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June 2017 Giveaway

IK Multimedia SampleTank 3 - Crossgrade from IK Products (boxed) Reviews

4.0 stars based on 1 customer review
Questions about the IK Multimedia SampleTank 3 - Crossgrade from IK Products (boxed)?

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  • Martin Horn
    from Redding, CA June 15, 2015Music Background:
    Professional Pianist, guitarist, recording engineer.

    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.


  • Mitch Gallagher

    IK Multimedia's SampleTank has been a great choice as a software sample playback engine for more than thirteen years. It's always been easy to learn, easy to operate, and it came with a great library; and several great expansion modules gave it even more versatility. Now, IK has released version 3 of SampleTank. I installed it on my Mac to take it for an extended spin in my studio. PC is also supported; plug-in formats include Audio Units, VST, VST 3, and AAX, and SampleTank 3 can run standalone as well.


    SampleTank 3 has been fully redesigned with a new user interface, new mixer, creative effects, and more. The SampleTank 3 package comes with over 33GB of sample library. I didn't count them all, but according to IK that includes 4,000 instruments in 21 instrument categories, 2,500 rhythm loops, and 2,000 MIDI files. The arsenal is comprehensive: acoustic and electronic drums, acoustic and electric pianos, basses, organs, guitars, a wide range of orchestral instruments, synth leads and pads, special effects, percussion, vocal instruments; it's all there. The library is uniformly excellent in quality. The best part about it is that all the sounds are useful; there's no fluff here. You can easily assemble an ensemble for any genre, cover EDM, do acoustic mockups, and create release-quality productions.

    If you want to go beyond the included instruments, editing is a breeze in SampleTank 3. SampleTank doesn't attempt to pursue tweaky-deep editing; the options are straight-ahead and practical, mainly in synth-parameter territory. This means that you can quickly dial in the changes you want and customize the response and tone of instruments easily. But this doesn't mean that you can't twist and turn sounds using powerful pitch-shift and time-stretch capabilities as well as resample sounds. Ten filter types are available and each instrument gets eight "macro" controls for fast adjustments on the fly. You can also quickly and easily create split and layered instruments.

    Then there is the new mixer. Each instrument you load (16 multitimbral parts can be loaded on separate MIDI channels at a time) gets a channel in the mixer. You can load up five insert effects per channel and also bus to effects using aux sends and four stereo returns (which can also have five insert effects each). The stereo master outs also support five insert effects. The whole thing works just like a hardware analog mixer. A range of 55 analog-modeled AmpliTube and digital effects are included so you can shape the response exactly how you like it. Convolution reverb, rotary speaker, tape echo, chorus, and much more are all available for processing sounds in the mixer.

    The final part of the puzzle is control. You can, of course, play the sounds in SampleTank 3 using a controller keyboard, pad controller, MIDI guitar...any MIDI source, and you can also, of course, sequence MIDI parts for SampleTank using your DAW. But an additional feature is that SampleTank 3 has a built-in MIDI engine and can play back MIDI files — in fact, you can load up to 128 MIDI patterns for each multitimbral part. A Global Play button starts and stops playback for all 16 parts at once. This is especially useful when SampleTank 3 is running standalone. And, you can export SampleTank's MIDI files into your DAW. Pretty cool.

    IN USE

    The word for SampleTank 3 is "fast." It's easy to find sounds, they load up quickly, and the controls are laid out in such a way that no manual is required for most operations. SampleTank 3 utilizes 64-bit architecture, so it can take full advantage of the RAM in your computer to load large sounds (and lots of them) and to operate efficiently. This makes SampleTank 3 well-suited for studio use and for composers and songwriters, as you might expect. But it also pays huge dividends when you take SampleTank 3 onstage for a live gig. This is where the fast loading and the ability to have a set list-worth of instruments and effects pre-loaded comes in handy. There's even a "Live" tab in the software that's designed specifically to facilitate performance onstage.

    If you're looking for a killer sampled library driven by a powerful synth engine that operates efficiently and loads quickly, with tons of effects and processing capabilities, then SampleTank 3 deserves your attention. Pile on the MIDI file playback and other extras, and you've got a package that rocks both stage and studio!

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