Software samplers are hardly in short supply, but Digidesign is hoping you’ll pony up extra to add a sampler especially built for Pro Tools. The pay-off in Digidesign’s new Structure sampler is extra integration: you can drag and drop audio Regions directly from a Pro Tools session into Structure, and you can control Structure with Pro Tools control surfaces as well as with MIDI.
The other features here are mostly typical, but you do get an impressive sound library, with 20 GB of soundware from EastWest and A.I.R., including Quantum Leap Orchestral Elements; if you want more, you can upgrade to 40 GB of sound in EastWest’s Structure-ready library Goliath. Also interesting: unlimited nestable patches, plus 8-channel interleaved samples. At US$499 list, that’s a pretty compelling deal.
This is not Digidesign’s first sampler; the company helped build the market for computer-based samplers with its SampleCell product. If you happen to have a copy of the software version (discontinued some time ago), you can upgrade for US$199 for a limited time. Sounds like that does not include owners of more ancient SampleCell PCI hardware. (Too bad; I know a few lying around!)
Of course, while Structure is the one sampler from Digidesign, it’s not your only choice. Native Instruments’ Kontakt is an extremely powerful sampler, and like Structure, includes an RTAS plug-in for Pro Tools use, just to name one competitor. Unlike Structure, Kontakt and others also include native VST/AU plug-ins for other hosts, so you’ll probably want to skip Structure if you regularly swap DAW software. Then again, most people I talk to are pretty loyal to one DAW, and Pro Tools integration, combined with the good stuff Digi’s recently-acquired soft synth group has been coming up, could put you over the top.
I’m too much invested in native software like Live and Logic to do a proper review of Structure (hey, one person can’t — or shouldn’t — try do everything.) But if any of you Pro Tools users are thinking of getting it and want to write it up, drop me a line.