Free Piano Plugins

Best Free Piano VST Plugins That Sound Realistic 2019

Sweetwater's Cyber Week Sales (affiliated) are happening now! Shop deals on all kinds of keyboards, MIDI controllers, accessories, and more.

Are you new to music production and looking for free piano VSTS? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I do want to say that you will most likely find a bunch of different free piano VSTS that you don’t like before you find ones you do.

It is my opinion that there are a few good options for free piano VSTS that sound pretty realistic. With this being said, I wouldn’t put these next to some of the expensive options. I just feel like there a few options that the free options don’t measure up to, however, that should be expected in my opinion.

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.

Free piano plugins are a smart choice for musicians who are looking to the waters and figure out what kind of sound they like. 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 VSTS for better options.

These free piano plugins can be used with all major DAW’s including:

If your DAW isn’t on the list, they will probably still work with them.

Pros Of Using Free Piano VSTS

  • Test the waters without breaking your bank
  • Get a feel for which types of piano sounds you enjoy
  • Get comfortable with using VSTS
  • Instantly have a piano that you can experiment with
  • Save memory space

Cons

  • Limited Sounds
  • Quality of sound isn’t always great
  • You may run into compatibility issues and buggy software

Let’s get into my favorite choices below.

Best Free Piano VST Plugins

Salamander Piano By Bigcat Instruments

Salamander VST

The Salamander piano plugin is the latest 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 occasionaly as it seems to be a little unstable.

Sound

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.

Overall

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.

KeyZone Classic – Windows & Mac

Keyzone Classic

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.

Sound

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!

Overall

As far as Keyzone goes overall, I think this is a super solid choice to test the waters and get your feet wet.

The Grand DSK Piano – Windows & Mac

The Grand Free Piano VST

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.

Sounds

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.

Overall

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.

Versilian Upright – Windows & Mac

Versilian Upright

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.

Sounds

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.

Overall

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.

Piano One – Windows & Mac

Piano One Free Plugin

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.

Sounds

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.

Overall

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.

Dead Duck Audio Dpiano – Windows & Mac

Dead Duck Audio Dpiano

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.

Sounds

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

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.

Ivy Audio Piano In 162 -Windows & Mac

Ivy Audio Piano In 162

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.

Sounds

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.

Overall

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.

City Piano – Windows & Mac

City Piano VST

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.

Sounds

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

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.

Jazz Baby – Windows

Jazz Baby Free Plugin For 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.

Sound

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.

Overall

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.

VGP Grand Piano – Windows

VGP Grand Piano

The VGP grand piano is a free option that comes with a nice user interface. The customization that you’re able to do is what sets it apart from certain plugins.

With this being said, this plugin only works with Windows, so if you’re a Mac user, you won’t be able to use it.

As far as the presets go, there’s 40 of them. Some of them don’t sound the greatest, however, you can easily tweak them to your liking.

Sounds

VGP competes with the other options mentioned in this article and I think it beats some of them as well. It’s a brighter sounding piano, so if you’re into bright pianos, you may dig this one.

Overall

This is 32 bit and it doesn’t work with Macs. If you’re running Windows, this could be a great option to check out. One of the nice things about it is that it is a small download and easy on computer space.

What To Look For In A Free Piano VST?

Sound: Everyone enjoys different sounding pianos. With that being said, if you download enough free piano VSTS, you are going to run into some that you can’t stand. Give each a try and determine if you prefer bright or warm with pianos. ( I find that a lot of musicians prefer bright, however, I just love dark and mellow sounding pianos.

Effects: All of these options that I’ve presented above come with basic effects and controls that you can play with. The more things you can tweak, the better.

CPU: You want to find something that doesn’t take up a ton of CPU. Most of these options aren’t very intensive, so that’s a plus.

Functionality: There’s nothing more frustrating than downloading free VSTS and having them just not work or be extremely buggy. I’ve never had any serious glitch problems with these options.

Are Free Piano VSTs Worth Downloading?

While I already mentioned that I believe you’re better off going with a paid piano VST usually, I still believe you should have an option that you can go to while writing.

While some options may not sound the best, they still do ultimately allow you to hear what your finished product could sound like.

I also would like to note that, some of the most famous songs were written and performed on some of the cheapest instruments. Creativity and what you are able to do as a musician or producer usually tops big pockets that lack creativity.

Are Free VSTs Safe?

Well, anytime that you download anything, you risk hurting your computer. With this being said, if you go through a reputable website, you should be okay. Just try not to click on any weird looking links that seem sketchy.

With this being said, stay away from cracked VSTs, they are absolutely dangerous and they are against the law.

Do Free VSTs Take Up Less Space?

They typically will be easier on your computer to run and require less space. The recording technique does come into play here. Next to each download you will be able to see what the system requirements are.

One of the reasons why free piano plugins are great is that they generally are easier to run.

Conclusion

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 recently created some super in-depth guides that I think you might enjoy. Check them out below as they’re related.

Before heading out, be sure to leave a comment and share this article if you enjoyed it. Also, I would love if you shared this to other musicians in as many places as you would like!

2 Comments

    • Chris Senner

Leave a Reply