A Good Buy if it's Free!
I bought this software along with the M-Audio 49es controller, at a very reasonable price. In fact, I bought the controller for $50 just to get this software. I am a pianist of reasonable skill, and have, like many others, invested in various piano plug-ins, some of which come close to reproducing the feel of the real thing.
First, the installation process. After buying, Sweetwater promptly sent me a license code for the software. It did not work. So, I emailed Sonivox support and they sent me a new code. I used this, and downloaded the software. It is somewhere around 12 gb, so it took a very long time. I ran the installer, and it refused to accept the license key. This required more support, and a few days later, I was instructed to manually request authorization. I did this a few times, and no authorization. Yet another email was necessary, and finally I was sent a file with the license code which I had to manually install into the program. Several days wasted there. Next, I got the program up and running, and for about 7 minutes it worked. After that, it refused to load any samples at all. More suport requests. Eventually, the tech told me to delete everything and try it all over again. Which I did, and the second time around, it loaded properly. The tech support is helpful, but not responsive, which I suppose is much like the software itself.
On to the software. After spending ten days trying to install it, I finally got a chance to play it. It's all right. That's about all I can say, and in this market, all right doesn't really do the job. Compared to Ivory Keys II, there really isn't a comparison. Ivory is much larger, much more expensive and uses the dreaded ILok system, which I despise. But Ivory sounds like a real (and very good) piano, where Ensemble 88 sounds like a pretender. It takes a good bit of time to load each sample, and it is just no match for the higher end VSTs on the market. It sounds acceptable, but not much more than that.
If this is your first piano plug-in, and you buy it as part of a promotion, it is probably worth the small cost. It does sound better than most keys that come with DAW's and lower end budget software. It is certainly playable and sounds nice. If you already have good plug-ins, this one isn't worth a look. In the same price range, XLN's Addictive Keys is much better.