At its price, Ethno is an excellent buy. I installed Ethno Instrument version 1.0.0 a week ago. I could not direct Ethno to find its library on an external drive on the first install, but performing a second install allowed ethno to find its previously installed components (*.dat and *.ufs files) and update them in a fashion which I could later alter to direct Ethno to the proper external drive holding its library. The iLok install went smoothly for version 1.0.0. Once working, the sounds Ethno produced were simply superb. Unfortunately, version 1.0.0 had a playback problem on my machine (eMachine 6811 laptop 2400+ Athlon 64 with 1.25MB RAM) when running in FL Studio 7 and 8. A sound would start and, perhaps, play for a measure, then cut the instrument off. The instrument would have to be reinstalled in the host for the sounds to play again. I later discovered version 1.0.1, an unreleased beta, at MOTU’s site. Installing the iLok update for version 1.0.1 took some practice, however, after a few attempts I got it right. The install of version 1.0.1 was straight forward and I was able to edit the *.dat and *.ufs files to find the library on an external disk in my system. I’m glad to announce that version 1.0.1 fixes the ‘cutoff problem’ on my machine. However, it is a really CPU hog in FL Studio 7 and 8: eating up to 75% with one instance running two tracks of didge sounds, one track of flute, and one of percussion! (The same result obtains for four instances running one track each.)
In past compositions I have used ethic samples in wav form extensively. To get things right required lots of wav file editing, re-pitching, and stretching in Live and Acid. Ethno goes a long way to eliminate the necessity of doing this.
Most of the ethnic styles I’m familiar with are covered and there were one or two surprises for me in the Middle Eastern instruments. I have to say, though, that for someone with a large ethnic sample set; Ethno will seem somewhat limited in breath and depth for a 'universal world/ethnic instrument'. My particular (depth) complaint here is the lack of a more extensive didgeridoo sound set. While what Ethno has is good, it needs a lot more rhythms and drones to be 'universal'.
More urgently, perhaps, Ethno needs more voice styles. Notably missing are Chinese and Japanese voices, various throat singing styles like the Inuit and Tuvan, Tibetan monk and nun chanting, Maori chants, and Polynesian singing. Also, Polynesian and Hawaiian instruments need to be covered. I assume these omissions will be addressed in future releases. (I dread to think how large the library will grow with such inclusions!)
My overall impression of Ethno is that it is an excellent addition to any computer musician’s collection of software instruments, especially where they don’t have an extensive library of ethnic sounds. Ethno sounds like the instruments in the various areas represented. Ethno offers ambient synth sounds, which is more than I'd have expected in an ethnic oriented instrument. The documentation covers the feature set adequately. The presets are all pretty useful. I've had no need for customer support. For about $300US, its a good buy. (There's a specialty gamelan instrument in the market for $500US, which I'll be interested in comparing soon.) Version 1.0.1 seems quite stable, although it needs to be optimized for CPU utilization.