The Best KONTAKT Piano Libraries

The Best KONTAKT Piano Libraries

It is very hard to imagine a modern media production that does not feature a piano in one or another way. Even if the composition itself does not have a piano sound, it is too good of a tool to sketch things up since most of us use MIDI keyboards anyway. Having that in mind, there are literally tons of piano libraries, and one might even argue that there are too many. Here is our list of the best KONTAKT piano libraries to help you choose the right one.

Top 10 Best KONTAKT Piano Libraries

  1. Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys
  2. Native Instruments The Giant
  3. Native Instruments The Gentleman
  4. Native Instruments The Maverick
  5. Native Instruments The Grandeur
  6. e-instruments Session Keys Upright
  7. e-instruments Session Grand Y
  8. Cinematique Instruments Deconstructed Piano
  9. Cinematique Instruments Charakter Piano Collection
  10. Wavesfactory Old Tape Piano

KONTAKT Piano Libraries Buying Guide

Since there are a lot of extraordinary virtual piano instruments, it is rather tricky to choose only a couple of them to be the best. Amongst us, there are a few lucky producers who know exactly which piano sound they prefer for each occasion. But most of us approach things empirically. Having a versatile and adjustable piano is one thing to consider when choosing a piano library. But there are far more things to think about.

Important features

Having a different piano for every project is a useful and convenient idea, but let’s face it, not everyone can afford to spend a fortune on a couple of hundreds of piano libraries of excellent quality. Having a couple of KONTAKT piano libraries with adjustable sound would be beneficial for your production and budget. That being said, some very unique instruments hardly could be considered flexible, but using those could give you some inspiration to turn your production into another direction.

Since originally piano is an acoustic instrument, you obviously would want the virtual one to sound as realistic and convincing as possible. But is realism always useful, though? Of course, when working on an orchestral piece with virtual instruments, you are not looking for a piano with a synthetic sound. On the other hand, when working on a hip-hop banger, you are not really looking for realism but rather for a certain vibe. So those are things to keep in mind while looking for the best KONTAKT piano libraries for you.

Best KONTAKT Piano Libraries Reviews

Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys

Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys

Pros
  • Deep realism
  • Works in free KONTAKT player
  • 12 velocity layers
  • Astonishing sound
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys is a carefully sampled top-shelf special edition Yamaha C3 Neo grand piano that belongs to Alicia Keys, who doesn’t really need any introduction herself. This virtual piano has a warm and beautiful sound with lots of adjustable parameters, including various noises and ambients. You can even adjust the level of the sound of fingers pressing on the keys or remove it completely.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys astonishingly detailed and authentic sound. Users praised the sampled pedal and key noise as it sounds really exquisite. The nice touch is the convolution reverb, and it sounds really amazing. Users add that this virtual instrument fits best in R&B and mellower types of music.

What we think

As far as we know, Alicia Keys herself took part in developing this virtual instrument, and rumor has it even used it on one of her albums. Well, if Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys is good enough for her, it is definitely good enough for us.

Bottomline

You would think that this piano would sound very jazzy and could not be placed in any other genre. Well, you could not be more wrong than that. Since it has a highly customizable sound, it can be used in literally any possible genre, and it would fit like a glove. Also, being extremely affordable, Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys is one of the best virtual pianos to have in your toolbox.

Native Instruments The Giant

Native Instruments The Giant

Pros
  • Works in a free KONTAKT player
  • Lots of sound design options
  • Highly customizable
Cons
  • None
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

Have you ever imagined a piano that weighs two tons and is over three meters high? Well, the wonderful people from Clavins not only imagined it but actually built one. The guys from Galaxy Instruments sampled it and gave us Native Instruments The Giant, so we could experience how it would feel like to play the enormous upright piano.

User impressions

Users like Native Instruments The Giant for its editing flexibility and convolution engine. They add that this virtual instrument would unravel best used in cinematic music. Another pleasant benefit is that this instrument has a user-friendly GUI. Users say that Native Instruments The Giant would complement the best urban, pop, and film scoring.

What we think

As a conventional piano, Native Instruments The Giant sounds very rich, but this is not the most important thing about it. There are actually two instruments in one. The first one is said piano, and the second one is a collection of adjustable cinematic piano sounds. And we believe this is by far the best feature this library can offer. You can spend countless hours creating your own sound design textures.

Bottomline

For such a reasonable price, to say the least, with Native Instruments The Giant you will get a very versatile piano that fits various styles. But also, and more importantly, you get a very powerful cinematic tool for creating organic pads and textures.

Native Instruments The Gentleman

Native Instruments The Gentleman

Pros
  • Works in a free KONTAKT player
  • Moderate size
  • Carefully sampled vintage upright piano
Cons
  • None really
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

Native Instruments The Gentleman is a carefully sampled vintage upright piano brought to us by the same people who made the Giant as you would have guessed. So it safe to say that the same attention to detail was implemented while making this vintage piano. It has a ridiculous amount of adjustable parameters, including various noises and the whole timbre of instruments.

User impressions

Users say that Native Instruments The Gentleman sounds particularly good and emotional when used at low velocities. Another nice touch is that it is sampled from 1908 upright piano, which will complement any music material.

What we think

Interestingly enough, since Native Instruments The Gentleman is advertised as a vintage piano, it would have certain sound qualities that would not make it usable in modern productions. Actually, it is as far from the truth as it gets. The sound is so versatile that you can make it work in any style you would like with some adjustments. But even straight out of the box, its vintage qualities are not over the top.

Bottomline

Native Instruments The Gentleman is a strong contestant to become your go-to virtual piano library. And considering its extremely low price, it might be one of the best investments into your production.

Native Instruments The Maverick

Native Instruments The Maverick

Pros
  • Works in a free KONTAKT player
  • 18 velocity layers
  • Deep realism
Cons
  • None
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

Native Instruments The Maverick is a recreation of a vintage grand piano, custom-built in 1905 for European royalty. And it is safe to assume that if something were made for royalty, it would suffice for us, mere mortals. It has 18 velocity layers and astonishing sound quality and customization, ensuring the deepest realism possible.

User impressions

Users like Native Instruments The Maverick for its compatibility with many musical styles included pop, rock, jazz, and urban. The sound is captured with unbelievable detail, which makes playing this virtual instrument an enjoyable experience. Another pleasant benefit is that it has 2500 individual samples and 18 velocity layers.

What we think

As audio producers, we must use smoke and mirrors to trick the listener into believing that what they hear is real. But on a rare occasion, we might get tricked ourselves. To put it differently, using Native Instruments The Maverick feels like you are playing the real instrument.

Bottomline

Native Instruments The Maverick is an extremely realistic and convincing vintage grand piano KONTAKT library that would fit in any possible genre without any compromise.

Native Instruments The Grandeur

Native Instruments The Grandeur

Pros
  • Works in a free KONTAKT player
  • 18 velocity layers
  • Deeply realistic concert grand
Cons
  • None really
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

Native Instruments The Grandeur is another sampled piano from Galaxy instruments, but this time with a slightly different twist. It is a recreation of pristine and clean, modern concert grand piano. This instrument has 18 velocity layers, adjustable timbre, and other features that guarantee deep realism and playability.

User impressions

Users agree that Native Instruments The Grandeur is super compact and doesn’t use your RAM that much. The captured sound is remarkably realistic to the degree that you may have the feeling as if you are playing the real piano itself. It fits the best in classical music,  jazz, and cinematic scores.

What we think

We always believed that things do not have to be complicated to be enjoyable. Native Instruments The Grandeur is pure inspiration and joy when it comes to actually playing this piano.

Bottomline

Native Instruments The Grandeur is a virtual version of a modern concert grand piano of the highest quality possible that you will actually enjoy playing.

e-instruments Session Keys Upright

e-instruments Session Keys Upright

Pros
  • Modern upright piano
  • Works in a free KONTAKT player
  • Deep sound design customization
Cons 
  • Large size
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

E-instruments Session Keys Upright is a virtual modern upright piano with a bright and realistic sound out of the box. But things get far more interesting than that when you dive deeper into its features. It has two separate sound banks that you choose between – bright and wide of warmer and intimate sound. The Pentamorph function lets you transform this upright piano into a wide variety of cinematic pads and textures. It also has a built-in library of piano phrases that you can customize.

User impressions

Users like e-instruments Session Keys Upright as it is the flexible, fun, and fantastically sounding piano. Another pleasant bonus is it has 400 instantly usable MIDI phrases, licks, and riffs which can greatly complement your music material.

What we think

Having a simple upright piano is good and all, but we really enjoy making our custom sounds. And e-instruments Session Keys Upright offers plenty in that regard.

Bottomline

Apart from its rather large size, there is no other downside of having e-instruments Session Keys Upright in your library of virtual instruments.

e-instruments Session Grand Y

e-instruments Session Grand Y

Pros
  • Yamaha concert grand
  • Pentamorph function
  • Works in a free KONTAKT player
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

E-instruments Session Grand Y is very similar to the previous entry on this list. Instead of an upright piano, we have Yamaha concert grand sampled in two different iterations. That would be the concert version and the studio one.

User impressions

Users agree that e-instruments Session Grand Y has an intelligent and user-friendly GUI. This virtual instrument is perfect for sound design, and it has great sound-shaping options.

What we think

Since Session Grand Y and Upright are very similar in terms of GUI and overall functions, it all comes down to one thing. What inspired you more the sound on the grand piano or upright.

Bottomline

You should consider e-instruments Session Grand Y if you prefer the sound of the grand piano. Other than that, this library takes considerably less drive space than e-instruments Session Keys Upright for the same price.

Cinematique Instruments Deconstructed Piano

Cinematique Instruments Deconstructed Piano

Pros
  • Low price
  • Inspiring and experimental sound design
Cons
  • No conventional piano sounds
  • Does not work in a free version of the KONTAKT player
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Are you bored with pianos yet? Well, the guys from Cinematique Instruments thought that you might have been, so they literally disassembled an upright piano and sampled it. They have used various mallets to create unusual sounds, and the choices of mallets vary from conventional hammers to quite unexpected straws.

User impressions

Users like Cinematique Instruments Deconstructed Piano for its experimental idea that you can add a particular sound of a piano part to your material. It would enhance the atmosphere of the playing piano experience and fit the best in cinematic scores.

What we think

We are aware that Cinematique Instruments Deconstructed Piano would not be your first choice if you need a conventional piano. But actually, it might as well be your second because it is always nice to have the ability to feel the negative space of your mix with some organic soundscapes.

Bottomline

Cinematique Instruments Deconstructed Piano is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for experimental and cinematic sounds.

Cinematique Instruments Charakter Piano Collection

Cinematique Instruments Charakter Piano Collection

Pros
  • Relatively low price
  • 6 pianos in 1
Cons
  • Does not work in a free version of the KONTAKT player
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Cinematique Instruments Charakter Piano Collection is a collection of six uniquely sampled pianos. Each of those is designed to have a very unique and delicate feel.

User impressions

Users say that Cinematique Instruments Charakter Piano Collection is the right choice. It is a bundle of 6 uniquely sampled pianos that don’t require a lot of space from your computer. All of the pianos have a user-friendly GUI.

What we think

With Cinematique Instruments Charakter Piano Collection, it all comes down to one simple choice. Do you prefer one thing that does it all? Or do you prefer 6 things that serve one purpose each?

Bottomline

Cinematique Instruments Charakter Piano Collection might not be a good choice if you are looking for a versatile all-around piano. But its unique character and pure intimacy are good enough of a reason to consider it.

Wavesfactory Old Tape Piano

Wavesfactory Old Tape Piano

Pros
  • Recorded on a real tape
  • 8 velocity layers
Cons
  • Might not be very versatile
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

There is an ongoing love affair between audio producers and reel-to-reel tape. So it was expected that the piano would be added to the mix at some point. So guys from Wavesfactory did exactly that. Sampled a piano on a vintage cassette recorder.

User impressions

Users like Wavesfactory Old Tape Piano for its unique sound of a piano recorded on the tape and user-friendly GUI. It would complement best any music from the 40’s to 80’s. Though users say that you won’t have a clean and pristine sound, it probably can’t be used in classical and orchestral music.

What we think

Wavesfactory Old Tape Piano would not be our first choice of a virtual piano library if not for the tape. In itself, the controls of the tape could be used as a separate effect.

Bottomline

Wavesfactory Old Tape Piano is a good choice if you are looking for ways to spice up your hip-hop and lo-fi productions. But don’t let our opinion stop your imagination.

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