A must for DTM beginners! Let’s listen to and compare the recommended piano instruments!
Over the past ten years, I have been commissioned by companies and individual coterie artists to do almost everything related to sound source production, from composition and arrangement to mixing and mastering, and I have accumulated a lot of experience.
I am very particular about piano sound sources, and I have always been searching for the best piano sound source.
If you are looking for a full-fledged piano sound source, you will have to pay for it, but I have prepared a comparison sound source here, and I hope that you will listen to the actual sound and use it as an indicator to help you choose a sound source that matches your feeling and the music you are creating.
- 1 【My main piano】
- 2 Playlist for comparison of each source
- 3 Descriptions and links for each sound source
- 3.1 Imperfect Samples – Fazioli EBONY Concert Grand Recommended!
- 3.2 Imperfect Samples – Walnut Concert Grand Recommended!
- 3.3 Imperfect Samples – Hohner Baby Grand
- 3.4 Production Voices – Production Grand 2 Recommended!
- 3.5 Best Service Galaxy II Vienna Grand Recommended!
- 3.6 Native Instruments – Alicia’s Keys
- 3.7 Native Instruments – NOIRE Recommended!
- 3.8 Cinesamples – Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos
- 3.9 Cinesamples – Piano in Blue
- 3.10 Chocolate Audio – The 88 Series Model D Grand
- 3.11 Orchestral Tools – The Orchestral Grands
- 3.12 Fracture Sounds – Woodchester Piano
- 3.13 Fracture Sounds – Midnight Grand
- 3.14 Synthogy – Ivory Series Recommended!
- 3.15 Fluffy Audio – Scoring Piano Recommended!
- 3.16 Fluffy Audio – MyPiano
- 3.17 Westwood Instruments – Upright Felt Piano
- 3.18 Westwood Instruments – ALT PIANO
- 3.19 Simple Sam Samples – Vintage Upright
- 4 Actual piano music production
【My main piano】
First of all, I would like to introduce the main sound source that I am using as of 2021.
This is what it sounds like. The first is a jazz piece that I actually sell at various online stores, and the second is a more relaxed piano solo.
The jazz piece has a relatively constant velocity without pedals, and the solo piece has a wide range of sounds from pianissimo to fortissimo, with pedals.
The main piano sound source used is as follows.
Cinesamples – Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos
Sometimes I use Production Voices – Production Grand 2, which is a near perfect stand-alone product, and is very complete.
The aforementioned sound sources are basically a combination of either the Walnut Concert Grand or the Ebony Concert Grand with one of the other two. In order to achieve a piano that is mellow on the small notes, assertive on the big notes, and thick sounding in both cases, it is almost impossible to use just one specific sound source, which is why I ended up with this combination.
The Walnut Concert Grand is a very well-balanced sound source, and the Fazioli Ebony Concert Grand is excellent for spatial expression and reproduction of the atmosphere of a live performance, so I use one of these as a base. Personally, I mainly use the Ebony Concert Grand.
I often layer Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos on top of the Ebony Concert Grand, which has a thicker and more penetrating sound even in the upper register, so I use it mainly for jazz. I often layer them for piano solos as well. The Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos are no longer available as of 2021, although I don’t know if the contract with Abbey Road Studio has expired, so if you want to imitate me, you will have to use another harder and thicker sounding instrument as a substitute.
Galaxy II Vienna Grand is mainly used for piano solos. The Galaxy II Vienna Grand is mainly used to create piano solos, and although it needs to be pre-set to be a little softer, it compensates for the lack of hardness in the upper register of the Fazioli Ebony Concert Grand. On the other hand, Galaxy on its own is a bit thin, so it can be supplemented by layering it with a sound source like “Ebony Concert Grand”, which is good at providing thickness and rich spatial expression.
Playlist for comparison of each source
All settings are default unless otherwise noted. Some sources are lightly dressed with 2C-B2 reverb and Adaptiverb, but only to the extent that the basic character is not lost.
The integrated loudness of each sound source is set to -17.0 LKFS, which may seem low when compared to a CD or other loud sound source. However, for acoustic instruments, it is necessary to understand the original dynamics of each sound source, so we recommend that you turn up the volume in your playback environment.
Note that the order of the playlist is not the same as the order on the site.
Click on the title to go to the manufacturer’s website.
This is a Fazioli sound source with overwhelming rawness, airiness, thickness, and mellowness. It’s a quirky sound source that’s difficult to handle, but once you learn to use it well, you’ll never want to leave it. It is a sound source with such a mysterious appeal.
This is a wonderfully raw and beautiful sound source. Slightly light in the high frequencies.
It is a little lighter than Ebony, but the tone is good enough to be competitive.
It can be used by itself for any purpose. If you’re not sure what to do with it, you might as well just buy it.
In Galaxy, Vienna Grand is very good. I have it set to a slightly softer setting. The parameters can be adjusted to make it sound harder or softer.
I think it is good for those who like Alicia Keys. This sound was popular in Japan for a while.
It has a unique basic mellowness, but the texture can be adjusted. It is a very well balanced sound source. You can also use the particle engine to easily create atmospheric songs.
Cinesamples – Abbey Road Classic Upright Pianos
Upright. Out of print.
More for jazz. It’s not famous, but surprisingly it sounds quite nice and well balanced. It could be quite useful to combine with another sound source.
For classical music. It makes you feel like you are playing in a concert hall in its bare state. It is a very well-balanced sound source, and you can play very comfortably.
A sound source that seems to specialize in quiet solos. It is a pleasant sound source with a wonderful mellowness and thickness.
For movies and game music. Although it has its own quirks, it has a wonderfully mellow texture that cannot be found anywhere else.
Synthogy – Ivory Series Recommended!
They are all very well-balanced instruments, with good thickness. There are many people who use them, and they all sound familiar, but if you are not particular about your piano, you can safely choose Ivory II. If you are not particular about your piano, it is a waste of time to think about which one you should choose.
Personally, I think Bösendorfer and Italian Grand are enough for me. You can also combine them with other sources.
This is an excellent quality piano instrument that can be used as a stand-alone product. It will be an immediate asset for music production in any genre!
This is a sound source that allows you to create your own piano sounds to your liking. By layering the basic My Piano and Cinematic, you can transform them into surprisingly useful sounds. In the sound source, these two are layered. I also like the raccoon’s back, which is cute and melancholy.
Upright. As the name implies, it has a unique mellow tone that goes well with calm songs. It is fated to be weak in the upper register.
Upright. It’s a cheap sound source, but it sounds surprisingly good. It can be used for jazz. It is better to make it slightly felted.
Upright. For jazz.
There are many more piano sound sources out there, but that’s all I’ll say for now.
Actual piano music production
It is more important to create according to the sound source than to choose the sound source
Acoustic sound sources, not just piano sound sources, have their own peculiarities, such as the way sound quality changes due to differences in the extent of dynamics. Therefore, fixing the MIDI data to be used and playing it back on each sound source is just for reference. It is inevitable that even if the quality is excellent with one sound source, it will be out of order when played back with another sound source.
When you find a sound source you like, literally suck it up and learn to write songs to it. You’ll be much more skilled than if you were to cheat on this and that.