I have purchased Pianissimo over 10 years ago (for the price of $69, it is now listed for $19) and used it in many projects, no problems whatsoever. I use Pianissimo in combination with a M-Audio Keystation 88 ES and Renoise on the PC to produce music.
With options for sympathetic resonance modeling, reverbration, (key) hammer sounds, next to a built-in 3-bands equalizer. Pianissimo has 256 voices of polyphony, enough for 88 keys, does not consume much CPU and is very stable.
Comes as stand-alone executable and VST2 (.dll) instrument.
Pianissimo is my favourite virtual grand piano. The sound has a very warm, rich character, which can be adjusted to suit your needs.
I run Cubase Elements 8 on my computer along with Mixcraft Pro Studio 7. I cannot BELIEVE how much more intuitive the Mixcraft software is. I spent 4 hours taking lessons on Cubase and I'm just getting my first tracks laid down. I was able to figure out the Mixcraft Pro software in less than an hour and cannot get over how powerful and simple it is to use. I come from the old 4-track cassette tape crowd and worked my way up to a Tascam 8-track digital recorder to record music on my Kurzweil/Yamaha/Roland synthesizer rig. The last time I owned midi/DAW software was back when I was running a 486 computer and a SoundBlaster Live card. I recently replaced my almost 15-year old laptop with a new top-of-the-line Windows 10 gaming computer and using my Yamaha mixer as a DAC and a USB 4-channel MIDI box, am getting remarkable results with the Mixcraft software. The built-in effects generators and Virtual Instruments selection are WAY more than you should be getting at this price point.
Most of the sounds I'm using right now are coming off my synths, since I've had them for a long time and own a lot of sound software. However, the MIDI options Mixcraft affords me opens up my sound options quite a bit, especially when it comes to equalization and compression.
It's a fun piece of software, and you can create music using soundclips right out of the box if all you want to do is lay a background music track to a Youtube video. I would absolutely recommend this software for a home user and will confirm that it runs perfect on a new Windows 10 computer.
UPDATE (December 7, 2016): Mixcraft just announced that they will be releasing Pro Studio 8 in a few weeks. Don't buy this version unless you want to buy and download it directly from their website, which includes a free upgrade to version 8 when it's released. Version 7 is about to become obsolete.
UPDATE 2 (January 27, 2017): Mixcraft has released Pro Studio 8. Instead of getting a free upgrade for Version 7, which I only purchased in November, 2016, I was invited to "upgrade" to Pro Studio 8 for $40. I wasn't happy about it (seems like they were a bit misleading about the free upgrades for Version 7 users) but I went ahead and did it anyway. Between Versions 7 and 8, I think 7 is a better package. I've been having plugin issues with Version 8 that don't happen in 7, particularly with Waves Audio plugins. The bugs need to be worked out of Mixcraft Pro Studio 8 before I'm going to be enthusiastic about its fairly minimal improvements over Version 7.
There aren't many DAW's like this one on the market. I'm very pleased with its performance, and I would highly recommend it to any musician, whether they are operating on a budget or not.
In terms of quality software this has been on par with "Reaper" for stability but way more fun use with instant gratification just minutes away if you have some experience with this kind of software.
Compare to Sonic Foundry ACID or Fruity Loops, for loop features. Compare to Samplitude, Pro Tools (lite versions), Sonar, Cockos Federation Reaper (great but heavily technical and unintuitive) for multitrack approach, Mixing methodology, Sub-mixing etc.
GOOD THINGS -All in One Composer, Looper, Multitrack package -Very Stable.
- Under my Intel i7 based on Windows 7 Pro, 48 tracks w Fx all over, Ominsphere + Falcon + Dune 2 + several Sylenth1, and my system is around 54%, amazing performance !!!!! -Large Included downloadable instrument library of all popular music genres.
- A breeze to use, compose and mix, BEST DAW !! for that money. -Familiar, but really user friendly where it counts -Create music on your PC even without fancy grown-up recording hardware or physical instrumentation.
-An the most important thing... • The sound is kick ass •
ANNOYANCES - Keyboard arrow-key support for micro adjustment of numerous filtering options such as plug ins, or the mixer features. Instead, uses a lot of rotary knob types of controls adjustable by mouse only - MIDI control to a physical mixer avoids this inconvenience.
N.B. This is a very slighlty revised version of a review I posted on Amazon
Pianissimo sounds superb. It is a tie with TruePianos' Atlantis module for the the best sounding piano for a PC I've played -- this includes a number from respected names like Yamaha, Roland (Edirol), Sampletank, Native Instruments and Soundiron. It sounds incredibly natural and responsive and is relatively light on the CPU. It has a few good preset models, a very good adjustable reverb, other nice settings (velocity control, simluated pedals, sympathetic resonance and piano lid position) and a simple, intuitive interface. The standalone version (included in the box, along with the plug-in version) launches quickly and plays and records MIDI without fuss. If you simply want to play virtual piano, it is a 10/10 product. Lovely, lovely.
I am only giving it a mark of 4, however, due to what I only discovered post-purchase is actually a known bug -- it needs 250 mb of RAM (which in and of itself is not a big problem) which must be contiguous. What this means is that if you use it in a multitrack project where you use enough other virtual instruments, you can run into a problem where Pianissimo, once inserted, can't access enough contiguous RAM, and so won't load properly the next time you open the project.
Here's an example. Recently I created a project where piano was pivotal; I loaded in Pianissimo, then a number of other virtual instruments, so in the end I had worked out an arrangemnent for about 10 virtual instruments in all. I saved and closed it, and all was ok. When I reopened it, however, Pianissmo would not load -- an error message said to either reinstall the program or contact tech supoort. I did the latter. I was told to be sure Pianissimo was the first instrument loaded in the project. Well, I'd already done that; but anyway, I started the project again, loading it first again. I then added the other instruments, recreated the project, saved and closed it -- and the same problem occurred the next time I re-opened.
Turns out tech support had failed to share with me an important piece of information (which was actually tucked away on the company's own website; shame on me for not scouring it closely enough; shame on them for not mentioning it to me, and not making it more conspicuous to begin with) -- namely, that in such cases, Pianissimo needs to be the first instrument loaded EVERY TIME the project opens. The only way to do this is to open the last saved version, remove all other instruments, load in Pianissimo, then reload the other instruments, and then reapply any FX and routing configuration you've used. Every time! Even though my total RAM usage was only around 75%.
This should not happen -- I've been able to use other instruments when RAM usage was close to 95%. (I am using a Windows 7, 32 but Dell Vostro laptop, 4 GB RAM, Intel i5 2.52 ghz CPU.) Effectively having to recontruct the instrument structure and configuration from scratch every time I reopen a moderately complex project is a huge hassle and time drain. It also reveals inexcusably buggy software design. I have around 40 virtual instruments, some of which predate Pianissimo by a few years, and Pianissimo is the only one with this flaw.
So, if you want a virtual piano for projects which will include other RAM-using virtual instruments, to be on the safe side, look elsewhere, unless you are certain in advance that their RAM demands will be quite small, or unless you like setting up your projects over and over again.