I'm using MIDI keyboard with an external software synthesizer that runs on a computer. I want to make it sound like a grand piano. I want something like this. This example shows that it's possible to synthesize very nice grand piano sound in software, while all that i've tried resulted into "chirping" sounds more like the ones of an upright piano.

Can you recommend some synthesis software / synthesizer parameters / soundfonts / ... to synthesize grand piano sound like the one in referenced video?

  • 2
    If it was that simple, it would have been done ages ago. Proper sampled grand piano sounds are available - on instruments which cost £15,000 - £20,000. It will also depend on the amp and speakers used to project it.Good luck !
    – Tim
    Aug 12, 2014 at 12:51
  • Have you tried any VSTi's? Aug 12, 2014 at 15:49
  • The one in the video is available at onlinepianist.com/virtual_piano - I'm not able to connect my keyboards to my computers, so I don't know if this supports playing from a midi controller - I guess not. Aug 12, 2014 at 15:56

7 Answers 7


Try Pianoteq Stage for Mac or Windows. It is exactly what you want. It costs €99 or US $129. Using a physical-modeling synthesizer, not samples, it really sounds like a grand piano -- in fact, you can choose between several different kinds of grand pianos.

You can download a free trial version.

If you buy the more expensive Pianoteq Standard or Pianoteq Pro products, they permit you to modify many parameters of the piano sound to tailor the sound to your needs.

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I must stress, though, Pianoteq is a very specialized product -- a uniquely-designed digital synthesizer built from the ground up to emulate piano sounds, with a proprietary design.

You can't make a convincing acoustic grand piano sound by manipulating parameters in any other kind of general-purpose synthesizer, in hardware or software.

The Roland and Yamaha companies each make a hardware synthesizer-keyboard (called a "virtual piano") that emulates an acoustic piano without using samples, like what Pianoteq does. But these particular Roland and Yamaha keyboards cost US$6,000 and up.

Pianoteq runs on just about any Mac or Windows computer (Linux, too) and it's quite affordable. Unlike grand-piano sample-based virtual instruments, it doesn't require gigabytes of hard drive space, a large amount of RAM, or a really fast computer to work correctly.

  • I believe the Yamaha is still sample-based. (Just mentioning so that people are careful; Yamaha's certainly not going to advertise that CP1 is not a virtual piano in the sense of V-piano and Pianoteq.)
    – nonpop
    Aug 13, 2014 at 10:22
  • My recollection is that the Yamaha CP1's grand piano sound is indeed made with a physical modeling synthesizer, but it also has an FM-synthesizer for DX7 "electric piano" sounds, and has a sample playback engine for other keyboard sounds besides that. I remember reading this from when the model was introduced a few years ago. The lower-priced models in the CP line use sample-playback for everything. I've never seen or played this model (and it hasn't been a big seller, apparently) so if anyone wants to verify this, please do.
    – user1044
    Aug 13, 2014 at 17:30
  • This Keyboard Magazine review details the physical-modeling synthesizer capabilities of the Yamaha CP1 virtual piano keyboard instrument. keyboardmag.com/gear/1183/yamaha-cp-1-cp5-and-cp50/28212
    – user1044
    Aug 13, 2014 at 17:37

OK. The sound in that video was not actually that excellent! Although, sequencing a piano can be just as detrimental to how it sounds than the sound quality itself. Watch this video:

He's doing what you want. He's using Virtual Studio Technology. So, he has a VST host installed on his computer that he can use to play VST plugin instruments. The VSTi you can hear in the video is the free CVPiano by TASCAM, which is based on a Kawai grand piano. This and other VSTi's are available from sites such as VST4Free.


Wheat's answer (Pianoteq) is certainly the best in terms of a high-quality commercial solution. I've known people to tweak parameters in that (seemingly endlessly!) to get exactly the piano sound they want.

As an alternative, I tend to worry less about quality, and just use free soundfonts, which are sample-based. I have several, but the only one whose name sticks in my mind at the moment (and which contains a decent sounding grand) is "pianissimum.sf2". Depending on what you're looking for, something like this might be acceptable.


A really great sounfont (sf2} is the Equinox Grand Piano. You can find it here. http://d.hatena.ne.jp/Peka0815/touch/20131114/1384414160


this is an 88-key online piano that you can connect to via MIDI. Nothing to download or install. The piano sound resembles that of a grand.


A fast easy solution if you want to turn your MIDI keyboard into a grand piano!


Physispiano.com We sell these in our store, totally scratch built modeled piano sound, user programmable. I tune pianos for a living, these are the best. Takes a some hours to get it just the way you want using the software, (you get to customize every aspect) but the digital strings produce the ambience of real strings.


Synth programmers always tried to synthesize a piano sound, but they effectively gave up.

Nowadays any piano sound that you hear coming from a software or hardware synthesizer is sampled (meaning: recorded note by note) from a real piano.

Here's a VST I found by Googling: http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/vst/thegrand3/start.html


Okay, I take it back after seeing Wheat's answer :)

  • It's synthesis of a piano sound based on modelling the 'simple' electronic circuits that are used in analog synthesizers that is difficult. Many VST instruments (or standalone instruments like the one referenced by Wheat's answer) are more like simulators than synthesizers. Aug 12, 2014 at 21:38

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