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Joined: Nov 2016
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josmat Offline OP
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Hi everyone.

I am a happy owner of Garritan CFX and a not so happy owner of Embertone Walker 1955, and I'm looking out for another good piano VST, mainly not for extensive playing but for online music theory and ear training teaching (maybe elementary piano classes also). I have been using the Walker for that, but it is a little heavy on CPU usage, and that's not good because when I'm teaching online I have a lot of stuff open at the same time - Google Meet, OBS Studio, PDF files, the VST, browser, etc - and my quad-core 8th-gen Intel laptop really suffers with that. So, I'm searching for a new piano VST based on the following criteria:

(a) lightweight (especially on CPU usage)
(b) realistic sampled grand (no uprights, felts, cinematics...)
(c) has resonances (sampled or simulated, it doesn't matter)
(d) sufficient sample layers for an adequately expressive playing
(e) close and direct sound, with minimal or no sampled reverb
(f) cheap... or at least not expensive (<$50)

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!


Yamaha GB1K baby grand; Roland FP-80 & FP-7F; Garritan CFX; Yamaha AG-03; Sennheiser HD 579 & HD 569; Zoom H5.
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This might be a stupid question, but don't you own Garritan CFX Lite by any chance?

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Apart from f) I would recomend you try Pianoteq. Download the demo and see how it goes. It's a bit cpu demanding, but ram friendly. May work better or worse (and you may love or hate the piano tones), but costs zero dollars to try...

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Grandeur!! It's $99 and sounds amazing. It has some funny interaction with some bass notes and the sustain pedal, which can be adjusted to make better, but it sounds like for your purposes that wouldn't matter much anyway. It's very usable and a fantastic VST for the money.
https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/keys/the-grandeur/

Last edited by Joe Garfield; 09/10/21 01:35 PM.
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Please tell me how to fix the bass/sustain issue.

I stopped using Grandeur long ago because of this problem. And I just tried it again earlier this week ... same problem.

How do you fix it?

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Don't think you can make such a long list of requirements and still stay under $50, but have you checked this one out?

https://simplesamsamples.com/signature-grand.html

You'll have to read the description, to see if it matches your demands, but it has gotten some praise. I like to recommend the pianos from Sampletekk, though they might not meet your demands. They're 80% off right now, so not a huge financial risk. They're quite old, though.

https://www.sampletekk.com/grand-pianos?limit=100

I would recommend the Modern U, if you hadn't ruled out uprights and >$50 libraries, but it's highly recommended by some well known, and respected members of this forum, in spite of being sampled from an upright.


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Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX, Production Grand 2 Gold, Concert Grand LE, AcousticSamples C7, NI Giant, Sampletekk White Grand, Choc. Audio Steinbach, and a few more. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
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I know this one might never get to version 2 but I still like it and use it and now it is only $69 https://www.truepianos.com/

Free download to try if it fits your needs.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Please tell me how to fix the bass/sustain issue.
Could you please be more detailed...
I really like the Grandeuer, never realized some issues.

Maybe just because I'm not experienced enough (playing the piano for about 2 years)...


keep calm and play the piano :-)
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Acoustica Pianissimo is $19:

https://acoustica.com/products/pianissimo

Demo version available.

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Hello,

Originally Posted by TheodorN
I would recommend the Modern U, if you hadn't ruled out uprights and >$50 libraries, but it's highly recommended by some well known, and respected members of this forum, in spite of being sampled from an upright.

Same here, and thus far I held back on recommending it because of those price and no-upright limitations. It perfectly fits your other criteria though.

I use it for my own piano and harmony learning and it is musically perfect. I could very well imagine it to be a wonderful teaching tool as well.

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ

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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Acoustica Pianissimo is $19:

https://acoustica.com/products/pianissimo

Demo version available.
Forgot about that one and I have it too!


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
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Yes, Native Instrument pianos are hood values especially on Black Friday… (-50%).

If you have a really tight budget, Salamander piano is free and not so bad. (16 velocity levels).


http://www.sinerj.org/
http://humeur-synthe.sinerj.org/
Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
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I just tried their demo. Not bad. The sound is so-so. But the responsiveness is quite good.
Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Acoustica Pianissimo is $19:
https://acoustica.com/products/pianissimo
Demo version available.

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Originally Posted by TheodorN
Don't think you can make such a long list of requirements and still stay under $50, but have you checked this one out?

https://simplesamsamples.com/signature-grand.html

You'll have to read the description, to see if it matches your demands, but it has gotten some praise. I like to recommend the pianos from Sampletekk, though they might not meet your demands. They're 80% off right now, so not a huge financial risk. They're quite old, though.

https://www.sampletekk.com/grand-pianos?limit=100

I would recommend the Modern U, if you hadn't ruled out uprights and >$50 libraries, but it's highly recommended by some well known, and respected members of this forum, in spite of being sampled from an upright.

It's worth clarifying that Simple Sam is only that cheap if you have full Kontakt. It does not run in the free Kontakt Player.
Originally Posted by matschulat
Hi everyone.

I am a happy owner of Garritan CFX and a not so happy owner of Embertone Walker 1955, and I'm looking out for another good piano VST, mainly not for extensive playing but for online music theory and ear training teaching (maybe elementary piano classes also). I have been using the Walker for that, but it is a little heavy on CPU usage, and that's not good because when I'm teaching online I have a lot of stuff open at the same time - Google Meet, OBS Studio, PDF files, the VST, browser, etc - and my quad-core 8th-gen Intel laptop really suffers with that. So, I'm searching for a new piano VST based on the following criteria:

(a) lightweight (especially on CPU usage)
(b) realistic sampled grand (no uprights, felts, cinematics...)
(c) has resonances (sampled or simulated, it doesn't matter)
(d) sufficient sample layers for an adequately expressive playing
(e) close and direct sound, with minimal or no sampled reverb
(f) cheap... or at least not expensive (<$50)

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

As others have noted, that is a rather tight list of requirements. Have you tried messing around a lot with settings on the Embertone? Do you have the full version?

I've tried and listened to many a VST and I really don't think there is anything better than the walker Lite for under 50 bucks. And if you have the full you can get it to pretty much perform the same. Set it to 12 velocity layers, set pedaling to ECO mode, maybe even disable adaptive releases.

Also, is there any reason you can't use Garritan? I'm one of the rare people that does not much like the sound of the Garritan, but by all indications, it is actually one of the lightest high quality VSTs out there. CPU usage is generally low, just a lot of disk space.

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I use ChateauGrand from https://sites.google.com/site/soundfonts4u/ with Fluidsynth MIDI (which despite the name is a sample player) on an Android phone. It's the best among the ones I tried and it's free.

I think it meets all your requirements.

PS: I like the things you post on your channel on youtube!!

Last edited by Del Vento; 09/10/21 06:05 PM.
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Could you just load a compact version of Garritan?

Failing that, you've got a lot of requirements if you're setting $50 as your ceiling.

The Sampletekk pianos are pretty unbeatable for price:performance if you have Kontakt full.

Native Instruments' Noire could possibly be had for close to $50 if look in the classifieds at KVR/VI Control. I think that would tick all the boxes. Of course, then you're paying for another take on the CFX, which may or may not matter to you.

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Originally Posted by Del Vento
I use ChateauGrand from https://sites.google.com/site/soundfonts4u/ with Fluidsynth MIDI (which despite the name is a sample player) on an Android phone. It's the best among the ones I tried and it's free.

I think it meets all your requirements.
Nice find - that from my site!
You can run pianos from here for free using Plogue sforzando player or run them on iOS with only a small outlay (around $8) for the bs-16i player for iPhone/iPad. You can also play one of the pianos from another forum member - the Mason and Hamlin by Dore.

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Sorry, missed it that Signature Grand from Simple Sam needs the full Kontakt, good catch napilopez.

CraiginNZ, I was thinking the same thing, why not use Garritan CFX Compact? I knew the Sampletekk pianos all require Kontakt full, but didn't mention it, maybe I should have.

Except Rain Piano, and Blue Grand actually has a Sforzando script, even though it's not mentioned on the webpage. However, the OP would probably not be satisfied with those two.

Although, it's always up to the one asking to check all system requirements for every piano VST suggested to him or her, but it's absolutely worth noting if a library requires the full Kontakt.

I guess I'm so used to having it, that I assume everyone else does. eek Though, I've said it before, and will say it again, Kontakt full is worth the money, because of the many libraries available for it, except for those who dislike the Kontakt platform for whatever reason(s).

Might add, that libraries requiring Kontakt full, run in the free player for fifteen minutes, but then the player closes down. Years ago, I thought I could live with that, but turns out I couldn't. Got tired of restarting Kontakt Player, and set everything up again every fifteen minutes.


Me on YouTube

Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX, Production Grand 2 Gold, Concert Grand LE, AcousticSamples C7, NI Giant, Sampletekk White Grand, Choc. Audio Steinbach, and a few more. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
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I really like Kontakt. Much easier to use than VST hosts. So I dropped all non-Kontakt instruments long ago.

But I didn't recommend it here because it doesn't fit the OP's under-$50 dictum.

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You can scan the PianoWorld VI database for other ideas. It includes piano types, prices, etc.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2752919/digital-piano-master-sticky-thread.html

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