Soundlib G-Player 1.2.1 (Mac/Win) Review

G-Player ($149) is a native Giga player that plays GigaStudio and GigaSampler libraries directly without needing to convert them to a different format.
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This is a multitimbral setup in G-Player, with a Stack loaded into the fourth slot. To the right is the window for adjusting the key range of each instrument within the Stack.

G-Player ($149) is a native Giga player that plays GigaStudio and GigaSampler libraries directly without needing to convert them to a different format. It supports disk streaming, keyswitching, dimensions, release triggers, and multilayer crossfades. G-Player operates as a cross-platform standalone application; a VST plug-in for Windows; and an AU, VST, or RTAS plug-in for the Mac. Also included is a single-instrument version of the plug-in called G-Solo.

Each 16-part multitimbral instance of G-Player can save and load complete setups. You can control each part''s MIDI channel, audio output, mute, solo, volume, pan, and tuning (±100 cents). A dropdown menu displays the loaded patch''s overall info and its particular dimensions, as well as providing access to pitch-bend range. Velocity and ADSR settings let you tweak the amplitude (labeled VCA) envelope, and the lowpass filter (labeled VCF) offers cutoff, velocity, attack, and release parameters.

Let''s Get Loaded
Loading a Giga file is straightforward, through either the instrument panel or the built-in browser. Once you''ve loaded an instrument, any other instruments residing within that Giga file are available to any instrument slot in G-Player. You can also create stacks that let you load multiple instruments into a single slot with individual control of mute, solo, volume, tuning, pan, and key range for each instrument within the stack. When you use stacks, however, you lose controls for pitch-bend range, amplitude, and filter, which are normally available for single instruments.

G-Player is efficient in its CPU usage. Disk streaming is automatically implemented for instruments that require it, and I encountered no problems at all streaming large setups. You can tweak the global settings for sample preload, but the default settings worked quite well with my MacBook Pro and 6GB RAM. Windows users will be glad to hear that unlike GigaStudio, G-Player doesn''t require a GSIF audio card, and it works perfectly well with ASIO.

Although G-Player can save and recall setups created from scratch (GPP files), version 1.2.1 will load only Giga instrument files (GIG) and not Giga Performances. Fortunately, Soundlib says that a forthcoming update will load both GSI and GSP setups. In the meantime, I had no problems creating elaborate multitimbral setups and saving them within Apple Logic Pro, along with additional plug-ins, as either channel-strip or performance settings.

Sound, Liberated
No longer needing a separate PC with its own MIDI and audio interfaces has breathed new life into my extensive Giga sample library and simplified my session and live rigs. G-Player does have some limitations, though, so don''t kick that old PC curbside just yet. You can''t edit instruments in nearly as much detail; to retune individual samples, for example, you''ll still need GigaStudio. G-Player''s VCA and VCF parameters are useful, but not elaborate. Although G-Player allows you to modify the instruments to some degree, it is still just a player.

In future versions (updates are frequent), Soundlib plans on adding 64-bit support for the Mac (it already supports 64-bit Windows) and the ability to crossfade between instruments in a stack—features not available in GigaStudio. Among the other items on my wish list is being able to transpose incoming MIDI notes routed to individual instruments. Because some of my string sounds play in different octaves, I wish I could shift patches up or down an octave to match the other layers in a stack without having to edit the Giga file in GigaStudio. A conversation with the developer left me with the impression that it would be simple to implement individual instrument transposition, so I''m crossing my fingers.

For changing volume, G-Player lets you determine whether instruments respond to either CC 7 (volume) or CC 11 (expression controller). I''d prefer that each instrument could respond to MIDI volume and expression separately; at the very least, I''d like to be able to determine the setting for each instrument slot individually. I also wish I could specify how much RAM each instrument and setup consumed. And though G-Player''s graphics are functional, I would like to be able to resize the entire window and panes. I commend Soundlib for successfully resuscitating the Giga format—at least until Garritan (which acquired the platform from Tascam) releases a new Giga player of its own—and especially for porting the format over to the Mac. G-Player isn''t perfect, but the price is certainly right, and it will extend the useful life of your Giga library.

Overall rating (1 through 5): 4
Soundlib G-Player Product Page