Steinberg The Grand
The Grand is a VST Instrument devoted to providing the sound of a Concert Grand Piano in the self-contained, pristine environment of your computer. Its sounds are based on the sampled/modeled sounds of a real Grand Piano. As a result it takes up over 1.3 GB of disk space! It also uses a large chunk of RAM (you can adjust how much sample is streamed from disk or loaded into RAM). If you want that real piano sound instantly accessible and flexible enough to use in your computer sequencer, The Grand is an affordable good deal! It is available for both Mac and PC platforms with VST 2.0 compatible host applications.
The initial screen you see when you open an instance of The Grand is of the keyboard. You can click on the keys to play notes (or use MIDI instruments connected to your computer). The Grand's 88-key keyboard emulates many of the characteristics of an acoustic piano. There are three weighted key settings to choose from and adjustable velocity curves individually adaptable to suit your personal playing style. Authentic functionality of sustain and sostenuto pedals is also built-in with real re-pedaling resonance.
There are a couple options for shaping your Grand Piano sounds. There are four basic Piano sounds: Natural, Soft, Bright, and Hard. A simple Ambience effect can be dialed-in, adding a little reverb to sweeten' the sound. There are also hammer and string release parameters for authentic-sounding damper and hammer action, adjustable polyphony and tuning, tempered and grand concert piano tunings. The Grand succeeds in creating a darn good piano, rich in sound and with enough editability to give you a broad range of feeling. Unfortunately, The Grand does not attempt to go beyond emulating the piano sound, so there are no LFOs, no filters, nothing that can really modulate or change the sound. Just rich, clean piano sounds instantly available and with simple programmability. It's a great tool for composers who don't want to deal with the troubles and expense of a real concert grand, and it's easier to use than any sampler.