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The English Spinet II library out of the Edition Beurmann features an instrument built by Benjamin Slade in London around 1705. Slade's spinets were essential to the history of the instrument. He also had apprentices such as Thomas Hitchcock (see English Spinet library).
The sampled instrument shows the qualities for which Slade is known, offering a very sweet-sounding yet majestic and brilliant tone. Only one spinet and one harpsichord of his instruments has survived.
The spinet still remains in excellent condition in the collection of Andreas Beurmann and is fully playable despite its age. It is now available for the first time in the sampler within the English Spinet II library, presented in its original Valotti tuning at 410 Hz. Presets at 440 Hz are available as well.
Another peculiar feature of the Slade spinet lies in its broken octave in the lower region: The C#1 and D#1 keys consist of two parts, which expand the key range about two tones.
Like all spinets and harpsichords, the Slade is not touch-sensitive in the sense of a piano. However, even if the differences are minuscule, not any given note will sound exactly the same due to different resonances of body and strings.
Until now, many keyboards and samplers represented harpsichords by always triggering off the exact same digital sample, leaving a cold and sterile-sounding impression. In order to improve upon previous recreations and to pay tribute to the liveliness and depth of this antique instrument, Realsamples has captured 8 variations of each note.
The release sounds of the keys are also of major importance. What was originally side noise is now often overlooked and even simply left out in artifical simulations, resulting in a very abstract overall picture. Therefore, Realsamples recorded 4 release samples of each note.
To start right away, presets are available for all common sample formats including Halion, Kontakt2 and higher, EXS24 and GigaStudio3. The sample library consists of more than 600 single samples.
For the critical task of recording this spinet, realsamples employed custom-made Wagner U47w tube microphones in conjunction with Crane Song Flamingo preamps and Universal Audio 2192 digital converters to do the instrument justice. For maximum sound quality, they recorded in 192 khz/24 bits resolution, downsampled to 44.1 khz/24 bits.
In addition to the samples, the library contains essays from Professor Andreas E. Beurmann himself, explaining both the historical and musical background of the instrument.