Review: Applied Acoustics Systems Lounge Lizard EP-3

Applied Acoustics Systems Lounge Lizard EP-3

I’ve been using quite a bit of electric piano in my music recently. I just love doodling with the sweet dreamy sounds of the Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos.

Lounge Lizard EP-3 by Applied Acoustics Systems is a software electric piano based on these classic instruments of the seventies.

AAS used physical modeling technology to create these electric piano instruments, resulting in realistic sounds without the use of samples.

Physical modeling uses the laws of physics to reproduce the behavior of an object. In other words, the Lounge Lizard EP solves, in real time, mathematical equations describing how its different components function. No sampling or wavetables are used in the Lounge Lizard EP, the sound is simply calculated in real time by the CPU according to the values each parameter is receiving.

Let’s see what more Lounge Lizard EP-3 has to offer.

Lounge Lizard EP-3 features

  • All the classic electric piano sounds: Rhodes™, Wurlitzer™, and more.
  • Entirely based on physical modeling for outstanding sound quality.
  • Top quality preset library—vintage to modern.
  • Integrated browser and locate function for easy navigation and organisation of presets.
  • Fast preset loading time.
  • Hands-free operation via custom MIDI programs.
  • Every parameters can be controlled via MIDI or host automation.
  • Intuitive and ergonomic user interface for preset creation.
  • Fast installation.
  • Real-time calculation of sound—no samples.
  • 32bit floating point internal processing.
  • Audio bit-depth and sample rates up to 24bit/192kHz.
  • Import/Export functions for easy sharing of presets.
  • Unlimited undo/redo capability.
  • Standalone operation—no host application required, and standard plug-in formats support.
  • Full audio and MIDI hardware support.
  • Simultaneous operation of multiple MIDI ports.
  • User defined MIDI maps with MIDI Learn function.
  • MIDI clock, tap and host tempo synchro­nisation.
  • Dynamic voice allocation and CPU overhead protection.

Getting started

The installation is fast indeed, as you don’t have to transfer tons of samples and the plug-in activation (challenge/response) was a breeze.

You don’t need to spend a lot of time creating electric piano sounds either, as Lounge Lizard comes with a huge preset library.

AAS Lounge Lizard 3
AAS Lounge Lizard 3 – tons of presets to get you started

The library includes many Rhodes and Wurlitzer presets, but also Custom Electric Pianos (which use some effects to create particular signature sounds), Classic Tracks — directly inspired by people like Herbie Hancock and Jamiroquai —, Experimental presets and more.

Create your own sound

Not too big on presets? No problem, Lounge Lizard will let you tweak pretty much anything you want.

There are two panels of controls/parameters.

  1. Panel A: Includes two multi-effect modules (chorus mono & stereo, flanger mono & stereo, vibrato, digital delay, ping pong delay, tape delay, phaser, auto wah, wah wah, notch filter and distortion) and a reverb effect. You can order the effects in various topologies. Panel A also has a Keyboard module for MIDI settings, a master Clock module, and a Recorder module which allows you to record directly to file.
  2. Panel B: These are the guts — or actual sound generating components — of the piano. Here’s where you’ll find the mallet, fork, pick up, damper and tremolo modules. An EQ module composed of a low shelf filter, a peak filter, and a high shelf filter in series, provides equalization over the low, mid, and high frequency bands.

So you have everything you need to create the exact sound you want at your fingertips.

Just check the Lounge Lizard product page to get an idea of the various sounds it is capable of.

So what do I think?

It’s time to give my dear old Mr.Ray (donationware) a break. Not to say Mr.Ray wasn’t any good, but Lounge Lizard just has a lot more to offer, with its large arsenal of electric piano sounds and tons of parameters to tweak.

I can imagine that Lounge Lizard EP-3 is probably not the most realistic sounding Rhodes or Wurli — does anyone have experience with sample based instruments like NI’s Elektrik Piano? — but that’s just fine with me. It sounds realistic to me, and I’m not looking to replace a real Rhodes or anything like that.

The Lounge Lizard EP has an incredibly lovely sound, and because it’s based on physical modeling (and its parameters can move beyond the real thing), you get so much more than your typical electric piano sounds. The extreme flexibility will please any tweaker, and even experimental musicians.

Lounge Lizard EP-3 is not just an instrument, but also an inspiration. It will undoubtedly become a regular in my DAW.

More information: Applied Acoustic Systems / Lounge Lizard EP-3

  • Martin

    I think the Scarbee C.E.P has best “Rhodes in a computer” sound. Listen to there demos on Scarbee´s site.

    Best regards
    Martin

  • Dave

    After having high hopes from many gushing reviews I had read.

    The only two electric piano VSTi’s I had used before were Elektrik Piano and Mr Ray. Elektrik Piano sounds amazing but being 100% sample based is quite taxing on RAM and CPU when you have 40 other tracks on the go. Mr Ray v2.2 is also a fantastic freeware modelled epiano that sounds very fine in a mix, but with room for improvement I thought it was time to invest in another modelled instrument to hopefully get amazing sounds at low CPU.

    I found the sound of Lounge Lizard quite disappointing, and actually not as nice as Mr Ray – it just sounds thinner and less real, and less warm.

    I think I am in a minority with this opinion, so you should certainly check out the evaluation version for yourself. Me, I’m sticking with my Mr Ray 2.2 for now.

  • Dave

    UPDATE

    Sorry, I just read the above review back to myself, and realised how badly written it is – especially as it starts with an unfinished sentence. But you get the point.

  • http://rekkerd.org ronnie

    Thanks for your comments Dave.

    For a more realistic sound I’d probably try the Scarbee or NI Elektrik Piano (btw, how do you like that one Dave?) but I just love Lounge Lizard for its versatility.

    I agree that MrRay is a wonderful instrument and I would recommend it to anyone on a tight budget. I actually still use it myself as well.

  • Martin

    Scarbee has a great fx vst plugin for rhodes. You can load it into your vst host and most of your vst-rhodes, sounds good through it.

    http://www.scarbee.com/products/vkfx/index.php

    Martin

  • Luis

    Just bought EP-3 and absolutely love it. Never had a “real” Rhodes or Wurli but I can say that between my Motif XS, Roland RD-700SX, etc., I’ve never been happy with the Rhodes sound (which I use a lot). With the EP-3, I’m happy!!!

    One thing I’m not seeing with the reviews and info available on the EP-3 is that you can emulate various versions of the the DX7 Yamaha EP. I was playing with my TX802 and tweaking the EP-3 and could get absolutely convincing DX7 sounds. The biggest thing is how smooth the EP-3 sounds on the upper octaves of the keyboard. Every “sample” of the DX7 always includes a harsh sound in the higher keys. The EP-3 stays absolutely smooth! GREAT PRODUCT!!!

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