Has Tascam Killed Gigastudio? Film at Eleven
COLUMN: I knew something was brewing when I went to my favorite online music store (Sweetwater) to see if they had the Tascam Gigastudio GVI 4 upgrade from GVI3 in stock yet, and noticed it had disappeared from the site entirely. Then going to some other music stores who said the item was discontinued. Then going to the Tascam site, where any mention of the new GS 4 and GVI 4 had disappeared, and in doing a search could only find the products in the “legacy” drop-downs under both products and support. Uh oh.
While I could not find any official announcement on the Tascam site in their press release section, it does appear that Tascam has cancelled any further development or release of the GS product line. One anecdotal forum comment I found today stated that support will end Dec. 31 of this year, which I have yet to confirm with Tascam.
One site did post the following last week, but I cannot locate the original source: “TEAC America, Inc. will cease further development of Gigastudio and Gigastudio related products as of July 21, 2008. Product sales and technical support will continue through the end of the year.”
In response to this, a “make Giga open source” movement and petition has started, and can be found here: http://www.opengigastudio.com . Notable GS figures, including Larry Seyer, seem to have “blessed” the petition, so there is some pretty vociferous commentary going on in that site’s petition/forum page.
I’ve been using GS since it was Nemesys Gigasampler, on a lowly 333Mhz PC. I now have a dedicated dual-core AMD machine running GS3, and I also have GVI3, and I just bought the GS3 Orchestra to GS4 upgrade. I’m now wondering if I should bother to even upgrade my GS3 to GS4, since it may be the only patch we’ll see for any GS4 bugs is the existing 4.01 patch already posted on the Tascam site. And what will this mean for GSIF support on sound cards? Luckily my ECHO audio cards all have drivers from the wonderful ECHO folks, but what about the future?
This is particularly disappointing since I have been working on a new giant sample instrument for GS called Neotrope® Obscura™ which is built around unique sounds from my two Hartman Neurons, Kawai K5000s, Ensoniq Fizmo, Waldorf Q+, Korg Poly 800, Korg Z-1, various vintage Oberheim analogs, and Studio Electronics SE1x and CODE 8 OD synths. I had planned to offer this come January at the next NAMM show, running primarily on GS/GVI, but also available for other samplers and the Cakewalk instruments. But now? Hmmm. Should I even continue tweaking all the thousands of sound files for the Gigastudio environment, or what? Argh!
It is truly bizarre that there has been no formal announcement from Tascam on this (well, at least to the users), and it may be that this caught the Gigastudio development team off guard. Since the GS4 product was being shown at music shows earlier this year, and shrink wrapped boxes are in stores, it seems strange that days or weeks prior to the GVI4 launch for Mac/Intel and Windows, to have it all chopped off at the knees, is strange. One can only assume this is an economic decision based on sales figures. Of course, that’s a catch 22 … if you don’t support your product, kill off any company-sponsored community, don’t release new libraries, don’t put out a customer newsletter for months (sheesh … I can’t recall the last Gigastudio newsletter I got?), then you lose customers since you’re not supporting it. So, then to kill it because people are leaving because YOU are not supporting it, is whacky.
It’s unfortunate, too, because many of us actually using GS are film composers, sound designers, producers, and others who prefer the simpler interface, the rich library of sounds, and the long history and pleasure of using the system (the last year has been an awfully quiet one, ever since the dedicated Gigastudio website went bye-bye).
Soooo…. what now? It’s a bit of a shock and awe moment, and one I think a lot of users are going through, since the death of GS was not something we (or at least, I) expected.
Feel free to post your thoughts, below, in the comments box.
[tags]Gigastudio cancelled, Tascam kills Gigastudio, Christopher Simmons[/tags]
Aug 23, 2008 @ 3:29 PM PDT
I’ve been increasingly worried that something like this would happen. Gigastudio 3 seemed to have a few too many problems on my system, and I was hoping to migrate to GVI 4 so I could play my hoard of Giga-format samples alongside SONAR and other programs.
Is there a still-supported program that can play or convert my Gigastudio library? What’s our best option going forward.
As info, the linuxsampler project based their efforts on the Giga format, but setting up a Linux machine won’t be the best option for many of us.
Aug 23, 2008 @ 3:39 PM PDT
Answer to above comment, by the author of article:
Allan, I’ve been using E-MU’s Emulator X2 on another box, and it works quite well and has a huge (ancient) library as well as contemporary (read = new) samples, and it has a nice “synth swipe” program to auto-capture other keyboards and samplers. The new X3 version is coming “real soon now” and looks, to me, to be the best contender for transitioning from Giga. I’m so sad, it’s really unfortunate.
The reason I think it would be good transition vs. other apps like Kontakt, et al, is that it does 64bit already, has good driver and hardware support (X3 won’t need E-MU hardware), has its own streaming tech, and is backed by a big company which wants to keep the E-MU brand alive, vs. Tascam which never really seemed to care about Giga other than a free add-on for its MIDI/controller systems.
Yellow Tools is another nice system, with some really excellent sample sets. I’d be interested to hear from folks who have decided on a system to “escape” to from Giga, if any.
Of course – don’t forget, there’s really nothing wrong with Giga 3 if you’re running it on a dedicated PC and already have a large library all organized, or modified to custom sets.
On the other hand, the Emulator filters and so forth are really nice and are based on their past (and current) experience in hardware design. So, a 64bit box with 8GB of RAM and Emulator X3 will be a nice bit of kit, as they say.
Christopher Simmons – 8.23.08
Note that the opensource “LinuxSampler” project “might” be a good choice once it moves out of its early stages (right now it won’t be any better than simply using your existing GS3x or 4x setup).
Also, I’ve had great success importing files and converting them in KONTAKT3; so once N.I. gets on the 64-bit bandwagon, that will be a great option. It’s also a great sideways option if they come out with a “cross-grade” option (I think they have one) to allow you to buy it at a discount due to death of Giga. If you don’t care about 64bit Windows (benefit = 8GB RAM support “right now”), and are trying to decide to buy GS4 or move to another platform…. take a look at KONTAKT, and perhaps wait to see how E-MU’s EmulatorX3 is reviewed (it should have been out by now… but still waiting….) -CS
Aug 26, 2008 @ 6:21 PM PDT
Bummer. I love Gigastudio… Even though GS3 always caused massive problems and instability, I still loved the sound I could get out of it. At least now GS4 will be really cheap.
Sep 25, 2008 @ 1:09 AM PDT
Check out the latest linuxsampler binaries. They’re now offering Windows and Mac versions.