8 Best Piano VST of 2021

Dave Mostert
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Normally, starting a conversation about the best piano software for beginners seems a bit premature. Perhaps the best option would be to buy a keyboard or keyboard + software bundle to kickstart your musical career.

Piano is a career-changing instrument in my opinion, particularly for those who are attracted to music, want to learn an instrument and want to express themselves. That said, if you’re not interested in making music as a career, then it should still be included in your life if you’re planning to make it past 30!

Just like the guitar, it is one of the classics when it comes to a musical instrument you must endeavour to learn at some point.

So, what can piano software do for you?

They provide you with all of the traditional features you’ll need when playing the piano. A lot of these software are great for experienced keyboard players. But if it’s piano lessons you are after, you might want to look elsewhere.

Here’s a list of the best piano VST plugins of 2019.

NameCategoryProduct
Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert GrandBest OverallGarritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand
XLN Addictive Keys Studio CollectionBudget PickXLN Addictive Keys Studio Collection
Spectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard CollectionUpgrade PickSpectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard Collection

1. Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand

Our rating: 10 / 10

Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand

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Pros:

  • Crafted using the same sound recordings from the famous Abbey Road Studios
  • It’s designed to be transportable so you can take it anywhere you want
  • The sounds show an impressive versatility

Cons:

  • It’s quite large so you need a lot of disk space to store it
  • Its documentation could be better dealt with

Despite its name, the Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand Piano is a software instrument rather than an actual piano. This product contains a variety of high-quality sounds recorded in the famous Abbey Road Studios, along with the famous concert grand piano. It is a very versatile product that you can use in different musical genres to add a touch of class and prestige.

This is indeed one of the best piano VST software instruments around, thanks to its simplicity and variety. Also, the ease of use of this product is helped by the fact the product’s developers included excellent tutorial videos.

Another thing you’ll love about this piano is that it contains multiple layering and detuning controls for your use. The sounds are reproduced with exceptional playability and the instrument’s polyphony of 100 voices provides you with excellent sound quality.

2. Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2

Our rating: 9 / 10

Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2

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Pros:

  • It’s loaded with sounds and features
  • Intuitive layout makes it easy to use
  • The sound quality is excellent and better than most of the competition
  • Allows you to build your own sounds
  • Also includes a broad palette of high-quality samples….

Cons:

  • It’s quite pricey compared to other competitors
  • Heavy resource usage may slow down some computers

When it comes to choosing the top piano VST instruments on the market today, Omnisphere 2 takes the cake. The program offers a vast sonic library that you can use to build your own sounds and designs, allowing you to create instruments that would otherwise cost you thousands of dollars. This is possible thanks to the program’s astounding 2.2 GB sample library.

The synthesizer also includes a diverse percussion collection of over 10,000 samples. The 2.2 GB sound library also includes high-quality samples that enable you to create a broad range of sounds.

3. Spectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard Collection

Our rating: 8 / 10

Spectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard Collection

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Pros:

  • Includes keyboard workstation software
  • Music production tools
  • Advanced features
  • Keyboard interface
  • Great value for the price

Keyscape Virtual Keyboard Collection from Spectrasonics has been hailed one of the best VST plugins of the year. It comes available as a VST plugin and as a Rack Extension for the most popular instrument plug-in formats used in modern music production.

The product feels a lot more like a standalone instrument rather than a MIDI controller and comes with a monumental development that will teach the users a great deal about playing keyboard. The keyscape virtual keyboard comes with a pack of prestigious keyboards. It includes a Hammond B3, an EP-33, a Wurly, Rhodes piano, Fender Rhodes suit, a Hohner Clavinet, a Hohner Pianet, and a Hohner String Tone guitar, a Hohner D6 Clavinet, and Realistic Concertmate FVR-1. You can use the software to combine models of the keyboard to officially make it a hybrid keyboard. About the interesting feature is the software option to let you mix and match different keyboard sounds as an option of using just one.

4. XLN Addictive Keys Studio Collection

Our rating: 6 / 10

XLN Addictive Keys Studio Collection

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Pros:

  • Great recreation of classic grand piano sound
  • Sound engine is very responsive
  • Extensive control and customization possibilities
  • Instrument sounds are very clean

Cons:

  • Higher learning curve compared to other products in this list
  • Some people might find the GUI confusing

This product is perhaps one of the best virtual piano VST of 2020 for pianists and music professionals alike. XLN Audio Addictive Keys Studio Grand Piano is a plugin with a sound engine that’s designed to behave like a real piano – from the sound to the feel. This instrument is based on a software emulation of the classic Fazioli concert grand. It’s an MPE compatible, semi-weighted piano with eight velocity curves. This piano is extremely responsive, and allows you to get a portable, twenty-first century digital experience.

The GUI is very intuitive, and the presets allow you to really get into the spirit of the instrument. You can also customize the colors and effects within the instrument.

5. Ilio Ilio Synthogy Ivory II Upright Pianos

Our rating: 6 / 10

Ilio Ilio Synthogy Ivory II Upright Pianos

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Pros:

  • Software that sounds authentic
  • Very quick installation
  • Provides useful presets
  • Additive and subtractive synth engines
  • 64-bit Mac and Windows compatible
  • 9.5 GB of content

Cons:

  • The extremely dark grey user interface may overwhelm you at first
  • No sustain pedal support
  • The place marker feature is limited
  • You have to pay for the first three sound libraries

Synthogy’s Infinity sound engine is the key to their true piano design. It has two sections – the additive and subtractive synths. The additive synth engine depends on harmonically rich samples which can be added to the sound, while the subtractive synth engine uses samples that are multi-velocity to “subtract” notes you don’t want. You can also use the powerful arranger to layer multiple synths on top of each other which gives you great control over the sound.

6. Synthogy Ivory II Grand Pianos

Our rating: 5 / 10

Synthogy Ivory II Grand Pianos

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Synthogy Ivory II Grand Pianos is one of the most well-known piano VSTs today. You will find some of the most outstanding piano sounds on the market, and have included piano samples from some of the most renowned grand pianos from the Steinway, Fazioli, Bosendorfer, and Grotrian-Steinweg collections.

There are over 470 samples that were recorded in seven different octaves. You will have the option to choose from four different microphone perspectives which include A (9.5ft – 4in distance), B (5.5ft – 1.5in distance), C (2.5ft – 0.5in distance), and D (0.5ft – 0.5in distance). You will also have options to choose between three different velocity layers for each note.

Synthesizers:

When it comes to selecting one of the best virtual synthesizers of 2020, another popular choice is Arturia KeyLab Essential. This software comes with over a hundred production-ready presets and is known for its streamlined interface that only takes a few minutes to learn.

7. Garritan Instant Orchestra

Our rating: 5 / 10

Garritan Instant Orchestra

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Pros:

  • Multi-format download – supports Kontakt and EXS
  • Studio quality sound
  • You can edit certain instruments for creating your own unique sound
  • Available in different instrument packs
  • Can add these sounds to your Logic or GarageBand tracks via drag-and-drop operations

Cons:

  • These are not traditional MIDI instruments
  • There are no presets for instant playability
  • The graphics are quite unimpressive

The Garritan Instant Orchestra has been updated with Kontakt 5, which is compatible with the overall legacy of this product. Instant Orchestra is one of the top-selling sample libraries available for music composition at the moment. It’s a software package that comes with over 1 GB of high-quality, authentic orchestral sounds, and is suitable as a performance instrument. You can use it for different kinds of songs.

Although it started as an orchestral library, Garritan Instant Orchestra has evolved into a much more comprehensive major workstation. It gives you access to over 600 orchestral instruments and lets you choose from a library of instruments assigned to keys, buttons, and velocity. The product also includes the Workstation Selector, allowing you to switch between different sections and instruments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best virtual piano software?

Learning how to play the piano is challenging for many people. It takes years to master a handful of songs, and some still struggle to do even that much.

As such, the seemingly endless supply of beginner piano apps is a welcome blessing for many. These apps can help you learn to play the piano in a fraction of the time it takes in a traditional wayʼand they are a whole lot more fun to boot.

What are the 3 types of pianos?

This is a grand piano that has a larger range of keys than the other two types. That is not to say that these organs are small. Far from it. They are usually huge and are often recognizable by the large musical staffs that adorn them.

What VST plugins do professionals use?

Everyone always asks this question, right?

Here, we will be looking at the tools used by the majority of highly successful producers in the Nu Disco Eclectic, Future Jazz, and Future Bass genres.

Number one.

We often do not suggest using this massive plugin due to its shortcomings in the areas of simplicity and ease of use. However, if you already have it, its high flexibility and quality make it a perfect addition to your collection.

Number two.

We recommend using this VST for most of your layering and electric piano needs. It has the perfect vibrato settings and allows for some serious programming when it comes to all kinds of electromagnetic guitar effects.

Number three.

What is a piano VST?

A virtual-instrument plugin is a software application that is loaded onto a computer able to play sounds using the computer's sound card or an audio interface. Manufacturers of these software plugins use various approaches in how the sound is created, but the concept is the same: the sound of a piano or other instrument is programmed into a digital machine that a musician can manipulate to do whatever he or she wants.

Big name manufactures include Native Instruments, Cakewalk, and STEINBERG, just to name a few.

The sounds produced by these companies require some additional hardware to be played through. You can buy special sound cards, but they are often expensive and not necessary for many people. Most consumers can get away with hooking the audio directly to their computer using a 1/8" stereo cord.

Conclusion

We’ve carefully combined different products on the market and have arrived at the final decision that the best all-rounder is Nord Stage 2. We award the best environment-friendly piano VST computer software to IK Multimedia. There were some very close contenders, but none of them have the overall versatility and quality of the award-winning Stage 2.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert GrandBest OverallGarritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand
XLN Addictive Keys Studio CollectionBudget PickXLN Addictive Keys Studio Collection
Spectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard CollectionUpgrade PickSpectrasonics Keyscape Virtual Keyboard Collection