Sumptuous Sounds

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As a significant added bonus, GigaStudio 3 Orchestra includes an 18 GB collection of samples from more than a dozen popular Giga-library developers. However, not all of the contributions are fully useful from a musical standpoint. Many are simply demo versions intended to entice you with a taste of the full product. Often they're hobbled in some way, for example by not furnishing an instrument's full range or by leaving out notes throughout the range. On the other hand, many of the offerings are full-blown instruments, and could serve as good starting points for a beginning library or as welcome additions to an established collection.

With more than 50 instruments in the GS3 Orchestra package, it would be impossible to cover them all, but here are a few noteworthy examples: One of the best instruments in the group is Tascam's own GigaPiano II, a completely new replacement for the original GigaPiano. Based on a clean, bright-sounding, 7-foot, 4-inch Kawai grand, GigaPiano II uses 24-bit resolution to capture every note on the piano for its full natural decay. Each note is provided with seven Velocity layers with the pedal up and seven layers with the pedal down. Special soundboard-resonance impulse-response files are included in GigaPulse Pro to add to the sense of realism.

Another great set of keyboard samples comes from Notre Dame de Budapest. It offers three lush organ patches with special impulse responses taken at the cathedral. Larry Seyer weighs in with an assortment of drum samples, Jim Corrigan chips in with a nice tri-cone resonator guitar, BiggaGiggas delivers a few classic DX7 sounds, and Project SAM adds an assortment of miscellaneous brass patches.

The biggest attraction, however, is the special Vienna Giga Symphony collection drawn from the highly regarded Vienna Symphonic Library. It supplies a full starter kit for orchestral composers and includes violin, viola, cello, and bass ensembles with staccato, sustain, tremolo, and pizzicato patches. It also includes a lovely assortment of woodwinds (piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon), solo and ensemble brass (horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba), harp, xylophone, and several percussion instruments. This is a fine sounding set of patches and adds genuine value to the GS3 Orchestra bundle.

For a more complete list of the sample-library contributors and the included patches, check out the GigaStudio 3 Web site: www.tascamgiga.com.