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Topic: Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

  1. #1

    Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

    This may have been done to death but I am looking at a Swiss Army Knife type VST and have narrowed it down to:

    1) Collosus - the demos sound great but I already own a lot of the included libraries (hardcore bass, EWQL Brass, etc) and it's expensive

    2) SampleTank 2XL - Demos sound nice and it's expandable. Can someone vouch for the quality?

    3) Sonik Synth 2 - Demos sound very nice as well.

    Any other thoughts or alternatives would be appreciated.

    All the very best,


  2. #2

    Re: Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

    I think these are very good options for what you seem to be looking for. You might also consider ManyStation, but I do not have it myself (actually, I do not have any of these, but I like to regurgitate what I have heard).

    For original progressive electronic rock influenced by J.S. Bach and (old) Rush, check out: www.soundclick.com/jeffreynaness.

  3. #3

    Re: Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

    I don't have Sampletank 2XL or Sonik Synth, but I do have Collosus and I have to say, that even though I already owned some of the sounds, its a nice all-around toolkit.

    It also works well as a composition toolbox enabling quick access to patches without wading through patch after patch of articulations. And it does the job well. I love the QL Brass patches and the programming for them is very nice. The Stormdrone patches are excellent too.

    There are plenty of guitars to choose from and some nice drum kits. The ethnic patches are nice if you don't own RA or an equivalent. There are some great pianos here. The Fazioli is excellent.

    I'd say for a toolkit it fits the bill nicely. There was some 30% off sales on this thing a while back, but I don't know if those are still going on or not. Even at $995 its a bargain in my opinion, but I guess it depends how much use you'll get out of it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Hong Kong, CHINA

    Re: Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

    I own both SampleTank 2XL, and Sonik Synth 2, and I've tried Collosus at a local store.

    As to ST2XL and SS2, I think they are both good value for money, and I use some of those sounds a lot -- especially the GUITAR sounds in Sonik Synth 2.

    But let me tell you my honest feelings (just my OPINION, remember).

    I find the Sample Tank 2 XL soundset to be rather hit-and-miss. I might load up some of those sounds while "demoing" something, throwing a sketch together or what-not -- they are GREAT for that! -- but I seldom end up using those sounds in the final project. They just sound rather "thin" to me, and sometimes very "synthy"... A few very good and usable sounds, to be sure, and it comes with a LOT of sounds -- so I don't want to "dis" the thing -- but, the fact is that I don't use those sounds very much at ALL. That says a lot to me.

    As to Sonik Synth -- I owned the original, and at that time, it was just incredible, really the only thing in its class. The Sonic Reality sounds are SO much better, pound for pound, than the Sample Tank set (that's my OPINION, remember!). So, I was REALLY stoked about the new "version 2" before it came out.

    But while the original Sonik Synth was designed to be the "swiss army knife" you are looking for, I find the new version to be much more geared toward -- DUH! -- SYNTH sounds. It still has some of those "meat and potato" sounds, and as I said, I use the GUITARS in that thing ALL THE TIME. But the guys who tend to go on and on about SS2 are the ones who love spending time combining the raw patches into layered "combi" patches. You can get some lush and evolving pads, as well as some killer leads and basses, etc., by layering the basic sounds/patches into combi's... That doesn't interest me so much (see my next paragraph) -- so I have found that, again, as with ST2XL, I tend to not go to SS2 except for those handful of sounds that I'm in love with.

    One more thing that has GREATLY influenced my feelings (and may affect YOU): I use Cubase SX, and the SampleTank engine has a problem in Cubase that every part defaults to the same volume when you close and re-open the project. So it means that even if I spend time setting up combi patches in either ST2XL or SS2, when I use them in Cubase, I have to re-route everything so that each component patch has its own output, and then I have to adjust the relative volumes in CUBASE. I'm not sure if I explained that correctly, but TRUST ME, it's really a major, major PAIN. I didn't really discover this problem until AFTER I'd ordered both ST2XL and SS2, but the bottom line is that it really sucks HUGELY, and it really took my enthusiasm for the SampleTank-based sets to a new low.

    Summing up -- the SampleTank-based sets are really INCREDIBLE value for money, and GREAT for quickly throwing together demo's or sketches. DEFINITELY great for someone starting out. Of these two sets, SS2 beats ST2XL in quality, but ST2XL maybe -- maybe! -- beats SS2 in "breadth" of sounds -- it maybe has more variety, in other words, but also MUCH more hit-and-miss in quality, I feel.

    SO, having said all that, IF I HAD IT TO DO OVER AGAIN, and if I could afford it, I would WITHOUT HESITATION go for Collosus FIRST. It really sounds fantastic, and if it weren't for that dang price tag, I'd probably have it now... I surely don't "regret" buying the other two -- nothing of the sort! -- but my gut tells me I'd use Collosus much more than I ever use the other two now...

  5. #5

    Re: Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

    the new Purity should fall in this category



  6. #6

    Re: Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

    Quote Originally Posted by fr4ncesco
    the new Purity should fall in this category


    What Luxonix doesn't say on their website is their plug ins don't work with dual processor macs.

    If you have a PC I think they are fine

  7. #7

    Re: Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

    Awesome thread and info!

  8. #8

    Re: Best "Swiss Army Knife" VST

    Quote Originally Posted by fr4ncesco
    the new Purity should fall in this category


    You can't tell from the demo - all synth sounds


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