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IK Multimedia SampleTank 2.5 XL - Virtual Sample-Based Instrument

B&H # IKST2.5XL Mfr # ST-250-XED-IN
Discontinued

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This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer available.

Product Highlights
  • 6.5GB Sounds
  • Audio Units
  • RTAS
  • VST
  • Standalone
  • Mac OS X
  • Windows XP/Vista

SampleTank 2.5 XL from IK Multimedia is a software sound module that combines three synthesizer engines, (that can be switched on the fly to provide more sound flexibility), with multi-sampled sounds, into a plug-in or standalone instrument. The software has a search engine with fast access to the sound and the sound shaping tools needed most.

Two of the synthesizer engines expand the sonic manipulation capabilities of the software. STRETCH has been designed for monophonic material, such as vocal, brass, winds, etc., and provides full control over the tempo and tune of the samples, to give any music an incredibly rich, vibrant, and natural quality.

PS/TS (pitch-shift, time-stretch) works with polyphonic material, such as ensemble instruments phrases, or percussive sounds such as drum loops and percussion grooves. With PS/TS tempo and pitch can be controlled independently, ensuring the most flexible manipulation possibilities.

Perfect sequencer integration provides sample accurate timing, with up to 256-voice polyphony per module. The software contains a high quality, multi-effect unit where up to five effects, selectable from thirty two high quality DSP effects, can be applied on each instrument. The supplied instruments include effects as part of the presets.

SampleTank 2.5 XL comes with a friendly interface that makes it easy to access more than fifty synthesizer-engine parameters, including multi-mode filters, envelopes, LFOs and more for patch creation. 32-bit floating point processing and accurate re-sampling algorithms allow the included 6.5GB samples to sound natural and accurate.

Sample-Workstation

Software sound module which combines a sampler with three synthesizer engines and multi-sampled sounds into a plug-in or standalone instrument

Sounds

A wide selection of high-quality, playable sounds, with more than 1,800 patches derived from 6.5GB of samples on two DVD. Includes a multitude of bass, drums, guitars, orchestral, ethnic, organs, percussion, pianos, strings, brass, vocals, synthesizers and loops

Multi-Timbral

Sixteen multi-timbral parts with individual stereo outputs and instant access to MIDI channel, solo, mute, polyphony, volume and pan
Range Controls allows for creating complex splits and layers

STRETCH

Multi-sampled monophonic instruments using STRETCH (Sampletank Time REsynthesis TeCHnology) deliver amazing realism and expression. Performances come to life with true glide, bending, staccato and vibrato. Plus, pushing STRETCH to the limit can take sounds to a whole new world of sonic territories

PS/TS

PS/TS (pitch shift-time stretch) is designed to work with polyphonic material, such as ensemble instruments phrases, or percussive sounds such as drum loops and percussion grooves. Also with PS/TS tempo and pitch can be controlled independently ensuring the best possible quality for this type of material and the most flexible manipulation possibilities

Sequencer Integration

Sample accurate timing, immediate compatibility, ease and speed of use, one-click project recall and digital track bounce
BPM syncable LFOs

Multi-Effects Unit

Over thirty, high-quality DSP effects built-in to the module with up to five effects available per instrument channel, five sends and five master effects. Included are effects from AmpliTube and T-Racks plug-ins, plus twelve-stage phasers, flangers, chorus, delay, reverb, rotary, tremolo and more
Send Effects includes Send and Return controls and Pre-Post options

Sound Organization

The intuitive layout of the sounds in categorized, alphabetical folders (which reflects the folder organization on the hard drive) allows access to the sound instantly. Also included is a search function
Convenient back-up function

Fully Expandable

Allows for importing WAV, AIFF, SDII samples, AKAI S1000-3000 and SampleCell instruments directly into the plug-in
Type Sample playback
Voices 256
Sounds 1,800 within 6.5GB
Effects Up to five per instrument, selectable among thirty-two DSP effects which includes compressor, equalizer, reverb, ambience, reverb delay, delay, filter, wah-wah, chorus, AM and FM modulation, flanger, autopan, tremolo, rotary speaker, Lo-Fi, distortion, phonograph and slicer
Output As per host software supporting RTAS, VST, and Audio Units plug-in formats
16 stereo outputs in standalone mode with appropriate interface
System Requirements Mac:
Minimum
PowerMac G4 667MHz or Intel Mac
OS X 10.2.8 or later (10.4 or later for Intel)
512MB of RAM
1024x768 monitor resolution, thousands of color
6.8GB hard-disk space
Recommended:
PowerMac G4 1.25GHz, G5 or Intel Mac
1GB of RAM

PC:
Minimum:
Pentium III/Athlon 733Mhz
Windows XP/Vista
512MB of RAM
1024x768 monitor resolution, thousands of color
6.8GB hard-disk space
Recommended:
Pentium IV/Athlon 2.4GHz
1GB of RAM
Specialties 32-bit floating point processing
Imports Akai S1000/S3000 and SampleCell libraries
IK Multimedia SampleTank 2.5 XL - Virtual Sample-Based Instrument
  • 2 DVDs with 6.5GB of Samples
  • Ninety (90) Days Warranty Against Defects that will Materially Interfere with the Operation of the Program
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    IK MultimediaSampleTank 2.5 XL - Virtual Sample-Based Instrument
     
    4.5

    (based on 2 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    Reviewed by 2 customers

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    5.0

    A great product that needs an upgrade

    By Vito

    from California

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • 32-bit Only
    • Lacks Vibrato Control
    • Low-visibility Interface
    • Poor Documentation

    Best Uses

      Comments about IK Multimedia SampleTank 2.5 XL - Virtual Sample-Based Instrument:

      My review here will focus on the downside aspects of Sample Tank 2.5 XL (ST 2.5 for short). You might wonder how I can give it five stars with so many gripes. So, I'll get that out of the way first. The reason it gets five stars is because it has a huge number of good-sounding instruments...in fact some of them (like the drums and synths, and many of the keyboards) sound great. There are lots of patches that provide processed versions of the basic instruments, and some of them are useful, but I tend to go for the basic instruments and do my own manipulation.

      The controls are all rotary knobs (software knobs, of course), so if you're comfortable with that kind of control interface you'll like ST 2.5. In fact, the instrument has a mostly intuitive interface, which is a good thing because the documentation needs a lot more work. However, IK Multimedia's online community is very robust, active, and full of experienced users who provide a great information resource.

      Here's an example of the lousy documentation. The overall display that ST 2.5 uses for listing patches, instruments, and certain parameters (like the status of solo, mute, pan, polyphony, MIDI channel, RAM usage...etc.) uses a default color scheme of tiny black text on a red background (and there's no way to resize it for better readability…grrrrrr!). There is another way to make the display more readable, though, via the tiny "Col/Lum/Sat" controls in the right hand frame of the display. They adjust color, luminosity, and saturation. But if you don't already know they exist, where they are, what they're called, and what they do, the documentation won't help you.

      You'd think that searching for "Display" would bring up that part of the documentation. Nope. The documentation covering "COL/LUM/SAT" is buried in a section called "Other Controls", and nowhere does it contain the word "display". Apparently, the readability issue is going to be addressed in Sample Tank 3 (ST 3). One can only hope.

      Here's a big gripe: ST 2.5 is 32-bit only. I'm currently running Logic Pro 9, so I can use Logic's built-in 32-bit Audio Bridge app, but upgrading to Logic Pro X (which is 64-bit-only) kills that functionality. IK Multimedia reports that ST 3 will be released later this year, and that it will be a 64-bit instrument, so if you're already running a 64-bit-only DAW you might as well wait for ST 3. ST 2.5 won't work for you.

      Actually, ST 2.5 performs very well as a 32-bit plug-in. It performs less well as a 32-bit standalone, where instrument loading times can be painfully slow, depending on the instruments. Fortunately, those annoying delays are absent from the plug-in, which is the primary way in which I use ST 2.5. The effects are good...not spectacular, but they sound good and are easy to use. I especially like the compressor.

      Another gripe is the limited functionality in the ability to control certain aspects of the samples, such as vibrato. ST 2.5 has some nice technologies, such as PSTS (pitch shift/time shift) which keeps sample pitch independent of tempo changes, but PSTS does very weird things to samples with natural vibrato (such as vocals). The vibrato can become over-exaggerated, and there's no way to control it...which makes those kinds of samples useless in PSTS mode.

      Another gripe: ST 2.5's implementation of DAW automation is horrifying. It's practically non-existent in Logic Pro. Load an instance of ST 2.5 in an instrument channel, select an instrument (say, a clean Strat guitar), and then check Logic's automation pop-up list for the instrument. You get Pan, Volume, and four user-assignable controllers ("Macros") for each of ST 2.5's 16 channels. That's it! If you want to automate EQ, pitch bend, delay time, reverb mix, sample ADSR parameters, portamento, …or anything else, you can pick four and no more for each channel. Utterly barbaric.

      Here's the gospel according to the ST 2.5 documentation:

      "Since­­­­­­­­­ Sample Tank ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­provides­­­­­­­­­ more­­­­­­­­­ than­­­­­­­­­ 10,000­­­­­­­­­ parameters, ­­­­­­­­­it's­­­­­­­­­ not­­­­­­­­­ possible­­­­­­­­­ to­­­­­­­­­ assign­­­­­­­­­ all ­­­­­­­­­of­­­­­­­­­ them ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­the ­­­­­­­­­standard­­­­­­­­­ sequencers­­­­­­­­­ automation. Only­­­­­­­­­ Parts­­­­­­­­­ Volume,­­­­­­­­­ Pan,­­­­­­­­­ and­­­­­­­­­ Macros­­­­­­­­­ A,­­­­­­­­­ B,­­­­­­­­­ C,­­­­­­­­­ D­­­­­­­­­ are­­­­­­­­­ controllable­­­­­­­­­ via­­­­­­­­­ sequencer­­­­­­­­­ automation."

      Evidently, they're using a definition of "impossible" that's very different from mine. I can name any number of other virtual instruments that not only find it possible, but have awesome automation implementation. Besides, I'm not asking them to list all 10,000 parameters in automation. But for crying out loud…Pan, Volume, and just FOUR others? Are they serious? Sure, you can assign hardware controllers using the MIDI CTRL function, but that's useless when you're using ST 2.5 as a DAW plug-in and you need to automate the various parameters via software.

      I know…that's a lot of gripes, but I still think Sample Tank is well worth the money. For the record, I've provided all of these gripes to IK Multimedia as feature requests for ST 3. Based on IKM's responses on their user forums, they seem to be taking user feedback seriously in their development of ST 3. We'll see. I have recommended ST 2.5 to friends with 32-bit systems. If the limitations listed above aren't deal-killers, it's still a useful instrument.

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      4.0

      Some Great Pianos and Decent Orchestral

      By gweedo

      from Orlando, FL

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Clear Sound
      • Easy To Use

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Home Studio
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about IK Multimedia SampleTank 2.5 XL - Virtual Sample-Based Instrument:

        I run SampleTank in Cubase. SampleTank has been my "go to" VSTi for Pianos and Strings. The different types of pianos and built-in compression and other effects make it very quick to use. The Electric Pianos are decent. The strings really work well as far as their realism and usability. The horns are good for slow flowy legato stuff. They start to sound pretty fake if you're trying to go for quick-staccato "Quincy Jones" style licks.

        Probably my least favorite part of the program is the organs. Perhaps it is because of the lack of a lot of "leslie" programming in the organs, and the "leslie" modulation that is in a few of the programs is unimpressive. There are some rare 60's style organs that are decent, but probably this was my largest disappointment with the program since it's advertised as a selling point.

        Overall, I use SampleTank in just about every song that has piano (which is about 60% of my work) and the strings are usually my first choice to hashing out an idea. Some of the "British Drum Kits" are a nice touch to have as well.

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