If there’s any other instrument or element in popular music styles that has a profound of an effect on the over feel of the tracks as the drums do, it’s gotta be bass!
A great bass riff, bass line, or bass part can take a track to the next level….gives it that thump baby!
Honestly, when it comes to virtual bass sounds, one name usually comes up pretty much every time.
Their first product ever, was Bass Legends, a sample cd dedicated to the bass.
Then some years later they produced Trilogy…the first virtual instrument that was specifically made up of acoustic, electric, and synth bass sounds.
That set the bar, Trilogy became the “go to” plugin for all your bass needs, and those with the computer power, and memory to take advantage never looked back.
Enter Trilian…the successor…and evolution of Trilogy
What is Trilian?
Trilian is bass, bass, and more bass, period.
Imagine having a room full of every type of bass guitar, bass pedal, synth bass, and random bass instruments at your immediate disposal.
It has everything from highly detailed acoustic upright basses, to weird, unique, and sometimes very obscure synth bass instruments.
Oh, and it has fx racks as well, with plenty of inserts and sends to keep even the most patch happy user busy….provided your computer is up to the task.
It’s not just a module for playback, Trillian invites sound manipulation and creation, and also has some pretty cool things built in for live use, like fast switching between patches in live mode, or quick setup of stacking/splits across the keyboard.
- Content: 34gb core library
- Format: AU, VST,RTAS
- Price: $299
How does it sound?
Real. Fat. Deep. Huge. Live.Amazing. Thick. Round. Smooth. Harsh….yeah..I could keep going.
Honestly, words really can’t describe it, you really have to hear it.
There are things that you may not even realize are missing from your bass sounds/instruments, until you play with Trilian!
Seriously, the detail in these instruments is beyond comparison, and I’ve heard/tried quite a few bass libraries in my days.
Take the acoustic upright bass for example, when I heard it…man, I promise I thought I could smell it! It sounds that real. And let me be honest here, I’m no bass player, I have friends that are, and I’ve heard enough live bass in my years to know what one sounds like.
It’s like I can actually hear and FEEL the strings vibrating, I feel like I’m actually playing the instrument.
The electric basses are the same thing, everything just sounds so authentic to my ears, from nice and smooth, to hard and harsh, the use of the fx in Trilian allow you to pull up a sexy fender electric and then pull up a harsh, trashy, heavy metal bass right after.
The fingered Clean Fender is amazing, based on the Fender J-bass, the character is just so useful. Thing is, after listening to these samples, it’s hard to even look at anything else, I hit the keys and I’m confident I can feel the strings vibrating, really…AND I can hear them. It’s not just a bass tone, I’m convinced they somehow trapped tiny bass fairies into the software that hit real bass strings every time I send them a midi message…true story.
I also liked the muted Chapman Stick…and the picked Hip Hop bass from the Trilogy library, has a nice deep, boomy tone. Of course those are just a few of the many I loved.
Cool, so you expect good realistic bass right…how about the synth bass section?
Man it’s like a freakin museum of synths known for producing fat, throbbing, floor shaking bass! Seriously, Moog, SE-1, Roland, Access Virus, Waldorf, Dave Smith…if these names mean anything to you, then you know what type of treasure awaits.
Not only that, but they sampled and reproduced some stuff I had absolutely NO idea ever existed, quirky limited run synths and modules, stuff only a true fanatic would know about…I was happy to see this stuff too.
Despite all the emulations and modeling available today, there’s something to be said about playing with direct samples of these timeless instruments. It allows you to capture that tone, that grit, that “in yo FACEness” that is just so common among these classics and why many still use them.
Mix that with the synth and manipulation wizardry of Spectrasonics and you have a synth bass utopia
Don’t forget these synth sources can be mixed with our traditional acoustic/electric sources to produce some brand new original tones.
How easy is it to use, how is the user experience?
I’m big on user interface. Every time I see a new product, or try one out, I have to check the interface. Not only must it look good (Trilian does) it must be easy to navigate as well as easy for me to tweak and come up with my own sounds.
Spectrasonics nails this right on the head. Their interface is clean, simple, yet allows you to go deep…and even while getting deep into the interface things still remain uncluttered and simple, it’s really a work of art when you see how much is going on in there.
If I want to modulate my frequency cutoff with an lfo (you get 8 lofos by the way) I just right click on the cutoff button, and tell it to modulate it with an lfo.
If I want to go deeper into a menu, I just hit the magnify icon, and it takes me deeper so I can get a more thorough view at that section.
The browser in Trilian (also in the other two Spectrasonics products) is really what has me spoiled, everything is a search or click away, and can be customized.
If I want to hold a specific collection of sounds, I can create a project, and add them to that project for quick recall. Or I can use ratings, to rate my sounds and then list them in order from based on those ratings.
I can also search by tag, name or whatever….
As far as playing, there are a lot of dynamic features built into the sounds, so not everything requires you to mess with key-switchng. Thing like slides, bends, etc, will trigger based on your playing, which is always a great feature in my opinion I love when instrument creators allow me to get great expression just by playing.
What about the performance, is it actually usable?
They’ve built in quite a lot to help aid in getting the best performance on your computer.
Things like disc streaming, or memory server (mac only, another point for Mac platform! sheesh!) help with the memory side of things.
Basically, the memory server allows users in 32 bit hosts, to access all the ram on their computer, despite not having a 64 bit host. Effectively, this let’s you use Spectrasonics products in your current system, 32 bit, yet still get the memory benefits that 64 bit hosts and platforms bring, virtually unlimited memory access. This would be AWESOME if it were possible on PCs, then I wouldn’t have to keep begging Ableton to release a 64bit version of LIVE!! (Eric…hook a brother up man! lol)
If you’re already running a 64 bit host, then you’ll be happy to know that Spectrasonics instruments are native 64 bit, no bit bridges or anything like that, just pure 64 bit goodness. For those on pc still running 32 bit hosts, don’t worry, they come as 32 bit versions too.
One thing I really liked is the “sample thinning” option. This basically lets you load lite versions of the patches that take less ram.
It’s pretty flexible too as you can pick what to load or not. Round Robin, legato, velocity range, which notes, you can even train it to the notes you are using at the moment, and it will only load the samples for those notes!
Plus you can tell it to “keep lite settings’ and it will load the same samples for every patch you bring up, so you can train it for your bass part, then browse through the patches loading only the samples needed for your part.
I thought this was amazing, and the features like this, along with the organization of projects in the browser make the user experience amazing.
So the bottom line is?
Look, we can get all technical and data oriented, but for me, it comes down to sound and usability, Trilian excels at both.
I can really find nothing wrong with Trilian, I love it, and I think it’s the best instrument on the market overall when it comes to bass. Not just synth bass, or acoustic, but every kind of bass you can imagine.
It’s multi timbral if you need, it integrates with their flagship synth monster Omnisphere, and has an arpeggiator with groove lock so you can import any midi/groove file and it will follow it, allowing you to match your bass to your drums or anything else, to get it “in the pocket”. Of course there are plenty of built in grooves to keep you busy as well.
The instrument samples can get quite large, so it’s best to have plenty of ram on your system, the more the better…however the sample thinning option allows you to still get access to these great sounds even if your don’t have huge amounts of ram.
The interface is simple for such a complex instrument which makes it a joy to work with, and I like that this same interface is on all 3 of their products, including Omnisphere their power synth module and Stylus RMX their realtime groove module, which makes it easy to move between them.
Heck, it’s almost like a hidden customer retention system lol, it pretty much makes you WANT to use the interface as much as possible…
thus, you’re more likely to own more than one of their instruments.
That Eric is sneaky!
For those that don’t know Eric Persing is the founder of Spectrasonics, which he started with his wife Lorey in 1994. From 1984 -2005 he was a long time consultant and chief sound designer for Roland….yes…without knowing it, you’ve probably been making music with Eric’s sounds and audio offspring for many years!
Like I said…SNEAKY!!!
This is without a question 5 out of 5 subs, this is just a must have for bass. There really is no bass sound that isn’t covered in here, and covered well.
I think the price is actually low, when you look at the other products in this price range, and the fact that there are other companies charging close to $1000 for instruments/libraries that aren’t as stable, as easy to use, and as high quality as what Spectrasonics puts out….but hey…I won’t complain, I’m glad they chose to make it available and accessible to a wide range of users.
While many companies choose to constantly churn out various different products, Spectrasonics has chosen to focus on three instrument lines.
I can’t speak for the other two just yet, but I will say that with Trilian, this is something we all appreciate, as it shows in the detail of the sounds and the well thought out navigational, project organization, and memory operation features.
I get the feeling they plan to develop this instrument for a long time, which is always good.
Go checkout the demos, watch the videos, and see more Trillian and the other instruments from Spectrasonics.