then setting the desired final location, followed up by a quick re scan of Komplete Kontrol will finish the process.
Komplete Kontrol Plugin Edit NKS Parameter Mapping
Page One – FX On/Off + FX 1
Knob 1 to 4 – FX 1 to 4 On/Off
Knob 5 – FX 1 Threshold
Knob 6 – FX 1 Ratio
Knob 7 – FX 1 Attack
Knob 8 – FX 1 Make Up
Page Two – FX 2 & FX 3
Knob 1 – FX 2 Low
Knob 2 – FX 2 Mid
Knob 3 – FX 2 Mid Frequency
Knob 4 – FX 2 High
Knob 5 – FX 3 Time
Knob 6 – FX 3 Feedback
Knob 7 – Damp
Knob 8 – Level
Page Three – FX 4 & Convolution
Knob 1 – FX 4 Pre-Delay
Knob 2 – FX 4 Size
Knob 3 – FX 4 Colour
Knob 4 – FX 4 Mix
Knob 5 – Convolve On/Off
Knob 6 – Master
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated
Page Four – Shape
Knob 1 – Shape On/Off
Knob 2 – Low Pass Cut-Off
Knob 3 – High Pass Cut-Off
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Gate Rate
Knob 6 – Gate Amount
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated
Page Five – Ambience
Knob 1 – Ambience On/off
Knob 2 – Delay Time
Knob 3 – Delay Amount
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – pre-Delay
Knob 6 – Size
Knob 7 – Mod
Knob 8 – Mix
Page Six – Arp & Echoes
Knob 1 – Arp On/Off
Knob 2 – Rate
Knob 3 – Octave
Knob 4 – Swing
Knob 5 – Echoes On/Off
Knob 6 – Transpose
Knob 7 – Rate
Knob 8 – Amount
Page Seven – Channel 1 & Channel 2
Knob 1 – CH1 Volume
Knob 2 – CH1 Pan
Knob 3 – CH1 Convolve
Knob 4 – CH1 Tone
Knob 5 – CH2 Volume
Knob 6 – CH2 Pan
Knob 7 – CH2 Convolve
Knob 8 – CH2 Tone
Page Eight – Channel 3 & Random
Knob 1 – CH3 Volume
Knob 2 – CH3 Pan
Knob 3 – CH3 Convolve
Knob 4 – CH3 Tone
Knob 5 – Random On/Off
Knob 6 – Scatter
Knob 7 – Drift
Knob 8 – Unallocated
Page Nine – Pedal Noise/Mechanics
Knob 1 – Up On/Off
Knob 2 – Up Volume
Knob 3 – Down On/Off
Knob 4 – Down Volume
Knob 5 – Key Noise On/Off
Knob 6 – Key Volume
Knob 7 – Mechanics On/Off
Knob 8 – Mechanics Volume
Page Ten – Release/Velocity
Knob 1 – Release On/Off
Knob 2 – Volume
Knob 3 – Unallocated
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Velocity Minimum
Knob 6 – Velocity Maximum
Knob 7 – Velocity Curve
Any existing owners of the Ascend Modern Piano or Aspire Modern Mallets libraries will already be familiar with the NKS mapping of the Ascend Kontakt Engine.
There are two additional pages included within Avant Modern Keys which are pertinent to this instrument in particular, these being the pedal and mechanical noise controls, and also the Release and Velocity parameters.
My as yet unforfilled wish list still remains outstanding for some simple ADSR controls, and the highly desirable ability for per Channel sample selection direct from the NKS control knobs.
The latter being something we are increasingly seeing implemented by a growing number of sample library developers, and would certainly offer a marked improvement in sound design possibilities for us blind users.
Having said this, the Heavyocity Ascend Kontakt Engine does remain in my view the most accessible through NKS control, when directly compared to others in their product line up.
featuring dedicated controls for the arp, echoes & gate parameters with meter time selection being included among other useful functions.
The Avant Modern Key presets are categorised into a series of Bank types which are as follows:
All Stars, Core Keys, Extended, Rhythmic & Rhythmic Melodic.
<pre class="wp-block-syntaxhighlighter-code"><br />Heavyocity customers will in general already know that for the most part they are investing in a hybrid instrument experience, leaning toward the cinematic genre, and this ethos is still largely inherent for Avant Modern Keys. </pre>
The team however have wisely not missed the opportunity to still sample the original sound nuances of this vintage keyboard icon, and to this end have thrown in a selection of presets that should help to appease all of those retro keyboard enthusiasts out there.
Basic MK II, Basic MK II Stereo, Basic Soft MK II, Basic Soft MK II Stereo, Beautiful Soft MK II, Compressed MK II, Overdrive MK II, Small Club MK II & Tremolo MK II Stereo are probably the most vanilla of these electric piano presets to be discovered lurking in the dustier corners of this library.
The included ability to control pedal & mechanical noise via NKS will allow you to dial up some additional authenticity, and Heavyocity’s typically judicious sampling techniques are as ever employed to ensure that that lower note grunge, and higher octave tine tinkles heard on the original machine are faithfully preserved across all of the 73 notes.
The remaining content is given over to what Heavyocity do at their best, which is transforming the usual into the unusual via the means of their imaginative and now well regarded sound design process.
When the original inventor who conceptualised this iconic electric piano first embarked upon his design process back in the late 1940’s, he would never have envisaged the diverse sound journey it would eventually take with the Heavyocity team at the wheel steering you through their ever evolving soundscapes.
There are warm and evolving pads, beautifully sparkling mallet and music box type sounds, dancing arps, breathy textures, rippling sequences & rhythmic patterns all of which collectively unite to transverse the musical borders between light and dark through their extensive sound palette.
As always I would strongly recommend checking out the product YouTube links found at the review footer to hear the sounds and ethos behind the library.
The Avant Modern Keys library once again continues to reflect the top quality of careful sampling and preset curation that we have come to expect from a Heavyocity product.
With their legendary additional signature sound design & processing being applied to the recipe, the results are ultimately presented to you as a production ready set of MK II inspired presets that are ideal for adding ambient and emotive melody lines across a wide spectrum of composition styles.
Ergo, it’s important to state that Avant Modern Keys are not merely confined to being used within the hybrid cinematic genre, as they are equally capable of providing some welcome alternative electric key colours to modern songwriting styles.
Had he still been alive today, I think that Mr R might well have been suitably impressed enough to have this on his hard drive!
Avant Modern Keys can be purchased directly from the Heavyocity website. For a limited time, Heavyocity is offering AVANT for $99 (reg. $119).
In addition, owners of ASCEND: Modern Grand or ASPIRE: Modern Mallets will receive an additional 20% off. Offers end October 28, 2022.
Avant Modern Keys Product Page:
Avant Modern Keys – Preset Playthrough:
Avant Modern Keys – Content Overview:
Avant Modern Keys – Demo Walkthrough:
Avant Modern Keys User Manual:
c) Chris Ankin
18th October 2022
The author can not accept any responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of this review,or Any inaccuracies found therein. All opinions and product functions stated are based solely on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product and/or gathered from official factual sources such as the developer, web or supplied product manual.
About the Author
Based in Buckinghamshire, England, Chris Ankin has worked as a freelance review writer and contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.
He has also successfully worked extensively in and around music, recording, film Soundtrack scoring, Game & media composition, the creative arts, Charitable trusts,publishing, music streaming and property investments since 1982 whilst continuously and deliberately managing to evade any mainstream recognition under his own name and various other pseudonyms.