USER INTERFACE: Another plain, simple, yet non-obstructive GUI from 4Front. Suited in white, black, and grey, it almost looks as if it's taking your order at a classy restaurant. Since software hasn't made that advance though, the GUI instead provides a straightforward answer to what the plugin was meant to do. Very effective and almost relaxing when I just want to compose rather than worry about the parameters. It scores a 10 for simplicity and efficiency.
SOUND: The quality of the sound produced by the 4front Piano Module is really a matter of taste. Personally, I find it to be full bodied, perfectly recorded, and extremely unique. It's remeniscent of an old tack piano. Sort of like the one the beatles used at Abbey Road studios, except how it would sound now all these years later. I've used this vsti in several tracks and have always been pleased with the results. It's full of character and really gives a song a "Distinctive" sound that seperates it from the rest. Every key is recreated perfectly, so well in fact, that you can actually hear the key press down. I've also found it to be great for emulating piano lines played on old vinyl records. Add izotope's Vinyl plugin to the insert rack and I think you'll be very happy with what you hear. Despite me being obviously happy with the sound of this plugin, I have scored it an 8 due to the fact that it may be a little misleading to a few users. One might download it with the expectation of getting a typical clean grand piano sound and be unhappy with the chunky, phased sound of this particular piano. It's not for everyone is all i'm saying.
FEATURES: This category does not really apply. The 4Front Piano Module is simply that...a piano wrapped in the VST SDK so it can be easily used in your VST setup. No knobs, no buttons, no hastle. Just plug-and-play.
PRESETS: This is another category that doesn't apply as it is a single preset player.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT: Although I've never needed it for this particular plugin, I've always found 4front's support to be top notch. They have always been approachable and willing to go that extra mile to help me out.
VALUE FOR MONEY: It doesn't cost a thing aside from some of your bandwidth. With how much I've used it, I'd say it far surpasses any value, especially considering it's free.
STABILITY: 150%. Low CPU consumption, no clicks, cracks, or clunks and most importantly, no crashes. I've used this plugin in more than a few hosts, and on many occasions. It's never given me a problem.
OVERALL: If you want a piano with personality, download this immediately. Or, if you are looking to recreate a vintage type of sound, again, you might want to check this out. It's a great piece of work, provided at no cost to you. In my opinion, you can't go wrong. I will continue to use it in my compositions and samples.
USERINTERFACE: The interface of the Simple Shiny Sampler from manytone productions and Linplug is exactly what the plug-in's name says it is: Simple and Shiny. With light wood side panels, a wood grain inlay, a black screen with red LED-Like dialog, and Shiny silver knobs and buttons, the 3S gets the point across rather well. It's got that classic "Linplug-Look", Which has pretty much been abandoned, so it's nice to still see it around. The one thing that bugs me about it is that it's rather small. If it were slightly larger there would be less strain on the eyes. Other than that it's great though.
SOUND QUALITY: This is where such a simple plug-in sampler might fail...but not 3S...plays back all wave files of 8-16 bit, any samplerate up to 96khz, and mono or stereo exactly as they were recorded. I haven't noticed any coloring of the audio at all. Pristine sound every time.
FEATURES: It's in the features area that one may not be interested....not becuase they are bad...but because there aren't a ton...keep in mind though, it's called "SIMPLE" shiny sampler...and that's exactly what it is. It's also free. With all that being said, I think it offers beautiful features. The Pro-Level sample rates supported and the velocity splitting alone are more than worth the download. Offers the basic Volume, Pan, and Pitch controls which all work flawlessly and loading/mapping samples is extremely quick and painless. There is only 1 thing i can really think of that would push the rating in this category to a 10. That would be the ability to set a different pan setting for each of the 4 samples (this would increase productivity when using it to act as your drumkit). It also comes with some fantastic didgeridoo samples!
DOCUMENTATION: 3S comes with a very in depth online manual in html format. True, it isn't the most complex sampler out there...but i was actually suprised at how complete the manual was. It takes the time to describe every detail of the synth and also gives the user some tips/suggestions on how to use it creatively.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT: Personally, i've never needed any support for this vsti. However, Manytone Productions has ALWAYS proved to be very helpful when i've had questions about their products. Never had to wait longer than 24 hours for a reply to any emails, etc.
VALUE FOR MONEY: Well, lets see folks...it's free. Doesn't cost you a thing except for some download time. It's not a huge download either so it should even be friendly to those still on dial up modems. Well worth it if you ask me.
STABILITY: Perfect. I have never had a crash, glitch, or otherwise with 3S...Even after using it in several hosts (EnergyXT, Nuendo, Logic (PC), MiniHost, etc..)
OVERALL: 3S is definitely worth a look, especially if you're new to sampling or just looking for a quick and easy sampling solution. It can be more versatile than it first appears as well...For example, you can layer up several 3S instances, each with a different set of 4 velocity split drum samples, and create a pretty sweet sounding drum track.
USER INTERFACE: Plain, simple, and straightforward. Very easy on the eyes. I think it perfectly represents both the simplicity of the instrument and the sound it was meant to make. The blue water-like strip on the top of the plugin's GUI seems to go hand-in-hand with the crystal type sound it makes.
SOUND: As far as sound quality goes, this plugin scores high. It manages to faithfully reproduce it's sound over a very broad key range, from about C0 to C7 if your counting octaves. The type of E-piano sound it creates is where one might not be intersted. The 4front EP module is basically a DX E-Piano. It has a very 80's digital sound character to it. However, if you are looking for a great FM-type E-Piano sound, then look no further...The 4front EP Module will suit your needs better than most commercial instruments.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT: 4Front is extremely responsive and helpful when it comes to customer support. George Yhoung (The man in charge) has always been more than willing to answer any questions and concerns that I have had for this plugin.
VALUE FOR MONEY: In my honest opinion, this plugin scores high in this category as well. While it does produce a very cliche type of sound, it produces that sound with very high sonic quality. Considering it will cost you nothing but a few seconds of your time to download and install it, you can't go wrong.
STABILITY: This plugin is beyond stable. I use it often for drafting piano lines and phrases as it loads quickly, consumes almost no CPU power, and never causes any crashes or system problems.
Overall, I think that if you are looking for an FM/DX type piano sound for one reason or another, you will be more than pleased with the 4front E-Piano Module. It's quick, easy, and above all...dependable. I personally never see myself deleting it from my harddrive.
User Interface: Nice, slick, and simple. Easy on the eyes. It manages to beautifully represent the "barebones" approach of the vsti while still keeping a stylish look about it.
Sound: Personally, I love the sound of this bass. It's definitely got it's own character. While it only claims to be a simple bass guitar to throw into your tracks, it's got a very heavy, solid sound on the low end that fits perfectly into my occasional jazz piece. At the same time, It's perfect for Rock pieces as it faithfully reproduces the sound of an electric bass guitar being picked heavily. The only problem I really have with it's sound in general is that the sonic qualities of the higher notes aren't as attractive as the lower end when sustained, but for a quick pop up the neck and back down again they sound pretty good.
Customer Support: George at 4front has got to be one of the most friendly and approachable dev's out there today. He always responds to my emails promptly and writes more than a quick yes or no. Very down to earth kind of guy while maintaining a strike of genius. He even lent me 100 MB's of FTP space for a while until I got my own site up and running!
Value For Money: Considering all this vsti cost me was a couple seconds of broadband downloading, It's fantastic! Does exactly what it claims to do and I've found it showing up in my tracks over and over again.
Stability: 150% stable on my system. Like I said, I use it all the time, whether in recording or just drafting a bassline and it's NEVER given me a problem. Low CPU and no crashes.
Overall, I love this product. It's fast, simple, and free. It has a permanent spot on my harddrive.