EZkeys is a songwriting tool from Toontrack that’s bundled with a deeply sampled instrument and runs as a plug-in or standalone software. We reviewed both the original Grand Piano and the more recent Upright Piano versions and found both to be excellent for experimenting with chord progressions and developing song ideas.
Price: £111 (All three EZ Keys instruments now available for £179)
Contact: Time + Space – 01837 55200
However, what we’ve really been waiting for are some tasty electric pianos to give the software a broader
and more modern palette. Toontrack has obviously heard our prayers, as the latest version includes a Rhodes MK1 and a Wurlitzer 200A, which were recorded in two separate studios using the best in modern and vintage equipment. It’s obvious from the off that a lot of care and attention has
gone into making these instruments sound lively and instantly playable. When compared to several other sampled keys instruments in our library, the EZkeys versions had much more of a 3D quality and responded more vibrantly to different velocities. You get ten presets for each instrument, ranging from soft ballad sounds with subtle delays and throbbing tremolos to crunchy, distorted funk that makes excellent use of the amp sim and effects, plus a couple of more ambient sounds with slow attacks and atmospheric reverbs.
The only problem here, as with the previous versions of EZkeys, is that you get only four pre-defined dials to tweak each preset, so sound-design potential is extremely limited. Although we appreciate that the product is aimed at songwriters, we’d love to have an extended editing page from where we could access envelopes properly. At the very least, a few more presets might expand the range of sounds available.
Aside from the instruments themselves, all of the same incredibly useful songwriting features are present, including real-time chord display, built-in song track, drag-and-drop MIDI, transpose/humanise functions and the superb chord selector wheel for previewing potential chords. There’s also a large MIDI library in different styles, although it would have been nice if a few new riffs were included. This is by far our favourite EZkeys instrument so far, and the excellent-sounding instruments can only help to further
The same excellent songwriting features are present, but this time bundled with some beautifully sampled Rhodes and Wurlitzer instruments that are a joy to play.