Just received the CD, and I have to say you guys did a pretty good job. I now have 3 major Strat libraries and a couple of free PD soundfonts, and except for one of the soundfonts, I\'ve found them each distinctive and useful.
This is a very clear and uncluttered set. Doesn\'t have tons of distinctive character, which means that\'s its character! Check it out.
These forums are read by a lot of folks, and I haven\'t had either GS or the libraries long enough to do a proper review. I\'d hate to make statements that were based on ignorance, or personal bias. But... you asked for it! (sigh)
I have the Amps and Pickups CD, complete, (A&P). ProSamples QL Guitar and Bass (PS), Quantum Leap 56 Strat (56) and now the Digitalcomplete set (DC).
I have a recording studio partially for hire as commercial/jingle work, songwriters demos, etc. and partially for my own creative work. It\'s a Mackie d8b and HDR2496 with Digital Performer. I use a 333MHz Win 98 PC that\'s due for replacement, but 40 GB of 7200 RPM storage available just for audio files. I\'m running GS 96, but the computer will only handle 64 voices, so even though I bought the upgrade, I\'m not going to install it till I get a newer box.
My own work is largely smooth, fusion, straight-ahead and big-band jazz, R&B, funk and what I call Electronic Impressionism, simply because it doesn\'t match up with the current record bin slots. (Sort of New Age (Old Age?) filmish, soulful electronica.)
I don\'t do hard rock or rap, though some of my stuff fits in the hip-hop genres. Also, and very important in this context, I don\'t do signal processing in any other PC-based program. My guitars either are recorded back into Digital Performer and processed with DP plug-ins, or recorded into DP thru an H&K Tubeman, which has recently developed noise problems (so I\'m not using it.) I\'m still waiting for ReValver, the GS version, or some equivalent. Thus ALL comments are based on the usefulness to ME of the raw samples as played from my keyboard (and possibly heavily tweaked in DP.) These comments are therefore pretty useless to hard/heavy metal/grunge/speed etc. rockers and other \'scream-based\' sample-guitarists.
I want my guitar samples to be either George Benson/Mundell Lowe warm (as opposed to Charlie Christian/Django-style short decay style), finger-pick folkie, Steely-Dan pop or Larry Carleton-esque.
In that specific context, with those caveats, and based solely on my own audio vision (is that an oxymoron?), here are my impressions, many of which are subject to further study:
Amps & Pickups:
This is the only set that has what I consider a useable out-of-the-box distorted lead Les Paul sound without requiring external processing. There are lots of very useful other guitars (twelve-string, acoustic finger-pick and flatpick, etc.) that I haven\'t used much yet. But the single note instruments are all very believable. Moderate amount of what I\'ll call \'character,\' tonal distinctiveness. Character, as I\'m using the word makes the set more believable on its own without any special attempt to tweak or alter the sound, but also makes it easier to identify as part of this library when heard in an production context (like that furshlugginer eagle cry Hollywood Edge gave away on their demo CD that every cheap TV production uses in desert scenes! Here we are in Arizona-cawwwww...)
The chord gigs are of little help to me, as they\'re straight-ahead rock-oriented (or county-oriented) voicings, not the way a jazz player would chord. But a stupid little rhythm demo test I did came off quite
believable in the style. (Sorry, I trashed it-nothing I\'d let anybody else hear, even my wife!)
ProSamples QL Guitar and Bass (PS):
Very nice recordings, have not had much use for the guitars (to be fair, I got the disk for the basses, which are nice, but still not Scarbee basses! I bought this AFTER QL Strat, just to round out the library ($39 at Guitar Center...)
In general, there\'s not enough material of one type in the entire ProSamples series that I bought (not just the Guitar/Bass set, but Pop Brass, Orchestral Brass, Classic Orchestra, World Instruments, and Choirs to be useful in any but limited context-but I did get a few of the percussion loop CDs that are OK if you\'re like me, drum-track deprived... Makes me want the entire library (in other words, does its job... )
The quality of the samples is overall quite good (it is QL, after all) but I haven\'t used the guitars on anything real. The acoustic guitars are quite nice, and playable in a variety of settings.
The MSTK sets are quite usable for single notes as long as you don\'t sustain too long, but don\'t work in a chordal context (two distorted samples played together is NOT the same as two notes played together and distorting.)
NOODLE set has no use I can find, just an echoed and inconsistent series.
POWCHD, HENDRX and BLUE are very limited-only an octave, and one chord.
STRAT ANDERS is a quite useful unprocessed Strat, a little inconsistent, but quite playable.
Basses-2PU bass is a good overall general purpose bass, not much character. Stingray does nothing for me, but rockers and surfers might like it. Nothing wrong with it, I just have no use for that tone.
Overall, the disk is well worth the $39, just for variety.
Quantum Leap 56 Strat (56)
Great recording and implementation
, but I need to run the output into some kind of distortion pedal/echo/fuzz/etc. before I like the sound.
When (if) Revalver is released for GS, this will be my \'best\' lead guitar, but right now, I reach for A&P.)
Three gigs - Bridge (13MB), Neck (12MB) and Notch (2MB).
I\'m going to defer any real evaluation if this set-it is a real GS set, with keyswitching and the goodies Nick is famous for, and I don\'t know GS or this library well enough to properly judge it. Like listening to a recording of John Coltrane three weeks after he first picks up the sax, I\'m sure it doesn\'t do him justice.
I will say, however, the gigs are well-produced and thought out. Lots of tonal character. It is up to ME to learn to use it properly, and I haven\'t done that yet.
I\'ve used these as BG guitar \'pads\' (not in text, but in context). There is relatively little color/character to these samples, so they blend well with any context I\'ve used them in so far.
They are limited in scope, I believe deliberately, to make using multiple gigs in one track easy (or, they could just be lazy???)
You get two primary sets, processed and unprocessed, with several gig files in each. Each gig has sustain, staccato, pull and mute. Pull is like a bass pull, short and poppish, but longer than staccato. Mute cuts the sustain, but does not sound to me like it is being palm muted, more like it was cut short with an envelope (but this could just be my perception.)
The processed set includes Chorus, Clean, Distorted, Phase, Plate, Preamp (Distortion) and Rotowah gigs.
Unprocessed include Harmonics, Hooks/bends, POS2 mute, staccato and sustain, POS4 mute staccato and sustain and power chords. Harmonics are adequate, but weak, Hooks and bends has bends on lower keys then maps short phrases across several keys, so the tempos change.
POS2 and POS4 mutes and staccato are fine. Sustain works well for rhythm playing, but the slow release time makes it clumsy for single line solo work of the type I do. Power chords, oddly, are root/five distorted notes that are muted, not sustained.
I have used this set for rhythm guitar finger-style parts on a shuffle I\'m working on as a test bed for the guitar-bass gigs I have. It will probably be a few weeks before it\'s ready for listening, as I have other priorities in the studio at present. When I have something far enough along that it makes sense, I\'ll put a sample on my web site.
That\'s all I can really say about this now. Please be aware:
a) I\'m pretty new to GS, although I have lots of experience on the Akai S900, both using and creating/looping samples.
b) I don\'t get to spend nearly as much time on my own music as I should, between my day gig and 3 nites a week.
c) I have VERY explicit demands for guitar parts, some of which I have to say are filled by NO gig I currently own. My preferred lead distortion guitar is my XP-80. Still not what I want, but so far, it\'s the closest. (Again, if ReValver GS is ever released...)
d) There are few duds, or poor sampling work here. All these sets are useful. My preferences and selections are based on esthetic, not technical grounds. I regret none of the purchases, and have no desire to sell any of them, even if it were legal.
Please do NOT take any comment made here as a definitive, final evaluation of a particular product. As I said, I am very particular about specific qualities I want in specific compositions, the next one I write could just as easily find the sample I couldn\'t stand in another piece is perfect for this one.
Hope this doesn\'t just make it more confusing, Munsie. If it does, well, I\'m just doing my job!
I\'d love to be able to post a demo or two of some of the libraries, but so far haven\'t had time to spend on relevant material. These days I\'m working on either a really cool CD for a gal who has her own guitar players or MIDI sequences featuring a Roland SC-88 for my regular duo gig.
But as time permits, I have a couple of things on the back burner. When they\'re done simmering, I\'ll link them up.