While SoundIron’s Emotional Piano is a Kontakt library, you don’t need the full version of Kontakt to use it. If you are a piano player, you can never have too many piano libraries as they are all slightly different, and this may fit your needs. There are 2 categories of settings, the main piano sounds and ones with FX applied. The main settings all come with lite options, which use fewer computing resources.
The Tone and Body knobs act a bit light treble and bass controls. Turning up the Body knob definitely makes it more full, and I quite liked the effect. The Tone knob can then be used to add high end clarity, but turning it down can be great for giving it a dark or hollow sound. You probably won’t adjust the Attack in most situations, but if it was competing with other instruments or just too aggressive, it’s nice to have the ability to turn it down as though it were a synth.
The basic preset is a really nice, gentle solo piano sound.
The Jazz setting is really decent as well, and I ended up using it on a few Jazz songs that I’m working on.
Here is an example of the “Piano Jazz” preset in a Jazz Trio setting, to get an idea of how it would sound in an actual song.
Here is the Piano Jazz setting with the body turned up on both clips, and the tone turned down on the first and up on the second.
Emotional Piano comes with just about every effect you would need. While none of them are quite as good as external plugins, if you are just interested in playing piano, and not into collecting plugins and studio gear, then they will most certainly suit your needs.
Reverb, Flanger, Tape Saturation, Compressor, Amp and Cabinet simulators.
The Transient Master isn’t quite as good as the SPL plugin, but can help you shape the sound a bit. Turning up the Gain and Attack, and turning down the Sustain definitely gave it more of a harder hit up front.
The arpeggiator is pretty straightforward. It offers even tempered velocity, or you can draw in the velocity for up to 64 steps. You can select note length from quarter note up to 16th triplet, and there are over a dozen patterns to choose from. I tend to use the Arpeggiator in Logic, but this seems nice enough.
There’s also a bunch of FX presets in the FX folder, where they apply some of their effects for you. These seem to be mostly reverb and distortion based. If you aren’t well versed in sound design, some of these might be of use to you, like having the reverb tail of the piano without the attack. The Re-tuned I found most useful, as it has a bit of de-tuned synth feel mixed with a Saloon upright. The downsampled preset could be useful and the House Piano if you need to do more dance styles.
While it’s not the best Piano library out there, it is decent for the price. For piano ballads and Jazz, I think it’s a nice option. Most piano libraries only offer reverb effects, so the effects rack is nice if you don’t have a ton of plugins to do all those things. Additionally, I don’t ever recall seeing a piano plugin with an arpeggiator, so that may be a really big selling point if it fits your needs.
If you already have the paid version of Kontakt, then chances are you have most of the Native Instruments piano libraries. While they are all nice in their own way, each is different, and all seem to be lacking in one area or another. (You may have noticed that some of them sound thin.) One trick I do is to layer them up with Emotional Piano. Check out how fuller it sounds, and you can use both in the same Kontakt instance.
If you are interested in getting SoundIron’s Emotional Piano, please use that link, and Logic Fiends will get a few bucks to help keep the site running.