Ok, so Gary is my friend. I am a Garritan moderator. I may be a bit biased, BUT:
I have to tell you honestly that the Stradivari Violin is simply the best sampled instrument I have yet played.
“Revolutionary” is a term that is so often used that it is almost revolting to hear it anymore. In fact, it gives me gas. But this is because it is so often used when a more appropriate term might be “slightly innovative” or “an old idea slightly improved”. This is not the case with the Garritan Strad. It is truly – well - revolutionary!
It is revolutionary in both form and function. The sonic morphing is not some gimmick – it really works! Going from non-vibrato to vibrato or ppp to fff sounds completely natural – and in fact, for all intensive purposes, it is completely natural. The scripting allows the most convincing legato phrasing I have ever heard. Lifting your fingers off the notes in staccato fashion produces tight passages, while letting your fingers flow across the keyboard produces the sound of a 300+ year old classic instrument flowing with you. The convolution helps to capture the true character of the instrument – something that samples rarely accomplish.
At this point we have already surpassed the innovative category.
Now, I am a drummer. I have never seen a real Strad, much less, played one. But I have been using samples in my music since the late 80’s when sampling was in its infancy. I have had and used so many samples over the years that I can’t even imagine how many I have triggered. My 12 bit Roland S-50 got a lot of mileage before it was retired. Back in the 80’s, people were so amazed that the sound of real instruments could be triggered with a keyboard that it seemed the pinnacle of music technology had been reached. Some of us knew better. I think we all knew, to some degree, that memory, speed, and storage would allow more extensive samples of instruments. Gigasampler was the ultimate realization of that train of thought - followed, of course, by Gigastudio.
Today, I went to the post office here on my small remote island off the coast of Texas to check to see if my Strad had arrived (as I have done for the past few days). I smiled when I saw a little yellow slip inside my box. I handed it to the clerk who, over many years, has developed some idea of what I do, and the tools I use.
“What ya got this time?” he asked.
“A Stradivarius!”, I replied with a big smile.
Everyone in line heard this and looked somewhat puzzled. They were either puzzled because they don’t know what one is, or because they couldn’t understand how one could fit in such a small package.
“I’m serious!” I added.
The clerk said “Oh yea, one of those library things?”.
“Yup”, I confirmed.
I get it home, pop the disk in…hmmm…looks too small in size. Maybe I got a bad disc? Nope. I installed it, played it, freaked out, freaked out my wife, played it some more, glanced at the manual, played it again, got tired, went inside, read the manual, came back out to the studio, played it more, and decided that I should post something. This is a must have boys and girls.
For me, what really takes this from innovative to revolutionary is that the files provided on the disk are not a sample library. It, combined with Kontakt 2, turn your controller into an old, classic, unique, and unmatched instrument. The Strad is regarded as the most expressive instrument ever made - and that is also captured in this remarkable package. I tried to take a similar approach when I designed some guitar patches for Bela D’s Lyrical Distortion – though the Strad is light years ahead of me in this regard.
This is what sampled instruments should be in my opinion. Capturing the sound is not enough. This instrument should finally put to rest the bogus idea that "bigger is better" in the sample world.
For a few hours today, I played a Stradivarius. An unforgettable, once in a lifetime event – except that I get to do it again tomorrow.
Congratulations to Dr. Giorgio Tommasini, Stefano Lucato, and of course, our dear friend Gary.
Back to playing…