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The Best Piano VST Plugins for Musicians & Producers

From the classical musings of romantic era musicians to modern EDM sound stages, the piano has been the face of music since its invention. A great digital piano plugin for producing is almost a necessity.

What digital pianos tend to struggle with, however, is realism. By the nature of the instrument's popularity, nearly every human is finely tuned to the sound of the piano. Fooling our well-adjusted ears can be a mammoth task.

That's why we've assembled a list of what we think are the absolute best piano VST plugins you can get right now.

How To Choose A Piano VST (The Ultimate Buyers Guide)

Sampled Vs Synthesized

Synth and physically modeled piano plugins are lightweight and offer the same control that a synth would, however, don't sound very realistic. Sample-based plugins create an extremely realistic sound through multiple recordings of the original instrument, but lack customization and are heavy on the RAM and CPU.

Probably the biggest consideration when picking a piano VST plugin is choosing between a sample-based plugin or a synth/physical modeled plugin. Understanding, what sets these two apart can be instrumental when trying to choose the best piano VST.

Simply speaking, synth-based piano VST plugins have a much smaller file size than their sampled piano counterpart. Physical modeling plugins use a set of equations and algorithms to re-create the waveform of the original instrument.

These plugins tend to be a lot more customizable than a lot of sample-based piano plugins, offering things like attack and sustain control, enveloping, and other controls that you'd expect on a synth. This is useful if you want control over your sound, but the sound is almost never as good as a sampled plugin.

This brings us to sample-based plugins…

Sample Based or Multi-sampled piano VSTs often sound incredibly realistic.

Some manufacturers go as far as to sample every possible sound and variation of a piano to achieve piano sounds that are indistinguishable from the original. Plugins like Keyscape and Kontakt get extremely close to this claim and sound almost identical to the original units.

In sample-based piano instruments, samples are recorded with multiple velocity layers and different dynamics. This is done to create the most realistic response possible when playing, because it replicates exactly how a piano would react, using the original sound source to do so.

Many of these samples are recorded over and over again, using top-of-the-range mic setups, in fantastic studios to get the most professional sound.

The more velocity layers and mic setups in a virtual piano instrument, the more realistic sounding it will be.

Sample-based piano VSTs however, tend to come with a massive drawback. If you're a beginner, doing work on your laptop, or just don't have the most capable system, the system requirements of the best piano VST plugin packages will be a hurdle.

Some Piano VSTs can be over 100GB in size, and draw more than 1.5 GB of RAM during use.

Additionally, there isn't usually much customization. You can't modulate parameters, alter the attack, and decay, and there is usually a very stripped-back FX section.

But, in all honesty, sample-based plugins sound better. They are a true, authentic piano sound, and that's usually what most people want.

Customizability

If you're more into sound design and getting the most unique and bespoke piano sound you can achieve. Go for something more in-depth, like an Omnisphere, or Synthogy Ivory II.

If you'd rather just have a simple piano VST, that will be an incredible model of a real-life piano. Something like Alicia's Keys or the UVI Model D will be up your alley.

Customizability can be a double-edged sword. You might think more options are always better, but this is simply not true.

While having a lot of options is great for getting unique results, sometimes, the clutter and amount of settings will work to hold you back. We think it's best to have a mix of Complex, in-depth plugins, alongside simple, one-knob piano VSTs. This way you're covering your bases and will always have the perfect tool for any job.

Option paralysis is real, and sometimes, the best things come in the simplest packages. Whether you prefer having a lot of options, or revel in limitations, there is a piano VST out there for you.

Price

Obviously, what most consumers look at before anything else, price is always an important factor to consider. The best piano VST does not have to be hundreds of dollars. But generally speaking, the more you pay, the better it will be.

There are a lot of great cheaper options for piano samples that sound great too, but you just can't beat something like Keyscape or Kontakt libraries. Keyscape is $400, Kontakt is even higher.

We really suggest investing in a good piano plugin, the difference in quality is extremely noticeable.

Compatibility

Look for:

  • Plugin format. Does it work on your computer/DAW setup?
  • Software needed. Do you need Kontakt full version or just player?
  • Licensing. Do you need an iLok account or 3rd party software to activate?
  • Multiple Licenses. How many activations do you get for how many computers?
  • Sustain Pedals. Does it work with your piano pedals?

Lastly, compatibility is something to keep in mind with plugins like these. Of course, you have to make sure the piano plugins support your operating system, be it Windows or Mac, but there's a little more to it than that.

Plugin format is an important one to look for because although most will come in the formats you need, some do not support certain DAWs. Whether you're using VST, AU, or AAX formats, you need to make sure you're getting the right thing.

Our list also features a few Kontakt instruments. Kontakt instruments require a Native Instruments' Kontakt sampler plugin to run. You will not be able to use a Kontakt plugin, without having Kontakt, simple as that.

And lastly, some VST piano plugins require an iLok. This could be as simple as just having an iLok account, or it might be that you need the physical iLok stick, to run these.

We hope you're able to avoid any compatibility issues, and we don't envy you if you can't. But please, before buying something, make sure you can actually use the product.

TIP: If you're using a sustain pedal, be aware, that there are VST plugins that don't handle sustain pedals all that well. Especially cheaper, or free software can often be victims of this issue.

Hardware Integration & UI

A lot of piano plugins come include great features that you should keep an eye out for:

  • Velocity curves for pianos or MIDI controllers (great for live playing and realism).
  • Micro-Tuning. Allows you to play outside of the western scale standard.
  • Effects. Great for sculpting sounds & creating altering variations of realistic piano.
  • Multiple Patches. Better to have a piano plugin that has E-Pianos, Grands, Celestes etc.
  • Instances & Layering. To combine different piano sounds & create new instruments.
  • RAM & CPU Measures. Help to save your project from overloading.

You also want to consider how the plugin integrates with your current hardware, and how feature-rich and useful the user interface is.

For instance, some plugins come with support for hardware such as MIDI controllers and digital pianos. This is especially useful, because you can set up the velocity curve for your specific piece of hardware, making the playing more realistic.

Keyscape is a plugin that includes support for this, with many profiles available on all the well-known digital piano brands. I personally use a P45 by Yamaha and they have a velocity curve for that.

There are also other important features like Micro-Tuning, multiple instances and layering that are useful to look out for. Micro-Tuning means you can play outside of the western scale system and multiple instances allow you to layer 2 or more patches together.

So, you could have a Wurlitzer mixed with an Upright Grand, and run them through the same FX processing chain.

You also want to look for effects. What effects does the plugin come with? Effects are incredibly useful for sculpting sounds and you can create some amazing variations of real-sounding pianos that are wonderful using them.

The last note to touch on is the browsing window and how CPU/RAM friendly the plugin is.

You want to be able to navigate the plugin easily, and have a huge range of sounds and presets at your fingertips. It's pointless having a plugin that only does one sound, when you can have one that does E-Pianos, Grands, Uprights, Celestes, and all their variations.

Additionally, a plugin that doesn't have RAM or CPU saving procedures is one that should be avoided unless you have a powerhouse PC or Mac.

What Are The Best Piano VSTs?

Here's the complete list of the best piano VSTs:

  1. Keyscape
  2. Addictive Keys
  3. Alicia's Keys
  4. The Giant
  5. Omnisphere
  6. Synthogy Ivory II Grand Pianos
  7. Vienna Imperial
  8. Garritan CFX Concert Grand
  9. Pianoteq 7
  10. Spitfire Audio Labs' Soft Piano (FREE)
  11. E-instruments Session Keys Grand S
  12. UVI Model D
  13. Prism Audio Atmos Piano (FREE)
  14. Garritan Personal Orchestra
  15. Keyzone Classic (FREE)

1. Keyscape

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $399

Best piano VST plugin Keyscape

The Spectrasonics Keyscape VST has been widely regarded as the must-have piano VST for all producers. And this is no surprise, it definitely is one of the MIDI midi piano software.

Keyscape features over 500 sounds with 36 instrument models as well as hybrid patches. This comes in a huge 70GB+ package, that has incredible attention to detail. This makes Keyscape one of the most realistic sounding digital piano instruments.

Keyscape uses multi-sampled sounds alongside a great velocity curve controls, including support for hardware digital pianos to make the playing experience so much more realistic. Everything from mechanical and pedal noise, to release modeling has been recreated, giving it the most realistic sound possible.

And, Keyscape doesn't only host piano sounds.

Although you can get Grands, Rhodes, and a plethora of keys and piano sounds – Keyscape also offers a large range of bell and string instruments too.

Our favourite of these is the Celeste, which pairs perfectly with the echo and vari-speed settings to create an awesome Lo-Fi sound.

Celeste sample with echo and vari-speed (as talked about above)

The Keyscape User Interface is also something that we absolutely love. It looks great, and finding what you're looking for is never cumbersome.

While it might consume a bit of CPU, Keyscape tends to be our go-to piano plugin for any piano sound.

All in all, you can achieve incredibly realistic Wurlitzer, and Rhodes EP sounds, as well as tons of other collector keyboards and instruments. All patches and sounds also feature authentic sounding, modeled amplifiers as well as effects, to allow for even further customization.

For Spectrasonics Omnisphere users, Keyscape additionally fully integrates into the already awesome Omnisphere package, that we'll talk more about a bit lower on this list.

2. Addictive Keys

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $149.95

top piano vst addictive keys XLN

XLN Audio probably already has you hooked on their awesome Addictive Drums plugin. So, for something just as real and great sounding, Addictive Keys might be for you.

Addictive Keys is centered around the player and uses a great deal of meticulously recorded samples to re-create the most accurate sound possible.

Everything from hammer and pedal noise, to microphone perspectives, has been carefully designed to give you the most realistic response possible.

What makes Addictive Keys stand out is the microphone perspectives. Not only do you get a choice over where your mic is placed, but you also get a wide range selection of high-end, boutique and vintage mics to choose from.

The Instrument choice is more limited than Keyscape in comparison, only offering four instruments, however, these are almost all that's needed. You get a Studio Grand piano, a Mark 1 Rhodes, Modern Upright Piano as well as an Electric Grand piano, to choose from.

XLN doesn't seem to miss, Addictive Keys continues their power-push, with a great and beautiful interface as well as world-class sound.

3. Alicia's Keys

Compatibility: Windows 10+, macOS 10+, Full Version of Kontakt Needed, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $89

alicia keys piano plugin

The first Native Instruments appearance on this list, Alicia's Keys is one of the best Kontakt instruments.

Made in cooperation between Alicia Keys and the Danish sampling specialist Scarbee – Alicia's Keys is a beautiful sounding piano. Sampled from her own playing and recorded in her studio, the sound of this piano VST embodies the soulful and sweet sound, that's so characteristic of her.

The instrument is Alicia's very own Yamaha C3 Neo Grand Piano built in 2002 for Yamaha's 100th anniversary. Recorded using vintage microphones and preamps, the team managed to capture the inspiring sound of the C3 down to the minute details.

In practice, there's rarely a piano sound, which will sound better than this. It's satisfying and inspiring to play and is bound to pull some greatness out of your piano playing.

Alicia's Key's is a 6.9GB instrument, which contains around 3000 individual samples with 12 velocity layers.

Unfortunately, it's only one instrument, and is a Grand Piano. So you won't be getting any E-Pianos or collector keyboard sounds out of this, which is reflected by the low price.

4. Omnisphere

Compatibility: Windows 10+, macOS 10+, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $399

omnisphere

What has often been regarded as the “world's best software synthesizer“, Spectrasonics Omnisphere doesn't fail to live up to that title.

Omnisphere is probably the one VST plugin that will last your entire lifetime. Since the last major update, Omnisphere now features over 12,000 individual sounds and sound sources. And the library is something over 80GB!

While Omnisphere isn't necessarily a piano VST, it features a wide range of real instruments, from pipe organs to electric pianos to flamenco guitar and more. In addition to this, Omnisphere also offers any kind of synthesis you might need.

Layering of Omnisphere and Keyscape sounds

Whether you want to record a piano ballad or create hard trance stabs, everything can be done with Omnisphere. In addition to granular and FM synthesis, you have an extremely powerful wavetable synthesizer, which comes with a vast amount of wavetables and samples to use.

All in all, Omnisphere is one of the most powerful and versatile plugins ever made. However, keep in mind, that your CPU might reflect that greatness. While it won't destroy your laptop, more complex sounds will tend to put a lot of strain on your processor.

Lastly, Omnisphere also serves as a hub for your Spectrasonics' instruments, whether you own Keyscape, Trillian, etc., you can access them from inside Omnisphere. You can layer these patches together inside Omnisphere to create the most incredible acoustic/synth sounds you've ever heard.

Omnisphere is consistently used across Film and TV compositions. And, although not directly a piano VST, it needs to be mentioned due to the sheer power and versatility it possesses.

5. Synthogy Ivory II Grand Pianos

Compatibility: Windows 10+, macOS 10+, VST, AU, AAX, RTAS, 64-bit
Price: $349

synthogy Ivory Grand best piano software

The classic, Ivory II Grand Pianos by the American sampling specialists Synthology, still remains one of the best piano VSTs on the market.

The software pianos you get are the:

  • Bosendorfer 290 Imperial Grand
  • Steinway D Concert Grand
  • Yamaha C7 Grand.

Synthology offers 16 factory presets for each of the pianos, however, an extensive control interface means you can design and create your own piano tones really easily. The Ivory II samples are incredibly high quality, modeling every little noise and characteristic which has been precisely captured and recreated.

Like with most sampled instruments of it's sort, Ivory II can be quite heavy on your computer. Installing all instruments and settings will require a massive 87GB of storage. The CPU usage can also get a bit high with lower-end systems, but live-play is incredible on this realistic sound-sampled piano.

While it's a heavy beast, the sound quality and grand piano sound are nearly unmatched, and as close to a real piano as digital pianos get.

6. Vienna Imperial

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $349

Vienna Imperial piano software

Elaborating on their earlier powerhouse, the Bosendorfer 290 Imperial virtual piano, the Vienna Imperial, released back in 2009, is an incredible grand piano VST plugin.

VSL's Vienna Imperial does not mess around, you don't get hundreds of different pianos or even four. What you do get is one of the most detailed grand piano software models ever made. The massive sample set offers up to a hundred different velocity layers per key.

Combining this with the multitude of articulations and other options, it equates to around 1200 recordings per single key.

As you might be guessing, this amount of audio has to take up a lot of space, and you'd be right. In Total, the files add up to around 500GB of lossless 44.1kHz audio. This is squeezed into a 50GB footprint, which seems tiny in comparison.

If this is no issue for you, however, Vienna Imperial will not disappoint. The amount of subtlety in this software instrument is absolutely impressive, providing incredibly consistent and dynamic sound across the board.

You'll have to keep in mind, however, that the amount of subtlety and precision in this piano VST, will reveal the limitations of your MIDI controller.

Some might say it's overkill, but when you're trying to get the most realistic possible sound digitally, subtlety and precision matter.

7. Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $149

Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand

Garritan is an amazing Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano that has been recorded inside the legendary Abbey Road Studio One.

Since the CFX concert grand is quite a rare piano, you'd be hard-pressed to find it in other Piano VST Plugins. Recorded by world-class engineers, with the greatest boutique microphones and hardware, to create an absolutely stunning instrument library.

With the piano VST plugins market being oversaturated as it is, the Garritan CFX concert grand piano VST is quite similar to other instruments in its functionality. You get different microphone placements and choice of microphone, as well as accompanying virtual mixing channels.

Garritan's piano VST offers incredible customizability and options, to create a bespoke sound, as if you were in the studio, recording it yourself. This is another heavy plugin, which, after decompressing from the 16GB installer, becomes 120 GB of quality sounds and instrument samples.

All in all, the CFX Concert Grand is incredible. It sits comfortably along the best piano VST plugins out there.

8. Pianoteq 7

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $149

pianoteq 7 best piano VST

The first actual synthesized digital piano software on our list, Pianoteq 7 is probably one of the best of its kind on the market.

What makes Pianoteq stand apart in the world of virtual instruments, is that all instruments are acoustically modelled. This means the instrument better simulates the playability and the complex behavior of acoustic instruments.

While the actual sounds might not be as realistic as sampled piano software, acoustically modelled pianos tend to excel with their playability. Modeled to recreate the dynamics and sonic response of piano playing is what creates the realistic sound in this instrument.

The Morph feature, while it's nothing revolutionary, is as usual great to have. Being able to morph two different sounds into one another opens up a new level of sound design.

In contrast to other entries on this list, Pianoteq is laughably tiny, with the install being around 50MB large (a mere fraction of the size of Ivory II). While it can be pushed to great lengths, it still only requires around 250MB of ram.

9. The Giant

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, Kontakt Needed, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $89

kontakt the giant piano plugin

The Giant, piano plugin is an entirely unique piano sound, that's available as a Kontakt instrument.

Native Instruments says that you've never seen or heard a piano like this, and this might just be true. Sampled from the world's biggest upright piano, The Giant offers an incredibly powerful and inspiring sound.

Based around the Klavins Piano Model 370i, which is literally “integrated” into the wall of a room. At over 3 meters tall and over two tons in weight, the Klavins 370i has a soundboard that's effectively twice the size of a typical grand piano.

This all adds up to The Giant having rumbling lows, sparkly high end, and very rich overtones. As the name suggests, everything about this piano VST sounds colossal.

Not only that, but The Giant is also, almost like two pianos in one. What NI calls its “dark alter ego”, you have access to a darker, more cinematic piano sound with dramatic effects.

In addition to this, you also get 40 Presets, which you can tweak further to get results anywhere from a rock piano to an old grand piano, without losing any of its massive qualities.

10. Spitfire Audio Labs' Soft Piano (FREE)

Compatibility: Windows 10+, macOS 10+, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $0

spitfire audio labs free piano vst

If you're a music producer and have never heard of Spitfire Audio “LABS”, you're missing out. LABS is an ongoing series of incredible, free software VST instruments made by sampling experts.

A go-to for everyone from beginner producers, to professional composers, some musicians swear by LABS, like no other VST. We'd have to agree. All sample libraries available with LABS are absolutely incredible, and downloading them for free feels like stealing.

Everything, from an acoustic piano, modulated guitars or modular ambiences, can be achieved with LABS, quick and simple.

The interface of LABS is limiting, but inspiring at the same time. You don't get any high-end bells and whistles, just some basic controls, but none of it matters when your sample library is so good.

Soft piano is our favorite sample-based piano on LABS.

Recorded with a thin strip of felt between the hammers and strings, Soft Piano lives up to its name with a soothing and warm tone. In the free category, LABS is easily the best piano software for PC. Not only due to its sheer amount of quality content, but also its minimal user interface.

The sample-based modeling in LABS is incredible, and we're always excited when a new sample library comes out. We think you should be too!

11. Session Keys Grand S

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, Kontakt Needed, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $99

session keys grand S grand piano software

Another Kontakt instrument, the E-Instruments Session Keys Grand S offers a unique sound and creative functionality. Sampled from a Steinway Model D4 Grand Piano, the sounds have been carefully selected and recorded, to provide a harmonically rich and warm piano tone.

In addition to the beautiful and rich tone of the Steinway Model D4, you also get a “pentamorph” controller as well as animation and effects.

The “Pentamorph” feature allows you to easily and quickly adjust the acoustics of this grand piano. From more conventional acoustics to left-field atmospheres, you can inject movement and dynamics into your performance.

Using the pentagonal morph control, you can mix and match any settings you like, to get the exact acoustics you're looking for

For less confident pianists, the Session Keys Grand S offers an animation mode, which is a sample-based pattern playback engine.

Using just one or two fingers, you'll be able to play different songs, licks, or melodies.

The patterns range from simple to complex and complexity can be controlled using pitch bend and the mod wheel.

A smart chord feature ties in with the animator, giving you the opportunity to play any chords or chord variations quickly and easily – no years of learning music theory required (although you definitely should).

In conclusion, Session Keys Grand S is a creativity-driven instrument. While it may not be the most incredibly realistic model out there, the added functionality makes this Steinway model D4 sample-based piano, a worthy contender.

12. UVI Model D

Compatibility: Windows 10+, macOS 10+, UVI Player, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $49

UVI model D piano software

The UVI Model D is another multi-sampled Steinway Model D virtual piano VST. Recorded on a European sound stage using the best equipment and complex multi-sampling techniques, UVI has managed to capture the soul of this instrument.

Unlike other manufacturers on this list, UVI does not get bogged down with details, and tens of features. The UVI Model D focuses on the essence of what a great-sounding piano plugin should be.

UVI doesn't give you the option to morph your sound or any other sound mangling trickery. You get what you sign up for, it's a natural and realistic piano sample from the amazing Steinway grand pianos.

You do get a few tonal controls, like EQ as well as Reverb, with a few synth-style elements like filters, envelopes, and modulation.

While it's not as versatile as many other best piano VST plugins, it is one of the cheapest and easiest on the CPU. You won't be doing deep sound design sessions with the Model D, but you will be well on your path to a crystalline piano sound.

13. Prism Audio Atmos Piano (FREE)

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, UVI Player, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $0

atmos piano free piano plugin

The Prism Audio Atmos Piano is a great little piano plugin, with a unique sound.

Perfect for an intimate ambiance or a lush cinematic bed, Atmos Piano is simple but powerful. Offering 2 microphone positions (Main & Hall), which can be mixed together, the simplicity of this plugin makes it a great tool for getting great results quickly.

In comparison to some of the big boys, which feature thousands of samples and noises with hundred-gigabyte packages, Atmos Piano is much sleeker. You get 341 samples, in a file size of less than 3GB. You can also use your sustain pedal with this one.

The GUI of Atmos Piano is reminiscent of Spitfire Audio LABS, with a blue-on-white color scheme. Atmos Piano, however, manages to be even more simple than LABS.

14. Garritan Personal Orchestra

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, UVI Player, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $119

garritan personal orchestra

The second Garritan VST plugin on our list, Personal Orchestra is an incredible orchestral plugin. Created back in 2004, this Garritan VST has captivated composers and music makers everywhere.

In the keyboard department, you have a selection of two piano sounds. A 9″ Steinway Model D Studio Grand piano as well as a smaller, 7″ Steinway Model B acoustic piano.

In addition to this, you get a full orchestra to choose from. Anything from French horn and trumpet, to harps and violins, Garritan's incredible VST is the perfect tool for laying down orchestral parts quickly.

Created to be a more streamlined approach to the massive and heavy orchestral sample libraries out there, Personal Orchestra has a tiny footprint and low CPU usage.

All that being said, Personal Orchestra won't rival the big orchestral VST plugins for sonic depth. It is however an incredibly versatile and solid package, to cover every orchestral base.

15. Keyzone Classic (FREE)

Compatibility: Windows 7+, macOS 10+, UVI Player, VST, AU, AAX, 64-bit
Price: $0

A free piano audio plugin from Keyzone

Created by some of the best curators of free audio plugins – Bitsonic Audio, Keyzone Classic delivers a powerful and smooth tone, with in-depth control. You can change settings such as the ADSR, Reverb, Volume, Velocity, and LFO

Keyzone Classic is a straightforward plugin, which can stand up to the title of the best free piano VST.

The LFO settings are amazing for creating a lo-fi, detuned piano sound (if you’re into that). With Keyzone you get 5 digital piano sample libraries, which sound really great for a free VST.

The pianos on offer are the piano from Keyzone 1, Yamaha Grand Piano, Steinway Grand Piano, Basic Electric Piano, and a Rhodes Electric Piano. All piano sounds are multi-sampled, to get the best sound out of these digital pianos.

If you don't want to spend any money or are just looking for something to try out your piano skills with, Keyzone is probably the best free piano VST.

How To Get A Realistic Piano Sound

Getting a realistic Piano sound is largely dependent on using the best piano VST for the job. Sadly, you can't turn a badly synthesized piano sound into the clearest of Steinway's, but you can mask it.

What we mean is, hiding all the little nuances, that usually make a piano more realistic sounding. Using effects like compression and reverb on a virtual piano, can help to make your piano plugin sound a bit more real.

Compression helps to level out some instability in your piano sounds as well as add some grit. While the listener might not notice it consciously, all of us expect a certain sound, when we hear a compressed piano. Since compression tends to come with artifacts and distortion, our brain will subconsciously ignore the piano sounds lack of realism.

While Compression can be a more subtle way of making your piano plugin more realistic, reverb can be used as a big brush. Reverb instantly fools our brain, by placing a sound inside of a pre-determined space.

This instantly makes the listener feel that the sound is more organic and closer to a natural upright piano or studio grand.

Sadly, these techniques are entirely a workaround. The best way to go will always be a real piano. If you can't get a real piano, there are plenty of quality sounds and pianos available to get more realistic piano tones.

Whether you need a new tool for music production, composing, or just want to mess around with your MIDI keyboard – great piano plugins are a necessity.

Finishing Up

To recap, here's the complete list of the best piano VSTs available:

  1. Keyscape
  2. Addictive Keys
  3. Alicia's Keys
  4. The Giant
  5. Omnisphere
  6. Synthogy Ivory II Grand Pianos
  7. Vienna Imperial
  8. Garritan CFX Concert Grand
  9. Pianoteq 7
  10. Spitfire Audio Labs' Soft Piano (FREE)
  11. E-instruments Session Keys Grand S
  12. UVI Model D
  13. Prism Audio Atmos Piano (FREE)
  14. Garritan Personal Orchestra
  15. Keyzone Classic (FREE)

From colossal, surgical reproductions of incredible instruments, to more laid-back piano samples, piano VST plugins today offer everything you might possibly need.

Whether you're striving for maximum realism and dynamic range, or just want a good piano sample to play with your midi keyboard, we hope you found what you were looking for.

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