Normally, I cover new products in this column. However, these aren’t normal times, and so I’m going to deviate from precedent here and name Q Up Arts California Keys, a virtual instrument for Native Instruments Kontakt—initially released in 2018— as this week’s recipient.
Why? Because Q Up Arts has pledged to donate 50 percent of the sales proceeds through October 31 to Global Giving’s California Wildfire Relief Fund. “Witnessing how fire is consuming California, a state already heroically battling Covid-19 and the economic slowdown, is heartbreaking,” says Q Up Arts President Douglas Morton.
Notably, the company has temporarily lowered the price on California Keys from $499 to $150. When you buy California Keys between now and the end of the month, you’ll get an email from Q Up Arts confirming that they donated $75 of the proceeds to the Global Giving fund.
Native Instruments also deserves a shout out for donating all its Kontakt serial numbers and licenses for copies of California Keys sold during this period.
California Keys is quite an impressive collection. It contains seven different keyboard instruments, optimized for Kontakt 5 and the Kontakt Free Player. The piece de resistance is a sampled Fazioli Grand piano that Q Up Arts captured in 24-bit, 192kHz quality with 10 mics. You can open it in stereo as well as 5.1- and 7.1-channel surround.
The Fazioli offers users eight discrete channels with individual volume and pan controls. According to Q Up Arts:
“You’ll find the dashboard-accessed microphone control allows you to customize the piano for virtually any musical application and sound type. We placed mics over the hammers, under the piano, two matched pairs of Earthworks room mics at both ends of the room, as well as a classical ORTF, two-side mic configuration to the right of the player.”
Additional instruments in the collection include Vintage E-Piano electric piano, Vintage W-Piano electric piano, Vox Continental organ, Farfisa organ, Clavinet D6 and Hammond A100 tonewheel organ.
Not only will your purchase help with wildfire relief, but you’ll be getting what’s ordinarily a $500 virtual instrument collection for only $150. Now that’s what I’d call a “win-win.”