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Joined: Dec 2015
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I've tried many, or I should say wasted a lot of my time and money buying different kinds of piano plugins only to be dissatisfied with most of them because of the reasons below...
I'm looking for a piano plugin that is the most 'even' sounding with minimum to zero inconsistent noises...
I know many of you may say I'm being sensitive but when companies charge expensive amounts of money for their products, I expect them to be nicely sampled.

Here are some piano plugins that I own or tried and reasons why I like or don't like them...


Garritan CFX - This piano overall sounds little too wet for my taste as if all the samples are on reverb. The note F5 (in the same octave as the middle C) when played with maximum velocity sounds significantly quieter than the rest of the notes with the same velocity. The note C6 (one above middle C) with low to medium velocity has this high pitch ringing noise that fades away which does not happen to any other notes I've tried. If you play Bach's prelude in C major (with low velocity) slowly, you can definitely hear the ringing noise and it's all I hear now when I play that piece. The note E6 sounds kind of different? than other piano plugins' E6. If you play the same MIDI with different plugins, Garritan sounds the most unique with that note.

Ivory ii (American Concert D) - Overall not bad but its dynamic range is not as full as the Garritan CFX. The note G#3 has this metallish sound that you can hear if you were to play Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement slowly.

Modern U - Notes B5, C6, D6 when played with low velocity, you can hear noticeable hammer noise that does not happen with any other notes... some lower octave notes seemed to quieter than the rest.

PianoTeq - Overall velocity levels are even (no surprise there since it's physically modelled), but... if you play a same MIDI piece side by side with a sampled piano it sounds very synthetic... it also seems to have a lot of resonance noise (not necessarily a bad thing but they're kind of loud). The lower notes are significantly weaker compared to sampled pianos.

Arturia Piano - Worse version of PianoTeq...

Keyscape - I do not own this but when I heard some of the demos, some of the higher notes (with high velocity) seems to be much more metallic-y than other notes.

Grand Rhapsody - Tried the demo... it doesn't sound as 'good' as Garritan or Ivory in my opinion. Again some noises can be heard with certain notes...

Eighty Eight Ensemble - Overall piano sounds not that 'good' compared to Garritan or Ivory... little soft and muddy for my taste.

The Gentleman (Native Instruments) - Tried the demo and overall it sounds way to muddy. Lower notes sounds so soft that it doesn't even sound like a piano.


I did most of the tests by making a MIDI arrangement that plays chromatic scale and playing them on low, medium, and high frequency ranges. I also played two different (one lower range, one higher) MIDI songs with different piano plugins to compare.


So... if you are like me (OCD + sensitive) who has tried many other different piano plugins, what are your suggestions? do you know of any plugins that sounds the best?

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Have you tried Noire (Native)?

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I don't have an answer for you. But "middle C" is in fact C4, not C5, midi note value of 60.

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Originally Posted by hes
I don't have an answer for you. But "middle C" is in fact C4, not C5, midi note value of 60.

Sorry I didn't know... I'm used to having a DAW that uses C5 as the middle C...


As for Noire, it sounds pretty good in demos but are they even in terms of velocity and noises???

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Originally Posted by hes
I don't have an answer for you. But "middle C" is in fact C4, not C5, midi note value of 60.

Not necessarily. Not everyone names the octaves the same way. C3 (Yamaha and Steinberg), C4, and C5 (rarely) are all used for middle C.

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Originally Posted by Longest Username
I did most of the tests by making a MIDI arrangement that plays chromatic scale and playing them on low, medium, and high frequency ranges. I also played two different (one lower range, one higher) MIDI songs with different piano plugins to compare.
Unfortunately MIDI renditions are about as helpful as demo tracks IMHO. Just playing and tweaking is what works for me. The different controllers and velocity curves might drive some of the varying opinions on a particular VI.

None of the VIs are perfect, unfortunately. Maybe you can select some "required" factors, like good pedaling, and narrow down your options.

Some of the recent VSL pianos are quite popular, including the CFX, Steinway and uprights. There are lighter and pro versions. If you buy from VSL there usually is a refund period of a few weeks so that could be a "no risk" test (confirm with VSL for details). It requires a dongle which you might consider their annual "insurance" scheme.

The Noire, Ravenscroft, and Galaxy Vintage D, and Walker are fairly popular here. All have some quirks.

PianoTeq is the most consistent for me and some of the newer pianos are better than say the Steinway D; the condition slider does a good job of improving sound for me. If you use headphones the binaural is quite good and you can click on the head to widen the effect to fit your "head size". Maybe the modeling is a bit more sophisticated at the 192khz available in the Pro version but that is too expensive for me to just "test".

The forums here have a wealth of information so use the search button for ideas and observations on a given VI. Some of the people here have superhelpful comments.

We also have database of over 250 piano VIs showing some features and links; maybe you will "discover" a hidden gem.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...no-master-sticky-thread.html#Post2752919

In 22 hours there is a live shootout of Garritan CFX and Noire on youtube you might like.

https://youtu.be/KGhS8u74Tsc

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Originally Posted by newer player
None of the VIs are perfect, unfortunately. Maybe you can select some "required" factors, like good pedaling, and narrow down your options.

Some of the recent VSL pianos are quite popular, including the CFX, Steinway and uprights. There are lighter and pro versions. If you buy from VSL there usually is a refund period of a few weeks so that could be a "no risk" test (confirm with VSL for details). It requires a dongle which you might consider their annual "insurance" scheme.

The Noire, Ravenscroft, and Galaxy Vintage D, and Walker are fairly popular here. All have some quirks.


If you don't mind, would you explain to me what the "quirks" are with the instruments you tried? is there any specific piano plugin that you thought was the most consistent?

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The Walker had a lot of issues that were sorted by a recent update; it is demanding on computer and maybe the pedaling is good enough for you. Maybe there will be another update. The piano sounds beautiful but it is not new.

I like the Ravenscroft for jazz particularly in the lower registers but it is a bit metallic and cold on classical for me. Maybe some varying opinions on pedaling
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2708305/50-off-ravenscroft-275.html

Maybe vintage d pedaling is sufficient for you
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2583592/vintage-d-half-pedal-issue.html

I haven't used the Noir but that is a Kontakt instrument. . .

There are a lot more qualified opinions in the forums here. . .

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Originally Posted by newer player
The Walker had a lot of issues that were sorted by a recent update; it is demanding on computer and maybe the pedaling is good enough for you. Maybe there will be another update. The piano sounds beautiful but it is not new.

I like the Ravenscroft for jazz particularly in the lower registers but it is a bit metallic and cold on classical for me. Maybe some varying opinions on pedaling
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2708305/50-off-ravenscroft-275.html

Maybe vintage d pedaling is sufficient for you
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2583592/vintage-d-half-pedal-issue.html

I haven't used the Noir but that is a Kontakt instrument. . .

There are a lot more qualified opinions in the forums here. . .

Honestly I don't much care for pedaling that much... as long as they aren't horrible I can live with it...

But I do VERY much care for consistency with note velocities, and noises that certain notes might have...


This comparison video contains Ravenscroft 275, Garritan CFX, Komplete Noire CFX, Hammersmith, and Pearl C-Grand...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhU3xf8tWgQ

and I'm really liking the sound of Ravenscroft 275 but I'm not sure how consistent they are... especially since I already own Modern U which is also from VI Labs and I'm not really impressed with certain notes... (some notes have noises and some are quieter than the others...)

I know this is a lot to ask for but if you do have the Ravenscroft 275, would you be ok to make simple chromatic scale audio files like the examples below? it basically plays notes from C1 to C8 given that C4 is the middle C.

(Garritan CFX)

(Max Velocity Chromatic Scale) https://voca.ro/7d52G0lASfi
(Medium Velocity Chromatic Scale) https://voca.ro/eaUqkfurCVC
(Lowest Velocity Chromatic Scale) https://voca.ro/8vxnm5NkypL

This would help me tremendously and might also help others who are interested in Ravenscroft 275.

Again I'm sorry for the trouble and if you don't want to do it, that would be perfectly fine but if you do this for me, I would be greatly appreciated by your help.

Last edited by Longest Username; 04/19/20 07:06 PM.
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Sorry m8 we are isolated in a country house with just a dusty old upright for the time being.

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My suggestion based on your posts above would be the C.Bechstein Digital Grand, which runs in the free Kontakt Player. The full version is expensive, but it's an extremely well sampled & scripted virtual piano, with extensive sound sculpting abilities. The source piano was a new or near new C.Bechstein D282 model, with very consistent tuning & voicing across the range, and controllable key, release & pedal noises. You need a decent computer to run it (and preferably an SSD to run the samples from).

You can purchase a 'Lite' version called Digital Grand Essentials, and simply pay the difference in price if you decide to upgrade to the full version.

I purchased a copy a few months ago, and after some teething problems (mainly based around optimising the performance and learning to properly understand the controls in the GUI) it's become a favourite of mine for consistency and natural dynamics.

Last edited by Craig Richards; 04/19/20 08:06 PM.

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It depends on what you want. If you want it to sound like a “real” piano it will not sound perfect. I have had three piano teachers in the past who had a grand piano. Not one of them played or sounded as good as mine. But the two guys who played mine thought it was great....for a digital piano.



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Perhaps you're too picky and should just settle for what you can tolerate with the ones you've tried/own.

God Bless,
David


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Some great suggestions here. Do try the Embertone Walker and the Bechstein Digital Grand. Also have a listen to OrangeTreeSamples Rosewood, Wavesfactory Mercury, WholeSounds Baldwin, CineSamples CinePiano and ImpactSoundworks Pearl. As for Pianoteq, the latest version has added resonance control. If you get serious about Pianoteq, I suggest you get the Pro version and tinker to your heart’s content.

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Hey there, like you I have tried many vst pianos from Pianoteq to Vienna Imperial, Truekeys American Grand, Ivory american grand and many more a waste of money. The Garritan Cfx is now my favorite although it has some notes with flying harmonics I think that's what they're called especially right below middle c BUT with how good it sounds as a whole I try not to focus on the flaws. I did notice the resonant white noise listening to those chromatic notes coming out of my laptops speakers. I hope they're not as bad coming from my studio monitors. That's another thing it took me along time to come up with speakers that made my piano vst's sound as good as headphones. (close anyway) I'm using Dynaudio BM6 makes a big difference! I love Bach but you'll definitely hear any flaws in your instrument playing him thats why I always layer a string section with the piano. Good luck with it. MooganDavid


Rme BabyFace Pro, Dynaudio BM6-ll, Garritan CFX Full, Vienna Imperial, Truekeys American Grand, Modern U, Cantabile Solo 2, Hauptwerk Pipe Organ Vst, VB3 Hammond Vst and SPIN Leslie Vst, Yamaha CP33 and Novation Impulse 61
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I think your looking for something that doesn't exist. All libaries i own(ed) so far have their issues.

Judging from what others say i'd say vsl is your best bet, but personally i have no experience with any of their libaries.

Some recommended the walker, and I do too, it's my favorite, I find it much better than garritan cfx and ivory American , but it's definitely not without quirks, so I doubt that's the right choice for you.

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Originally Posted by U3piano
I think your looking for something that doesn't exist. All libaries i own(ed) so far have their issues.
That's because all instruments have their own issues / personality, naturally, a sampled library reflects that to some degree.

Put a real piano in a real, non optimal/treated room and you will have quite a few issues, hot frequencies due to room modes etc too.
It's the same as with any loudspeaker, really.

The room in which I play my flute also plays a huge role in how I sound with it.

So I'd say a reality check is in order. Bring down your sonic expectations to a realistic level, focus on your playing instead.
Pros can make even crappy pianos sound awesome, so it's not always wise to focus and blame the equipment.


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Originally Posted by Granyala
Originally Posted by U3piano
I think your looking for something that doesn't exist. All libaries i own(ed) so far have their issues.
That's because all instruments have their own issues / personality, naturally, a sampled library reflects that to some degree.

True, and the other thing is, a sampled piano is still sampled, which is a very complicated process, and therefore never perfect.

My experience is regardless of it's own quirks, with an acoustic you have a connection, none of my vst's give me a comparable connection like my u3. The u3 does exactly what i expect it to do, my vst's all feel less reliable/predictable, while good, it's just not the same level of connection.

I guess a modelled piano is better when it comes to that connection, but to me the sound has a long way to go so that's not an option for me.

Still because of my situation (townhouse) my playing is 90% virtual, so hurray for non-perfect sampled virtual piano's. smile

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I agree with the comments about all acoustic instruments having their quirks, but I have also searched for a VI piano with a clean, even, dry and dynamic tone. The three contenders for me are Ravenscroft, Bechstein and Noire, which therefore gets down to the character of the piano. For me, Noire wins hands down. The only downside is no una corda samples.

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