I’ve downloaded the free 40-day trial of the French software piano Pianoteq. This is the second software piano I have tried in the past week, the other being TruePianos. Pianoteq sounds much better than TruePianos. It takes an interesting approach – rather than sample a piano it actually models a piano’s soundboard in realtime.
What is particularly impressive is that unlike many other software pianos (particular those based on samples of real pianos), the volume and timbre of each note is spread over all 127 MIDI levels. This gives very good control of dynamics. Also, the damper pedal is not just on or off; half-pedal effects are possible. The amount of tweaking you can do to an instrument is incredible. There are also many free alternate piano modules.
It will be interesting to see how Art Vista Virtual Grand Piano and Malmsjö GVI stack up against Pianoteq. The latter is pretty darned expensive though, around EUR 250!