Pianoteq 3 review. The BEST sounding piano plugin is only 20mb small!


I know many of you like me, are constantly looking for the best sounding plugins and instruments.

Short of pulling a huge piano into your bedroom, studio, or office, finding that dope piano sounds is a quest!

I’ve seen it all, from the hardware workstations, to dedicated digital pianos, and even the most recent trend of HUGE multi gigabyte sample based pianos.

True, they all have their plus and minuses, but a sample is still a sample.

What if you could have an instrument that “creates” sound the exact same way a real piano does? No samples, just hammers hitting strings and all interacting with the body of the piano creating that classic sound we all love.

Well….you can 🙂 I guess dreams to come true!

Enter Pianoteq! They sent over this physically modeled piano instrument for review, let’s check it out.

What the heck is it?

interface_closedMan, basically it’s a technology that models all the parts of the piano and uses some pretty much sci-fi calculations to generate the sound in real time.

It, like a real piano, reacts to you and how you play. And all the parts are active at once, hammers, strings, duplex scale, pedals, cabinet, all of it.

Piano is a complex instrument, and even though there are some awesome sampled pianos, with various levels of velocity, key noises, and such, it’s still a sample at the end of the day.

Pianoteq is referred to as the “fourth generation” of piano.

First generation: acoustic piano (1698)

Second generation: electro-acoustic piano (1929)

Third generation: sampled piano (1984)

Fourth generation: modelled piano (2006)

“Pianoteq is the first piano belonging to the fourth generation, developed in order to go beyond the limitations of the third generation and to become a versatile and innovating tool.

It is in fact the first virtual piano factory — it can produce new brands as well as copies of historical instruments.”

How versatile is it? How easy to use?

micros25First off for me, I need something that I can get to using quickly. Many complex sample libraries involve a lot of key-switching and such that the player needs to do in order to get the best results.

I don’t want that, I want to pull up the instrument and play, like a real instrument, let the way I interact with it determine what sound I get.

It’s very easy to use and also very versatile. I can get grand pianos, stage pianos, electric pianos or historic instruments like harpischords and pianoforte.

I can even create vibraphone sounds with it! All with NO SAMPLE, that’s amazing.

And, if that wasn’t enough, I can create my very own piano models, with my own cabinet size, resonance, mic positions all that, and create a sound that is totally unique to me!

I could make a piano with a 200 foot cabinet if I want to lol.  Possibilities are endless man, this technology is really superb.

Okay, okay, so it’s easy and versatile, but does it really sound good?

Heck yes!

This is, in my opinion, the BEST sounding piano plugin available. The way the instrument reacts to my playing, it’s just fun to play!

You know with some sample pianos, it just doesn’t “feel” right. I mean they sound good, but there are little subtle things that remind you that you’re playing a sample.

Maybe velocity isn’t as responsive as you’d like, or the release noises happen too randomly.

All that is gone, and all you get is a dope sounding piano, that takes up about as much space as a few mp3 files.

Go get it or at least try it

Bottom line, get it. You can purchase it directly from pianoteq or spots like musiciansfriend.com

Heck man, just go over to pianoteq and try the demo, you’ll be amazed I promise.

let me know what you think below, leave me a comment

You think I’m crazy? let me know lol.


    • It’s amazing man, really it is. Wait till you play it…just download the demo and see lol.

      You’ll fall in love and every piano library or plugin after that will sound wack to you!

      real talk, it happened to me.

  1. sup homie already ahead of you i got it already so ican relate i digit alot butonce again you up on your game thaks for the heads up how ya been haventheard from ya in a minute hit me up big fan peace to those whoread this get the pianotec youll like trust you gotta fall into it but its worth it

    • no doubt fam, where you been hiding lol. I been round man, surprised ya aint sick of me yet lol.

      But yeah, pianoteq is ill. I remember when they first came out, but I wasn’t really diggin software period at the time. Now, I finally had a chance to see what’s good, they are the best, period, I don’t care what anyone says.

  2. Looks like a quality tool. Based on what I saw, it appears to be very useful. However, I feel you should have factored in the price when you gave it “subs”. Perhaps 4.75 or 4.5 subs would have suited it better. Based on your review, I would have picked it up, but I quickly learned that it was just too expensive for me.

    • Uhhhm lol, I didn’t give it any “subs” I just reviewed it. And the price isn’t going to determine if I think it’s a great product or not, everyone has different budgets so, all I do is review the tools and let you know what I think about it. It wouldn’t be fair for me to lower my rating of a product based on price.

      Now if I think the price is something worth considering in the product I will mention that as well, sometimes there are things price waaaaaaaaay lower than expected and I will definitely make that a point. But comparing this to the other piano or pro level plugins around, the price isn’t any more, that 200-300 range is pretty common for a lot of these instruments out here.

      a little pricey, but definitely not so when you’re used to buying hardware keyboards and workstations.

      So yeah man, I feel ya, there’s tons of stuff that just isn’t in my price range, but that doesn’t make it any less dope!

      Heck, I’d like a lincoln mks, but I can’t just go out and buy it right now lol, that don’t mean it’s not a dope car 🙂

  3. Anyone know whatever happened to the old MDA piano plugin? Used to be this tiny little thing, under 100K, no interface other than the default grey of your sequencer, but damn did it sound good when you rubbed just a little dab of reverb in there. Seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. Still compared to the modern ones, it’d probably be something you’d drop a bit further back in the mix. This Pianoteq bad boy and the big gigasample type things would be great for the more dedicated pianists who really want to show their chops off.

    • I had that mda joint, as well as the small ones from 4front, they are definitely good little plugs

      but once you try pianoteq, it’s over lol. I literally couldn’t use any other ones lol….they didn’t sound right to me.

      • Yeah, kinda how I got started when I migrated over to sequencers back from the tracker stuff, somewhere in the stone-age. 4Front and MDA freebies and assorted freebie synths. Once I figured I could do 90% of what I needed with Komplete (damn that hurt the wallet) and the built in fun-units in ableton I couldn’t ever go back. That said, some of those free guys are fun to play around with. Occasionally you’ll find some mad gold in there. Got a friend who’s still producing records off an old Amiga Tracker to to this day and thinks anyone who isn’t chopping samples into rows is cheating. Gotta admire persistance.

  4. Interesting product and review, so I take it you prefer this over NI’s Kontakt’s pianos? I say that being that Electric & Acoustic piano as separate products have been discontinued yet their sound engines are implemented into Kontakt. I agree on the benefit of not having to wait to “load” a modeled sound instrument, it may be more of a concern in a live setting and if you have patience in the lab I suppose. When you consider the $US conversion it’s pricey vice to pick up though. Also what’s your 2cents on how it compares to Lounge Lizard for rhodes/wurly sound? Oh one more on plug-ins (not related to this review) what’s your thoughts on Artillery2 for hip-hop/house/urban productions? I’m just on the fence of pulling the trigger to buy being it’s 1/2 off until 11/1/09. NI’s The Finger just seems to lack something to me in comparison.

    • Yes, it sounds better than electrik and acoustic piano from NI. I don’t think acoustic piano is in kontakt 4 but all the sounds from electrik are. It’s not the sound engine though, both of those were basically huge kontakt instruments running off of the kontakt player, so they just put the samples from electrik into kontakt.

      Waiting for a sound to load is a buzzkill no matter what, and usually pianos, the good ones, they are huge in size.

      I like the sound of this over lounge lizzard, like I said, I tried pretty much everything and nothing sounded or played as good as this. In my opinion of course, try the demo for yourself 🙂

      If you compare the price to something like quantam leap pianos, or ivory or something like that, the real piano libraries, its pretty much on par in the same price range.

      I haven’t heard or messed with artillary, I’m going to take a look at it now.

      • Hahahahaha I feel ya man! Yeah, I don’t go that far back, but I come from the mpc controlling fantoms, emu gear, synth racks, etc… to software.

        But I have to say the things you can do in software now are amazing. Ableton was the only daw I really liked for production, so that’s what I roll with lol.

  5. I looked at the demo a while back, and I agree it’s a great physical modeling instrument. Around that time I also demoed 4Front True Piano and liked that one too. I bring up True Piano because it was a small install footprint as well, although I think it uses some samples and was 2 or 300MB’s, still small but not 20MB. BTW – To Shane, the MDA plugins are still given away monthly on Computer Music UK’s coverdisc.

    • Yeah I checked out True Pianos as well, but had to give the nod to Pianoteq, to my ears, it was superior lol. But True Pianos is good too, don’t get me wrong lol, it’s just not Pianoteq baby!

  6. The modelling on this is out of the hook! I havent heard such a real and exquisite piano sound in quite a long time, and I really can’t believe that its only 20Mbs!1 OMG I have to download this like right now.

    Thanks for sharing bro.

    • @Mark Johnson, it’ very nice, and this video doesn’t do it justice, I want to do another one just because I have a better audio setup now. Anyway…speaking of off the hook, your website is amazing, did you put together all the resources and stuff?

      I like it!


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