Update Oct 2007 The Kompakt player is now discontinued, and I can't get it to work on Vista anyway. There is a "Play" upgrade in the pipeline, but that requires a fee and an iLok. I had email exchange with the company re the out-of-tune instrument ... after initial denial they eventually agreed that a group of samples is out of tune, but would only recommend that I buy Kontakt and manually tune the offending samples myself. Oh deary me! I've spent an awful lot of money to get the run around like this!
Original review. My interest began with the stunning demos - I knew that I would have to get hold of this one at some point!
Installation is ok. Kompakt installer, then manual copy of the sound files from the 8 dvds to the library directory (I nearly forgot the sound files on the Kompact installer dvd). A proper automated installer would probably be preferrable, and is extremely simple to create. Why not?
C/R Registration worked eventually (NI servers down for a couple of days), but you can run unregistered and I already had the Direct from Disk extension with Stormdrum.
Low CPU use with my Dell 2.4 + 2g ram (Tracktion 2). Won't max cpu with long fast piano trills.
Kompact does a more than adequate job. Samples load quickly enough - and there is a progress bar.
I love almost all of these sounds which are across-the-board more realistic and expressive to play than the other sample libraries I have (Sampletank 1, Sonik Synth). Strangely one drum kit doesn't use choke on hi-hats, but the others do and the drums with round-robin feature are very good. Electric guitar patches are expressive and fun - an astonishing blues "leadmaster".
A more than decent bit of everything. Truly excellent Steinway piano, Hammonds, Rhodes, Salsa trumpets, Drums, Basses, Jazz Trombone, Orchestral stuff, Electric and most of acoustic guitars (see below). More than adequate choirs, saxes. Synth pads and leads are OK. Drones are interesting.
Only a Kompact instrument manual. Would have been nice to have a sounds manual covering the 160 instruments, explaining how they were designed to be played (eg you have to work out some of the chorded guitar patches by trial and error). But there is no fancy keyswitching so most things are pretty self-explanatory.
Colossus has now become the instrument I start off with. If the synth sounds won't cut it then I turn to Rhino and I have GPO for the detailed orchestral stuff and its fabulous organ. But if I had to manage with only one sample library then this would be it!
Only one rather surprising downer: the classical guitar patch has an entire octave which is unplayably out of tune (about a quarter tone sharp). This is not a cheap product and I would have expected an online update correcting this. Perhaps it's in the pipeline.
Finally - a purely personal opinion - I do feel that the pricepoint is likely to restrict the number of users - particularly those who already have libraries covering much of Colossus. This is a pity. Half the price would have - I suspect - led to considerably more than twice the sales. I searched hard for the cheapest price - I would not have paid full price as I already have a very good Yamaha piano, Stormdrum, Ultimate Bass Kit, Sonik Synth, Rhino and GPO already. I do love my Colossus though!