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#3160373 09/29/21 08:49 AM
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Hey everyone! Since there is a plethora of options, I'm currently stumped on what to choose. Hopefully I can narrow down my interests and gain some tips from experienced users here. Firstly, I don't do any professional recordings. Although I might consider casual recordings very seldomly for personal use. I strictly play contemporary Christian worship music, so I'm not necessarily focused on any other genres. And I just want to expand from the current default acoustic piano tones within my Roland FP-30. I'm not really interested in e-piano tones either, mainly acoustic. Here are a few of my current concerns. I appreciate any feedback, thanks!

-Most realistic/authentic acoustic tone(modeled vs sampled)?
-Affordable pricing; range of $75-200 USD?
-Basic to moderate tonal customization/standalone program?
-1-3 piano model choices?

Last edited by Raf702; 09/29/21 08:51 AM.
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Everyone has their preferences, and these are all over the map. It's a bit like asking which restaurant you should go to while visiting some large city. Our ears are all wired differently (well, maybe it's rather our brains that are), so one person will listen to piano sound X and hear only bliss and eternal happiness, whereas the next person suffers a thousand deaths in the deepest netherworld from listening to that same piano sound.

Another point to consider: most realistic may not be most beautiful. For my money the most realistic (that I own) are the Ivory II Studio Grands, but the most beautiful is Garritan CFX Lite. Oh, and the Production Voices Estate Grand is a highly realistic rendition of an acoustic piano that you would not want to own; it's ... let's call it an "uneven playing experience". smile


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While there are many options with good sound and playability, these 3 probably match your kind of music and price range the best IMHO:
- NI NOIRE
- Embertone Walker
- VI Labs Modern U

First 2 run on free KONTAKT PLAYER, VI Labs uses free UVI Workstation 3.

Many here love Garritan CFX. It matches all your criteria, but is not as customizable as options I mentioned above.

Last edited by VladK; 09/29/21 09:15 AM.

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I think with $200 you can get the Garritan CFX and be quite happy with it. More expensive products don't offer better sound/playing experience but expand on the number of mic perspectives - which are good for professional projects but not necessarily for personal use.


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Hello,

@Raf702, You've got some nice and useful answers above already.

One more consideration: keep an eye on what your computer can handle and weigh that in with your VSTi choice.

My love is for VI Labs Modern U, it is the only one I actually use for my studying and playing, driven from a Roland FP-10 and Kawai pedals. It easily ticks all your boxes -- if it is the kind of piano sound you're after. I just plain love it and get an actual piano playing 'illusion' from it (using an audio interface and decent amplifiers and speakers, not the FP-10's speakers!).

May I recommend 'studying' our very own @Gamma1734's extensive piano VSTi comparison? It is utterly helpful.

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ


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Go with your heart!

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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Everyone has their preferences, and these are all over the map. It's a bit like asking which restaurant you should go to while visiting some large city. Our ears are all wired differently (well, maybe it's rather our brains that are), so one person will listen to piano sound X and hear only bliss and eternal happiness, whereas the next person suffers a thousand deaths in the deepest netherworld from listening to that same piano sound.

Another point to consider: most realistic may not be most beautiful. For my money the most realistic (that I own) are the Ivory II Studio Grands, but the most beautiful is Garritan CFX Lite. Oh, and the Production Voices Estate Grand is a highly realistic rendition of an acoustic piano that you would not want to own; it's ... let's call it an "uneven playing experience". smile

You're absolutely correct, everyone's ear and taste for sound is very subjective. I guess trying to get a general consensus would be a better way of asking. Certain tonal piano tones suit certain genres better than others. Thanks for your valued feedback!

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Originally Posted by VladK
While there are many options with good sound and playability, these 3 probably match your kind of music and price range the best IMHO:
- NI NOIRE
- Embertone Walker
- VI Labs Modern U

First 2 run on free KONTAKT PLAYER, VI Labs uses free UVI Workstation 3.

Many here love Garritan CFX. It matches all your criteria, but is not as customizable as options I mentioned above.

I appreciate that! I just downloaded the free version of Konakt Player the other day. I will certaily look into those 3 options you mentioned.

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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
I think with $200 you can get the Garritan CFX and be quite happy with it. More expensive products don't offer better sound/playing experience but expand on the number of mic perspectives - which are good for professional projects but not necessarily for personal use.

Yes I did notice that higher price ranges added more versatility in tonal adjustments/recordings versus an improved sound. Thank you!

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Originally Posted by HZPiano
Hello,

@Raf702, You've got some nice and useful answers above already.

One more consideration: keep an eye on what your computer can handle and weigh that in with your VSTi choice.

My love is for VI Labs Modern U, it is the only one I actually use for my studying and playing, driven from a Roland FP-10 and Kawai pedals. It easily ticks all your boxes -- if it is the kind of piano sound you're after. I just plain love it and get an actual piano playing 'illusion' from it (using an audio interface and decent amplifiers and speakers, not the FP-10's speakers!).

May I recommend 'studying' our very own @Gamma1734's extensive piano VSTi comparison? It is utterly helpful.

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ


I appreciate the input! I currently use an Apple MacBook Pro 15 or 16 can't remember. But it's about 3-4 years old, I think it's sufficient enough to handle, and I also have a basic AI the Behringer UM2. Nothing over the top, just enough to be operational and useful.

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Originally Posted by qpalzm
Go with your heart!

The heart and ears say most sound great. Which means I'd probably go broke buying them all. Hahaha

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What's everyone's opinion regarding "The Grandeur" and "Alicia's Keys"?

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After listening to the comparisons based off everyone's suggestions. I collectively like them all, tough choice.

NI NOIRE
Embertone Walker 1955 D
VI Labs Modern U
Garritan CFX Lite
Alicia's Keys(NI)
The Grandeur(NI)


From the 6 listed, the CFX Lite/Embertone/Alicia's Keys/Grandeur is under the $100 mark, and produce quite pleasing tones. And the other 3 sound great as well, but they're in the $150-200 range, which is a tough pill to swallow.

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Grandeur: Good, but with an intermittent honk in the bass. Easier to play than the Vintage D ... but it sounds much better than Grandeur.

Alicia's Keys: Terrible ... a blight on humanity.
Originally Posted by Raf702
What's everyone's opinion regarding "The Grandeur" and "Alicia's Keys"?

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Grandeur: Good, but with an intermittent honk in the bass. Easier to play than the Vintage D ... but it sounds much better than Grandeur.

Alicia's Keys: Terrible ... a blight on humanity.
Originally Posted by Raf702
What's everyone's opinion regarding "The Grandeur" and "Alicia's Keys"?

I appreciate your input! I will certainly keep that in my memory bank during my process of elimination. Thanks!

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Download a copy of Pianoteq -- free, for any version -- and see if you like it. Don't be afraid to experiment with settings, and try different piano models.

If you like it, pay for it -- either the "Stage" or "Standard" version -- with whatever piano models you enjoyed.

If you don't like it, you will have spent some time evaluating it, but you won't be out-of-pocket.


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Download a copy of Pianoteq -- free, for any version -- and see if you like it. Don't be afraid to experiment with settings, and try different piano models.

If you like it, pay for it -- either the "Stage" or "Standard" version -- with whatever piano models you enjoyed.

If you don't like it, you will have spent some time evaluating it, but you won't be out-of-pocket.

I appreciate that suggestion! I'll have to check that out. Thank you!

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Well... I kind of agree and disagree with MacMacMac... Alicia's keys may have the right tone for contemporary christian music, which is what you want. On the other hand, garritan cfx lite has several bright presets that may also work well, and the lite version is affordable.

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Yes, Alicia’s Key is a nice VST but not really for classical music. Garritan is quite nice.


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Forgot to add that Modern U is also a very good choice (mybe even better than garritan).

In my opinion Noire is very muffled and dark by default.

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