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Spectrasonics Keyscape is a massive virtual piano library that covers everything from acoustic pianos to electric pianos. This is one of the largest collections of piano VSTs in the world today and it has become incredibly popular.
So, is it worth the money?
I believe Keyscape worth the money for producers and serious gigging musicians. While it is pricey, if you break down exactly what you’re getting, it’s a complete steal.
Think about it, a Yamaha C7 piano and a Rhodes at your fingertips without the heft price tag. Sounds nice, right? Well, it is.
So, how did I get into virtual instruments?
Keyscape is perhaps the most popular option on my list. If you're looking for a massive library with incredible sounds, this is an amazing choice.
In 2012 my band booked studio time with the most popular producer in the area. This guy is a complete beast with production and mixing. We came in with some pretty solid instruments and we ended up pretty much using none of our actual keyboard sounds.
We went to VSTs across the board. This is because there’s just so much you can explore with them.
With the Keyscape VST, you literally have access to the same sounds that most of your favorite artists and producers are using.
I believe that Keyscape is top 3 when it comes to the absolute best. I don’t personally think it’s fair to say it’s the best because some of this comes down to preference.
What I can say, is that it is incredibly deep and has some absolutely breathtaking sounds that you will be able to use on most of your productions.
Note: Keyscape is a software download that you directly download to your PC or Mac.
Let’s get into the review of Keyscape below.
Specs/Features Of Keyscape
Below are the features and specs of Keyscape. All of this will be covered in great detail below.
- Works in all major DAWs including some free DAWs
- 500 plus sounds
- 80 GB installation (Lite version is 30GB for onstage use)
- Includes mechanical, pedal, and release noise modeling
- Patches feature authentically circuit-modeled amp fx
Below are the system requirements for every user. I highly recommend that you have a nice computer if you’re doing music production. It makes everything so much easier.
- 2.4 Ghz Intel Dual core processor ( i7 recommended)
- 8GB Ram minimum
- Need a Solid State Drive
- 80 GB of free hard drive space
The following is for Mac Users:
- OS X 10.10 Yosemite or newer
- AU, VST 2.4 or AAX-capable software
- 64-bit host
The following is for Windows Users:
• Microsoft Windows 7 or newer
• VST 2.4 or AAX-capable host software
• 64-bit host
- A huge library containing over 500 sounds
- Fully compatible with Windows and Mac
- 64 Bit
- Beautiful samples
- Great effects
- Works with DAWs and as a stand-alone
- Easy to install
- Great for all genres of music
- Doesn’t support half-pedaling
- No per-key velocity edits
- Requires a nice computer or Mac
Before we dive into Keyscape, here is a roundup of all of the top piano VSTs available.
Keyscape VST Review
When you first load up Keyscape, you will notice that it is an absolutely massive collection of virtual pianos. With this may come some slower loading speeds depending on your setup.
This plugin is well recognized in the producer community as one of the absolute best and it really is for good reason.
Although this is a major download, I also believe that it is well worth the space it takes up.
The interface is really easy to navigate. You can the controls on the bottom starting with the input and ending with the gain. Tweaking the sustain and release can go a long way with a lot of the presets.
While navigating and loading the instruments, you will notice that it might take some time, even if you have an SSD. The thing with plugins is that they are typically CPU intensive.
With this being said, this is getting better as technology continues advancing. You have to remember, you’re basically loading up a recording studio for each instrument you pick along with effect channels.
My simple breakdown of the sound of Keyscape is that its main patches such as the Yamaha C7 and the Rhodes, are incredibly realistic. The samples really shine and it’s hard to believe what plugins can produce sonically nowadays.
The C7 benefits greatly when you add a little bit of delay and reverb to it. As far as the electric pianos go, all I can say is, enjoy yourself. I love working. on tracks using the electric pianos and they work especially well in hip hop/R&B compositions.
All of the main patches sound on point and they also can be run through effects channels.
To create a human-like feel, Spectrasonics has created every sample to have up to 32 different velocities. This is always what helps determine a large part about how realistic your samples end up being.
To do this, notes are all played differently in order to capture the different dynamics of musicians.
They then use a technique called, “Round Robin,” which randomly selects the different velocities. I really enjoy this technique and find it to be great for the overall vibe of your tracks.
A Look At The Keyboard Models In Keyscape:
- Custom C7 Grand Piano – One of my favorites
- Wing Upright Piano
- Wing Tack Piano
- Rhodes LA Custom “E”
- Rhodes Classic Mark I
- Wurlitzer 140B – Standout
- Wurlitzer 200A – Standout
- Yamaha CP-70
- Vintage Vibe Electric Piano
- Hohner Pianet M
- Hohner Pianet N
- Hohner Pianet T
- Weltmeister Claviset
- Hohner Clavinet C
- Hohner Clavinet-Pianet DUO
- Vintage Vibe
- Electric Harpsichord
- Mini Student Butterfly Piano
- Rhodes 1946 – Standout
- Toy Piano Classic
- Toy Piano Glock
- Toy Piano Grand
- Toy Piano Saucer Bell
- Rhodes Piano Bass – Standout
- Vintage Vibe Tine Bass
- Weltmeister Basset I
- Weltmeister Basset II
- JD-800 Crystal Rhodes
- MK-80 Digital Rhodes
- MKS-20 Digital Piano
You will notice that Spectrasonics built Keyscape to be fully compatible for touring musicians and for studio producers. If you choose to use this for touring, you will want to download the lite version which is 30 GB.
If you’re using a DAW with an Ableton Live MIDI controller, you will find it a breeze to set up. The reason why I say Ableton Live is that it is the most popular option for gigging musicians.
The effects are located on the bottom of the interface for Keyscape. They are easy to access and they can quickly put some life into some of your presets.
I suggest playing around with the sustain, the gain, the EQ’s, & the pedal noise. The pedal noise creates this element of organics that I fall for every time with most plugins.
Doesn’t Support Half-Pedaling
This is one thing that pianists might be a little disappointed about. If you’re someone who likes to get super dynamic with your pedaling, you can’t really do that with Keyscape the way you would like to.
With this being said, I would also encourage you to test it out and see what it sounds like when you have your sustain pedal hooked up and you’re rocking out.
Why Keyscape Is A Good Value
While there are a lot of other inexpensive plugins out there, not many compare to the overall size and sounds that you get with Keyscape.
This is an extremely deep plugin that offers you everything you would like from a producers point of view.
You have a collection of instruments that would cost you thousands of dollars that are at your fingertips ready for use for a fraction of the price.
Chris, thanks for the review, it’s very good. I used the LA Custom C7 Rich Ballad in a recording and I thought it was good, but I wasn’t blown away like you were. Was wondering, what are the other top acoustic grand piano programs that you like? You mentioned Keyscape was one of three. BTW I was given that sample to record with in a studio, so I haven’t personally used the program on a computer myself. I did like it, Don’t get me wrong. But I came home today to read about it, and when I found it was so raved about, I thought I should have been raving.