Pianoteq Stage worthy?

Hi pals

Do you have the Pianoteq Stage plugin?

It seems sounding OK, more than the other pianos I have, it’s very low in PC resources, and they also offer a cool classical guitar, but it happened to me 2 times that demos worked fine, while the whole stuff didn’t, so I would have some insight from possible users

It’s a ‘modelling’ synth, so the good news is that you won’t have a big download, compared with sampled pianos. The bad news is that they tend to be more CPU intensive that sampled synths, as noted in various reviews and on the Modartt community board. Pianoteq user forum (Page 1) - Modartt user forum

Cantabile have a small document on PC optimisation which might be worth a look, at

Sound on Sound, known for it’s good reviews and neutrality did a review in 2021

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As @panda pointed out its a modeled piano meaning it uses more CPU to create the sound and likely the more notes you play the more that becomes apparent. I use a sample modeled trumpet that sounds better and more expressive than any sampled trumpet and I have no issues with CPU usage but a trumpet is mono and a piano is polyphonic. In any event, something to be aware of.

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More CPU used?
Quite the opposite for all modelling plugins I used so far, this one included
Sample-based plugins are rather those that kill my system :thinking:

But my question was about the “sound” of that piano
To me, it sounds very well, but up to some months ago I believed that Ezkeys sound was good… :grin: :rofl:

The demo and the real version are practically identical, minus some black keys and time limitations. So what you get with the demo, you’ll also get with the full version.

Personally, I can really recommend it. Once I got it, I did not use any of the sample based (or general other) Piano VSTs anymore. It’s that good, imho. Also it’s overall light on resources and I never had any stability issues with it.

I’m referring to what is called ‘physical modelling’ as a sound synthesis technique, although the word modelling may be used in the context of other synths. Further, a lot of 'effect’s claim to use physical modelling, but that is a different ball game to, say, building a physical model of an organ, which is very hard indeed.

It’s generally accepted that most physical models of instruments use more CPU than their sampled brothers - clearly there is a huge difference in the CPU cycles needed to push the sound out.

Btw. if you have Arturia V-Collection 9, you’ll also get their Piano V, which uses Pianoteq technology under the hood. It’s not as good as Pianoteq itself, but gets you in the area.

If you go with pianoteq stage, I personally would start with Steinway D (gives you 2 acoustid steinway piano models) + electric pianos (gives you 3-4 e-piano models). Or if you have good electric pianos already, maybe consider something like the acoustic guitar or harp?

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Thanks for your tips Simon

and yes, after having tested Pianoteq, and Truepianos just after, and my Metapiano & Ezkeys, I can say the best sound is the Pianoteq, so I’ll go there when I can

OK, it’s strange anyway, because my system is regularly killed by any modern (not the Edirol) sample-based stuff… cybersorcery for sure :rofl:

It’s only a principle. How well and performant plugins are implemented is yet another matter. Pianoteq is very well implemented, it seems. However, I remember that running Pianoteq on a rather old laptop, it did run into CPU issues where an UVI sampled piano did not.

But to some it up, I think that 80-90% of my VST instruments are covered by:

  • Pianoteq
  • Arturia Pigments
  • Vital
  • Either Addictive Drums, XO or Atlas 2 for drums.
  • Bitwig devices (like Sampler)
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At the moment I don’t want to spend money, so yesterday I googled a bit, then I added to Ezkeys an EQ, a compressor, and a stereoizer, and now it plays gorgeously :grin:

In any case, the reason why I did this post, is that I am sick of being fooled by advs & demos, because they are pumped up with (hidden) effects, and played by professionals, to let you believe they are better and easier than the others :poop:

The only exception can be Pianoteq, likely because it has features as e.g. “sympatethic resonance”, that accordingly to experts are the only features that let some piano plugin play better (closer to the original)

Yes, I get you. I also try not to have too many different VSTs. Better to have 1-2 plugins that are really good in their category - and that I like using / find inspiring to use. For me, Pianoteq is definately in :slight_smile:

You already mentioned sympatethic resonance. That’s one reason why pianoteq sounds so good, because you can’t really have those interactions between sounds in samples (I think). And additionally, with pianoteq there are no sample layers, you really get complete smooth dynamic transitions. Maybe I’m just biased here, but to me playing pianoteq just -feels- more responsive and realistic than sampled pianos. I really like playing it.


I also have much faith in physical modeling.It’s USUALLY my hands down preference. It sounds like the same old sampler/modeling war i am having except my area is guitars.Yeah, many cheat by mastering the videos and pros playing but actual demo’s of the product are the real deal breaker, have always been the actual thing you are buying and NEVER buy anything without them. After that it’s personal choice. Either can be hard on CPU, both can sound/ play like crap in the wrong hands, but i have modified/mastered some samples to a point of side-by side the sampler won. Find what works for you and be happy. The war will continue without you. By the way, playing/layering/mastering with both used is not against any law and can add fullness, depth and incredible variations.Enjoy…

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Well, in the meanwhile I found I had a licence for the Sonivox Eight-Eight Ensemble that I never used, so far, because of the huge samples

Sample-based plugins stress the RAM, and I have just 16 GB (not expandable)
Modelled plugins stress the CPU

But after a short test, it seems the difference is no huge and my PC copes equally with either plugin type

EZkeys (dull sound)

EZkeys + Neutron (gorgeous sound in par with Sonivox)

Sonivox 88

But I have one problem more: the differences in sound are difficult to understand with Scaler, so I had to put my (poor :cold_face:) hands on, but even this way I cannot hear much difference to prefer one of the 2, because each one uses its own effects, and their output volumes are too much different

I think I’ll have to throw the dices to decide what to use :grin:

Interesting you mention that, because thats what I was thinking about when I followed the conversation about Pianoteq (and me only knowing Arturia Piano)

what I was thinking about

Well, now you can add Soundpaint piano to the reasoning

You’re using it? What are your thoughts on it? I only have Arturia Piano 2 (which I don’t use anymore), and only demoed Piano 3 - which seems to be an improvement on V2 for sure. I liked the Japanese and German Grand and generally the flexibility of the whole package.

With Pianoteq you either have to pay a lot or you’ll only get 2-3 pianos. But those you get are imho a step up on what Arturia offers.

Honestly, the Arturia Piano has never convinced me as a “real piano”. As a more musique-concrete influenced musician, I can tolerate any sound on its own merit, as long as it doesnt try to be something that it truly isnt. And the Arturia Piano does not sound like a real piano to me, I can hear that it is physically modelled. Probably also comes from me working a lot with Noire, an excellent sampling of Nils Frahms piano. So hearing Arturia Piano and Noire side by side gives Arturia not a chance :upside_down_face:

And I suspect you don’t have the more interesting features with the Stage version…

So, try this for free to widen the comparison

I’ve been using the demo for quite a while. you just dial more time back in. I find I an often substitute the 6 missing notes, sometime transpose key to get full. Eventually when I come into a $$$ windfall I would purchase one of the higher end models. of piano tech. Problem is if you want a lot of the other instruments, it becomes very expensive. But the patches do have a very defineable sound. Easier to make it fit in, with many types of songs.