Review of Spectrasonics Trilogy
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Review of
Spectrasonics Trilogy

The Total Bass Module

A good bass player is hard to find.  Isn't that always the case?  Especially when we get into making our own productions where there never seems to be a decent bass player around.  Not that bass is rocket science, though.  Of all the instruments, it is one of the easiest to pick up an learn.  If you already know guitar, its a cinch.  Just go get one of those $149 Squires and lay it down bro! Oh, and don't forget an amp, and a mic...and not the crappy ones.  And don't forget, you gotta play fretless sometimes so you may as well get two basses.  What... an upright?  Wasszat, some kinda Piano?  Oh you mean those big wooden things, like a monster cello?  No, I don't think you can do a technoid filter sweep on a Squire.  Those guys don't play real basses, they use Reason, right?



Lol.  I'm messing with you, if you haven't guessed.  Every instrument out there is a craft unto itself and has it's virtuosos and ground breakers.  The bass is no exception.  Just try to do Jaco on a Fantom, Triton or whatever other synth you may have.  You can get the tone pretty close, you can work the sequence till its note-perfect, add some wheel, but still something lacks.  It's the same with standup bass and even electric bass.  When its got to be real, get a really good bass player.  When there are no players you are stuck with samples and synths and, if you are lucky, this product called Trilogy, which we are about to talk about..

Is it a soft synth or a soft sampler? 

Trilogy is sample-based. There are 3GB of samples that come on 5 cd rom disks.  Yet Trilogy has familiar synthesizer controls, based on the same UVI (Universal Virtual Instrument) technology used in Atmosphere, and Stylus (and many other software synths).   You can't import or export your own samples, modify keymaps or do any softsampler chores.  You can tweak each instrument with filters, envelopes, LFOs and the usual synth parameters.  Though the analog sounds are coming from samples, they sound about as close as samples can get to the sound of real synths in their bass ranges. 

True Staccato  See the video to watch Eric demonstrate it.  Basically the preset has two ranges of samples, an upper and a lower.  By alternating keystrokes bewteen upper and lower you can do authentic sounding staccato bass runs, to avoid the monotonous "machine gun" effect.  It really works!  

Trilogy is designed for composers who can roll their own basslines.  There's no loops or automatic groove creation here.  To get the best out of Trilogy you need to learn how it works.  There's a perfect little video at the Spectrasonics site that shows optimal playing techniques to get the most realism out of the instruments.  See the sidebar on "True Staccato". on the left.  It's not too hard to figure this out, and if you have trouble playing keyboard with 2 hands at once you can always sequence it.

Covering the Basses 

I could spend a lot of time telling you about each instrument in the set, but there are quite a few.  So lets do highlights.  There are 3 basic categories of basses--Acoustic, Electric and Synth.  There's 2 acoustic basses, an acoustic upright and a martin Acoustic Bass Guitar.  For Electric there are Fingered, Fretless, Muted, Picked and Slapped.  For Synths there are
Patches in these categories:  Acidic, Bender, Clicky, Deep and Warm, Dirty Filthy Noisey, Drones, Euro, Hip-Hop and Funky, Hybrid,  Mean and Nasty, Modular, Moog and Oberheim Classic, Shorties, Snappy, Solid, Square Basses,  Sweepy, X-Mod Complex.  Finally there is a category of bass waveforms for making your own, 176 total..  I'll list those cause it shows the synths involved in Trilogy.  As you see its an impressive list.  Go look at the whole
Patch List

I didn't get trilogy for the synth basses but for the standup bass.  A good standup bass that has good bottom  even in the sampled realm is hard to find.  The one's in trilogy are as good as they get, and with the fret noise, squeaks, and scrapes added in it sounds quite authentic.  Or if you really want more bottom you can add a second layer to it, from one of the synth waveforms to beef it up. 


The electric basses are quite nice too.  The Jaco Fretless is a wonder, and I love the picked basses too.  Lots of classic basses that will sound right in any rock, jazz, hip hop piece of music.  Many of them offer instant 'ear recognition" that you have heard them before.  Exactly what a professional may want for their bass track if there is no bassist around.  Overall, the basses are clean and solid.  There's enough control to shape them to fit into the track if they don't automatically.

There's no fluff in this bag, just good stuff. The samples are really of high quality, just like they were in atmosphere (which has a share of tasty basses too).  The programming is excellent, and the instruments respond to your touch as one wants. 

Oh a a special word of warning to Mac users--the CD does not have an OS X version on it.  The Mac installer for the disk ins OS9. Once you register, you have to download the OSX joiner application, which lets you install Trilogy on your system.  

Who needs Trilogy? 

Those that are tired of using wimpy synth and sampled basses on synth modules.  Those that want the convenience of having all the basses they need in one plugin rather than having to hunt through lots of other softsynths or midi synths for them. A useful software plugin.  I can see why it is so popular. 



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