I purchased and downloaded Westgate Studios GS3 oboe a couple of days ago. Last night I was able to install and play it. All I can say is "wow!"
Okay. I lied. I can say much more than that!
The size is about 900MB. I downloaded it on a fast connection at work in about five hours without a download accelerator. I came in the next morning, and it all came through. (Yay!)
Installation was a snap. It's a self-installing exe. Just point it to "E:\Gigs\WGS\Oboe", or whatever, and the files are there in short order.
There are different gigs for short notes, sustains, runs, dynamics, multiphonics and such, but the real treat are the two gsi legato files. One has a nice, subtle vibrato, and the other is NV. Both have five dynamic layers that are nice and close to one another. The transition between dynamic layers in inaudible.
I mentioned that the vibrato is subtle, and that's a good thing. You won't tire of hearing this oboe. And the sound is absolutely wonderful. Best of all, the attention to detail matches that of VSL. The attacks, intonation, tibre, vibrato and dynamics are wonderfully consistent. I only own the Vienna instruments that ship with GS3 (I'm cheap), and I have to say that the WG oboe matches VSL's quality. I also have a gut feeling that the Westgate oboe is a bit more "human" or less sterile than the GS3 VSL samples. Maybe, if I owned Opus or the Cube, I would have a different perspective, so please allow for my limited experience with VSL's products.
I do own Westgate's original and extended woodwind libraries. This oboe sound is much cleaner, and the dynamic spacings between layers are much tighter. The new version has a spit and polish that the previous one didn't have. The biggest problem with the old lib was that it didn't do fast, legato runs.
I loaded up the oboe's vibrato, legato GSI file, and was happy out of the box. WGS uses a simpler legato than VSL, and it works very nicely. It gives a nice attack when leaving space between notes, and flows smoothly when overlapping. It has five dynamic layers and plays without jumps. It simply falls to hand.
I've been getting into GS3's DEF filter lately. To use it, load an instrument, right click it (in the lower, right-hand pane), select iMIDI rules, add the Dynamic Expression Filter, select a filter file and apply. You can then control the expression with the mod wheel. Unlike simple filters, when you go dark with the sound, the DEF still leaves some air at the top end.
Of course, I had to try the DEF filter on the oboe to see if it would take it to the next level. It did.
I found that GS3's "Ensemble Woodwinds" filter worked best - the "Solo Woodwinds" filter was too bright for my ears. Apply the filter to both instruments in the legato GSI stack. One is for sustains, and the other for the intervals. If you don't do both, the intervals will be too bright when the sustains are dark and will "pop out". Do both, and they track perfectly.
Having now read the manual, I found that WGS has implemented a standard filter on CC4. I'll have to give that a try as a point of comparison.
Anyway, with the DEF filter, I can push the oboe to be brighter or darker than the original samples, still get the velocity touch, and add expression to each and every note. Combine this with the playability and smoothness of the legato, and it's like butter.
For years I've been frustrated by not being able to play smooth, fast, expressive lines with woodwinds. Sure, there was VSL, but I'd never justify the cost to my wife and family. But $70? Sure, I can spend $70!
The bottom line is that if you want a great sounding oboe that is expressive, can be played fast or slow in real time and doesn't scare your accountant away, find a reliable Internet connection and download this lib without hesitation. It's the real deal.