Pianoteq which instruments packs have you choosen?

Dear Zynthian Users.

This is my very first post as I have just purchased and assembled a Zynthian Kit v4.4 and I am absolutely stunned about how good it is. One marvelous surprise to me is the demo of pianoteq as it has completely rejuvenated my old Roland RP101 piano and I really was not expecting this. It sits on top of my piano perfectly and the Zynthian knobs make it so much more convenient than messing about with a mouse and laptop which does not fit properly on the piano anyway.

I have decided to purchase the stage version of Pianoteq. And since I only heard about pianoteq when I started up my Zynthian I wondered if there is a Pianoteq referral link (or promo code) I can use that would benefit the Zynthian team / founders and/or for the benefit the Zynthian project. If there is not one then there should be as I think that Zynthian has generated a lot of sales for Modartt – but looking through the Modartt user forum it does not seem like this will be likely. I’ll make sure I let them know I found out them because of the Zynthian demo when I make my purchase.

Now which two instruments should I choose??? I am leaning towards the Steinway Model D as it also has a hybrid instrument which I really like . I haven’t decided on the second one yet. I would be interested to hear what instruments packs you have all chosen. please let me know by replying below.


None, because it’s a demo license and I didn’t want to like it. There are many free SFZ piano and keyboard soundfonts that sound even better. :slight_smile:

Ok what “SFZ piano and keyboard soundfonts that sound even better” do you recomend? I am new to SFZ sounds.

Ohhh @Jerryn ! I totally disagree. Pianoteq is really really fine. And it’s not a question of sound, which is really good too, it’s a question of feeling, dynamics and playability. I never had a really good experience playing virtual pianos until i tried Pianoteq. It’s the only software license i’ve bought in my life, and i’m really happy with the expense. And please, don’t doubt i’m a free software devote. I’m a 100% linux user from 1995 :wink:

Regarding your question @LouisB , it depends on you music preferences, but i love Electric Pianos and Hohner collection.

BTW, I’ve Steinway D too. It’s a “standard” and everybody is used to hear this Piano’s sound. Anyway, you should give a try to Blüthner.

Ahh! We have no discount codes nor any other “special deal” with Moddart. Perhaps it’s time to try …

All the best!

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The first install of Linux for me was Yggdrasil. Pianoteq is that good ? I’m going to try it against the keyboards I play with Sfizz.

Pianoteq is amazing. I am yet to find a soundfont that plays well across the whole keyboard and full variable dynamics. Pianoteq modelling is great. I’ve found nothing to compare and just like @jofemodo it is one of the very few softwares I have purchased. (Linux since 1999.)

I spent a long time testing the instruments before settling on Steinway D (because everyone needs a good Steinway) and Electric Pianos (because both epiano packs are amazing but I prefer to play stuff like Supertramp). I was so tempted by other piano packs and must have my blind test results somewhere but like you, I chose the affordable Stage version with 2 instruments. I urge you to spend some time grading each instrument. Set some criteria and rate each instrument against that criteria. Eliminate ones that score low to allow focus and retesting the remaining ones. If you can do blind tests even better.


Being a professional pianist by education (in second generation after my father — @dhrupadia_dad ) I can officially announce — no digital representation or replication of the piano can be compared with good acoustic piano (better to say good grand piano).

BUT among all the variations of sampled pianos (no difference: huge Fazioli Kontakt libraries or Yamaha CFX, or any SFZ) they all are nothing compared to Pianoteq. Absolutely nothing !!!

At first, when I’ve purchased a license, I have seen only some of the advantages it gives to a performer, but later with proper velocity curve calibration (fine adjustments required), dynamics tweaking (usually make forte less or much less) and other nuances that have to explored, I’ve discovered that it can sound very much convenient even for the trained ears, even for an experienced recording engineer.

The support of continuous pedals makes life sweet with Pianoteq. Custom or random sounds are incredible sometimes too, have a few dozens of unique presets.

About presets:
I have Steinway D NY & Hamburg, Steingraeber & Bechstein purchased. Each one has it’s stronger or weaker sides but these three are great choice. Also Electric pianos pack is great ! Among free presets you get, I would specially mark D4VD — it is another Steinway D model and in some cases it is brilliant too ! New Felt presets from version 7.4 are very interesting !

Blüthner & Petrof sound not usable for me, would never buy them. But that is my subjective opinion, they might sound great for you !

So, to support my dear fellow zynthianers @jofemodo , @riban and every other convinced owner of licensed Pianoteq — it is a huge dimension of possibilities and freedom in comparison with any free or commercial sampled piano (even with 20 velocity layers). They are all rubbish, not feel alive at all.

Pianoteq worth much more to me than the cost of this license (and I was still thinking to get it for quiet some time !).

Wait for some seasonal discounts and get one to get convinced.


@jofemodo, the sentiment of the original post was that a link from Zynthian to Pianoteq might benefit Zynthian by demonstrating the quantity of referrals. This in turn may result in some reward for the Zynthian project, not necessarily a discount for the user.

@LouisB we neglected to extend our warn welcome to you. It is great to have you with us here. There are discounts on Pianoteq licenses at least once each year (usually more often) but rarely on the Stage version which is already good value. If you are demonstrably in full time education there is a significant discount available at any time.

I agree with @dhrupadiya that the dynamics and flaws of an acoustic piano are yet to be simulated in a cost effective way but Pianoteq comes as close as I have heard. I love the resonance and reverberation of my beat up old upright with its broken dampers which let the sings ring too long or when thay shouldn’t, e.g. as I walk across the room. I haven’t managed to reproduce that but some parameters in Pianoteq allow me to get close.


Some Pi 4 optimization notes Pianoteq
Found when I was hunting for cpu requirement variations for different instruments. (You might run through different instruments on the demo version, testing for the max polyphony you can get with no cpu warnings.

Another Pi 4 performance test by Hifiberry dac+ user

Another thread discussing Pianoteq 7 is running on the Raspberry Pi 400 + PreSonus Studio 24c USB Audio interface.


I splashed out on the stage version of Pianoteq recently because, for me, it is the most realistic sounding piano I’ve come across that’s not actually an acoustic piano. The subtle resonances, hammer noises, interactions between notes all add up to an incredibly detailed and authentic sound. I’m not a pianist, but I have played high end Yamaha, Roland and Kawai digital pianos as well as several upright and good quality grand pianos.

When I bought the Pianoteq licence they had a promotion on instrument packs so I got 1 extra. Here is what I got:

  • Steinway Model D (this contains both New York and Hamburg variations) - for a nice, “standard” grand piano sound.
  • C. Bechstein DG - for a slightly sharper more powerful sound
  • U4 Upright - for a bit of variation, and that slightly more living room kind of sound.

You also get access to a bunch of free instruments, which adds a nice extra few voices for a bit of variety.

As others have said, try the demo sounds and pick what you like, or eliminate what you don’t like. There are no bad ones, so it really comes down to your personal taste.


This config efforts are really interesing, have you tried them yourself @MaxMaxis ?

Hi @Jerryn

I have an (old) Rhodes Mark II in the basement. I really like it, but it is much too heavy (if you don’t have roadies) to carry it with me. All other electronic hardware variants are very expensive (Nord, Korg) or do not sound authentic to me.

So I was absolutely flashed what Pianoteq sounds like. AND: It’s lighter and less noisy :slight_smile: Also the free oscillation of the tone bars when you press the sustain pedal can be heard in the background. Actually, I would have to add some white noise to make it sound like the original.

Regards, Holger

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Hi @LouisB ,

I have the version 6.x and I bought Steinberg’s D and the Electric Piano set. The Steinway is OK for me, but the Electric Pianos are an absolute dream (especially MarkII Jazzy). I am also using the (free available) CP80. Only the tones below C2 aren’t really nice.

Regards, Holger

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Hi All, Thanks for all your suggestions and replies. Like Jerryn alluded to I am also a fan of free (as in freedom) software and Linux. However with pianoteq the first instrument I tried was first on the list “NY Steinway Square” and I was not so impressed – but when I tried some of the others I was really blown away. I cannot really describe it but now my piano has a totally different feel to it (for the better) and yet anyone listening cannot tell that much different than between the pianoteq sounds and the original Roland RP101 piano which actually has a good built-in piano sound.

Yes I originally had a real upright piano but i ended up not playing it because it I want to play it late at night but that is not very sociable with the neighbours so I hardly ever played it. So after much heartache I sold my upright and bought the best replacement electric piano I could find that I liked. So to get the best of pianoteq you really need to wire the output back into input of your piano or use high quality headphones. I wanted to like the Electric Pianos but they did not feel right to me probably because I never tried playing that type of instrument before. I need to spend longer with them.

Thanks for your suggestions.

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I have a Roland HP505 piano that has quite a nice built in sound, including string resonance etc. I have the output of my zynthian fed into the aux in on my piano and totally agree that it is just nicer to play with the pianoteq sound engine. Playing thru the built in speakers works plenty well enough for me :slightly_smiling_face:

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@LousB Hi,

Install this Piano, use the sfizz synthesizer.

This is the piano soundfont I had in mind when I made my first post on this thread.

I only have a sustain pedal right now but I plan on building out a usb pedal board
This soundfont uses flac so you do need sfizz installed to play it, but it’s worth it :slight_smile: