Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries 2022 (And 5 Best Free Pianos)

Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries (And 5 Best Free Pianos) | integraudio.com

In this post, we will talk about the best piano Kontakt libraries in 2022 including 5 freebies.

Pianos are one of the most cherished instruments in popular music. They are very resonant, bright-sounding, and versatile, causing so many musical styles to embrace their sonority. From pop music to classic rock, blues, jazz, or classical, a piano can certainly make a difference by being full of presence and improving the harmony in a song, for instance.

Among the many models and styles, the grand piano is praised for its unique character, sometimes associated with elaborated symphonic pieces or cinematic film scores. It’s nice to understand how these instruments can be useful in many other genres or situations, and today’s list brings some libraries that prove this.

In a nutshell, here are the Best Piano Sample Libraries For Kontakt:

1. NI Piano Colors 

2. NI Noire

3. e-instruments Session Keys Grand S

4. Heavyocity Ascend Modern Grand 

5. Native Instruments Grandeur

6. Echo Sound Works Loft Piano 

7. Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys

8. Native Instruments The Maverick

9. Soundiron Emotional Piano 

Should I learn piano before producing?

Yes, learning the piano before learning music production is recommended. The reason is due to the piano’s capability to develop new and creative ideas through a simple and organized key structure that can encompass melody and harmony together in an intuitive way.

A piano contains a considerable number of octaves, all distributed in white and black keys. From left to right, it goes from the lowest to the highest note. This is a very clear and linear way to present the 12 notes, and that’s one of the main reasons why learning piano is relatively easy

All chords, scales, and modes are distributed in a logical form, so it’s quite reasonable to understand them even if you’ve never played a piano or keyboard before. As many plugins offer connectivity with a MIDI controller (that usually happens to come in a keyboard format), a producer can always benefit from learning some piano chords and knowing where every note is located.

Virtual vs Real Piano: What Are The Biggest Differences?

The main difference between a real and a virtual piano is how such an instrument is built. A real one features a wooden external case, aside from a complex system of keys and strings assigned to each note – in other words, the instrument’s resonance is what matters. A virtual piano will emulate such aspects, either by a sound sample or synthesis.  

A real piano obviously depends much more on acoustics than a virtual one. They’re usually made of wood, with proper metal strings relative to each key, and other various metal and plastic parts. Hitting a chord on a real piano will sound brilliant, especially if the room is accommodated for acoustic performances.

However, a virtual one always tends to emulate these aspects, either by sampling – recording a real piano, note for note, from soft to heavy playing – or synthesizing the proper frequencies. Since the 1970s the music industry rely on sound synthesis to create new sounds or reproduce old ones, so both ways are very commonly used.

Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries 2022

1. NI Piano Colors 

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A handpicked collection of incredible samples recorded within a variety of complex playing techniques.

Piano Colors is a genuine virtual instrument that offers a breathtaking spectrum of overtones that will spark your imagination. This plugin brings unique and unusual musical concepts to life, whether it’s dark thriller scores, groove-filled dubstep, or plain pop creations. It blends a wide range of innovative playing styles with a unique processing engine that mixes dynamics, tone transitions, and movement to take the sound of a piano into previously unthinkable realms. 

NI  Piano Colors - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

NI  Piano Colors - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

The synergy that this plugin produces between its rich bank of distinctive grand piano articulations and the creative modulation engines (which include the “Arpeggiator,” as well as the newly extended “Particles”) is what makes it so crafty. Complex sounds change in real-time, resulting in expressive timbres, naturally throbbing grooves, and ever-changing pads. This plugin transforms harmonically rich samples into inspiring shades that may be molded and merged to create a piece of unique flowing music while you play.

NI  Piano Colors - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

NI  Piano Colors - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Different sounds
      A range of unusual tools was utilized to record the wide collection of source samples in Piano Colors, like hammers, drumsticks, rubber, screws, and several EBows. A grand piano’s strings and body were performed in unconventional ways, and the resulting acoustic effects were precisely documented using the most advanced recording equipment, yielding a vast range of energetic resonances, expressive harmonics, and colorful overtones.
    • Particles engine
      The genuine “Particles” engine is one element that makes this plugin so unique. A set of algorithms was carefully developed to better fit new and bold musical ideas required in modern music production. This engine automatically generates new notes and adds an extra sonic layer to your playing.
    • Arpeggiator
      A common feature in synthesizers, the arpeggiator is inserted on this virtual instrument in a very creative way. By creating ever-changing sequences and randomized patterns, this tool can provide a variety of nuances and musical ideas right away, with various configurations such as “Humanize Time” and “Velocity.”
    • Tone effects
      This library also features an extended section dedicated to tweaking your grand piano sound even further. The “Tone” section includes “Color,” “Tonal Shift,” and “Dynamic” controls that can transform the classic piano sound in an avant-garde way. Also, the envelope parameters feature modulation options that can expand this alteration to the limits of your imagination.
PIANO COLORS Walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (latest update), and Windows 10 64-bit only (latest Service Pack). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and doesn’t run in standalone mode. Intel Core i5 or equivalent and minimum 4 GB RAM recommended.

Summary:

Native Instruments’ Piano Colors is dedicated to reproducing the grand piano’s unique sound, but with a selection of tools that can make it fit in the most complex modern productions. Modulation and envelope controls, allied with an arpeggiator and a set of rich-sounding algorithms, are the ingredients responsible for such an innovative and fresh virtual instrument, with a multitude of options that can inspire any music producer looking for a different piano texture.

2. NI Noire

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Noire brings the ultimate experience of a unique instrument being played by an iconic musician on an even more iconic ambient.

Nils Frahm is a German musician known for combining classical and electronic music elements, aside from playing pianos and keyboards in a very unconventional way. That’s the reason why Native Instruments’ team chose him to play a hand-picked grand piano, with custom intonation, in a very special location: Bauhaus-designed recording complex, Funkhaus.

NI Noire - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

NI Noire - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

The result is an intense and evocative instrument that features an awesome atmosphere of its own. The sampling quality is exquisite and should be among the very best options available today. Still, some unique controls can make this grand piano very versatile, especially regarding a more delicate and introspective approach when hitting the keys, such as the aforementioned “Particles” engine and several effects.

NI Noire - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

NI Noire - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Pure and Felt
      You can pick between two soundscapes when using Noire. The “Pure” version produces a clean, unadulterated grand piano sound with excellent sound quality. The “Felt” version is an entirely different sample – it’s the same instrument, but with a felt placed between hammers and strings, resulting in a mellow tone with less attack. You can also adjust the envelope, resonance, overtones, velocity curve, temperament, and more to further shape the sound.
    • Galaxy Instruments
      Uli Baronowsky and Galaxy Instruments meticulously sampled this hand-picked, custom-intonated Yamaha CFX 9′ grand piano. The crew spent many weeks in Saal 3 of the iconic Funkhaus Nalepastrasse in Berlin, recording this remarkable instrument’s entire dynamic and tone spectrum utilizing vintage mics and preamps. The final result is an amazing sound quality that reflects the majestic tone of such piano being played in a well-prepared studio room.
    • Easy to get inspired
      Noire isn’t about copying other sounds; it’s about providing you with inspired raw material and various creative alternatives for making it your own. You can include noises for realism, select from a variety of sound design ideas, add some sub--bass, and experiment with tone shifting. EQ, compression, reverb, and delay effects are also used to fine-tune the piano’s arrangement in the mix.
NOIRE walkthrough | Native Instruments

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for mac OS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (latest update), and Windows 10 64-bit only (latest Service Pack). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and doesn’t run in standalone mode. Intel Core i5 or equivalent and minimum 4 GB RAM recommended.

Summary:

The impressive recording quality is one of the strongest merits of Native Instruments’ Noire, but having a musician such as Nils Frahm handpick a grand piano model and actually play it makes this library very exceptional compared to others. The two sound modes, “Pure” and “Felt,” are responsible for making this instrument sound as vividly as possible, with just as many articulations and dynamics involved. Although this can appease sound designers and score producers, musicians can also take full advantage of these sonic tools the same way.

3. e-instruments Session Keys Grand S

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This plugin recreates the Steinway D Concert Grand Piano’s rich harmonic texture and deep resonances, as heard in concerts and recordings by a few of the world’s finest artists.

When dealing with instruments such as grand pianos, the resonance is basically what differs it from any simulations. Such dynamic response is entwined with the instrument’s particular features, but some brands and models eventually stand out in the crowd.

Steinway is a renowned company, very famous for its amazing pianos. These instruments have shaped the history of music since 1853 and continue today. The amazing work done by the e-instruments team of developers showcases the best details about such beautiful grand pianos in a simple Kontakt library.

e-instruments Session Keys Grand S - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Animator
      The “Animator” was created to generate genuinely musical piano performances in the most dynamic manner possible. It provides a simple approach to developing adaptable piano motifs that match your harmonies, making it the ideal source of musical inspiration.
    • Pentamorph
      With only one knob, you can simply alter the grand piano’s acoustics – from typical conventional tones to sonic atmospheres that go well beyond the normal – and also generate movement on the fly. This translates into a fluid and natural-sounding virtual instrument that can take advantage of the real instrument’s resonances.
    • Smart chords
      Session Keys’ “Smart Chord” mode is an entirely new and imaginative method to add depth of musicality to your production by providing quick piano chords on the go. The pad control or the single keys can be used to play whole chords or “Animator” riffs. All you have to do is simply pick the key of your tune and let it produce the harmonies instantly.
    • Effects
      Aside from the “Pentamorph” controls, every parameter of Session Keys Grand S may be accessed and altered in great detail to enhance the instrument’s uniqueness and expressiveness or take it well beyond its distinctive sonic identity. For limitless sound design, “EQ,” “Compression,” “Convolution Reverb,” and “Delay” effects can all be tweaked to your taste.
Session Keys Walkthrough

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for macOS 10.6 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST and AU plugin formats. Minimum 4 GB RAM recommended.

Summary:

Recreating an instrument such as a piano into a digital environment is definitely not easy, but e-instruments did a very good job anyway. Based on a specific Steinway model, this plugin can be a toolbox for anything related to pianos when you’re producing a track. Good effects, nice working features to help your creativity flow, and awesome sampling quality are delivered in a neat, easy-to-use design. 

4. Heavyocity Ascend Modern Grand 

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Explore new ways to evoke sounds from a classic grand piano model with plenty of controls and adjustments to tweak from.

The amazing 9-foot Concert D has been redesigned as a great-sounding plugin. Heavyocity opted to sample this particular grand piano thoroughly because of its amazing warmth, depth, and texture, which was recorded in stunning detail at a legendary NYC studio.

This is the cinematic composer’s chance to perform on one of Heavyocity’s favorite pianos. They chose one of the world’s greatest cinematic pianos, then drove the best of grand pianos further still, experimenting with new techniques to elicit sound from its nine-foot structure. First, meticulously recording many prepared performances (brushes, mallets, ebow, chains, and twine), and then creating an entirely new engine to bring these incredible sounds to life.

Ascend Modern Grand - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • ASCEND engine
      The gorgeous engine featured in this library showcases a brand new sonic world to explore, with a complete collection of rhythmic convolutions and many layerable sources and effects. Aside from these choices, you can blend them very easily, thanks to a refined algorithm that will make it sound as natural as possible.
    • Sound sources
      The “inverted triangle” on the main screen lets you mix between different sound sources, with 16 different options. You can alter the microphones and their respective positions, as well as a pianissimo option for them to work out in quieter situations. Another option includes different ways in which a piano string could be hit, like with a metal or wooden material.
    • Snapshots
      ASCEND comes with 110 snapshots, which combine the sound sources in creative ways to wield a variety of playable piano textures and effects. They are grouped into different folders within the interface, like “Ascended” (a selection of recommended presets by the team of developers) and “Core Concert D,” which exhibits the wide range of timbres achievable by combining different mic positions, effects, and reverb settings.
ASCEND: Modern Grand - Content Overview | Heavyocity

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (latest update), and Windows 10 64-bit only (latest Service Pack). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and doesn’t run in standalone mode. Intel Core i5 or equivalent and minimum 4 GB RAM recommended.

Summary:

ASCEND is all about creating textures and blending different sonic layers within themselves. The source for this library’s sound is a classic grand piano model, but fidelity isn’t the only merit here: the possibility to blend different soundscapes and mic configurations is what can lead to an exciting new atmosphere on your track. The highlight is a dedicated pianissimo source included here.

5. Native Instruments Grandeur

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A detailed recreation of an iconic piano sound that can deal with musical performances ranging from classical to pop.

The Grandeur vividly recreates the sound of a renowned concert grand piano. It produces a high-end timbre that is completely at home in contemporary pop, jazz, and classical recordings, with a sharp, smooth top end and booming, profound bass in the quietest parts.

It’s ideal for all modern projects because of the recurring tweaking possibilities. Pedals, damper, string, and mallet sound levels can all be adjusted, and to modify the dynamic range, turn the “Dynamic” slider up or down. Thanks to these built-in effects, you may fine-tune the sound all without leaving the interface.

Native Instruments Grandeur - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Anatomy
      This section dedicated to the instrument’s resonance brings some great tools to your track. Aside from setting an appropriate dynamic range through the knob with the same name, the number of resonances can also be twisted from a similar knob. A dedicated control section features advanced configurations, such as an “Overtones” level knob and dedicated faders for selected noises present when playing the real instrument.
    • Ambiance at its best
      You can choose from different room sizes in a dedicated section, but aside from the multitude of ambient options, three different knobs can make it sound just like you’d want. “Amount,” “Size,” and “Distance” can be tweaked instantly to craft the perfect desired ambiance, no matter if in a larger or smaller room.
    • Lid control
      The “Tone” section is responsible for adjusting the piano’s “Color” setting. It dynamically shifts the entire sound between the softer and louder sample sounds as you twist the knob, bringing expressiveness or quietness to your track. But that’s not all: a special “Lid” button underneath the “Color” knob simulates the sounds of a piano’s opened or closed lid, expanding even further this library’s versatility.
    • Effects
      Additional effects can be used to adjust each setting even further. An EQ can help shape the tonal aspect of the piano sound, and there’s a dedicated menu for the volume on the lower keys, so the bass sounds just as bright as in reality. Dedicated faders to control the “Tonal Depth” and “Transients” help make it sound even more natural, from subtle to dramatic configurations.
The Grandeur - Native Instruments | Exploring The Power and The Beauty | Virtual Piano Library

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (latest update), and Windows 10 64-bit only (latest Service Pack). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Intel Core i5 or equivalent and minimum 4 GB RAM recommended.

Summary:

Fitting in many music genres, The Grandeur is an excellent option from Native Instruments to fit the needs of a modern producer requiring a wonderful grand piano sound. The intuitive interface was designed to simplify things with appropriate controls and easy-to-use tools. It’s awesome how you can tweak the ambiance and the piano’s dynamics at the same window, and such easiness will reflect on a more fluid and natural workflow.

6. Echo Sound Works Loft Piano 

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Loft Piano is the perfect choice for a refreshed take on a classic instrument, with a dedicated approach to specific genres.

Some piano libraries might focus on getting that perfect sound from a particularly coveted instrument, while others tend to focus on a diverse array of samples. On the other hand, Loft Piano is innovative because it claims to be focused on popular genres such as Lofi, Trap & Hip Hop, EDM, and Pop

The Loft Piano is based on a sampled upright grand piano recorded in a loft – that’s where it gets its name from. To record the sound, Echo Sound Works’ team employed four microphones and recorded each key sound, hammer noise, and string reverberation, so every nuance of the instrument would be translated into the samples. And talking about samples, the main collection is a 3x round-robin, resulting in an incredibly genuine and rich sound.

Loft Piano - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • High-quality samples
      Echo Sound Works wanted to ensure the best possible audio quality to be present in this collection, so they haven’t spared any equipment on the recording process. They used two large diaphragm condenser mics (Neumann UI 87) and two pencil condensers to capture all the +1,500 samples present in this library.
    • Clean edits
      Aside from a meticulously recording process, the team wanted to have all samples cleaned up, so any imperfections would be left out of the final result. Each individual sample was edited and processed, so the cleanest sound possible would’ve come out.
    • Awesome algorithm
      A nice algorithm can lead up to more natural and organic responses from a virtual instrument, especially one so dependent on acoustics as a grand piano is. For this, a custom KSP script was developed to handle the round-robin and allow you to control the best features of the piano’s sound.

Compatibility:

This library is compatible with the full version of Kontakt 6.5.2 and does not work with the free Kontakt Player.

Summary:

Loft Piano is a refreshed alternative for anyone seeking a different piano library. Its main focus is to deliver a versatile yet highly customizable piano sample collection that should cover the most popular modern musical genres. The excellent audio quality of the samples is a must, but the algorithm present is a nice touch from the team of developers that can make it sound as authentic as a real piano would’ve.

7. Native Instruments Alicia’s Keys

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Alicia’s Keys is a piano sampled from Alicia’s own playing, recorded at her studio under the supervision of her most trusted engineer.

Alicia Keys has helped design a virtual piano that fits her musicality and exemplifies the blissful sound that has become her signature as a superstar, collaborating with Danish producer Thomas Skarbye (better known as Scarbee) and impulse response specialist Ernest Cholakis. This piano sound has propelled Miss Keys to the top of the charts and won her many Grammys.

Thomas Skarbye, Kontakt script developer Nils Liberg, and Grammy-award-winning engineer Ann Mincieli meticulously recorded the magnificent and unique sound of Alicia’s Yamaha C3 Neo grand piano, making this special instrument available to everyone. The team captured the warm, soulful, and inspirational sound of the C3 Neo down to the slightest details using vintage microphones and preamps and thoroughly researched many of Alicia’s performances.

Native Instruments Alicia's Keys - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Based on a unique instrument
      All the sounds come from Alicia’s personal Yamaha C3 Neo grand piano. This instrument was built to celebrate Yamaha’s 100th anniversary, representing the very best of the Conservatory Collection line. Such exclusive access to a high-end device is a bonus, getting even closer to her musical style.
    • Authentic sounds
      There are external factors that make a sampling experience even closer to reality. One simple example is any noises generated by playing a real instrument, and Alicia’s Keys features some of these. For instance, you can have mechanical release noises, string resonances, and even the noise of Alicia’s fingers hitting the keys (optional). All of this contributes to a more realistic experience.
    • All the effects you’ll need
      Some particular effects can increase the authenticity of a sample library, and they’re all here. A convolution reverb, digital ambiance, and even stereo imaging are some of the tools that can make it sound realistic and the exact way you want it.
🎹Alicia's Keys VST - Native Instruments Alicia's Keys Piano VST - Yamaha C3 Neo Grand Piano🎹

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (latest update), and Windows 10 64-bit only (latest Service Pack). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Intel Core i5 or equivalent and minimum 4 GB RAM recommended.

Summary:

Although it may be limited to a very specific sound, Alicia’s Keys is a nice rendition of an instrument connected to a particular artist in a meaningful way. If you’re into Alicia Keys’ style, this might be a perfect choice, but it also works if you’re looking for a pop-oriented library. All functions are common in other libraries, but it’s impressive how accurate this recreation turned out to be. 

8. Native Instruments The Maverick

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This collection is all about capturing the true essence of a vintage grand piano right at your DAW.

The Maverick is a flawless replica of an acoustically unique instrument — a 1905 concert grand built for Prince Frederick William of Prussia. This plugin offers a wide spectrum of color and an unusual sound, with each key having its own personality – it’s a one-of-a-kind piano made for royalty.

This incredible library creates a unique sound that works well in pop, rock, jazz, and a variety of other genres. This virtual instrument was meticulously captured, with over 2,500 unique samples spread across 18 velocity levels. Its natural harmonics ring out nicely thanks to isolated overtone and resonance samples. Even the most important releases were captured with nine velocity levels for maximum realism.

Native Instruments The Maverick - - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Exquisite recreation
      Although this plugin might have very similar controls as other Native Instruments products in this list, The Maverick excels in bringing a perfect, vintage-sounding instrument into your computer. The 1905 grand piano is a blissful instrument on its own, and unfortunately, it’s not common to have one hanging around so often. The excellent quality of the samples reflects how good this instrument sounds and how effortlessly NI’s team worked to bring its best aspects to life.
    • Dedicated adjustments
      You can bring the sound of this vintage piano to whatever mood you want, thanks to all the controls available. From gentle EQ tweaks to the expressive ambiance, you can set the tone of this magnificent instrument to your liking quickly and with a subtle response from the audio samples. Make it sound bigger, fuller, deeper, or brighter in a heartbeat, without complicated parameters in a polluted interface.
THE MAVERICK | IN DEPTH

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for macOS 10.14, 10.15, 11, or 12 (latest update), and Windows 10 64-bit only (latest Service Pack). It comes in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Intel Core i5 or equivalent and minimum 4 GB RAM recommended.

Summary:

Companies like Native Instruments usually offer great choices within their instrument libraries when it comes to faithful recreations. The Maverick is special because of the source of all samples included: a magnificent vintage grand piano, built (quite literally) for royalty. Having such an exquisite instrument captured into a wonderful set of microphones surely brings the essence of this software, although multiple tweaks and adjustments can be made to make it even more versatile.

9. Soundiron Emotional Piano 

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Emotional Piano is a versatile option for sound designers with a dedicated focus on soundtrack scoring and symphonic orchestration.

When they are heard, certain noises elicit a cascade of feelings in humans — a baby’s cry, a pleasant chuckle, a lover’s sigh, for example. Similarly, humans have been taught to hear various musical instruments in particular ways. Specific instruments can trigger certain feelings, and Emotional Piano tries to do like so in a psychoacoustic experiment that will bring up the emotions on your track.

Soundiron developed this plugin based on a walnut-bodied Kawai grand piano that was chosen due to its soft, luminous warmth and rich, resonant timbre. Recorded with 15 velocity layers, every nuance of such an instrument was meant to be captured in order to provide the best audio experience possible. The outcome isn’t as bright as some other piano libraries, but it’s arguably more emotional

Soundiron Emotional Piano Review - Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries And 5 Best Free Pianos | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Multi-sampled keys
      All 88 keys of this grand piano were carefully recorded multiple times, with many dynamic variations. A handful of microphones worked to capture every aspect of each key, bringing a more organic aspect to every audio sample. 
    • Well-suited for scoring
      The array of emotions propelled by a piano being played in the right way can be the key element to your score or soundtrack to stand out. Emotional Piano is intended to excel at how emotive your track can be, so controls like the “Velocity Range” can help smoothen out things and create more delicate dynamic layers to your taste.
    • Many presets available
      Every good library can feature thousands of presets, but Emotional Piano gathers up good presets that are ready to fit your mood cleverly. Instead of adding an FX tab to the UI for all of these extra NKI presets, Soundiron did the hard work for you and went far into the Kontakt engine’s deeper modulation, convolution reverb, and insert FX capabilities. Your favorite sounds can be accessed much quicker, with ready-to-use effects and settings.
Soundiron Emotional Piano [VST, AU, AAX] full library walk-through with Shaun Chasin

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for macOS 10.9 or higher and Windows XP or higher. It comes in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats. Fee version of Kontakt Player supported.

Summary:

Emotional Piano deserves some kudos for setting a perfect mood for specific usage of an instrument such as a piano. It’s ideal for film and television scoring, and it’ll also work well in modern pop and independent productions, particularly on slower-tempo tracks. Unquestionably, the sound of this plugin is rich and deep, but the amount of expressiveness it can elicit is admirable. The power of a superb sample library sometimes comes not from the sampled audio’s pure quality but from how it makes you feel when you play it.

5 Best Free Piano Kontakt Libraries 2022

1. Echo Sound Works Denver Grand Piano

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An excellent free library collection of high-quality piano samples, Denver Grand Piano can be the missing ingredient of your next track.

Offered by the same developers that created the out-of-the-box Loft Piano, Denver Grand Piano is a straightforward option designed for producers who look for a decent freeware option for high-quality piano samples. Focused on bringing a modern aspect throughout the samples, this plugin is very simple to use and can offer the perfect classic vibe that only a grand piano can offer.

Echo Sound Works Denver Grand Piano - The 5 Best Free Piano Kontakt Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Four presets
      There are four presets available: “Denver Grand Main,” “Denver Grand Cassette,” “Denver Modern House,” and “Denver Grand Ambient.” Each preset enhances a specific aspect of the instrument, whether a classic grand piano sound, a resampled sound through a tape cassette, or even a mode dedicated to simulating a Korg M1 piano.
    • 100% royalty-free
      You can use every loop, sample, and preset present on Denver Grand Piano in any commercial releases you’d like, so you don’t have to pay anything for the developers. This is captivating for young or inexperienced music producers who want a reliable, free-to-use sample library.

Compatibility:

This library runs in FL Studio version 20 (or higher), Logic Pro X version 10.4 (or higher), or Ableton Live version 10 (or higher).

Summary:

Echo Sound Works’ team wanted to contribute with a library that could offer high-quality audio files while being free at the same time, so more producers could benefit from a decent virtual instrument. If you’re beginning to dwell in the production world or your budget isn’t good at this moment, Denver Grand Piano is a nice library that captures the essence of such an instrument in a straightforward design interface. It can be very helpful to use software like this in order to achieve good-sounding results in your next production.

2. Pianobook The Hoffman

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An instrument with much history has been sampled into this nice collection that evokes a very authentic feeling.

Anders Wall managed to get his hands into a piano that once belonged to the Swedish Broadcast Corporation and incorporated it into his studio, featuring it into many tracks and records. The problem is that eventually, he had to move it all up, and the piano got damaged during transportation. Although insurance fixed most of his gear, this piano never got fully back to what it was before, creating a unique aspect about its sound. These samples try to reflect this essence in a simple interface design in the best way possible.

Pianobook The Hofman - The 5 Best Free Piano Kontakt Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Authentic vibe
      The sound character of an instrument can bring tons of personality and an organic layer to whatever notes you play. No matter the situation or the genre, having such a unique-sounding instrument usually comes with a price tag attached to it, but gladly Pianobook famously offers great free options for good-quality virtual instruments.
    • Basic settings
      As basic as it gets, you don’t get many effects or options with this library. IR samples are included, as well as two effects layers that may be accessed using the mod wheel. A sustain pedal script is also included, which bypasses the release samples when you press the pedal.

Compatibility:

This library works only on the full version of Kontakt 5.3 or higher.

Summary:

A simple library, but still full of character. The Hoffman is a nice option to get a different-sounding piano with many uniqueness and personality. Usually, such a feature is justified by a small fee, but Pianobook successfully delivers a nice, lightweight option worth keeping nearby. It’s worth trying it into modern tracks or even some experimental soundtrack scores.

3. Pianobook HYUNDAI U852

More Info & Download

Based on a church piano, this collection evokes good ambiance sounds, and light dynamics in a simple design interface.

The piano sampled in this library is located in the chapel corner of a Latter-Day Saint meeting house. Samuel P. Davis was captivated by its unique sound and texture, and thanks to the sampling technology available these days, it’s now possible to take all the best aspects of the instrument straight into your preferred DAW.

Pianobook HYUNDAI U852 - The 5 Best Free Piano Kontakt Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Smooth character
      This piano brings a very romantic, cinematic sounding to any chord progression played. It’s lovely how it can blend so easily and fill the empty blanks on a dynamic soundscape, creating beautiful scenarios in the upper registers. 
    • EQ and delay
      You have three small knobs that can help shape the atmosphere better: “Low Pass” and “High Pass” knobs take care of the exact frequency range to be cut-off, while the “Delay Time” simply controls the appropriate time in which the effect will act. Combining these three controls can alter the final sound significantly, fitting in most ethereal tracks. 
Free Sample Instrument - HYUNDAI U852

Compatibility:

This library works only on the full version of Kontakt 5.3 or higher.

Summary:

A very smooth, rich-sounding, and evocative piano voicing is present in HYUNDAI U852. It has a natural property that leans toward airy tracks, especially cinematic ambiances. Although very helpful to anyone looking for this kind of sound, this library can be limiting if a more energetic or big-sounding aspect is needed.

4. Pianobook Rolling Piano

More Info & Download

This library reunites great samples recorded from a home piano, with some special functionalities.

David Bergman wanted to experiment with sampling his own home piano, only to see how that would turn out. The results were pretty satisfying, with every subtle nuance captured in excellence and delivering a pleasant piano sound. The dynamics are very responsive, as the attack time is responsive to the velocity – the harder you hit, the quicker the notes come in.

Pianobook Rolling Piano - The 5 Best Free Piano Kontakt Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Reverse samples
      Dedicated volume control can bring up some nice reverse sounds that can blend easily with bold and modern productions. A “Forward” volume is also present, and you can freely combine both controls to create natural textures that can fit well into atmospheric tracks.
    • Hidden pad
      David decided to include an easter egg inside this software: a hidden “Noisy Pad” control that can add a layer of selected noises, so the final sound result can become new, organic, and natural, just like playing a real instrument.
Free Sample Instrument - ROLLING PIANO

Compatibility:

This library works only on the full version of Kontakt 5.3 or higher.

Summary:

This is a good option for experimental sounds and modern productions. The samples are of good quality, but how you tweak each note is set between many controls on the interface, such as “Resonance” and “Reverb.” The nice addition of reversed samples can make everything even more experimental and progressive, showcasing a rarely-used feature on virtual piano renditions. 

5. Pianobook The King’s Upright

More Info & Download

A delicate upright piano with a lovely tone palette that cuts through the mix.

With notable softness, this grand piano was developed by Dan Keen to have a strong, defined sound profile and stand out from other similar libraries. It sounds fantastic in the upper-middle register, a perfect choice for lyrical melodies in pieces, scores, or solo works.

Pianobook The King's Upright - The 5 Best Free Piano Kontakt Libraries | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

    • Pad blend
      A center knob is dedicated to a mod wheel controller, which can be used to alter the unique pad sound blend. You can also right-click the blend knob to instantly learn via any MIDI CC.
    • Excellent recording process
      These samples were recorded using a pair of close-miked AKG C214s with a Saffire Pro 40 interface. This setting provides a natural resonance, almost as if you were in the same room as Dan when he played it. It also contains two dynamic layers and three round robins, so every small acoustic nuance is captured.
Free Sample Instrument - KING'S UPRIGHT

Compatibility:

This library works only on the full version of Kontakt 5.3 or higher.

Summary:

Subtleness and delicacy are two great ways to describe this library. The rich-sounding samples create the experience of a vibrant, vivid instrument that was carefully recorded. Although a bit too airy sometimes, this is another good option for producers looking for great textures and ambient sounds.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to capture a true acoustic essence of an instrument such as a grand piano. The first concern is the actual size of the instrument – it doesn’t fit in any random room, which in turn can also affect how it’ll sound drastically. Even more difficult to maintain than a “regular” piano, a grand piano is delicate, smooth, and very sought-after among musicians and producers alike. The great thing about sampling technology is that it brings such instruments closer to everyone willing to make music out of them. Now it’s the best time possible to get out there and have a nice, decent piano library to be trustworthy to any productions you may encounter.

Obviously, recreating iconic instruments always will be very desirable. Collections such as Native Instruments’ The Maverick and e-instruments’ Session Keys Grand S excel at bringing famous piano models right at your computer screen, with uttermost quality and plenty of controls to tweak with, making it sound very closer to reality. Other takes, such as Native Instruments’ Alicia’s Keys, try to encompass a very specific piano model used by the famous artist. She even recorded all the samples!

Options like Soundiron’s Emotional Piano focus on getting the perfect ambiance and lightweight vibe a piano can offer, focusing on cinematic takes and atmospheric vibes to your tracks, while Echo Sound Works’ Loft Piano offers a revamped take, set to fit into modern genres such as lo-fi and trap.

Talking about freeware options, Pianobook was featured four times in our list. This is because they offer a wide variety of piano sample libraries, specially crafted to elaborate ambient sound (like Rolling Piano) or by capturing the sound profile of a very specific piano model (The Hoffman).

All options presented showcase extreme quality regarding the audio samples, and each features specific controls that can be helpful on a number of different occasions. No matter which, it’s nice to get to know each item on this list to have a selected yet trustworthy collection of the best piano sounds available today.

See you next time!

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