This definitely seems to be THE place to ask questions. I'm new to all this. I'm a guitarist and audio engineer who plays some keyboards. I went and bought a Keyboard and built a new PC to do some MIDI composition. After 2 days I realized how out of date the keyboards sounds were and that for the same $$ I could buy a weighted controller and some software and get a much better sounding rig. So I'm going to return the keyboard (Yamaha S08) and buy the M-Audio controller and software. I've been researching a lot on the net. I want to be able to work on one PC. I also have audio apps that I use on it but that's about it.
Windows XP Pro
Cakewalk Pro Audio 9
Cool Edit Pro 2.1
Aardvark Diect Pro 24/96
I've looked at:
From what i gather Gigastudio I considered the most powerful. However it also seems to require the most resources. The recommended system req's are quite higher for Giga than the others on theis list. How much would I be able to accomplish given my system? I'm not planning on huge orchestral arrangements. Which version would you recommend. What is the greatestr value for my money of the programs listed?
Here's my thoughts...most everything subjective and IMO...
Giga is the most troublesome to use on a single computer, so if you're planning on using the same box for your sampler and DAW, the others get more points. However, there is a vst wrapper available (more money), and Rewire mode allows integration on a single machine, althought it requires real time rendering, and is not as convenient as VST. My observation is that Giga has always been...and still is...designed to function as a standalone sampler, while Halion and Kontakt seem to have gone much further in terms in integration.
Having said that, Giga still has more great sounding libraries than ther others, and translating them into other formats always leaves a lot to be desired, if nothing else the time involved in converting them. And to me, the Giga interface is just the best. Very logical, very powerful. Both Halion and Kontatk have powerful features, but I find getting to them extremely unintuitive and at times very frustrating. Working in Giga for me just flows better, as it is all laid out in a solid, simple format.
As far as resource utilization goes, remember Giga 3 has Gigapusle which is a powerful, yet very CPU intensive convolutional reverb. Without it, I think the resource utilization of G3 verses the others would be pretty close.
So, of the three I have experience with--starting with the one I would least recommend:
Kontakt: At one time I thought this would be THE sampler of the future, but the crappy interface makes me want to use something else everytime. A little easier to use than Halion. Works great as a VSTi. Seems there are fewer libraries. Can be used as a standalone or vsti.
Halion: Complex interface, but very powerful, and works great as a VSTi...easy on the eyes once you learn your way around...requires a lot of digging to get the most out of. I have H2, but have used the H3 demo. H3 can be used as a standalone. Great samples, and the import ~~~tion works good with Giga samples, although not 100%
Giga: Still the best sounding, most robust soft sampler. Powerful but intuitive interface. Giga pulse is, in a word, beautiful...a real bonus too, if you've priced convolution reverbs lately. But plan on some extra time and possible extra expense to get it set up on the same machine you use for you DAW.
You'd probably be better off asking in the "Sample Libraries Discussion" forum, to get a broader perspective.
A little bird told me that Kontakt 2 was going to be a KILLER app. If you can wait until the end of January to see the response at NAMM, I'd highly recommend it. Also, there are some top-tier developers that are big believers in the HALion3 engine. I love editing in their interface - much better than Kontakt by far, but I've stubbed my toe there enough to give me reason to pause. Fortunately, I have both Kontakt and HALion and can take advantage of the strengths of both. If I were to recommend one - right now it would have to be Kontakt.