Let's get the evaluation out of the way up front: Pianissimo is a virtual piano plug-in for your PC that sounds great.

But there are a lot of great-sounding software piano VSTi's (short for Virtual Studio Technology instrument, a software synthesizer plug-in standard from Steinberg) out there. Some of them with way more than the 80 megabytes of samples that come with Pianissimo. They also generally have a lot more in the way of a cash requirement.

We plugged the $69 (around £47) Pianissimo into several of songs that use piano, and while it doesn't have the bite of some we've tried, it has a pleasing quality that we found very musical - and very addictive.

Pianissimo allows you to adjust the level of the hammer attack as well as the tone via a three-band EQ, a sympathetic resonance control, and simulated piano cover positions (closed, half-open, etc). There's a default MIDI file that auto-loads so you can adjust the sound while it plays. Nice touch.

Pianissimo also comes with a nice assortment of reverbs plus chorus, although most users will cover those with their favorite plug-ins. Maybe not; the FX sounded pretty okay for the ilk. The integrated FX are also handy for spicing up the sound of the standalone version of the program.

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Said standalone version of Pianissimo also loads/plays and records/saves MIDI files - a super handy capability if you want to quickly save an idea, study practice sessions to look for flaws in your technique, or simply record a track without booting into full-fledge sequencer. For those listeners of yours without a high-quality piano module, you can also mix down to wave, MP3, WMA or OGG formats.

PCWorld.com

Pianissimo: Specs

  • 1.5GHz CPU (2GHz Dual Core recommended)
  • Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, or Vista
  • 1GB RAM (2GB RAM recommended)
  • sound card or sound device
  • USB or MIDI controller keyboard recommended
  • display resolution @ 1024 x 768 or above
  • 1.5GHz CPU (2GHz Dual Core recommended)
  • Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, or Vista
  • 1GB RAM (2GB RAM recommended)
  • sound card or sound device
  • USB or MIDI controller keyboard recommended
  • display resolution @ 1024 x 768 or above

OUR VERDICT

Taken as a whole, Pianissimo is a super nice little piano program/plug-in and its sound has really grown on us.

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