Photo: titge.

Tascam has chosen to cease development and support of its popular GigaStudio sampler and product line, including GigaPulse, GigaViolin, and Giga VI, breaking a widely-used product and various other products based on it. I had actually heard this was coming some time ago, but unfortunately couldn’t verify on-record sources in a way that would allow me to share. Now, it’s official.

MusicRadar has the story: Tascam axes GigaStudio

and Film Music Magazine’s Peter Alexander broke the news first:

Tascam Ceases Giga Development as of July 21; Sales And Support End December 31

Tascam has made no official statement, but the report has been confirmed in a message thread by Tascam’s Marketing Manager, and the product has been removed to the discontinued section.

All I can say is, shame on Tascam. It seems this decision was made some time ago, but not announced — all while sales continued. Furthermore, based on the information I’ve been able to find, there seems to be no information whatsoever on the long-term state of availability or support for the product beyond December 31. A company with the size, reputation, and pro relationships that Tascam has ought to be able to present some sort of legacy support plan. Abandoning users in this way risks the trust the Tascam brand has with customers. Gibson Guitar has become practically an adjective because they discontinued Opcode’s Studio Vision Pro following an acquisition. People are still sore about that even a decade later, and they’re a guitar company, not a pro audio company like Tascam. GigaStudio has a similarly loyal following, particularly in fields like film scoring, and — whether Tascam’s business decision was justified or not — you can bet you’ll be hearing about this for some time to come.

So what’s life after Giga? Given that Giga’s audience was fond of massively huge sample libraries, and the tool was Windows-based, I could believe that 64-bit-native sampler applications could be next. (Clarification: GS4 was native 64-bit, but that doesn’t do you a whole lot of good now, of course.) With 64-bit memory addressing, it’s possible to go an order of magnitude beyond 4 GB (or less) memory limits, which would appeal to Giga’s hard-core sampling audience. Cakewalk supports 64-bit Windows for both their host (SONAR) and instruments, but it’d be nice to see, say, Native Instruments Kontakt in a 64-bit version for Vista 64-bit, too. I’d run Kontakt and SONAR together in a second. (Yes, Mac fans, Mac OS theoretically can support 64-bit memory addressing, but no music app on Windows does, either, at present. So, 64-bit Logic and EXS24, perhaps?)

At the very least, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cakewalk, Native Instruments, MOTU, and others offer crossgrade offers. They all offer very fine sampling products, though I’m not sure that’ll come as much comfort to disgruntled Tascam customers.

It’s also possible that a third party could take up support of the GigaStudio product and continue it for its user base. No one appears to have stepped up to the plate yet, though. Stay tuned.

And, Earth to Tascam: please make some kind of statement to your customers, even if it means a series of messages if the situation is evolving. Your website is an official outlet, so moving an active product to the discontinued section of your site can be considered an official statement. Word in audio circles gets around fast even without the Web, and your customers deserve to hear more from you officially. (If we get additional information, we’ll run it on CDM.)

Tascam Legacy Software

  • Darren Landrum

    The timing of this is funny, as I'm embroiled in a discussion of my own making on the Linux Audio Dev mailing list about writing a sampler application. It started with me wanting to write a library for reading and writing SFZ files, but is going more to the direction of a monolithic app, as those are all I know how to write.

    Unless, of course, someone, maybe someone reading this, someone with real coding skills rather than my "translate complex maths into code" skills, would like to join in on the fun. It will be a GPL project, and can leverage some existing libraries.

    Any thoughts?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    That sounds terrific, Darren. I think an open source alternative is badly needed. I could see people using it alongside commercial products, as sort of a common denominator sample format and standard. And, of course, it could run on 64-bit Linux, too. ;)

    One thing that hasn't happened yet that I really regret is that an open source audio program become a standard for other products. Imagine if there were a really solid open source sampler with a usable file format that could be adopted by commercial products. By comparison, for instance, Google Docs (proprietary) is able to save OpenOffice files (open), partly because there's an open source product that's developed the file format and can be used by anyone.

    And, of course, this illustrates some of the dangers of our life's work being exclusively locked up in proprietary tools, with no alternative — even if it's a mix of tools.

    So more power to you, Darren; let me know if I can help wrangle devs, etc.

  • Darren Landrum

    The LinuxSampler Project does give a good amount of GigaSampler 3 compatibility on both Linux and Windows. There are a number of features still not supported, though, like articulation files, and compiling it yourself is always a royal pain in the rear.

    I want something new and powerful, rather than the same-old-same-old. SFZ would only be the tip of the iceberg. That's just a convenient standard already out there for making easily compatible sample libraries. I'm more inspired by the upcoming Omnisphere than by GigaStudio.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    New and powerful works for me. That was what we were promised in regards to Giga, of course. Omnisphere does look great.

  • Darren Landrum

    Oh, and if you can help me find interested developers, that would be great. Lord knows I'm having no luck with the LAD list. (To be fair, most of those people have their own projects.) Thanks!

  • http://fourstones.net victor

    this news is very surprising to me. I was under the assumption that many pro soundtrack artists had this in their arsenal so even if tascam was losing money in the current configuration they should be able to keep it afloat in some means or another. Killing a product like this outright is shockingly unimaginative given the options – like open sourcing the whole thing.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I doubt that Tascam can open source it, as at least components were licensed from elsewhere. That's the reason it often isn't that easy — you have to have software that either you own entirely, or is built on open libraries and frameworks, and you have to be really sure on legality and patents, etc.

  • Darren Landrum

    I've been leaving messages here and there to try to get the effort started. My gmail user name is dmlandrum if anyone want's to email me about the project.

    So far, what I want to do is build a code framework (not to be confused with a library) that will contain classes for handling streaming sample playback, resampling, and all that fun stuff, as well as directed graph building for DSP. From here, the framework can be used to build monolithic applications for sampling and synthesis, as well as a Reaktor-like application, if we do it right.

    Yes, it would be better to split things out into libraries, but that takes a lot more work, and I'm tired of things not happening. The sooner we can get some code working, the better.

  • Darren Landrum

    I should also mention that there are existing open source libraries we can and will leverage, like libsndfile, libsamplerate, libfftw3, and the Rubber Band library, so we won't be starting completely from scratch.

  • http://www.quikphix.org xonox

    That's always something i fear about software instruments. Once it's not supported anymore, you're stuck in your current configuration if the next generation OSes do not play well with your current software.

    Even worse if you have to authenticate your software with the maker thru an internet connexion. I once had to install software (not music related) at work and never could because the software insisted on verifying the license with the company which did not exist anymore.

    Some software companies punish you for buying their software as you have to go thru complicated license verification which, i assume, pirated copies do not require.

    Open source software with a good community is one of the best ways to ensure a good future to an application.

    I feel bad for all thos people who paid money for gigasampler and now will not receive any support or anything. I have no idea how expensive this software was.

    One of my friends was using hypersonic by steinberg which was discontinued as well. It was his main VST plugin…

  • http://www.humanworldwide.com Jim Weisbin

    I actually saw a beta of GVI running on a Mac over one year ago. If released, it would have sold like crazy. Tascam are a bunch of idiots.

    However, the rumor is that Nemesis will re-acquire the brand and continue development, but no one knows for sure.

  • John

    The intriguing piece to me is Gigapulse…I never used it but it looks like it has some unique features, like the ability to position instruments around the soundstage. It would be nice if some other company took that product off of Steinberg's hands and put it onto multiple platforms, including AU.

  • john z

    Tascam? Gibson? -I'M- still pissed at Digidesign for discontinuing Sound Designer II for the AtariST a couple of months after i invested in it, leaving me with an expensive, half-assed sidegrade path to Mac.

    eventually i switched to Apple, but never went back to Digidesign..

  • Matt

    That's it, I'm pulling my Emax II out of the closet.

  • http://xfader.com regend

    This behavior by Tascam reminds me of how they jumped into the DJ market ad released a few products and abandoned many of them without any support info.

    I understand the needs of companies to expand, diversify, and target niche markets but it makes me wonder about who is running the show when a reputable name such as teac/tascam abandons their newly acquired markets…it makes me not want to buy a tascam multitrack or firewire/usb audio device.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Cripes, what is it with Tascam, Alesis, Akai and Numark these days?

  • http://www.alpiar.com Chris Alpiar

    grrrrrrr my whole studio is built from GS technology, I have GS3 and 4 boxes and my sample libraries are almost exclusively GS format

    And my GS4 installs are SO CLOSE to working as intended and being some really really awesome sampler stations. But so many little bugs make it far too annoying to use in production

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, before we jump to conclusions — part of why I say that I'm frustrated Tascam has made no further statement is that there isn't anything else to go on. But it is possible development will get re-licensed to someone else / picked up by someone else. We don't have any indication that IS the case, but there's no evidence it ISN'T, either; we just don't know. Of course, that'd be very welcome news.

    It is safe to say, however, that we won't see Giga from Tascam any more.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Yeah Peter, it is pretty ridiculous that Tascam is leaving all their customers in the dark about this.

  • long gone sad song

    So, Peter… why not tell your readers about this if you knew? If you couldn't quote it maybe just say you heard a rumor. Blogs are great for that right? – or would that make your rumor source not feel so good about telling you rumors?

    It just seems weird to sort of gloat (even innocently) about how you already knew…. Isnt the purpose of a blog like this to tell.

    I say fill your readers in first. They are what keep this thing going after all. And maybe some of them bought giga between the time you knew and this story broke (somewhere else).

    Im not trying to be a naysayer. I really like cdm/m/n. Just wondering your thoughts on this. Or perhaps, your thoughts on what exactly are the bloggers responsibilities to its readers (if any)…

    Sincere thanks.

  • gwenhwyfaer

    dead_red_eyes, Alesis, Akai and Numark are just a single company, and I get the sense that the Numark philosophy has wafted into its acquisitions (unfortunately).

    That aside – my first reaction was "what on earth are Tascam thinking???"

  • Downpressor

    To me the sad thing is not that a product got discontinued without much advance notice but how some are reacting like precious little snowflakes who need their feet rubbed while Mamma Tascam makes them a nice mug of hot cocoa. Its simple, things work until they dont, upgrades are not guaranteed and no product lasts forever.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @long gone sad song:

    A reasonable point. My intention wasn't to gloat — on the contrary. I was unable to verify the information I had gotten and didn't have any source I could attribute. I wasn't sure myself whether to believe the rumor. There wasn't a heck of a lot to say as a result, so what I felt at the time was I didn't really have a story. I was wrong. The only reason I mention this at all now is there seems to be sufficient reason, in hindsight, to believe this has been going on for quite a while. And I mention that because, as a result, I think people have every reason to be frustrated. SONiVOX obviously knew because they — unlike Tascam — took steps to continue shipping their product. I would think under normal circumstances a vendor would want to make some kind of statement. I mean, even when Gibson dropped Studio Vision there was a formal announcement, there was some kind of communication.

    As I write this, what Tascam has up is this:
    http://www.tascam.com/catalogue;40,7.html

    – a blank software page. Obviously the word is out, one of their biggest soundware vendors has already been touting a competing product for days. So, what's the deal?

    @Downpressor: is anyone asking for a foot rub? Many users have spent thousands of dollars on Giga-powered libraries and rely on them for their job. Yes, imagining all commercial software will be around forever would be unreasonable — it's a business, and at some point a developer may make a business decision to throw in the towel. But it's not unreasonable, as a customer, to ask for information, about what the decision is, what it means, and what your migration path is. And likewise, the software developer doesn't need a foot massage, either. It's customers' money, and if they want to go elsewhere (on the many *other* products Teac/Tascam makes, for instance), that's their choice. It's the developer's responsibility, then, to figure out how to maintain the relationship with their customer base if they want to keep their business healthy. I'm not saying it's the end of the world if there's a lapse in that relationship, but it's generally not a *good* thing.

    Side note: snowflakes have feet? (I'm very sure snowflakes *don't* like hot liquids.)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I had to double check this myself, but GigaStudio 4 reportedly began shipping in *May*. So it is fairly unusual that a decision like this would come so close to a product release, following a major publicity campaign.

  • long gone sad song

    a blank page of shame… thats hilarious. unless you own the product… then i guess its less funny.

    @Peter: thanks for the response. but consider this (humble) piece of advice for the future: shoot first and ask questions later.

    Youre running an industry blog (more or less) not a newspaper. We want the dirty dirt – source or not. Im not suggesting you lie, or even half truth. but you have more journalistic ethic than any major corporate news source — do us all a favor and forget some of that, superman. That 'ethic' is for "journalists". Bloggers have more power than them "journalists". Thats why they all blog now too – they know this fact. Consider it.

    Think of it… Everone could be saying right now… "ol' Pete at CDM was right…."

    [i am saying this all with a smile and a bit of sarcasm... but not too much sarcasm...Go get em' cowboy.]

  • http://www.quikphix.org xonox

    @Downpressor : i have gear that's from 1986 and it still works like it should and it never needed much servicing besides a battery change.

    Software that gets discontinued after 2 months without any warning isn't that fun. Software that requires contacting a server thru the net to install (don't know if this is gigasampler's case) is very bad.

    Hopefully some other software offers support to read gigasampler's data so people have an upgrade path.

    I try to use mainly open source software for my music needs but not everyone can find software to meet their needs. Commercial software definitely has its place but perhaps it would be a bit better if formats were a bit more open.

  • bliss

    Rumors or otherwise, I prefer bloggers or journalists who cite sources. Even ThinkSecret!, AppleInsider, and MacRumors cite the sources of the rumors they print. ThinkSecret! has gone under because of a lawsuit from Apple, still those three sites used to source rumors from each other, AT THE LEAST. So quality of reporting matters even if rumors are being bandied about.

    Anyway, it's not PK's responsibility to aid rumors — none of the CreateDigital sites report on rumors as a feature. I prefer the way things are done now. Nothing beats a cited source, otherwise without a source YOU become the source. Knowing the general nature of rumors, who wants the reputation of spreading lies, half-truths, and stretched truths? CreateDigital are high quality sites, I'd prefer they stay that way.

    Besides there's nothing stopping unsourced rumors from being talked about unofficially at CDN. Hear a rumor? Post it there. Reserve CDMusic, CDMotion, and KORE Noisepages for high quality content.

  • http://deleted gwenhwyfaer

    Downpressor, thank you for answering my question (in the most recent thread). I think your rock is getting cold, and your bridge is being passed unprotected.

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  • Downpressor

    gwenhwyfaer,

    Sorry but I dont get your reference.

    xonox,

    I have an electric guitar from 1964 (with 5 of the original strings), its an odd design so when some parts fail some day, I'll just have to live with it unless I can find an alternative. I've also got stuff that I purchased this decade which is broken, has been discontinued and is un-serviceable. To me even software is like that.

    Peter,

    "Precious little snowflakes" is a net meme in case you missed that one. Maybe I'm strange, but to me the idea of needing an explanation is an emotional thing which I just dont have. Anyway, the people who own giga libraries can keep on using them as long as they can keep their systems operative or until the OS is no longer compatible right? If so there's no immediate loss, just no upgrade path. Somehow I'm not getting who is "high and dry" in this case.

  • Downpressor

    gwenhwfaer,

    OK now I understand your comment. Funny thing is people respond to comments without knowing the other person or probably even having read their previous comments. FYI I'm pretty much always a curmudgeon.

  • samoan

    Unfortunately open-sourcing code is nowhere near as easy or straightforward as it seems like it would be. Apparently TASCAM cannot even discontinue a product competently; I HIGHLY doubt they would be capable of doing so even if legally able and willing, which is even more doubtful. By all means continue to embarrass them with a huge list of names though!!

  • samoan

    LOL I just saw that you have an article saying the exact same thing bravo.

  • Joe Smith

    "Tascam has chosen to cease development…of its popular?"

    Tascam has ceased development because customers ceased PURCHASING it. It might have been popular 6 or 7 years ago, but for the last 5 years it has withered on the vine. dead branches get pruned. If the Giga community cared about this product, they should have BOUGHT it.

  • Georg smith

    Now boys and girls are you not glad the the hacker cracker pople who develop ways of bypasing copyright protection are going strong. You will be able to use your legazy system in the future thanks to them.

    Kapitalism sucks. Support Linux Ardour Studio Ubuntu etc and be gone evol kapitalist scum that screw with your years of investment in what is an instrument.

    You now what to Gnu

  • Ernie

    Wow just found this out while trying to visit Tascam website to find an upgrade for my GVI software which I bought a year ago. That's a real shame! Damn you Tascam! I have a US2400 control surface and they did the same thing, what the hell is wrong with them, they just seem kill really good products and scrap them to hell. Well what can you expect most of the poducts I've seen look like crap, at least that's what I've noticed for years. Why the hell do they use so much plastic in their products anyway? They look like toys. Maybe Tascam needs a new design philosophy or something. Go Democrats!

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  • Vinnie

    Extremely frustrated with Tascam. I stopped using Tascam equipment when this happened, and to date won't consider their products for purchase. I owned very few items from Tacam as is was, but now I use none. I did, however, have a huge investment in Gigastudio in the form of a LEGALLY OWNED product, libraries, personal development and time. My studio is based around the product. IMHO – the finest product in its class at the time. I still continue to try and use it, but it’s becoming more difficult. Hope it somehow gets resurrected.

  • Flatus Gass

    Screw you, Tascam. No more Tascam for me, ever again. You suck!

    • pillybilly

      Ma vai a cagare MR flatus…