The Best Vst Piano Library Comparison !!TOP!!
The piano is one of the most popular instruments in the world, so creating the best piano VSTs, for realistic software virtual piano emulation, has been the number one priority for software and DAW developers for the last couple of decades. As such, most DAWs already ship with decent enough software pianos, but they don't usually offer quite the nuanced character and breadth of dynamic sound you can expect from a real upright or concert grand. Third-party software developers have therefore been falling over themselves to create even better software virtual pianos so there are now loads of options out there.
the best vst piano library comparison
If you'd like to read some in depth buying advice about the best piano VSTs, it's included at the bottom of this guide. You can click the link to go there. If you'd rather get to the products, then keep scrolling.
If you aren't focussed on grand pianos, but the keyboard being your main instrument, then there are two other options that deliver great piano sounds alongside all sorts of other key-based instruments. Spectrasonics Keyscape (opens in new tab) is just about every keyboard instrument you can imagine in one package. Expensive, yes, but its quality emulations and effects are right up there with the best software instruments available. Finally, one of the few modelled instruments that scores well whenever a new version is released is Modartt's Pianoteq, an instrument that will run light on any system but sounds anything but light, and with loads of purchasing options for any budget level.
Pianoteq, with its lean CPU requirements, stunning sound, and near-infinite editing capabilities is a breath of fresh air. Even if you have a go-to hardware or software piano instrument or library, Pianoteq is worth a look and listen; it sounds that good.
This is the best sounding budget piano VST option that is currently available. The Addictive Keys Steinway is sampled after the Steinway D Grand piano and this is a heavily sought after piano.
While the electric pianos steal a lot of the thunder with Keyscape, I still really love the grand and upright pianos. Yes, the price is high, but you are also getting a massive library that brings a ton of different options for your songs.
Absolutely not. If the library is massive, this is in a way an indication of how well the pianos were recorded and processed. What this means in simpler terms is that in order to truly sample a piano in the best way, the engineer should be hitting each note hundreds of times and different velocities.
The final size of the library will mainly come down to the format and audio compression. When you read about the sampling process for each piano VST, you will want to look for lossless audio compression. This is most common amongst the higher-end sample libraries. What this does is preserves the exact copy of the original audio.
When you connect your digital keyboard to your computer and use sampled piano sounds through a sample library, you are transferring the note you play on your keyboard into a MIDI format.
But even then, this is not an optimal solution. The built-in speakers of digital pianos are usually designed to work best with preset sounds and may not sound great when connected to external audio sources.
Keyscape is an incredibly large library with over 500 piano sounds and 36 instrument models and hybrid patches. The library can be hosted within Spectrasonics and integrated with the Omnisphere library.
It is quite heavy on CPU, so it is best to consider a higher processor (i7 is recommended), and preferably 16GB RAM or higher if possible. Because of its large storage space, an external SSD is recommended (but not essential) to make this library run easier on your system.
The library includes various presets that provide immediate inspiration. I am a user of this piano library and rarely build a custom patch. I use a preset with tweaked moderations instead (such as pedal noise and reverb).
Pianoteq 7 is physically modeled off the Steinway & Sons Model D and Model B, one of the most popular, best-sounding pianos. You can hear demos of these sounds on the Pianoteq website.
Overall, Pianoteq 7 is a fantastic VST plugin for anyone wanting a classical piano sound, anyone who is new to VSTs, or anyone looking to expand their piano library without using too much storage on their computer.
The library samples its sound from three grand piano models: the Bösendorfer 290 Imperial Grand, Steinway D Concert Grand, and the Yamaha C7 Grand, all three of which are included in the bundle.
The library bundle includes a vast array of presets, allowing you to preview the grand pianos in a different recording environment (microphone placements, hall/room types, reverberation, etc.) and to adjust these nuances accordingly.
The Ivory II has focused heavily on replicating grand piano samples and allowing users to recreate a piano performance as if they were playing on a Steinway, Bösendorfer, or Yamaha grand. The library features Sympathetic String Resonance, which allows a true sound of resonance when a key is struck.
Another advanced feature incorporated into the sample library includes Harmonic Resonance Modeling, which projects overtones over the notes being held, just as an acoustic piano sounds when a key is pressed.
Steinway is a renowned company, very famous for its amazing pianos. These instruments have shaped the history of music since 1853 and continue today. The amazing work done by the e-instruments team of developers showcases the best details about such beautiful grand pianos in a simple Kontakt library.
Although insurance fixed most of his gear, this piano never got fully back to what it was before, creating a unique aspect of its sound. These samples try to reflect this essence in a simple interface design in the best way possible.
A very smooth, rich-sounding, and evocative piano voicing is present in HYUNDAI U852. It has a natural property that leans toward airy tracks, especially cinematic ambiances. Although very helpful to anyone looking for this kind of sound, this library can be limiting if a more energetic or big-sounding aspect is needed.
Soundiron developed this plugin based on a walnut-bodied Kawai grand piano that was chosen due to its soft, luminous warmth and rich, resonant timbre. Recorded with 15 velocity layers, every nuance of such an instrument was meant to be captured in order to provide the best audio experience possible.
Loft Piano is a refreshed alternative for anyone seeking a different piano library. Its main focus is to deliver a versatile yet highly customizable piano sample collection that should cover the most popular modern musical genres.
This is not a Kontakt sample library, but in fact a dedicated piano VST Plugin. And I have to say this interface is one of the most beautiful and inspiring to work with. Not only for piano plugins, but for any plugin I have used.
The piano was sampled with four true round-robin repetitions. Control how the library reacts to the incoming MIDI notes using the velocity curve parameters. Control the volume of the non-tonal sound of the piano. Release samples, sympathetic resonance, key and pedal noises. Sample start offset, overall timbre, dynamic range, low enhancement and per-note temperament.
As the name suggests, this library features the sampled sound of the iconic Yamaha CFX concert grand piano. The Yamaha CFX is a nine-foot giant, and to make it that little more special, it was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
You'll get a chance to read reviews about all of these pianos below. But sometimes it's best to actually hear the plugin in action. That's why I've put together this video of the best piano VSTs available as alternatives to Keyscape. Take a listen so you can find your perfect piano plugin!
The Gentleman, which is part of Komplete 14 by Native Instruments, is probably the best value on this list, too. Komplete 14 includes a half-dozen totally unique pianos, some of which you won't find anywhere else. It also comes loaded with tons of other Kontak Instruments, like synthesizers, drum machines, samples and effects.
You'll be happy with any of these virtual pianos. I just depends on what you're looking for. Hopefully this review highlighted some of the differences between all of the great sounding pianos out there! Of course, even the best piano plugin won't do much if you don't know how to mix it. That's why I put together this free epic guide on getting pianos to sound life-like and realistic.
And if you're looking to expand beyond the beautiful sounds of the traditional piano, you should check out my recommendations for the best Rhodes VST plugins for the smooth sounds of the best electric piano.
This library includes full orchestral samples like: Long and short tension builders, sustained patterns, highly detailed textures in multiple styles and complexities, full orchestral hits and big smashes, chord bending, glissandi and crescendi. Each cue has been recorded in multiple takes and a selection of the best takes is available in this sample collection, providing the composer with a tool that has so much variety and editing possibilities inside that no sample from this collection will ever sound the same, thus preventing over-usage or the feel of recognition. A little tweaking in mic positions, or choosing a different take of a particular cue will result in a different sounding musical fx or phrase.