Keyscape vs Arturia V Collection (Which is Better?)

If you're looking for keyboard instrument emulations, you're bound to run into two names, Keyscape and the Arturia V Collection. While at first glance these might appear similar, they are anything but. With Keyscape and Arturia targeting different musicians, it can be difficult to make a choice.

So which one should you get, Spectrasonics Keyscape, or the Arturia V Collection 8?

In this article, we'll answer that very question and put both to the test, so you can decide objectively, which is best for you.

Keyscape vs Arturia V Collection (TL;DR Answer)

Keyscape is better than Arturia V Collection for Keyboard & Piano sounds. It has an 80GB library that captures all the natural inflexions of real instruments. Arturia is better than Keyscape if you want a wider range of sounds. It includes anything from E-pianos to hardware synth emulations, whereas Keyscape is only for Pianos.

If you want a wider range of sounds, then you should get Arturia V Collection over Keyscape. However, the piano sounds in it are limited and Keyscape fairs much better here, with a huge library dedicated to Piano and Keyboard sounds.

The two are difficult to compare because they are totally different instruments and it would be best to have both in your collection. So, it's not really a case of one over the other, it's more a case of which you get first.

If you want keyboard & piano sounds, get Keyscape. If you want old hardware synth sounds, get Arturia V Collection.

Keyscape

Compatibility: VST, AU, AAX (Windows 10, Mac OS X 10.13+, 64-bit only)
Price: $399

Pros

✅ 36 Instrument models, 500+ sounds and an 80GB library

✅ Duo/Hybrid Instruments that allow you to merge multiple patches for intriguing sound design

✅ Detailed multi-sampling, that provides incredible piano realism

✅ Velocity curves for almost all hardware digital pianos (provides a real-feel playing experience)

✅ Mechanical Noise, Pedal Noise, and more

✅ Full Omnisphere integration

Cons

❌ Long loading times on hard-drives

❌ Can be CPU intensive

Arturia V Collection

Compatibility: VST, AU, AAX, NKS ( Windows 10, Mac OS X 10.13+, 64-bit only)
Price: $650

Pros

✅ 28 Modeled synths and instruments

✅ Great Macro feature

✅ Detailed emulations

✅ Over 10,000 Presets

✅ In-App tutorials for all instruments

Cons

❌ Long loading times, especially on hard-drives

❌ Can be overwhelming

Why Would I Choose Keyscape Over Arturia and Vice Versa?

Keyscape is better than Arturia when it comes to Piano, with over 80GB of content. Arturia V Collection has a few E-Piano sounds and is aimed at hardware synth emulations, including 20GB of content and a wider range of more ethereal sounding instruments. If you want Piano sounds, get Keyscape. If you want synths, get Arturia.

If you already have something like Kontakt, and a good Piano instrument with it, then there wouldn't be much use in Keyscape. So, Arturia V Collection would be a fantastic choice.

(Keyscape sounds more realistic that most Kontakt Pianos, but it's not worth the extra $399).

But, if you're looking for realistic sounds for Grand Pianos, Rhodes, Clavinets, Celestes & more, then Keyscape is a stellar pick. You get 36 different instruments and along with all the incredible sounds, you also get built-in effects with Keyscape such as Reverb, Delay, Echo, Timbre & tone shift capability, EQ, Compression and more.

These effects are incredibly useful and using the echo, vari-speed and tone shift elements, you can make some wild, dissonant sounding parts that twist and turn.

With V Collection, you're getting much less with only 24 keyboard instruments (some presets emulate pianos), and at a higher price of $599. Despite the higher price tag, V Collection sounds incredible and the emulations of the synths provided with it are amazing. You get a range of effects as found in the original units, effects to add on top of those, and a copy of Analog Lab included. So, it's well worth the money.

However, as we said above, it's not really a competition between the two plugins. Each does different things and it's best you get both. If you want synth sounds, Arturia. If you want Piano, Keyscape.

Sound Library & Quality

The sound quality and library of both are fantastic. Keyscape takes the edge slightly over V Collection offering 80GB of content that provides the most accurate piano sounds we've ever heard in a sampler instrument. V Collection also sounds phenomenal, but talking value for money, Keyscape wins here.

Both Keyscape and the Arturia V Collection have been meticulously multi-sampled, to recreate the tiniest detail of the original instruments. From mechanical and pedal noise in Keyscape to electrical component emulations for Arturia, the amount of detail in the multi-sampled sounds is incredible!

Keyscape

The Keyscape library features a total of 36 individual instruments. This includes a Duo/Hybrid feature that lets you combine any two of these instruments, into a completely new and unique instrument.

In addition, all sounds have in depth controls, which let you shape and customize the sound massively. For example, the tone knob can take your piano from a bright and jangly bell sound to dark & dissonant tones.

That's a few examples of what you can do with Keyscape, here are some examples of how Keyscape sounds.

???? Keyscape Audio Examples

Grand Piano (Purple Slush Lofi Pack)
E-Piano (Purple Slush Lofi Pack)

Arturia

V Collection features 24 stunning recreations of hardware synths, using extensive modelling to accurately reproduce the sound.

They have modelled the original circuitry found in instruments like the CS-80, Jupiter-8, ARP-2600 etc. to make the emulations as precise as possible. This makes them crisp & almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

Arturia has additionally added modern touches to all instruments, to make them even more usable.

???? V Collection Audio Examples

Modulation & FX

Both Keyscape and V Collection have stripped back FX. You won't find a separate “FX” module. In Keyscape you'll get effects like Reverb, Echo, Delay, Compression, EQ & Tone shift. In V Collection, you get the FX found on the original hardware unit and a few extra slots. Both instruments change the FX as you alter the patch.

All of the effects and modulators available in Keyscape are modelled on real hardware effects, such as the Boss CE-2 Chorus for the Wurlitzer 200A instrument. This is the same for V Collection – it models the original hardware FX unit.

Arturia V Collection doesn't have separate effects or modulators, rather each instrument model has its own set of modulators and effects.

keyscape FX module
Keyscape FX module across the bottom (click image to enlarge)
Arturia V Collection OBX a
Arturia FX models the original instrument. It changes as you change instruments.

Modulation is pretty much non-existent in Keyscape, apart from a few tremolos and vari-speed effects that can be used on certain instruments. This is expected as Spectrasonics are modelling pianos, which don't have as much modulation control as you'd expect a synthesizer to have.

While you can adjust the instrument timbres and add modulation in Keyscape, there's not a lot more you can do.

V Collection has a lot more control in terms of modulation, offering ADSR, LFOs and an array of modulation parameters you'd expect to find in a classic synthesizer instrument. However, it's not a lot and, with both, you're most likely going to use 3rd party VST effects with the Arturia V Collection instruments, rather than relying on the built-in.

Ease of Use & UI

Look & Feel

The UI in both V Collection and Keyscape is great. They're smooth, clean and easy to understand. Keyscape would win in terms of usability. The interface is much cleaner and easier to understand. V Collection focuses on modelling the old hardware, which can be difficult to understand for producers from a digital synth background at first.

You simply have less to worry and think about when loading up a patch, or creating a new one with Keyscape – everything is pre-configured for you!

The Arturia V Collection consists of awesome synths, but you'll have to fiddle around with the controls to design the sound you want. That being said, all Arturia synths look incredible. They're modelled to look like the real instrument, so you'll be messing around with knobs, cables and so on.

This could be daunting or amazing, depending on what your background is and how your brain is wired. For those coming from a digital wavetable background, it might take a few tries to get used to V Collection's instruments.

Keyscape also looks great, but the visual presentation is more like a picture of the instrument, rather than feeling like the instrument itself (which is a little more boring).

Preset Management & Quality

Both V Collection and Keyscape have fantastic sounding presets. You get more presets with V Collection, but it's harder to navigate and the quality isn't as consistent as Keyscape. Both have the ability to download extra and save your own presets. Keyscape also includes a velocity preset section for digital pianos.

The sound libraries are easily accessible, very well laid out, and it's super easy to create, save and load your presets in Keyscape, with over 500 different patches available.

You can wildly expand the library of Keyscape by pairing it with Omnisphere. This allows you to use Omnisphere

The Arturia V Collection synths also have quite an extensive library, but it can be a bit harder to navigate. With over 10,000 presets available, you end up scrolling through lots of presets even with the great categories!

arturia v collection preset browser
V Collection preset browser
keyscape presets
Keyscape preset browser (left)

Analog Lab V is a testament to this. you can select the instrument, or the mood, or timbre, but you still end up with a hundred plus results.

Loading presets and instruments with the V Collection also can take a bit longer. Especially for hard-drive users, expect to see loading times of up to 1 minute.

Which is More CPU Friendly?

When it comes to CPU usage, Keyscape is a lot more friendly towards your system. While neither Keyscape nor Arturia V Collection synths are exactly light on your system, Keyscape tends to work more efficiently.

This entirely depends on what instruments you're using, but from experience, the Arturia V Collection synths such as Synthi V and Buchla V can easily get glitchy or unusable on lower-end computers. Especially if you're using the synths in poly mode (which will increase CPU usage even more).

Keyscape on the other hand is quite consistent when it comes to CPU usage since it's mostly a sample-based plugin. The RAM and Hard-Drive load are what tend to be the issue with Keyscape. That being said, Keyscape has a RAM sampler mode, which will make Keyscape heaps faster but will inevitably clog up your system.

We suggest using the RAM sampler mode if you have plenty of memory available, so if you have only 8GB of

Which Will Take Up The Most HDD Space?

Keyscape takes up the most hard drive space when compared to Arturia V Collection. Keyscape has a library of around 80GB, while Arturia has a much smaller library of 20GB. This is reflected in the sound quality of some of the instruments, with Keyscape being better for realism.

For producers that need a smaller version, Keyscape also offers a lite install. This is meant for touring musicians and comes to 30GB in total. Using this version will reduce the quality of some instruments, but if you need the space, it might be worth choosing this option.

We'd always recommend using Keyscape on a 7200RPM HDD or SSD. SSD is always better, but if you can't afford it, a 7200RPM HDD is fine.

It's best to avoid installing on an external drive. You can do it, but depending on your setup, this could affect your load speeds drastically. Even when using a 7200RPM external HDD, the speeds are limited by your port's transfer speeds. This is less of an issue with USB 3, USB C, Thunderbolt etc. so you'll probably be fine if you have those ports. So, save these for your external HDD.

How Many Computers Can I Install Keyscape or Arturia V Collection on?

Here's how many times you can activate Keyscape and Arturia V Collection:

  • Keyscape – Unlimited computers as long as you're the only user
  • Arturia V Collection – Up to 5 computers per license

What Specifications Do I Need To Run Keyscape or Arturia V Collection?

If you're using a low-end computer, either of these instrument collections will be quite taxing on your system. When it comes to using these instruments, the Arturia V Collection will work better on lower-end computers. That being said, both plugins will take a while to load up due to their large library sizes.

Here is a side by side comparison of the specifications needed to run Keyscape & Arturia V Collection:

Keyscape:

  • Win 7+, Mac OS X 10.13+ (64bit)
  • 2.4 GHz Intel dual-core processor or higher (i7 recommended)
  • 8GB RAM minimum
  • Solid State Drive recommended
  • 80 GB of free hard drive space (30 GB for lite install)

Arturia V Collection 8:

  • Win 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.13+ (64bit)
  • 2.5 GHz CPU
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 20GB free hard disk space
  • OpenGL 2.0 compatible GPU

Which is Better Value for Money – Keyscape or Arturia?

Keyscape is better value for money. At $200 less than Arturia's V Collection, Keyscape has a sound library of over 60GB more than Arturia's. You get 10 more instruments with Keyscape and the functionality with Omnisphere, alongside some stellar effects. You only get Piano with Keyscape, so Arturia is better for synth-based sounds.

Not everyone needs 36 different Keyboards though, and the comparison between Keyscape and Arturia V Collection is difficult to make, seeing as they're used for different purposes.

Arturia offers a far wider range of sounds with different timbres, tones and the ability to get under the hood and change the synth settings.

The variation of synthesizers can cover everything from classic rock to 80s pop, to modern hip hop and everything in-between. When it comes to versatility, there's no question, the Arturia V Collection will give you way more to work with.

In terms of features and sounds, you get a lot more value for money with Keyscape. However, it's not a case of one being better than the other, but more a case of which one suits your production setup the best at this moment in time. Get that one, and save up for the other later.

Verdict

So to sum up:

Keyscape is better than Arturia V Collection for Keyboard & Piano sounds. It has an 80GB library that captures all the natural inflexions of real instruments. Arturia is better than Keyscape if you want a wider range of sounds. It includes anything from E-pianos to hardware synth emulations, whereas Keyscape is only for Pianos.

While at first glance both Keyscape and the Arturia V Collection might appear similar, they are anything but. That being said, both are very different collections of instruments, so if you're looking for piano sounds, go for Keyscape. If Synths and analogue hardware are your thing, the Arturia V Collection will be a blast to use!