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Reviewed By pljones [all]
March 13th, 2003
Version reviewed: 2.0b2 on Windows

Bismark BS-16 is a step (or so) up from BS-1. It is a 16 channel multi-timbral, GM Soundfont soft synth.

"GM" - it knows that Channel 10 is for drums.

The user interface is fairly intuitive. Apart from responding as expected to MIDI prog change messages, you can set the prog on each channel by hand, including setting a channel to be a drum channel. There's also plenty of other knobs to twiddle (but I tend not to).

Soundwise, it's as good as any Soundfont synth I've heard. One big advantage is that it doesn't eat as much CPU as, say, VSampler -- because it's only trying to do the one thing. For my Celeron 400, this is very useful - fewer drop outs at higher polyphony.

The feature-set is okay - there's no on-board automation of controls but it supports MIDI automation, so that's not a problem. It even supports multiple soundfonts!

The documentation is, in my opinion, adequate: the non-beta version ships with a copy of the web-page that fully describes the capabilities of the VSTi. It doesn't really need much in the way of tutorial/HOWTO, so the guide on the web page is more than enough.

"Presets" - mmm... Well, it lets Muzys reload its settings. I've not really investigated this area.

Customer Support - good! I dropped a bug report in (a nice, reproducable fault) and a new beta appeared a few weeks later including a fix and a thank you.

VFM - I'm more than pleased to have paid for this VSTi. Along with MIDI-OX, it's probably the most important part of my set up :-).

Stability - BS-16 is still in beta but seems quite stable.
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