UVI Attack EP88 Review – Electric Piano With A Twist


A couple of months ago UVI released Attack EP88, in their words “the world’s first tacked and possibly most comprehensive electric piano library”. How could I not try it after reading such claim?

Wait, what’s a Tack Piano?
If you’re not familiar with the term, here’s Wikipedia to the rescue: “the tack piano (sometimes referred to as jangle piano, junk piano, honky-tonk piano or harpsipiano) is a permanently altered version of an ordinary piano, in which tacks or nails are placed on the felt-padded hammers of the instrument at the point where the hammers hit the strings, giving the instrument a tinny, more percussive sound.”

Creating the Attack EP88
Attack EP88 is based on a fully restored Rhodes Mark I 88-key electric piano outfitted with brass tacks on the hammers, giving the instrument an enhanced bell-like tonality. The UVI team has gone the extra mile, recording over 47,000 samples from 5 deeply multi-sampled and fully mixable signal sources including Tube, DI, Mono, L/R and Contact mic – not to mention 8 velocities and up to 5 round-robins per-source along with 5 round-robins for both the sustain and release samples and 7 round-robins for the pedal-up and pedal-down sounds!

In a word, massive! This comes at a cost, though: if your system is not SSD-based, expect longer-than-usual loading times.

How does it sound?
If you love the bell-like tones of the Rhodes, you’ll feel at home with the UVI Attack EP88. The modifications made to the instrument enhance those qualities (without radically changing its character) and the interface makes it highly versatile.

Attack EP88’s electric and acoustic signal sources are routed internally via 2 busses each with discrete envelopes, mixing facilities and effects, including Sparkverb, Dual Delay and the recently introduced 8-voice Thorus. Speaking of effects, you can also add five extra stompboxes (Crunch, Phaser, etc.) to the signal.

Classic tip: if you are using the plugin in the studio and you happen to have a guitar amp and some real pedals, record the Attack EP88 (with cleaner settings) through them as you would do with the real thing (check out this helpful tutorial from the Puremix blog)!

The 70 presets do a great job in showing off the multiple ‘souls’of the Attack EP88, including the most experimental ones. I loved the Ethereal preset bank; tweaking some of the parameters (ADSR, FX, EQ, etc.) it’s easy to create otherworldly sounds that you wouldn’t generally associate to a Rhodes! Electronic music producers, take note.

I’m a sucker for electric piano sounds (I still have a soft spot for the good, old Scarbee EXS24 library!) and I believe the UVI Attack EP88 will find a place in the studio and live setup of many keyboard players.

The quality of the samples and the flexibility of the package are simply impressive. To me, it’s like having some of the best features of a modeled instrument with the obvious benefits of a sampled one.
Even if you already have several Rhodes-inspired plugins, I’d recommend checking out the UVI Attack EP88.

Pricing and Compatibility
Attack EP88 costs $149 (plus taxes) and offers native 64-bit standalone operation and comprehensive plug-in support for all modern DAWs via UVI Workstation and Falcon. Simultaneous authorization is supported on up to 3 computers or iLok keys. Read more and buy it here.

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