What about AAS String Studio? Some of its timbre shaping options are still unique and have not been emulated by any other PM synth. For example, what happens to the string when you release your finger? Stuff like this is where a good physical modelling engine ought to go. It shouldn't be just about nailing the main 'body' of the sound, the sound we get when it is triggered, it should also be about all the performance artefacts that happen 'around' it.
I agree... it does still have some unique functions... we could easily have double the number of PM synths and not be approaching sonic saturation.
Sound wise, the AAS stuff definitely deserves to be on this list.
I recall having difficulty with the initial attack impulse in String Studio. I couldn't get rid of the model's impulse noise in the signal chain (wanting to only hear the result of said impulse). Was this ever addressed?
It was a ticking sound, if I recall correctly. I recall it was not solved by changing the envelope attack (i wanted a fast attack without a tick or click). I would post a link to my discussion about the issue at the AAS forum, but they killed the forum some years ago (a bad choice, IMO).
String Studio is on my upgrade list, but in the "maybe" column. I have the whole AAS modeling collection (all first versions except Tasman, which was my doorway drug to AAS). They're neat products. Moving to Logic X, finally, I need to buy a bunch of upgrades to get 64-bit.
I just haven't decided if I want to deal with the GUIs in AAS's products. Especially when the product I most liked was abandoned (Tassman). Even the newer versions of their products are a bit small and hard to look at (they attempted to accommodate, but didn't go far enough). I really like the visual style of the elements, just not the layout and sizes. I'd hate for them to catch the flat fad disease.
Still, great sounding modeling products. I'm sad they don't get more attention. Including by the developers