( www.spectrasonics.net , $279 street)
Fig. 5. Trilian’s main page covers the basics, but other pages let you drill deep into the STEAM audio engine.
Spectrasonics started the trend to huge libraries; their Trilogy bass instrument— Trilian’s predecessor—had a gigantic (for the time) 3GB library. Trilian ups that tenfold, with 33GB of electric, acoustic, and synth bass samples. The STEAM engine also powers their awesome Omnisphere synth; you can even load Trilian sounds into Omnisphere.
Trilian includes all of Trilogy’s sounds, with Trilogy presets adapted for the STEAM technology. (However, a project with Trilogy instruments won’t load the Trilian ones automatically; you’ll need to find the name for the Trilogy patch, search for it in Trilian, then load it.)
In typical Spectrasonics fashion, Trilian goes the extra mile. You can mix phaselocked miked and direct sounds for the new bass sounds; for repetitive notes, Trilian uses round-robin sample selection to avoid “machine-gun” repetitions, and incorporates slides and other expressive elements (e.g., legato and release articulations, which you can initiate as you play). As to sounds, you not only have the usual P-Bass and its ilk, but also Chapman Stick, 8-string bass, lots of great synth sounds, and more—including an acoustic bass with 21,000 samples (I’m glad I didn’t have to edit them). Use the browser-meetsdatabase to find what you want, and if your system lacks RAM, there are “lite” versions of RAMhungry instruments.
Think that’s all? Ha! There are four main editing pages for each of two layers. The Main edit page (Figure 5) is not “one-size-fits all”; parameters are tailored for each bass (but can be modified), so electric bass might have an amp sim with mixing controls, while a synth might have filtering and FM options (of course, all controls do “MIDI learn”). The Edit page is where people like me start drooling, because it offers serious sound editing options, from FM to envelope to unique options—like the cool “Harmonia” control that adds overtones.
The effects page lets you add up to four insert effects per layer; four master effects slots affect both layers. Then there’s the Arpeggiator page, which is essentially a step sequencer that even includes swing and can import standard MIDI files (Sonar’s brush patterns work great with this).
What’s more, a multi page can stack up to eight bass sounds at once (one fave: stack Chapman Stick with arpeggiated synth bass, and send each sound to its own output). The multi FX page has four aux buses that can load four effects, along with four master effects. Stacking accommodates splits and crossfades based on note position, velocity (great for switching between different articulations), or continuous controllers.
There’s even a live mode page.
I have many fine bass sounds and play bass, so I figured Trilian would be great fun to review and then would likely sit on my hard drive. Nope. This is the bass fanatic’s bass instrument, and it’s going to get a lot of use. Spectrasonics is synonymous with top quality instruments; Trilian remains true to that legacy.