On the list of things that you might want to poke a microphone at, I suspect that a Mattress is quite near the bottom of the list, maybe even not on there at all.
So it gives me great pleasure to reveal a Virtual Instrument (a Sample Pack on Pianobook), that mixes synthetic sounds with the sonorous tones of a mattress, and lets you mix and match them together as you want.
The ‘Synthetic’ sounds
The top row of ‘mic’ sliders has no surprises – well, no major ones! There are mono sine waves in four octaves: -2, -1, 0 , 1 , stereo sine waves in four octaves: -2s, -1s, 0s, 1s, noisy sine waves in glorious mono in four octaves: -2, -1, 0, 1 and stereo noise in four octaves: -2s, -1s, 0s, 1s. Maybe ‘wobbly’ is a better word than ‘noise’ here… Mono sliders are grey, whilst stereo sliders are cream, of course!
(To keep you alert, some of the sounds jump down an octave in the higher octaves on the keyboard. This isn’t me being fiendishly clever in programming Decent Sampler, it is actually me getting things wrong. But in context (can you have a Mattress context?) it feels like it fits in with nothing else about this Sample Pack being what you expected. At the back of my mind, in the midst of all that dust and cobwebs, I do feel the need to record some wildlife and process the recordings so that they sound like bed-springs…)
The ‘Real’ sounds
The lower row of ‘mic sliders’ is all surprises, because if you were expecting twangy, springy sounds, then you will be disappointed – as was I! Instead, there’s what sounds more like some howling wind, some whales, and some mysterious metallic pads – but no obvious mattressy-stuff. It seems that if you record a mattress the right way, and then do some processing of it, then you end up with sounds which are ‘real’ but don’t sound ‘real’, So, either a complete success, or a total failure, in terms of recording fidelity. The far right hand side of the lower row has three tiny ‘mic’ sliders marked ‘FX’ and called ‘a’, ‘b’ and ‘c’. These are just slightly processed, raw source material that can be used as sound effects, or just additional noise sources.
Sound-wise, you can choose just about any combination of upper and lower ‘mic’ sliders and you will get a sound of some sort. It is probably a good idea to not use too many ‘mic’ sliders at once! If you use the top row only, then you will probably get something on the ‘synthetic’ side, although the ‘Noise’ sounds can be tricky… The lower row is more synthetic in most cases, although some of the wind sounds are quite real, but not in a ‘and this is a sound that I recorded from a mattress’ context… The combination of pure sine waves, plus wobbles, noise and howling wind is sometimes a little bit like the sound made by a violin bow on a saw – and sometimes not at all.
If you go into the >samples>original> folder and find the ‘mattress0101-composite.wav’ file, then you get a taste of just some of the raw material that I got from the mattress. This is the sample used in the ‘FX’ sliders. Warning: it sounds like something from a wildlife documentary, and care may be required with those of a nervous disposition!
Some of the reviews of my other Sample Packs said that there were too many controls, so I have included 9 presets as starting points, as well as demonstrating the versatility of Mattress as a sound source. I’m sure a Pianobook demo will be done using just Mattress! (Although I’m also intrigued to see what use is made of the wildlife documentary sounds!)
1 ‘Modulation Wheel’ controls the Low-Pass Filter cut-off frequency = the ‘Tone’
11 ‘Expression’ controls the output volume
19 ‘General Purpose 4’ controls the Reverb Wet/Dry mix
User Interface Video
Reviews for Mattress
Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!
A versatile, lush pack of instruments!
This 2GB package will grant you access to a lot of different sounds, matched with a big amount of extra customization options. It's a very versatile pack with great sound quality, featuring both pad and pluck-like instruments. It's definitely worth exploring and it's very likely they will greatly inspire you. My favourite is by far the Fairy Piano, especially if I set it to get the purest version of it.