If one thing's certain in the music software industry, it's that someone somewhere is always working on a multisampled piano collection, never mind that we've got several near-perfect emulations to choose from already.
The latest company to throw their virtual ebonies and ivories into the ring are Propellerhead, but in their case, it sort of makes sense. Many Reason users might want to use the likes of The Grand, Akoustik Piano and Ivory, but Reason's lack of plug-in support prevents them from doing so.
Three into one Reason Pianos ships as a single ReFill, though you do get both 16- and 24-bit versions. Inside, you'll find sampled versions of three pianos: the Yamaha C7 (a hugely popular concert grand), the Steinway D (considered the company's flagship concert grand) and the Steinway K (an upright piano).
Predictably, each piano comes with its own selection of standard presets, and you'll also find pa
tches designed by professional producers and others that were inspired by 'classic' songs. These all make use of the Combinator device, so you won't get far with Reason Pianos if you don't have Reason 3.0 or later.
Also included are 'separate mic' NN-XT patches that can be used with the Combinator template patches (these don't contain sample data – you have to add your own).
Mics actually play a big part of the Reason Pianos experience. The instruments were recorded using up to ten of them (four stereo and two mono) and you can adjust their levels independently to suit your requirements (see the Mechanics of the mics boxout for more).
The Reason Pianos are certainly flexible, then, but more importantly, they're extremely playable and sound tremendous. This is a much smaller collection than some of its plug-in contemporaries (even the 24-bit ReFill is only 1.35GB), but the level of quality is extremely high.
The Yamaha C7 is probably the best all-rounder, with the Steinway D having a more 'classical' sound and the Steinway K offering a distinctive upright tone. At £120, Reason Pianos is also very reasonably priced, so deserves nothing less than a mighty thumbs-up.