Lounge Lizard EP-3 Review: A Software Instrument that Delivers Authentic and Versatile Electric Piano Sounds
Lounge Lizard EP-3: A Virtual Electric Piano with Physical Modelling Technology
If you are looking for a virtual electric piano that sounds realistic, expressive, and versatile, you might want to check out Lounge Lizard EP-3 by Applied Acoustics Systems. Lounge Lizard EP-3 is a software instrument that uses physical modelling technology to emulate the sound of classic electric pianos such as Rhodes and Wurlitzer. Unlike sample-based instruments, Lounge Lizard EP-3 does not rely on recordings of real pianos, but rather simulates their physical components and interactions in real time. This means that you can tweak every aspect of the sound, from the shape and material of the tine and tone bar, to the type and position of the pickup, to the amount and balance of the damping noise. You can also apply various effects such as chorus, delay, reverb, distortion, and phaser to enhance your sound. Lounge Lizard EP-3 is compatible with Windows and Mac platforms, and supports VST, AU, RTAS, and DXi plug-in formats. In this article, we will take a closer look at how Lounge Lizard EP-3 works, what it can do, and why you should give it a try.
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The Sound Engine of Lounge Lizard EP-3
The sound engine of Lounge Lizard EP-3 is based on four main modules: the Fork model, the Pickup models, the Damper model, and the EQ module. Each module simulates a different aspect of the electric piano sound generation and processing. Let's see how they work.
The Fork model
The Fork model is the core of Lounge Lizard EP-3's sound engine. It simulates the physical properties and behavior of a fork, which consists of a tine (a metal rod) and a tone bar (a metal resonator). When you press a key on an electric piano, a hammer strikes the tine, causing it to vibrate. The vibration is then transferred to the tone bar, which amplifies and sustains it. The Fork model allows you to adjust various parameters that affect the sound of the fork, such as:
The Fork parameter controls the stiffness of the tine and tone bar. A higher value results in a brighter and more metallic sound.
The Release parameter controls how quickly the fork stops vibrating after you release a key. A higher value results in a longer decay.
The Volume parameter controls how loud the fork sounds.
The Pan parameter controls how much the fork sounds are panned left or right in the stereo field.
The Detune parameter controls how much the fork sounds are detuned from each other. A higher value results in a thicker and more chorused sound.
The Noise parameter controls how much noise is added to the fork sounds. A higher value results in a more gritty and dirty sound.
The Pickup models
The Pickup models simulate how the vibration of the fork is converted into an electric signal by a pickup. There are two types of pickups that are commonly used in electric pianos: electromagnetic pickups (used in Rhodes pianos) and electrostatic pickups (used in Wurlitzer pianos). The Pickup models allow you to choose between these two types and adjust their characteristics, such as:
The Type parameter lets you select either an electromagnetic pickup or an electrostatic pickup.
The Distance parameter controls how far away the pickup is from the fork. A higher value results in a weaker and thinner sound.
The Symmetry parameter controls how symmetrically the pickup captures the vibration of the fork. A higher value results in a more balanced sound.
The Phase parameter controls how much phase shift is applied to the pickup signal. A higher value results in a more phasing effect.
The Keyboard Scaling parameter controls how much the pickup signal varies across different keys on the keyboard. A higher value results in a more dynamic sound.
The Damper model
The Damper model simulates how the vibration of the fork is stopped by a damper when you release a key or use a sustain pedal on an electric piano. The damper also produces some noise when it touches or leaves the fork. The Damper model allows you to adjust various parameters that affect the sound of the damper, such as:
The Damper parameter controls how much damping is applied to the fork vibration. A higher value results in a shorter sustain.
The Noise Volume parameter controls how loud the damper noise is.
The Noise Tone parameter controls how bright or dark the damper noise is.
The Noise Decay parameter controls how quickly the damper noise fades away.
The Noise Balance parameter controls whether the damper noise is heard more in the attack or the release phase of the sound. A higher value results in more noise in the release phase.
The EQ module
The EQ module allows you to shape the tone of the electric piano sound with a three-band semi-parametric equalizer. Each band has three parameters:
The Frequency parameter lets you select the center frequency of the band.
The Gain parameter lets you boost or cut the level of the band.
The Q parameter lets you adjust the width of the band. A higher value results in a narrower band.
You can also switch between two modes for the EQ module:
Piano Mode: This mode applies the EQ settings only to the electric piano sound generated by the Fork, Pickup, and Damper modules.
Total Mode: This mode applies the EQ settings to the entire output signal, including any effects applied by Panel A.
The User Interface of Lounge Lizard EP-3
Lounge Lizard EP-3 has a user-friendly interface that consists of two panels: Panel A and Panel B. You can switch between them by clicking on their tabs at the top left corner of the window. Let's see what each panel contains.
Panel A gives you access to three main sections: the preset browser, the effects section, and the performance controls. Here's what they do:
Preset Browser: This section lets you browse, load, save, and manage presets. A preset is a combination of settings for all modules and parameters in Lounge Lizard EP-3. You can use presets to quickly change your sound without having to tweak every knob sensitivity, pitch bend range, and MIDI links. You can also access the settings menu, where you can adjust various options such as audio and MIDI settings, plug-in format, authorization, and updates.
Panel B gives you access to the sound engine modules that we discussed earlier: the Fork model, the Pickup models, the Damper model, and the EQ module. You can tweak each parameter with a knob or a slider, and view the signal flow diagram at the bottom of the panel. You can also switch between Piano Mode and Total Mode for the EQ module by clicking on the buttons at the top right corner of the panel.
The Preset Library of Lounge Lizard EP-3
Lounge Lizard EP-3 comes with a rich and diverse preset library that showcases the sonic possibilities of the instrument. You can access the preset browser from Panel A, where you can browse by bank, category, or name. You can also use the arrows on the toolbar to navigate through the presets. The preset library is organized into three main sections: Guided Tour, Classic Rhodes and Wurlitzer, and Custom Electric Pianos. Let's see what each section contains.
The Guided Tour section
The Guided Tour section is a great way to get a quick overview of the sound range of Lounge Lizard EP-3. It contains 16 presets that cover different types of electric pianos, from warm and mellow to bright and edgy. You can hear examples of Rhodes and Wurlitzer sounds, as well as custom sounds that use different pickup types, effects, and EQ settings. The Guided Tour section is a good starting point for exploring Lounge Lizard EP-3 and finding your favorite sounds.
The Classic Rhodes and Wurlitzer sections
The Classic Rhodes and Wurlitzer sections are dedicated to recreating the authentic sounds of the famous electric pianos that have been used in countless recordings and genres. Each section contains 32 presets that emulate different models, variations, and settings of the original instruments. You can find presets that mimic the sound of different tine shapes, pickup positions, damper types, cabinet types, and so on. You can also find presets that simulate common effects such as tremolo, phaser, chorus, and reverb. The Classic Rhodes and Wurlitzer sections are perfect for getting realistic and vintage electric piano sounds with Lounge Lizard EP-3.
The Custom Electric Pianos section
The Custom Electric Pianos section is where Lounge Lizard EP-3 shows its creative potential and flexibility. This section contains 128 presets that push the sound engine to more extreme tonal values and dynamics. You can find presets that use unconventional pickup types, such as piezo or contact pickups, or combine different pickup types for hybrid sounds. You can also find presets that use more radical effects, such as distortion, flanger, delay, or wah-wah. The Custom Electric Pianos section is ideal for experimenting with new and original electric piano sounds with Lounge Lizard EP-3.
Lounge Lizard EP-3 is a virtual electric piano instrument that uses physical modelling technology to emulate the sound of classic electric pianos such as Rhodes and Wurlitzer. It offers a realistic, expressive, and versatile electric piano sound that you can customize and tweak to your liking. It also offers a user-friendly interface, a rich and diverse preset library, and a low CPU overhead. Lounge Lizard EP-3 is compatible with Windows and Mac platforms, and supports VST, AU, RTAS, and DXi plug-in formats. Whether you are looking for realistic and vintage electric piano sounds, or creative and original electric piano sounds, Lounge Lizard EP-3 can deliver them with ease and elegance.
If you are interested in Lounge Lizard EP-3, you can get it from the official website of Applied Acoustics Systems. You can also download a free trial version that works for 30 days and lets you explore all the features and sounds of the instrument. Lounge Lizard EP-3 is a virtual electric piano instrument that you don't want to miss.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Lounge Lizard EP-3:
Q: How much does Lounge Lizard EP-3 cost?
A: Lounge Lizard EP-3 costs $199 USD. You can also get it as part of the AAS Instrument Bundle, which includes six other instruments for $449 USD.
Q: How do I install and authorize Lounge Lizard EP-3?
A: You can download the installer from the AAS website and run it on your computer. You will need to enter your serial number and your email address to authorize the instrument. You can also use an iLok key if you prefer.
Q: How do I use Lounge Lizard EP-3 in my DAW?
A: You can use Lounge Lizard EP-3 as a plug-in in any DAW that supports VST, AU, RTAS, or DXi formats. You can also use it as a standalone application if you want.
Q: How do I control Lounge Lizard EP-3 with a MIDI controller?
A: You can use any MIDI controller that sends MIDI messages to control Lounge Lizard EP-3. You can also use the MIDI Links feature to assign any parameter to any MIDI controller.
Q: How do I update Lounge Lizard EP-3?
A: You can check for updates from the settings menu in Panel A. You can also download the latest version from the AAS website.