Vienna Symphonic Library releases Soft Imperial, a FREE virtual concert grand piano for macOS and Windows.
I’m always excited to hear about new piano libraries, especially free ones, but I’m particularly excited this time. Recently, I’ve been looking for something close to the iconic Bösendorfer Imperial sound for some demos, and here we are.
Soft Imperial is a free library that works with the VSL Synchron player, just like the Fujara Flute we covered recently.
The download process wasn’t any hassle, although if you’re new to VSL, you’ll have to download the Vienna Assistant first.
Soft Imperial offers the gentle side of the Bösendorfer imperial. So, it perhaps lacks the dynamics and expression of the flagship Vienna Imperial (which I think is maybe the best piano VST for Classical music – currently unavailable). But it’s free, and it offers a pretty lovely tone and some very nice presets.
There are seven presets, which are:
- Soft Imperial
- FX Soft Imperial Ethereal
- FX Soft Imperial Warp
- FX Soft Imperial Phased & Delay
- FX Soft Imperial Granny’s Piano
- FX Soft Imperial Cheap Radio
- FX Soft Imperial Rotator
The preset names define the character of each sound pretty accurately. Ethereal is dreamy, Granny’s Piano is a bit wonky, detuned, etc.
My favorites after a brief play are the untouched Soft Imperial, Cheap Radio, and Rotator. Despite displaying the softer side of the concert grand, I feel like Soft Imperial has more bite and clarity than many other soft piano VSTs.
One of the more peculiar things about a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand is that it has some extra keys below the low A key. Pianists like Oscar Peterson often used the additional bass notes, making them sound more musical than most could (I’m not sure 88-keys were ever enough for him anyway). VSL has included those additional notes, so you can go wild if you have a left hand like Oscar.
Soft Imperial seems like a very useful freebie to me, and it’s a solid continuation of this epic April we are having. I wanted more pianos; we got them; I wanted orchestral libraries; we got them. Now, I want Tomislav to tell me that he has a real Bösendorfer for me to test (and keep); I’m just putting it out there; you never know.
Soft Imperial is available in AU, VST2.4, VST3, and AAX formats for macOS (10.13 upwards) and Windows (8.1 upwards).
Download: Soft Imperial
Nice :-) But when it is free, why the need for iLok copy protection ?
As a way to encourage customers, old and new, to use ilok.
I think they need some protection for their own sample player so they provided free iLok code instead.
I am 100% legit. For me that is a mission, as I have come to know or be in touch with devs directly over the years I do not want to take anything from them. But as such I find copy protection intrusive and especially iLOK which for a long time required physical dongles. Being 100% legit is a gentleman’s agreement, I do not break my word.
respect for being correct and honest, but sadly the major part of humanity is not, so i can understand the need for copy protection in general.
i also understand that for many people a physical dongle is an annoying thing, but it can be quite comfortable to have licenses disconnected from the computer you are working on.
and i guess most people dont like to be charged for the usb stick, but for running professional level software it is still affordable compared to prices of daws and plugins in general.
ok i have to admit: i just checked the price for ilok dongles, and it went up a lot since i bought mine. i think i paid 30euros, now it is 50 euros for the usb-a version and even 60 for usb-c…
yeah, it is maybe not the most elegant way to implement protection, but in the end you buy it once and you never need to think about it anymore.
some music stuff is still expensive, but actually a large amount of people nowadays can afford to make their own music, that was not always possible so easily.
then theres also probably countless alternatives to software that wants ilok-usb-thingy.
so i probably missed the whole point, because this topic was actually about freeware that uses ilok protection. i just told my opinion because usually all you see in comments about ilok is people complainig.
“Try Before You Buy” was a thing of the ’00s. Today there is so much top quality freeware, and free DAWs like Tracktion that puts anybody in position to make serious music without the need of payware IMO. Or just buy a Mac with Logic included, back in the day Alchemy cost a lot of money, now it is free for them.
Addy Know Noon
Did anyone manage to make it run on Windows 7? I know, the specs say Win 8.1 , but does it work on Win 7 still?
Hello, I am runing Synchron on Windows 7 Ultimate, no problem.
New Library: CELESTIAL STRINGS
Thanks for the heads up on Celestial Strings, Gery.