What distinguishes Pianoteq from other virtual pianos?
Pianoteq uses a unique powerful physical model that creates the sound in realtime as you play instead of playing back a set of recorded samples. It responds and interacts just like a real acoustic instrument, and allows you to tweak the beautiful sounds in amazing ways — all with a tiny memory footprint.
How many velocity layers (dynamic range) are there per note?
Pianoteq uses all the 127 velocities that the MIDI specification allows, giving you a maximum playability with a superb dynamic sensitivity. Virtual pianos based on sampling technology are usually restricted to at most 16 samples per note which all need to be processed (cross-fading, filtering, etc). The pianist Hugh Sung explains in video tutorial part 1
his observations on this subject.
Does Pianoteq support high resolution MIDI files?
Yes. Thanks to the physical model that Pianoteq is built on, it has the unique capacity of reproducing all the 16,384 velocities by the Hi-Res CC#88 format, and all the 1,023 velocities by the MIDI XP format.
Can Pianoteq play back MIDI files in a convincing way?
Pianoteq's superior dynamics and powerful simulation of resonances usually result in very convincing performances of MIDI files. However, common to all virtual pianos, it depends on what keyboard and piano sound that was used during the MIDI recording. Some MIDI files can sound truly excellent with Pianoteq whereas others can sound strange if they were recorded under different conditions. There is a similar situation with the old piano rolls which may have sounded excellent on the original piano but not very good on another. Adjusting the velocity curve in Pianoteq might help in such situations.
How about half-pedalling, quarter-pedalling etc?
Yes, Pianoteq can handle all levels of a truly progressive sustain pedal, producing thus a variable damping. Moreover, pedal noises (pedal up and pedal down) also depend on the pedal velocity, so the softer you press the sustain pedal, the softer the acoustic noise becomes. If using a non-progressive pedal, you might sometimes find these noises too loud. You can correct this by reducing or disabling noise loudness in the action panel.
Do Pianoteq or Organteq require a dongle or iLok key?
No, they require only a serial number and a software activation key.
Does Pianoteq support ARM and M1 (RISC) based CPU's?
Yes, the Linux version of Pianoteq 7 lets you work with 32-bit and 64-bit ARM based CPU's used in smaller Linux based consumer electronic devices such as the Raspberry Pi 4. The Apple M1 CPU is also supported since version 7.1.
Can my PowerPC-Mac run Pianoteq 7?
No, it is no longer supported.
Is there a trial version of Pianoteq Pro?
No. However, Pianoteq Standard lets you partly evaluate the Note Edit panel available in Pianoteq Pro. It is restricted to the volume and detune parameters. Double-click the volume slider in Pianoteq Standard to access it.
Does Pianoteq offer a mono output for live performance use?
What keyboard can I use with Pianoteq?
You can use any MIDI keyboard such as a digital piano or a synthesizer. To be able to play with detailed expression you need a keyboard with a good velocity sensitivity. Most stage keyboards and digital pianos have that, more or less. There is everything from light stage pianos with optional stand to heavy grand models with real grand piano action built in. Useful advice on what keyboard to use can be found in the Pianoteq user forum
and in the Piano World digital piano forum
How do I connect my keyboard to the computer?
Connect a MIDI cable from the keyboard's MIDI OUT port to the sound card's
MIDI IN. Recent keyboards can also be connected to the USB port. Older keyboards may need a MIDI to USB converter. You can find more information here: hookup diagrams
Do you recommend any specific pedal set for use with the keyboard?
Digital pianos usually have a sufficient pedal set built in. Stage pianos usually need to be complemented with a pedal accessory kit, such as Yamaha FC-3A
or Roland RPU-3
What kind of computer do I need to install Pianoteq on?
You can use a modern laptop or a desktop computer, PC or Mac. See the hardware and software requirements below.
How much RAM (internal memory) is needed for smooth playback?
Just 256 MB (megabytes). Most modern computers are equipped with at least 8 GB (gigabytes) of RAM. In contrast to many other virtual pianos, there is no need to invest in any additional RAM sticks to achieve maximum performance.
Do I need a dedicated disk drive?
No. Since Pianoteq does not store any samples on the computer, there is no need to invest in a dedicated disk drive. Pianoteq occupies just 50 MB whereas other virtual pianos need to frequently access many sample files (usually several gigabytes) from a fast and stable disk drive.
What kind of CPU (processor) do I need?
Pianoteq is CPU intensive software for it computes the sound in realtime. Many modern computers already offer a fully sufficient CPU. We recommend any multi-core CPU, listed on this page: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
By restricting the internal sample rate in the Options menu, you can work with less powerful CPU's. The Linux version in Pianoteq 7 lets you work with ARM RISC based CPU's used in smaller Linux based consumer electronic devices.
In what situation does the CPU load get high?
Many bass notes in combination with the sustain pedal require lots of computations for the CPU. Most modern CPUs can handle this fine.
Do I need any specific soundcard?
If using a PC, you need a soundcard that supports ASIO drivers (most soundcards do). You should be able to use the built-in soundcard on your computer. If you have high demands on the audio quality you should use a soundcard which is more adapted to music production. For suggestions on what soundcard to use, please visit the Pianoteq user forum
Can I really use Pianoteq with a laptop?
This is one of the great advantages of Pianoteq. You can use any modern laptop successfully without any need to add external disk drives. The low system requirements and rock stable software make it optimal also for live performances.
What if my computer has hardware issues with Pianoteq?
Although we will help you out as much as we can, it is your own responsibility
to check the recommended hardware/software requirements before purchase. By
evaluating the trial version
you will know if
everything works fine for you.
What software do I need to get started?
Pianoteq 7 works in Windows 7 (64-bit) or higher, MacOS X 10.7 or higher and Linux (x86, arm). Besides a standalone version, Pianoteq includes 64-bit VST (PC/Mac), Audio Units (Mac) and AAX plug-ins. The advantage of a plug-in is that you can work with it in a software host that offers multitrack mode, external effects and advanced note editing. Examples of hosts (non exhaustive list): Cubase, Cakewalk, Logic, GarageBand, Reaper, Cantabile. For further information on how to use these type of hosts, please visit their websites.
Any specific software drivers that I need to have installed?
If you use a PC, you will need to install ASIO drivers. This makes it possible to play back in real time from a keyboard, so that when you press a key on the keyboard, the sound will be heard immediately (with just a few milliseconds delay). Usually, ASIO drivers will be installed automatically during the driver installation of the soundcard. However, some budget soundcards (usually internal ones) do not offer ASIO drivers. It is then possible to use third-party ASIO drivers, such as ASIO4ALL
, with various results.
Where do I install the instruments to my full version of Pianoteq?
If you are installing any of the free
instruments, you can drag and drop the PTQ file onto the Pianoteq interface. It will then be installed automatically. Other instruments are already installed as they are embedded as demo instruments in the Preset menu. You can unlock each of these instruments by registering the corresponding serial number in the user area
and updating your licence (Options - About - Update licence).
Can I load Pianoteq 7 in Pro Tools?
Pianoteq 7 offers a 64-bit AAX version (for loading in Pro Tools 11 or later). You might be able to load Pianoteq 7 in Pro Tools 10 by using Blue Cat's PatchWork
or DDMF's Metaplugin
Can I use Pianoteq 7 in Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/Vista or MacOS X 10.6?
No. Previous versions of Pianoteq can be downloaded from the user area
and may support older operating systems. Pianoteq 5.8.1 works in Windows XP. Pianoteq 6.0.3 works in MacOS 10.6.8.
How do I start up Pianoteq?
Load the standalone player by clicking on the Pianoteq shortcut on your computer desktop. The VST or Audio Units plugin can be loaded by a VST or Audio Units host. If you have not activated yet, you will see an activation window. Enter the serial number there and click on the "Quick activation" button, if your computer is connected to the internet, to activate your licence (read the Purchase and licence
section further below if you need assistance).
Which parameter sliders should I adjust to begin with?
There is a wide range of pre-defined presets (1) that you can choose from. If you need to adapt the piano sound you could for example try adjusting the hammer hardness (2) to achieve a different brightness of the hammer strokes. Increasing unison width (3) makes it a bit out of tune (resembling certain acoustic pianos). The powerful sound recording feature (4) lets you place up to 5 virtual microphones anywhere around the piano to achieve ultimate ambience and tone colour. The dynamics and velocity curve (5) will most likely need to be adjusted to the keyboard used in a MIDI file performance. These adjustments are just examples but might be suitable to begin with. For further details on how to use each parameter, read the documentation in the Help menu or place your mouse cursor on top of each parameter for a short pop-up description.
How do I save my own preset?
You can save your own preset by clicking on the floppy disk icon (menu: File-Save preset, shortcut: Ctrl+T). Name the preset and save. It will then appear in the preset list under the instrument for which the preset was based on.
How do I rename, delete, or assign my own preset I created?
You can delete it, rename it and assign it in the preset manager by clicking on the pen icon (menu: Window-Preset manager, shortcut: L). Right click on the specific preset you created.
Can I hide specific instruments in the preset list?
Yes. Click on the pen icon (menu: Window-Preset manager, shortcut: L) to open the preset manager. You will then see a list of all presets. On the right side, you can select the instruments you want to hide/unhide. You can hide/unhide all factory instruments (provided as default instruments) by selecting another instrument bank on the lower right corner in the preset manager. You can hide/unhide instruments in the Options - Instruments window.
Can I hide specific presets of an instrument?
Yes. In the preset manager, you can create your own customized instrument bank. You can save those presets you want to work with there and choose only to show that bank.
What is the point of using instrument banks?
By using instrument banks, you get a more detailed control of which instruments and presets you want and can quickly change between different sets, adapted to different situations, e.g. one bank for live performances and another bank for studio sessions. In the preset manager, you can easily move saved presets between banks, assign each to a specific MIDI controller, and rename or delete them.
Can I rename or delete a factory preset?
No, the basic factory presets provided as default instruments are protected. You can however save presets to a customized instrument bank and there rename or delete them as you want.
How can I correct the limited/extreme dynamic output of my keyboard?
You can adapt the velocity curve to your MIDI keyboard so that Pianoteq will recognize all velocities from ppp to fff. See the left example below where the curve is adapted to a keyboard having a MIDI velocity output limited to the range [33 105]: the Pianoteq curve remaps this interval to the full MIDI velocity range [0 127]. You can measure MIDI velocity output in Pianoteq by observing the green vertical lines. If you modify the shape of the curve and the dynamics slider, you can obtain different sorts of dynamics. If the keyboard easily jumps to extreme velocity values when playing strongly, there is no ideal correction because Pianoteq cannot see if you are playing forte or fortissimo. However, as it might be better to have a correct forte than a correct fortissimo, we suggest adapting the velocity curve as in the right example.
How do I adjust tuning with Scala files?
Click on the "mu" button to enter the advanced tuning panel. There, click on the "Keyboard Mapping" button and select "Load mapping from Scala KBM file..."
How do I keep my previous settings (parameters) while changing presets?
As from version 7, click on the Copy and Paste buttons.There you can set which parameters to keep unchanged when you change presets.
How do I activate remote selection via MIDI?
In the Options-Midi window you have a complete range of MIDI mapping possibilities where you can also create individual settings for each preset.
I lost the installation file that I downloaded after purchase. How do I download again?
Download again from the user area
I start up Pianoteq but now it sounds different.
Your settings used from the last session are reloaded upon start up. Check the parameter values or reset to default values by selecting a preset in the menu.
I receive error messages when using/installing Pianoteq.
If you encounter any error messages, or other serious issues, make sure that you are using the latest version. You can check the date of modification on the trial version
page. For updates of the full version, visit the download area on our support
I have problems downloading Pianoteq. What might be the cause?
Make sure to disable any download managers that you may have installed. You can also try using another browser (e.g. Firefox).
I use the trial version. Why are a few notes silent?
This is a restriction that only applies to the trial version. It is described in the trial version download page.
When I play on my keyboard the reaction time (latency) from key press to sound is slow.
If you are using a PC, select ASIO drivers as device in the Pianoteq Options > Devices tab (or in the audio settings of the VST host) and set the buffer size to 384 samples or below. If you do not have any ASIO drivers, you can try using third-party drivers, such as ASIO4ALL
I hear crackles and pops in the sound.
Make sure that your operating system is updated and optimized, free from spyware, trojans and CPU intensive anti-virus or utility programs running in the background. If using another CPU intensive VST instrument or effects plugin (such as convolution reverb), we recommend that you use it for playback and editing only if you encounter any issues. For playback and editing, increase ASIO buffer size to maximum. Although the latency will increase, the CPU load will decrease. If these adjustments do not help, your CPU may not be powerful enough (please refer to our hardware requirement specification). If this is the case you should reduce polyphony and/or the internal sample rate in the Options menu. You can also try reducing the number of output channels in the Microphones setting window.
When using the sustain pedal, the acoustic noise is too loud.
This problem can occur if using a non-progressive (non-continuous) pedal. You should in this case adjust the noise loudness in the action panel.
I cannot load in the full version my Audio Units setting saved in the trial version.
Settings that in the trial version are saved in Audio Units format cannot be loaded in the full version. First convert the settings to FXP format: run the trial version (reinstall if necessary), load your saved settings there and save them as FXP files (in the Options menu). You can load these FXP files in the full version. If you encounter any problems, contact us
and we will assist you.
I use a modern laptop. Still I hear clicks and have polyphony issues.
Make sure that your computer is not running in energy saving mode. If it is, the CPU is running at a much lower speed which will result in performance issues.
I hear distortion when playing chords.
Sound saturation (0 dB) starts when you play chords with more than approximately 4 notes at maximum velocity (127). Depending on the sound card, you can reach this saturation much earlier (there are cheap DAC which saturate from -18 dB). Reducing the volume in Pianoteq should solve the problem.
The sound becomes muddy when using the sustain pedal.
In Pianoteq, the sympathetic resonance simulates the behaviour of a real piano. That means that you must release the sustain pedal often when using it, just like pianists on real pianos do. You may have another experience with certain digital pianos and sample libraries as the harp resonance in those is more simplified or non-existent.
I'm blind and have problems accessing some parameters, what can I do?
Pianoteq is compatible with the NKS format. By using the Komplete Kontrol software by Native Instruments, you will have convenient access to the list of presets and the VST parameters. More information here
I own the Pianoteq Studio bundle but an instrument is in demo mode.
If you purchased your licence less than a year ago, and you have installed an update which includes a new instrument pack, you need to update your licence in Pianoteq (Options > About > Update licence).
I cannot find the grand pianos D4 and Model B.
As from version 6 they appear as Steinway D and Steinway B.
Is Pianoteq 7 compatible with Windows 11?
Some historical instruments vanished or can no longer be loaded.
Those instruments are likely part of the KIViR collection. Download the latest KIViR version from the user area
. Then drop the file onto the user interface to install.
How do I install Pianoteq on Raspberry Pi?
You can find instructions in README_LINUX.txt in the Linux 7z archive of Pianoteq 7, along with the ARM and Intel binaries. A more in-depth instruction by Edgar Bustamante is available here
and a forum thread here
Cubase cannot see the Pianoteq 7 plug-in.
In the list of VST instruments, Pianoteq 7 is listed in the ‘Synth’ sub-category instead of being listed at the top.
My 32-bit VST host cannot find the Pianoteq 7 plug-in.
If you are using a 32-bit version of a host, it will not be able to recognize 64-bit versions of plugins, even if running a 64-bit operating system. You need to install a 64-bit version of the host.
Can I edit the equalizer note by note in the Pianoteq Pro version?
The equalizer can be adjusted note by note through the spectrum profile as it lets you adjust each overtone of each note. It shows the overtone number instead of frequency and works therefore in a more detailed resolution.
Does Pianoteq Stage load presets created in Pianoteq Standard or Pianoteq Pro?
Yes. However, Pianoteq Stage will load only the settings that are available in the Pianoteq Stage interface. If you want to enjoy the many creative presets in the FXP corner, you need the Standard or Pro version.
How can I transpose in Pianoteq?
In Options-Midi there is a notes transposition value. You can set this value to anything between -36 and +36.
I cannot install Pianoteq, it says the file is corrupted.
If the installer is corrupted it is most likely caused by an incomplete download. Try using another browser and check that the file size corresponds to what you see when hovering your mouse pointer on the installer file in the user area, as seen below. You can also try using a download manager.
How do I create my own MIDI mapping?
In Options-Midi, select the "Full featured" MIDI mapping. Make any changes you want and save it. To automatically load this mapping the next time you start Pianoteq, pick the "Set as default" entry.
The Preset Menu shows all instruments in a massive list
Press "L" (or click the Pen icon) to access the Preset Manager. There, click the Instruments header to sort according to instrument, then close the Preset Manager window.
Is Pianoteq 7 compatible with macOS 11 (Big Sur)?
The preset menu does not open in Cubase 8.
This is caused by a known bug in Cubase 8.0.0. Update to 8.0.5 or do as follows: In the plugin window, click the button with a little downward-pointing black arrow against a grey background. There, deselect the 'Always on top' option.
How do I make Pianoteq to always start up in full screen mode?
Add the following command line option:
Example: "C:\Program Files\Modartt\Pianoteq 7\Pianoteq 7.exe" --fullscreen
There are duplicate activation slots for the same PC
If using Windows 10 Pro, and updating or enabling/disabling Hyper V, a duplicate activation slot may be required for the same PC. This issue should be fixed in version 6.1 and later. Duplicate activation may also occur if you are running more than one operating system on the same computer.
Some instruments do not appear in the preset list.
You may have hidden the instruments in the Preset Manager. In the Preset List, click on "View all presets".
Should I uninstall the trial version before installing the full version?
It is not necessary to uninstall it. If you are using the trial version in your projects, it might be a good idea to keep it for a while, side by side with the full version, for transition purposes. Before uninstalling, you should first create a backup of your customized presets and archived midi files.
I cannot activate Pianoteq 7 on Raspberry Pi.
Make sure you have installed update 7.0.2 or later.
Can I load Pianoteq 7 in Logic?
Yes. Pianoteq 7 is compatible with Logic Pro 10.4 and later. Older versions of Pianoteq can be loaded in older versions of Logic.
Which presets are closest to the sound of the original instruments?
Pianoteq instruments that are authorized by the manufacturers refer to the official instrument name, e.g. "Steinway Model D", "Steingraeber E-272", "Ant. Petrof 275". Historical instruments refer to the simplest name, e.g. "J. Dohnal". Other instruments refer to "Original" or "Basic". All presets are specified in the instrument description in the Preset Manager.
Pianoteq 7 is showing a Pianoteq 6 icon in Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol / Maschine.
Please install Pianoteq version 7.0.4 or later. In order to force Komplete Kontrol and Maschine to refresh everything, please follow these steps (all plugins will be rescanned):
Close Komplete Kontrol and Maschine
Delete the following files in Finder:
/Users/Shared/NI Resources/ (the whole folder)
/Users/(YOUR_USER_NAME)/Library/Application Support/Native Instruments/Service Center/pal.db
Then open KOMPLETE KONTROL / MASCHINE
KOMPLETE KONTROL / MASCHINE scans for content. This may take several minutes. If content or artwork is missing, restart KOMPLETE KONTROL / MASCHINE.
Delete the following files:
C:/Users/Public/Documents/NI Resources (the whole folder)
C:/Users/(YOUR_USER_NAME)/Documents/Native Instruments/Service Center/pal.db
Then open KOMPLETE KONTROL / MASCHINE
KOMPLETE KONTROL / MASCHINE scans for content. This may take several minutes. If content or artwork is missing, restart KOMPLETE KONTROL / MASCHINE.