I am in the process of buying myself a NICE stage piano - the thing is, I really need only two sounds, a good acoustic piano and a Rhodes... I was thinking of going for a weighted midi controller + gigasampler BUT I would need a PC, apparently, and I was wondering if I could do without - i.e. with a sampler or some sort of standalone unit... - budget: $2500 (£1500 in the UK) - does anyone have an idea what would be my best option? thanx!
For just those two sounds and many others you might consider either the Yamaha S90 (the new S90ES will be shipping very soon) or the Roland rd-700sx. I think that both boards are within your price range.
Giga is a good investment in my opinion, plus there are several outstanding stand-alone piano libraries, including but probably not limited to: Art Vista Virtual Grand, all of the Post ones, Synthogy Ivory Grand, and I haven't heard the SampleTekk ones but they're reputed to be at that level.
It depends on the context. Are you playing in an arena rock band? Just use go with the built-in keyboard sounds. Are you playing exposed classical or jazz music? Then consider a computer-based sampler, which provides more subtlety than an all in one keyboard.
The answer is that you can't use Gigasampler without a PC. But there is another solution very close to what you had in mind.
The MUSE RECEPTOR is a standalone hardware unit that can host VST instruments. Kontakt, Halion and several other soft samplers are VST instruments, though Gigastudio isn't.
You would need to check which of these are capable of running on Receptor (not everything is automatically), but presuming that say Kontakt is, you could load it onto Receptor and use it as a host for your soft sample sounds. This way you would have access to most of the same sounds you might use in Gigastudio, or others (and more) of equivalent quality. For example, to play Rhodes in Gigastudio I and most people would recommend the Scarbee Rhodes. It also exists in a version for Kontakt, so you'd just buy that version instead.
I don't know the link for Receptor but it's been discussed here a bit, so try a search. It would seem the obvious answer to what you (and many others) want - a way of accessing the high quality sounds only available in software while avoiding the problems of using a computer. In you situation, I wouldn't worry about whether your host needs to be Kontakt or something else instead of Giga. Your requirements are so confined (just piano and Rhodes playback) that the choice of host will make little difference, as long as good quality sounds are available for it.
thank you guys, very helpful! Muse Receptor might be the solution although it seems to be slightly outside my budget - also, does anyone have some experience with the DOEPFER master keyboards? They LOOK good but how do they FEEL? And especially, how do they compare with Yamaha boards like the P250 or P120? I didn't have the opportunity to try one yet - I was in London the other day and nobody seems to store them... (what I like about them is that they ship with flightcase included - very handy)