Playing the piano is a great hobby and a good way to entertain others. However, there is a twist – although nothing can replicate the quality and feel of the piano music, the instrument may take up a lot of space and cost a ton.
On top of that, you'd have to buy multiple condenser and dynamic mics to record everything. With the introduction of VST plugins, one was finally able to emulate the sounds and effects of acoustic instruments in their digital tracks without spending considerable amounts of money.
Thanks to Steinberg, we can now replicate the sounds of most instruments these days, including the world-famous grand piano. The following is a list of some of the free piano VST plugins that can help you step up your music production game in no time!
Versilian’s Upright No.1
Our first free piano plugin already sets the bar quite high in realistic piano VST implementation. Lightweight VST, it works on pretty much any laptop or computer and can be launched with both Windows and macOS.
Upright No.1 offers three velocity layers and samples 2xRR. In other words, it gives you a variety of samples for the same music note to lessen the possibility of iteration, in turn, preventing the melody from becoming monotonous.
It is well-suited for studio use, even though it's free. Although it gives a wide range of sampling, it doesn’t push your CPU and RAM to their limits like many other virtual pianos. The reduction in digital size and specs needed is because of tritons sampling.
Its highlight feature is its sound quality. Despite the dynamic range of timbers, it has the ability to play soft tunes when required.
In addition to this, it offers many controls. Two large close-miking microphones have been used for recording this one. In addition to ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release) envelope settings, you’ll also get control settings for reverb, volume, and panning.
Once experienced, it might become one of your all-time top free piano VST plugins.
- Offers three velocity layers and 2xRR,
- Sampled in triton for a reduction in specs required to run the plugin,
- Can play soft tones as well as harsh ones (aka versatile),
- Offers many controls,
- Ideal for home and studio use.
Keyzone Classic by Bitsonic
If you are seeking a combination of sampled VST piano and electric piano that offers more than the standard controls, then Keyzone Classic is what you should be after. The interesting fact is that it imitates the programming of five sampled pianos – Rhodes, Fender, Yamaha, basic E-piano of the 80s and grand piano.
You can tweak the sound amplification according to your liking with its four envelope controls – attack, decay, sustain and release.
It also features options of reverb mix and detuning inside the plug-in. Along with volume and pan control, it lets you create rhythmic pulses’ effects due to the presence of LFO depth and rate settings.
And when it comes to the architectonics and samples collection of this plug-in, it is beyond incredible. It really lives up to its name “Classic.”
It is available in VST and AU, which means you shouldn't have a problem running this free piano VST on both Windows and Mac on any 32- or 64-bit DAW.
The sounds are, without doubt, better than many commercial instruments plugins, and this reason alone makes it worth keeping.
- Mimics five sampled pianos including Rhodes and Fender,
- Offers additional controls along with standard ADSR control settings,
- Presents control over rate and depth of LFO,
- Incredible architectonics and samples library,
- Features both VST and AU versions.
Spitfire Audio’s LABS Soft Piano
LABS is a series of flawlessly formed samples library by well-known Spitfire Audio. What will appeal to you the most is that it’s not only free but extremely easy to use as well, not to mention its versatility.
After disappearing for a short period, Spitfire came back with a blast. They returned with their own plugins. Now, you do not need the full version of Kontakt any longer.
There Soft Piano samples were recorded at the Air Edel Studios in 2008 and became an immediate favorite of musicians all over the globe. Meaning, this soft-felted piano is among the settlers of the trend.
It does not give you that full-blasted fast sound effect. Instead, the tones are very soft and distinctive. However, you have the option to enhance reverberations and tightness to your desired extent to make it compatible with your MIDI tempo.
They are lightweight and only weigh 398 MB. The sampled notes do not offer many dynamic sounds but still offer up and down pedaling samples that are sought after my many producers out there.
Due to its laidback and deep sampling, Soft Piano offers only three controls: volume knob, mid-slider for sound dynamism and the reverb knob. It’s quite versatile and can work with any DAW out there – FL Studio, Ableton, Pro Tools, Logic Pro X, etc.
If you are looking for those machine-gun-kind-of fast timbre effects, then you might want to look somewhere else because these sampled tones are very soft and intimate.
The only real downside is that the starting process of the sampling is quite abrupt and inconsistent. Aside from that, this versatile piano has the ability to compete with costly larger libraries.
- Soft-felted piano sounds,
- Spitfire’s own LABS plugin,
- Three control settings,
- Folder weighs only 398MB,
- Can run on any DAW.
4Front Piano by George Yohng
This is one of the simplest virtual instruments that you’ll find. Unlike an upright home piano, this one has a single sound, but it's truly bright, like a parlor piano.
Without any configurations and customizations, it is simply a free plug-and-play piano VST plugin. If you want a no money and no fuss kind of a virtual piano, then this is the best option.
What it lacks in effects and visualizations, it compensates for in efficiency and sound quality. The sound is pretty impressive without any effects (plus, you can layer some on top if needed). It is a good choice if your sole purpose is to just relax and compose music.
To make use of this you will need a DAW and a decent MIDI keyboard.
Don’t judge it by its simplicity. The single musical note has the ability to give your song an individuality and uniqueness that will make it stand out from the rest (just like a real piano).
It is available in both VST and AU formats, which means that it should work with any DAW.
- Single phased sound, no configuration and customization settings (aka simple),
- Plug-and-play virtual instrument,
- Works with any DAW.
Piano VST interfaces are getting more and more popular amongst music producers because they give the timbres (and energy) of real pianos without having to spend thousands on the instrument. The sampled music libraries offer visualizations and adjustments to bring the desired dynamic layers in your music. All in all, it's a must if you are looking for a simple solution to spice up your tracks.