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Pianoteq 3.6 Standard running on Mac OS X
|Stable release||4.2.1 / December 12, 2012|
|Platform||Linux, Mac OS X, Windows|
Pianoteq is a software, MIDI-controlled, stand alone or VSTi musical instrument, which uses virtual modeling techniques to emulate the piano, and also harpsichord, electric piano and vibraphone. The product is by French company Modartt and has been published for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms.
History and technology
The original version of Pianoteq was released in August 2006. Modartt describes Pianoteq as being a "fourth-generation" piano (first generation being acoustic pianos, second generation electric pianos, and third generation being sample-based software pianos). In a fourth-generation piano instrument, the sound is created from scratch using mathematical algorithms to generate electric piano and acoustic piano sounds. On top of this, there are a few optional sampled acoustic noises added (such as pedal thump, key release, and hammer thumps). These are thus not included in the model but added to ease on the CPU load and to enhance the acoustic experience. This is also consistent with how the corresponding patent describes sound generation as a mix of physical modeling and sampling.
There is some consensus that the best sample-based software pianos produce a slightly more realistic piano sound compared to pure physically modelled pianos like Pianoteq. However, playability and expressiveness is superior with a physically modelled piano like Pianoteq or for that matter, V-Piano (Roland).
Pianoteq 3 introduced new piano models, the acoustics C3 and M3 for classical and modern pieces, respectively, and the Rhody and Wurly electric pianos. (The electric pianos come as demo versions with Pianoteq and need to be purchased separately.) Also new was the ability for users to virtually position up to five microphones around the piano. Microphone positioning can drastically affect the definition of a recorded source, and as an additional mathematically modeled process it presents the user with more ways to shape the sound the virtual instrument generates.
Pianoteq 3.6 comes with the new K1 acoustic piano which Modartt describes as suitable for all kinds of music, from Classical to Modern. And the new release of Pianoteq 4.0 comes with a new D4 acoustic piano. Aside from acoustic and electric pianos, historical musical instruments are also available as free downloads, such as harpsichords, fortepianos, and even bells and carillons. These instruments were largely created as part of the KIViR (Keyboard Instruments Virtual Restoration) project, which aims to create playable digital models of historical keyboard instruments in museums like the Händel-Haus in Halle.
Versions, licensing, and upgrades
Three Pianoteq versions are available: Pianoteq PLAY, the entry-level version without the abilities to change physical parameters of the piano or position microphones, Pianoteq Standard, and Pianoteq PRO, in which adjustments can also be made for each piano key individually ("Note Edit").
Pianoteq uses product activation over the Internet, although an Internet connection on the installation machine is not required. One Pianoteq license allows installation on up to three machines, but once a machine has been deactivated, it cannot be activated again.