There’s just not enough time (or money) for all the great plug-ins around. But one of my favorite instrumental plug-ins, one I can’t imagine living without, is the superb Lounge Lizard electric piano from Applied Acoustics. It’s physically modeled, not sampled, and as a result feels more organic than some of its competitors. EP-3 offered some welcome improvements, including a more fleshed-out effects section, more pickups and models, built-in audio recording, and micro-tuning; some users thought it wasn’t a significant upgrade when they first saw it, but upon closer inspection I think you’ll find it a must-upgrade.

I expect a lot of home musicians haven’t gotten to use Lounge Lizard, though, because it costs money — US$225 street for the full-blown program with gobs of presets and customization. That shouldn’t stop you if you play electric pianos all the time, but if you’re on a budget, you’ll appreciate the new US$99 Lounge Lizard Session. The reality is, this is all most users will need: the top four models are there, plus tremolo, drive, multi-effects, and reverb. If you change your mind later, you can upgrade to the full version. Native Instruments and Apple both have terrific electric pianos, and I use both, but Lounge Lizard remains my first stop. I hope Applied Acoustics applies the same model (erm, so to speak) to Ultra Analog and String Studio, because I’m sure that’d widen the audience for those, as well.

So concludes my rave; now go check it out for yourself:

Lounge Lizard Session