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Reviewed By IvoryTickler [read all by] on 3rd June 2011
Version reviewed: 2.0 on Windows
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Do you find your mixes flat, narrow, weak, one-dimensional? You might want to try this.

A free VST effect which allows you to enter the "loudness wars" giving your mix punch, volume, and width - without increasing the peaks.

OK - overused, anything like this can rob your mix of dynamics, but I really like this one. It achieves quickly and effectively what would take me a fair bit of fiddling with equalisation, compression, and stereo width plug-ins.

The interface is a bit quirky but clear enough. I suspect if you are a pro then you would want the control of individual effects, however for me ... this one stays in my VSTPlugins folder.

Stable. And I can't mark it down for presets (it needs none) nor documentation (needs none) ... and customer support not really applicable for a freebie.

Reviewed By IvoryTickler [read all by] on 29th October 2005
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows.
Last edited by IvoryTickler on 4th October 2007.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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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!
Reviewed By IvoryTickler [read all by] on 4th November 2002
Version reviewed: 2.0 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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This is a great VST. Combine it with Vienna, and selected soundfonts from Hammer etc, and you have a huge amount of music making potential!

Version 2 now saves settings, allows a channel to be "emptied", and has a sort of mouse-over help.

Interface: Is OK. Workmanlike, some oddities - why an "M" button for the effects? I queried the "positive and negative" reverb send settings, but apparently this range is part of the soundfont spec. A list of all loaded presets on the main window would have been good.

Sound: Good! Great claims made on the website, and certainly better with sf2s than Kontakt (which has clicky loop points), sound quality close to Halion (which however drops notes too readily). This VST will bring out the best in your soundfonts!

Features: Fine. I don't use envelopes. The portamento is useful, as is the pitchbend range adjustment, and the keyboard sensitivity adjustment. (Sampletank doesn't have these features!) The distortion could use some warmth. The reverb is just OK, but I have Cubase SXs reverb anyway. I would have liked more than 4 presets, allowing its use as a single VST for a whole song.

Presets: this is a soundfont player. Can't really be marked down for a lack of presets.

Support has been fine (email).

Documentation is not really needed for a VSTi of this type - it does what it says on the screen. Command-line format conversion utility should be integrated with main VSTi.

It seems to be completely stable, has a low CPU use, and at this price is a STEAL. Get it.

Alan Hope
Reviewed By IvoryTickler [read all by] on 17th September 2002
Version reviewed: Free on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I have Sampletank, and also some cracking soundfonts (many way better than Sonic Synth sounds). Was this the answer for occasional soundfont use?

A bit amateurish looking. Irritatingly only 1 sound name is displayed on screen rather than a list, and a rotary knob (what is it with VST programmers that standard scroll bars are not used?) "scrolls" through the available sounds. Does however allow you to adjust the pitchbend range. It usefully lets you know when a sound is loaded and ready to play - other VST programmers please note!

Free sounds are very poor quality and do not begin to compare to Sampletank's. Sample Farm even tells you: the free sounds are rubbish, but you get what you pay for - hardly an inducement to upgrade! You can only load very small soundfonts, you can't even try any good soundfonts you might have.

Features: could do with being multitimbral. As far as I can see you have to open multiple instances - I couldn't get this to work in Cubasis. No effects.

Sounds: few low quality soundfonts. But if you upgrade there are plenty of higher quality ones on offer. The low memory limit is far too inhibiting - why would anybody prefer this to Sampletank?

VFM - it's free.

Stability - it did what it said on the tin.

The programmers could learn from Sampletank/SS, who give you a few really great presets, and have you looking for more. I was generally underwhelmed with Samplefarm, and have uninstalled Samplefarm free. For playing my soundfonts I will stick with Jeskola XS-1, despite its minor problems relating to forgetting presets. It sounds better, is multitimbral (4), allows layering, and has a useful reverb, chorus, portamento, and a (rather crunchy) distortion. Worth the $50.
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