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Top 5 Best Piano VSTs For Every Music Producer's Toolkit

June 23, 2023 
BY DAN SPENCER
Last Updated on January 8, 2024

In the realm of music production, choosing the right virtual instrument can be the difference between a good track and a masterpiece. If you've been on the hunt for the perfect piano sound, then you're in luck. This isn't just another blog post; consider it your roadmap to discovering the best piano VSTs available in 2024.

Whether you're a seasoned composer wanting to refine your sound or a beginner searching for a versatile plugin, we've handpicked the top 5 piano VSTs that are a harmonious blend of authenticity and creativity. They promise to take your compositions to new and exciting heights. So, sit back and prepare to be inspired as we journey into the world of exceptional virtual piano sounds.

1. Keyscape By Spectrasonics

Top Pick
Spectrasonics Keyscape
10/10Rating

Interested in getting this piano VST? Click the link below.

Keyscape is a piano plugin produced by Spectrasonics, a company renowned for its high-quality virtual instruments. Its features a broad and versatile collection of meticulously sampled keyboards, including grand pianos, upright pianos, electric pianos, and even more esoteric choices like clavinets and dulcetones. There are 36 modeled keyboards to be exact.

The standout aspect of Keyscape is the extraordinary level of care taken in the sampling process. Each instrument has been meticulously recorded with top-notch equipment, resulting in breathtakingly realistic sounds. Users can feel the character of each piano, whether it's the resonant depth of a concert grand or the nostalgic warble of a vintage Wurlitzer.

Keyscape's interface is user-friendly, allowing for extensive sound customization. In addition to the instruments themselves, it offers a comprehensive set of onboard effects to shape your tone further. From classic amp simulations to spatial reverbs, these effects can be creatively used to modify the sound to your liking.

With upwards of 500 different presets, the perfect tone for your production is just a click away.

Specs

  • 500 sounds with 36 Instrument Models
  • Hybrid 'Duo' Patches
  • Multisampled sounds with up to 32-way velocity switching and Round Robins
  • Mechanical noise, pedal noise, and release noise behavior modeling
  • Authentic circuit-modeled amplifiers and effects
Pros
  • It features hybrid duo patches that allow you to combine it with another VST to create a new patch.
  • The sound quality is great without any editing on your part.
  • It’s compatible with all major DAWs.
Cons
  • It doesn’t support advanced subtleties, such as quarter or half paddling, and modeled sympathetic resonance.
  • The installation can be a little complicated for beginners.

2. Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand

Top Pick
Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand
9/10Rating

Interested in getting this piano VST? Click the link below.

The Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand is a popular virtual piano plugin known for its quality and versatility. The plugin is a result of a collaboration between Garritan, a respected virtual instrument developer, and Abbey Road Studios, one of the most famous recording studios worldwide.

The plugin is a sampled version of the Yamaha CFX Concert Grand Piano. This particular piano is renowned for its wide range of tones, from resonant lows to sparkling highs. It's an instrument capable of commanding power and offering delicate subtlety when needed.

The piano was recorded in Abbey Road Studio One, a studio known for its exceptional acoustic properties, having been used for numerous famous recordings over the decades. The quality of the recording environment contributes significantly to the high-quality sound of this plugin.

The team behind this plugin used multiple high-quality microphones placed at various positions to capture the sound of the CFX piano. Users can choose between different microphone placements, allowing for a high degree of tonal customization. This feature caters to different styles, genres, and production requirements.

The Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand features a user-friendly interface, making it easier for users to explore and tweak the piano sounds to fit their needs. You can adjust factors like the level of mechanical noise, the lid position, and more.

The plugin also provides controls for adding convolution reverb to recreate the acoustics of different types of performance spaces

Specs

  • Classic set-ups for Piano (close, mid, and main mics)
  • Contemporary set-up (close and ambient)
  • Player set-ups (close and player mic set-ups)
  • 30+ presets covering all three set-ups
Pros
  • It provides different setups for a full experience.
  • ARIA player is included, so no need to install a sampler.
  • It comes with a convolution reverb, so it doesn’t require a reverb plug-in.
Cons
  • It contains a limited collection of presets compared to the other piano VSTs.

3. VSL Vienna Imperial

Top Pick
VSL Vienna Imperial
8.8/10Rating

Interested in getting this piano VST? Click the link below.

The Vienna Imperial Virtual Grand Piano by VSL recreates the Bosendorfer Imperial 290-755. Equipped with CEUS technology, it renders a precise and extensive piano version.

It features 1200 recorded samples in every key. In addition, it offers pedal-up and pedal-down with about 100 velocities to give you a full sound experience.

The VLS Vienna Imperial has a user-friendly interface with two views: basic and advanced. The basic view allows you to choose one of the three recording positions it offers. The first is the audience position, in which the microphone is placed at a distance. 

There’s also the player setting, where the mic is in a middle position. The third is the close position; this is where the mic is set on the body of the piano. Moreover, you can go into advanced view to access further control options. For instance, you can create a more realistic sound using convolution reverb and MIDI sensitivity. 

Specs

  • Three microphone recording positions: audience, player, and close microphone
  • Powerful proprietary piano engine and adjustable pedal noises
  • Multiple release samples for different note lengths (supports authentic staccato/staccatissimo performances)
  • Convolution reverb featuring three halls of the famous Vienna Konzerthaus
  • Equalizer with dynamic range control
  • Lossless sample compression that reduces the amount of hard disk space replaced
  • RAM Optimizer that unloads unused samples out of the RAM
Pros
  • You don’t need a reverb or equalizer plug-ins with this software.
  • With only 46.8 GB, it doesn’t require much space.
Cons
  • Licensing is done via iLok, which is not a favorite of many.

4. Addictive Keys (XLN Audio)

Top Pick
Addictive Keys Studio Grand
10/10Rating

Interested in getting this piano VST? Click the link below.

Addictive Keys Studio Grand is a well-regarded virtual piano plugin developed by XLN Audio. It delivers a beautiful and versatile sound, suitable for a wide range of musical genres.

The Studio Grand features samples from a Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano, which is renowned for its musical versatility and full-bodied sound.

The piano was recorded in a large recording studio at the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation. The room has a controlled acoustic ambience, which makes the piano sound natural whether you're playing soft jazz or powerful pop and rock.

The software offers six different recording perspectives (or channels) that you can mix between. These range from close mics for a dry sound to ambient mics that capture the sound of the room. This makes the plugin flexible for a wide variety of musical styles and production needs.

Lastly, the Addictive Keys Studio Grand comes with built-in effects including EQ, distortion, chorus, and reverb, allowing you to further shape and customize your sound.

Specs

  • Steinway Model D grand piano sounds
  • Presets ranging from open and natural to processed and strange
  • Six mic perspectives to choose from
  • A large collection of unique tones
  • Equalizer
Pros
  • It doesn’t require the installation of any DAW.
  • Great if you’re on a tight budget.
Cons
  • The product won’t function on older computers with a 32-bit system.

5. Spitfire Audio Originals Intimate Grand Piano

Top Pick
Spitfire Audio Originals Intimate Grand Piano
10/10Rating

Interested in getting this piano VST? Click the link below.

Spitfire Audio Originals Intimate Grand Piano is a versatile tool that caters to the needs of different users. It creates amazing music that works as stand-alone composition or as part of a larger ensemble.

With three microphone signals, it allows you to produce unique sounds that can help you create your signature style. The first signal is ribbon, which uses Coles 4038 ribbon microphones for a warm and colorful sound.

Second, there’s the condenser signal, which makes use of Neumann M149 microphones to provide you with a rich and crisp sound. The last is the binaural signal, which includes the Neumann KU100 dummy head. This last signal offers a realistic piano sound that functions particularly well with reverb.

This product comes with eight presets. That way, it offers you a wide variety of sounds that enable you to enjoy a full musical experience. In addition, this software includes some basic features such as reverb, hammer adjustments, and tightness.

On top of that, you get two licenses, which allow you to install this software on two devices. That way, you can finish your work anywhere you get inspired.

Specs

  • 3 microphone signals 
  • 8 presets including basic effects
  • 4 controls for maximum flexibility and accuracy
  • NKS Compatible
Pros
  • Great price for the amazing quality.
  • Gives two licenses for multiple installations.
Cons
  • The velocity on Spitfire Audio products is inconsistent.
  • It’s also not supported on 32-bit operating systems.

Related Article: Pianoforall Review: A Comprehensive Look At The Best Online Piano Lessons


Final Thoughts

In the vibrant world of music production, the perfect piano sound can truly make your composition stand out. Whether you're chasing the raw power of a grand piano, the warmth of an upright, or the unique charm of vintage keys, we believe there's a VST in this list that will resonate with your creative spirit.

Each of the options on our list bring distinct qualities to the table, providing endless possibilities for your music. Remember, the 'best' piano VST isn't just about high-quality samples or a user-friendly interface; it's about finding the tool that resonates with your creative instinct and amplifies your unique musical voice.

So, dive in, explore these top picks, and let your masterpiece begin!

"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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