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#2893990 - 12/04/17 09:06 PM Help choosing a piano vst plugin
sargentmonkey Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/17
Posts: 1
Hello I did a quick search but I couldn't find a similar topic. I'm completely new to the world of pianos and digital piano software. What plugin would you guys recommend for me. I play stuff kinda like elton john, queen, and beatles, brian wilson. I want a somewhat similar 70's rock/pop sound to them but I also want to be able to fiddle with some nobs and make a somewhat unique sound. Again, I know NOTHING about pianos or piano software so I can't be anymore specific than that. Any and all help is appreciated. My budget is up to 350$

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KC Island
#2893996 - 12/04/17 09:33 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: sargentmonkey]
lvercaut Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 195
Loc: Antwerp Belgium
Keyscape's Yamaha C7 rocks !
Garritan's CFX is also high quality but i think that pianomodel didn't exist already in the seventies...
Acoustic Samples C7 is another very good library.

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#2894001 - 12/04/17 11:25 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: lvercaut]
TomKittel Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 475
Pianoteq 6 Studio with Bluethner, Steinway B and Grotrian Steinweg. Awesome.
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#2894006 - 12/05/17 12:55 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: TomKittel]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
For that kind of playing, you could go with a Yamaha sample library (and I have plenty of them), but I am recently finding that for such aggressive playing styles, a Fazioli library cuts through the mix just as well, and without the mid-frequency weirdness. It's like a super-dynamic Steinway in some ways, but they differ a lot as well.

I prefer the one from TrueKeys, which may still be on sale for a day or two if you're lucky. Paired with Steinway and Bechstein. Not my favourite Steinway, but the Bechstein gets a lot of use on Beatles type stuff.

This topic has been covered here so often -- and quite recently -- that I'm hesitant to put much detail into a redundant reply, but do have a look at Wavesfactory Mercury (Freddie Mercury's piano used on Queen's albums, and a somewhat smaller Fazioli than what other libraries recorded) as it is highly tweakable. So far though, I keep finding TrueKeys Italian more useful.

How a library handles pedaling is critical, and most fail on this point. It's primarily the newest piano libraries from the past five years or less, that finally start getting realistic phrasing and pedaling.

Pianoteq is a good starting point, as it's so playable and tweakable. Very easy to get good results right away, and then can serve as a benchmark for tweaking sample-based libraries. The three piano models that Tom mentions above are currently my favourites as well, and I own the whole batch plus the Pro edition.
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Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894010 - 12/05/17 01:55 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Theo Verelst Offline
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Registered: 02/27/10
Posts: 3664
Well mr monkey, who plays Queen piano, it beats me. There are free sample players at least for Linux, and some large free piano sample sets to play with, but go ahead, why not introduce yourself as Seargent and see if the golden advice is availabe here.

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#2894012 - 12/05/17 04:00 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Theo Verelst]
vanderSchoot Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 553
Loc: The Netherlands
Since Fazioli was founded in the early eightiies, all famous Queen piano parts prior to that were played on a Bechstein and Bösendorfer occasionally. In the eightties Freddie became more insecure about his own piano skills and played less and less (according to Brian May)
If you dig the golden era of Queen with lots of piano , the Fazioli is not giving you that specific sound.

I heard the Bohemian Rhapsody Riff on both the Waves and Wavesfactory Fazioli and of course people hear the real deal..... so they think...
And people wonder if they aren’t manipulated by modern consumerism that creates it’s own illusions.
Wavesfactory changed their homepage about the Fazioli and Queen records.
I wonder if my comments like i mentioned over here below a YouTube video made them change their homepage adding much more realistic info about the grand used on Queen records that should have been mentioned from the beginning.

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#2894054 - 12/05/17 07:51 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: vanderSchoot]
johnchop Offline
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Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 2107
Loc: Georgia, US
sargentmonkey:

What CPU and how much RAM does your computer have?

-John

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#2894098 - 12/05/17 11:58 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: johnchop]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Ah, that would explain it (why I didn't feel "Mercury" sounded like the iconic Queen albums). It would also explain why I felt I got closer to that 70's Queen sound with the Bechstein from TrueKeys.

So this just further accentuates that the TrueKeys trio bundle and/or Pianoteq are great starter collections to cover the ground of the O.P. And FWIW, Pianoteq in current editions isn't very resource-hungry.

Both were on sale at considerable discount (50%) for a couple of weeks or more, but it's likely both sales have ended by now.


Edited by Mark Schmieder (12/05/17 11:58 AM)
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894352 - 12/06/17 04:03 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
chelsea4023 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/25/14
Posts: 128
Hi,
I think it would be a shame not to include Ravenscroft 275 in your list. What impressed me were the quality of some of the demo videos available. Well worth a look, and around about now they knock quite a bit off the price in their festive sale.
Chris
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpquLAhuJIg

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

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#2894361 - 12/06/17 05:04 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: chelsea4023]
marino Offline
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Registered: 10/20/00
Posts: 7850
Loc: Rome, Italy
Originally Posted By: chelsea4023
Hi,
I think it would be a shame not to include Ravenscroft 275 in your list.

My ears think that Ravenscroft is among the absolute best.
Another one which I love is the Galaxy Vintage D. A bit old and a bit rough in dynamic range, but a fabulous responsive/expressive sound.

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#2894394 - 12/06/17 10:24 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: marino]
Mark Schmieder Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Galaxy Vintage D was my preferred Steinway until my 2010 computer died and I bought a new 2017 computer, at which point Soniccouture's Hammersmith (which I had bought when it came out but could barely run) jumped ahead of the pack.

Ravenscroft 275 is also another favourite of mine.

I didn't mention those two due to the O.P.'s stated goals, which I think are generally better met with Bechstein, Fazioli, and Yamaha libraries and models.

My favourite piano library at this point, hands-down, is Soniccouture's Hammersmith Pro, but I don't always want a Steinway sound, so TrueKeys comes in second, in a tie with their Ravenscroft separate purchase.

Pianoteq remains my favourite for tracking and song evolution, until I'm ready for final takes, at which point I have had to come to accept that most people do not feel Pianoteq (even v6) sounds realistic.

I'm not one of those as I grew up mostly on Mason & Hamlin (STILL my favourite piano) and a few Steinways as well. For better or worse though, a majority of people have a VERY specific timbre and dynamic in mind from familiarity, as opposed to being happy with a "new" or "different" piano sound that properly meets the necessary characteristics.

The latest Steinway and Bleuthner models in Pianoteq 6 in particular, are almost as close to the real thing as Hammersmith, but I do find that closer listening reveals subtler differences, even regarding pedaling, which until recently only Pianoteq really could have been said to handle truly well.


Edited by Mark Schmieder (12/06/17 10:25 PM)
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894395 - 12/06/17 10:31 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
As I play and compose in a gazillion styles (including recent explorations of Traditional Cumbia, which has some unique requirements), I really can't live with just one piano model or library, but I can broadly categorize the aspects of playing that often lend themselves better to one brand/model over another:

Escapement -- for me, the most critical, as I often do lightning-fast repeated strikes, and even many acoustic pianos can't handle this

Dynamic range -- not all music requires proper handling of pppp to ffff, but when that's what you need, you might be surprised, even if taking the unacorda approach, which really is a timbral shift more than a "softening" of the volume per se

General timbre and frequency balance -- some models are honky in the mid-range; others are quite bright but not warm; lid up or lid down (or partially closed) may or may not have a big impact on this

Sound stage -- for instance, the "size" of the piano sound, bringing to mind a 9' grand or something more intimate like a baby grand

When playing in a rock band context, you generally will need a very phase-coherent sound that has super focused mid-range, that should nevertheless not be harsh or overly bright, and generally a bit less bottom (or at least, a very focused bottom) to avoid mud when combined with guitars and bass plus even low drums.
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894499 - 12/07/17 09:25 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
RoadHousePiano Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 146
Loc: Long Island, NY
My overall favorite is The Hammersmith Pro. NI The Grandeur doesn't seem to get mentioned too often but I have that as a close second. It's easier on the CPU than Hammersmith so thats a plus. Pianoteq is probably the most playable, my favorite model is the Bluethner. I like the German model in True Keys. Another that doesn't get too many mentions is NI The Maverick. It's quirkier than the others that I've mentioned. Very useful in specific situations.
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#2894505 - 12/07/17 09:30 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: RoadHousePiano]
Darcity Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/18/00
Posts: 424
Loc: Atlanta, Ga
Ravenscroft 275 hands down!!

Spectrasonics Keyscape is essential as well
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#2894559 - 12/07/17 11:40 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Darcity]
Mark Schmieder Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
The German model in TrueKeys is the Bechstein I mentioned earlier. I had dismissed it at first, as I don't care for it so much soloed, but began to notice it can sit in the mix better for parts that might be repetitive and need to cut through without dominating.

I don't have too much CPU/memory trouble with Hammersmith Pro on my new computer. Interestingly, the one that's the biggest challenge to load currently is probably the full edition of Wavesfactory Mercury, and maybe Impact Soundworks Pearl (Yamaha C7 library).

TrueKeys can be a bit sluggish to load, but I haven't upgraded the memory on my new iMac yet. It's not so much a CPU issue.
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894562 - 12/07/17 11:42 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Hmm, I don't touch the Galaxy pianos donated to NI very often, so should try The Maverick again to discover its quirkiness.

When I tried them out a couple of times, they seemed a huge step up from previous Komplete pianos, and above average on a list of some sixty or so piano libraries that I own.

I haven't given them their fair shake, I suppose, due to an inherent bias against freebies. Not that they're actually free, but I think of them that way as I never buy them outright.
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894569 - 12/07/17 12:03 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Of course, you could also spend a bit more than $200 to buy Bechsteion's own piano library:

https://www.bechstein-digital.com/

I keep forgetting about this one, as it has gotten so little attention, in spite of Stephen Fortner's excellent review for Keyboard magazine in January 2017.

I may buy it soon, as I do feel ALL of the TrueKeys libraries can have some phasiness, which ends up being why I go with something else in many cases even though those remain on my top list.
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894571 - 12/07/17 12:03 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 11273
I hesitate to recommend particular sounds for particular styles which is why I skipped his thread to begin with, but since people are just talking about their favorites, I'll just mention that I really like Addictive Keys "Studio Grand" and it's well-priced, too.
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#2894573 - 12/07/17 12:16 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: AnotherScott]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Scott, you're right on that one -- a bit of a surprise! Not sure I'd use it in final production, given what all I own, but I have found Addictive Keys and EZ Keys to both be very helpful towards completing song arrangements with MIDI compiled from a variety of sources (libraries, personal playing, personal manuscript/notation, etc.). The recorded sounds are quite good also.


Edited by Mark Schmieder (12/07/17 12:17 PM)
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894579 - 12/07/17 01:00 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Stokely Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 12/15/12
Posts: 1623
Loc: Florida
You need to consider your computer--new or old, which OS, and possibly how big the hard drive is (some of these take a LOT of space, some very little). I'd be hesitant to buy a few of these with my older 2012 macbook pro for instance until I knew for sure it could handle it. It just has a single 5400 rpm hard drive in it is the main thing.

Personally, I always check the copy protection too. Certain ones I am not a fan of. I also check the company to see how they have been with dealing with upgrades. There have been a few of the cheaper ones that I've avoided after hearing people having issues.

Anyway, I was (unhappily) using the stock pianos in Logic pro and wanted an upgrade. Due to my older computer and lack of funds (:D) I decided to get something a bit cheaper. Addictive keys went on a 50% sale so I got their grand and upright. They sound nice, they load really quickly and they offer many options for changing the sound (different mics etc). When I set up my new computer I may try out one of the newer libraries. Hammersmith and Ravenscroft were both on sale for Black Friday and I would have probably gotten either (Leaning ravenscroft) if I was ready. Keyscape just has too much in it that I don't want or need for the $ but I'm sure it sounds awesome. There are a bunch of others out there, Native Instruments may still have their sale going on if $ is an issue! (I'm one of those people that feels compelled to get a deal...it's a curse)


Edited by Stokely (12/07/17 01:00 PM)

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#2894595 - 12/07/17 02:57 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: AnotherScott]
Sven Golly Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
...but since people are just talking about their favorites...


Seems to be the common practice around here in the last couple of years. frown
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#2894678 - 12/08/17 05:01 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Sven Golly]
Markay Offline
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Registered: 01/28/12
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Life's too short to spend time playing VI's you don't like. VI's aren't kids - its OK to have favourites. Looking at you Pianoteq.
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#2894734 - 12/08/17 11:31 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Markay]
Marzzz Offline
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Registered: 11/24/00
Posts: 2355
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
+1 for Pianoteq- I just love he way it plays without sample switching.

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#2894736 - 12/08/17 11:47 AM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Marzzz]
vanderSchoot Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 553
Loc: The Netherlands
After yet another night playing with the Hammersmith Pro i decided it is just not working for me.....sadly.
Something just seems off, the tone, the thinness in the solo registers and the room where it was recorded sounds boxed.
Time to clean my SSD and focus on the only VST i really love...Garritan CFX full.

After i bought the Scarbee 88 eps i did the same with my other Rhodes libraries.
The Scarbee has this warm and likable tone combined with great playability and ways to alter the sound from stage bell to suitcase funk.

The only thing i really want is a great upright and i would love to have My piano from Fluffy Audio, but it only plays with the full Kontakt platform which i don't have/want.

And maybe the Acoustic Samples Wurlie, because if it is as good as the B5 V2.2 i love it should be all i could ask for from a Wurlitzer VST.

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#2894743 - 12/08/17 01:16 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: vanderSchoot]
Noah B Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/13
Posts: 46
Loc: Washington, DC
I'm a huge fan of that Acousticsamples Wurlie - I gig with it all the time, and man, it sounds good.
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#2894746 - 12/08/17 01:42 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Noah B]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Pianoteq's Yamaha U4-inspired upright is pretty good, and VERY tweakable in terms of even opening up the top of the piano in several directions (not all acoustic uprights support this).

I'm not at home so can't check which upright sample library I found was slotting into the mix the best. I tend to use uprights in Reggae, for a vert choppy sound.

Sorry to hear Hammersmith didn't work out for some, aesthetically. I consider it far and away the most tweakable sample library; almost as tweakable as Pianoteq.

I should point out that I never use presets; I hate them all! They seem to mostly use the far mics to start with, and I exclusively use close mics. This can have a HUGE effect on people's preferences, if they want a super-wet (reverb) and/or "roomy" sound out of the gate.
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894750 - 12/08/17 01:55 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8295
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
VI Labs 30% sale is on now:

https://www.bestservice.com/deals.html#vilabs_30_off

Other sites as well, so depending on your locale, one of the other resellers might work out better (VAT, tax, exchange rates, etc.).
_________________________
Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Select J-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari
Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold Top, T486-RB, ES295, PM2, EXL1
WX5, XK1c, Voyager, Prophet12

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#2894762 - 12/08/17 04:02 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Noah B]
vanderSchoot Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 553
Loc: The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Noah B
I'm a huge fan of that Acousticsamples Wurlie - I gig with it all the time, and man, it sounds good.

I was afraid someone would say that...... cool

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#2894764 - 12/08/17 04:13 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: Mark Schmieder]
vanderSchoot Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 553
Loc: The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
Pianoteq's Yamaha U4-inspired upright is pretty good, and VERY tweakable in terms of even opening up the top of the piano in several directions (not all acoustic uprights support this).

I'm not at home so can't check which upright sample library I found was slotting into the mix the best. I tend to use uprights in Reggae, for a vert choppy sound.

Sorry to hear Hammersmith didn't work out for some, aesthetically. I consider it far and away the most tweakable sample library; almost as tweakable as Pianoteq.

I should point out that I never use presets; I hate them all! They seem to mostly use the far mics to start with, and I exclusively use close mics. This can have a HUGE effect on people's preferences, if they want a super-wet (reverb) and/or "roomy" sound out of the gate.

I also create my own sounds and never use presets.
And yes pianoteq....i firmly dislike the Roland V piano's i know very well and the Viscount Physis is even worse....i am afraid to go into that direction, but maybe time to reconsider pianoteq.

It has to do that i tune lots of Steinways and several D's.
The Hammersmith has an ordinary sound compared to some models i know.
I think that is my biggest problem with it....i want the sound i am familiar with that for some reason the Hammersmith seems to lack.

The breef clip i heard of the new Production voices Steinway does seem to capture that sound.
But near 500 GB is simply to much and unless they come out with a spin off version with fewer mike positions i do not consider it as an option.
That is my personal appeal towards the Garritan CFX....it does sound like i think it should sound.
Highly subejctive of course and i can understand you like the Hammersmith as a working composer, because that's why i bought it in the first place...it sounded better to me than the Galaxy and Ivory Steinway D's on the various clips and comparisons i heard between them.

BTW how do you get along with the Scarbee after some weeks in comparison with the Canterbury suitcase ?


Edited by vanderSchoot (12/08/17 04:20 PM)

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#2894765 - 12/08/17 04:48 PM Re: Help choosing a piano vst plugin [Re: sargentmonkey]
Sven Golly Offline
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Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 12227
Loc: Toronto, ON
Sorry to disturb you guys prattling on about all kinds of tenuously connected shit, but let's not forget the OP, and maybe take a second to try and actually help our new friend?

Here, let me remind you what the actual question was:

Originally Posted By: sargentmonkey
Hello I did a quick search but I couldn't find a similar topic. I'm completely new to the world of pianos and digital piano software. What plugin would you guys recommend for me. I play stuff kinda like elton john, queen, and beatles, brian Wilson. I want a somewhat similar 70's rock/pop sound to them but I also want to be able to fiddle with some nobs [sic] and make a somewhat unique sound. Again, I know NOTHING about pianos or piano software so I can't be anymore specific than that. Any and all help is appreciated. My budget is up to 350$


snax
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