Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
User avatar
BlackWinny
KVRAF
3772 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:44 pm

enCiphered wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:13 pm
onreflection wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:05 pm
enCiphered wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:07 pm
el-bo (formerly ebow) wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:57 pm
enCiphered wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:48 pm
Most realistic sounding piano(s)? Best sound? Pianoteq, definitely. And much cheaper than Keyscape and Vienna Imperial.
Pianoteq? Interesting. The general feeling seems to be that while Pianoteq is probably the most playable, it is not quite there sound-wise. Maybe things have changed :shrug:
Oh yes, they have! Really, its the most beautiful and versatile software plugin for piano out there. And if you buy the pro version, you can adjust the dynamics, expression, sound behaviour, tuning, voicing, mic positioning, mic numbers... anything. You can even design your own unique sound if you want, acoustic and electric.

Here is a good video about comparing the sound of pianoteq with sampled keys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPOMVq82DC4
Wow, thanks for this. Really informative video and I love how he isn't talking loudly over awful music the whole time.. refreshing!

I was clearly a non-sample plugin snob until I watched this. Amazing how far technology has come. And you can even create realistic prepared piano sounds!

The only problem is the price of it :o . I wanna be able to try out all the pianos and the celestas etc but the studio pack is way out of my price range. How the hell am I gonna choose just 4!
You´re welcome. Well, if you want the complete bundle with the pro version and ALL the instruments, yes it´s a bit pricey. But still worth every single cent for what you get.
I think it would be good to wait until black friday, they usually offer a 30% discount.
And there is also a demo for the stage version where you can test the software with all optional instruments, if I remember correctly.
The Stage edition is totally functional, it has all the functions required to enjoy all the pianos (and not only pianos but also harpsichords, electric pianos, bells, etc.) of the collection. In fact the Stage edition (it is the one I use since 2014) contains almost everything, the missing things being the very advanced tweaks used for studios.

Features in short:
  • Pianoteq is a physically modelled virtual instrument
  • Optional instruments for purchase: upright, grand pianos, rock piano, electric pianos, harp, vibraphones, clavinet, celesta+glockenspiel, xylophone+marimba, steelpans
  • Free instruments: KIViR historical instruments collection, bells and carillons.
  • Unique adjustable physical parameters, such as unison width, octave stretching, hammer hardness, soundboard, string length, sympathetic resonance, duplex scale resonance. *
  • Progressive variation of the timbre (uses all the 127 MIDI velocities)
  • Control of the dynamics in timbre and volume
  • Polyphonic Aftertouch (particularly interesting for the clavichord)
  • Realistic sympathetic resonances, including duplex scale
  • Microtuning, supports Scala format *
  • Adjustable mechanical noises (sampled or modelled)
  • Built-in graphic equalizer
  • Built-in graphic curve for key velocity, note-off and pedal
  • Keyboard calibration assistant
  • Ten types of pedals (that can be assigned to the four UI pedals): Sustain, Soft, Harmonic, Sostenuto, Super Sostenuto, Rattle, Buff Stop, Celeste, Pinch Harmonic, Glissando
  • Progressive sustain pedal, allowing partial-pedal effects
  • Convolution reverberations
  • Effects: Tremolo, Wah, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Fuzz, Delay, Amp, Compressor, Mini-eq.
  • Mallet bounce (note repetition)
  • Instrument condition (mint to worn)
  • Variable lid position *
  • Five adjustable microphones *
  • Multi channel - up to 5 channels *
  • No quantization noise (32-bit internal computation)
  • Renders high resolution MIDI formats CC#88 and Disklavier XP.
  • Installs and loads in seconds
  • Extremely small file size (less than 50 MB)
  • Excellent for use on modern laptops
  • Extended key range (105 keys = 8+2/3 octaves) for the grand pianos Steinway D and K2
  • Mac OS X 10.7 or later, Windows 7 or later, Linux (x86 and ARM)
*The only features missing in the Stage edition are those that I put in brown italic and with an aster at the end of the line.

And Pianoteq Stage comes with 2 instruments offered, Pianoteq Standard with 3, and Pianoteq Pro with 4. These instrument packs are fully working whereas remaining instrument packs are available in demo mode for your evaluation. You can purchase additional instrument packs at any time.

On the three edition you can also load fxp presets. In PIANOTEQ Stage, preset loading is limited to parameters that are present in the interface (it make already a very wide number of parameters). Presets built with PIANOTEQ PRO (containing the extra features like the position of the microphones for examples) can be loaded in PIANOTEQ Standard without limitation.

PIANOTEQ PRO lets you edit 30 parameters for each note on your keyboard. In PIANOTEQ Standard, you can explore this feature with the volume and the detune parameter. On Pianoteq Stage the parameters are for all the keyboard range.

And at least PIANOTEQ PRO offers an internal sample rate of up to 192 kHz. The rate is up to 48 kHz in PIANOTEQ Stage and Standard. Widely enough for almost all the works.


In fact the Stage edition is already awesome.

And it is possible to upgrade later to the Standard or Pro edition. No need to buy one of them immediately if you don't really need them.

And you have here a description of the Pianoteq technology:
https://www.pianoteq.com/pianoteq6?s=technology

You can have yet more information reading the Pianoteq manual.

And if you want to listen to many demos:
by instrument
by music styles

See what are the free instruments that you can load immediately in addition to the Stage edition as well as to the Standard or the Pro editions:
Pianoteq - Free stuff
Yes! All for free!


I purchased the Stage edition in 2014 with the K2 and the D5 pianos (all for less than €100), and I immediately installed all the free instruments to use them as well (they are themselves periodically re-built to follow the evolution of the Pianoteq engine years after years)... Then since that year I quietly add one or two purchased instrument packs every year (electric pianos, the Hohner collection, some harpsichords, the wonderful harp, the mallets, etc.) for around €30 each one when there is a deal. Hence the cost remains quasi-transparent.

:tu: :phones:
Build your life everyday as if you would live for a thousand years. Marvel at the Life everyday as if you would die tomorrow.
I'm now severely diseased since September 2018.

User avatar
BlackWinny
KVRAF
3772 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:06 pm

A selection of successful pianists/keyboardists, composers and record producers, who all use Pianoteq in their projects. You will find some very famous names: (with even demos of some of them playing!)
Build your life everyday as if you would live for a thousand years. Marvel at the Life everyday as if you would die tomorrow.
I'm now severely diseased since September 2018.

izonin
KVRian
1196 posts since 27 Oct, 2009

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:12 am

The new pianos from VSL are very interesting (and expensive). The Synchron line includes a Yamaha CFX, a Steinway D, and a Bluthner.

I was never a fan of Pianoteq myself. The sound, in its current state, has too much of that plasticy feel. But I believe the plugin has a great future and is worth supporting.

BBFG#
KVRAF
5761 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:33 am

izonin wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:12 am
The new pianos from VSL are very interesting (and expensive). The Synchron line includes a Yamaha CFX, a Steinway D, and a Bluthner.

I was never a fan of Pianoteq myself. The sound, in its current state, has too much of that plasticy feel. But I believe the plugin has a great future and is worth supporting.
Interesting, I feel like the others often have a canned and sometimes truncated sound. And I often find "holes" in the dynamic range, especially in the soft velocities. When I talk about the "playability" of Pianoteq, it's not only the initial sound, but the range of dynamics I get out of it. But the sound is more real to me and not canned like the sampled ones.
To each their own. :)

onreflection
KVRer
6 posts since 11 Sep, 2019

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:24 pm

Reckon the discounts are only on black Friday? I can't find a mailing list of theirs to find out when else they'd have any other sale! Not sure I can wait until November as I'd need it sooner :neutral:

BBFG#
KVRAF
5761 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:48 pm

onreflection wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:24 pm
Reckon the discounts are only on black Friday? I can't find a mailing list of theirs to find out when else they'd have any other sale! Not sure I can wait until November as I'd need it sooner :neutral:
Contact them. They may even surprise you.

onreflection
KVRer
6 posts since 11 Sep, 2019

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:20 pm

BBFG# wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:48 pm
onreflection wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:24 pm
Reckon the discounts are only on black Friday? I can't find a mailing list of theirs to find out when else they'd have any other sale! Not sure I can wait until November as I'd need it sooner :neutral:
Contact them. They may even surprise you.
Yeah good idea

enCiphered
KVRist
405 posts since 13 Dec, 2016

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:30 am

BlackWinny wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:44 pm
enCiphered wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:13 pm
onreflection wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:05 pm
enCiphered wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:07 pm
el-bo (formerly ebow) wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:57 pm
enCiphered wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:48 pm
Most realistic sounding piano(s)? Best sound? Pianoteq, definitely. And much cheaper than Keyscape and Vienna Imperial.
Pianoteq? Interesting. The general feeling seems to be that while Pianoteq is probably the most playable, it is not quite there sound-wise. Maybe things have changed :shrug:
Oh yes, they have! Really, its the most beautiful and versatile software plugin for piano out there. And if you buy the pro version, you can adjust the dynamics, expression, sound behaviour, tuning, voicing, mic positioning, mic numbers... anything. You can even design your own unique sound if you want, acoustic and electric.

Here is a good video about comparing the sound of pianoteq with sampled keys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPOMVq82DC4
Wow, thanks for this. Really informative video and I love how he isn't talking loudly over awful music the whole time.. refreshing!

I was clearly a non-sample plugin snob until I watched this. Amazing how far technology has come. And you can even create realistic prepared piano sounds!

The only problem is the price of it :o . I wanna be able to try out all the pianos and the celestas etc but the studio pack is way out of my price range. How the hell am I gonna choose just 4!
You´re welcome. Well, if you want the complete bundle with the pro version and ALL the instruments, yes it´s a bit pricey. But still worth every single cent for what you get.
I think it would be good to wait until black friday, they usually offer a 30% discount.
And there is also a demo for the stage version where you can test the software with all optional instruments, if I remember correctly.
The Stage edition is totally functional, it has all the functions required to enjoy all the pianos (and not only pianos but also harpsichords, electric pianos, bells, etc.) of the collection. In fact the Stage edition (it is the one I use since 2014) contains almost everything, the missing things being the very advanced tweaks used for studios.

Features in short:
  • Pianoteq is a physically modelled virtual instrument
  • Optional instruments for purchase: upright, grand pianos, rock piano, electric pianos, harp, vibraphones, clavinet, celesta+glockenspiel, xylophone+marimba, steelpans
  • Free instruments: KIViR historical instruments collection, bells and carillons.
  • Unique adjustable physical parameters, such as unison width, octave stretching, hammer hardness, soundboard, string length, sympathetic resonance, duplex scale resonance. *
  • Progressive variation of the timbre (uses all the 127 MIDI velocities)
  • Control of the dynamics in timbre and volume
  • Polyphonic Aftertouch (particularly interesting for the clavichord)
  • Realistic sympathetic resonances, including duplex scale
  • Microtuning, supports Scala format *
  • Adjustable mechanical noises (sampled or modelled)
  • Built-in graphic equalizer
  • Built-in graphic curve for key velocity, note-off and pedal
  • Keyboard calibration assistant
  • Ten types of pedals (that can be assigned to the four UI pedals): Sustain, Soft, Harmonic, Sostenuto, Super Sostenuto, Rattle, Buff Stop, Celeste, Pinch Harmonic, Glissando
  • Progressive sustain pedal, allowing partial-pedal effects
  • Convolution reverberations
  • Effects: Tremolo, Wah, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Fuzz, Delay, Amp, Compressor, Mini-eq.
  • Mallet bounce (note repetition)
  • Instrument condition (mint to worn)
  • Variable lid position *
  • Five adjustable microphones *
  • Multi channel - up to 5 channels *
  • No quantization noise (32-bit internal computation)
  • Renders high resolution MIDI formats CC#88 and Disklavier XP.
  • Installs and loads in seconds
  • Extremely small file size (less than 50 MB)
  • Excellent for use on modern laptops
  • Extended key range (105 keys = 8+2/3 octaves) for the grand pianos Steinway D and K2
  • Mac OS X 10.7 or later, Windows 7 or later, Linux (x86 and ARM)
*The only features missing in the Stage edition are those that I put in brown italic and with an aster at the end of the line.

And Pianoteq Stage comes with 2 instruments offered, Pianoteq Standard with 3, and Pianoteq Pro with 4. These instrument packs are fully working whereas remaining instrument packs are available in demo mode for your evaluation. You can purchase additional instrument packs at any time.

On the three edition you can also load fxp presets. In PIANOTEQ Stage, preset loading is limited to parameters that are present in the interface (it make already a very wide number of parameters). Presets built with PIANOTEQ PRO (containing the extra features like the position of the microphones for examples) can be loaded in PIANOTEQ Standard without limitation.

PIANOTEQ PRO lets you edit 30 parameters for each note on your keyboard. In PIANOTEQ Standard, you can explore this feature with the volume and the detune parameter. On Pianoteq Stage the parameters are for all the keyboard range.

And at least PIANOTEQ PRO offers an internal sample rate of up to 192 kHz. The rate is up to 48 kHz in PIANOTEQ Stage and Standard. Widely enough for almost all the works.


In fact the Stage edition is already awesome.

And it is possible to upgrade later to the Standard or Pro edition. No need to buy one of them immediately if you don't really need them.

And you have here a description of the Pianoteq technology:
https://www.pianoteq.com/pianoteq6?s=technology

You can have yet more information reading the Pianoteq manual.

And if you want to listen to many demos:
by instrument
by music styles

See what are the free instruments that you can load immediately in addition to the Stage edition as well as to the Standard or the Pro editions:
Pianoteq - Free stuff
Yes! All for free!


I purchased the Stage edition in 2014 with the K2 and the D5 pianos (all for less than €100), and I immediately installed all the free instruments to use them as well (they are themselves periodically re-built to follow the evolution of the Pianoteq engine years after years)... Then since that year I quietly add one or two purchased instrument packs every year (electric pianos, the Hohner collection, some harpsichords, the wonderful harp, the mallets, etc.) for around €30 each one when there is a deal. Hence the cost remains quasi-transparent.

:tu: :phones:
Great listing :tu:

izonin
KVRian
1196 posts since 27 Oct, 2009

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:02 am

BBFG# wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:33 am
Interesting, I feel like the others often have a canned and sometimes truncated sound. And I often find "holes" in the dynamic range, especially in the soft velocities. When I talk about the "playability" of Pianoteq, it's not only the initial sound, but the range of dynamics I get out of it. But the sound is more real to me and not canned like the sampled ones.
To each their own. :)
Depends on the application. For practicing Pianoteq is great. Its tiny size allows it to load really fast. And no SSD needed. :wink: However, for the music I produce, which is mostly soundtracks for Film and TV, the most important qualities of a piano VSTi are the character and the vibe. I've tried substituting my favorite sampled instruments with Pianoteq. It just doesn't work, the magic is gone.

About the dynamics, the new offerings from VSL contain up to 100 velocity layers, which is more than enough for any type of music.

enCiphered
KVRist
405 posts since 13 Dec, 2016

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:46 am

izonin wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:02 am
BBFG# wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:33 am
Interesting, I feel like the others often have a canned and sometimes truncated sound. And I often find "holes" in the dynamic range, especially in the soft velocities. When I talk about the "playability" of Pianoteq, it's not only the initial sound, but the range of dynamics I get out of it. But the sound is more real to me and not canned like the sampled ones.
To each their own. :)
Depends on the application. For practicing Pianoteq is great. Its tiny size allows it to load really fast. And no SSD needed. :wink: However, for the music I produce, which is mostly soundtracks for Film and TV, the most important qualities of a piano VSTi are the character and the vibe. I've tried substituting my favorite sampled instruments with Pianoteq. It just doesn't work, the magic is gone.

About the dynamics, the new offerings from VSL contain up to 100 velocity layers, which is more than enough for any type of music.
I wonder if you are a real piano player. I´m asking because most of the "magic" with a real piano happens when you work with the sustain pedal. Pianoteq is physically modelled and thus finally "smart" in terms of how different sustained keys behave. Samples are rigid in this regard and can only offer the baked in resonance interaction.
You can even feed your own impulse response files into Pianoteq if you don´t like the ones that come with the instrument. But saying that it has a plasticy feel is simply not true.
No sample libray comes even close to Pianoteq in terms of realism.
And again, in the pro version there is nothing you can´t edit and adjust to make it sound the way you want.

Stokely
KVRist
142 posts since 11 May, 2010

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:36 am

The best one I've personally tried is Garritan's CFX...I have the Lite version, considering moving up to get the other mic perspectives.

Not saying it IS the best, but it's way more dynamic than Addictive Keys, which I got because it in turn is better than Logic Pro's pianos. It's also relatively cheap, not incredibly huge in size, and most of all has a simple copy-protection scheme that doesn't involve ilok. Garritan's support was very quick and friendly when I had a question about moving licenses to other computers.

cfodeebiedaddy
KVRer
3 posts since 4 Sep, 2019 from Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:27 pm

I don't always think Pianoteq has the best sound (though I like a great deal). However, it's the piano vst that I get the most enjoyment from when I just sit down to play; it's beautifully responsive and there's a great range of excellent piano sounds available. The electric piano add-on is also stellar.

izonin
KVRian
1196 posts since 27 Oct, 2009

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:07 am

enCiphered wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:46 am
I wonder if you are a real piano player...
Yep, a real piano player, producing real music for real clients, paying real money. :wink:

BBFG#
KVRAF
5761 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:30 pm

izonin wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:02 am
BBFG# wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:33 am
Interesting, I feel like the others often have a canned and sometimes truncated sound. And I often find "holes" in the dynamic range, especially in the soft velocities. When I talk about the "playability" of Pianoteq, it's not only the initial sound, but the range of dynamics I get out of it. But the sound is more real to me and not canned like the sampled ones.
To each their own. :)
Depends on the application. For practicing Pianoteq is great. Its tiny size allows it to load really fast. And no SSD needed. :wink: However, for the music I produce, which is mostly soundtracks for Film and TV, the most important qualities of a piano VSTi are the character and the vibe. I've tried substituting my favorite sampled instruments with Pianoteq. It just doesn't work, the magic is gone.

About the dynamics, the new offerings from VSL contain up to 100 velocity layers, which is more than enough for any type of music.
I think you play, otherwise I doubt if you would've even started the thread. I'm not sure what the ratio of how much you play to how much you produce is, but I'm of the opinion that in regards to production, there is no bad piano.
You did say that Pianoteq was "good for practicing" though, so by that it appears you already have it? If so, which version? And which pianos?
I agree with the other comments someone made about the pedal actions also. Although I find the soft pedal could use an upgrade. It does get softer, but much in the same way the smaller pianos do by setting the hammers closer to the strings rather than a true shift to the single string. However, the harmonic pedal is fantastic. And between those three, I don't think I had realized how much I missed them until getting them back.

I believe if guitarists find reason to own a multitude of guitars, that software allows us piano players to do the same. Both modelled and sampled.

Being that I found need to reduce and sell off many of my software pianos, it came down to what I turn to first and what I wind up using in the end. Which is the Pianoteq Studio bundle and Steinberg Grand 3. Perhaps partially due to the built in quick recorders included in both. I still have a handful of other pianos, that rarely even get opened anymore and I'm not counting the ones that come in some keyboard or orchestral collection. They seem best used as a layer with other things anyway and not so much on their own.
Often, the "best" piano is simply the one that fits the mix and doesn't change the mood.
For me though, Pianoteq has brought me back to my roots of playing and also inspires me to stretch beyond what I've done before with pianos.

izonin
KVRian
1196 posts since 27 Oct, 2009

Re: Most diverse range but realistic-sounding piano plugin? Keyscape vs Vienna Imperial

Post Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:18 pm

^^^ I did not start this thread, don't know what you mean.

To the OP - the answers to all your questions about virtual pianos are on the specialized piano forum:
www.pianoworld.com

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