Review: Woodchester Piano by Fracture Sounds


There have been a dizzying number of pianos sampled for Kontakt over the past several years. Some are good, some are great. Every once in a while one comes along that makes you really sit up and take notice. Enter the Woodchester Piano. Put simply, it is absolutely beautiful in tone and sits in a very elite class of instruments, especially at such an economical entry point.

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Review: Woodchester Piano by Fracture Sounds

Simply put, Woodchester Piano has become my favorite piano library. This is the sound I’ve been looking for! Woodchester Piano has the soft tone of a felt piano with just enough brightness to stand out in a mix. This, coupled with the brilliant atmospheric layers of ‘Ache’, ‘Dream’, and ‘Clouds’, makes this instrument one of my favorites in a long time.

Woodchester Piano sells for £59 from Fracture Sounds


Fracture Sounds teamed up with film and TV composer James Everingham to bring us the gorgeous upright felt piano instrument that is Woodchester Piano. I have been an admirer of James Everingham’s work for a long while now. His compositions always seem to contain something special that breathes life into his work. His music has a very ethereal element that I personally connect with very much. So, it’s probably needless to say that I was more than a little curious to see what his pairing with Fracture Sounds would bring us. I expected something good, but I had no idea how much this library would blow me away. From the time I played the first chord I loved it, but once I figured out how to apply the atmospheric layers to the already beautiful felt piano samples I couldn’t stop playing it.

Woodchester Piano features James Everingham’s Wilh. Steinberg German Series upright piano, intimately recorded with the felt pedal engaged. In working with other felt pianos, one of the things I have had a tough time with is a recurrent muddy tone. I love the softness and gentleness of a felt piano, but it is difficult to keep one from sounding muddy in a mix. That is not at all an issue with this instrument. The softness and warmness of a felt piano are there, but it is just bright enough to stand out in a mix.

The interface is both effective and easy to use. The Colour knob allows you to finetune the amount of brightness you want, and the Stereo Width control lets you set the stereo field for the sound. The Reverb is simple, but effective. The controls in the ‘Piano Noise’ section allow you to control the various ambiences and noises coming from the mechanics of the piano itself. These controls help add realism to the instrument, as if you were sitting in your studio, actually playing the instrument. The Key Release gives you the ability to control the loudness of the hammers on the strings (a very cool feature), the Pedal knob lets you dial in the sound of the damper pedal as needed, and the Pianist knob allows you to add subtle rustling and wood creaks to give a sense of realism, as if you were sitting on the wooden bench at the upright piano, engaging the keys yourself.

The atmospheric layers take Woodchester Piano to a whole new ethereal level. These blend together with the raw piano samples beautifully. Here is a breakdown of each layer.

The ‘Ache‘ layer adds a smooth, hazy sustain – a marriage between a reverb and a pad.
The ‘Dream‘ layer offers a more textural, shimmering sound.
The ‘Clouds‘ layer adds a reversed granular delay effect which evolves over time. This is my personal favorite. When dialed in correctly, it adds a sparkle to the end of your notes, especially in the higher register. This is an other-worldly sound I have come to associate with some of James Everingham’s work.

The atmospheric layers can be dialed in as desired and added to the raw piano samples, or you can even use them on their own for pad-like playability. I can imagine using two instances of Woodchester Piano within my DAW for even greater control of the sound; one layer for the raw piano and another with only the atmospheric layers.
Woodchester Piano has become one of my favorite instruments and is currently my favorite piano. This is likely going to be my go-to piano for some time to come. I am thankful that Fracture Sounds worked with James Everingham to bring us this beautiful instrument.


Woodchester Piano is sampled from an 88-key felted upright piano with 3 unique atmosphere layers, true pedal up and down samples with controllable key release, pedal, and noise.

The library downloads as 1.1GB download size (NCW compressed from a 2.2GB sample pool) and does require the full version of Kontakt 5.3 or above.

Woodchester Piano sells for £59 from Fracture Sounds

Demos of Woodchester Piano by Fracture Sounds


Videos of Woodchester Piano by Fracture Sounds

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