USERINTERFACE: The interface of the Simple Shiny Sampler from manytone productions and Linplug is exactly what the plug-in's name says it is: Simple and Shiny. With light wood side panels, a wood grain inlay, a black screen with red LED-Like dialog, and Shiny silver knobs and buttons, the 3S gets the point across rather well. It's got that classic "Linplug-Look", Which has pretty much been abandoned, so it's nice to still see it around. The one thing that bugs me about it is that it's rather small. If it were slightly larger there would be less strain on the eyes. Other than that it's great though.
SOUND QUALITY: This is where such a simple plug-in sampler might fail...but not 3S...plays back all wave files of 8-16 bit, any samplerate up to 96khz, and mono or stereo exactly as they were recorded. I haven't noticed any coloring of the audio at all. Pristine sound every time.
FEATURES: It's in the features area that one may not be interested....not becuase they are bad...but because there aren't a ton...keep in mind though, it's called "SIMPLE" shiny sampler...and that's exactly what it is. It's also free. With all that being said, I think it offers beautiful features. The Pro-Level sample rates supported and the velocity splitting alone are more than worth the download. Offers the basic Volume, Pan, and Pitch controls which all work flawlessly and loading/mapping samples is extremely quick and painless. There is only 1 thing i can really think of that would push the rating in this category to a 10. That would be the ability to set a different pan setting for each of the 4 samples (this would increase productivity when using it to act as your drumkit). It also comes with some fantastic didgeridoo samples!
DOCUMENTATION: 3S comes with a very in depth online manual in html format. True, it isn't the most complex sampler out there...but i was actually suprised at how complete the manual was. It takes the time to describe every detail of the synth and also gives the user some tips/suggestions on how to use it creatively.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT: Personally, i've never needed any support for this vsti. However, Manytone Productions has ALWAYS proved to be very helpful when i've had questions about their products. Never had to wait longer than 24 hours for a reply to any emails, etc.
VALUE FOR MONEY: Well, lets see folks...it's free. Doesn't cost you a thing except for some download time. It's not a huge download either so it should even be friendly to those still on dial up modems. Well worth it if you ask me.
STABILITY: Perfect. I have never had a crash, glitch, or otherwise with 3S...Even after using it in several hosts (EnergyXT, Nuendo, Logic (PC), MiniHost, etc..)
OVERALL: 3S is definitely worth a look, especially if you're new to sampling or just looking for a quick and easy sampling solution. It can be more versatile than it first appears as well...For example, you can layer up several 3S instances, each with a different set of 4 velocity split drum samples, and create a pretty sweet sounding drum track.
I found 3S to be a decent little sampler. It plays samples on time, without pops, and it doesn't crash. If you're looking for a simple sampler that you can toss into a project easily and reliably, I'd definately recommend it.
Manytone's customer support was fantastic. The first reviewer gave it a "1", but I have a feeling that's just due to the review process here at kvr (e.g., if you haven't used customer service, then do you give it a 10, or leave it at 1? There's no way to not rate it.) I had a couple questions initially, and they were answered via email almost instantly...and it was a friday night even!
Ok, on to what I think could be improved:
1) It's limited to 4 samples per instrument. But hey, it is FREE and you can fire up as many instances as you want. More samples would mean fewer piano rolls, and easier to program velocity sensitive instruments.
2) I wish that MIDI note numbers were used instead of note names. 3S's "C1" did not match C1 in all of the applications that I tried. Not a real problem or anything, just confusing at first. I also found it a little bit tricky to select note names with the mouse.
Aside from those issues 3S is a great little sampler. Download it!!!!!