GPO is a fabulous little orchestra for so little money. No other product on the market offers you everything you'd need to start making music in one package, most certainly wouldn't touch it the pricepoint if there were. If you've had the desire to write your own orchestral scores, but haven't wanted to invest a grip of cash, GPO is the way to go.
To counterpoint some of the previous observations -
Documentation - While the manual does cover very little, the online documentation with tips and tricks, along with the forum more than make up for what's lacking in the manual. In fact, it goes beyond about any other plugin in documentation that I've seen on the market yet.
Support - Gary and Tom have always been there when I've needed them to ask a question on the forums, in Email or on the telephone if necessary. Very responsive and polite, and a pleasure to deal with.
Stability - Can't answer for the Mac, but on the PC I haven't had any problems with the plugin in Cubase SX 2 here whatsoever. We all know NI does pose some problems, but I know they are working in the background to fix a lot of the little issues with the plugin, as well as provide DFD support.
Reaktor was, and still is the premiere audio sound creation and manipulation package to come out, and still can't be beat. Leave it to Native Instruments to come out with argueably the most powerful package to ever hit the market. FM, subtractive, physical modelling, granular, beat machines, effects from here to kingdom come, and more, it's all here, and here in vast quantity. Now featuring a user library of over 1300+ user creations, you'll spend hours upon hours discovering all the little treasures buried in this beast. From the straight up standard of substractive synthesis, to the odd sounds of granular synthesis, to the fairly nice reverb, to several beat machines, there's bound to be something in here that you'll love.
Best part about Reaktor? You're not happy that the ensembles only has 3 oscillators? You can add one yourself! Granted, some of the 'mechanics' of the more complex synths can be a little overwhelming for the beginner, some time and patience can certainly pay off.
There are other issues that will drive you nuts, like ensembles won't save the patch and settings like you'd expect from most of your VSTi's, but these are minor grievances that you learn to live with, but certainly find yourself cursing at your machine often.
Still, Reaktor is a beautiful love/hate relationship that I haven't regretted getting into almost 3 years ago. I mean, isn't the best things in life the things you have to work at?
I originally bought Battery back in the day to have a solid, sample playback drum machine, but there was still something 'lacking'. That void that needed to be filled was a synthesized drum machine. Well, I was glad to see that DR-008 blended those two desires together seamlessly, so it was hard not to fall in love! The interface is well laid out, the sampled sounds are fantastic, especially the WizLive kit, and the synthesized kicks will kick a hole right in your chest, it's hard to find something not to love about this drum module.
DR-008 now comes with well over 1 gig of sampled kits, and the addition of the new synth modules to go along with it, DR-008 has simply become the drum machine to beat. The value for money simply can't be matched in the drum market if you like to build and program your own beats by hand. Certainly worthy to take a look at the demo and judge for yourself if this will fill in the nitch for your drum module.
I came into the synthesis world in love with the sound and character of FM, and that love has not changed to this day. You can just imagine how happy I was to discover the likes of FM7, and even with me owning it now for over a year and a half, I still find myself turning to it over and over. I have noticed you'll find some days, you'll just love the sound, and other days, you can't figure out what you can do with it, but this synth is one that for sure grows on you over time. Hard to imagine that an old VSTi these days, but despite the age, FM7 is still aging well. I keep hoping NI will do a major update to FM7, but I simply can't imagine what they could do to drastically improve upon such a powerful FM emulation. I cannot recommend FM7 highly enough if you truely like FM synthesis, as NI took FM to the next level.
Everyone's always looking for a good 'bass' sound, and Trilogy delivers that and more in spades! From hard hitting techno basses, to a rich sounding acoustic upright bass, to getting down and nasty with a heavy metal groove with electric basses, the sound is there at your disposal. Here's a little secret that I'll share with you; this is one of the best sounding leads synths available out there. Simply turn off the low pass filters on the synthetic basses, and you'll have more often than not, a nice, ripping lead just waiting for some effects to be bathed in, and bouncing right to the front of your song. The variety is also astounding, and for those of you who think you'd never use the guitar and upright basses, don't be surprised to find yourself proving that fact wrong. I really have a hard time trying to say anything bad about this VSTi though, except maybe the price would turn a few of you off, weighting in around $329 at most places. While I usually have a difficult time finding a good bass, let alone LOTS of good basses, Trilogy is now my 'go to' synth when I need something that stands up in the crowd. This synth just stinks with quality, and I have found no better bass synth around.
Sweepy, dreamy, tinkly, rich, deep, I could go on forever describing what Atmosphere, and it's that and more. If there ever was a synth that was based on value for money in a per-usable-patch comparison, this has got to be the best $369 you could spend your hard earned cash on. While that price might be off-putting to some, it's a dream come true for those of us who lust after pads, and it delivers the goods. The one thing that would have been nice though is if the slow attacks on the sounds were not already incorperated into the sound themselves, and gave the end user the ability to adjust how fast the attack was would have been a very welcome addition. Also, we're still waiting on syncable LFO's, but still hoping the wait is coming to an end soon. So if you've ever dreamed of rich texture beds to lay your sonic works of art gently into, Atmosphere is the place to rest your dollars in.
Your wait for something different is over. Finally a synth that gives you something different, and isn't brutal on your CPU has landed, and it's called the Cameleon 5000. Leads, pads, basses, it covers it all. If it doesn't have what you want, or you hate using presets, it doesn't matter. You can analyse any sound source you want, and import it into Cameleon for your methods of mayhem upon its poor little sound soul. The manual is probably one of the best in the biz, as it's written in a tutorial format, yet goes over every aspect of the synth in detail. The presets certainly aren't skimped up either, with over 500+ patches to choose from and growing. The developer is also active in integrating suggestions and listening for ideas for improvement, which to me, is worth its weight in gold. This is the synth to grow with, and I doubt you'll be disappointed in its sonic diversity. Go get the demo and try it out.
Ozone, the sweet mastering suite! Even if you're not familiar with using EQs, reverbs, loudness maximizers, stereo enhancers, exciters, and multiband compressors, Izotope has been so kind to also release a mastering guide for you to read right along with their plugin. The guide, even if you don't own Ozone, is top notch, and very much recommended reading. The best thing about Ozone? It's all easily accessable in one place, no flipping from one plugin to another to polish up your production. That in itself is one of Ozone's greatest strength. As for the sound quality? In a word, wow! There are a lot of usable presets that come along with Ozone now that it has matured into version 3 that usually take just a bit of tweaking to get where you want to be. Still, one of the biggest downfall for most people is that it's still only a DXi, but there has been promises made that a VSTi version is on the horizon. So for those of you looking for an 'all in one' solution, look no further than downloading the demo and checking it out for yourself. Your productions will thank you for it.