I'm loving my new virtual piano

As someone who’s played the piano for too many years to think about, I’m always on the hunt for the perfect piano sound—whether the real wood ‘n wires instrument or its sampled counterpart. As I mentioned in Paying for the (virtual) piano, I thought I’d found that sound in Best Service’s Galaxy Vintage D virtual grand piano.

Something better has come along.

That something better is Spectrasonics’ Keyscape, a $400 collection of sampled keyboards that includes a Yamaha C7 grand piano, Rhodes electric piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Yamaha CP-70 (think Peter Gabriel's piano sound), clavinet, and a host of oddball keyboards lovingly virtualized by Spectrasonics.

I’m out of the software reviewing business so I won’t go into much more detail than to mention that Keyscape includes a load of variations for each instrument, is extremely configurable, and requires a fastish computer with a reasonable amount of RAM (16GB is a good start).

You’ll want to store the instrument files on an SSD, as they’re streamed to your host app (I use Logic Pro X) rather than loaded completely into RAM (although that’s an option if you don’t mind waiting a long time to load instruments and have the RAM necessary to accommodate the large files).

I’ve dinked around with most of the sounds, but I’ve concentrated on the grand piano. You can find a sample recording in the Music section under Keyscape test. This is the C7 right out of the box—no fiddling or effects. I used a Kurzweil PC2X as the controller keyboard (for which Keyscape has a dynamics profile). I tried to play up and down the keyboard to give you an idea of its overall sound and leave some open space so you can hear the pedal sounds and sustain.

Yeah, I'm impressed.