Best Piano VST Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide
If you want to take your musical experience one step further and that calls for the best piano VST, this short paragraph might be of help. Out of the many options available for sale, the first product that stands out, considering its features, is the Garritan CFX Concert Grand Piano. What makes this product worthy of a top place is the high sound quality of the Yamaha CFX Concert Grand piano recorded in one of the most appreciated studios in the world, Abbey Road Studios’ Studio One. Besides the realistic sound, you will also get three different microphone perspectives for sound variety, an option that enhances the listener’s experience. Thanks to the ARIA Player sample engine, the item will also provide you with flexibility. In case this product is currently out of stock, a reliable alternative in terms of quality and features is the Spectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard.
Our Top Choice
In case you’re interested in creating music using the beautiful sounds of a grand piano, this product should not be left unchecked. The instrument recorded for the samples featured is the well-known Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano and the studio where the recording took place is Abbey Road Studios' Studio One. Thanks to the three microphone perspectives, the user’s and listener’s experiences are enhanced.
The sounds provided might not cover certain musical genres such as pop and rock.
Providing users with the beautiful sounds of a fine grand piano and three different microphone perspectives, this product is worth considering if you want a realistic piano sound experience.
Packed with a generous selection of keyboard sounds, this option is ideal for music producers and composers interested in enhanced versatility. It boasts high-quality samples that will help you employ it for different musical genres and applications. The many patches and custom controls featured allow musicians to further personalize their experience and get the sonic outputs they’re interested in achieving.
Installing the product might not be as fast as desired and the website download costs an extra $10.
If you’ve always wanted a piano VST that will help you explore new sonic realms, this product might be cut out for you. It offers a rich selection of keyboard sounds as well as custom controls.
Also To Consider
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced music producer, this library is worth taking into account. It provides high-quality piano sounds that will help you express your personality. The Sample Interpolation Technology featured ensures smooth note transition and velocity. The product also offers up to 20 velocity layers and can be used as a standalone product or as a plug-in. It works with both Mac and Windows.
The installation might take some time and an iLok account is required for authorization.
Give this product a try if you’re interested in creating new music with quality piano sounds. It ensures ease of operation and was designed to install directly into an existing Ivory II library.
7 Best Piano VST (Updated Reviews) in 2020
Finding a good piano VST might not be an easy task, given the many products out there. Not to mention that the shopping process might prove to be time-consuming. To simplify your decision-making process, we have compiled below a list of piano VST reviews. Check it out before hitting the order button.
- 1. Garritan CFX Concert Grand Piano
- 2. Spectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard
- 3. Synthogy Ivory II American Concert D
- 4. Garritan Instant Orchestra
- 5. XLN Audio Addictive Keys
- 6. Acoustica Pianissimo Virtual Grand Piano
- 7. Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Garritan CFX Concert Grand Piano
In case your musical interests call for an acoustic grand piano virtual instrument that ensures sonic flexibility, clarity, and authenticity, this model from Garritan is worth considering. Various features make this a noteworthy option and one of them is the piano Garritan chose to record and the studio where everything took place.
The manufacturer recorded the Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano, one of the most appreciated models in this line of musical instruments. What’s more, the company did not just choose a fine instrument to record but also an outstanding studio, Abbey Road Studios’ well-known Studio One.
This studio has gained appreciation and thus hosted some of the most important artists in the world thanks to its natural ambience and 2.3-second reverb time. Besides all that, the Garritan CFX Concert Grand Piano offers three microphone perspectives, a feature that enhances the listener’s experience.
The classic perspective will provide you with the natural nuance and tones of the instrument whereas the contemporary one creates a bright sound and adds a percussive attack. For a more intimate listening experience, the virtual instrument offers the so-called Player perspective. With this feature, you actually situate the listener on the piano bench.
If you want to complete your musical adventures with a grand piano virtual instrument that produces realistic sounds, this model should not go unchecked as it is packed with features that will ensure such results.
The manufacturer chose the Yamaha CFX Concert Grand piano to record, a model that holds one of the top places in the world when it comes to fine instruments.
To get the best out of this instrument, Garritan recorded it in Abbey Road Studios’ Studio One where high-quality equipment has been used professionally by the studio’s expert staff to render the beauty and warmth of this instrument realistically.
Thanks to the three microphone perspectives, you can put your audience in various positions relative to the piano and thus provide different experiences; the item offers the Classic, Contemporary, and Player perspectives.
This option might not be suitable for certain musical genres such as pop, rock, indie, and country.Buy from Amazon.com for ($179.99)
2. Spectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard
With this product, you get a rich selection of keyboard sounds covering anything you need from rare instruments to essential classics, so you can engage in a variety of musical adventures using the same plug-in. It took no more no less than 10 years for the Spectrasonics Sound Development Team to multisample a variety of keyboards and put together this collection.
The Spectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard is packed with hundreds of patches as well as custom controls for each of them. What’s great about these controls is that they allow you to tailor the sounds provided according to your needs and preferences.
To make sure that enjoying the many benefits of its features is a smooth process, the item features a user-friendly interface that simplifies the entire operation. To enhance the sonic authenticity delivered, the product comes with pedal, mechanical, and release noise behaviors.
Plus, the team also modeled the behavior of classic FX units and vintage amplifiers. The Keyscape is powered by the STEAM Engine and is compatible with any major DAW as a plug-in. Rest assured that you will still be able to enjoy the advantages of this collection even if you use the Omnisphere 2 as the product will fully integrate as a satellite instrument.
Including a generous collection of over 500 sounds, hybrid “duo patches”, and 36 instruments, this product is an option you might want to check out before you hit the order button.
Given the variety of sounds provided, you can use the library to take your musical adventure one step further and explore your creativity; it is thus ideal for composers and producers.
Each patch comes with custom controls to enable you to shape the sounds based on your preferences and interests.
To ensure authenticity, the product comes with pedal, mechanical, and release noise behaviors; moreover, the patches feature classic FX unit and vintage amplifier modeling.
The Keyscape is designed to work with any major DAW as a plug-in and fully integrate as a satellite instrument.
Installing the product might take a few hours; even the website download is time-consuming and costs an extra $10.Buy from Amazon.com for ($379)
3. Synthogy Ivory II American Concert D
In case you want to enrich your musical library with a grand piano and do so easily and comfortably, this product from Synthogy is worth considering as it was designed to deliver the transparency, clarity, and beauty of the sound produced by such an instrument.
To take your musical journey one step further, the collection features the noteworthy sounds of fine pianos. Thanks to the award-winning Ivory II piano engine and the sound engineers behind this product, you will get to enjoy quality piano sounds. You can thus consider this product whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced composer or producer.
What’s more, you will get up to 20 velocity layers. To ensure smooth velocity and make the note transitions flawless, the item comes with the Sample Interpolation Technology. The Synthogy Ivory II American Concert D can be used as a standalone program or as a plug-in.
The product is designed to install directly into an existing Ivory II library, which further means that, if you already are an Ivory II user, you will have access to all the features and piano sounds of Ivory II from a single interface. Another feature you may appreciate is the Mac and Windows compatibility.
Powered by the highly-appreciated Ivory II piano engine and including a 49GB library, this product should not go unchecked before you make your final decision.
Thanks to the engine featured and the sound engineers who built this piano VST, you will have the possibility to shape your musical experience with realistic piano sounds.
The product can be used as a standalone application or as a plug-in and is built to install directly into an existing Ivory II library.
Given the Sample Interpolation Technology featured, smooth note transition and velocity are ensured.
The item provides up to 20 velocity layers and is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems.
Due to the greater number of release and soft pedal samples included, the sound details ensured reach a new level.
You need an iLok account in order to be able to use this product; plus, installing it and getting it set up might not be a fast process.Buy from Amazon.com for ($189)
4. Garritan Instant Orchestra
Designed to make orchestrating an enjoyable and smooth process, this product is worth adding to your list of options if you want a variety of sounds and textures as well as an easy-to-use menu. By streamlining and simplifying the orchestrating process, this sound library may help even beginners start their musical journey and explore their creativity.
What makes this product stand out is the impressive collection of instruments the user can employ to create significantly different musical pieces. It thus features bass, keyboard, percussion, string, and woodwind instruments, just to name a few. Furthermore, you will also get effects patches for enhanced versatility.
Given such an instrument library, you can combine the sounds featured in countless ways and use the product to achieve different musical targets and approach various genres. The Garritan Instant Orchestra can be employed to create music for movies, games, and television shows.
Besides versatility, this item ensures ease of use. You don’t need any prior experience in orchestrating or scoring and the library can be used as a plug-in or a standalone product. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows and comes packed with the Conexant Endless Wave technology.
If sound and instrument variety is what you have in mind for your musical adventures, this library might be cut out for you as it is packed with features that will help you explore different sonic realms and do so easily.
Whether you’re interested in creating music for games or movies, this library is worth considering as it boasts the features needed to accomplish such missions beautifully.
The collection includes string, percussion, bass, and woodwind instruments and provides you with many ways of combining them to create the music that best serves your purposes.
The product can be used as a plugin or a standalone program and is compatible with both Mac and Windows.
Considering the interface and the way the product was designed, the library can be used even by people with no prior experience in scoring or orchestrating.
The instructions provided might not be simple or easy-to-understand, especially if this is the first program of this sort you use.Buy from Amazon.com for ($154.99)
5. XLN Audio Addictive Keys
Whether you’re a songwriter or a music producer interested in an easy-to-use and versatile tool to get you one step closer to reaching your targets, this studio collection might be right up your alley. Packed with various features that allow you to mix and match the sounds and instruments according to your needs, it can be employed for different musical purposes.
The product boasts various presets that are thoughtfully arranged in ExploreMaps. What’s more, all presets offer previews. Thanks to the sound engine employed, you can easily control the instruments featured, create unique and warm sounds, and combine microphone setups according to your needs and interests.
The world-class instruments used for this library were recorded from different vantage points and in studios with noteworthy audiophile acoustics. Primo vintage tube microphones have been used to capture them in high audio quality. You will also get various effects to help you create professional sounds.
The MyCloud connection enables you to work from anywhere, which proves to be of great help if you’re on the road a lot and change locations quite often. The online service will automatically synchronize memos and presets across your personal computers. It will also make it possible for you to share your work with collaborators.
Packed with a sound engine and a variety of nice features, this tool will help you explore your creativity and give sonic shapes to your personality.
Due to the engine employed, you get the chance to create unique and warm sounds and control the instruments featured to customize your experience according to your needs and preferences.
The instruments recorded were carefully chosen and captured using primo vintage tube microphones in an optimal acoustic setting; they were also recorded from different perspectives to ensure a vibrant and lush sound.
The various effects offered are a nice addition, especially if you want to get more creative and produce professional sounds.
Thanks to the MyCloud connection, you can use the software from anywhere as it will automatically synchronize your presets and work across all the computers you use.
Depending on your purposes, some of the effected presets might not be that helpful or suitable for professional sound design.Buy from Amazon.com for ($159.55)
6. Acoustica Pianissimo Virtual Grand Piano
Equipped with a combination of advanced physical modeling and sample playback, this virtual piano is an option worthy of taking into account if you want to enjoy the playability, warmth, and response of a real piano yet do so significantly easier.
The sound quality is ensured by the complex signal programming and processing used and the rich library of piano samples featured. You will get 250 MB of high-quality samples, a feature that proves to be of great help if versatility is what you have in mind for your musical path.
The instrument sampled is a real Steinway Model D grand piano, so you can consider using this product for professional applications. The samples will make sure that gaining your audience’s attention won’t be a difficult task. You can thus employ it for live performances, solo gigs, and even studio compositions.
The item also comes with integrated studio reverb, 256 voices of polyphony, and sympathetic resonance. The controls and effects featured will help you shape the tones according to your needs and interests. The product is compatible with various digital audio recording software packages as a plug-in. It can also be used as a standalone program.
In case you’re looking for a piano VST that will pair your musical adventures with realistic piano sounds and keep up with your live or studio performances, this unit might be right up your alley.
The instrument sampled is a real Steinway Model D grand piano and the product provides 250 MB of high-quality samples.
The various effects and controls provided will help you personalize your sonic outputs and thus tailor the sounds to fit your interests and needs.
Thanks to the 256 voices of polyphony, you can employ the product for different applications including studio compositions and live performances.
The software can be used as a standalone program or as a plug-in with different digital audio recording software packages; the standalone version boasts a two-track sequencer and a metronome.
The product might be more suitable for solo instrument performances than multi-instrument projects.Buy from Amazon.com for ($68.95)
7. Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
Whether you’re interested in cinematic scoring or songwriting, this upgrade from Spectrasonics boasts features that will help you explore new sonic realms and enjoy a greater versatility. The program can be used for a variety of applications and by musicians of different skill levels.
It is packed with 1,600 patches, 57 powerful FX Units, and over 14,000 sounds. Just imagine what that means in terms of versatility. The synthesis engine has been vastly expanded and the upgrade includes various new features that will enable you to reach deeper synthesis levels. You will get the Harmonia, Granular, and Innerspace synth engines.
Thanks to the Hardware Synth Integration, you will get to enjoy intuitive control as well as more supported synths. The new patches cover a rich selection of sound categories, that’s why the Omnisphere 2 can be used to create music for various needs including games and scores.
The sound library is organized in such a way to ensure easy operation and help you find the sounds that serve your needs with ease. To enable you to dive even deeper into the world of sounds and music composition, the product boasts a rich variety of effects.
If versatility is what you’re interested in, the new Omnisphere is a product you might want to add to your list of options.
The sound library is rich enough to cover all music production types; you will get over 14,000 sounds as well as various features that will help you further personalize your experience.
The hardware library includes over 1,000 new patches and the Hardware Synth Integration is designed to provide users with enhanced control.
The upgrade includes 57 modulatable and fully-integrated FX Units as well as a Synth Oscillator that comes with over 500 DSP waveforms.
The library is organized to ensure easy operation; furthermore, there is a Sound Match feature available to locate related sounds instantly.
Thanks to the Sound/Project Sharing feature, you can easily share your work with friends and collaborators.
The upgrade might not work with some Omnisphere versions; check out upgrade compatibility before buying.Buy from Amazon.com for ($229)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
While composing and producing music was a far more complicated process a few decades ago, today things are less of a challenge thanks to the technological achievements. The audio software market now offers various products that are designed to provide aspiring and professional musicians alike with endless sonic possibilities.
If you’re a piano enthusiast but you’d like to enjoy the beautiful sounds of this instrument without purchasing the real instrument, a grand piano VST or an electric piano VST is worth considering. However, if you’re new to this category of products, finding the best grand piano VST or the best electric piano VST might not be that easy.
There are various features to consider before adding anything to your shopping cart. Find below some of the most important factors to pay attention to when looking for a good piano VST.
Piano VST types
Before diving into the features of piano VST plugins, you need to understand the different types available for sale and consider your particular needs to see which one is best suited for your goals. You will thus find sampling and modeling models. The sample piano VST is the most popular type, given the fact that the sounds it offers are sampled from a real piano.
In such cases, sound engineers use a microphone to record each of the 88 keys of a piano and do so several times until the best sound is captured. Given the way a sample piano VST is built and the fact that real instruments are sampled, such types ensure a more authentic sound, hence their popularity.
The thing with such software is that it requires lots of space on your hard drive and may use your CPU greatly. Moreover, some products in this category provide samples from a single type of piano, which reduces your options.
A modeling piano VST is more like a synth and features tones that are digitally coded through algorithms and sound similar to the ones of a piano. The quality of the sounds provided is different, though, a reason why professionals might not opt for this type of piano VST.
An important advantage of a modeling piano VST is that it provides the user with greater customization. Moreover, when using such a program, you don’t have to worry about speed or space and you don’t need a sampler software to run it.
Choosing between these two types is a matter of preference. It depends significantly on the musical genres you have in mind and the sonic outputs you’re interested in achieving.
Interface and ease of use
You might get the best sounding virtual instrument and the richest sound library, yet if the user interface is not friendly, taking advantage of the various specs featured might turn out to be a challenge. A complicated interface will not only slow the entire process but may also interrupt your creative flow, which may further translate into the loss of your ideas.
If you’ve set your eyes on a specific model, you might also want to read a piano VST review to see what other buyers say about the way it works and its interface. Some manufacturers offer screenshots and videos of the products they offer. Check them out before your purchase.
Some programs may indeed seem a bit complicated at first just to prove to be quite easy to use after a few practice sessions.
Sound library and additional features
More expensive products feature several thousand sounds and patches and they are ideal for music producers and songwriters interested in versatility or using the piano VST for various applications and musical genres.
The sound library might not help you much if you have limited control. Additional features that will help you further tailor and shape the sounds produced are nice to have if you want to engage in more professional and creative musical adventures.
This might add to the final cost, though. Still, many affordable piano VST options are packed with enough features to keep you busy for quite some time.
System requirements and budget
Make sure that the product you want to buy is compatible with your DAW and operating system. Such information should be included in the product’s description. Plus, in order for the piano VST to run smoothly, you also need enough disk space, memory (RAM), and processing power.
Without a powerful system to keep up with the various features of the model you want to buy, it is highly likely for the software not to work properly. Also, your budget holds great importance when it comes to what gets added to your shopping cart. If you only afford a cheap piano VST, make sure that you still get enough features to reach your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is a piano VST?
VST stands for virtual studio technology and a piano VST is, as the name suggests, a virtual piano. The software is designed to emulate the sound of real pianos. To use such a program, you will need a MIDI controller and a computer. It is best if the controller features 88 keys as it will make your entire experience more realistic.
The market offers two types of piano VST: sampling and modeling virtual pianos. The first type is created with the help of a real piano. The engineers behind the sample program use a microphone to record all the keys of a real piano.
A modeling piano VST includes piano sounds that are built through digital code. However, such models have a more synthetic character. Plus, there are various digital audio workstations used to host a piano VST and they include Logic, Ableton, and FL Studio.
Q: Do the sounds produced by the piano virtual studio technology compare with the real ones?
Piano VSTs are available in two types: modeling and sampling models. The sampling ones are created with the help of a real piano. The engineers behind the VST use a microphone to record the 88 keys of a real piano. What’s more, they record each key several times to get different variations.
Sampling models have thus a more realistic sound. Even if the sounds provided may not be 100 percent realistic, the average listener may not notice the small variation. They are popular among professional musicians and composers. The difference is easier to be noticed when it comes to modeling virtual pianos.
Since the sounds they feature are synthetically created, unfortunately, they are less realistic and might not be what professional producers need. Still, even modeling virtual instruments are popular and the various effects they come with enable the user to create new music from different perspectives.
Q: Is a piano VST recommended for beginners?
Depending on your interests and goals, a VST can be both a great and challenging way to start your career in music production. If you’re completely new to this field, it is best to do some research and see what virtual instruments and software are about and what they offer.
However, starting your journey with a VST might be an inspired thing to do. Again, this depends on what you want to do in this field and how far you want to go. Plus, learning how to use a VST also requires DAW skills since they are used together.
Some models might be a bit complicated, yet if you still decide to use a VST, be patient and learn the basics thoroughly and advance gradually. You may want to get the best out of a program from the beginning, but such virtual instruments take time. Learn one step at a time and the results won’t fail to come.
Q: How do I use a piano VST?
Since a piano VST is a virtual instrument, you will first need to make sure you have a computer and the required system to run it. A MIDI keyboard is also needed to play the piano sounds provided by the VST. Thankfully, the market offers a variety of 88-key MIDI keyboards you can choose from.
You will also need a program to host the virtual instrument. If your budget is limited, you can try one of the free versions available online. Use a USB cable or port to connect the MIDI keyboard and make sure the host program is all set up.
Once you’ve made sure you have the needed equipment and everything is ready to go, you can use the host program to play the piano VST plug-in. Play the keys on your MIDI keyboard to hear the sounds. You can further color your performance with effects if the VST includes such features.
Q: What are the differences between a digital piano and a piano VST?
In case you’re interested in playing the piano, yet you can’t afford a real instrument, there are two options to choose from: a digital piano and a piano VST. The digital piano is a compact and relatively lightweight version of a real piano. It has 88 keys and some models feature a headphone jack for silent practice and speakers.
The sound ensured by a digital piano is, as the name suggests, digitally produced. What’s great about them is that they include the keyboard needed for you to play. A digital piano is a self-contained instrument.
A piano VST is just the software part. It is a program that emulates the sounds of a piano yet it requires other pieces of equipment to run. You will need a computer with the right operating system, a MIDI keyboard as well as a host program.