PowerTools CD from Kurzweil


NOTE: Everything on the PowerTools CD except for the 3rd party software demos can be found at Kurzweil's FTP site. Use the directory listing found here as a shopping list and download it yourself. However, you must download nearly 500 MB, so the PowerTools CD-ROM could be quicker.

Overall impression


Would I buy it again?


Best Thing

Excellent samples

Worst thing

No depth in any area

Silliest thing

How many B3 samples can *you* find on this CD?

OK, now some details....


The samples on this CD are of superb quality. Very well engineered. And, about 80% of them fit in 2 MByte or less of sample RAM. There are some familiar friends, but there are many new things to play with. It's got a great viola, for example, which I have missed. But there was no depth to any of the samples, they were mostly one-offs of an instrument or sound, no samples that explored all the potential of a particular instrument. The best overall sample area is actually special effects, there are many great effects (from voices and cheers to choice twangs and whizzes).


Good collection of programs. This and the Libraries folder gives you ideas for a long time. Lots of duplicates (either of specific instruments or of a style) but some very creative uses of VAST. If you want to program your own sounds, I would strongly recommend getting this CD just to have a starting point for how to use many of the best features in VAST. Lots of multilayering, lots of good use of trigger delays and FUNs.

One word of advice; Check the effects. I found that many of the programs (both in program folders and with samples) were way way way too wet for my liking, cutting the effects levels in half on most everything made for less mud.

Developer folder

This is the area for 3rd parties to entice you to buy their products with demos. As you may expect, this was the spottiest area, "demo" means different things to different people. Some folks provided excellent samples and programs that used them, some of them just gave one long sample that played a program you could buy. Still and all, some good stuff. I would like to say to the folks who put things here that in general I didn't get a feel for the "specialness" of your particular offerings from these demos. Nothing here said "Hey, that's really great, I'll order from XXXX tomorrow!". Though some of them certainly showed me that I'll *never* order from some companies (no names, your opinion may be completely different).

The Utilities

This is a great folder, containing all the stuff Kurzweil has ever put out for the 2000 series. This is worth the price of the CD to have a archival copy of all this stuff. All the OSs, all the farm disks, all the objects.

I am glad I didn't pay $300 for this, because of the lack of depth. However, the variety and touching of almost every genre and style, plus the high quality of the samples, makes it worth somewhere between $100-$200.

C.K. Haun