Last year, Toontrack released their first non-drum software instrument, EZkeys – Grand Piano. Many of you will know Toontrack first and foremost for their virtual drumming plug-ins – EZdrummer and Superior Drummer, so their foray into tonal keyed instruments has certainly caused a stir…
There are many virtual pianos on the market, but none are quite like EZkeys. Not only does it offer well recorded and very playable pianos, but it also functions as a songwriting partner too. We’ll take a look at the sound libraries themselves in a moment, but first let’s talk a little about the built-in song track.
EZkeys comes with a large number of MIDI files that can be manipulated using the song track, plus you can create your own MIDI files by recording your own playing in EZkeys or just inserting chords into the song track. Then the chord wheel enables you to transpose chords to others in the same key, a very useful feature for those like me who aren’t classically trained but want to quickly build their own chord progressions.
To recap, at the time of writing there are four EZkeys sound libraries available, very first was the Grand Piano library which is a carefully recorded Steinway D. Then second came EZkeys Upright Piano, an Östlind & Almquist piano which dates back to the late 1800s. Then earlier this year saw EZkeys Classic Electrics released, featuring the legendary Rhodes MK I and Wurlitzer 200A instruments.
The latest Toontrack library for EZkeys is Retro Electrics which adds the rather unique sound of the Hohner Clavinet D6 and Pianet N. Both instruments were widely used by many famous bands in the 60s and 70s including The Beatles and Roxy Music, giving them cult status among music fans everywhere. Once you hear the demos, you’ll recognise the familiar bright staccato sound of the Clavinet and the warmer, more complex sound of the Pianet – check out the video below.
While there are a more than generous number of MIDI files includes, once you have EZkeys, you’ll probably want to expand the number of performances you have available at some point. With this in mind, Toontrack are quickly building a sizeable collection of genre-based piano MIDI packs including Jazz, Blues, Gospel and Pop & Rock.
Find out more information on the Toontrack EZkeys range including videos and demo versions on the T+S website. Plus you can also read the press reviews which include Sound on Sound´s John Walden describing his EZkeys experience as “…the most fun I´ve had with a virtual instrument for years. Highly recommended“.