Overall: 652 519 641
30-Day: 598; 7-Day: 653; Yesterday: 590
SampleTank free is a full-featured version of SampleTank 2.5, with a 500 MB specially selected samples library. It is no longer limited - you can load multiple instances, it opens ALL SampleTank format sounds, has import functionality, and the ability to create your own user presets.
I downloaded SampleTank 3 free a while ago and could not get it to work. The Authorization Manager did not work. I then downloaded an updated Authorization Manager as instructed by IKMultimedia. I still could not authorize this program. Let's fast forward some months and I finally got SampleTank 3 free registered. However, the sounds did not show up in SampleTank. I read in forums that many people have had this issue since at least July 2014. IKMultimedia had no solution and merely noted that this was a Windows related issue. I then checked the default path where IKMultimedia's install manager installed the sounds. It installed the sounds in the following path: C:UsersPublicDocumentsIKMultimediaSampleTank. BUT the windows path is actually C:UsersPublicPublic DocumentsIKMultimediaSampleTank3. (Note: there are backslashes in the folder names but KVR's word processor deletes them when saving).
Note: Windows 7's 'Documents' folder is called 'Public Documents'. SampleTank cannot recognize a folder name with a space in it. It therefore deletes the word 'public' from the folder name. Therefore, the program cannot find the sounds. I would say that this is an issue with IKMultimedia rather than Windows. It's a programming issue. I therefore copied the contents into C:Program FilesIK MultimediaSampleTank 3Instruments. Then I went into 'settings' and searched for the folder and that was it. The sounds load.
Another issue was that although Patterns can be loaded and played (since I see the keys move), I cannot hear those sounds.
In terms of sound quality of the instruments that I played, they sound alright. I would't give them anything beyond mildly useful.
Overall, SampleTank 3 free is a disappointment because of the failed Authorization Manager and the fact that IKMultimedia haven't resolved the issue with sounds not loading. This shows that the company does not test their products before entering the market, and perhaps even worse, they haven't resolved the issue which is so easy to solve, namely, install the sounds in a different folder.Read Review
I was sorely tempted to give SampleTank FREE a 10 rating just because it's so incredible that anything this good could actually be free. My first experience with the IK Multimedia's products came when I bought Miroslav Philharmonik, whose symphonic instruments exceeded my expectations in terms of sample quality, ease of use, and overall usability in my mixes. Thus encouraged, I figured I had nothing to lose by trying SampleTank FREE. I was right.
I can't say I like all the instruments, but that's true of every virtual instrument I own, so that's hardly a negative. Actually, I'm impressed with most of the instruments. Right out of the gate, I found great drum kit and bass sounds that were immediately useful in my compositions with little or no tweaking. The electric pianos are just OK, but maybe there are better instruments in the full version. I was pleasantly surprised by one of the vocal instruments (Soprano Ahh), which is remarkably realistic for the right kind of part. In fact, I'd say that the key to using SampleTank (at least the FREE version) is knowing when and where to use the instruments for their strengths.
I was dismayed to find that using multiple instances of the SampleTank plugin for certain instruments produces a horrid crackling kind of distortion (in Logic Pro 9.x, at least). I called the bug to the attention of support, and their responsiveness was most impressive. They expect to fix it in the v3 release.
Overall, I'm sufficiently impressed with SampleTank FREE to buy the full version, SampleTank XL, but I'll probably wait until the v3 release.Read Review