Jump to content
pbognar

Which multi-timbral bread and butter VSTi in CbB?

Recommended Posts

Starting with TTS-1 on one end of the spectrum going up to Kontakt / SampleTank / etc., which multi-timbral bread and butter workstation / rompler / sample playback VSTi are you using in Cakewalk?

What do you use to sketch out tunes, where you might keep some sounds and replace others?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think starting with TTS-1 makes sense from an economical and workflow sense. Then replace select sounds as needed with better sample playback instruments per track as your time/budget/inclination will allow.

Another inexpensive instrument for tune sketching  that is usually available for a few bucks is the AIR Xpand!2 ROMpler with 2500 sounds. It is 4-part multi-timbral.

So far I am happy with SampleTank at the moment, as you get a fairly complete sample library for simple bread and butter needs out of the box. The downside is that there is no market for 3rd party expansions. But my sample library needs are modest at this point, as my main interest is with synthesizers.

If you want an open-ended sample platform with many 3rd party libraries available, Kontakt is the way to go. Everything from free to fairly expensive library expansions are available. But it appears that the initial factory library that ships is lacking some useful bread and butter. So be prepared to spend some additional bucks getting everything that you want. So far I am only using the free Kontakt Player from NI, but I will probably upgrade at some point. Resistance to GAS is futile!!! :D

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, pbognar said:

Starting with TTS-1 on one end of the spectrum going up to Kontakt / SampleTank / etc., which multi-timbral bread and butter workstation / rompler / sample playback VSTi are you using in Cakewalk?

What do you use to sketch out tunes, where you might keep some sounds and replace others?

You haven't mentioned how much you would spend for the bread and butter sampler VSTi . . . so I'll suggest my  favourite anyways . . . HALion Sonic (by Steinberg)

I have loads and loads of VSTi sample libraries, but "bread and butter" really describes where HALion Sonic excels the most. The sounds just blend into a mix very easily, and there are a variety of versions of types of instruments that you can audition, and they usually just work. I've always wondered why I don't hear it mentioned more on the cakewalk forums, because it really is that good, and works perfectly in Cakewalk by Bandlab. Maybe folks don't like it because you have to buy a USB licenser to keep it running. Waste of a USB port, but $30 licenser add on, still worth it in my opinion.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, pbognar said:

What do you use to sketch out tunes, where you might keep some sounds and replace others?

AIR's Xpand!2 wins this category by a mile. 2500+ sounds, and it's usually available at Pluginboutique for $14.99, sometimes less if you look around.

As far as which sounds get replaced, as with most such instruments, piano and orchestrals will usually get replaced by larger, slower to load instruments down the line. Basses, ambient pads, organs, drum machines, synths, percussion and so forth can hold their own and often stay in the mix.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, every time I get the urge to drag my Roland JV-1080 rack out the closet and hook it up, I just open Xpand!2 instead. xD

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Bread and Butter multy timbrals are Independence Pro and Kontact 5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If anyone does get Air Xpand 2 it might be worth being aware that it seems to prefer to sit on the system drive - may have just been a glitch on my PC but when I put it in my VSTi folder on my data drive it wouldn't work and I was advised to put it on C drive since when it has been fine. Hybrid is another good VSTi from the same stable but more suited to electronic music - can't remember if it is multi timbral

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, I totally forgot I even had Xpand!2. Haven't used it since 2016. I should probably get reacquainted with it. 

It's good to occasionally take an inventory and pull up something you haven't used in a long while. I did that this morning with Lounge Lizard. I can't remember the last time I used it in a project, maybe never. Turned out it perfectly filled the part I was hearing in my head.

As for multi-timbral synths, that depends on what you mean by the term. Technically, it just means a synth that can play multiple instruments at once. That definition applies to Kontakt, so I guess that's my favorite multi-timbral synth. But if you mean one synth to do it all, then there's really only one in my software collection, the TTS-1, and it mostly just gets used for scratch and click tracks. (I suppose my Kronos counts as an all-purpose synth, but that's hardware.) 

I used to be a fan of SampleTank 2 because of its enormous library, but didn't like its successor at all and don't even have it installed anymore. That was the last one I bought, and honestly, I wouldn't even consider buying another general-purpose bread-n-butter synth today. A Swiss Army knife is great to have, but I wouldn't want to build a house with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, JoeGBradford said:

If anyone does get Air Xpand 2 it might be worth being aware that it seems to prefer to sit on the system drive - may have just been a glitch on my PC but when I put it in my VSTi folder on my data drive it wouldn't work and I was advised to put it on C drive since when it has been fine. Hybrid is another good VSTi from the same stable but more suited to electronic music - can't remember if it is multi timbral

No, only AIR Xpand!2 and AIR Structure are multi-timbral. The other AIR synth and keyboard instruments are not.

If you want to put the AIR Xpand!2 library (approx 1.5GB) on a secondary drive, you can explore the use of Windows directory junctions and symbolic links. This essentially places a shortcut to a new path at the  location that the  application expects to find the original content folder.

I agree that Hybrid is very good synth, as well as Vacuum Pro and Loom!!! Having those 3 gives you wavetable, virtual analog, and additive synths, with shedloads of good presets. But these are pure synths, and not sample based, so do not really fit in with the OP asking for bread and butter instruments.

 

Edited by abacab
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, JoeGBradford said:

If anyone does get Air Xpand 2 it might be worth being aware that it seems to prefer to sit on the system drive - may have just been a glitch on my PC but when I put it in my VSTi folder on my data drive it wouldn't work and I was advised to put it on C drive since when it has been fine. Hybrid is another good VSTi from the same stable but more suited to electronic music - can't remember if it is multi timbral

It's not the only synth that prefers to live on drive C:, e.g. Dimension Pro and Rapture. Fortunately, any synth can be relocated to another drive by creating a symbolic link. Google "mklink" if you don't know how to do that.

All my sample-based synths live on drive E:, including all the Cakewalk content, Superior Drummer, Kontakt libs - and Xpand!2. That's how I found it today after reading the above posts; because everything's on one drive, I just had to type "DIR Xp* /s" and there it was.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, abacab said:

No, only AIR Xpand!2 and AIR Structure are multi-timbral. The other AIR synth and keyboard instruments are not.

If you want to put the AIR Xpand!2 library (approx 1.5GB) on a secondary drive, you can explore the use of Windows directory junctions and symbolic links. This essentially places a shortcut to a new path at the  location that the  application expects to find the original content folder.

I agree that Hybrid is very good synth, as well as Vacuum Pro and Loom!!! Having those 3 gives you wavetable, virtual analog, and additive synths, with shedloads of good presets. But these are pure synths, and not sample based, so do not really fit in with the OP asking for bread and butter instruments.

 

Xpand!2's installer allows you to choose where you put its library, as well as most of AIR's instruments.  However, it stores a copy of it in the ProgramData directory with the installer (not sure why, the others don't do this).

You don't really need a Junction for this.  Just uninstall and then reinstall and pay attention to the install/directory path options 😛

If I had to choose between Xpand!2 and Structure 2 for the OP's purposes, I'd go with Structure 2.  Xpand's library simply isn't big enough, so he'll end up having to look for more samples/another sampler.

AIR's Synths are the shining stars, along with Strike 2.  Hybrid 3 and Vacuum Pro are really good.  I haven't used Loom and theRiser much.

Mini Grand/Velvet/DB-33 are pretty decent.

Generally I just suggest buying Xpand!2 and then upgrading to the Complete Bundle for a cheap price at Plug-In Boutique.

Then I just install only the 64-Bit VST Plugins, and put the larger libraries on my D Drive.

If you do orchestral music, then you really need to look elsewhere - like Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 for a starter.  It's more suited for this, and not too expensive.  I'd probably still get AIR's Synths, though, and maybe the plugins; cause a few of them sound quite nice (but that depends on what you already own).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/22/2019 at 11:15 PM, noynekker said:

You haven't mentioned how much you would spend for the bread and butter sampler VSTi . . . so I'll suggest my  favourite anyways . . . HALion Sonic (by Steinberg)

I have loads and loads of VSTi sample libraries, but "bread and butter" really describes where HALion Sonic excels the most. The sounds just blend into a mix very easily, and there are a variety of versions of types of instruments that you can audition, and they usually just work. I've always wondered why I don't hear it mentioned more on the cakewalk forums, because it really is that good, and works perfectly in Cakewalk by Bandlab. Maybe folks don't like it because you have to buy a USB licenser to keep it running. Waste of a USB port, but $30 licenser add on, still worth it in my opinion.

Halion is really good, but gets expensive.  The dongle and Steinberg eLicenser bloatware doesn't help.  Not sure why they don't just use iLok…

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

AIR's Xpand!2 wins this category by a mile. 2500+ sounds, and it's usually available at Pluginboutique for $14.99, sometimes less if you look around

Why is Xpand!2 so much cheaper through Pluginboutique? It's $99 on Air Music's web site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, bitflipper said:

if you mean one synth to do it all, then there's really only one in my software collection, the TTS-1

I think you're in for a treat when you sit down with Xpand!2.

TTS-1 ain't a bad entry in the "GM player that comes with my DAW" sweepstakes.

Xpand!2 will do everything that TTS-1 does and a whole lot more. My only complaint is that my cursor keeps slipping off the preset menu when I'm browsing presets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TTS-1 does have the advantage that CbB (with no output MIDI selected in preferences) will launch MIDI files, insert TTS-1, and route it for you. That feature is nice if you are starting with another's MIDI file, then can replace content (shift-drag MIDI) to other VSTis. I'll admit that with the processing power of newer machines, I do not get as excited by multi-tibral as I used to. For some reason I waste more time routing/setting them up than to just pick and choose what works best piecemeal. Then again, it could just be laziness on my part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, PeterMc said:

Why is Xpand!2 so much cheaper through Pluginboutique? It's $99 on Air Music's web site.

Because Plugin Boutique is the Cosco of Audio Plugins,  and lot of the deals there aren't replicated on the developer's website.

-----

TTS-1 is fine as a basic GM player, however, Windows has a MIDI player built into WMP that sounds just as good - so I'd rather just keep MIDI files associated with WMP and audition them there.

I have a  project and track templates so it's not hard to use a multi-timbral workstation for this stuff (but I'd probably still use TTS-1 to audition them, if I were doing so in the Cakewalk DAW - it's just faster).

Once you set a Synth up, the MIDI you drag in tends to automatically route to that Synth, though.  TTS-1 is only created automatically if you don't have a Synth on the Synth Rack when you open it.  This seems to be common behavior in most DAWs.  ACID Pro and REAPER behave similarly.

Edited by Some Guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

What I consider bread and butter sounds would be natural sounding acoustic drums, electric bass, piano, electric piano, organ, clav, brass section, strings, sax and basic synth sounds.  I would be satisfied with something like the Roland Cloud JV 1080 (or a software version of the Yamaha Motif), but there's no way I'm going to go for any subscription based instrument.

I've been out of the DAW thing for a long time, but I have Dimension Pro not currently installed anywhere.  I recall not being too knocked out by the basic sounds included, but I should really revisit it.  My preference right now would be to have a single multi instrument, not chewing up all my computer resources.

I was pretty impressed by some Kontakt and SampleTank (Max) videos, but I'm not looking to spend any more than $100 at this time.

From what I heard of Xpand!2, it seemed a little cheesy when it comes to acoustic or electro-acoustic sounds.  I cannot find any decent demos of Structure 2.

I would consider going to full versions Halion, Kontakt, or SampleTank eventually, if my DAW use and productivity justify it.

For now, I'm trying to decide on a more robust and naturally sounding version of TTS-1 to get started.  I am a synth junky, and it seems like there are tons of really nice sounding inexpensive soft synths out there.  I'm a real fan of wavetable scanning synths.

If anyone can shed any additional light on Structure 2, I'd appreciate it.  At $29, it seems like a bargain.

@Some Guy which product were you referring to when you mentioned Complete Bundle?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Some Guy said:

Xpand!2's installer allows you to choose where you put its library, as well as most of AIR's instruments.  However, it stores a copy of it in the ProgramData directory with the installer (not sure why, the others don't do this).

You don't really need a Junction for this.  Just uninstall and then reinstall and pay attention to the install/directory path options 😛

If I had to choose between Xpand!2 and Structure 2 for the OP's purposes, I'd go with Structure 2.  Xpand's library simply isn't big enough, so he'll end up having to look for more samples/another sampler.

AIR's Synths are the shining stars, along with Strike 2.  Hybrid 3 and Vacuum Pro are really good.  I haven't used Loom and theRiser much.

Mini Grand/Velvet/DB-33 are pretty decent.

Generally I just suggest buying Xpand!2 and then upgrading to the Complete Bundle for a cheap price at Plug-In Boutique.

Then I just install only the 64-Bit VST Plugins, and put the larger libraries on my D Drive.

If you do orchestral music, then you really need to look elsewhere - like Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 for a starter.  It's more suited for this, and not too expensive.  I'd probably still get AIR's Synths, though, and maybe the plugins; cause a few of them sound quite nice (but that depends on what you already own).

Are you referring to this upgrade from Xpand!2 ?  https://www.pluginboutique.com/product/1-Instruments/58-Inst-Bundle/2294-AIR-Instrument-Expansion-Pack-3-COMPLETE-UPGRADE-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...