If you're looking to create dreamy lofi piano sounds for your hip hop or ambient productions, then you've come to the right place!
In this article I'll be taking a look at the very best lofi piano VSTs available (both free and premium), to help you create your very own vintage lo-fi vibes.
The Best Lofi Piano VSTs at a glance:
The Top 10 Lofi Piano VSTs
Wolno by Felt Instruments
Wolno is a completely free lo-fi piano instrument constructed from intimate sounding piano samples recorded onto vintage tape, and then re-sampled at half-speed. The result is an incredibly warm and beautiful sounding instrument.
The UI is clear and intuitive, with knobs to control parameters such as Attack, Release, Echo, Reverb, Noise, and EQ. Note that although this amazing instrument is completely free to download, a valid email address is required.
Soft Piano by Spitfire Audio
Soft Piano by renown sample-based instrument creators Spitfire Audio, is another fantastic free lo-fi piano. Recorded at Air Edel Studios in London using a multi-mic setup, the layer of felt placed between the hammers and strings gives this instrument an intimate, personal sound.
Like all of Spitfire Audio's instruments, the interface is clean and incredibly easy to use. Check out the video below a brief demo of what it sounds like in action. You'll need to sign up to Spitfire Audio with a valid email to download.
Claustrophobic Piano by Christian Henson
The Claustrophobic Piano by Spitfire Audio's own Christian Henson was made by sampling his own Schimmel piano using a binaural mic setup and a duvet placed over the top. This creates an incredibly intimate audio experience, with the listener feeling like they are literally inside the piano itself.
The instrument was released for free as part of the Pianobook community initiative which is an amazing resource. Check out this article if you want to find out more. Note also that you'll need either Kontakt or the free Decent Sampler to use it.
Westwood Felt Piano
Westwood say that their Felt Piano was "born from a mission to find and sample a piano filled with interesting and natural character". The piano used was sampled in the crypt of an old church using vintage mics and custom felted strings, and this gives the instrument a wonderfully detailed and haunting ambience.
The Felt Piano from Westwood is completely free to download in exchange for a valid email address. Note however that you will need the full version of Kontakt in order to use it.
Room Piano by Sample Science
The last free option that's worth a download is the Room Piano by Sample Science. This lightweight plugin consists of 24-bit stereo recordings of an upright living room piano.
It's a great sounding instrument, with a smart interface containing additional controls for adjusting ADSR, filters, reverb amount, and multiple LFOs.
Tape Piano by Thenatan
Tape Piano by Thenatan has been developed specifically to add a warm lofi piano vibe to your productions. Perfect for lo-fi, chill, and hiphop, it's outstanding feature is the vast array of incredible sounding presets, all presented within a beautiful looking interface.
The UI makes it super easy to dial-in in effects such as vinyl crackle and hiss, hum, or bit compression into the signal to double down on that lofi aesthetic. It also includes tape stop effects, high and low pass filters, an LFO, and a vintage sounding reverb.
In addition to the piano, there are also five other layers such as a Choir, Pad, Strings, Atmosphere, and an Organ which you can blend in to create added depth and interest.
Tape Piano is not free, however at the time of writing it is reduced from $79.50 to $9.99 which is simply incredible value.
Postcard Piano by Teletone Audio
The Postcard Piano is a Kontakt instrument created with the intension of creating "playable modern nostalgia". Every piano sample has been pitch shifted downwards by a minor third and warped to create unique sounding lofi keys.
The instrument has various intuitive controls to add in effects such as reverb and noise, as well as an Age setting, which when dialled in creates a bit-crushed, unstable sound.
The instrument works with both the full version of Kontakt as well as the free Kontakt Player and will set you back $69.
The Imagiro Piano is an intimate soft sounding instrument full of vintage warmth and character. Perfect for lofi hiphop beats, the piano VST interface features controls for adjusting release time and pitch shifting, as well as blending in noise and imperfections such as pedal and hammer sounds.
The VST also has an incredibly small footprint, coming in at less than 60MB. The best thing about it however is the price, retailing at only $20.
Keys by Cymatics
Keys from Cymatics is an all-in-one solution for producing great sounding lofi chords and melodies. Not only does it include some incredible sounding presets straight out of the box, but it also features built-in tools within the advanced section, where you are able to customise your sounds with effects such as reverb, half speed, reverse, and high & low pass filters.
It's also pretty reasonably priced too, retailing at around $80.
Noire by Native Instruments
Noire is one of the more expensive pianos on this list, but in this case you really do get what you pay for. The instrument was created in collaboration with Galaxy Instruments by sampling a customised Yamaha Concert Grand piano twice; once in its natural state, and then again with felt material placed over the strings.
It sounds incredible, and that's even before you factor in the unique Particles Engine, which allows you to add in evolving layers of texture to the sound to create a real sense of depth and movement. If you have the money, then don't hesitate.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Lofi Music?
The term "Lofi" can be applied across many music genres, however it's commonly associated with lofi hiphop, aka "Chill Hop". Lofi is short for Low Fidelity and refers to a production style that contains deliberate audio imperfections to invoke a feeling of nostalgia and longing in the listener.
Is it Hard to Make Lofi Beats?
It's not hard to make lofi beats. Start by making a chilled chord progression using one of the Lo-fi Piano VSTs in this article, or re-purpose an existing sample. Add in a dusty Hip Hop drum beat using a drum kit such as SwuM. Create a mellow bass line, and throw in some samples and vinyl crackle for added nostalgia.
What BPM is Lofi Music?
The BPM of Lofi Music is anywhere between 70 and 110, but the average is around 90 bpm. There are no rules though, so experiment with the tempo in your DAW until the vibe feels right.
Do Lofi Beats Help You Study?
Studies have found that listening to music can help students relax and improve their focus when working or studying for exams. Lofi beats are great for this because not only do they help to block out any distracting noise, they also improve your mood which releases Dopamine. This then acts on your brain to encourage alertness, motivation, and overall mental wellbeing.
All the lo-fi keys VSTs in this list are great for producers looking to make mellow, chilled hip hop, with that classic lofi aesthetic.
If you're big into producing lofi, then you may want to check out the Lofi Playtime VST by Yum Audio. I've reviewed it here.
Make sure to subscribe to the blog below so you don't miss any of my upcoming posts on electronic music production, and I'll be happy to give you some pointers!
If you're after some fantastic free resources free then check out these articles:
Looking to upgrade your gear? - check out these posts:
Have a great day.