VST, or Virtual Studio Technology, is a virtual, digital piece of technology or software that emulates the true sounds and nuances of an actual piano (or any other musical instrument). A piano VST plugin generates musical sounds digitally through the software, allowing musicians around the world to create music and use notes from a piano even in the absence of the physical instrument, itself. A Piano VST, with its computer software interface contains all the effects, sounds, and editors that a conventional MIDI controller does.
Our Piano VST Recommendations
For people searching for an extensive piano VST library, the Spectrasonics Keyscape is the ultimate choice. Offering a very vast selection of recorded piano samples in ultra-high quality, the Keyscape has everything you’d want in your virtual Piano and so much more.
Keyscape offers everything from custom controls to hybrid duo sounds enabling the user to combine sounds from two different instruments and give birth to a new one altogether. Not to mention, Keyscape is very user friendly, mid-priced, and is self-contained – in that it is accessible through a standalone plugin. Some of the most notable piano sounds included in this software include those from the Rhodes Classic Mark I, LA Custom C7 Grand Piano, Wing Upright Piano, the Wurlitzer 140B, and more.
Native Instruments Alicia Keys
From the soulful music maestro herself, the Native Instruments Alicia Keys Piano VST plugin is perhaps one of the most popular choices out there. Economically priced, this particular VST was developed in collaboration with the artist herself.
With an elaborately visualized interface, this VST has a single grand piano sample. Relatively easy to use and manipulate, this software has clearly outlined, distinct settings and tabs allowing even novice users to make their way around.
East West Quantum Leap Piano
One of the more expensive choices, the East West Quantum Leap Piano is a fantastic (paid) option for piano sounds. A Piano VST plugin that comes with multiple piano samples, very extensive settings and an equally expansive features panel, this VST allows you to create all the sounds you’ve ever imagined.
From articulation, to envelope adjustment, microphone position editing, to ambience alterations, you can do all this and so much more. This particular piano VST also comes with a monthly subscription that gives you access to even more exclusive features for an additional monthly fee.
How to Choose The Right Piano VST
Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands of top of the line Piano VST plugin’s available in the market – each claiming to be the best, providing amazingly hyper-realistic piano sounds. However, just like an unweighted keyboard isn’t going to give you the same sound as a Rhodes’ electric piano would, not every piano VST plugin will give you the same result.
There are certain nuances which affect the quality of the sounds produced, hence the reason why it’s essential for you to thoroughly evaluate the features of the piano VST’s and weight the individual pros and cons before making a commitment (read purchase).
Factors to consider before selecting a Piano VST plugin
When it comes to Piano VST plugins, there are two basic types. One is Sample-Based, and the other is Modeled. A sample-based piano VST is where the plugin has prerecorded sound samples from an actual acoustic piano. All 88 keys are recorded multiple times and in different ways and made available virtually for musicians to use and combine.
A modeled piano VST is basically a piano software that runs on a coded algorithm which produces a sound quite similar to an original acoustic instrument.
Apart from selecting the type of piano VST, you also have to consider customizability. Are you looking for a VST that just has the basics to keep you covered, or are you looking for unique features to be able to create original sounds?
Compatibility comes into play depending on the computer software you’re using and comfortable with. You don’t want to be stuck having purchased a piano VST plugin that’s only compatible with a Mac iOS. Irrespective of the operating system you use, one specific for Mac probably isn’t going to work on your system.
Last but not least, evaluating price points is a very big factor to consider before you get yourself a Piano VST. Depending on your use, budget, and need for sound and effect, there’s an entire range of piano VST’s in the market offering great sounds. While some of them are completely free, there are some that come with a hefty price tag – however, they’re usually the one’s that offer the most professional sounds.