Modartt’s modelled piano just keeps getting better…
Acoustic modelling instruments and plug-ins, which generate sounds from mathematical simulations of real materials, are still relatively thin on the ground, and can sometimes have a bit of a futuristic vibe. So it might come as a surprise, if you haven’t followed its development from the start, that Pianoteq is now 12 years old. Over its lifetime Pianoteq has improved steadily, from a proof-of-concept CPU-stretching upstart, to a rounded, refined, versatile and (most importantly) great-sounding virtual instrument. Along the way it’s turned its hand to not only acoustic pianos, but also historical fortepianos, Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Hohner electrics, as well as concert harps, steel drums and pitched percussion. And yet its fundamental nature has never changed: it doesn’t use samples at all, has a miniscule installation size (stand-alone and plug-in versions alike are about 50MB), and asks for no more than 256MB RAM.
However, as Pianoteq has developed and improved, so has the sample-based opposition. The virtual piano market has never been more hotly contested. What does Pianoteq 6 do that keeps it competitive?
Ready In 6
Version 6 is improved in three main areas. The underlying physical modelling has been refined, so that even long-standing instruments are said to have better “realism and acoustic presence”. There’s a brand-new tuning section, to support historical temperaments, microtonal setups and more, without users having to get their hands dirty with Scala files. And there’s also now a VST3-format plug-in version, and compatibility with the ARM architecture for Linux users.
Additionally, there are some MIDI improvements, including an ‘always on’ event recorder in the stand-alone app. And there’s now the option to export audio files in FLAC or MP3, as well as WAV.
For some potential purchasers, though, I expect Pianoteq 6’s biggest draw will be not a feature addition or technical enhancement but an endorsement. This is the first version to be authorised by Steinway & Sons: specifically, the Model D and Model B instruments that already existed in Pianoteq 5. This kind of thing is becoming ever important in the virtual piano world, and actually it is quite a coup to have the blessing of arguably the most iconic piano manufacturer out there. It certainly reflects how far the technology has come, and how seriously it’s taken in the wider piano world. In fact though, Pianoteq wasn’t short of endorsements already: Grotrian and Blüthner had previously approved virtual versions of their pianos. So the package as a whole is looking more authoritative than ever.
OS Requirements – PC: Windows 7 SP1 or later
Format: AAX Native, VST, AU