In reality, there are endless possibilities to play an instrument. Think of a Guitar: Your picking direction would change how it sounds. You picking position, your tightness, playing speed, sustain style, all these alters how one note from one instrument can sound. Then there's how hard you pick that note, is it mellow or is it rocking? And then there are legatos, bends, string switches, releases, palm mutes, hand mutes, harmonics, body sounds, mic positions...
Creating a "realistic" and "easy to use" instrument sample library for composers is the holy grail of the whole digital sampling world. In the last couple years, I've heard many brilliant plugins which almost found the grail. To get there, digital instrument creators record and connect bazillions of articulation samples in cleverest ways.
Orange Tree's digital guitars sound mindblowing.
That also raises a problem: Managing Articulations. With a digital instrument, you need to send a message to the plugin about which samples to use next, when and how you want to switch to another playing style, or add an ornament like a vibrato. Digital plugins receive these messages by Keyswitches (KS) or MIDI CC messages, and trigger the correct sub-system. But the problem is, each plugin does this in their own way, and there's no universal messaging system for let's say, switching to "Legato" style. In one String Library, "Staccato" switch could be at C#2 Midi Key, and in another it could be in F#3. So, using many different sound libraries also means you need to learn about how they handle articulations, each time.
To counter this chaos, Cubase (Nuendo, Dorico) and Logic DAWs had their clever "Articulation Managers" which provides an immediate interface where user can "rebind" articulation triggers to new (and probably more organized) keys, and can see which articulations are availible in the DAW interface.
In my favorite DAW, Reaper, there's no built-in articulation manager at all. But recently, I saw an old user-made extension, Reaticulate has grown tall and almost got to the point where it can compete with Cubase/Logic workflow. After I got used to it over a weekend, I decided it's an invaluable tool for digital composing, and in some ways, better than it's commercial counterparts.
Reaticulate's GUI hones how Reaper looks.
Reaticulate not only sped up my composing process, enabled me to see what options do I really have. Here you can see the Reaper Blog's video on that matter.
But, there's one last "but", none of these solutions came with built-in magical articulation mappers. With all, you still need to do some leg work to map your articulations to the plugin's system. In Reaticulate, these mappings held in a ".reabank" format, and the good thing is it's easy to share these ReaBanks. That's what I'll do now.
Over the weekend, I prepared ReaBanks for some of the Best Service / Eduardo Tarilonte's amazing sample libraries for my personal use. And then I thought, it would be nicer to share these Reaticulate Banks to spare other composers from preparing maps for all 78 instruments.
I have included all instruments in Era series (which have articulation switches) according to product manuals and manual testing. Below, you can find separate and merged files to add to your collection. Please refer to Jason's guide for adding custom libraries to your arsenal.
Here are the Download links:
Best Service Era II (33 Instruments)
Best Service Dark Era (16 Instruments)
Best Service Celtic Era (12 Instruments)
Best Service Ancient Era (17 Instruments)
Best Service Era Series Unified (Includes all 4 above)