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Toontrack–EZkeys Review

Whazzup Dawfreaks.
Im back with a Fresh review, With fresh I mean TOTALLY fresh.
This week The Swedish company Toontrack released a completely new product EZkeys.
Toontrack was very kind to let me get my hands on it directly.
SO here follows my review of The new EZKeys.

Toontrack-logo-black

Toontracks description of EZkeys
EZkeys is a revolutionary plugin and stand alone instrument that combines a world-class piano player, songwriting partner, arranger and a meticulously sampled grand piano – all in one package. Developed with Toontrack Music’s forward thinking approach to music composition, EZkeys delivers breathtakingly rich tonal qualities and allows the user unlimited creativity through its groundbreaking functionality.

 

startup 

Specifications

• 32- and 64-bit VST, AU and RTAS instrument as well as low latency stand-alone application
• Drag and drop the included MIDI straight to the built-in song track
• Drag and drop support for your own or third party MIDI straight into EZkeys
• Drag and drop MIDI from the song track or directly from the song browser to your DAW or to your desktop
• EZkeys will analyze and chord-separate any MIDI on the fly
• Real-time chord display that enables you to instantly see what chords you are playing
• Chord selector, based upon the circle of fifths, allowing you to change chords instantly
• Presets for the most commonly used chord types
• Customize the coloration of any chord by opening up the detailed view
• Transpose individual song blocks or full songs with a single mouse-click
• Comes with an easy to understand music theory document including MIDI examples
• Possibility to tune the piano by octave, semitone or cents
• Dynamics controls that let you adjust the velocity response to match your keyboard or playing style
• Three pedals: sustain, sostenuto and damping
• MIDI-learn and automation
• Thirteen ready-made presets utilizing high-quality effects from Overloud. The presets range from raw and unprocessed to heavily distorted and tweaked

This information was taken from Toontracks homepage  —-> KLICK<-

First impression
One thing that I have learned when it comes to Toontrack is that they always manages to create a great looking GUI, that fits the product superb and is very easy to understand.
As I load the Stand-alone version of EZkeys it is with a smile on my face.
EZkeys starts amazingly fast and the GUI is flawless, A huge grand piano stands in the middle of the screen giving a great feeling of quality.
The Top of the GUI holds A Library selection feature (we can already tell there is more to come), followed by a Preset selection feature and on the top right feature a Menu button is placed that holds some features that I feel I am not going to go into in this review.

Toontrack have added two control sections nicely in the piano, By clicking covers named Dynamics and Tuning the covers pop up and allows us to control Soft note and Velocity adjustments under Dynamics and Octave, Semitone and Cent under Tuning.
dynamicstuning

Under the Piano is the section where most things happen.
startup2
You first find a Playback/sequence area where you can drag and drop MIDI on to,
The default library comes with a nice startup pack of MIDI files to get us started.
There is some additional tools to adjust and split the MIDI files included on the left side.

Below that if we look on the left side is a preset control section, in this screen we can see four knobs for Reverb, Tone, Comp and Detail but when we change the presets these knobs will change to match the added filters and effects.

In the middle we find the playback, show/Hide browser and song key, Signature and tempo features to set up EZkeys to play along with your song idea.

On the right side we find a big Volume knob.

The Browser

Browser
For anyone who have used Toontracks products before we recognize the look of the browser.
the browser is divided by category’s  folder , swing and BPM.
you can pre-listen to the file directly in the browser making the browsing very EZ.
If you find a selection you rely love you can ad it to Favorites that can be found to the left.

 

Working with a MIDI file.
I found a nice little BLUES intro I wanted to use for my review and pulled it into the Playback/sequence area of EZkeys.

key select

 

To show you the key feature I clicked on the C and got a roll down with alternatives to use.

You can also click on Major to swap it to Minor if you need to.

 

 

 

When the sequence parts are added to the Playback/sequence area I right click on the first MIDI part and go to Properties.
Here I can set color of the MIDI part, change octave, Transpose and increase decrease the Velocity of the selected MIDI part

selection properties

 

As I work with this little Tune I find that EZkeys is extremely EZ to work with, making a song has never been this easy and fun.
The sound quality of EZkeys is flawless and there is enough control options to get a sweet Piano sound for your song.
I have to ad that the sound amazes me since the EZkeys installer is only 586MB.
Toontrack has proved to me that size does not matter, MAN NOW I really want to try out EZdrummer.

EZkeys in action
Here follows a video of the included presets where EZkeys is playing some BLUES. 

Video was recorded and edited in Camtasia Studio 7

Conclusion
Toontrack has done it again!
They have brought a product/tool to the market that is perfect, sounds great and is dead EZ to use. I become amazed with Toontracks ways to always come with a product that feels WORTH every penny. Talking about price, EZkeys holds the price off around 155 Euro and $149, a very affordable price.
Working with EZkeys is fun, and for me who play guitar and can do some 3 finger cords on the Piano I love to have EZkeys around.
If you need a nice lightweight Piano, or a incredible songwriters tool EZkeys will be just perfect, and the learning curve is nearly none at all.
Ezkeys is not heavy on recourses and sounds amazing so now my interests in EZdrummer has grown even more but that’s another story.
EZkeys is the ultimate songwriter tool aswell as a amazing Piano instrument plugin,
as a great ad it can also be used in stand alone mode.
All in all EZkeys is a Must have.
GO Get it!!!

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Great sounding

Cons

  • None

The Verdict
EditorsrecommendedValue

Toontrack EZkeys is fully awarded.. spot on…

Thank you for reading

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  1. July 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

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