Truepianos wants to be as good as sampled ones. Until recently, it was struggling to achieve that and lossing to its bigger rivalry, Pianoteq. Then, atlantis module appeared.
The atlantis module version 2.0 preview is absolutely amazing. It really sounds like a true piano... Fantastic work on achieving a truly piano sound. The only thing negative to say is it could have the option for adding hammer sounds. Maybe on the official 2.0 version it will have.
The diference between Truepianos and sampled ones is almost none. Prime quality for a low price as 110€ and a minimal footprint of 90MB on you PC or MAC. How about that.
The demo version does not do any justice to this VSTi, it based on the diamond module that is far from being the best one.
To get a real feel of how does de atlantis module sounds, please watch this video and audio in HD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erxbh8YEet8
TruePianos is the latest offering in what might almost be called the current movement against over-large sampled instruments. If the movement really existed, its main philosophy would be something like "more is not necessarily better". 12 extra gigabytes of samples doesn't equate to a more playable instrument - rather, some developers seem to think that more samples means you can skimp on the programming, the result being more of a sample collection than a coherent instrument which really "gels" under the player's fingertips. Add to that the absurdely long installation and load times - the market is truly ready for instruments that install in a flash, load in a second, and pays attention to more that the number of bits in the samples.
TruePianos uses piano samples as the base for the sound, but then applies various PM and other techniques to produce the finished tone. Among the benefits is a small hard disk footprint (each current piano module is well under 100 MBs in size), 127 "velocities" per note (= as smooth as the MIDI standard allows), and the modelling of various characteristics of a piano not easy to get right in pure sampled pianos (sympathetic resonance, re-pedalling, change in timbre when re-striking notes.)
Points scoring for TruePianos is a bit tricky at the moment, since it is still very much an instrument in development. My current points are a reflection of the current state, and can change very shortly.
User interface: This is as much "click and go" as you can expect from a VSTi instrument. Basically, select your piano module, select a "preset" for that piano (which more often than not resembles a fixed EQ setting, but can contain other tweaks to the sound as well), and off you go. It also has an "Advanced settings" page which is basically centered around getting the instrument matched to your playing style and the keyboard's velocity response, plus some CPU-related tweaks to the sound engine.
Sound: With two completely different piano modules included at this date, and more on the way, the sound of TruePianos is whatever the future makes it.
The current Diamond module is a very "middle of the road" grand piano sound, useable in a wide variety of styles and settings. The Emerald module is a more hollow-sounding and "plonky" module.
Compared to "the other small great piano", the Modartt Pianoteq, the TruePianos sound is more reminiscent of traditionally sampled pianos. While I personally have a tendency to enjoy pure physically modelled instruments because of the extra liveliness and expression to the sound, I think quite a lot of people will feel more at home with the TruePianos slightly more conventional timbre.
Features: We need to split this one into two parts, really.
a) Pianos mechanics and FX. TruePianos does some very important things well that most sampled pianos DON'T do. Re-pedalling and modulation of note re-strikes are among them. On the other hand, it doesn't do some other things that you would almost expect from an instrument bearing the bold name of "TruePianos" (they really stuck their neck out on that one, didn't they?) Right now, these include a Sostenuto mechanism (coming soon, according to the developer), individual damper-off sympathetic resonance, half-pedalling for progressive sustain pedals, and "mechanical sounds" like hammer-ons and pedal movement. (Although those have nearly always struck me as a lame addition to sampled pianos, trying to add "realism" the easy way. It's not as if any real piano-maker ever said "hey, I'm going to design a really GOOD pedal creaky noise!")
b) Adjustability. In accordance with the "click-and-go" philosophy, there is a complete lack of sound-tweaking abilites apart from the provided presets. There is no built-in user-adjustable EQ. There is no built-in reverb. The message is clearly "We deliver a mostly dry piano sound. If you want to process it, use external processors."
Documentation: If there ever was an instrument doesn't need any, this is it...
Presets: With 9 presets for the Diamond and 7 for the Emerald, there is a fair amount to choose from. But see Features above.
Customer Support: These guys are 100% behind their product - that kind of obsession tends to put its mark in the support department, too.
Value for money: This score is likely to go up one or even two points as soon as one or more extra piano modules with a quality equal to the Diamond module gets released. (Remember, those buying the instrument now are also ensured free updates for a year.)
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Comments & Discussion for 4Front Technologies TruePianos
Yohng.com, which you get when clicking the company name (instead of the product name) is the website of our main programmer. It's much more targeted towards plugins than the main 4Front Technologies website (http://www.opensound.com) which is more or less the main page for the group of freelancers working under the name 4Front Technologies.
So 4Front Technologies is not going down and even though TruePianos development has been very slow we're definitely still working on it.