Trilian by Spectrasonics
Original Author: Staffay
Weapon: Virtual Instrument (Bass)
Price: 238€ (Thomann.de)
Spectrasonics has a long tradition in the art of bass sampling. Started nearly 15 years ago with the CDs "Bass Legends" and the nowadays studio standard "Trilogy" virtual bass, they have always been in a league of their own. Trilogy was released 7 years ago, and can be heard on many records. Trilian is the follow-up consisting of 10 times more samples, more basses (Trilogy just had three), FM-synthesis, a new interface, key-switching (see below), effects and many other goodies.
Trilian is based round the same engine as Omnisphere, that is called "Steam" by Spectrasonics and also features the same browsing interface. Trilian consists of 60 sampled basses with a total of 34 GB memory. Spectrasonics also included all the vintage bass synthesizers as well as "freshened up" the old Trilogy sounds with dedicated patches from Marcus Miller, John Patitucci etc. The library has also native 64-bit support that makes ideal for future use.
All kinds of basses can be found in this product and with an extensive effect panel, equalizer, the possibility to stack sounds in layers, it just gives enormous resources. All articulations like slides, hammer-ons, vibrato etc. is made for each instrument and can be assigned to controllers or automated on release via a "round-robin" system. There is mic/amp modelling as well as FM-synthesis to finally shape the sound.
I've been using this product for a week by now and must say that I'm totally blown off. If Trilogy was good this is a killer... The installer runs without a single problem and once installed there is only one major problem: You will probably wanna go out and buy a new computer since this product eats memory. The "normal" sounds is about 1.5 - 2 GB and there is some I found at 3 GB as well. But there is a "economic" mode as well that can be used when composing, and then render the full track down to 2-channels when ready.
This is a true "Plug & Play" product that is very easy to handle, BUT if You wanna get real serious there's a lot of parameters under the hood. Just browsing through the sounds will get You occupied for a looong time! Right now I'm using a Fender Jazzbass with finger-picked attack, that are simply stunning. The acoustic bass sounds are so good that I will use them as reference when recording real basses in the future, especially the Patitucci upright bass sound is extra-ordinary real.
As in Trilogy Trilian has an "A" and a "B" patch that can be combined, but in both "A" and "B" up to 8 additional layers can be created freely with fret noise, slide samples or another bass sound as desired. There is a huge effect rack with convoltion reverbs, delays, distortion, compressors - all that You might think of in terms of bass sound. There is no actual need for shaping the sound further in the DAW, which also makes it excellent for all "smaller" hosts like Reaper or lite-versions of Cubase, Pro-tools, Logic, Fruity Loops etc.
The synth basses are probably sampled directly from the sources as they sound exactly as their originals in my ears. The moog, Novation, Roland and all kind of "retro-sounds" are all here, and on top of that they can be further improved by FM-synthesis.
To really put this system to a test, I was connecting my Axon guitar-to-MIDI interface and played the sounds from the guitar. I had to make some small adjustments in velocity and mapping of fret-noise, levels etc. but otherwise it just worked perfect. I recorded the bass-line for a cover I'm working on in about 30 minutes - compared to hours of editing that I had to do before.
First time I heard Trilogy, I was simply stunned. This time I'm speechless. Nothing is really bad about this product and it's worth every cent of its moderate pricing. (Trilogy was far more expensive when it was released) The only drawback would be the memory issue, but on the other hand - if You shall go for the best, You probably will use a good computer also....
I tried basses from Native Instruments, Chris Hein samples etc. and always ended up using the old Trilogy - now I will be using Trilian instead, cause it simply has no competitors.