I’ve been craving a new piano VST for quite some time as my current go-to piano VST, Steinberg’s The Grand 2, just wasn’t cutting it anymore in terms of expressiveness. After finally deciding to put in the research time I set about searching the forums and reviews of the internet in pursuit of a VST that would sound great and be affordable. There are actually quite a lot of piano VSTs out on the market which made it quite hard to decide upon just one of them. However, I eventually downloaded the demo of Pianoteq 4.5 and I was instantly blown away by the sound. Upon hitting the first chord I was overcome by how rich sounding and dynamic it sounded. To be honest, I had expected it to sound very artificial due to it being a physically modeled instrument, but it was unlike any sampled piano I’ve heard in a great way.
Amazingly, this VST weighs in at a staggeringly low 29.3 MB, because it doesn’t rely on samples of any kind unlike traditional piano VSTs. Also, most sampled pianos only offer 16 sampled velocity levels whereas Pianoteq has 127 (although if MIDI were capable of more, I’m sure they could expand that as the simulation is programmed from the ground up.) The price for the PRO version is quite steep so I settled on the STAGE version (the budget offering.) Modartt offer a demo for both the STAGE and Standard versions of the software and although the bonus features in the Standard version were enticing I couldn’t warrant the additional cost with my current budget. Luckily, they do offer upgrade options if you want to upgrade to a better version down the road. Needless to say, I ended up buying a license. I’ve probably spent a good 6 hours today just lost in music, and it’s been amazing! Definitely recommended to those that are first and foremost pianists but don’t have the greatest sounding virtual piano equivalent yet!
There are some drawbacks to this VST (as with anything.) First of all, the license is only valid for 1 year of upgrades on the software. I can understand why they would do this (as the software has become much better sounding over the years that it’s been in development) but at the same time I think it would be perhaps better if they only charged for additional addons. Secondly, the price is quite a bit higher than Native Instruments New York Concert Grand and other piano offerings. Depending on the type of music you are interested in writing/playing one of those sampled offerings may be a better option. However, they don’t offer any kind of demo to try which is why I personally ruled that option out as I won’t buy any VSTs unless I can play with them hands on first (otherwise, I have no idea if I will enjoy using them and feel inspired by them.)
Here’s a sample of me playing Pianoteq 4.5 using the D4 Grand and R2 Electric Piano models:
And what the heck, I’ll give this software a rating: 9.2/10