Welcome back to another sound design topic that fits in the genre House Music. The Korg M1 Piano was a classic piano used by many house artists to create those nice stabbing chords or play melodies with them. The character from these pianos is somewhat similar to an electronic piano but with a touch of brightness to them. While in Reason itself we do not have an existing out of the box M1 Korg piano, there are however some resources out there (which I have gathered and throwing inside this article).
Korg M1 Samples
The easiest method would be grabbing samples from the Korg M1. FailedMuso has thrown these sounds on his blog post after discussing this on the KVR forums (back in 2009). While the samples are used for EXS24 (which is a sampler for Logic) I have taken my time to import these inside the NN-XT sampler player. The NN-XT sampler player can import the samples from existing EXS24 libraries out there (when they made up of loose samples). The only thing that remains while doing such a conversion is to map all the different keys with the notes they belong too.
While the original Korg M1 Piano only listens in to the velocity (louder / softer) I have set up an additional M1 piano that does something more creative while using filters and round-robin tables. Round-robin is a method where you randomly pick a sound that has a similar touch but a different expression while hitting the same key over and over again.
The following zip file will contain most of the WAV files (courtesy of KVR forums and the people who have been working on this set of samples). I have been putting together an NN-XT sampler patch which works with Reason 2.5 and above.
While I am not sure if the M1 Piano is modelled after FM synthesis (since parts of it sound like it is, while at the same time it does not sound like FM at all). There is a method to use Radical Piano to give it somewhat similar behaviour. Yet it will sound a bit different and unique at the same time while doing so. So from this angle, we are not trying to re-create it but throw Radical Piano it the direction of being a Korg M1 Piano.
The main character of the M1 Piano is that it has a 'bright' touch to the sound itself. To mimic this behaviour I am using the Character knob to push it to a pitched up piano. This is handled by using the character knob set to around '5'.
To enhance the bright character of the piano I have been playing around with the EQ settings. The main goal here is to round of the midrange frequencies while enhancing the upper frequencies at the same time. I might just add that using Radical Keys (the other piano from Propellerhead) would be a good layer in the background. But since most Reason 10 users will have the radical piano, and might not have the radical keys it makes more sense to focus on the radical piano instead.
While the original M1 Korg Piano has a relatively aggressive punch to the sound itself (it slams in hard and dies out pretty fast) I have been applying an oversensitive compression setup so the radical piano does a similar thing.
The following download link will be a Radical Piano repatch file. So you will need to have the Radical Piano either as a Rack Extension, or you have to have at least Propellerhead Reason 10 to make it work.
Reason 9 Players and the Note Echo
Where the fun kind of begins is to play a set of house chords using these type of pianos. While normally you could play these notes manually (it is an option to do so) or you could stick in a player like scales and chords just to throw in some chord progression really fast.
Personally, in the realm of playing house chords, I prefer to use the note echo in a context like these. Because they sound more like a like a traditional house chord (where the scales and chords sometimes can mis-hit the chords while using it).
To make a custom chord using the Note echo we can do the following:
The most important settings to pull this trick off is to use the following settings:
- step length = 0
- repeats above 12 (I am using 12 because that will be a full octave)
- pitch set to +1
This set up results into the note echo to play all the notes from the keyboard simultaneous.
The trick to this setup is the circles (which determines which step is played) can now be used to set which notes are being played simultaneously. So in case you want to play the 7th note (the perfect 5th) you would enable the 7th step while disabling the rest.
In this case, you can create new chords by enabling notes on / off depending on which type of chord needs to trigger. I hope this makes some sense. But just to put some more logic into this, I will share a single Note Echo patch that just does that...
The following patch will only work with Reason 9 and above and requires Note Echo (Player).
Written by hydlide