Well, I finally took the plunge and got Pianoteq 8 Standard! Some would say I turned to the dark side, others that I turned from the dark side, depending on which side they're on. 😎 Though I never ruled out the possibility, that I would get a PTQ license, if it improved enough.
I've spent hours testing the instruments - before getting the license, but also after. Not by playing - don't play well enough to do that meaningly. I know how Pianoteq feels, very responsive, but just didn't like the hollowness in the sound.
Until now. I don't know if I'm getting hard of hearing, or Modartt have improved the models, maybe a bit of both? 😬 I tested the instruments on a few MIDI Files I have of other people's playing. Most of the testing was done on Liebestraum No. 3 by Franz Liszt. but also on Moonlight Sonata 1st movement, and Bohemian Rhapsody. Then I used an As Time Goes By MIDI file as well.
Most of you know that the Liebestraum is all over the keybed, think there is hardly a black key, that is not being played in that piece. So I think it hits the silenced keys (for an unregistered version of the software) quite often. Also, it covers a wide dynamic range, so it's good to test the responsiveness of a piano VST.
I tested on two amplified systems I have in my house, and with headphones. I tested both with the headphones plugged into the latter of the amplified systems, into the amplifier, and into the Direct Monitoring input on my Focusrite 2i4. I know that the Focusrite alone gives probably the most neutral sound, so I think it reflects the sound most faithfully.
I just didn't notice the hollowness, or at least it didn't bother me. As the three instruments I was eligible to unlock, I got the Steinway D twins (which counts as one intrument, though you might say it's two in one), the Bluethner, and the Steingraeber. I wanted to get the Bechstein, but thought maybe it was too much like the Steinways, assumed the Steingraeber is more unique, and it's a favorite instrument for a lot of PTQ users.
I have a hard time hearing any significant difference between the various models anyhow, so it doesn't matter much. If I settle well into practising with Pianoteq, I might even get other instruments down the line. Hoping I am now cured of my VAS (VSTi Aquisition Syndrome) by getting Pianoteq 8 Standard, though you never know. 🙂
At least I feel I have a huge number of choices for piano voices, and can't use bad piano sounds as an excuse for not practising, LOL! I may not even use PTQ for recording, rather Garritan CFX or some of my other piano VSTs. Though I intend to use Pianoteq for practising, and see if I can get settled into it. Great times ahead!