This week we’re going back to basics and looking at the best piano and organ plugins. It all started with these instruments hundreds of years ago – flash forward to the present day and within seconds you can download and start playing them… well, virtual emulations of them but still pretty cool right!
Take a look at this top 10 list covering our favourite piano and organ VSTs and keep an eye out for our bonus bundle at the end.
If you don’t have a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to insert plugins into we collected our ten favourite free DAWs here or if you just want to play around with them there’s a great list of VST hosts here.
Piano One by Sound Magic (Windows & Mac)
Piano One emulates the famous Yamaha C7 concert grand piano, and sounds fantastic for it. Using the Sound Magic Hybrid Modelling Engine, Piano One both models and samples so it feels as good to play as it sounds. Load this VST and get a feel of the pianos that virtuosos play on stages around the world.
Combo F by Martinic (Windows & Mac)
This virtual combo organ is modelled after a popular Italian combo organ form the 1960s. The 4 octave instrument features speaker cabinet emulation, adjustable tuning for each note, a vibrato unit with adjustable speed and depth, and LOTS more.
It sounds great and it is, check it out for yourself.
VL-122 by AM Music Technology (Windows)
This VST organ takes it sound engine from legendary organ makers Hammond, in particular their L-122. This virtual instrument takes its emulation to the next level by modelling it’s tone-wheels, drawbars, filters and effects all from the original. AM MT also threw in some extra effects because they’re nice like that.
Listen to how good this organ sounds.
Glue Reeds by Mokafix Audio (Windows)
Glue Reeds beautifully captures the sound of a reed electric piano. It faithfully recreates it’s sound by emulating the motion of reeds and pickup response. This VST features control over it’s velocity curve, endless sustain decay and seamless dynamic response. Based off an electric piano like no other that used sticky foam pads to control the reeds you’re sure to get a unique sound.
VS Upright 1 by Versilian Studios (Windows & Mac)
Designed as a light-weight sketching piano, the VS Upright No. 1 is a clean sampling of an upright piano, the standard of homes, small clubs and studios around the world. With a broad dynamic range and a bright, clear tone, the upright can still display a soft side when needed. Oh, and it sounds fantastic for playing classical piano – here for yourself!
MrRay SeventyThree by GSi (Windows & Mac)
This VST piano models the Rhodes Mark 1 and uniquely captures “imperfections” in the instrument to recreate the sound of the Mark 1 piano to the highest fidelity. It features mallet noises, wooden noises, metallic artifacts, and volume changes for every single note. Keys are also affected by how hard you play, for example hitting low keys hard produces a “growl” and other keys will “vibrate” when hit hard – recreating the Mark 1’s harp assembly instability.
Truly a unique plugin, hear a comparison between the original and emulator.
4Front R-Piano by George Yohng (Windows & Mac)
This vintage piano module uses a gentle Rhodes smooth overdrive to give it it’s unique sound and character. It reproduces a classic sound using a mix of samples and 127 continuous layers. 4Front R-Piano takes inspiration from a number of vintage pianos, particularly RSP73 pianos but not identically emulated.
Piano by MDA (Windows & Mac)
You probably couldn’t tell from the ambiguous name but ‘Piano’ is also a piano module. One user claims: “Out of all the other free piano VST across the net, this one is one of the best for working with electronic music.” Don’t let the simple interface fool you; with muffle, velocity, hardness, decay, release, and more customisable features this plugin is great for a range of piano sounds.
NuBi LE by fxPointAudio (Windows)
This drawbar organ emulator has a load of features for you to play with to get a great range of sounds. This faithful virtual Hammond clone gives you an organ that sounds awesome and has plenty going on without stressing your CPU. With an adjustable tonewheel, built in configurable chorus/vibrato, and much more to tune your sound you don’t want to miss this great VST.
DirtBag by Istvan Kaldor (Windows)
“Dirtbag emulates a dirty, screaming Hammond-style organ, but is not an exact copy at all. It is juicy, aggressive, distorted, ill-mannered and really great.” With enough knobs to make your head spin this organ VST is capable of sounds that range from erratically crazy to smooth and luscious. You won’t find yourself bored experimenting with the capabilities of this plugin.
Legacy Donationware Plugins bySoundFonts.it (Windows)
In this brilliant bunch of plugins you get 4 awesome sounding organ and piano plugins as well as a multi-effect processor and rotary speaker simulator plugin. It features the excellent MrRay73 that you saw earlier as well as it’s VST brethren MrTramp, MrDonald, and MrRay Electric Piano. You can’t go wrong with these 6 plugins, especially when they’re completely FREE.
So there you have our list of what we think are the best organ and piano plugins available for free. Let us know if you have any favourites we missed out in the comments below.