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Are you new to music production and looking for free piano VSTS? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we are going to break down the best free piano VSTs that will amp up your productions in 2023. The top three choices on my list, are currently head and shoulders above the rest of the competition I tested.
Note: While there are many options, I am going to mention the few that I think are actually worth your time. There a lot of options that are dated and just sound plain bad.
You will find that a lot of the piano plugin sounds vary quite drastically. Find something you like and then check out some Youtube videos of some of the paid piano VSTS for better options.
Note: Should you be in search of a digital piano, you can check out our guide that covers digital pianos for every point.
Before getting to my list, take a quick look at Addictive Keys. I still use this in productions to this day and it’s not as expensive as most paid options.
Best Free Piano VST Plugins
Below are my choices that are regularly updated. I have done the work for you and weeded out all of the free piano VSTs that aren’t worth your time due to bugs and glitches. In order to come to this list, I reviewed over 25 different options and narrowed it down to 10. All of these work and are easy to use right from the start.
You will notice that a few of these picks are by Spitfire LABS, this is because I can’t get over the sounds they have been tapping into.
1) Spitfire LABS Autograph Grand – Overall Best Free Piano VST (Windows & Mac)
I know, this is entire subjective. With this being said, I have played well over 100 piano plugins, and the Autograph Grand stood out from the rest of the pack. What I like about this plugin is that it’s lightweight and extremely warm.
In the link above, you’ll be able to hear a demo of it prior to downloading.
Extremely warm, yet delicately bright. It has the sheer power you would expect from a grand while remaining warm.
The Autograph Grand is my top choice as we round out the end of 2023.
2) Spindle – Orchestral Tools (Incredible Felt Piano)
The Spindle piano by Orchestral Tools can be used via the SINEplayer. You will need to have a reasonably fast computer in order to use the SINEplayer, but this will be the case with any music software.
This option is in the same realm as my top choice above. If you’re a fan of those types of pianos that pull at the heart-strings, give this a spin.
Spindle gives you that dampened piano sound that could work exceptionally well for film scores and certain types of pop music. It sounds professional whereas other free options may sound cheap just due to the budget put in.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with this option as it is free and will instantly add to your production.
3) Spitfire LABS Soft Piano – Dark & Great For Cinematic
The Soft Piano by Spitfire is one of the more unique free options on the market. While this won’t be something you use for every production, it’s perfect for those that are looking for something on the sad/thought provoking side.
4) Salamander Piano By Bigcat Instruments (Windows And Mac)
The Salamander piano plugin is the latest free piano plugin that I’ve tried out. With this, what you see is what you get. It’s not a crazy in-depth plugin, but it’s efficient.
The quality might actually be my favorite to date. With this being said, you may run into problems with it.
I’ve seen and heard a few different things going wrong with this. Sometimes, going high up on the register (C5) can cause a crackling sound.
Another thing to note is that you may have to uninstall and reinstall occasionally as it seems to be a little unstable.
Salamander sounds warmer than most of the other options. I’m a big fan of warm and dark sounding pianos, rather than bright. This is a sample of the Yamaha C5 Grand Piano.
Depending on the DAW that you’re running, this could be perfect or it could a little bit annoying. Download it and give it a whirl is my advice.
5) KeyZone Classic – Windows & Mac
KeyZone is one of the more popular free piano VSTS as it has been around and gone through some nice updates.
I personally l dig the sound of this and I really like the clean interface. You will most likely need to add some EQ and reverb in order to get it where you want it to sound.
It comes with 5 presets that include:
- Piano from Keyzone 1
- Yamaha Grand Piano
- Steinway Grand Piano
- Basic Electric Piano
- Rhodes Piano
While it contains 5 presets, I only use the Steinway and the Rhodes piano from it. The other ones aren’t bad, I just for whatever reason always find myself going to those two when I use Keyzone.
Honestly, it doesn’t sound bad, I actually find this one to sound pretty decent. I frequently use the East-West Piano, so when I don’t use that, it’s hard for others to compare.
I have to mention that there may be a slight hissing sound on A and A# on the Steinway piano. You can hear this when recording and when doing solos, it’s a little annoying, but it is free.
I recently wrote about my favorite paid piano VSTS here. Check them out!
As far as Keyzone goes overall, I think this is one of the best free piano VSTs currently available.
6) The Grand DSK Piano – Windows & Mac
The DSK Grand piano is a classic free piano VST that I think is definitely useable. I know that there will be some people who rip on it, but for a free option, it’s easy to use and gets the job done.
Available for Windows and Mac (32 and 64 bit).
One thing I will note is that some people complain about certain notes distorting. I personally haven’t had this problem, but I’ve only used it a handful of times.
The low end can get a little bit jumbled, but it’s not the end of the world. The mids seem pretty decent to me, which is where most of your playing will be. You will definitely want to dial in some EQ and reverb for this.
This is a fairly newer VST as it came out about 2 years ago. I think it definitely gets the job done for new producers and producers on a budget.
7) Versilian Upright – Windows & Mac
I personally might actually rate this as my favorite free piano VST plugin. It also comes with a great story. A student of Berklee decided to mic up and record a few upright pianos in the basement of a dorm. What we get is what his results were.
I think is the most realistic sounding free piano VST that’s currently available. If you’re a fan of upright pianos or grew up on them as I did, you will enjoy it.
Right out of the gates, this sounds better, in my opinion, than all of the other free piano plugins that I’ve found. You can add a little bit of reverb and sustain and it should start sounding good quite quickly.
I believe that Versilian Upright is a great choice for a free option and it should definitely be on your radar of plugins to try. It’s a simple download and there’s a great chance you enjoy it.
8) Piano One – Windows & Mac
Piano One is a great choice and it actually uses an extremely popular piano, the Yamaha C7 Concert Grand. This has been used all over the world and it is a beautiful sounding piano.
What I really like about this is that they updated to take up less memory and they made it have faster load times. The interface is rather simple to navigate as well and you can quickly add effects like reverb.
While the interface on this isn’t the most appealing to look at, it’s simple to use and you will easily be able to change what you need.
Piano One sounds really warm. I have the unpopular opinion that warm pianos sound better than bright pianos. This sounds really warm to me and that’s a big plus in my opinion.
Piano One is a solid choice if you enjoy warm pianos. It’s not super bright, which in my opinion, can lead to cheap-sounding plugins.
Since it’s hard to emulate a real piano, I find that overly bright plugins can often sound thin and stale.
9) Dead Duck Audio Dpiano – Windows & Mac
When it comes to user experience, Dead Duck Audio delivers in this department. You get a rather simple interface that is very easy to navigate, even for beginners.
With this being said, there are no piano keys for you look at or click on. What I really like about this plugin is that you’re able to able to tweak presets and instantly save them as your own.
This is handy for those who are hands-on and really like to tweak things. What I also like about this plugin is that not a lot of people have heard of this one, yet. I do believe that this will become a popular free option though.
The straight-up presets are not my favorites, however, you can easily tweak them to your liking. As far as dynamics go, this plugin is able to capture dynamics surprisingly nicely.
Overall, I think this plugin definitely deserves a peak, however, I don’t reckon that it will become your go-to option. I feel like it falls just a little bit short in its sound.
10) Ivy Audio Piano In 162 -Windows & Mac
The Ivy Audio piano plugin is one of my favorite sounding free options to date. The one downside here is that it requires the full version of Kontakt in order to run.
With this being said, if you happen to have Kontakt, you may have found your winner. The interface rocks and it also has a piano on it, so you can see the keys play as your MIDI plays.
You can also adjust certain parameters while doing playback.
There are 3 different options that you can tweak in the interface, those being: reverb, damping, and EQ. They all work as they should and you can also use your own external plugins for these effects should you choose.
I believe the Ivy Audio plugin actually sounds really nice. It is a little brighter than some of the other options, yet it still covers the low-end nicely as well.
This is a Steinway & Sons Model B and this is a very pricey piano that has been sampled.
If you have the full version of Kontakt, this is a free option that you shouldn’t pass up. The dynamics are some of the best that I’ve found in a free option and you can get very expressive with your playing.
11) City Piano – Windows & Mac
City Piano is a popular option that doesn’t have much to it. You get attack, decay, sustain and release controls as well as panning and volume.
The interface is easy to navigate as there’s not much to it. There’s also a piano on the interface that allows you to see the notes that are being played.
This plug is made by Bigcat Audio, the same makers for the Salamander plugin. I personally prefer the Salamander over this, however, this is another option to check out.
The City Piano is a sampled Baldwin baby grand piano. The mics that were used to capture the samples were high-quality and Baldwin pianos have a nice dark undertone that I typically really enjoy.
City Piano sounds decent overall. This is another one of those options that could work if you’re needing something fast to test out the waters on a song.
Overall, this is a plugin that is worth checking out. There are a few that I think are better free options, however, everyone has their own things that they like as far as with plugins.
12) Jazz Baby – Windows
Jazz Baby is an older, yet solid option. The one negative thing about this VST is that it is only for 32 bit.
This is a rather small download that doesn’t take up much space and it is super easy for computers to run it. As far as tweaking goes, you really don’t have many things to tweak on the interface.
With this being said, you can easily use any of your own effects on it in order to get it to your satisfaction.
Jazz Baby is a sampled upright piano that gives you a vibe of a jazz piano bar. It sounds especially good when playing the blues or jazz pieces and it almost has a bit of a honky-tonk sound to it.
There are some limitations and it doesn’t work on Macs. As far as sound goes, this is a decent look at a free option.
There are a lot of different free piano VSTs that you can try out. My advice is to try these ones and to continue trying more out as you go. Something might strike you as great, even if others don’t enjoy it.
I believe that the best free piano VST is currently Salamander Piano by Bigcat.