I am a guitar player who is interested in learning to play piano. Not having space in my apartment for a real wood and strings piano, I am interested in finding a software-based piano to learn on. So, I figured I would ask around to see if anybody had any suggestions as to which program would best suit the needs of someone who is in the process of learning. Would I be better off with a sample-based program like Ivory? Or would a more performace oriented program like pianoteq be better? Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
pianoteq seems to need lots of tweaking to get it to sound the way you want it to. So, if it's just sit down and play, Ivory might be simpler. Personally, I'd recommend Sampletekk Black Piano's close mic position. It's got more than enough detail, and goes at $50 if it's just that one mic position you want. I mean, you just need something decent to practice with right?
ah, sorry just realized you don't have a sampler. To use sampletekk's black grand, you need giga, or kontakt. As can be found in the other threads, there are couple of other contenders that run out of the box (other than Ivory):
Galaxy Grand II
Artvista Virtual Grand II
and believe pro audio vault Bluethner Digital Model One also doesn't need to be loaded into a sampler.
and so on. Read you'll find most of the big names in this forum, read around.
Also, apart from the piano sound, machine requirements of these packages are different, so that might serve as a point of reference in making your decision. For example, I know that NI Akoustic ran nearly perfectly on my G4 1.5Ghz with 1Gb RAM, and 7200rpm USB2 drive. (just a bit of clicks when polyphony is high)
I would like to point out that in Pianoteq there are already presets which you can start using right away and that load up in just a couple of seconds. All the unique tweaking possibilities are there to adapt the piano sound in a very detailed way. You can say that with Pianoteq you really *can* tweak, while it is more restricted with other sampled pianos as you need to load a specific file library (several gigabytes) to get a certain sound. With Pianoteq, you can do the adjustments as you play.
There is a trial version (10 MB download) so that you can judge if Pianoteq is suitable for your purposes.
As kensuguro said like the choice between real pianos selecting a virtual piano is in many aspects a matter of taste and depends on the music that should be played with it.
If I'd have to recommend three virtual pianos from the ones I have (that do not require a separate player software) for practicing they'd probably be:
* Galaxy II Vienna Grand Download Edition (it has a beautiful, (if needed) powerful and versatile tone and can be played rather dynamically. Size is not too big and for ~80€ it offers much value for the money.)
* Artvista Virtual Grand Piano (very beautiful, singing and "special" tone. Dynamics imo do not match e.g. the Vienna Grand but everything that's within it's range is much fun to play and sound simply beautiful. I still have V1.0 that is also quite affordable for about 100$)
* Pianoteq (The current default patch is good and perhaps more neutral than the above sample libs. It's the most versatile and dynamic virtual piano sound I have played with up to now. Perhaps best suited for practicing as it allows to learn how to make a piano "speak" in ways that are hard to achieve with the sample libraries I tried. More expensive than both of the above libs together though...)
Important: The computer should not be driven to it's limits when used with the chosen sample libs. (it's no fun to practice with a sample piano that drops notes and stutters all the time, so choosing a 10+ GB piano is not recommended for live playing and practicing if you don't have a rather capable computer with fast harddrives, lots of RAM and a fast processor. Compared with other, bigger sample libraries the two above ones are on the less demanding side though.)
yeah, definitely not to put pianoteq down. I truely believe is very capable, and as newer models get added, it will be able to suite diverse contexts. Try the demo and see if you like the sound. It's a difficult one, because I've heard some amazing performances on it, but just could not get a sound I liked after days of tweaking. (and I'm a seasoned dsp programmer) I still haven't lost hope in the technology tho.