Best Piano VST Plugins

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Piano VST Plugins

Intro to the Best Piano VST Plugins

Piano VSTs have revolutionized the music production landscape, allowing musicians and producers to access a plethora of piano sounds without the need for a physical instrument. These Virtual Studio Technology instruments not only save space but also open up a world of creative possibilities, from classical grand pianos to unique sound design options.

For those of us who have been in the music production game for a while, the evolution of piano VSTs represents a significant leap forward in how we create and manipulate music. The right piano VST can be the key to unlocking new levels of musical creativity, whether you're laying down a jazz track, composing a classical piece, or producing a modern pop hit.

In this guide, we'll dive deep into the world of piano VSTs, starting with an industry titan, Spectrasonics Keyscape, known for its unparalleled quality and breadth of piano sounds. However, understanding that one size doesn't fit all, we'll explore a range of alternatives that cater to different needs and budgets, including the advanced physically modeled Arturia Piano V3 and the authentic upright sounds of "The Gentleman" by Native Instruments.

Whether you're in search of the perfect grand piano sound, intrigued by hybrid and sound design possibilities, or on the hunt for high-quality free options like Spitfire LABS, this guide aims to provide you with the insights needed to make an informed decision. Plus, we'll touch on essential accessories and answer some of the most common questions about using piano VSTs. Get ready to enhance your musical productions with the perfect piano VST.


Understanding Piano VSTs

Piano VSTs are digital instruments that emulate the sound of a piano within a digital audio workstation (DAW). They come in two main types: sampled and modeled. Sampled piano VSTs use recordings of real pianos played at different velocities to produce sound. Each note you play triggers a pre-recorded sample, providing a realistic audio experience.

On the other hand, modeled piano VSTs use algorithms to simulate the physics of how a piano generates sound. This method allows for more flexibility and control over the sound, offering dynamic variations based on how you play.

Sampled VSTs shine in capturing the authentic acoustic nuances of a piano, including the unique resonances and overtones of specific models. They often require more storage space due to the high-quality audio samples. Modeled VSTs, while potentially less resource-intensive, excel in customization and playability, allowing musicians to tweak the instrument's properties, like the hardness of the hammers or the string length, to create a tailored sound.

Understanding these differences is crucial when selecting a piano VST, as the choice between sampled and modeled can significantly impact your music's character and feel.


The Best Piano VST Plugins


Best Overall - Keyscape


Spectrasonics Keyscape is celebrated as the pinnacle of piano VSTs in 2024, setting a high standard in the industry for virtual pianos. This comprehensive library features over 500 sounds, from grand pianos to rare and unique keyboard instruments, meticulously sampled to capture their authentic sound and response.

Key Features:

Extensive Library: Keyscape boasts an unparalleled range of keyboard instruments, including grand pianos, electric pianos, and unique collector's items, all recorded with meticulous attention to detail.
Dynamic Expression: Thanks to its advanced sampling technology, Keyscape offers highly expressive sounds that react to player nuances, providing a realistic playing experience.
Integration with Omnisphere: Users can explore further sound design possibilities by integrating Keyscape with Spectrasonics' Omnisphere, combining piano sounds with Omnisphere's synthesis capabilities.


  • Vast selection of high-quality piano and keyboard sounds.
  • Exceptional playability and expressive control.
  • Seamless integration with Omnisphere for extended creative potential.


  • High system requirements due to the extensive library size.
  • Premium pricing reflecting its comprehensive features.

Spectrasonics Keyscape stands out in 2024 as a monumental achievement in piano VST development, offering unparalleled sound quality and diversity. Its extensive library, combined with dynamic expression and the ability to integrate with Omnisphere, makes it an essential tool for serious producers and composers seeking the most authentic and inspiring piano sounds. While its high system requirements and premium price point may be considerations, the value it adds to music production is undeniable.

Best Overall Runner Up - An Arturia Piano V3

Piano VST Plugin - Piano V3 by Arturia

Arturia Piano V3 stands out as a formidable Keyscape alternative, offering musicians a rich palette of physically modeled piano sounds. This software brings to the table a collection of different piano models, each with the ability to tweak physical parameters like hammer hardness, soundboard resonance, and more, providing a highly customizable playing experience.

Key Features:

Diverse Piano Models: Piano V3 features a variety of piano types, from concert grands to uprights and even historical instruments, all modeled with meticulous detail.
Customization Options: Users can deeply customize the sound by adjusting physical components and recording conditions, allowing for a unique piano sound tailored to individual preferences.
Integrated Effects: The software includes built-in effects like reverb, compression, and EQ, enabling users to shape their sound directly within the plugin.


  • Wide variety of piano sounds catering to all genres of music.
  • High degree of customization enables users to craft their perfect piano tone.
  • User-friendly interface that simplifies the sound design process.


  • Some users may find the depth of customization options overwhelming.
  • Requires a fair amount of system resources to run smoothly.

Arturia Piano V3 is an excellent choice for musicians looking for a versatile and customizable piano plugin. With its wide array of modeled pianos and deep tweakability, it allows for the creation of unique piano sounds suited to any music production or performance context. While the extensive customization options can be daunting to some, the quality of the sounds and the creative potential it unlocks make it a valuable alternative to Keyscape, especially for those seeking affordability without compromising on sound quality.


Best Upright Piano Sound - "The Gentleman" by Native Instruments

"The Gentleman" by Native Instruments is a remarkable upright piano VST that captures the classic sound of a vintage instrument. It's meticulously sampled from a 1908 upright piano, delivering rich, resonant tones perfect for everything from jazz to classical compositions. This plugin stands out for its authenticity, versatility, and ease of use, making it a favored choice among producers and musicians seeking the intimate sound of an upright piano.

Key Features:

Authentic Sound: Offers detailed sampling of a vintage upright piano, providing a warm, nuanced sound ideal for various musical styles.
Customization Capabilities: Users can tweak the sound with onboard effects, such as pedal noise adjustments, tone control, and room ambience, to tailor the instrument to their preference.
Intuitive Interface: The straightforward interface allows easy access to all the main controls, making sound shaping accessible even to beginners.


  • Delivers the genuine character and warmth of an authentic upright piano.
  • Wide range of customization options enhances creative freedom.
  • User-friendly interface simplifies the process of achieving the desired sound.


  • Being a detailed sample library, it may require a significant amount of storage space.
  • Some users might prefer a broader selection of piano models for greater versatility.

"The Gentleman" by Native Instruments excels as an upright piano VST, offering musicians the authentic sound of a well-aged piano with the convenience of modern technology. Its detailed sampling, combined with extensive sound-shaping capabilities, ensures that users can find the perfect tone for their tracks. While it focuses on a single piano model, the depth and quality of sound make it an excellent choice for those seeking the characteristic charm of an upright piano in their digital productions.


Best Grand Piano VST Plugins


Best Grand Piano Sound Overall - Addictive Keys Studio Grand

Addictive Keys Piano VST

The Addictive Keys Studio Grand is a standout choice for producers seeking a versatile grand piano VST that excels in various genres, from classical to jazz, and even modern music compositions. It's renowned for its detailed sampling of a Steinway Model D grand piano, offering users a rich and dynamic sound palette.

Key Features:

Highly Detailed Sampling: The Steinway Model D grand piano is meticulously sampled, capturing its signature warmth and depth.
Versatile Presets: Comes with multiple presets tailored for different music styles, ensuring adaptability across genres.
Customization Options: Offers extensive tweaking capabilities, including mic placement adjustments and effect controls, for personalized sound shaping.


  • Exceptional sound quality with realistic articulations and nuances.
  • User-friendly interface that simplifies the customization process.
  • Lightweight in terms of CPU usage, making it suitable for most music production setups.


  • While versatile, it may lack the niche characteristics of specialized grand piano VSTs designed for specific genres.
  • The extensive options might be overwhelming for beginners.

Addictive Keys Studio Grand is a comprehensive solution for music producers seeking the rich and expressive sound of a grand piano in their tracks. Its combination of high-quality sampling, genre-spanning presets, and deep customization options make it an excellent choice for a wide range of musical applications. Whether you're laying down a classical composition, a smooth jazz piece, or adding piano to a modern production, this VST offers both the quality and flexibility needed to elevate your music.


Best Classical Piano Sound - Chroma Grand Piano

Chroma Grand Piano VST Plugin

The Chroma Grand Piano by SonuScore is a top choice for classical music producers, designed to bring the elegance and depth of classical piano into digital music production. It's celebrated for its pristine sound quality and the emotional depth it adds to compositions.

Key Features:

Exceptional Sound Quality: Designed with classical music in mind, it offers a rich and expressive sound palette.
Dynamic Range: Provides extensive dynamic range, allowing for delicate pianissimos and powerful fortissimos.
Authentic Expression: Includes pedal noise and key release sounds for added realism.


  • Delivers a highly realistic classical piano sound.
  • Wide dynamic range suits complex classical compositions.
  • User-friendly interface for easy sound manipulation.


  • May lack versatility for non-classical genres.
  • Requires a high-quality MIDI controller to fully capture its dynamic capabilities.

The Chroma Grand Piano by SonuScore is an excellent choice for classical music producers looking for an authentic and expressive piano sound. Its focus on delivering a true classical piano experience makes it a standout in digital music production. While it may be tailored more towards classical compositions, its unparalleled sound quality and expressive capabilities make it a valuable addition to any producer's toolkit, provided they have the right equipment to harness its full potential.

Best Jazz Piano Sound - Piano in Blue

Piano in Blue VST

Piano In Blue is a celebrated VST plugin known for capturing the essence of a vintage 1949 Steinway D Grand Piano, famously used in jazz recordings. This plugin is a favorite among jazz musicians and producers for its soulful sound and authentic vintage character.

Key Features:

Vintage Sound: Offers the unique tone of a classic Steinway played by jazz legends, providing an authentic jazz ambiance.
Adjustable Mic Positions: Users can choose between close and room mic positions, allowing for customization of sound depth and presence.
Color and Character: Features the inherent imperfections and nuances of the original instrument, adding character to performances.


Deeply expressive, with a rich tone perfect for jazz.
Highly customizable mic settings enhance recording versatility.
Unique character and imperfections add authenticity to tracks.


Its specific vintage sound may not suit all production styles.
Some may find the inherent "imperfections" less desirable for clean production.

Piano In Blue is an exceptional choice for jazz musicians seeking the distinct, soulful sound of a legendary Steinway D Grand Piano. Its ability to deliver authentic vintage tones makes it a powerful tool for jazz compositions. While it excels in creating a nostalgic and deeply expressive sound, its specialized nature means it might not be the first choice for those looking for a more versatile or modern piano VST. Nonetheless, for jazz enthusiasts, it offers an unparalleled connection to the history and essence of jazz piano.



Best Alt Piano Sound - Arturia Augmented Grand Piano

Augmented Grand Piano VST by Arturia

Arturia Augmented Grand Piano breaks the mold of traditional piano VSTs by blending acoustic realism with extensive sound design capabilities. This innovative plugin is designed for both composers and producers who wish to push the boundaries of conventional piano sounds into the realm of sound design and hybrid textures.

Key Features:

Hybrid Technology: Combines high-quality piano samples with synthetic sound design tools, offering a vast palette of sounds.
Extensive Modulation: Features an array of modulators and effects, allowing for the creation of unique piano sounds and textures.
User-Friendly Interface: Designed to be intuitive, facilitating easy navigation through sound layers and modulation parameters.


Versatile sound design capabilities enhance creativity.
High-quality samples provide a solid foundation for sound exploration.
Intuitive interface makes complex sound design more accessible.


Might be overwhelming for beginners seeking simple piano sounds.
The focus on hybrid sounds may not satisfy purists looking for classical piano tones.

Arturia Augmented Grand Piano is an exceptional tool for musicians and producers looking to explore the intersection of acoustic piano and electronic sound design. Its blend of high-quality piano samples with innovative modulation options opens up new creative possibilities beyond traditional piano sounds. While its advanced features offer great potential for sound exploration, it may present a learning curve for those new to sound design. For artists seeking to push the boundaries of music production, this plugin offers a gateway to uncharted sonic territories. 


Best Free Piano VST - Spitfire LABS

Spitfire Labs Free Piano VST Plugins

Spitfire LABS offers an exceptional collection of free piano VSTs that stand out for their unique character and high-quality sounds. LABS' Soft Piano, in particular, has garnered acclaim for its intimate and emotional tone, making it a favorite among composers and producers looking for expressive piano sounds without the price tag.

Key Features:

High-Quality Samples: Features meticulously recorded samples that capture the nuanced expressions of a real piano.
Unique Character: Soft Piano provides a distinct, intimate sound not commonly found in other VSTs, perfect for emotive pieces.
User-Friendly: Despite its sophisticated sound, the interface remains simple and intuitive, suitable for beginners and pros alike.


Free to use, offering exceptional value.
Unique sounds ideal for cinematic and ambient music.
Straightforward interface encourages easy exploration and use.


Limited customization options compared to paid counterparts.
Specific sound may not suit all musical styles or production needs.

Spitfire LABS' piano VSTs, particularly the Soft Piano, present an outstanding option for musicians seeking high-quality, expressive piano sounds at no cost. While it shines in cinematic and ambient tracks, its unique sound and simple interface make it a valuable tool for a wide range of musical projects. The main drawback is its limited tweakability, but the quality and character of the sounds more than compensate for this, making it a must-try for anyone looking to expand their sonic palette without financial commitment.

Essential Accessories for the Ultimate Piano VST Experience

For the ultimate piano VST experience, certain accessories are indispensable. Key among these is a MIDI controller with weighted keys, which closely mimics the feel of an acoustic piano, providing a more realistic and satisfying playing experience.

Must-Have Accessories:

MIDI Controller with Weighted Keys: Offers tactile feedback similar to an acoustic piano, crucial for expressive playing and dynamic control.
High-Quality Headphones or Studio Monitors: Essential for hearing the nuances and depth of your piano VST, allowing for detailed mixing and mastering.
Sustain Pedal: Adds to the authenticity, enabling you to sustain notes and add expression to your performances.


Enhanced Realism: Weighted keys provide a more authentic feel, making digital play feel like an acoustic instrument.
Improved Dynamics: Allows for nuanced performances with greater emotional depth.
Better Practice: Simulates the resistance of real piano keys, aiding in finger strength and technique development.

Investing in these accessories can significantly elevate your music production, bringing you closer to the feel and sound of a real piano. A MIDI controller with weighted keys, when paired with high-quality audio output devices and a sustain pedal, bridges the gap between digital convenience and acoustic authenticity, ensuring your virtual piano playing is as expressive and enjoyable as possible.


Concluding the Best Piano VST Plugins

Choosing the right piano VST is pivotal for any musician looking to capture the essence and nuance of piano music in their productions. With options ranging from the industry-leading Spectrasonics Keyscape to the innovative Arturia Piano V3 and free alternatives like Spitfire LABS, there's a wealth of sounds at your fingertips.

The key is to find a VST that not only fits your musical style but also inspires creativity and adds depth to your compositions. Whether you're composing classical masterpieces, laying down jazz tracks, or crafting modern beats, the right piano VST can make all the difference.

Experimentation is crucial in this journey. Don't hesitate to explore both paid and free options, as they each offer unique qualities that can enhance your music in different ways. Remember, the goal is to find a piano VST that resonates with your artistic vision and elevates your music production.

With the myriad of choices available, taking the time to explore and test different piano VSTs can lead you to discover new sounds and possibilities, ultimately enriching your musical repertoire and production quality.

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