SampleScience offers Rusty Piano, a freeware virtual piano in 64-bit VST plugin format for macOS and Windows.
Rusty Piano is compatible with Windows 8.1/10 and macOS El Capitan to Mojave. Unfortunately, it’s not compatible with macOS Catalina or higher.See also: Free Piano VST Plugins
This plugin looks to be right up my street, and I rarely pass up the opportunity to try a new piano. So, I’m disappointed to be missing this one as a Catalina user.
According to Sample Science, Rusty Piano is the result of recording an upright acoustic piano too hot on purpose. What I like about instruments like this one is that it’s about highlighting flaws instead of sugarcoating them. It’s a beat-up piano with character that only comes from a few lifetimes of use by countless players. Coincidentally, I learned on something similar, broken keys and all, and I wish I still had it.
Rusty Piano could suit a range of styles/genres, but due to the kind of piano and how it was recorded, I think it’s probably best when played sparsely. Simple counter-melodies work great for lo-fi hip-hop and even holding those real gutsy, Thelonious Monk-like chords that you want to sound a bit muddy.
Sample Science has captured a very honest sound and wrapped it in a simple GUI that allows you to make it even dirtier.
LFO Wave, Target, and Source are selected from central drop-down menus, with depth and rate controls to the left. One of the things I like is that you can assign the LFO source to the mod wheel, aftertouch, or velocity. I always feel that changing how you play/trigger something can lead to new ideas.
You can select your filter type (low/high pass), voice mode, and velocity curve from the same central menu. Filter controls are on the left, and to the right of the menu are controls for pan, volume, room reverb, and cutoff.
There are 3 voice modes, polyphonic, monophonic, and legato. The velocity curve might not seem like a huge feature, but with Rusty Piano being quite rough, it’s good to be able to dig in a bit more without sounding too harsh.
Lower down the GUI are ADSR, preamp, and glide controls. For such a simple plugin, there’s a surprising amount of stuff to play with.
You can never have too many pianos; if and when it’s available for Catalina and beyond, I’ll be waiting!
More info: Rusty Piano (64-bit VST plugin format for Windows & macOS, no macOS Catalina support)