First, let me state, I'm doing a full review that will be available at musicFAQ, http://www.musicfaq.net in conjunction with TraxMusic where I also review, http://www.traxmusic.org Having gotten that out of the way, here's a little bit about Colossus you might want to know.
If you want a General Midi library that is the last word on real, this is it. At first I thought, "great, just what the world needs, another GM synth." But that opinion changed the second I heard what East West was trying to do, which is, create a complete selection of sounds that are way beyond what we've come to expect from other libraries. These sounds are an order of magnitude above anything I've heard in a good sample based synth and at times is shocking how detailed and damn musical it is.
There's 16 gigs of GM based sample data. Ok, pianos...There are two gigabytes of acoustic piano. I don't care how it's marketed, that's a lot of piano and I'm happy to say it's the finest sounding piano I've heard. No matter the controller used, the pianos played and sounded great with percussive high end notes and thundering lower notes.
I suppose part of Colossus is a GM synth as long as you take all you've thought of previous General Midi and had a new look with the blinders off.
This is the most incredible collection of meat and potato sounds you will likely hear. That's because everything is played in real instrument ranges using techniques from actual players, all instruments are in the correct key and in range, so you will be changing sequences more than you might think. Your arrangement may change a little, but if you want reality, you'll find it here. It's GM but at it's absolute truest presentation, and unlike anything you've come to expect of GM libraries.
The electric pianos are nothing short of spectacular. Wurlitzer, Fender Rhoads and a to die for Yamaha CP electronic grand piano.
Orchestral instruments are courtesy of EWQLSO. The massed and solo strings have a wonderful quality which is closer miked than the Silver or Gold libraries, but this is sensible within the sound of this set and can be easily manipulated in the Kompakt front-end.
Choral sounds are also familiar, from the "Voices of the Apocylypse" collection and Guitars from the fairly recent guitar library release.
Especially nice are the percussion and ethnic instruments. I play many of these instruments and it's good to hear their actual playing technique. Will it change your GM sequence, hell yeah! And you'll find yourself thinking of changing things because these instruments are in their natural keys and note ranges. It is a shocking to hear this 24 bit, no compromise library of music that isn't insultingly lacking in depth of performance. And best of all, there's not one bad sound to be found! Every patch has a natural quality and many articulations as well as those you decide to create with the Kompakt GUI.
A bit about Kompakt now. I've written about the Kompakt specialty interfaces for several synths at this point along with the Intakt interface.
Within Kompakt you get amplitude, filter, 2 LFO and modulation envelopes. It is possible to create thick, beautifully expressive timbres with minimal programming. Best of all, Kompakt is laid out like a synth and makes sense to anyone familiar with synths. It's easy to learn if not.
So, if you like your marimbas a bit hotter and with more emphasis on the initial impulse hit, no problem, there's a 4 band eq or filters available that can be assigned AHDSR envelopes. The extra hold function is especially useful on drums and percussive sounds. If you program, you'll want to give this interface a spin. It is simple, yet highly capable.
As Kompakt has a total of eight multitimbral channels and each channel can easily handle 32 notes polyphony, your arrangements can be huge. Your old general midi files will recieve recessitation through the first dead serious treatment of General Midi instruments. To get the most out of Colossus, you'll end up rearranging your GM files, but it is worth that extra time and effort.
There are many old school organs, from hammond to farfisa. The acoustic and electric guitars range good to outstanding, and there are the truly ingenius programs such as the Stormdrones; multiple synths at the touch of a mod wheel, and incredibly creative in the programming department. There's even a 'Lost' Stormdrum library that is of exceptional quality.
That is the wonderful thing about Colossus. 32 gigs of sample data that, I dare say, has no filler material. While some of the set has been part of other libraries, a great deal hasn't and the mix isn't noticible in the least.
There are many categories of sounds, some with duplications, but in a senible way. Why trudge through GM setups to find traditional pads as the library has many extra timbres to their catagory, and it's consistant in Colossus.
Colossus isn't inexpensive, but if you want the absolute best at what it does, here it is.