Review: North 7 Vintage Keys by Spitfire Audio

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With wonderful sounding samples recorded the “Spitfire Way”, North 7 Vintage Keys is a small collection of classic keyboards in a hybrid engine. It’s strength of endless variations in timbre by way of the eDNA engine is also it’s biggest weakness, as the engine is limited to blending only 2 mic positions at time.

 

NOTE: This post was published as part of the Time Travel Tools feature: Vintage & Retro Instruments & Plugins.

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Jump to the Videos of North 7 Vintage

Jump to the Videos of North 7 Vintage

Review: North 7 Vintage Keys by Spitfire Audio

North 7 Vintage Keys is Spitfire Audio’s latest release in their Producer Portfolio series of sample libraries. The Portfolio Series, which contains all of the EVO Grid libraries is defined by Spitfire as “Versatile instruments recorded by award winning composers, producers, and engineers. Designed to suit a broad range of styles.”

North 7 Vintage Keys is a Kontakt player instrument compatible with both the full and free version of Native InstrumentsKontakt and loads up into the Kontakt libraries tab.

Kontakt-Instruement

 

North 7 Vintage Keys sells for £199  from Spitfire Audio

Thoughts

The collection of virtual instruments incorporates samples from four rare but pristinely maintained classic keyboards: a Clavinet, an Electric Bass Piano, an Electric Piano and a Wurli (Wurlitzer). Spitfire has attempted, with great success, to faithfully capture the spirit of these keyboards with deep sampling and multiple mic positions, notably done “the Spitfire way” with vintage, hi-end signal paths. The fidelity is everything you would expect from a Spitfire library.

 

The samples for the instrument are housed in Spitfire‘s eDNA hybrid engine. There are 4 main Kontakt presets for each of the 4 instruments. But, since the sample set is housed in the eDNA engine, Spitfire has curated some 100+ additional presets that take the sound in a wide new direction making this a great instrument for those needing to create understated underscore.  The presets really give you a sense of the creative potential of this library and take playback much farther out sonically than just “classic keyboards”.

ElectricPiano

North 7 Vintage Keys Electric Piano

In the official walk-through, Christian Hensen said he thinks the bass instruments are worth the price of admission and I have to say for some composers that will be the case. If you are doing anything in a dub or ambient-like score, you are going to be able to get a lot of use out of these bass presets. The Bassology presets range from compellingly clear to stuttered to overdriven, low-end tones.

Another preset of note is the “Clavinet – Hard Anger” which I instantly was excited to see how I might use in a piece of music. It has bite and aggression, yet lots of fidelity in spite of its overdrive. I also enjoyed the “Low-Fi Mega Atmos”  which really captures that grit from the source recording and transforms it to a pulsing, breathing instrument.

One of North 7 Vintage Keys Bassology Presets

One of North 7 Vintage Keys Bassology Presets

 

All the nki’s give you options to load up both short and long samples of many instruments including DI signals for all instruments and 3 additional mic positions for each.  The Clavinet mic positions are: DI, Clavinet Amp Dyn, Clavinet Amp Cond & Clavinet Amp Ribbon. The  Electric Piano mic positions are: DI, Marshall JCM900, WEM Westminster & Acoustic Tines. The Electric Bass Piano has DI, Ampeg B-15, Mesa Boogie and Acoustic Tines mic position samples and the Wurli (Wurlitzer) comes with the DI,  Ampeg B-15, Mesa Boogie & Wurli Speaker.

North 7 Vintage Keys Motor & FX Panel

North 7 Vintage Keys Motor & FX Panel

 

After spending some time with North 7 Vintage Keys what I see is that it’s greatest strength is it also it’s biggest weakness. By housing this sample set in the eDNA engine, Spitfire  allows users to sculpt these sounds in all the ways you expect from a hybrid engine which equals endless possibilities. This will be great for generating ambiences, rhythms and timbre. The weakness comes in when you consider you can only load up 2 mic positions at a time in each of the Kontakt presets. This makes it impossible to blend all 4 mic positions from each of the instruments together. This is the biggest CON in my opinion.

I would have loved a non-eDNA version of the instrument with access to at least 4 mic samples (all mic positions) to blend my way. It seems odd that it isn’t an option unless you want to work around loading multiple Kontakt instruments.

This collection may appeal to real to keyboardists/ hardcore vintage enthusiast and professionals needing understated tones for underscore.  At a price tag of £199 I fear it might scare others away.

 

Facts

North 7 Vintage Keys  contains 21,806 samples and downloads as 16.4 GB, It does require the full version of Kontakt.

North 7 Vintage Keys sells for £199 from Spitfire Audio

 

Demos of North 7 Vintage Keys

Videos of North 7 Vintage Keys