Review: Mercury Lite by Wavesfactory

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Mercury Lite, sampled from Freddie Mercury’s personal Fazioli Grand, is a great choice for those needing a lightweight but still detailed and versatile grand piano. The naturally balanced and raw sampled piano combined with a few simple controls for timbre modification gives the customer a lot for their money.

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Review: Mercury Lite by Wavesfactory

Mercury Lite’s user interface is the same as the full product’s, only without the mic mixer. There are some fancy animations to transition from panel to panel, but these can be disabled with a camera shaped button on the bottom right.

The main panel serves primarily as navigation to the other two panels. The “Mixer” button remains in the lite version, however it’s grayed out. It’s almost like a little reminder that you should check out the full version! There is also a “HQ” toggle switch. According to the Kontakt info text, this switch enables “Seamless” velocity morphing and can be very heavy on CPU. I personally struggled to tell the difference, but this mode could be very useful to those of us with an ear for detailed pianos.

Mercury features four built-in effects. A plate reverb, a compressor, an EQ, and a chorus. They are all very simplistic, but they are immediately noticeable once enabled, and their default calibrations sound great. The plate reverb serves the piano quite well, though I’d wager that most users will disable it and use their own reverb plugins in context. These effects don’t do anything you wouldn’t think they can do. They’re your standard and basic effects, but they definitely have their uses, which I’ll mention when talking about the sound.

The settings panel is very fun to play around with and simple to understand. Even though the lite version is limited to 2x round robins, you can actually get up to 6x by enabling “neighbour borrowing” on the far left. If you find the velocity layers aren’t jiving with your playing style or your keyboard’s sensitivity, the velocity curve is also adjustable. One of the best parts of this library is the “Noises” area. Aside from just adjusting the openness of the piano’s lid, you can also tweak the volume of the key, pedal, and resonance noises. Dynamic range, timbre, sample start, and a “low enhancer” can all be adjusted as well. These are the things you often find in more expensive piano libraries, and it’s very nice that they’re included in this lite version.

Even though there is only one mixed mic position in Mercury Lite, it sounds great. It’s dry and close enough to be flexible via external effects, but it still sounds full and thick like you’d expect from a grand. Low velocities offer a very warm and rich sound, while the high velocities serve up enough punch to compete with some upright pianos.

Right out of the box, Mercury Lite sounds like your typical raw and organic “classical” piano. However the most fun I had with it was from turning on the reverb, compression, chorus, and cranking the “low enhancement” knob. This produces a very contemporary “cinematic” sound. You could play lush and warm chords all day with this setting.

It’s safe to say that with external processing and internal settings you can get almost any piano sound you want out of this library. For anyone in need of a workhorse piano on a budget or even a lightweight piano for a mobile rig, Mercury Lite is a great place to start.

Mercury Lite sells for €39.95 from Wavesfactory

Facts

Mercury Lite is the budget version of Wavesfactory’s Mercury Piano, which gets its name from the instrument it is sampled from – Freddy Mercury’s personal Fazioli Grand Piano. This version of the piano includes 1 mixed mic position, 2x round robin, and 8 velocity layers. There are 4,784 samples which add up to 3.59gb of disk space.

Mercury Lite requires the full retail version of Kontakt 5.5.2.

Mercury Lite sells for €39.95 from Wavesfactory

Demos of Mercury Lite by Wavesfactory

 

Videos of Mercury Lite by Wavesfactory