Pianoteq VST review

Not sure if people are interested but I thought I’d write a short review on a modeled piano VST called Pianoteq.

I’ve hunted for modeled piano VST for quite some time and had my eyes on Pianoteq a few years ago, but the previous versions just didn’t quite “make it” in comparison to the best sampled libraries. But the latest version nails it and I think I’m not turning back. Goodbye 20 gigs piano libraries and welcome tidy, clean and CPU efficient system that allows you to actually remake the whole piano in a few seconds.

For me the most imporant factor in any piano VST is the feeling that it gives when you dabble around. Does it feel and sound intuitive or is it “off”. This is one of the first VSTs that instantly gave me the feeling of actually playing a real instrument, it was just pure fun to play with. Minor tweaks to the parameters and voila, you are actually playing a different piano.

I especially love the fact that you can really make “unrealistic” pianos that still sound real. For example one solo Pianoteq tune I improvised just got approved on AJ and on it I really wanted to create really long and resonating sound that you can’t really create easily with real piano nor sampled libraries.

That tune is basically straight and raw Pianoteq, no extra effects or mastering plugins used. It is that good.


  • very CPU efficient
  • requires minimal amount of harddisk space
  • very clean and tidy UI with helpful hover infoboxes on each parameter
  • very intuitive modeling that feels natural even with plastic non hammered keyboard


  • not the cheapest VST if you go for the Pro, but I still say it gives a lot of value for the buck
  • base sound variation libraries are a tad bit expensive (50$ each)

If you are hunting for your first good piano VST or are thinking of getting rid of sample based pianos, you should check out Pianoteq, it is very probably going to be my “go to” library for a long time.



thanks for sharing your beautiful and emotional music, i really enjoyed the track! :smiley:

Yes, i am absolutely interested in your review of Pianoteq. I had a listen to the Grotrian demos a couple of weeks ago and i remember being struck…i didn’t think modelled sound could achieve this level of realism and depth, and i am glad to hear that the interface is good and easy to use. 0K, it’s not the cheapest one maybe… but it’s still cheaper than VI Labs Ravenscroft or Spitfire Audio HZ Piano (which are, of course, very good plug-ins as well). Indeed, Pianoteq is definitely one option to be taken into account.

May i ask which one did you use in the attached track?

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Very warm and nice sounding! I like it. :wink:

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Thanks for the review. Something about modeled pianos still sounds off to me…maybe a little too clean. I can see a tremendous advantage in the possibility of 127 velocity layers without eating up Ram or disk space - probably feels nice to play. However, if I was aiming for a clean/C7 sounds it might be the way to go, but since I have to hear this kind of sound on my keyboard when I play live gigs I grow weary of it. Here are some of my favorite pianos:

http://www.imperfectsamples.com/website/Samples/fazioliconcertgrand/index.php - Great tone, but sometimes when recording solo stuff for AJ there is pedal noise, and I find myself needing to tweak velocity notes to get rid of the noise. Around $65 the price isn’t too bad.

http://adammonroemusic.com/amaustriangrandpiano.html - This is my own sampled piano, so I’ll try not to be too biased. I find I use it a lot in mixes, as it seems to blend well. I still prefer the solo tone of the Imperfect Samples piano for solo stuff, but it can be ok for some solo work. At around $25, I think it’s a good deal.

https://soundiron.com/products/emotional-piano-kontakt-player-edition - I actually don’t own this, just think the demos all sound pretty good. At $150, I may never own it.

I also own:
https://cinesamples.com/product/piano-in-blue - Don’t really use for anything. It’s a nice library, but sounds a bit harsh and brittle compared to the other piano libraries. Guess I like warm piano sounds. $100 is almost reasonable, but like I say, I never use it.

I also have a sampletekk piano that looks to be discontinued - it wasn’t very good.

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I bought the D4 + C2 combination as my Pro bundle and if I remember correctly it was D4 preset with some tweaks to longer resonation.

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Thanks! Cool… :slight_smile:

The track you posted sounds great! Though I’d like to hear what the VST sounds like at high velocities. That’s where modelling something realistic can get more difficult. :slight_smile:

From what I heard in that track I’d say it’s definitely a convincing sound, but I still feel it’s missing some of that low-mid timbre, “wood” sound in the transient. Also, there don’t seem to be any pedal or note release sounds.

I can definitely see it working in certain styles though. I’m really impressed to be honest. I never thought a modelled piano could sound that good!

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Thanks for the suggestions, and I understand your point about too much clean in the sound. I personally don’t find it a problem, if I want some edge to the sound, something can be done with the parameters inside the VST but I personally find after effects to be enough to make the sound more rough if I want.

The pedal sounds actually are modeled as well, I just put them to quite low volume. You have a good point when it comes to high velocity sounds, but at least to my ears they sound pretty convincing as well. At this level, it all comes down to personal preferences and details :slight_smile:

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Sound nice for such of production!
But I thinking about purchasing this piano http://www.imperfectsamples.com/website/samples/steinwayconcertgrand/steinwaygrandpiano.php

Very natural sound!

Only trouble I have with sampled libraries is that for me it doesn’t really feel natural throughout the volume spectrum if it doesn’t have full 127 layers of midi velocity layers and in this case the Extreme library is whopping 55 gigs which is basically insane for just piano. Even if it would give that extra detail of natural sound, I rather take the 300 megabytes version that uses just 2-3% of CPU.

Yeah, when you choose vst instruments it’s important to consider cpu / memory usage. My PC can normally work with 55 Gb or higher vst ))

I’m still running my ancient 2009 year PC as I haven’t had the time and energy to purchase a new machine and install EVERYTHING once again :slight_smile: So for me, it’s a bit different story.

It would be so good if somebody offered a cloud based system where you could rent studio environment from a cloud for processing power and render your audio outputs without having to have anything on your local machine.

Sounds really nice, thanks for the review!

I have a bunch of pianos - almost always go with pianoteq. :+1:


I really like pianoteq as well. Based on my experience, your review is spot on @Driving. I’m glad you posted this review because I was thinking of asking you how you got that unique piano sound - as I commented on your detail page, I was really impressed with “The Sad Piano.” I guess I need to spend some more time experimenting with the settings, e.g., work on getting that long and resonating sound. Thanks for the post! :slight_smile:

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No problem :slight_smile: If you want I can send you screenshot of my settings. I used some basic preset and then just turned a few knobs to quite “extreme right” that related to resonation and decay.

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Thanks for offering. I’m going to give it a try first. If I end up short, I may take you up on your offer. Time for me to twist some knobs :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing. Actually Pianoteq is the closest when i want muffled cinematic piano sound.