Stylus has something like 1000 kicks, 1000 snares and 500 hihats + loads of loops. Phew. Now that is a lot to audition. They all sound great, but it's a bit of a pain finding the right one, as they are not categorized.
Most of the sounds are aimed at hip hop/funk but you can find something for most styles though. The loops are mainly these 2 styles and Drum n' Bass for the faster loops. That's not too much of a problem as I usually removes the kick and snares and then you have tons of posibilities again. All the loops sound superb, although too much alike.
The biggest problem with Stylus is that it's not multitimbral. Sure you can use all the drumhits in a loop in one instance, but once you want another snare you have to open another Stylus. That's a bit of a pain when you are sequencing. But Stylus RMX which comes out in September should take care of that. Can't wait. It'll turn a great ROMpler into a superb one. Eric's sounds are just the best.
I don't give it as high scores as someone does, as I think it can get improved a lot, and I know it will be.
I'm sure once Stylus RMX comes out I'll rate it 10 in all categories. And the upgrade will be free for everyone who buys it now. I'm sure it will be the king of drum machines then.
Just picked this up. I find that the interface needs some work as well as the way Stylus works in general. For instance, you preview a loop from one list, and then if you want to use that loop in a "recycle" fashion, you have to find it and load it again from another list, then you have to go to the Windows start menu, find your way through that and dig through several more levels of folders to find a corresponding midi file to drag and drop on Stylus...Just to get control of the individual slices! Then do it all over and over again for each loop you want to use. This is honestly pretty bad. I have to wonder why they chose the Windows Start menu for the midi files and on a Mac it's in the Apple menu. Since I'm using FL Studio, I pointed FL's internal browser at the location of the midi files to make it somewhat less tedious. I'm surprised they couldn't figure out a better way to integrate the midi files than dragging and dropping them from the Windows Start menu.
As for the samples themselves, I didn't find more than a few that were inspiring after listening to everything from 120bpm down. I'm also surprised to find that some of the drum parts aren't separated properly. There are parts with, for example, kick and hi hat mixed into one slice with no way of separating it. I expect that when I slice up beats myself, but not from an expensive soundset. It also doesn't have multi-outs so serious mixing of these drums will involve a lot more work unless you output the drum loop to wave, reslice it and load it into a something like Battery. The way it stands currently, all drum parts will be on a single mixer channel.
Stylus will be a very good tool when they get these things sorted, most importantly, multi-outs for the slices. Right now, I'm thinking that I'm gonna preview loops with Stylus, and reslice them with Beat Creator to make Battery kits simply to get each part on it's own channel. I'm hoping that a future update wil address this serious shortcoming. I think it's almost impossible to mix drums on a single channel which gives Stylus a very large minus.
The one thing very unique about it is that you can take a beat from 120 bpm down to 75 bpm and it still sounds pretty good. There are also a few other nice tricks up it's sleeve which are demonstrated on the demo video.
Overall, I'd say it's a good value for the money depending on how you plan to use it. For me, I have to get each drum part on a separate channel so I'm looking for the best way to achieve this. If this gets added in a future update, I can probably deal with the dual menus for previewing, vs dragging/dropping midi files from another menu.
Well when I first started playing around with stylus I was alittle dissapointed as at first it seems like most of the grooves/loops in it were really not my "cup of tea" but ...
When I started mixing it into tracks it became apperant that these grooves sit really nicely in a mix regardless of the musical "style" (no pun intended :)). Had I not actaully used it in some tracks I would have probably given it a 7 on sound, but in a mix ... it gets a 10. The sounds work well with some compression, reverb, delay etc.
Whats really nice about stylus is that you can drop a grove in on top of a mix to liven it up or start a whole new song based on one of the grooves ... it all works wonderfully once you start to make real music with it.
I like the simple interface. The ability to filter/process individual slices is nice; however I havent so far really wanted too.
I do wish there were more percussion type loops, there are some but I wish there were more.
I have ran into a few clitches along the way ...
1) when used on a track and you zone edit ... the names of the slices dont change like they do when playing directly from a keyboard ... maybe this is by design but I would have liked to see this for more feedback.
2) I had some problems in Orion with the imported midi files not playing back correctly but in cubase SX it works correctly ... Ive reported this to rich so it should be fixed in short order.
I think this unit could be a little less expensive but all in all Im happy I got it. :)
Very Refreshing drum loops (though a bit "west coast-ish"), that are clearly inspirational. You should be able to extract any drum beat from the clear editing and amazing choice. However I would have like to see a more european feel in some of the loops, but I guess it can be tweaked with a combination of the interface and the midi groove extracted into the sequencer.
However (somebody correct me if I am incorrect) but the system of corresponding slices to midi slices is rather cumbersome. It involves first loading up the slices, then finding the corresponding midifile to load into the sequencer. Rather it should allow a preview of the loop, allow you to then load the slices, and then drag and drop the midi file like phatmatic. For this I cannot give a higher user interface mark and hopefully one day this feature will be added.
Stylus is very easy to use, the automation you can do on each "slice" of the main beat is amazing, especially since, you just load the midi file, the c.g. version of the loop, turn on zone edit, and tweak away.
I have used stylus in new age type tracks, all the way to dance, to hip hip.
then you throw in no license worries, they are going to update stylus, the customer service is very good....etc etc etc.
and on a 667 with enough RAM, you barely even notice your using it.
I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of praise for Stylus. I've been a fan of Mr Persing for some time and was really looking forward to a breakbeat-styled product from Spectrasonics. I have long wanted to use loops as they really do add something to programmed drums but I never found a sample resource that had that magic that seems to come from lifting breaks from other peoples' records.
Within 5 minutes of loading Stylus I stopped writing down the names of loops I liked: there were just too damned many of them :) Most had that elusive magic and they really added something to the tracks I was working on. It's like collaborating with a good musician-they suggest new avenues that the piece might venture down while, at the same time, seriously getting on with the job.
And it's not like you're stuck with them either. With Groove Control it's ridiculously easy to tailor the loops to your track, retaining the sound but changing the feel. And since Stylus has got really good filters and very, very useful modulation options, you can go the other way too: radically changing the sound while completely retaining the feel. Everything can be automated, so you can continuously shift between the altered sounds/groove and their original form. And the interface is well designed, so doing all of this is a piece of highly chocolatey cake. Mmmmmm. Cake.
Support, as most of you know, is exemplary. As for VFM, Stylus is (relatively speaking) an expensive tool but you definitely get what you paid for: the material is incredibly diverse and of an exceptionally high sonic quality.
I did nip off a mark for documentation because I would have liked a list of the loops, hits, etc for reference purposes. Also, way too many of the single kick drum hits have hat/cymbal noises on them. I'd have preferred them clean.
Parting shot: if spectrum is listening, I'd like more percussion loops - I can see myself using them even more than the breaks in the future. Ta for the killer tool.
very simple and easy to use. i like that.. everything makes sense. its easy to glance at it and know what your settings are.
man! let me tell you there are some excellent sounding beats and breaks in here! the fact that they're also all "sliced" up for with the GC versions of each loop, you get ultimate control.. its unreal. its like getting 3 gigs worth of a dope sample library all wrapped in an easy to use player.
great simple features. i can see tons of room for enhancements that i bet spectrasonics will probably implement (like importing of new samples, and etc). but for the most part, it is what it says. a break beat driven, groove control virtual module. great stuff.
it was ok.. but when is anyone ever happy with documentation? there was some spots that i had to figure out, but the interface was simple enuf i wasn't too stumped.
well duh.. its all about the presets on this baby.. FREEKIN 3000 LOOPS! YIKES!
excellent! all questions answered very quickly (and spectrum is a kvr member and very responsive)
Value for money:
more than worth it. think about how much 3GB of drum loops would cost. thats, 5 sample CDs. usually 99bux a piece. also, you need a sampler to take advantage of these, more money you'd need to spend. with that in mind, stylus is rediculously cheep!
well, i've had it crash cubase SX for me. also, cubase SX doesn't implement drag and drop functionality, which would make using stylus so much more easy.. as importing the GC'd midi files is a pain in the ass.
I've had Stylus for over a month now and it has to be the most inspiring production tool i have ever used !!!
The interface looks great and is idiot proof, no scrolling through loads of pages its all there infront of you.
All your movents on interface are automatically recorded when you go into zone edit mode, which is really handy if your doing stuff on the fly.
The filter's sound wicked, and can be assigned to your choice of controller.
There's a really neat 'Random' setting which does some mad thing's to your loops, and sounds great on bongo's/conga's, it gives them a sort of 'live jam' feel.
When the filters are used together with pitch you can really make some of the drums scream!! and these are all assignable to each key for some mad effects on the Groove Control loops.
The loops themselves sound great and cover all genres of Breakbeat material, with 1000 to choose from, i don't think i've heard all of them yet. (there's almost too much to choose from).
The Groove menu's are a great place to start from, they're tempo grouped and placed across the keyboard, its good to use these to see how the loops fit together.
There's a choice of 'Groove Menu's' or 'Swing Menu's'
with 4 tempo sources in each.
Once you find a loop you want to use Stylus will tell you which GC file it came from! (save's a hell of a lot of searching :)
Groove control is where this thing comes into it's own though.
The individual slice's all sound brilliant and once loaded recreating your own versions of the loops is a doddle.
With 38,000 different samples including Kick, Snare and perc menus your not stuck to the sound of the origonal loop if you don't want to be.
It been rock solid on my Mac and use's hardly any of the CPU. So if you want, you could open loads at the same time without your computer falling down
All in all if i could give Stylus more points i would, It really is impressive and easy to use.
I highly recommend it to anyone who want's TOTAL CONTROL over their beats.
I finally submit my raving fan review: I've had it for over a month, and I use it ALL the time. This rates a 10/10 because I just can't stop using it.
Hundreds of very good loops - better than most other sample CDs I've bought. The quality is is absolutely unparalleled - Spectrasonics does not mess around with fidelity.
There's the loops, whole and sliced ("groove control", which is actually more tha sliced - each bit sounds good on its own), as well as 3000+ very usable drum hit sounds.
The user interface is very easy to use. It is intuitive to manipulate the individual loop slices. It encourages experimentation and "playing" with the loop slices in a way that even Reason's Dr Rex can't quite manage.
If I had a complaint, it would be that loading the midi files for the "groove control" requires that you leave the application, but at least the directory structures are easy to navigate, and the loops and midifiles are well named - you really can't get confused. Ideally, there would be a "load loop" function inside of stylus, but I'll survive.
But basically, this is a fantastic value for the money. It sounds great, it has SCADs of sounds, a very good user interface. In the final analysis, I can't STOP using it, so I give it highest marks.
For Support and Docs, high marks now, because Spectrum is active on these boards, and they just released a very good PDF manual. Never a crash.
Latest 9 reviews from a total of 9