What do you do if Tascam lets you down, and you’re a sound house dependent on their GigaStudio/GigSampler player? For major soundware development house SONiVOX, the answer was: make your own software.

Somerville, Mass-based SONiVOX has announced “announced the existence” of an in-house software development team. Read: the team has been there already, but they haven’t wanted to talk about it until news broke that Tascam’s GigaStudio was going away.

SONiVOX says they have developed “a universally compatible player technology that focus on intelligent MIDI performance, intuitive interfaces, and the highest sonic fidelity.” It will support not only SONiVOX’s own products, but third party-products, as well. SONiVOX points out their experience working with clients like Motorola, Analog Devices, and Google, on sound software.

The press release apparently went out on Friday, but I missed it. Now, with it clear that Giga is dead, the news makes more sense. Peter Alexander at Film Music Magazine, who also broke the GigaStudio discontinuation story, correctly read the signs as early as Monday. He has a long, excellent opinion piece on that site that laments Tascam’s failure to develop their own, long-promised player. He wrote then:

“SONiVOX, an American company substantively smaller than either Tascam or their publicly traded parent, TEAC, has beaten the Giant to market by creating their own dual platform player for both PC and Mac with product ready for shipping by late July early August.”

Memo: To Sample and Software Developers [Film Music Magazine]

Nor is SONiVOX alone. They join EastWest and Spectrasonics, as Peter observes, along with Garritan, whose Steinway-authorized piano instrument runs on the in-house ARIA Player. And that’s to say nothing of developers like Native Instruments, Cakewalk, Steinberg, MOTU, and Apple, all of whom might be considered soundware developers themselves, running on their own virtual instrument products.

Of course, this also illustrates just how tough the market is for any sampler, even one from a company the size of TEAC. In fact, it seems to be the independent companies who are most willing to keep fighting in that climate.

What remains to be seen is how well SONiVOX can support third parties. If they can do so affordably and effectively, you could see serious migration to their sound platform.

SONiVOX’s own virtual instruments, the first for the platform, are scheduled for release at the end of the month:


  • Hi, Peter. Thank you for the credit. Regarding SONiVOX, my understanding is that their virtual instrument is for them only, and that they won't be licensing it to other developers. That is a possibility, of course, but we have no annoucements to that effect.

  • They claim in the press release that it is "Initially supporting SONiVOX and 3rd party partner products." So it sounds as though they do tend to license it. The question is how aggressively — or whether, increasingly, other soundware houses will be building their own tools. Obviously, I understand the business equation here, which is that you wouldn't want to license your player so cheaply that your competitor winds up making more money than you do. That's always the issue with these things, because all the player makers (including NI with Kore) are also soundware makers, hence competing with the folks they're licensing the tool to, at least on some level.

    But, yes, Sonivox has effectively "announced" it, whether they deliver on it or not.

  • carmen

    Universally Compatible is a pretty large claim.

    does this mean Hruska and her crew are going to support open standards? maybe the MMA is going to come up with some new sampler format?

    i wouldnt mind something like that.. XML based instrument description format based around 'bundles' of the associated sample data (basic dirs on disk, nothing crazy with binary)

  • @carmen: that sounds like a great idea — and I agree, text description, not binary, please!

    I'm equally skeptical of claims of "universal"; that seems to translate these days as "it makes sound." (Sound is … well … sort of universal, I suppose.) But in this case, I'm just not sure what I mean.

    Vive SampleXML (sXML, pronounced "sex em el). No, that doesn't exist; I just made it up.

  • At last! Someone with the insight to solve the prboelm!

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