GPulse is extremely easy to use, and it sounds great. The impulses that they've included are each useful with lot's of musical character. I'm rendering some stuff right now and it beats the heck out of anything I ever did with Acoustic Mirror.
That said, this has been a bit time consuming. I need more computer power than I've ever wanted before.
I've been re-mixing a string quartet that I did some time ago. Everything I've tried with GPulse sounds better than any of my previous mixing attempts. Some combinations are too dry, too wet, too wide or too narrow - but they all sound pleasing to the ear. The reason that it's time consuming is that I'm doing a separate pass for each seating position. With four mics and mic emulation, it's about 40% loaded on my AMD 2200+ for a single seat.
The other problem is that I'm doing this too late at night after doing a full day of windows maintenance garbage. It all goes faster when you do it right the first time!
Anyway, I'm sold. Now I know the difference between a great mix and a so-so mix. It's the quality of the effects. With great effects, mixing sure gets easier!
GigaPulse is actually pretty easy to use, compared to, say, rolling your own customized reverb settings in a top-shelf digital hardware reverb.
You can't escape some complexity in audio engineering tools. If you want to engineer your music, and do it well, at some point you have to actually study a bit and figure out what you're doing. It's as easy to do with GigaPulse as it is with anything else.
I won't call GigaPulse a panacea. You can use any number of other tools in this world to get a professional sounding mix. Where GigaPulse is most interesting to me is in detailed room designs--REALLY making things sound like they all live in the same room, in instrument resonance design (where you mix sampling and convolution dynamically to aid instrument modeling), and in the creation of instrument-specific add ons, also dynamic in nature according to the sample set.
Those are the more palpable GigaPulse-specifics. For those tasks, doing it outside the sampler with alternate technologies would range from difficult to not really possible.
I think GigaPulse has that wonderful combination of being very deep and powerful, absurdly simple for the most basic tasks and providing great results at all levels.
Sure, if you get into the bottom of the panel, you need to know a bit about audio engineering, but at the top it's this easy:
1) Go into the DSP section for the instrument or group that you're dealing with.
2) Insert GigaPulse as an effect
3) Boom. (oom..oom..oom) You've now got the default effect, which sounds pretty good already.
4) Select a different room. Bam (am..am..am) New space.
5) Select STEREO (to make things simpler than Surround)
6) Select a couple of mic positions
7) Select a seating position.
8) Select a custom microphone.
9) If you know the original mic used for the recording, select that to "undo" it.
Now you're recording in the space of your choice with the mics of your choice with the player in the position of your choice.
Is that easy, or what?
The easy to read manual (by Dave Govett) has 20 of its 300 pages dedicated to GigaPulse Pro. Consider that the old NFX effects each get ten pages. I write that to show that the actual controls of GigaPulse Pro aren't all that complex. However, they offer limitless possibilities. That makes it deep on the audio side, but fairly shallow on the geek side.
I find that it falls readily to hand. I had it pretty well figured out before I cracked the manual. (Though I learned some important things there, like using the ctrl key to map a specific seat to a specific mic.)
The only downside is that to do everything that you will want GPulse to do at once, you'll need a faster CPU than exists on the planet. So, you either scale back your GPulse goals, or spend time doing a few passes. Both ways work.
One cool trick is to map one chair to the left mic, and another chair to the right mic. This could work really well for a wind section. You then pan the instruments between the two chairs. GS3 has a great feature that lets you set position and width, rather than giving just a simple pan pot. That lets you place your wind players in a group - yet they are each panned to a slightly different location between the two GPulse chairs. All that with one GPulse instance. I can do two instances in one pass with my AMD 2200+, which averages at about 50% processor load. Any more and things get unstable.
For composing, I use a single instance and just pan everbody around the room. The image isn't perfect, but the sound is great, so it's warm enough to inspire good performances.
I figure for the full magilla I'd want one instance for winds, one for percussion, a couple for brass and four or five for strings. That's something like eight instances, which will take me four passes - after I get my templates worked out.
How many instances are people getting with AMD 3200+ and Intel 3.2 GHz processors? If it's just one more, I'll save my cash. If it's two or three more, I'l consider a drive to Fry's.