Destination - GigaStudio/Sampler

History and File Format
The Nemesys Gigasampler took the music industry by storm, proclaiming "no more looping", since its sampler software played "endless waves" directly from disk. Giga did this with technology developed and licensed from Rockwell. Since disk space is (sort of) infinite, the idea was that no looping is necessary since memory did not have to be conserved. Even so, Gigasampler does provide looping, and that is good. Gigasampler uses the DOS disk format, since it is a Windows computer program.

Nemesys then expanded their product line to include the Gigastudio, which is essentially Gigasampler 2.0; It has an improved interface, added functionality, and greater polyphony. And finally Giga3 came out in 2004, with many new features

Gigasampler and GigaStudio are very similar - we will refer to them as Giga for the remainder of this article.

Nemesys was recently bought by Tascam; certainly a new chapter to Giga is about to be written.

Architecture Description
The basic Instrument unit on Giga is the Instrument, or .gig file. A gig file can hold up to 128 Instruments; they hold the parameters and the wavedata to be played. An Instrument holds a maximum 4 (GigaStudio maximum 8) keymaps, arranged in a horizontal mapping system called Regions (same as a Keygroup on Akai samplers, except they do not overlap). You can have a Region for every key on the keyboard, and a Region can specify up to 4 (8 for GigaStudio) samples (called Layers). Stereo interleaved samples are supported (they take up two Layers, of course), but a Region cannot hold both Stereo and Mono samples. You can also specify up to 32 velocity splits (wow), but this is lessened the more Layers you use. The envelopes are semi-regular PADSR's.

Giga also supports Performance files (.prf in Giga 1.0, .gsp in Giga 2.0), which are essentially macros that load Instruments into the different MIDI channels. Translator presently supports the Giga 1.0 .prf format, which can easily be translated into 2.0 .gsp GigaStudio files within Giga.

There are quite a few commercial Giga libraries that use a special compression algorithm; these files won't permit .wav extraction, and make the file smaller in size by about 20%. These .wav aren't looped - but since when is it important for Giga samples to be looped...

Import Formats
Gigasampler, of course, imports .WAV files of all types, which is the common method of importing wavedata. It stores the wavedata in the .gig file format and does not use pointers to external files.

Gigasampler has an included program called S-Converter which converts Akai S-1000 and S-3000 formats. In fact, it is a lot like Translator on a limited basis. GigaStudio includes an Audio Ripper called A-Converter and can convert SoundFonts and DLS Level 2 files.

Giga Translation Status
Giga1, Giga2, and Giga3 are fully supported. This translation code has been released, with the conversions at Level 3.
Currently supported source formats
Akai MPC Series
Akai S-5000/Z Series
Apple EXS24
Emu E4/EOS
Emu E3/ESi
Ensoniq EPS/ASR
MOTU MachFive
NI Battery
NI Kontakt
Propellerheads Reason
Propellerheads Recycle I & II
Roland S-7x
Roland S-50/550/330/W30
SampleCell I & II (PC/Mac)
Cakewalk SFZ
Steinberg HALion
Steinberg LM-4
NED Synclavier
Unity DS-1/Session
Source Formats in Development
Emu Emax
Yamaha A-Series
Ensoniq ASR-X
NI Reaktor
DLS (Downloadable Sounds)
Yamaha Motif
Yamaha EX-Series
Korg Triton
Roland MV-8000
Seer Systems Reality
Speedsoft VSampler
Peavey DP-Series

CDXtract - Translator Comparison Chart

One very interesting thing about Gigasampler is that the file format had a copy-protection feature on it. A sound-development company would be able to produce files that cannot be loaded unless a code is entered; after that, the sound resides in that computer while being authorized by that code. This could've helped protect the company from having pirated samples floating around. Interestingly, GigaStudio does not retain this protection, although it gives you some hard time dialogs that post warnings.

Translation Notes
More effort and time has gone into Giga translations than any other format. Translator writes into Giga 2.0 format, eliminating the need to convert them within Giga. Translator also is the only software to
compensate for pitch-tracking and tuning properly, as well as supporting Roland Performances and Emu EOS Links. You can be assured that Translator's Giga translations are the highest-quality possible.

Giga only supports 128 Instrument maximum per file. Certain import formats, like Emu, Kurzweil, SoundFonts, and others, can have more than 128 "Instrument units" to convert. When this happens, another .gig file (with a unique digit trailing the file name) will be created to handle more Instruments. Unfortunately, at this time, all the sample data is duplicated as well. In future versions of Translator, code will be written to optimize this where the minimum of sample duplication will occur.

Giga is very popular, and is popular, with many users composing and recording with it. It has many people, even Mac stalwarts, has switched to this new platform.