Synthogy Ivory II Upright Pianos

Style: Four different upright pianos

The sound quality is expressive and rich, but so are the editing options. This shows just one page of four pages with editable parameters.

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Style: Four different upright pianos

Product type: Virtual instrument

Format: VST/AU/RTAS plugins, Mac/Windows

Stats: 84GB of multisampled notes for four pianos

Documentation: Printed manual

Having set the standard with their virtual grand pianos, Synthogy has now done the same for uprights, with a Yamaha U5 (pretty much the modern upright piano), vintage Hume, honky-tonk piano, and tack piano with, yes, real tacks. If you choose to install all four, expect to spend some quality installation time with the 12 DVD-ROMs.

There are up to 16 velocity layers (you can select the number of voices, from 4 to 160), but part of Synthogy’s “secret sauce” is resonance modeling for sympathetic string vibrations. I’d always felt sampled pianos were to acoustic pianos as White Castle burgers are to Kobe beef, but the Ivory II engine changed my opinion. It’s not just about sound; pianos are also about feel, and the Ivory II pianos feel right, with exceptional dynamics. They’re also surprisingly editable, with pedal noise, stereo imaging, sustain resonance, tuning table support, and more. There’s even a synth layer, as well as EQ, chorusing, and ambience effects.

As a reality check, I compared the Ivory uprights to some other sampled pianos—which only made the Synthogy ones stand out more. Of course, nothing playing through speakers sounds exactly like a real acoustic piano; but Ivory II’s pianos nail the sound of real recorded acoustic pianos. More importantly, the experience of playing them is truly satisfying—and that’s the toughest emulation of all.

Wonderful piano feel, recording quality, and dynamics. Quite editable. Package includes four pianos.

Requires 84GB of drive space to install all four pianos. Requires iLok.

$299 MSRP, dist. by

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