This is one powerful beast of a synth. My Wavestation and MicroWAVE are quivering in their rackmounts! :)
Sound quality is top notch, though I have found certain combinations of filter/frequency/waveform do lead to unintentional distortion if not treated with proper respect - in this, it does behave in a manner akin to some of my older analogue hardware synths.
The new modulation matrix provides a great many new possibilities. Even without using the excellent built in arpeggiator, it is capable of complex pseudo phrase sequencing sounds courtesy of the Step LFO and with the proper programming - wave sequencing, vector synthesis and a whole lot more.
Although the provided presets were not to my taste, I found programming new sounds easy.
It clearly stands out of the large crowd of VST synths and is one of bests synths out there. A monster like this one could never have been build in hardware because it would cost $xxxxx.
Sound ----- Clean, warm, very versatile, huge sonic range. It fit very well to the mix. There are some excellent dance presets, but it can do a lot more. You can for example morph a saxophone to a piano. A lot of synthesis methods can be done with this beast: FM, AM, Substractive, Additive, Phase distortion, HCM ...
Interface --------- The large interface is very usefull and quite easy to use. The synth is easy to tweak. The GUI seems to be rendered with shadows and reflections. It gives a very professional look. There are 'lighting' buttons all over the UI.
Features -------- There is nearly nothing that it can't do.
Presets ------- 700 factory presets. They have been done by pros. There are no duplicates or very similar sounds.
Value for money --------------- This was by best buy in 2008.
Stability ---------- Very nice: It automatically switches to standby if it outputs no sound. This feature allows you to load dozens of Gladiators at the same time. The plugs works fine ony my hosts. There is also a demo versuion available for download.
There is a lot of hype around this VSTi/AU. I was wondering why there are still no reviews.
I have bought it in January. Since then i have tested this beast deeply. I have been doing a lot of sounddesign and productions.
User interface: Newbies could be swamped by the huge amount of knobs. That's why the interface can be shrinked and only the patch browser is visibe. The UI is heaven for sounddesigners. It is non-cluttered and all controls are on one srceen. It uses rendered graphics in 3d style.
Sound: The most versatile and best sounding VST synth i know (yes it is a real synth and NO rompler!). Very clean, warm, from analog to digital. HCM gives also a large amount of 'uniqueness' to it. It is somewhere between Virus, Filzmo and Wavestation.
Features: Lots of features. Maybe even to much for newbies.
Patches: 750 presets done by professional sounddesigners. They are a good basis for further mods.
Docs: 105 pages manual translated into various languages. Reading this definitely takes time! There are also tutorials in the manual and as patches.
Support: I have written 3 mails to support, because i had trouble with my soundcard. Tone2 answered within 24 hours.
Value for money: 149 euros is not cheap. But it's well worth the money if you realize how powerfull this synth is.
Stability: I had trouble with Cubase with Gladiator v1.1 because Cubase saved all 750 (!) presets in the song and the project files were several MB. This did not happen in other hosts. IMHO it is was Steinberg's fault. Tone2 has fixed this with the free update to v1.2.2 within 2 weeks.