PianoTeq 6 Review
Pianoteq is a VST instrument that physically model pianos (and a few other instruments). Pianoteq offers great vareity and control of the piano sound and many variables like microtonal tuning that are not widely available from other digital pianos.
Some of the fascinating details that Pianoteq offers is the ability to change the hardness of the hammers, the virtual microphone placement, the inhamonicity of the strings, and the level of the noise in the attack and from the pedals. The wide variety of presets that are included provide a wide range of timbres that are suitable to various styles, and combined with the editable variable one is able to achieve aan incredible range of sound and tweak the details in an intuitive way.
As pianoteq is effectively a synthesizer, it is an extremely light program compared to the many sample-based pianos available. In my opinion there are only a few sampler pianos that rival pianoteq, chief among them Spitfire's Hans Zimmer Piano, which is over 400 gigs in size compared to the miniscule 30 megs of Pianoteq.
The example tracks below use some of pianoteqs many presets and do not have any additional processing with the exception of a limiter.
The first set of examples show some of the different sounds you can achieve out of the box for a classical piano piece. In this regard pianoteq excells, as it is able to create a sense of realism in this style that that I have yet to find matched with any other piano VST or sample library.
Example 1: Mozart Sonata No. 17 using Bluether Prelude Preset
Example 1: Mozart Sonata No. 17 using Grotrian Recording Preset
Example 1: Mozart Sonata No. 17 using K2 Studio Recording Preset
Example 1: Mozart Sonata No. 17 using Steinway B Home Preset
Example 1: Mozart Sonata No. 17 using Steinway D Classical Preset
The Second Set of examples come from a couple orginal tracks in a cinematic style, again using out-of-the-box presets. For cinematic styles, pianoteq can do an excellent job, but the presets geared at these styles fall short of the presets better suited for Classical music. Some of the more reverberant and intimate piano sounds are parhaps easier to achieve using third party processing for delay, reverb, compression and EQ than the tools that are included in Pianoteq alone.
Original: Pure Beauty using Bleuther Home Preset
Original: Pure Beauty using Steinway D Prelude Preset
Original: Cinematic Mysteirous Piano Cinematic Steinway D Preset
Original: Cinematic Mysteirous Piano Cinematic Steinway Prelude Preset
The following two pieces present example of solo piano music in a jazz style. Once again, the presets work incedibly well.
Duke Ellington: St. Louis Blues Grotrian Cabaret Preset
Duke Ellington: St. Louis Blues Steinway D Preset
Finally, this example shows some of the microtonal possibilities that piqnoteq allows. In my work as a concert composer I often experiment with microtonality, so in this way pianoteq is a great tool for both planning a piece of music as well as using it as an intrument in a performance or recording. Note that third part plugins and mastering was applied to this track, which is made form a combination of six instances of pianoteq. This track comes from this album of microtonal piano music.
Original: Virtutes Occultae Prelude - Microtonal 6-piano piece
Conclusion: Highly Recommended
I can unequivically recommend Pianoteq 6 as an incredibly versitile and realistic piano VST. The physical modelling approach allows for precise control of the sound as well as a program that is incredibly light on hard drive space and cpu. Some users might be unhappy with the presets for cinematic music, but with some tweaking and production Pianoteq 6 is capable of anything.