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I don't think you would have anything problem as long as you pick something recent and reasonably decent.

For reference, I once ran Pianoteq 6 on a budget model Ubuntu laptop from 2015. It comes with AMD FX something CPU. This thing takes forever to boot, but it runs Pianoteq fine without any issue.

Also there are people who runs Pianoteq successfully on Raspberry Pi 3.

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I hear reports--completely contradicting what I said before, obviously--that some people have had good Pianoteq results with a ZX Spectrum. Don't know how true they are though.
The rubber keys would put me off trying, anyway. Awful.

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I currently have pianoteq running on an old 2007 Sony Vaio SZ640 Core 2 Duo with a T7500 processor (2.2ghz), 3gb ram, 32-bit Windows 10, with a spinning hard drive using the built-in audio. Initially it was rock solid with ~8-10ms latency, but after playing around a little bit I can use the best settings without pops (Sample Rate of 48000Hz, Buffer = 64 Samples 1.3ms, Polyphony = Auto Optimistic).

Some tips with *old* PC hardware:
* If you computer can use a graphic chip/card instead of a intel graphics, use it. The Intel graphics shares memory and periodically and unpredictably accesses the hard drive and CPU. I was prone to spikes of activity (which caused red lines in Pianoteq) especially when I was under 5ms. (This Sony gives a choice between NVIDIA GeForce 8400 vs Intel GMA X3100)
* Turn off any unnecessary services when using Pianoteq. I'm basically using this laptop for Pianoteq exclusively (it's basically like a single-purpose Piano sound module for me), so with everything stable and installed, I turn off WiFi and even Windows Defender. Both of these cause intermittent processor spikes, particularly Windows Defender.
* ASIO4All - The default Windows Driver for the sound actually worked quite well (under 5ms reliably), but the free ASIO4All driver allowed me to go all the way down to 1.3ms)

I generally get a score of 39 with this laptop, despite its age. (it's getting close to 13 years old) There are probably a few other services I could shut down for even better efficiency.

My only complaint is that CPU usage while playing is in the 20-30% range and that activates the fan on the laptop. When I get around to it I'll see if I can modify the target temperature or fan speed so it has a slightly higher threshold.

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Originally Posted by technomaster

* If you computer can use a graphic chip/card instead of a intel graphics, use it. The Intel graphics shares memory and periodically and unpredictably accesses the hard drive and CPU. I was prone to spikes of activity (which caused red lines in Pianoteq) especially when I was under 5ms. (This Sony gives a choice between NVIDIA GeForce 8400 vs Intel GMA X3100)


Not disputing it but is it really related to the onboard graphics? It looks more like a virtual memory thing, i.e. the system swapping memory pages to the HD and that must be a high priority task (bad design). I doubt the video graphics is mapped to the virtual memory system, usually a few tens of MB anyway versus several GB for the system memory.

Anyway, the first thing I do in my PCs is totally disabling Windows swap file. With 16GB I rarely experiment problems running my applications and you will not want other applications running anyway when you are using Pteq or any other virtual piano application.

I used to do the same with Linux when I used it natively (not in a virtual machine). In both cases (Win and Lin), for performance reasons.

Last edited by EVC2017; 01/16/20 05:39 AM.

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For more modern computers, the nVidia drivers can boost DPC latency, maybe due to bloatware, sloppy programming, etc.

Some of the music engineers at the GS forums completely uninstall nVidia drivers with DDU and prevent their systems from automatically reinstalling. Some claim better audio performance with just intel video drivers.

I used some software for a minimal install of nVidia drivers & also prevented the laptop from searching for auto updates.

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My current build is a Xubuntu installation on a Phenom dual-cure CPU with 8 GB of RAM. This config seems to be enough for using Pianoteq at my level of learning and I've experimented with the trial version which validates my assumption.


However, to make it as optimized as possible, I'm thinking of creating a custom ArchLinux build, as in, only add what's needed, and based on that, have a lean distro close to a JEOS that allocates as much resources to Pianoteq as possible. I'd then choose it from the GRUB boot menu for when I'm gonna practice the piano. Since it'd be installed on SSD and it shall be minimal, the startup time has to be very short so as not to create too much of a jarring experience.

Any thoughts?


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Don't overkill. Pianoteq can run on just about any computer. It's requirements are paltry.

I used to run it on a very old, low-end dual-core laptop. I'd be surprised to find any modern computer incapable of running it.

The usual latency considerations still apply, so use ASIO. That's all.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The usual latency considerations still apply, so use ASIO. That's all.

ASIO only exists on Windows.


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Originally Posted by JoeT
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The usual latency considerations still apply, so use ASIO. That's all.

ASIO only exists on Windows.

Way to necro a thread! laugh

Re: ASIO
Yup in Linux, the "equivalent" would be ALSA, which Pianoteq supports natively. If mixing multiple sound sources, the other option would be JACK. And sometime in the vague future | Pipewire.


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Originally Posted by meghdad
My current build is a Xubuntu installation on a Phenom dual-cure CPU with 8 GB of RAM ... I'm thinking of creating a custom ArchLinux build, as in, only add what's needed, and based on that, have a lean distro close to a JEOS that allocates as much resources to Pianoteq as possible. I'd then choose it from the GRUB boot menu for when I'm gonna practice the piano. Since it'd be installed on SSD and it shall be minimal, the startup time has to be very short so as not to create too much of a jarring experience.

Any thoughts?

1. A stripped down Arch Linux would be great, super fast boot times, super low latency and an rt kernel for those x-runs/low jitter. The main issue I've run into are packages sneaking in "extras" when installed (most especially on the Ubuntu repositories, which is becoming the Microsoft of the Linux world).

2. Another option would be a plain vanilla Debian and then install the Liquorix rt-kernel. It's pretty close to bare-metal performance.

3. Or try Manjaro, slick, friendly, and they have rt-kernels for download.

Most of those rt-kernels use a 1000Hz system timer for MIDI (smooth/low jitter), but I'd check the Arch one to be sure, I think they recently changed it back to 300Hz for some reason.


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Forgot to mention, for Arch Linux - maybe just use a window manager like i3 or openbox (vs. a regular desktop environment)


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Is this Piano World or Computer World? frown

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perhaps Pianoteq player are Computer Nerds grin


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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Is this Piano World or Computer World? frown

Both, considering the name of the forum Digital Pianos - Electronic Pianos - Synths & Keyboards wink


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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Don't overkill. Pianoteq can run on just about any computer. It's requirements are paltry.

I used to run it on a very old, low-end dual-core laptop. I'd be surprised to find any modern computer incapable of running it.

The usual latency considerations still apply, so use ASIO. That's all.
Could you play glissando all keys from bottom to top of the piano and vice versa a few times with the sustain pedal down, WITHOUT CPU bottleneck and note drops?

I tried that. At both 128 polyphony and 256 polyphony, it reached the bottleneck with a few glissando over the entire range, albeit obviously at 128 it fared better.

Again, this is purely experimental and in actual practice particularly at my level, this would be a non-issue.

@Groove On I need more time to think about your suggestions. I'll reply back once I have considered all my options carefully. Thanks anyways.


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@meghdad: I never tried an all-key glissando. But do I need that? I don't.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@meghdad: I never tried an all-key glissando. But do I need that? I don't.


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Originally Posted by Nordomus
I mean what would allow me to use it with lowest latency, high/highest settings and polyphony?

I would not aim for "lowest latency", but an optimal latency. I can run Pianoteq at buffer 64 on my laptop virtually without any crackles etc, but I found that buffer 128 corresponds better to the actual latency of my acoustic. The 128 setting is much less demanding on the hardware, which means that important processes other than the ones generating the audio stream may run more reliably. Think of receiving MIDI information. This is anecdotal, but I notice on my laptop that I don't get audio pops/crackles easily but I do feel occasional considerable 'delays' between key strokes and audio, which is at least as irritating. Presumably this has to do with something in midi processing, or at least something that need to happen quickly, but is variable in timing, before the audio stream is generated. More variation in latency around a low mean latency can lead to stronger feeling of disconnection than less variation around a somewhat higher mean latency.

Although CPU is important, I think the rest of the system, especially the OS and the way it is tuned is at least as important. Don't quote me on this, yet, but I recently installed Pianoteq on a Raspberry Pi 4, and I believe it runs better than on my 4-year i5 old laptop. Not in terms of 'performance index', but it seems I get less 'note jitter' on the Pi, at a for me optimal buffer of 128. The hardware specs of the Pi are lower, but it runs linux instead of windows, and is likely running much less crap in the background that I don't need. I spent effort in optimizing settings on my Windows laptop, but to do this well is a science in itself. I know someone who bought a computer for VST from a specialized store and they say they change windows 10 default settings of more than 200 parameters...

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Originally Posted by pianogabe
I think the rest of the system, especially the OS and the way it is tuned is at least as important. Don't quote me on this, yet, but I recently installed Pianoteq on a Raspberry Pi 4, and I believe it runs better than on my 4-year i5 old laptop. Not in terms of 'performance index', but it seems I get less 'note jitter' on the Pi, at a for me optimal buffer of 128. The hardware specs of the Pi are lower, but it runs linux instead of windows, and is likely running much less crap in the background that I don't need. I spent effort in optimizing settings on my Windows laptop, but to do this well is a science in itself. I know someone who bought a computer for VST from a specialized store and they say they change windows 10 default settings of more than 200 parameters...

That's the fun part of Linux, you can revitalize old gear that otherwise would have turned into throwaway junk. That's why it's so cool that Modartt offers versions of Pianoteq on Linux, all that old throwaway hardware becomes useable for Pianoteq. Unfortunately, outside of Pianoteq there are (almost) no other VST vendors who offer digital instruments for Linux, so it's also it's own dead-end. A dedicated PIanoteq/Linux sound module is kinda the end of the road, unless you also want to record with Reaper.

I have a dedicated Pianoteq computer (Odroid N2+), that's less than US$100 and I'm happily practicing with it on a daily basis. My 2015 MacBook Air is much more powerful, but runs with "almost" the same settings as the N2+. (for reference the N2+ is just a tad faster than the Raspberry Pi). Thing is, the 2015 MacBook Air doesn't run as clean because of all the background "helper" programs, it basically muddles through with sheer brute force CPU power.

Linux's version of the ASIO hardware driver is ALSA and it's fully supported and built right into the OS kernel, so both audio and MIDI run very fast. Plus you can literally re-write the OS if you want to tweak the system more. I don't recommend Linux for everybody, but if you're willing to put in the work, you can get great performance out of inexpensive old hardware.

Inexpensive Low-End computers:
The Raspberry Pi and Odroid N2+ are both under US$100 but they are solidly DIY/Maker/Developer boards. Great for people who like to tinker and are technically proficient. You can get Pianoteq running quite nicely, but keep in mind you might be in for more "tinkering" than you signed up for, to get it working the way you want.

If someone's looking for something less technical / better supported computer - I'd suggest the Chuwi Larkbox Pro for around US$200 on Amazon. It runs the entry level Celeron J4125 CPU that's faster/more powerful than the CPUs on the Raspberry Pi and Odroid N2+. It's nice box for a cheap dedicated Pianoteq sound module.


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This all sounds very exciting to me. It basically offers DP players with a realistic, good and low-cost alternative for their DP samples or expensive VST software/hardware.

The tinkering part is an obstacle but one that can be addressed with some community effort. For example, a full disk-image with Linux + installed pianoteq and proper settings could be provided for a Raspberry Pi (and Odroid?). For the user it is just a matter of writing the image to a micro-sd card, inserting the card in the Pi, switching it on. You would have to provide the Pianoteq licences at first use, and off you go with a highly optimized and dedicated system. Users wouldn't have to know anything about ALSA or real-time scheduling settings etc. You only need a linux compatible audio interface, but the often used ones work out of the box (Scarlett, Steinberg etc).

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