When playing an acoustic piano, releasing the keys usually makes a subtle, dull thud as the key springs back up to neutral position, especially if this is done very quickly.

I've been trying out several different piano synths, plugins and samplers, and as far as I can tell none of them attempt to replicate this sound. I suppose that this is because the effect is not considered desirable, or maybe on the more expensive pianos that are usually modelled/sampled this effect is not so pronounced as on the cheap upright pianos I am used to.

However, I find myself missing it, and since there is a midi keyup event, I wonder if maybe there is such a plugin out there that I have simply missed. Can anybody enlighten me, or tell me what I should be searching for?

  • 2
    My digital piano actually creates these noises (along with other key noises) not in the samples but in from the actual weighted keys. Maybe you just need a noisier controller? Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 20:11
  • All these characteristic sounds are desirable these days. People want to hear ALL the sounds of a piano to get an authentic feel.
    – n00dles
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 22:22
  • Todd Wilcox, good point! I have weighted keys and do get that effect as well, but it's not quite the same, nor does it come through when recording MIDI - and I'm not sure I want to set up a mic to record a separate track of 'key noises' every time I record piano.
    – omnikron
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 7:49
  • 2
    you could sample all your keys and map those to a second sampler and tweak the sound to test. do make sure you have multiple layers per key. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 9:35
  • @ArnoudTraa true, but I don't much like the sound of my keyboard keys' action - it's not as satisfying as the wooden clunk from a real piano (also, I'm way too lazy for this!). EasyKeys (from the accepted answer) seems like a good option - it even lets you tweak the key response volume.
    – omnikron
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


Many of them - amongst the simplest & possibly cheapest would be EasyKeys by Toontrack -
[No affiliation, just the one I use for quick sketches & often it stays at the final mix]
They make 'grand' & 'upright' versions, amongst others - I haven't got the entire range but they tend to be pretty good; great for sketching, as they're lightweight.

BTW, there is a midi key up event, though it's usually companded into note-on velocity zero [Running Status]
If you want to burn your brain [I haven't needed to look at this spec in 15 years so it even hurts for me these days] have a glazed-over look at http://www.midi.org/techspecs/midimessages.php Sorry, I misread as "there is no Midi key up event…" but I thought I'd leave the midi.org ref in there for future brain-burners

  • Interesting, even the note off event has velocity - so it would be technically possible to have the key up noise increasing when playing especially flamboyantly. I suspect that the main reason I haven't had any luck so far is that I've been trying free patches - so I will take a look at EasyKeys. Thanks!
    – omnikron
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 7:56

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