IK Multimedia SampleTank 3 review

10

Yo what’s good fam?

Back with another reivew for you, this time it’s on the long-anticipated SampleTank 3

Let’s just jump right into it shall we?

What is SampleTank 3?

st3_gui_play_browseThink of SampleTank as an instrument workstation for your computer.

It covers all types of sounds from acoustic guitar and bass, to strings, synths, sound fx, drums and more.

It’s like a general purpose workhorse, similar to the hardware workstations like the Motif, Triton, or Fantoms.

Of course it resides on your computer and has over 30GB of sound content.

In addition to sample playback, there’s also 3 different sampling engines, dedicated edit page, and you can even use it as a groove station with it’s included percussion/drum loops and construction kits.

They also included a bunch of fx so you can tweak your sound at will.

Quick Specs

  • content: 33GB, 4000+ instruments
  • format: Standalone, VST, AU, AAX
  • price: $299.99 ($149.99 upgrade)
  • product page: http://bit.ly/IKSampleTank3

How does it sound?

Reel to Reel Tape RecorderThere are some really good sounds in here, I found a lot of useful instruments and made a track the first day I installed it.

Some of the sounds that stood out to me were the electric and acoustic bass sounds, there are some REALLY great bass instruments in here.

I also liked the guitar sounds, both acoustic and electric. I liked the way you could trigger the slides in the acoustic guitars, and I found the electric guitars to have a really nice sound, especially those using some of the AmpliTube FX.

Solo strings were nice, especially the Violin 2, and the string sections were very usable as well as the mixed orchestra.

I wasn’t too fond of the solo brass, but the ensemble brass sounded good, the Jazz brass sections were really nice and fit my style of music for sure.

Woodwinds were cool, there was a nice flute in there and some of those ensembles were good as well.

There’s tons of synth bass, leads, and pads, with plenty of goodies to be found within each….I founds some very nice pads (you know I love pads)

They also did a good job on the acoustic drums, I definitely have a few kits in there that I really enjoy using.

The ethnic section wasn’t all that great to me, at least not the melodic instruments but there were some ethnic percussion patches that were well done.

I thought the Organs and EPs were very good and I found some useful acoustic pianos as well.

Overall the sound quality itself is great, and the variety is deep, I’m sure there’s something in here for everyone, for me the stand outs were some of the “traditional” instruments.

So what’s the bottom line?

SampleTank set the standard for software workstations when it was first released, so it’s no wonder many have been anxiously waiting for this new version.

I will say those that were waiting for this update will defintely be pleased with it.

The interface is much larger and easier to read, the text isn’t super small and the 3 page layout is well done. I also love the macro/fx section which makes it quick to adjust your sound.

4subsI give SampleTank 3 a rating of 4 out of 5 subs, it’s a solid workstation with tons of usable sounds and plenty of fx to customize them as you wish. 

There are a few things I would like to see improved overall. I would like to see a drop down option for choosing midi channels, this would make it really fast at layering sounds. I would also love if they did something on the keyboard to indicate which notes have sounds and which don’t, making the keys without sounds black would be a quick fix.

I’d also like to see a way to navigate through presets quickly with a previous/next button in the browser as well as on the edit page.

Something I think would be really cool would be the option to add custom shop modules to the fx, or if you already own stuff for AmpliTube/T-Racks, it would be cool to have the option for those fx to show up in SampleTank.

Of course I’d still like a resizable GUI and I wouldn’t mind an overhaul of the browser. I find it can get messy once you’re start moving through patches as the sections don’t close automatically so you could end up with a bunch of sub folders open. There’s also a category or two with a single patch in the sub folder.

These are all personal preferences though and nothing that really takes away from the stability or sound of the product at all.

If you’re looking for an all around workstation, you should definitely take a look at SampleTank 3

If you’re a user of the previous version what are your thoughts on this update?

If you’ve never used it before what do you think about it as a workstation?

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts

 

10 Comments

  1. I was a fan of Sonic Synth, I really hope they incorporate T-Racks/Arc at a deeper integration level. For me that would be icing on the cake. I love T-Racks, those are my goto plugins. Between UAD and IK, I gotta lean slightly towards IK, crazy right?. After watching this review, Sample Tank 3 is a done deal. I wish they sold a hardware unit.

    Reply
    • Yeah I agree, bass, guitars, some keys, and even a few strings were nice. I found a few nice synth pads, the leads weren’t my style though. The electronic drums I didn’t find all that useful, but I have tons of drums anyway. The acoustic drums were nice though. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  2. i would like to personally thank you for all the work you do. the best part about your services is that you are honest with your assessments. again, thank you again.

    Reply
  3. Hi – I Agree in general

    ST3 is a fine and looooong waited update, with lots of nice news, but also some weak points / disappointments!

    I miss:
    Some sort of Favorite function (5 stars or similar)
    A note / META function on every preset
    An ikon in the search list visualizing what is ST3, ST2, STron, SonikS, SMoog, Miro etc. Expansions
    A search filter for searching only ST3 content

    Disapointments:
    The preset navigation with all these arrows is a pain
    The preset window is all to small, you have to scroll a lot to find your sound in the list
    I think the search function is way to slow (Not in the ST3 stuff but when all Expansions and the SonikSynth, Sample Tron, Moog, Tank and Miro is imported)

    And THANK YOU to saintjoe for the serious works in general and thank you for a detailed review!

    /ArtDECO/

    Reply

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