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Organic Instruments Arcadia: Grand Piano Review

Organic Instruments Arcadia: Grand Piano Review
5.0

Sometimes a little gem of a plugin appears from the shadows. Arcadia Grand Piano is one of those exciting new plugins.

Sometimes a little gem of a plugin appears from the shadows. This is one of those exciting new plugins. While still only a relatively new plugin producer, Organic Instruments have brought a meticulously produced virtual instrument which is a real competitor to the big players on the market.

Our Organic Instruments Arcadia: Grand Piano Review seeks to test out this new VST instrument and put it through the paces.

Organic Instruments Arcadia: Grand Piano Review

Before we begin, we need to download and install the plugin. A license is acquired from the website and the download and license key (which is to be activated via iLok) are available in the user area once purchased.

All fairly simple and self explanatory however there is documentation available should you need it. The plugin supports both Windows and Mac, with full Apple Silicon compatibility.

The plugin download is currently around 3Gb in size but this type of file size is expected as Arcadia features over 13½ hours of sampled content, 4 specialized articulations and adjustable mechanical sounds for keys and pedals.

The latest edition of Organic Instrument’s Grand Piano allows musicians to craft realistic digital performances, while speeding up render time and reducing load on their computers.

Organic Instruments Arcadia: Grand Piano Review box product

First impressions

For our Organic Instruments Arcadia: Grand Piano Review the first impressions (even before opening the plugin) are good. The site looks professional and after a chat with the developer I also learnt a lot about where the plugin came from.

Jonathan from Organic Instruments explained that “essentially I was working on some piano compositions for school, however I really wanted a more realistic rendition of the piece than some DAW’s default piano libraries could offer.

I started looking for a good VST that I could use instead, and quickly discovered that the truly realistic plug-ins were far beyond the budget of any casual composer, while the more affordable options often had limited articulations, no round robins, poorly trimmed samples, or an unfortunate combination of the three.

Hence, I did the only thing natural: embark on a mission to create my own plug-in, with absolutely zero knowledge about how to do it.”

He went on to explain that he didn’t want to be reliant on existing sample players such as Kontakt, and was also concerned that involving unnecessary 3rd party companies could drive up the cost of the plug-in. After all the aim of this plugin was to remain affordable and accessible.

Therefore he developed the player for Arcadia from the ground up, actually teaching himself how to code in C++ at the same time to make it happen.

All the samples were recorded on his grand piano at home (mostly in the deep of night to avoid birds or traffic creeping into the recordings) and were individually trimmed by ear. The results of this effort are astounding and well worth the effort.

How does Arcadia: Grand Piano sound?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and once I installed the plugin I opened up in Bitwig Studio and stuck it on a midi track with some Scaler 2 generated chord progressions. Even just a few little tweaks of the delay and reverb give you a realistic piano sound.

Additional pedal and keys mechanical sounds can be dialled in as much or as little as you wish (in addition to being able to switch it off entirely).

Organic Instruments Arcadia: Grand Piano Review in action

Great Value For Money

The major piece that strikes me about this plugin is the price. The full price is $29 (while on offer up until December 25th at $17). The value for money on this us unbelievable.

When you look at other similar products from more established vendors (Native Instruments specifically) then it is clear to see that Arcade: Grand Piano can stand up to the competition.

What does Arcade: Grand Piano have over the competition? It works natively within the DAW. No player needed.

This means modulation options are able to be opened up and allows you to automate changes to parameters automatically within the DAW which lets you bring life to your mixes.

Further features which are included in the product are:

  • up to 5 recorded dynamic layers.
  • up to 4 round-robins per sample, for natural variation and realism.
  • contains 4 articulations: sustained, staccato, felted and una corda.
  • additional samples of internal key and pedal mechanics.
  • included dynamic filter, for adjusting the playable dynamic range.
  • built-in reverb and envelope controls.
  • intuitive and resizable user interface.
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Final thoughts?

So what is my honest opinion in this Organic Instruments Arcadia: Grand Piano Review? I love the way it sounds. I think the quality of the samples are second to none and – for full disclosure – although I was given this as a review product, I’d be perfectly happy to pay twice the price for this product.

To learn that this new developer has produced the plugin while learning to code is something that struck me as to what the secret is behind this piano.

The love and care put in to the development resonates throughout the plugin itself. It performs well and sounds great, like having a real piano in the room with you. Top marks. You need to buy this plugin.

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