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Reviewed By sin night [all]
April 12th, 2024
Version reviewed: 4.5.7 on Windows

TAL-Sampler is probably my favourite virtual instrument. I have a strong preference for synths over samplers, yet TAL-Sampler is the big exception because I can approach it like a synth.

I record samples of my hardware synths (usually with the filter open and/or through various distortions) and I load them into TAL-Sampler as if they were complex oscillators, then I can mangle them by pitching them up/down the keyboard (like in the past, when multisamples were not common because of memory limitations), I can make delayed layers to build complex sounds, I can pre-filter (low and high pass) those layers, I can add the layers using the modulation wheel (by routing it to the layer gain in the modulation matrix)...

I have a lot of fun with it because I can do things I can't do with my synths (or they would sound differently).

The interface is quite simple (compared to the big software samplers) and it's quite fast to use. The only thing that takes a while is working on loop points (to be honest, finding the perfect loop points has always been a consuming task with every sampler), but once the loop is perfect you can save the sample as sfz and load it later already mapped across the keyboard with the correct loop points (I always do this when I record/import a new sample, so I can use it again later on other patches).

I really love it this plugin.

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Reviewed By sin night [all]
April 12th, 2024
Version reviewed: 2 on Windows

I received this product for free during a promotion. I'm not into trance (I prefer house/techno) and I have a strong preference for synths over sample libraries/instruments, so I'm a bit unfavourably biased towards a product like this; anyway I think this is a good tool if you want those "cliché" sounds.

I went through all the presets while playing with my keyboard and I was immediately drawn into making trance (or maybe EDM?) melodies/hooks, so I think this instrument does what it's supposed to do. Some presets may have a bit too much reverb for my taste (I didn't look into the controls avaible in the Kontakt instrument, but I'm quite confident it can be turned down), but the overall quality is very good.

Utopia is geared towards trance music, but I think it can be useful also for dance / pop music when some "trance" elements are needed. I think it's one of those "don't mess too much with gear and write actual songs" instruments.

Would I suggest this product? I don't know. I'm biased because I love using the actual synths synths, but if you like working with the Play Instruments serie and you're looking for a one stop shop for those sounds, Utopia may be a good choice (maybe also for people like me who prefer programming their synths: Utopia could be used as a writing tool and then the synths could be involved in a later stage of the production process, when the song has been written).

It's difficult for me to give a rating to a product like this, because it's not really part of my world... I was unsure if giving 3 or 4 out of five (maybe 3,5 out of 5? :P), but my overall opinion is positive, hence the 4.

Also, please keep in mind that I'm somehow spoiled when it comes to gear (especially synths), so my ratings could be different (lower?) from the average user...

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