Spectrasonics’ Keyscape is an extensively multi-sampled library of 36 rare and boutique keyboard instruments from around the world. XLN Audio’s Addictive Keys offers 4 high-quality keyboard instruments and is more affordable.
|Spectrasonics Keyscape||XLN Audio Addictive Keys|
|Instruments||36||4 (bought seperately)|
|Price||$399 (boxed or download)||$95 per instrument|
$150 Duo bundle
$180 Trio Bundle
Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS, 32-bit & 64-Bit, VST, AU, AAX
From the makers of the incredible Omnisphere comes, Keyscape – Spectrasonics’ flagship keyboard library.
Often called the largest selection of collector keyboards in the world, Keyscape is nothing short of amazing.
Keyscape features 36 sampled instruments. These range from classic C7 Grand Pianos, to vintage Wurlitzers, Rhodes and other rare boutique keyboards. The focus of Keyscape is very much on the rare and unique keyboard instruments, rather than offering just pianos.
For instance, you can find electric harps, dulcimer’s, celeste’s, music boxes and a whole load of awesome sounds.
Spectrasonics have spent an entire decade bringing together classic instruments to restore, and record, with an intense attention to detail. When sampling, they recorded every single imperfection and noise, that these instruments make, so they sound almost identical to the real thing!
Anything from pedal noise, to body resonance and key attack has been recorded & recreated with awe inspiring precision.
You can also load Keyscape presets within Omnisphere too, and this can be incredible for sound design. But these two plugins are quite different in their approach.
Omnisphere focuses on in-depth sound manipulation, processing, and customization, while Keyscape is all about the instruments. While you don’t get much in terms of sound-mangling, you do get over 500 included presets, that make the most out of the sounds included.
You can also create something called Duos with Keyscape, which allows you to combine the timbres and sounds of two instruments.
So, if you wanted a celeste layered with a piano, or a piano with an electric harp – you can do it.
Probably the biggest downside to Keyscape, is the same as it’s biggest strength. The size of the library is gigantic.
The full install of Keyscape is over 75GB.
This not only weighs down your hard drive, but also makes opening instruments and presets, quite long, since the plugin has to load multiple gigabytes of information in. Putting the library on an SSD doesn’t do much to improve the speed either.
That being said, once an Instrument is loaded and ready to go, you’ll instantly forget any annoyance you might have been having, it just sounds that good.
How Does It Sound?
Keyscape is hands down the most realistic sounding Piano sampler instrument about. Some of the instruments are miles better than the best Kontakt libraries.
Going through the entire library of keyboards doesn’t make much sense here. While we could keep gushing on about how great these instruments sound, it would be like trying to review a C7 Grand, or Wurlitzer.
This is probably the best thing we can say about Keyscape, we absolutely cannot tell the difference between Keyscape and a real instrument. Maybe our ears aren’t as closely tuned to the intricacies of vintage keyboards, but when presented with both, we wouldn’t be able to make an accurate guess.
We’ve left some examples below from Purple Slush – The Ultimate Lo-Fi Sample Pack
✅ 36 Instruments and 500 presets
✅ Incredibly detailed sound-reproduction
✅ Practically indistinguishable from the real instruments.
✅ Hybrid “Duo” Modelling mode
✅ Full Omnisphere integration
✅ Deep Multi-Sampling with up to 32-way velocity switching.
❌ Opening instruments and presets can take a while.
❌ Not Cheap
Spectrasonics’ Keyscape is not a cheap instrument, coming in at $399 for both the boxed and download versions.
Addictive Keys Review
Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS, 32-bit & 64-Bit, VST, AU, AAX
One of the most famous plugins from Sweden’s XLN Audio’s lineup, Addictive Keys is their flagship keyboard instrument collection.
The instruments available for Addictive Keys are an Electric Grand, Modern Upright, Mark One and Studio Grand. These are sold separately, but Duo and Trio bundles are available, and allow you to pick the keyboards you want.
In a similar fashion to Addictive Drums, the key to this plugin is providing excellent quality sound and customization, in a small footprint. In this case, 4GB for the all 4 keyboards.
In addition to the keyboards, you get a host of different effects, from noise generators like tape and vinyl, to distortion and modulation effects. A reverb and Delay is also available.
Each instrument in the Addictive Keys line has been recorded with multiple mics, in many positions, letting you mix and match your recordings, the way you want them.
One of the greatest features about Addictive Keys however, is the XLN Audio Cloud Sync platform. Cloud Sync works with Addictive Keys, Drums, Trigger or RC-20, and saves all the presets you save, to your XLN account.
When working on more than one system, Cloud Sync is incredible, you can make a preset on your home pc, and instantly access it in your studio. Cloud Sync even stores any updates and deleted presets, keeping a constant memo of your presets, that lets you restore any old work, any time you want.
How Does It Sound?
Admittedly, Addictive Keys sound really awesome, pedal noises and body resonance have all been recreated, and the keyboards sound really realistic and present.
In terms of sound, Addictive Keys is easily comparable to Keyscape, offering an impressively realistic and controlled sound, perfect for any performance, or recording.
The Steinway D Grand Piano sampled here, is the absolute pinnacle of grand pianos. Those in the know, there’s not much better you can get, than Steinway. The presets included are also really good, saving you some time when designing sounds.
The effects and six mic placements also allow for a nice amount of customizability and adjustment. Addictive Keys sounds great, but at times it can lack some “grandness”, but for the price, there isn’t a better sounding piano VST you can get.
✅ Great choice of microphones and perspectives
✅ XLN Cloud Sync
✅ Optimized and fast loading times
✅ High-Quality Sound
✅ Multitude of sound-sculpting effects and devices
✅ Full Installation is Light-Weight (4GB)
❌ All instruments have to be bought separately
❌ Only 4 instruments available
❌ Mandatory online installation
XLN Audio’s Addictive Keys pianos have to be purchased separately.
- Individual of the pianos cost $95.
- Duo and Trio bundles are also available, for $155 and $180 respectively.
Keyscape vs Addictive Keys Verdict
On one hand, Keyscape is one of the greatest digital keyboard collections ever made. On the other, Addictive Keys provides more flexibility, with a smaller footprint, and short loading times. You’re going to get a better sound with Keyscape vs Addictive Keys, but it might be too much of a hit to your wallet & DAW load times.
Which of these is right for you, depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in a classic acoustic piano sound, such as a grand piano or acoustic piano, Keyscape might be best for you, the sampling and reproduction are great, and will be perfect for any pianist.
That being said, Keyscape offers 32 more instruments, that have all been sampled just as good, if not better, than Addictive Keys. While you do lack some of the settings and control that AK has, the awesome piano library provides you with everything you might ever want in terms of piano sounds.
In addition to all the rare and unique boutique piano instruments, the DUO mode lets you literally create an entirely new piano sound, with a few mouse clicks.
You will need quite a lot of RAM, to be able to use Keyscape without any loading times or slowness however, so, if you’re on a lower-end computer, Keyscape might be a little out of your reach.
Probably the best digital piano reproduction, is the Garritan CFX Concert Grand, recorded in Abbey Road Studio One. That being said, Addictive Keys’ Steinway Grand has quite a lot to offer, even if it’s huge qualities are a bit limited.
Addictive Keys is one of the most affordable options for professional multi-sampled instruments (to begin with). It’s only $95/instrument vs Keyscape’s $400. However, if you like Addictive Keys (& end up buying the collection) Keyscape actually turns out cheaper & gives you way more instruments.
Straight up, bang-for-your-buck, Keyscape blows Addictive Keys out of the water. If you bought all 4 individual keyboards AK have to offer, you’d be spending pretty much the same money as Keyscape costs in total. And that’s a difference of 32 instruments you get in addition.
If getting the most for your money is a factor, Keyscape is the best you can get.
Whether you’re looking for unique and rare keyboard instruments from around the world, or classic Yamaha and Steinway grand piano emulations. Whether you choose to go for Spectrasonics Keyscape or XLN Audio Addictive Keys, both of these are high-end instruments, with incredible sound quality.
You won’t be disappointed in getting either of these, so the choice can be hard to make. That being said, we hope we at least helped you along, to figure out which is the plugin for you.
Spectrasonics Keyscape is our personal favorite, but there are tons of people that swear by Addictive Keys, and we can see why. No high-quality instrument can substitute for great playing, so it’s probably off to practicing for you.
Toms is a music producer & DJ, born and raised in Post Soviet Latvia. Currently based in Brighton, Toms has had over 6 years of experience with all things production and in that time, he’s done a tonne of cool stuff! He’s played multiple festivals, had experience in the field with mixing & mastering and even become a freelance journalist in the music industry.
Toms currently creates music under the alias Sovereign. Producing music that’s intimate and subtle, while full of edge and energy, the young producer combines the artistic sounds of Trip Hop artists like Massive Attack, with the energy and youthfulness of producers like Flume, Jamie XX and Yaeji. You can check his stuff on Soundcloud.