Review: Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar by Amplesound
Amplesound’s custom instrument interface is intuitive, easy to use, flexible and power.
Efficient and accurate.
Would be easier to close configuration windows by simply clicking away.
Not really anything else to criticize.
Super Jumbo is an impressive sounding acoustic guitar library, with an equally impressive and powerful player-editor. It is sampled from a Gibson SJ-200 Vintage Custom Shop acoustic guitar, complete with strummer, pattern building, and picked/solo.
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Review: Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar by Amplesound
Super Jumbo Guitar is a library of a Gibson SJ-200 Vintage Custom Shop acoustic guitar, complete with strummer, pattern building, and picked/solo.
Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar sells for $169.00 from Amplesound
Jumbo Guitar is a sampled acoustic guitar library from a Gibson SJ-200 Vintage Custom Shop guitar. This is not an inexpensive guitar, and it has a long history and high popularity in music. Gibson calls it the king of the flat-tops. The list of artists and records that have used an SJ-200 is long.
Amplesound has captured the rich tone of this popular guitar very well. This library runs in Amplesound’s own interface and includes an impressively deep performance system. Being a jumbo, the SJ 200 has a deeper resonance than my other Amplesound acoustic guitar (which also sounds quite good). The version 3 interface has multiple tabs to access various sections – four performance modes, an effects section, sample editor, and one to switch between “thumb library” and “strum library”. There is a lot of customization, control and performance flexibility here. I will cover at least the main highlights, if not every detail of the interface.
Amplesound uses its own custom Instrument and interface for all of its products. I only have a couple of other acoustic/strum libraries, and both are Kontakt based. Amplesound’s instrument is head and shoulders above either of these in sound, ease of use, performance accuracy, and visual appeal.
On the main interface page (shown below) is a nice animated image of the guitar for this library. This image depicts strumming and picking patterns, capo placement, and capo logic mode. The main interface also includes mic selection options, and a mixer to adjust. Body stereo, neck stereo, and mid-side are all great sounding recordings. The mono mic sounds as rich as the stereo recordings. Which you use will likely be just a matter of preference for placement within a mix. In addition, there is a pan knob, doubling switch (with doubling width adjust knob), capo placement, capo logic switch (melody mode or chord mode), and a level mixer for release noise, effects, resonance, nail sound, and fret release. The doubler sounds great and is mono compatible (though there is a slight level drop compared to the body stereo mics collapsed to mono in a mix).
At the bottom of the main interface, is a virtual keyboard of sorts that shows every key switch active, and automatically switches layout when switching between performance modes.
Performance Modes – Strum
In the Strum tab, the lower section switches out for an extensive editor that offers control over strum time, release, stroke volume, time, separation and velocity. When Strum is activated, strum pattern keys are triggered on C4 to D#4, F#4, G#4 and A#4. Manual strums are located an octave above, so you can use either – setup your own patterns, while using manual strumming for gaps, fills, pickups, etc. There are of course keys set to trigger muted stops, muted strums, and a high octave to select between modes and various key-switched options.
Chords are set by enabling either “Select Mode” to trigger preset chords, or “Detect Mode” to play in chords manually and have Super Jumbo detect by playing chords in the lower register: C2 to B3 for root and chord type, C3 to B4 for treble note).
The Select Mode (shown in Figure 2) offers a matrix of user assignable chords triggered by single notes from C2 to B4 (24 assignable key-triggers). All you have to do is select a chord root and type to change each trigger. The list of chord types is extensive and includes a user-customizable chord option as well. And of course, you can change the capo position on the main page as well.
Detect mode, shown above in Figure 3, only needs the minimal notes to determine a chord – a major chord is detected from a major third, and minor chord from a minor third when using the root chord octave. Sus4 only requires the root and 4th, and Sus2, the root and major 2nd. In detect mode, manually selecting chords, once a chord has been triggered (e.g. with a C and an E for a C Maj chord), hitting another note in the lower octave range for chord selection (C2-B3) adds a new bass note for the chord. Hitting a note within the next octave range (C3-B4), adds a Treble note to the strum (this replaces the Bass note, and vice versa). For example, you can start off with a C Maj, then hit an A to change the bass note to A. Hitting an F in the next octave turns off the Bass note and adds an F as a Treble note in the strum. This is an incredibly easy way to add harmonic variation to basic chords without programming more complex chords. This works the same with both manual and pattern sequence strums.
Of course, chords need to be selected slightly before the next strum is triggered, whether using patterns or manual strum triggers. In my work with Super Jumbo, detect has always been fast and flawless, with only my timing affecting accuracy. I never found Super Jumbo to lag unexpectedly or trigger the wrong chord when I had the right notes selected.
For both strum modes, there is also a pattern sequencer with a long list of preset patterns, and the option to create and save your own. The included patterns are quite good, and extensive enough that many users will have no need to program their own. Assigned keys trigger the pattern, and chords are selected based on the mode – Detect or Strum.
For each strum in the pattern, we have up, down treble, and down bass strums, two mute options, and six single string options. Programming a pattern is quite easy – just click on a block to create a strum at that beat in the sequence. Dragging a block to the right extends the length of the strum. Dragging a block up or down raises or lowers the velocity. Quantization options are 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 4/4 triplet, and 3/4 triplet. Swing is set in ticks, from 0 to 100. With eight switches for different patterns, along with manual string and strum triggers, there is a lot of flexibility for creating performances. And of course, patterns can be dragged to a midi track in your DAW to take editing even further. In addition, a pattern can be converted to a Riff with the click of a single icon on the lower section of the Strum page.
The Riffer is an even more detailed approach to creating patterns, and not just strums, but combinations of strums, muted, individual notes, and effects.
As in the figure, each string and fret position is shown on the beat/bar grid. Dragging a note-end left or right extends the length and dragging up or down changes the pitch within the range of that string. Each note can also be assigned note on and off velocity, articulation (sustain, harmonic, mute, slide in), a legato slide format, vibrato range and rate, and bend. The Riffer is somewhat like a step sequencer – each note or chord is individually programmed, with all of the performance options available. Even if it is tedious to program a beat at a time, this Riffer is quite powerful, and the results can sound very convincing. There is also an extensive library of preset riffs to use, or start creating your own. The Riffer can of course be sync’d to a DAW, and it is triggered by velocities above 64 on note A#6. Velocities from 0-63 stop the Riffer. And of course there is a transpose selector to quickly change the key of any riff.
The Tab Player support GP3, GP4, GP5 and GPX tab formats. You can import these tabs, or the demo tab files, into the Tab Player. Tabs can then be dragged from the Tab Player into your DAW as a midi file for playback or editing. The preset tabs installed with Super Jumbo include extensive articulation and performance instructions that demonstrate the power of the AmpleSound 3 instrument. 3rd party tabs of course may just contain note information, but with some editing in your DAW (keyswitches, etc), you could create some rather realistic performances.
The effects page includes a basic compressor, a flexible and very useful graphical EQ, an Echo section (see Figure 5) with a creative and visually intuitive pan display where each concentric semi-circle represents one delay value at the currently selected grid value (1/16, 1/8, etc); and finally a very good sounding reverb section with four space options (room, small hall, hall, and large hall), with control over size, level, low and high shelving, and pre-delay time.
In the Sample Editor you can customize and save your own string tuning, at the sample level. The Sample Editor (shown below) is a list of string samples, and includes a “select all” option, as well as the ability to show specific strings, articulations and pitches (and then use “select all” to edit just those samples).
A general configuration page rounds out the tabs in the interface, with library location setup, a setup page for Midi guitar input, a global envelope setup for all samples (attack/release), and options to customize aspects of the Riffer. Each of these opens as a separate window. As only a very minor issue of preference, it would ease navigation a bit to close these setup windows by clicking back on the main interface (clicking on the setup icon, or on the red “close” icon in the setup window are the current methods. But this is a very minor issue.
Super Jumbo is an impressive sounding acoustic guitar library, with an equally impressive and powerful player-editor. I really like AmpleSound’s intuitive, easy to use interface, powerful programming, and of course the great sound of the libraries themselves. There really isn’t much to critique with this library. While I am not a guitar player, I have worked with enough players over the years to know what is necessary for a quality, musical guitar performance, and Super Jumbo checks all of the boxes. This is an excellent acoustic guitar library in every aspect, and it may be one of, if not the best on the market.
Super Jumbo Guitar is an 8.6GB library
PC: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or higher, 64-bit only; 10GB hard disk space. Intel i5 or higher.
MAC: OS X 10.9 or newer. 10G of hard disk space.
VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, and standalone.
Custom – no other requirements.
Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar sells for $169.00 from Amplesound
Contributor Dedric Terry reviews Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar by Amplesound
“Super Jumbo is an impressive sounding acoustic guitar library, with an equally impressive and powerful player-editor.”