Re: Too early to talk about Pianoteq 6?
i'm sorry, but are you really suggesting that Zimerman's 76-take recording from 1990 is that of an "advanced midi player"!? if you find it "dry", "plastic", or "synthetic" then a) you need to listen to a better copy of it than over youtube, and b) (as Stephan_Doonan suggests) there's something amiss in your audio setup. as well, concerning Pianoteq, you need to a) get out of whatever headphones you have and invest in a decent set of studio monitors, and b) apply some decent fxp's that include minor randomization of the wide range of editable parameters and to apply some 'aging' to your instrument of choice. it's absolutely true that if the sound is too perfect then it will sound synthetic, but luckily in Pianoteq we have a wonderful array of tools by which to introduce those sorts of imperfections that make an instrument characteristic and 'natural'...
The Zimerman recording does not sound plastic or synthetic, as it is a recording of a real piano, it sounds though like one of the many studio recordings, safe, perfect and uninspired. There is also a minimal usage of pedal, and it is not a way of playing in which the piano is perceived as an orchestra. I call that the advanced midi players paradigm.. :-)
It is Pianotech which still has this quality in its sound, that is though not a complaint, but rather a reaction to someone in this forum who suggested that there is not much more to do for Pianotech in future versions (besides adding instruments, or focus on instruments other than piano's).
Now, my headphones are strong on the high frequencies, to the point that you hear sounds with it which you do not perceive, or hardly perceive with other headphones, that does not bring about a synthetic character though, it might amplify it, or other equipment might conceal it?
Now, maybe there is fault in my logic, but my logic is that if I perceive this synthetic character when I listen to a recording of Pianotech which is not a midi file, but a wave file, and I hear it in recordings made by different people, and I hear it both when I play it through the same system as the one I use for Pianotech, then the issue is not in my equipment.
I will do some more tests though, playing it through both systems which I have, and through headphones and normal speakers.
Regarding the quality of sound though, low bitrate music on Youtube etc, that does not lead to the specific synthetic character which I perceive in Pianotech sound, it can lead to harsh metal like piano sound, or heavily reduced colors in the sound when it concerns very old recordings, but never brings about that specific character.