Sample Tank 3
Listening with Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones and monitoring with Roland DS90 near field monitors. Installed on new iMac/ 1.3gh / Maverick 8gbRAM.
This is my first software instrument, I have been a buying hardware synths, controllers, and workstations since the 1987. I am very pleased with the playability and latency of this sample playback software instrument. Load time for instruments with above computer architecture is very fast.
The layout is no frills recording studio mixer familiarity, and the editing is common subtractive synth architecture. A giant step forward from their last interface. Why can't all software user interfaces be this clean?
For the price including their iRig controller this was a good deal. I did not expect a great grand piano included in the samples and did not get one. The piano is not playable as a solo piano, only as a piano in a mix. So the most important sample for a keyboardist is not usable. I continue to use my Yamaha P95 for piano. IK Multimedia just released a focused piano Xpansion, I will certainly try it.
For the rest of the sounds they are from good to great. The sounds that are weak will need layering to make them sound better, you can layer as many sounds as you wish. The strongest sound is the solo violin, this is the first usable violin I have ever played, the other solo strings are good too, viola's, cello's, bass. The combined strings are weak and need layering. The combined orchestra is also weak, but may be thin sounding on intension so you may layer other sounds to get your perfect orchestra. The basses are great too, all of them. The guitar sounds are great by current technology, but as a guitarist I don't need them and are extra critical, like the piano since I am a neo-classical pianist and composer.
As a synth programmer I did not need the synth sounds either, there are many of them as you will need many to fit your music styles. Most synth sounds I can program faster than searching for them in SampleTank. But this is where SampleTank shines, the editing of samples is possible with classic subtractive synthesis and a few extras added. ADSR envelops, filter types, velocity, polyphony control, zones, LFO, ….nicely done in a synth layout. Add to this all the included effects and we have a great alternative synth to program layering as many as you wish (limited to computer choice).
The ethnic instruments are fun as well as the percussion. The brass is weak and needs effects processing and tweeking to get better sound, layer also would help. The saxes are week, but with some modulation playing, tweeking, effects, maybe better. I have better saxes on my Yamaha keyboard and will use them. Woodwinds such as oboe, clarinet, trumpets, trombone, are all a little weak, but again, I have used them with additional effects and processing in the edit page.
If you need to add sounds to your keyboard rig, this is a good way to add additional sounds…inexpensively. The Yamaha MX49 was my first choice to add sounds, but can only layer 2 from the keyboard and need software interface for more. So I went with SampleTank instead and am pleased. I can add more sounds, such as the new piano Xpansion when released. ALSO you can add your own samples! SampleTank allows you to add your samples and map them to keyboard with powerful control and editing, this is a wonderful feature! So with easy editing and long list of effects, Xpansion options, good to great sound, and adding my samples this is a great value. As with any keyboard you will have your favorite sounds and use those, that is why we have so many keyboards! Add this to your rig for great recording options.