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My Best Piano VSTs
#2859621 06/17/19 03:23 PM
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Hello piano lovers.

There are many things we check before purchasing Piano VST. In my case, what I consider first is the Body(sound), Sustain and Dynamics. Ah, I want to add one more, Response. So far, I have used more than 20 Piano VSTs, so that I can tell clearly some pros and cons of these sample libraries from my own experiences. Of course, some VSTs were just a waste of money but there are also good VSTs that exceeds the value of the price tag.

Below are my personal recommendations with some important features of the Piano VST which we consider most when purchasing one.

VSTs with good "Dynamics"
1. Synthogy Ivory 2 Studio Grands / American Concert D ☞ Check out the full review
2. Modartt Pianoteq 6 - All modeled pianos from Modartt ☞ Check out the full review
3. Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand Full ☞ Check out the full review

VST with good "Response"
1. Modartt Pianoteq 6 ☞ Check out the full review
2. Native Instruments The Grandeur ☞ Check out the full review
3. Impact Soundworks Pearl Concert Grand ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with "high main volume"
1. Spectrasonics Keyscape Creative ☞ Check out the full review
2. Modartt Pianoteq 6 ☞ Check out the full review
3. UVI Piano Collection Model D ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with long "Sustain"
1. Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand Full ☞ Check out the full review
2. Native Instruments The Grandeur ☞ Check out the full review
3. VI Labs Ravenscroft 275 ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with good "Body"
1. Spectrasonics Keyscape Creative ☞ Check out the full review
2. Cinesamples CinePiano ☞ Check out the full review
3. Native Instruments Alicia's Keys ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with good default "Ambient"
1. Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand Full ☞ Check out the full review
2. Spectrasonics Keyscape Creative ☞ Check out the full review
3. Native Instruments Alicia's Keys ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with deep "Low registers"
1. Native Instruments The Giant
2. Production Voices Concert Grand Gold ☞ Check out the full review
3. VI Labs True Keys American ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with good "Natural(acoustic) tone"
1. Soninccouture Hammersmith Pro ☞ Check out the full review
2. Production Voices Concert Grand Gold ☞ Check out the full review
3. Impact Soundworks Pearl Concert Grand ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with "Warm tone"
1. Synthogy Ivory 2 American Concert D ☞ Check out the full review
2. Best Service Galaxy Vintage D ☞ Check out the full review
3. Cinesamples CinePiano ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with good "Lite version"
1. Production Voices Concert Grand Compact (99$) ☞ Check out the full review
2. Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand Lite (89$) ☞ Check out the full review
3. Embertone Walker 1955 Concert D Lite (40$) ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with good "Cinematic sounds"
1. Native Instruments The Giant
2. Cinesamples CinePiano ☞ Check out the full review
3. Spectrasonics Keyscape Creative ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with good "Steinway Model D" sample
1. Synthogy Ivory 2 American Concert D ☞ Check out the full review
2. Production Voices Concert Grand Gold ☞ Check out the full review
3. VI Labs True Keys American ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with good "Bechstein" sample
1. Bechstein Digital C. Bechstein Digital Grand
2. VI Labs True Keys German ☞ Check out the full review
3. Native Instruments The Maverik

VSTs with good "Yamaha C7" sample
1. Spectrasonics Keyscape Creative ☞ Check out the full review
2. Production Voices Production Grand 2 ☞ Check out the full review
3. Impact Soundworks Pearl Concert Grand ☞ Check out the full review

VSTs with good "Fazioli" samples
1. VI Labs True Keys Italian ☞ Check out the full review
2. Wavesfactory Mercury
3. UVI Piano Collection - F-Grand

Worst Top 3 piano VSTs
1. Waves Grand Rhapsody Piano
2. Arturia Piano V
3. 8Dio 1990 Studio Grand Piano

Please add more sample libraries if you have one apart from these lists suggested by me. And also feel free to leave some comments for more talk as it is always my joy. laugh

You may check more of my reviews below.
Pianist Keunyoung Song's all VST reviews


This is pianist Keunyoung Song.
For more videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/davidksong
For more reviews: https://www.pianistkeunyoungsong.com/
Now available on Apple Music/iTunes & Spotify
For more talk: david.keunyoung.song@gmail.com
Re: My Best Piano VSTs
Keunyoung Song #2859703 06/17/19 06:28 PM
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I don't understand your rating system. Is there an explanation?
Dynamics - Meaningful. Do you have measurements? (I'm not sure how you'd measure this.)
Response - Ambiguous. How do you rate this?
Sustain - I presume that this is measured as the time until a note dies out?
Body - I don't know what this is.

Re: My Best Piano VSTs
MacMacMac #2859707 06/17/19 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I don't understand your rating system. Is there an explanation?
Dynamics - Meaningful. Do you have measurements? (I'm not sure how you'd measure this.)
Response - Ambiguous. How do you rate this?
Sustain - I presume that this is measured as the time until a note dies out?
Body - I don't know what this is.

Yes! A legend/glossary of these terms, and a few others would be a big help! (For example, how do you define "cinematic sound" for your reviews? what is "deep" mean with regard to "lower registers" - certainly it can't mean lower frequencies? Both "warmth" is from having higher dynamic level for lower frequencies, when you say "warm tones," is this just that all the piano tones have more low frequency components?)

Also, can you add a few more words on why the 3 that got rated "worst" are considered that?

Are you planning on adding VSL and Noire to your list?


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Re: My Best Piano VSTs
Keunyoung Song #2859743 06/17/19 08:41 PM
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So... c'mon.... if you had to own only one.... ??

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Re: My Best Piano VSTs
MacMacMac #2859843 06/18/19 03:52 AM
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Hi MacMacMac & Tyrone.
Here are some of my explanations regarding the matter.
I should've mentioned in the post that these are all relative and subjective recommendations as I'm not able to express the features mentioned above with the proper numbers.
Honestly, I don't have any rating system, and the above lists are solely based on my personal experiences using various piano VSTs so far.
About the dynamics, I measure by how the VST expresses from ppp to fff seamlessly without compressed tone in strong velocities.
About the response, I just measure by the playability of the VST as I didn't check the latency of each time.
About the sustain, I think it is a relative matter. Some pianos sustain the notes longer than the others, but the unique tone dies right after the release. So I measured by how long the unique tone sustains, not the note itself.
And what I meant by "body" is the tone and feel of the sound.
About "Cinematic sound", I define cinematic when the VST has some special presets that suits for cinematic use. Usually, these presets have special FX effects.
Finally, about the "Deep and warmth". This is very relative as well. So that I just picked the VSTs based on my personal tastes.

Of course, many features that I mentioned above are ambiguous as I can't properly show them in numbers. Also, every rating in my reviews depended on my ear and my own playability. What I wanted to do here is to share my personal experiences using many piano VSTs for various songs and recordings.


This is pianist Keunyoung Song.
For more videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/davidksong
For more reviews: https://www.pianistkeunyoungsong.com/
Now available on Apple Music/iTunes & Spotify
For more talk: david.keunyoung.song@gmail.com
Re: My Best Piano VSTs
Keunyoung Song #2859845 06/18/19 04:13 AM
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Is this out of the box with no tweaking?

I think Arturia Piano V (2) is great. A good alternative to Pianoteq 6, both modelled.

To dismiss this with no reason is totally unfair to them.

Another poster on here recommended Arturia piano v, and that’s what made me give it a try.

I’m also into synths hence bought the Arturia v collection for around the same price they sell the piano on its own.

Thing is, I appreciate YOU might not like it, we all have different tastes, but at least give reasons, what tweaks you tried, which of the presets you tried etc.

Writing a post giving people advice on which vst to buy, without saying what tweaks were done, and implying 3 are simply a waste of money with no reason given, to me is totally wrong.

Re: My Best Piano VSTs
Ojustaboo #2859852 06/18/19 04:56 AM
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Hi Ojustaboo. Totally agreed with your opinion. I should've mentioned the reasons why I don't like these instruments.
As you mentioned, it is out of box without any additional tweaking.
Of course, Piano V2 improved a lot but I think V1 lacked some clarity as I prefer it when choosing a piano VST.
I'm also a huge fan of Arturia for their synth modeling products, hence I own V-Collection 6 now.

We all have different tastes, of course, but I will try to give proper reasons with detailed information when giving advice. Thanks for your comments.


This is pianist Keunyoung Song.
For more videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/davidksong
For more reviews: https://www.pianistkeunyoungsong.com/
Now available on Apple Music/iTunes & Spotify
For more talk: david.keunyoung.song@gmail.com
Re: My Best Piano VSTs
Keunyoung Song #2859855 06/18/19 05:18 AM
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I have not read the whole thread yet, but i just want to say i don't recommend buying the lite version of Garritan cfx if you want to play with headphones.

While the lite version is indeed good, it does not include the player mic positions, and i think these are the best. I always play with headphones, and use the player mic's 90% of the time.

Nice thread by the way. Maybe there could be more factors like "most inspiring to play" or "feels most realistic, like playing acoustic? Or maybe not, because it's so personal.

I mention this because i have Garritan cfx full and Ravenscroft 275 myself, and while i think that the Garritan might be the slighty "better" vst if you consider things like sampling evenness, and maybe it's playability is even slightly better, I prefer Ravenscroft, because somehow it's just extremely inspiring to play, and also somehow makes me feel more like playing an acoustic instrument.

While the cfx is flawless, super even-sampled and gorgeous, I still get bored with it after a while.. With Ravenscroft I can hardly stop playing, even while I think it might be just (while still on a great level) a tad less evenly sampled compared to the cfx. To me that's extremely important, and it reminds me of playing acoustic, which also does not get boring.

Just my 2 cents. smile

Re: My Best Piano VSTs
Keunyoung Song #2859864 06/18/19 05:42 AM
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My favourite is VSL Vienna Imperial, but it has problems. I'm hoping the Synchron Imperial is as good as their CFX and Steinway D, which are my other favourites. I love the varieties of tone colour I can get from VSL libraries.

Re: My Best Piano VSTs
U3piano #2859875 06/18/19 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by U3piano
I have not read the whole thread yet, but i just want to say i don't recommend buying the lite version of Garritan cfx if you want to play with headphones.

While the lite version is indeed good, it does not include the player mic positions, and i think these are the best. I always play with headphones, and use the player mic's 90% of the time.


I agree. I updated from CFX Lite to Full yesterday and it's a different world.


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Re: My Best Piano VSTs
Keunyoung Song #2859882 06/18/19 07:00 AM
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I beg to differ. The full version indeed comes with the binaural perspective but it doesn't sound convincing to me. Even after the upgrade I kept using the classic close perspective. What's different is it comes with the distant microphone samples added and it recreates the nice ambiance of the Abbey Road studios.

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/18/19 07:00 AM.

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Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
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Re: My Best Piano VSTs
Keunyoung Song #2859997 06/18/19 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I beg to differ. The full version indeed comes with the binaural perspective but it doesn't sound convincing to me. Even after the upgrade I kept using the classic close perspective.


Is this your experience while playing with headphones on, or through speakers?

If your answer is with headphones.. funny how everyone percieves sound differently! I really do think the player mics are the best using headphones without question. There just is no "best" for everyone when it comes to these things. For the same reason I think a beauty pageant is pointless, it's just a matter of taste, plus i can't risk admitting any girl in the world is more beautiful than my own. I mean, maybe it's best not trying to figure out what's best. smile


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