The New EZkeys Piano and Songwriting Tool from Toontrack


If you’re a creative person who uses a computer for making music, sooner or later you’re going to wish you had an excellent sounding virtual piano at your disposal, regardless of the style you play. There’s already a great selection of such virtual pianos available; however, Toontrack recently released a compelling new option called EZkeys Grand Piano, which provides you with a great sounding virtual piano and some easy-to-use integrated tools for writing new songs, arranging and transposing. Basically, it’s a software instrument that can be used for just playing and recording, or for coming up with new song ideas and quickly creating original compositions for soundtracks and other purposes. It’s a welcome new tool for everyone from accomplished pianists to those who don’t play the keys at all.

The most important aspect of any instrument is its sound quality. The core of EZkeys is a Steinway and Sons Model D grand piano that was meticulously sampled at a high-end recording studio, using only the finest recording equipment. The timeless standard Model D is always at your disposal, and there are also several included presets that utilize effects chains to radically change the sound. The parameters of each preset can be tweaked to your liking, giving you everything from electric guitar tones to atmospheric synth pads. The additional presets can all be used for playing, or for creating new compositions with the song-building tools.

In addition to the familiar image of a grand piano, the graphical interface of EZkeys features a timeline and a Song Browser. Without much effort, you can drag and drop MIDI files from an included library onto the timeline. The files are intuitively sorted by musical genre, and you can preview them in the browser before you use them. Each file represents a section of a song (intro, verse, chorus, etc.). When you drop one onto the timeline, EZkeys analyzes it and displays each chord by key. You can then open the Smart Transpose Tool and change each chord in the timeline, without disrupting the rhythm and feel of the piece. You can import any MIDI files you have into the timeline. EZkeys will analyze and notate them, and allow you to alter them with the same powerful tool set.

EZkeys Grand Piano runs as a VST, AU or RTAS plug-in within a host, or as a stand-alone application. It’s compatible with Mac and Windows computers, and it is available now as an electronic download from B&H.

Software Type 32- and 64-bit plug-in instrument and low latency stand-alone application
Piano Type Steinway and Sons model D grand piano
Pedal Support Three pedals: sustain, sostenuto and damping
MIDI Library Styles Pop/Rock, Soul/RnB, Country, Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Boogie and Funk
Presets Standard, Raw Tweaks, Swedish Jazz, Retro Space Ballad, Swedish Pop, Old Time Boogie, On Stage, Drive In Cabinet, Electric Dirt, Grand Tremolo, Atmospheric Depth, Dreamscapes and Dreampods
Plug-In Type VST, AU and RTAS
System Requirements Windows: XP SP3 or newer, Pentium 4 or Athlon processor with 1GB RAM, 700MB of free hard disc space. Mac: OS X 10.5 or higher, G5 with 1GB RAM (Intel-based Mac recommended), 700MB of free hard disc space