I haven't really experienced the Aria player. But I have enjoyed playing my Garritan products through Kontakt 3.5. I imagine that the upgrade to GPO4 will write new sample formats that will be incompatible with Kontakt. Am I assuming correctly or will the sounds also be available to Kontakt?
GPO4's sample pool is an all new one tweaked to work in the Aria player. But since we can use Aria/GPO4 alongside the previous Kontakt version of GPO - there's no need to replace your old GPO files. You can have both working side-by-side in your projects. KP3 is pretty hip - You'll need to keep using it for JABB and CMB if you have those Garritan Libraries, at least until they make the transition into Aria also.
I figured as much. I'm weighing out whether or not the upgrade would be worth it for me. I already have Sam Horns and Sam Trombones. The Choir interests me though. How's it sound? And how do you like the control you get with the Aria Player?
Since you already have Sam Horns and Trombones, you already have more brass power for those two instruments than are included in GPO4. But in GPO4 there are also the Sam Trumpet and Tuba. Horn, trombone and trumpet each have a section sample available for instant large group sounds. In all cases, except the Sam Tuba which has just one sample set included, GPO4 has the basic samples of these instruments --several "players" for each, a soloist, and the section samples, all with keyswitches.
I haven't heard anybody on the creative team for GPO4 make extravagant claims for the Choir. It's a usable, standard kind of Choir sample set, with the inevitable gaps and unnatural formant leaps being a bit obvious as you go up and down the scales, since many fewer samples are used than notes. It's a "sketch" Choir one could say.
The Aria player itself is a huge improvement over KP2. Users ares being able to truly use it intuitively. People are finding that they can open it, and very quickly see what's supposed to happen. The added controls for Auto Legato and Stereo Stage are helpful tools. The engine runs more efficiently than KP2 also. There's no doubt that the Aria is a major improvement in the upgrade.